Saanen 5th Public Dialogue 8th August 1965
What shall we talk about this morning?
Questioner: Sir, I wonder whether it would be worthwhile considering what discussion is. What is the basis of discussion? I do not know whether it is possible to discuss with so many people, but some of us discuss, when you are not available, in small groups, and it might be important to talk about what discussion is. Related to that I have a question: how can a person learn who is not as brilliant as another? I have found that, in a discussion group, where the speaker is quite brilliant, he gives what he learns so quickly, that I can't follow.
Questioner: I wonder if you might talk further about meditation in daily activity.
Questioner: Sir, as the essence of time was traced yesterday, would it be possible to trace down the essence of dying to every moment?
Krishnamurti: One questioner has asked what we mean by discussion. As he discusses with various groups, he finds that one or two people are brilliant, and the rest are not; and from that discussion, because of the brilliance of the few, there is hardly any learning And so he says, what is discussion, the intention of discussion, and what is learning?
Then someone asked to go into the question of meditation in daily life, not as an abstraction, not something that one does occasionally, but whether it is possible to be in a state of meditation throughout the day, naturally and easily. The other question is: as we traced yesterday the whole movement of time, could we this morning go into detail into the question of dying to everything, dying so as to be fresh and new every day?
Questioner: How can one deal with the unconscious, traumatic, compulsive urges?
Questioner: What do you mean by the essence of anything, essence of time, essence of love, and so on?
Questioner: When you are aware of conflict, one of three things can happen: it might disappear, it might continue, or it must increase.
Questioner: One difficulty is having motives. Would you please speak about motives.
Krishnamurti: Now, there are enough questions. Let us see if we can't include all these in one question.
First of all, what is the meaning of these talks? Why do you and I come here every morning to talk things over. Either you treat the speaker as your authority from whom you are going to learn, which is not the intention of the speaker at all, at any time, at any level; or we come together to talk things over amicably, exposing ourselves inwardly to, ourselves, because this offers an opportunity to uncover and discover and go beyond. That is the intention when I come here and talk, not that the speaker is laying down a law, a dogma, an authority, a belief, a way; but rather in speaking together we are listening to ourselves rather than to someone else. In listening to ourselves we discover an infinite lot, a great depth to all our words and meanings. At least, that is the intention of these discussions here the last four or five days, and also the talks that we have had the ten times previously.
If we treat these discussions merely as an intellectual, verbal battle of opinions, then I'm afraid they will be of very little value. What we are concerned with, seeing the misery within ourselves and in the world, the confusion, the incessant battle between man and man, is whether there is a different way of living altogether, not merely in certain economic or social areas. Can one live a totally different life in all the areas? That is why we have these meetings here. To learn is to listen, not only to the speaker, but to that river. Listen to it as we are talking; listen to the boy who is shouting; listen to your own thoughts, to your own feelings, so that you become completely familiar with them. Becoming familiar is to understand; and to understand there must be care to listen, not only to your opinions, because you know very well what your opinions are. Your opinions are your prejudices, your pleasures, the conditions under which you have been brought up. One must also listen to all the impacts, if one can, of the outward influences and reaction; and through this listening, seeing, there comes a learning. That is the intention of these discussions and talks.
The next question was whether it is possible to meditate throughout the day without making meditation into sc,me squalid affair of an hour or two, or ten minutes, but to sustain it throughout the day, and through this meditation to understand the nature of dying, and what it means to live anew.
The question was also asked, whether it is possible to put an end to all the unconscious or conscious traumas, drives, compulsions. We will limit ourselves this morning to those questions. If we mean to discuss, talk things over about meditation, then perhaps we shall include the question about the way of dying to everything so that the mind is made new, and we may also understand the compulsive urges that we human beings have.
That word "meditation" must be used most guardedly, with a great deal of hesitation, because in the western world - and it is a great pity that the world is being divided into the West and the East - in this part of the world, meditation has very little meaning. One knows here the word "contemplation". I think contemplation and meditation are two different things. In the East, meditation is something that one practises day after day, according to a certain method, a certain pattern laid down by some authority, ancient or modern; and in that, in following the pattern, one learns to conquer, control thought, and go beyond. That is the meaning generally implied by that word. The West is not fully acquainted with the word. So let us for the moment forget what the East means by the word, put away both the East and the West, and try to find out, not how to meditate, but the quality of a mind that is awake, aware, intense, that has no trauma, no suppression, nor indulgence, that is not controlling itself all the time or at any time, that is free and therefore never lives in the shadow of yesterday. That is what we are going to consider.
We must begin to understand this right from the beginning, because the first step matters much more than the last step. Freedom is not at the end, but at the beginning, and that is one of the most difficult things to understand. Without freedom there is no movement except within a very, very restricted area, that restriction being based on the image or the idea of organized pleasure.
I am not laying down the law or telling you what to do, or what not to do, or that you must agree or disagree, but we have to see the idea, the principle, the image from which all thinking begins, from which all our reactions come. Without understanding that, it is not possible to be free to go far beyond the limitations of the mind, or the limitations of the society or culture in which we have been brought up. So, if I may suggest, as we are listening, you each have a double task, not only to listen to the speaker, but also to listen to yourself, who is the speaker.
We all want wider and deeper experiences, more intense, more alive, not repetitive; and so we seek through drugs, through meditation or through visions, through becoming much more sensitive. The drugs help one, for the time being, to become extraordinarily sensitive; the whole organism is heightened; the nerves and the whole being are liberated from the pettiness of daily existence, and that brings about a great intensity. In that state of intensity, there are certain experiences where there is not the experiencer or the experience, there is only the thing. There is only the flower, if you are watching that flower, not the watcher watching the flower. These drugs in various forms give to the body, to the whole organism, and so to the brain, an intensity, an extraordinary sensitivity. In that state, if you are a poet, if you are an artist, if you are this or that, you have an experience according to your temperament.
Please, I have not taken any drug, because to me any form of stimulant - any form, listening to the speaker and therefore being stimulated, or drink, or sex, or a drug, or going to mass and getting into a certain state of emotional tension - is utterly detrimental, because any stimulant in any form, however subtle, makes the mind dull, because it depends upon that stimulant. The stimulant establishes a certain habit and makes the mind dull.
Most of us do not use drugs but we do want wider and deeper experiences; therefore we meditate. We hope by meditation, by control of thought, by learning, by getting into some peculiar, emotional, psychological, mystical state, having visions, experiences, to reach an extraordinary state. If you are using meditation as a means to something, then meditation becomes another drug. It creates a habit, and therefore destroys the subtlety, the sensitivity, the quality of the free mind.
Most of us like systems to follow, and there are so many systems in Asia which have been transported, I don't know why, to the West. Everyone is trapped in those systems; there are mantras and all the rest of it. Constant repetition of words, in Latin, Sanskrit, or any other language, makes the mind quiet, but dull and stupid. A petty little mind repeating the prayer of a Christian is still a petty little mind. It can repeat ten million times a day; it is still a narrow, shallow, petty, stupid mind.
Meditation is something entirely different. In order to understand it, we must put away drugs and reject all methods, including the repetition of words in order to reach some peculiar state of silence, which is really stagnation. We must put away every form of desire for further experience. This is very difficult, because most of us are so saturated with the ugliness, the brutality, the violence and the despair of life that we want something more. We are longing for new experiences, whether outward experiences such as going to mass, or inward deeper experiences. But one has to put all these away; only then is there freedom. The manner of putting away these things is of great importance. I can put away wanting this or that, because it is too silly; but inwardly I may still want experiences.
I may not want to see Christ or Buddha, or this or that person - that's too obviously silly, because it's a projection of one's own background. I may rationally, logically reject that. But inwardly I want my own experience, which is not contaminated by the past. But all experiences, all visions, are contaminated by the past.
I have to understand the depth, the height, the significance, the quality of the past; and in the understanding I am dying to it, the mind is dying to it. The mind is the past; the whole structure of the brain, with all its associations, is the result of the past. It is put together by time, two million years of time; and you can't put it all away by a gesture. You have to understand it as every reaction arises. Since most of us still have a great deal of the animal in us, we have to understand all that; and to understand it, one has to be aware of it. To be aware is to watch it, listen to it, not condemn it or justify it.
By becoming aware outwardly and inwardly, by being aware and riding on that awareness of the outward movement as a tide that goes out, and a tide that comes in, riding on that, the mind then begins to discover its own reactions, responses, demands, compulsions; and to understand these demands, urges, responses, you must not condemn; if you do, then you don't understand. It's like condemning a child, because that's the easiest way to deal with the child. We condemn, and we think we understand, but we don't.
We have to find out why we condemn. Why do you condemn? Why do you rationalize? Why do you justify? Condemnation, justification, rationalization are forms of escape from the fact. The fact is there, what is; it is there. Why should I rationalize it? Why should I condemn it? Why should I justify it? When I do that, I am wasting energy. Therefore, to understand the fact, you must live with it completely, without any distance between the mind and the fact, because the fact is the mind.
You have rejected drugs and the urge for experience, because you understand that when you want to escape from this ugly, monstrous world into something extraordinary, you invite experiences, and they again become escapes from the fact. Since the mind and the brain are the result of the past, one has to understand the conscious as well as the unconscious past. One can understand it immediately, not take time, months, years, going to the analyst, or analysing oneself; one can understand the whole thing immediately, with one look, if one knows how to look. So we are going to find out how to look. One cannot look if there is any sense of condemnation, any sense of justification of what one sees. That must be completely clear. To understand a child, you can't condemn it; you must watch it, watch it while it is playing, crying, laughing, sleeping. What is more important is not the child, but how you watch the child.
We are now considering not how to look, not the method. We are trying to understand whether it is possible, by one look - not with your vision, not with your eyes only, but an inward look - to understand the whole structure and be free of it. That is what we mean by meditation; nothing else.
The mind has come to this point because it has rejected drugs, experiences, authority, following, repetition of words, control, forcing oneself in one direction. It has looked at it, studied it, gone into it, observed it; not said it is right or wrong. What has happened? The mind now has become naturally alert and sensitive, not through drugs, not through any form of stimulant. It has become exceedingly sensitive.
Let's go into that word "sensitive". Do you want to ask questions? Are you listening to the speaker, or are you listening to yourself as the things are being said?
Questioner: As you speak, I can't see myself.
Krishnamurti: when do you see yourself? Do you ever see yourself as you are, not here, but when you go out of the tent? Do you ever see the poses, the mannerisms, the pretensions, the vanities, the wanting to impress, the what you are?
We are now trying to see what we mean by sensitivity. This is of great importance - sensitivity of the body, the organism; sensitivity of the brain; total sensitivity. The essence of sensitivity is to be vulnerable. Organically, physically, when one is in good health, one is vulnerable. And one can reject any disease that comes near. But if one is weak, has disease, one is not vulnerable. So vulnerability implies great health, physically, organically. You may be ill, but you have vitality.
To be vulnerable inwardly means not having any resistance, not having any image, any formula; not saying, "This is the line I draw", and reacting from that line. That is merely a resistance. Such a mind, such an inward state of defence, resistance, acceptance, obedience, following authority, makes the mind insensitive. Fear of any kind - one of the most difficult things to be free from - makes the mind invulnerable, makes it dull and insensitive.
There is no sensitivity when you are seeking fame, when you are dogmatic, when you are violent, when you are in a position of authority and misuse that authority by being rude, vulgar, oppressive. All that obviously makes the mind, the whole being insensitive. Only a mind that is vulnerable is capable of affection, love - not a mind that is jealous, possessive, dominating. We understand now, without going too much into detail, more or less what sensitivity means. It is another thing to be in that state, not intellectually agree or say, How am I to come to that state where I'm totally vulnerable, and therefore totally sensitive?". You can't come to it by some trick; you'll come to it naturally, sweetly, easily, without effort, if you understand all that we have said previously about drugs, experience, ambition, greed, envy.
There is sensitivity only when there is freedom. Freedom implies freedom per se, not freedom from something, Having understood the past, we are now considering how by one look one is free of the whole structure. To look, to observe, to be aware of the whole structure instantly, there must be sensitivity. That sensitivity is denied if there is any form of image about oneself or about what one should be, that image being based on pleasure. The mind that is seeking pleasure in any form is inviting sorrow.
The mind that is sensitive - in the sense that we are using the word, not only neurologically and biologically, but vulnerable inwardly, totally, without any resistance - has an extraordinary strength and vitality and energy, because it is not battling with life, neither accepting life nor rejecting it. When one understands this whole phenomenon, when one has gone through it all, then one look is enough to destroy the whole structure. This whole process is meditation.
In understanding meditation, one has to understand control and identification. Control of thought implies resistance to every other form of thought. I want to think about one thing, but thought wanders away, like a leaf aimlessly wandering. I concentrate, I control, I make a tremendous effort to push all thought away, except that one thought. That one thought is based on an ultimate pleasure. Concentration implies exclusion, narrowness, focussing on one thing, and keeping everything in darkness. But when one understands what it is to be attentive, with the body, the nerves, the eyes, the ears, the brain, the whole total being; to listen to the irritating noise of that airplane when one wants to listen to the speaker; to be attentive to colour, to thought, to one's speech - then, in that attention, there is a concentration which is not exclusion. I can attend, I can look, I can work on something without exclusion.
One must also understand identification. A child is absorbed by a toy. The toy is more fascinating than anything else and the child is completely lost in that fascination; he becomes quiet, not mischievous, not naughty, he doesn't tear and run about. The toy has become the thing that takes his mind, his body, everything. The toy has absorbed him. And we also, as the child, want to be absorbed by an idea, by our images, or by the images that have been given to man, such as Buddha, Jesus Christ. Where the mind is being absorbed, either by a drink, or by an image made by the hand or by the mind, there is no sensitivity, and therefore there is no love.
The mind that is free is really an empty mind.
We only know emptiness as space with an object in it. We only know this emptiness in the tent, because there is the outward structure of the tent, and that we call emptiness. We do not know space - not between the earth and Mars, we are not talking about that - without an object, and therefore we don't know what emptiness is. A mind that is not totally empty, without an object, is never free. One can understand intellectually that all desire, all relationship, all action, takes place within the space created by the object, or by the centre, or by the image. In that space there is never freedom. It's like a goat tied to a post, who can wander only the length of its tether. To understand the nature of freedom, one must understand the nature of emptiness and space, and again, all that is meditation. Only when the mind is totally empty and there is no centre which creates space, and therefore there is space, is the mind completely quiet. The mind then is extraordinarily still; and it is only in stillness, which can only take place in the emptiness which is space without the object, that all energy - all energy - comes into being without movement.
When energy is no longer dissipated, and comes about without any movement, there must be action. A kettle that is boiling, if it has no escape, must burst. Only when the mind is completely still, not the stillness of stagnation, but of tremendous vitality and energy, is there an event, an explosion which is creation. Writing a book, writing a poem, becoming famous, is not creation. The world is filled with books. I believe four thousand or more books are produced every week. Self-expression in no manner is creation. And a mind that is not in that state of creation is a dead mind. One must begin, if one would understand meditation, right from the beginning; and the beginning is self-knowledge. Self-knowing is the beginning of wisdom, and the ending of sorrow is the beginning of a new life.
Questioner: How can you look at a tree without having distance between the tree and you?
Krishnamurti: How do you look at a tree? How do you look at it? Do you look at all at anything? Do you look at your neighbour, at your wife, at your children? Do you look at your job? Do you look? Or do you look through your prejudices, through your ambition to fulfil, to become famous? Do you look at life as a Christian, as a Catholic as a Protestant, as a Communist? How do you look? Do you look with knowledge, which is your past, or do you look openly? Just to look, sir, is apparently one of the most difficult things to do; to look at a tree, and not have distance between you and that tree.
Look at that tree, do it please, as we are talking. Do you look with a resistance, with a line that you have drawn around yourself beyond which you will not go, from a platform which you have created for yourself through your belief, fear, dogma, greed? When you do look in that way, there is a distance between you and the tree; therefore you are not looking, you are not observing, you are not listening. But when there is no line, no wall around yourself, of which you may be conscious or unconscious, when there is no line, wall, image or centre from which you are looking, then is there a distance between you and the tree? Find out. When there is no distance, you're not the tree or you're not yourself; therefore distance has quite a different meaning.
Look, sir. If one is married, with a family and a job, like most of us, one has built around oneself walls of isolation, conscious or unconscious; one has collected knowledge as experience. I know more, and you know less; I am the great man, you are the lesser man.
We build around ourselves enormous structures, and through those structures we look at life. Whether the structure be knowledge, or self-importance, or a craft, a technique that you have learned as a writer, as a poet, as a scientist or as a lawyer, through that you look. Therefore the distance between you and the tree and your family and your neighbour is quite a different distance from the distance in which there is no centre, no line, no fortification.
Questioner: In what sense do you use that word "distance"?
Krishnamurti: There is a distance when there is a centre of condemnation, justification, the censor; apart from the fact, the what is. But when there is no centre as the censor, is there a distance between the fact and oneself? Is there a distance?
Look. I am angry. Anger is a reaction, and I know I'm angry. It is something outside of me. I don't say, "I am anger", but "I am angry". When I say "I am anger", there is no distance. That is what is. But when I say, "I am angry", there is a distance; and I then try to cover that distance by trying to do something about it. But when I realize I am anger, there is no space to do anything, but only the fact. Then what is becomes immensely important - not how to get rid of it. Therefore, what is is completely transformed when there is no distance created by the censor.
Questioner: What is the value of a human being who is liberated?
Krishnamurti: What significance has such a human being? What's the value to society, to the family, to culture; what importance has he as a human being? None whatever! We want to transform society, we want to alter it; we say we must help each other. So, what is the function of a man who is free? What is his relationship, what can he do? Why do we ask that question? Why does that question arise at all.
Questioner: We only see the death of ourselves, and therefore we don't see beyond that.
Krishnamurti: Not quite, sir. The question was: you are liberated, you are free, you are sensitive, aLive, tremendously in the state of meditation; what is the value to me of your state? I am suffering, anxious. What is the use of you to me in my human travail? Why do I ask that question? You are there, like a flower, like a sun, like some extraordinary sense of beauty. You are there. Why do I say, "Well, what will you do to help me; what is the use of you?" I say it because I want to get something of that. I put out a hand, a begging bowl, so that you will fill it. That's all what our relationship is. But if I realize that you cannot possibly help me, if I realize that the beginning and the end of sorrow is the understanding of myself - not through you, not through anybody, or through any philosophy, or any system - then I am delighted that you have reached the something. Our relationship is entirely different.
August 8, 1965
Saanen 5th Public Dialogue 8th August 1965
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