Ojai 3rd Public Talk 21st May 1983
May we continue where we left off last Sunday. We were saying that this is not a lecture about any particular subject, to instruct or to inform. Nor is it a form of entertainment, stimulated by the speaker; nor an intellectual journey into various forms of theories and concepts and ideals, but rather together we are taking a journey, not that the speaker is taking a journey and informing you about the journey, but rather together we are friends taking the very long journey into the human condition. Why human beings, who have evolved apparently for about a million years or less or more, are still about the same: violent, primitive, divided, wars, frightened, insecure, and so on, suffering. And apparently the time as evolution has not solved our human problems. They are increasing, not decreasing, more and more. Life is becoming more and more complex.
And we have had various forms of leaders, both religious, political, social and so on. And various forms of institutions and organizations, foundations and forums. They too have not in any way brought about a fundamental change in man. And when we together, without any bias, without coming to any conclusion, look what is happening all over the world: starvation, insecurity, confusion, great sense of human suffering through wars, through various forms of religious and national divisions, and so on. Technologically we have advanced enormously within the last hundred years. There thought has operated with a capacity that's almost infinite. But psychologically, inwardly, deeply we are about the same: primitive. So it's a lopsided evolution; a process where thought has brought about extraordinary physical results: communication, transportation, and all the rest of it. But thought also has created various divisions in the world: religious, racial, and so on. And we said where there is division there must be conflict, wars. We went into that fairly sufficiently.
And we talked about relationship. We are journeying together; I am not - the speaker is not talking to himself. We are taking a journey together, thinking, observing, watching, not only what is happening outside of us, outside the skin, as it were, but also inwardly, psychologically, what's going on in the whole arena of the psyche. Together we are taking a journey. So please, if one may repeat this often, which we shall during this talk and tomorrow's talk, we are taking a journey together: not an intellectual, verbal, ideological journey but actual observation of facts, what is actually happening. So we have talked about relationship, how important it is in life. And without right relationship there must be conflict, not only between two people but in the world, because the psyche always overcomes whatever regulations, rules and orders are placed exteriorly, the inner always overcomes the outer. This is also an obvious fact, as one has watched in a Communist, totalitarian world.
And also last Sunday we went into the question of fear very carefully. Not the various branches of fear, or the expressions of fear. There are many many forms of fear. But we were together examining, asking, questioning, doubting the root of fear; what's the cause. Where there is a cause and one is able to discover it, then the cause can come to an end; if one is sane, not neurotic. And we said thought and time are the factors of fear. We went into the question of time, not only from here to there, outwardly, but time devised by thought as human psyche becoming something, achieving something. That is, 'what is' should become or try to become 'what is not'. I hope we are taking a journey together! That is, if we are violent, as human beings apparently are from the beginning of time, it's utterly useless to invent or project a concept of non-violence. Non-violence is not an actuality, it's a theory, it's a concept, it's a conclusion. So there is only violence; but when we create an opposite of it, we create a division and where there's a division there must be conflict. So to deal with violence is the only thing that matters, not the ideological invention of non-violence. We went into that carefully.
And also together we must examine this morning not only pleasure or the whole implication of pleasure, gratification, satisfaction, and the complex of desire, but also we should talk over together in our journey the nature of suffering, why human beings have suffered endlessly, not only in their relationship but through wars and so on. Whether suffering can ever end, or man, that is his conditioning that he must suffer forever. And also we should in the journey talk over together the nature of compassion and love and intelligence. And if we have time, we should talk over together also the whole complex problem of death.
So if you are not too tired on a lovely morning like this, pleasant, lovely sunshine, to sit quietly under trees with all the shadows and watching the mountains in the distance, to be aware of all the beauty of the land, the glory of a fresh, new morning, we should together take the journey into all this. Perhaps tomorrow we should talk over also together what is religion. Why religions have existed for thousands upon thousands of years, and why religions have had so little effect on the human being. And also we should go into the question of what is meditation. Religion and meditation we generally put at the end of the talks because unless we have established in ourselves, are very clear and free from all the divisions, fragmentations in ourselves; and the ending of conflict and so on, meditation has very little meaning. We'll go into that tomorrow. But that's not an invitation for you!
We are so eager to learn from another, to be told what to do, how to meditate and all that nonsense, we never find anything for ourselves. I do not know if you have gone into the whole question of knowledge. Knowledge is always in the past, and we live upon the accumulation of experience and knowledge which is the past. That past may be 10,000 years or the past of a yesterday. So we are always living in the past. And we try to live in the present, which is impossible unless one understands very deeply into the nature of the past. Not analyze, investigate, but to observe without any motive or direction, just to observe the whole human psychological accumulation. That is, to observe, not only with the eyes, but to observe in silence. Because when you observe in silence, beauty, it has great significance. But if you are chattering about silence and beauty, you fail to understand both of them.
So we are going together to go into the first question this morning: the nature of pleasure. Why human beings throughout the world, and especially in this country, pursue this thing called pleasure. What is pleasure? We are together examining what it is; exploring. And when one explores, there must be a certain quality of doubt. That's part of scepticism. Otherwise exploration is not possible. Doubt one's own conclusions, theories, concepts, ideals, experiences, then one is free to examine. But if one clings to one's own particular form of idiosyncrasy, particular tendency, then exploration is very, very limited. To understand pleasure - not that we are condemning it - to watch those mountains, see the blue sky through the leaves, and the dappled light, to watch all this is a great delight; to see it all, the wholeness of nature, there is a great beauty, and beauty never fails when there is silence in this observation. So together we are going to observe pleasure; the root of it, the cause, and see the whole complexity of pleasure.
To go into pleasure one must understand desire; why human beings are driven by desire, craving for something, looking for something that'll be gratifying ardently, hankering after, seeking satisfaction in every direction: sexually, power, position, knowledge, try to dominate, not only the earth, air, but also each other. So without understanding the nature and the structure of desire it'll be rather difficult to comprehend the nature of pleasure. So please, together, and one must repeat this phrase over and over again, together examine the nature of desire. Desire means the want of something; longing for something, craving for something. That's the meaning, dictionary meaning, of desire, as in Sanskrit, and so on. What is desire? Why have all the religions in the world, organized, orthodox, traditional religions, have told their adherents to suppress desire? The monks all over the world suppress desire, or identify the desire with a particular symbol, with a particular figure, trying to transcend desire. This happens in Christianity, through prayer, and so on. So we are not condemning or denying desire, but we are questioning why human beings right throughout the world have desire for food, clothes, and shelter, which is normal, and that is denied by this terrible nationalism in the world for all people. That desire for food, clothes and shelter is denied through ideologies, of Communists, socialists, capitalists; through nationalism and so on. Desire is essentially the search for satisfaction.
If we are together in this, understanding the verbal significance of those words, desire, we are asking then, what is desire? How does it come about and why has it such a strong hold on man? You are asking the question. The speaker may go into it, but you are asking the question. And together - we mean together - examine very carefully how it comes about and why it has taken such a strong hold on man. Biologically one can see the activity of desire, sexual and so on. But we are talking about the psychological urges, the reactions, the demands of desire and trying through desire find deep satisfaction, gratification, contentment. Surely desire is something separate - please listen first, then question, it, you may doubt it, but just let's watch it together. Sensation is normal. When you see those mountains, the perception of that is a sensation. The seeing, visually, and then reacting to what you see, which becomes the sensation, that's normal, healthy, actual. And when is desire born? Is it born out of sensation? You are enquiring together? You see a beautiful garden, or a nice motor bike, or one of those marvellous new cars, beautiful lines. You see it, and you touch it - the polish, the lines of it - and out of that perception, seeing, contact, there is sensation. That's natural. When you see the tree, touch it, look at the beauty of the branches, the leaves, and the light upon the leaves, the shimmer, the glitter, and become sensitive to all that, that's natural. So we are asking, does desire come out of sensation? You see a marvellous dress in a shop; a shirt, if you are a man, or if you are a woman, see a marvellous dress. You go in, touch it; there is a sensation, feeling how nice, smooth it is. Then what takes place? Go slowly, you will see it for yourself. Then what takes place? You see the shirt, touch it: sensation, then thought says, how nice it would be if I had that dress, if I had that car, if I had that shirt, or if I had that garden, whatever it is. When thought creates the image of you sitting in the car or in the shirt, at that moment when thought creates the image, then desire is born. Right?
Are we together in this? You are not accepting what the speaker is saying, but we are together examining the nature of desire. That where there is sensation thought inevitably, apparently, comes with its image and desire with its satisfaction is born. Right? Is this somewhat clear? Somewhat. Because unless we understand this movement of sensation and the thought taking over the sensation with its image, and out of that comes desire which is to find satisfaction: satisfaction in the robe, in the shirt, in the car.
That is, one has observed the whole movement of sensation, desire, and fulfillment in satisfaction. This observation, this close watching of the whole movement of desire in oneself, out of that watching comes intelligence. Right? Before we just accepted desire as our condition, and the desire to fulfil, and if it is not fulfilled, feel frustrated, and the agony of frustration and all the neurotic results of being frustrated. And that's generally our process; the way we live. The way we live obviously is rather idiotic, unintelligent. Please, I am not condemning, I am just watching. And when you observe this whole movement: the seeing, the contact, sensation, and desire which is brought about through thought with its image, if you observe this whole movement without any control, without any motive, that very observation is the beginning of intelligence. Then that intelligence will - if I may use the word discipline - discipline the whole movement of desire. You understand? You have understood? It's not desire must be controlled or suppressed or as in America it happens, how to have everything you want! but rather, the understanding of desire is intelligence. And that intelligence will discipline desire. Please listen, if we can listen to each other carefully, discipline.
What do we mean by that word 'discipline'? The word comes from the word disciple, the one who is learning, the one who receives instruction from the teacher. But we have made discipline into conformity, into following certain mode of operation, of habit, of thought: to discipline oneself according to an idea; according to something that must be done. If you are studying any particular subject, scientific or psychological, the study of it makes its own discipline; right? If you are a carpenter - I am afraid you are not, most of you are too educated - if you are a carpenter, that very career disciplines the way you use tools, understand the wood and the nature of the wood and the quality and so on. But we have made it, discipline to follow, to obey, to conform, to restrain. But where there is discipline there is learning. Right? Learning. And learning is infinite. There is no end to learning; not recording. Can we go into this little bit? You don't mind?
Recording - the brain records an incident, an experience, a hurt, both physical as well as psychological, a wound received from the outside, bodily, and a wound from another hurting the psyche. Right? And all these things are recorded. Record is the past; naturally, like repeating a gramophone record. So the past, this constant recording, if you have ever gone into it - we are talking as two friends - if you have ever gone into it, why should everything be recorded? One needs to record how to drive a car, how to write a letter; you need to record if you are a specialist, or a worker, or businessman, or a psychologist and so on, you need to have recording, which becomes your knowledge and according to that knowledge you act, skilfully or not. There recording is necessary: the brain must record. But we are asking: why should the psyche record at all? You understand all this? Please, it's a fundamental question; put it to yourself and find out. One records a hurt. Right? And from childhood we are hurt, and that is recorded, with its result of always fear of further being hurt, so building a wall round oneself isolating oneself, and getting more and more hurt, you know, the whole problem of recording. Why should that hurt be recorded? You hurt me by - suppose you have hurt another, why should that hurt be received and recorded and held? Please, this is an important question to ask. You are flattered and you accept that and record it; insult and flattery are both the same; they are the two sides of the same coin. And we keep that very carefully recorded.
This recording, which is essentially memory, is the whole structure of the psyche, the 'me', the ego, the person. So the psyche is essentially memory, the recording machine, or rather the record on which the present plays a part. You understand? Can we go on? So is it possible not to record? Only those things that are absolutely necessary. That is real freedom. Never to have a record, psychological memory, of things that have happened, pleasant or unpleasant. Then, where there is that sense of great, vast freedom, there is a totally different dimension. But we cannot go into that now, but we are considering desire. And we said the comprehension, the watching of that whole movement of desire, in that watching there is intelligence. That intelligence will naturally bring about order, which is the essence of learning, that intelligence will bring about order where there is disorder created by desire. I have got it. I've got it myself. Right? I see the truth of it. Are we together in this journey? I afraid some of you are not - if you are not, it's no good going over and over again: perhaps you will talk it over, if you are willing, with your friends, - or read something or other. Books are useful but they don't instruct, they don't tell you. You have to search, ask, demand, question, doubt, stand alone if necessary - and one has to stand alone and not depend on anything. The word 'alone' means 'all one.' Right?
Then we ought to talk over together what is suffering. Why man, including woman, please don't be so particular if I mention man. It includes humanity, which is man and woman, not woman separate from her rights, and all the rest of that business. We are together. Why has man, woman, suffered for centuries: why are we suffering now? What is suffering? And what's the cause of it; and can there ever be an end to tears, to human misery, to unhappiness, to the grief that we carry throughout life? We are looking at it, not becoming sentimental, romantic, tearful, but we are actually facing this fact that human beings, whether they're rich or poor, they have high position or low, all human beings throughout the world suffer. That's a fact; undeniable, true fact. Some escape from it through Christian dogmatism or some person suffering for whole of mankind for their sins; the original sin is invented by thought. So we try to overcome sorrow because of various reasons.
Wars have created sorrow in the world. And there are still wars going on. How many millions of women and men and wives and girls have cried through wars. So there is suffering of the whole of humanity. And also there is suffering of persons, of separate individuals. The word 'individual' means indivisible, not fragmented. But we are fragmented, broken up, so we are not the word. Individual means not only the word individual, but not being broken up, fragmented. So we are not individuals, but that's another statement which you have to go into another time, if we have time. So persons, separate persons, and the whole world have suffered through wars, through great starvation; poverty of mind, poverty of body; and revolutions have tried to change the social structure but they have not succeeded. But through that revolution killing millions of people. That too has brought great sorrow in the world. Perhaps some of you may not be suffering now, but look at the world as it is. You suffer when you don't fulfil. You suffer when you see a poor man; you suffer when you see great ignorance prevailing in the world - not ignorance of books and so on, the ignorance of the actual fact that war destroys human beings. You see all the generals, the politicians throughout the world accumulating the materials of war. And when you see all that, talk to some of them, that is sorrow of their ignorance.
So we are asking, can man live on this earth peacefully without suffering? Please ask that question of yourself on the journey you and the speaker are taking together. Why do we suffer? The loss of a son, the loss of a husband, wife, divorce, you know the various forms, symptoms of suffering. One is not beautiful, somebody else is beautiful, you know the whole business of sorrow. And can it ever end? To go into this question together, trying to find out what is the root of it. As long as there is separation, division, there must be conflict and conflict brings about sorrow. As long as I - as one is separate from his wife, not biologically, but psychologically, inwardly, when there is that separation between two people, however intimate they are, and that separation, that division brings about conflict, and conflict is the very nature of sorrow, because in that conflict we are destroying each other. I wonder if you follow all this? When I - when one quarrels with one's wife, or when you possess your wife and the wife possesses you, or when you are attached to her and she attached to you, that very attachment brings conflict, jealousy, anxiety, pain, sorrow. So can two people live together without conflict, which is a very, very fundamental question, very complex question. Can two people, can a group of people - you see, the very word 'group' means divided - can people, humanity, live together on this world, on this earth? It's their earth, it's our earth, not the American earth or the Russian earth; it's our earth.
Can we live together without conflict? I may have hurt you, and you may have hurt me; why should we keep that going? Why should we keep that record of pain? One has lost one's son, one loved that son or the brother or the husband, what you will; and there is shedding of tears, trying to escape from the actual fact that he or she has gone, and feeling the pain, the anxiety, the loneliness of it; trying to escape from that loneliness. You may escape but it's always there, deep in one's heart and in the deep recesses of one's own brain. What are we holding on to? The image, the memory, the past? We never seem to let go that image; the past. There is a constant memory, reminder of a photograph or a remembered incident. And if we are aware of this, put away the photographs and the memories, then one may feel disloyal; which is again such a false sentiment. The fact is that while we lived together there was a division between us; and that division has brought great conflict and some happy memories. Both are remembrances recorded, and those records keep on repeating endlessly, and so a constant reminder. So when one watches without any motive, without any sense of direction, just to watch this whole movement of suffering, not only one's own suffering, but the whole of humanity's suffering, of which we are a part. We are humanity. If you understand your own sorrow, watching it like a precious jewel, then that very observation - and observation of that with that clarity and purity can only come when there is no sense of escape from it. Then there is an ending of that suffering. Then you are not contributing to the world's sorrow. That means you are no longer separate from the rest of humanity. You are no longer an American, Russian, Chinese, all these silly tribal divisions. You are the entire humanity. So if you are violent, you are contributing to violence: if you have ended sorrow, then you are bringing about freedom from the human mind, human brain's sorrow.
Without understanding the nature of sorrow, love cannot be. If I suffer, how can I love? I know, the tradition is that suffering is part of love; like jealousy is part of love. Jealousy is not love, nor hate, nor ambition, nor trying to become somebody psychologically. So love is something that is not all the movement of thought. Love is not a remembrance, is it? Ask, please, we are asking that question of each other. How there be compassion if I an attached to a particular ideal, and you are attached to a particular ideal? That is, where there is a limited outlook on life, not one's particular life, but life, the life in nature, all the loveliness of nature, from the tiniest thing to the great elephant and to the tiger. The speaker was once very close to the tiger - not in the zoo, thank God - but in the forest. It was the most extraordinary thing to see it. Where there is love, the self is not. Pity is not love; going out and helping the poor, whether in India or here, the social worker, that's pity; generosity: but love has it's own generosity. Compassion cannot exist if I am a Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, and all the rest of it. And where there is compassion, it has its own intelligence.
So this is the whole business of life; not this battle with each other; not this constant dread of insecurity, anxiety, loneliness, pain and the pursuit of pleasure. Life is a whole movement, unbroken.
And if we have time we ought to talk over together the question of death. It's not a morbid question, it's not an old man putting a question. But whether we are young or old, whether we die through an accident, through disease, this is a human problem. The problem that each one of us has to face. We are all going to die; sorry, perhaps not you; but we are all going to die. Have you ever thought if all the people who have lived on this earth never died, what would happen to the earth? So we're all going to die one day, that's inevitable, that's absolutely certain. There is a great deal of humour in this. And we must understand together as two friends who are facing this problem, whether young or old, they are facing this thing called death. To have a conversation with death, to have a conversation with ending, which is death. What does this conversation mean? Who is it that is going to die? Apart from the organism, the organism has a name, you have watched your face for the last fifty or ten years, or two days, or eighty years, you have watched your face, you are familiar with your face, you are familiar with that name, you are familiar with all the things around you, outside of you. You are not familiar with yourself, you don't know yourself. You have been told what you are, by psychologists and that business. But actually their explanation, their statement is not what you are. So you are never familiar with yourself. So your conversation with death is meaningless unless you are familiar with yourself. Right? I hope we understand each other. So I am going to be familiar with myself. So I am asking, what is myself? Myself is the body, all the sensory responses: the name, the form, outwardly, the address, the bank account, the job, all the familiar things of daily life, and the daily activity of life. And so we are asking, let us, you and the speaker, get familiar with ourselves. That is, to know ourselves very clearly: not theoretically, not some ideological, religious, speculative illusion or superstition, but what are you, what we, each one of us? Unless we know ourselves very, very carefully, study it, watch it, learn, see the whole complexity of the 'me', until I am totally familiar with every little thing, every corner, I cannot possibly have an intelligent conversation with death. Right? So we are going together to find out what we actually are. Not be afraid; not get depressed and say, how terrible I am: or how ugly, or how I should be differently, I am not, you know. But actually what we are. Unafraid to look.
We are what we have been told; that's one. We are part of the vast tradition of mankind socially, communally, all the knowledge that we have acquired; that's one part. And also psychologically, inwardly, what are we? Each one of us - first each one of us, and then we'll find out each one of us what we are, whether we are not the entire humanity. Do you understand and my question? We are sorrow, pain, grief, happiness, unhappiness, pain, grief and anxiety, loneliness, faith in god, no faith in god, beliefs, dogmas, rituals, vast recording of all the past incidents and accidents, influences, vast complex memories. Right? Or, you say, I am a soul, separate from my body; which the Christians believe. But that soul is invented by thought. We must be logical, sane in investigation. The Hindus have their own particular division, atman and so on: and there too that idea is invented by thought. So we are the entire result of this movement of thought. Right? You can say, I am infinite. That very statement is put together by thought; and thought can invent the infinite, the super, super-something. But it's still thought. So we are the whole network of thought. Right? Network of memories, experiences, knowledge, which is the past, our reactions and actions; all that is our consciousness. All that is me; the 'me' is not separate from that: that is me, my anger, greed, envy, ambition, loneliness, sorrow, uncertainty, seeking security, satisfaction; all that is me. Losing a job, holding on a job, fearful of the tomorrow of losing a job, that's me. I am not the lathe, the instrument, but the 'me' is the fear of losing. Right? That's me. That me has sustained by separating itself: I am me; I am totally different from you. That's the tradition, that is the accepted norm from childhood. And religions sustain this, because it's very profitable to encourage an illusion. But you, your consciousness, is shared by all human beings. Right?
Please bear in mind that we are talking over together death. So our consciousness, which is its content, the content is the belief, the dogmas, the rituals, the tradition, the recording, the memories, the whole of that, that very complex movement in consciousness, is the movement of all humanity; it's not yours. You may pretend or stick to the idea that you are separate person, that you are working for yourself, that you must fulfil - this is what every human being in the world is doing. So you are the whole of humanity; because your consciousness is the consciousness of the Russian, of the Hindu, of the most primitive human being on earth. Yours may be a little more sophisticated, better fed, but you are like the rest of mankind, therefore you are mankind, your consciousness. When you understand, when you have really seen the truth of it, not intellectually accept a perhaps illusory conclusion or a statement - it's not a statement, it's not a conclusion, it's a fact. When you suffer, your neighbour has also suffered. That neighbour may be next door, few yards away, or ten thousand miles away; he also suffers like you. So this is the common ground which we all stand on. It's not your ground.
When one sees the absolute truth of that, then what is death? You understand? This fact is there, that is a fact. My consciousness is the consciousness of the rest of humanity, therefore I am the rest of humanity, I am humanity. If one realizes that it's got tremendous meaning, depth to that; passion behind it; the responsibility of that is immense: not to another, but to the whole of humanity.
So what is death? Death is the ending of the organism, that is certain. Death is the ending of what I have considered is mine. Do you understand? Mine - my possessions, my quality, my experiences, my wife, the ending of 'me'. The 'me' is the rest of mankind. So what is death then? Please this is a very serious question, this is not just to be understood this morning, or if you have an insight into it, that is, see the whole truth or of it instantly; not take time, thought, and say, I hope what you are saying is nonsense, but I prefer my own individuality. You're perfectly welcome. But to see the fact of it and to remain with the fact that you are nothing but a bundle of memories. And all the noise that bundle makes, rattling about, creating such great misery for the rest of mankind.
And the organism dies. My consciousness is the consciousness of mankind; that's a fact. As long as that consciousness with all the travail and the noise and the bundle of memories, that consciousness is going on infinitely. Right? But if you step out of it, which means, the ending; the ending of your beliefs, the ending of your tradition, the ending of your racial prejudices, the ending of all that, ending of your attachments. Then you are out of it; then there is totally a different movement, because there is no longer that movement. There is no longer the movement of thought with all its travail. To go into all this requires tremendous enquiry, meditation, not just verbal assertions. And knowing the word is never the thing.
So as long as you are contributing to violence, violence will go on. As long as you are envious, you're contributing, encouraging, sustaining, the envy which exists in the world. So can you end envy? This is what death is going to be. End envy completely; attachment to ideals, to experience, to systems, end. Where there is an ending without any motive, ending, there is a totally different movement. That's not an encouragement to end. So while one is living to end. You understand? To end your antagonism to your wife, to end your hurts, to end your psychological ambitions to be somebody. So that in that ending there is the total movement away from the other. That is the depth and the beauty of death. Immortality is not for the individual. Because individual, the you, is just a structure of memories and bundle of ideas and so on. How can that have immortality? Eternity is not for the limited. There is only that when this idea of total separation is completely gone out of our system.
Ojai 3rd Public Talk 21st May 1983
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