Krishnamurti to Himself
Krishnamurti to Himself Ojai California Monday 9th May, 1983
YOU WERE ALREADY fairly high up, looking down into the valley, and if you climb a mile or more up and up the winding path, passing all kinds of vegetation - live oaks, sage, poison oak - and past a stream which is always dry in the summer, you can see the blue sea far away in the distance, across range after range. Up here it is absolutely quiet. It is so still there isn't a breath of air. You look down and the mountains look down on you. You can go on climbing up the mountain for many hours, down into another valley and up again. You have done it several times before, twice reaching the very top of those rocky mountains. Beyond them to the north is a vast plain of desert. Down there it is very hot, here it is quite cold; you have to put something on in spite of the hot sun.
And as you come down, looking at the various trees, plants and little insects, suddenly you hear the rattle of a rattle snake. And you jump, fortunately away from the rattler. You are only about ten feet away from it. It is still rattling. You look at each other and watch. Snakes have no eyelids. This one was not very long but quite thick, as thick as your arm. You keep your distance and you watch it very carefully, its pattern, its triangular head and its black tongue flickering in and out. You watch each other. It doesn't move and you don't move. But presently, its head and its tail towards you, it slithers back and you step forward. Again it coils up and rattles and you watch each other. And again, with its head and tail towards you, it begins to go back and again you move forward; and again it coils and rattles. You do this for several minutes, perhaps ten minutes or more; then it gets tired. You see that it is motionless, waiting, but as you approach it, it doesn't rattle. It has temporarily lost its energy. You are quite close to it. Unlike the cobra which stands up to strike, this snake strikes lunging forward. But there was no movement. It was too exhausted, so you leave it. It was really quite a poisonous, dangerous thing. Probably you could touch it but you are disinclined to, though not frightened. You feel that you would rather not touch it and you leave it alone.
And as you come further down you almost step on a quail with about a dozen or more babies. They scatter into the nearby bushes, and the mother too disappears into a bush and they all call to each other. You go down and wait, and if you have the patience to watch, you presently see them all come together under the mother's wing. It is cool up there and they are waiting for the sun to warm the air and the earth.
You come down across the little stream, past a meadow which is almost losing its green, and return to your room rather tired but exhilarated by the walk and by the morning sun. You see the orange trees with their bright yellow oranges, the rose bushes and the myrtle, and the tall eucalyptus trees. It is all very peaceful in the house.
It was a pleasant morning, full of strange activities on the earth. All those little things alive, rushing about, seeking their morning food - the squirrel, the gopher. They eat the tender roots of plants and are quite destructive. A dog can kill them so quickly with a snap. It is very dry, the rains are over and gone, to return again perhaps in four months or more. AIl the valley below is still glistening. It is strange how there is a brooding silence over the whole earth. In spite of the noise of towns and the traffic, there is something almost palpable, something holy. If you are in harmony with nature, with all the things around you, then you are in harmony with all human beings. If you have lost your relationship with nature you will inevitably lose your relationship with human beings.
A whole group of us sitting at table towards the end of the meal began a serious conversation as has happened several times before. It was about the meaning of words, the weight of the word, the content of the word, not merely the superficial meaning of the word but the depth of it, the quality of it, the feeling of it. Of course the word is never the actual thing. The description, the explanation, is not that which is described, nor that about which there is an explanation. The word the phrase, the explanation are not the actuality. But the word is used as a communication of one's thought, one's feeling, and the word, though it is not communicated to another, holds the feeling inside oneself. The actual never conditions the brain, but the theory, the conclusion, the description, the abstraction, do condition it. The table never conditions the brain but god does, whether it is the god of the Hindus, Christians or Muslims. The concept, the image, conditions the brain, not that which is actually happening, taking place.
To the Christian, the word Jesus or Christ has great significance, great meaning, it evokes a deep sentiment, a sensation. Those words have no meaning to the Hindu, to the Buddhist, or to the Muslim. Those words are not the actual. So those words, which have been used for two thousand years, have conditioned the brain. The Hindu has his own gods, his own divinities. Those divinities, as the Christians', are the projections of thought, out of fear, out of pleasure and so on.
It seems that language really doesn't condition the brain; what does is the theory of the language, the abstraction of a certain feeling and the abstraction taking the form of an idea, a symbol, a person - not the actual person but a person imagined, or hoped for, or projected by thought. All those abstractions, those ideas, conclusions, however strong, condition the brain. But the actual, like the table, never does.
Take a word like `suffering'. That word has a different meaning for the Hindu and the Christian. But suffering, however described by words, is shared by all of us. Suffering is the fact, the actual. But when we try to escape from it through some theory, or through some idealized person, or through a symbol, those forms of escape mould the brain. Suffering as a fact doesn't and this is important to realize.
Like the word 'attachment; to see the word, to hold it as if in your hand and watch it, feel the depth of it, the whole content of it, the consequences of it, the fact that we are attached - the fact, not the word; that feeling doesn't shape the brain, put it into a mould, but the moment one moves away from it, that is, when thought moves away from the fact, that very movement away, movement of escape, is not only a time factor, but the beginning of shaping the brain in a certain mould.
To the Buddhist the word Buddha, the impression, the image, creates great reverence, great feeling, devotion; he seeks refuge in the image which thought has created. And as the thought is limited, because all knowledge is always limited, that very image brings about conflict - the feeling of reverence to a person, or to a symbol, or to a certain long-established tradition - but the feeling of reverence itself, divorced from all the external images, symbols and so on, is not a factor of conditioning the brain.
There, sitting in the next chair, was a modified Christian. And when across the table one mentioned Christ one could immediately feel the restrictive, reverential reserve. That word has conditioned the brain. It is quite extraordinary to watch this whole phenomenon of communication with words, each race giving different significance and meaning to the word and thereby creating a division, a limitation, to the feeling which mankind suffers. The suffering of mankind is common, is shared by all human beings. The Russian may express it in one way, the Hindu, the Christian in another and so on, but the fact of suffering, the actual feeling of pain, grief, loneliness, that feeling never shapes or conditions the brain. So one becomes very attentive to, aware of, the subtleties of the word, the meaning, the weight of it.
The universal, the global feeling of all human beings and their interrelationship, can only come into being when the words `nation', `tribe', `religion', have all disappeared. Either the word has depth, significance, or none at all. For most of us words have very little depth, they have lost their weight. A river is not a particular river. The rivers of America or England or Europe or India are all rivers. but the moment there is identification through a word, there is division. And this division is an abstraction of the river, the quality of water, the depth of the water, the volume, the flow, the beauty of the river.
Krishnamurti to Himself
Krishnamurti to Himself Ojai California Monday 9th May, 1983
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