Network of Thought
The Network of Thought Chapter 6 6th Public Talk Saanen 23rd July 1981
I think we ought to talk over together, going into it rather deeply, the implication of sorrow, so as to find out for ourselves whether sorrow and love can exist together. And also what is our relationship to the sorrow of mankind? - not only to our own personal daily grief, hurt, pain, and the sorrow that comes with death. Mankind has suffered thousands of wars; there seems to be no end to wars. We have left it to the politicians, all over the world, to bring about peace, but what they are doing, if you have understood them, will never bring peace. We are all preparing for war. The preparations are going to have some kind of blow up somewhere in the world. We human beings have never been able to live in peace with each other. We talk about it a great deal. The religions have preached peace - Peace on earth and goodwill - but apparently it has never been possible to have peace on earth, on the earth on which we live, which is not the British earth or the French earth, it is our earth. We have never been able to resolve the problem of killing each other.
Probably we have violence in our hearts. We have never been free from a sense of antagonism, a sense of retaliation, never free from our fears, sorrows, wounds and the pain of daily existence; we never have peace and comfort, we are always in travail. That is part of our life, part of our daily suffering. Man has tried many many ways to be free of this suffering without love; he has suppressed it, escaped from it, identified himself with something greater, handed himself over to some ideal, or belief or faith. Apparently this sorrow can never end; we have become accustomed to it, we put up with it, we tolerate it and we never ask ourselves seriously, with a great sense of awareness, whether it is possible to end it.
We should also talk over together the immense implications of death. Death is part of life, though we generally postpone or avoid even talking about it. It is there and we ought to go into it. And we should also enquire whether love - not the remembrance of pleasure which has nothing to do with love and compassion - whether love with its own peculiar all-comprehending intelligence can exist in our life.
First of all: do we, as human beings, want to be really free from sorrow? Have we ever actually gone into it, faced it and understood all the movement of it, the implications involved in it? Why is it that we human beings - who are so extraordinarily clever in the technological world - have never resolved the problem of sorrow? It is important to talk this question over together, and find out for ourselves whether sorrow can really end.
We all suffer in various ways. There is the sorrow for death of someone, there is the sorrow of great poverty - which the East knows very well - and the great sorrow of ignorance - `ignorance' not in the sense of book knowledge but the ignorance of not knowing oneself totally, the whole complex activity of the self. If we do not understand that very deeply then there remains the sorrow of that ignorance. There is the sorrow of never being able to realize something fundamentally, deeply - though we are very clever at achieving technological success and other successes in this world. We haver never been able to understand pain, not only physical pain, but the deep psychological pain, however learned or not very erudite we may be. There is the sorrow of constant struggle, the conflict from the moment we are born until we die. There is the personal sorrow of not being beautiful outwardly or inwardly. There is the sorrow of attachment with its fear, with its corruption. There is the sorrow of not being loved and craving to be loved. There is the sorrow of never realizing something beyond thought, something which is eternal. And ultimately there is the sorrow of death.
We have described various forms of sorrow. The basic factor of sorrow is self-centred activity. We are all so concerned with ourselves, with our endless problems, with old age, with not being able to have a deep inward yet global outlook. We all have images of ourselves and of others. The brain is always active in day dreaming, being occupied with something or other, or creating pictures and ideas from the imagination. From childhood one gradually builds the structure of the image which is `me'. Bach one of us is doing this constantly; it is that image, which is `me', that gets hurt. When the `me' is hurt there is resistance, the building of a wall round oneself so as not to be hurt any more; and this creates more fear and isolation, the feeling of having no relationship, the encouraging of loneliness which also brings about sorrow.
After having described the various forms of sorrow, can we look at it without verbalization, without running away from it into intellectual adaptation to some form of religious or intellectual conclusion? Can we look at it completely, not moving away from it, but staying with it? Suppose I have a son who is deaf or blind; I am responsible, and it gives sorrow knowing that he can never look at the beautiful sky, never hear the running waters. There is this sorrow: remain with it, do not move away from it. Or suppose I have great sorrow for the death of someone with whom I have lived for many years. Then there is this sorrow which is the essence of isolation; we feel totally isolated, completely alone. Now, remain completely with that feeling, not verbalizing it, not rationalizing it, or escaping from it, or trying to transcend it - all of which is the movement that thought brings about. When there is that sorrow and thought does not enter into it at alI - which means that you are completely sorrow, not trying to overcome sorrow, but totally sorrow - then there is the disappearance of it. It is only when there is the fragmentation of thought that there is travail.
When there is sorrow, remain with it without a single movement of thought so that there is the wholeness of it. The wholeness of sorrow is not that I am in sorrow, I am sorrow - and then there is no fragmentation involved in it. When there is that totality of sorrow, no movement away from it, then there is the withering away of it.
Without ending sorrow how can there be love? Strangely we have associated sorrow and love. I love my son and when he dies I am full of sorrow - sorrow we associate with love. Now we are asking: when there is suffering can love exist at all? But is love desire? Is love pleasure - so that when that desire, that pleasure, is denied, there is suffering? We say that suffering as jealousy, attachment, possession, is all part of love. That is our conditioning, that is how we are educated, that is part of our inheritance, tradition. Now, love and sorrow cannot possibly go together. That is not a dogmatic statement, or a rhetorical assertion. When one looks into the depth of sorrow and understands the movement of it in which is involved pleasure, desire, attachment, and the consequences of that attachment, which bring about corruption when one is aware without any choice, without any movement, aware of the whole nature of sorrow, then can love exist with sorrow? Or is love something entirely different? We ought to be clear that devotion to a person, to a symbol, to the family, is not love. If I am devoted to you for various reasons, there is a motive behind that devotion. Love has no motive. If there is a motive it is not love, obviously. If you give me pleasure, sexually, or various forms of comfort, then there is dependency; the motive is my dependence on you because you give me something in return; and as we live together I call that love. Is it? So one questions the whole thing and asks oneself: where there is motive can love exist?
Where there is ambition, whether in the physical world, or in the psychological world - ambition to be on top of everything, to be a great success, to have power, religiously, or physically - can love exist? Obviously not. We recognise that it cannot exist and yet we go on. Look what hapPens to the brain when we play such tricks. I am ambitious, I want to be spiritually next to god, specially on his right hand; I want to achieve illumination - you know, aU that deception; you cannot achieve illumination; you cannot possibly achieve that which is beyond time. Competitiveness, conformity, jealousy, fearfulness, hate, all that is going on, psychologically, inwardly. We are either conscious of it, or we deliberately avoid it. Yet I say to my wife or father, whoever it is, `I love you.' What happens when there is such deep contradiction in my life, in my relationship? How can that contradiction have any sense of deep integrity? And yet that is what we are doing until we die, can one live in this world without ambition, without competitiveness? Look at what is happening in the outward world. There is competition between various nations; the politicians are competing with each other, economically, technologically, in building up the instruments of war; and so we are destroying ourselves. We allow this to go on because we are also inwardly competitive.
As we pointed out, if a few really understand what we have been talking about for the last fifty years, and are really deeply involved and have brought about the end of fear, sorrow and so on, then that will affect the whole of the consciousness of mankind. Perhaps you are doubtful whether it will affect the consciousness of mankind? Hitler and his kind have affected the consciousness of mankind - Napoleon, the Caesars, the butchers of the world have affected mankind. Also the good People have affected mankind - I do not mean respectable people. The good are those who live life wholly, not fragmented. The great teachers of the world have affected human consciousness. But if there was a group of people who had understood what we have been talking about - not verbally but actually living life with great integrity - then it would affect the whole consciousness of man. This is not a theory. This is an actual fact. If you understand that simple fact you will see that it goes right through; television, newspapers, everything, is affecting the consciousness of man. So love cannot exist where there is a motive, where there is attachment, where there is ambition and competitiveness, love is not desire and pleasure. Just feel that, see it.
We are going into all this so as to bring about order in our life - order in our `house', which has no order. There is so much disorder in our life and without establishing an order that is whole, integral, meditation has no meaning whatsoever. If one's `house' is not in order one may sit in meditation, hoping that through that meditation one will bring about order; but what happens when one is living in disorder and one meditates? One has fanciful dreams, illusions and all kinds of nonsensical results. But a sane, intelligent, logical man, must first establish order in daily life, then he can go into the depths of meditation, into the meaning and the beauty of it, the greatness of it, the worth of it.
Whether we are very young, middle aged or old, death is part of our life, just as love, pain, suspicion, arrogance, are all part of life. But we do not see death as part of our life; we want to postpone it, or put it as far away from us as possible, so we have a time interval between life and death. What is death? This question is again rather complex.
The Christian concept of death and suffering and the Asiatic conclusion about reincarnation are just beliefs and like all beliefs they have no substance. So put those aside and let us go into it together. It may be unpleasant; you may not want to face it. You are living now, healthily, having pleasure, fear, anxiety and tomorrow there is hope and you do not want to be concerned with the ending of all this. But if we are intelligent, sane, rational, we have to face not only the living and all the implications of the living, but also the implications of dying. We must know both. That is the wholeness of life in which there is no division. So what is death apart from the physical ending of an organism that has lived wrongly, addicted to drink, to drugs and over indulgence or asceticism and denial? The body goes through this constant battle between the opposites, it has not a balanced harmonious life, but one of extremes. Also the body goes through great stress imposed by thought. Thought dictates and the body is controlled thereby; and thought being limited brings about disharmony. it causes us to live in disharmony physically, forcing, controlling, subjugating, driving the body - this is what we are all doing including fasting for political or religious reasons, which is violence. The body may endure all this for many years, reaching old age and not getting senile. But the body will inevitably come to an end, the organism will die; is that what death is? Is the coming to an end of the organism, either through some disease, old age or accident, what we are concerned about? Is it that thought identifies itself with the body, with the name, with the form, with all the memories, and says, `Death must be avoided'? Is it that we are afraid of the coming to an end of a body that has been looked after, cared for? Perhaps we are not afraid of that especially, perhaps slyly anxious about it, but that is not of great importance. What is far more important for us is the ending of the relationships that we have had, the pleasures that we have had, the memories, pleasant and unpleasant, all of which make up what we call living - the daily living, going to the office, the factory, doing some skilful job, having a family, being attached to the family, with all the memories of that family, my son, my daughter, my wife, my husband, in the family unit - which is fast disappearing. There is the feeling of being related to somebody, though in that relationship there may be great pain and anxiety; the feeling of being at home with somebody; or not at home with anybody. Is that what we are afraid of? - the ending of my relationships, my attachments, the ending of something I have known, something to which I have clung, something in which I have specialized all my life, - am I afraid of the ending of all that? That is the ending of all that is `me' - the family, the name, the home, the tradition, the inheritance, the cultural education and racial inheritance, all that is `me', the `me' that is struggling or that is happy. Is that what we are afraid of? - the ending of `me', which is the ending, psychologically, of the life which I am leading, the life which I know with its pain and sorrow. Is that what we are afraid of? If we are afraid of that and have not resolved that fear, still death inevitably comes, then what happens to that consciousness, which is not your consciousness but the consciousness of mankind, the consciousness of the vast whole of humanity? As long as I am afraid as an individual with my limited consciousness, it is that that I am afraid of. It is that of which I am scared. One realizes that it is not a fact that one's consciousness is totally separate from that of everybody else - one sees that separateness is an illusion, it is illogical, unhealthy. So one realizes, perhaps in one's heart, in one's feeling, that one is the whole of mankind - not an individual consciousness, which has no meaning. And one has lived this kind of life, which is pain, sorrow, anxiety, and if one's brain has not transformed some of all that, one's life is only a further confusion to the wholeness. But if one realizes that one's consciousness is the consciousness of mankind, and that for the human consciousness one is totally responsible, then freedom from the limitation of that consciousness becomes extraordinarily important. When there is that freedom then one is contributing to the breaking down of the limitation of that consciousness. Then death has a totally different meaning.
One has lived a so-called individual life, concerned about oneself and one's problems. Those problems never end, they increase. One has lived that kind of life. One has been brought up, educated, conditioned, to that kind of life. You come along as a friend - you like me, or you love me - you say to me: `Look, your consciousness is not yours; you suffer as other people suffer'. I listen to it and I do not reject what you say, for it makes sense, it is sane and I see that in what you have told me there can Perhaps be peace in the world. And I say to myself: `Now, can I be free from fear?I see that I am responsible, totally, for the whole of consciousness. I See that when I am investigating fear I am helping the total human consciousness to lessen fear. Then death has a totally different meaning. I no longer have phantasies that I am going to sit next to god, or that I am going to heaven through some Peculiar nebula. I am living a life which is not my particular life. I am living a life of the whole of humanity and if I understand death, if I understand grief, I am cleansing the whole of the consciousness of mankind. That is why it is important to understand the meaning of death and perhaps to find that death has great significance, great relationship with love, because where you end something love is. When you end attachment completely then love is.
Network of Thought
The Network of Thought Chapter 6 6th Public Talk Saanen 23rd July 1981
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