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Ojai, 3rd meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 16th Question Ojai, California 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 13th May 1980 'Images'

Question: For the making of images to end, must thought also end? Is one necessarily implied in the other? Is the end of image-making really a foundation upon which one can begin to discover what love and truth are? Or is that ending the very essence of truth and love?

We live by the images created by the mind, by thought. These images are continuously added and taken away. You have your own image about yourself; if you are a writer you have an image about yourself as a writer; if you are a wife or a husband, each has created an image about himself or herself. This begins from childhood, through comparison, through suggestion, by being told you must be as good as the other chap, or you must not do, or you must; so gradually this process accumulates. And in our relationships, personal and otherwise, there is always an image. As long as the image exists, you are liable to be either wounded, bruised or hurt. And this image prevents there being any actual relationship with another.

Now the questioner asks: Can this ever end, or is it something with which we have to live everlastingly? And he also asks: In the very ending of the image, does thought end? Are they interrelated, image and thought? When the image-making machinery comes to an end, is that the very essence of love and truth?

Have you ever actually ended an image - voluntarily, easily, without any compulsion, without any motive? Not, "I must end the image I have of myself, I will not be hurt". Take one image and go into it; in going into it, you discover the whole movement of image-making. In that image you begin to discover there is fear, anxiety; there is a sense of isolation; and if you are frightened you say, "Much better keep to something I know than something I do not know". But if you go into it fairly seriously and deeply, you enquire as to who or what is the maker of this image, not one particular image but image-making as a whole. Is it thought? Is it the natural response, natural reaction, to protect oneself physically and psychologically? One can understand the natural response to physical protection, how to have food, to have shelter, to have clothes, to avoid being run over by a bus and so on. That is a natural, healthy, intelligent response. In that there is no image. but psychologically, inwardly, we have created this image which is the outcome of a series of incidents, accidents, hurts, irritations.

Is this psychological image-making the movement of thought? We know that thought does not, perhaps to a very large degree, enter into the self-protective physical reaction. But the psychological image-making is the outcome of constant inattention which is the very essence of thought. Thought in itself is inattentive. Attention has no centre, it has no point from which to go to another point, as in concentration. When there is complete attention there is no movement of thought. It is only to the mind that is inattentive that thought arises.

Thought is matter; thought is the outcome of memory; memory is the outcome of experience and that must always be limited, partial. Memory, knowledge, can never be complete, they are always partial, therefore inattentive.

So when there is attention there is no image-making, there is no conflict; you see the fact. If when you insult me or flatter me and I am completely attentive, then it does not mean a thing. But the moment I am not paying attention, thought, which is inattentive in itself, takes over and creates the image.

Now the questioner asks: Is the ending of image-making the essence of truth and love? Not quite. Is desire love? Is pleasure love? Most of our life is directed towards pleasure in different forms, and when that movement of pleasure, sex etc, takes place we call that love. Can there be love when there is conflict, when the mind is crippled with problems, problems of heaven, problems of meditation, problems between man and woman? When the mind is living in problems, which most of our minds are, can there be love?

Can there be love when there is great suffering, physiological as well as psychological? Is truth a matter of conclusion, a matter of opinion, of philosophers, of theologians, of those who believe so deeply in dogma and ritual, which are all man-made? Can a mind so conditioned know what truth is? Truth can only be when the mind is totally free of all this jumble. Philosophers and others never look at their own lives; they go off into some metaphysical or psychological world, about which they begin to write and publish and become famous. Truth is something that demands extraordinary clarity of mind, a mind that has no problem whatsoever, physical or psychological, a mind that does not know conflict. Even the memory of conflict must end. With the burden of memory we cannot find truth. It is impossible. Truth can only come to a mind that is astonishingly free from all that is man-made.

Those are not words to me, you understand? If it was not something actual, I would not speak, I would be dishonest to myself. If it were not a fact I would be such a terrible hypocrite. This requires tremendous integrity.

Questions and Answers

Ojai, 3rd meeting 1980

Questions and Answers 16th Question Ojai, California 3rd Question & Answer Meeting 13th May 1980 'Images'

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Art of War

ancient Chinese treatise by Sun Tzu

free to read online

48 Laws of Power

a different universe by Robert Greene?

free summary online