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The First and Last Freedom

The First and Last Freedom Chapter 21 'Power and Realization'

WE SEE THAT A radical change is necessary in society, in ourselves, in our individual and group relationships; how is it to be brought about? If change is through conformity to a pattern projected by the mind, through a reasonable, well studied plan, then it is still within the field of the mind; therefore whatever the mind calculates becomes the end, the vision for which we are willing to sacrifice ourselves and others. If you maintain that, then it follows that we as human beings are merely the creation of the mind, which implies conformity, compulsion, brutality, dictatorships, concentration camps - the whole business. When we worship the mind, all that is implied, is it not? If I realize this, if I see the futility of discipline, of control, if I see that the various forms of suppression only strengthen the `me' and the `mine', then what am I to do?

To consider this problem fully we must go into the question of what is consciousness. I wonder if you have thought about it for yourself or have merely quoted what authorities have said about consciousness? I do not know how you have understood from your own experience, from your own study of yourself, what this consciousness implies - not only the consciousness of everyday activity and pursuits but the consciousness that is hidden, deeper, richer and much more difficult to get at. If we are to discuss this question of a fundamental change in ourselves and therefore in the world, and in this change to awaken a certain vision, an enthusiasm, a zeal, a faith, a hope, a certainty which will give us the necessary impetus for action - if we are to understand that, isn't it necessary to go into this question of consciousness? We can see what we mean by consciousness at the superficial level of the mind. Obviously it is the thinking process, thought. Thought is the result of memory, verbalization; it is the naming, recording and storing up of certain experiences, so as to be able to communicate; at this level there are also various inhibitions, controls, sanctions, disciplines. With all this we are quite familiar. When we go a little deeper there are all the accumulations of the race, the hidden motives, the collective and personal ambitions, prejudices, which are the result of perception, contact and desire. This total consciousness, the hidden as well as the open, is centred round the idea of the `me', the self.

When we discuss how to bring about a change we generally mean a change at the superficial level, do we not? Through determination, conclusions, beliefs, controls, inhibitions, we struggle to reach a superficial end which we want, which we crave for, and we hope to arrive at that with the help of the unconscious, of the deeper layers of the mind; therefore we think it is necessary to uncover the depths of oneself. But there is everlasting conflict between the superficial levels and the so-called deeper levels - all psychologists, all those who have pursued self-knowledge are fully aware of that.

Will this inner conflict bring about a change? Is that not the most fundamental and important question in our daily life: how to bring about a radical change in ourselves? Will mere alteration at the superficial level bring it about? Will understanding the different layers of consciousness, of the `me', uncovering the past, the various personal experiences from childhood up to now, examining in myself the collective experiences of my father, my mother, my ancestors, my race, the conditioning of the particular society in which I live - will the analysis of all that bring about a change which is not merely an adjustment?

I feel, and surely you also must feel, that a fundamental change in one's life is essential - a change which is not a mere reaction, which is not the outcome of the stress and strain of environmental demands. How is one to bring about such a change? My consciousness is the sum total of human experience, plus my particular contact with the present; can that bring about a change? Will the study of my own consciousness, of my activities, will the awareness of my thoughts and feelings, stilling the mind in order to observe without condemnation, will that process bring about a change? Can there be change through belief, through identification with a projected image called the ideal? Does not all this imply a certain conflict between what I am and what I should be? Will conflict bring about fundamental change? I am in constant battle within myself and with society, am I not? There is a ceaseless conflict going on between what I am and what I want to be; will this conflict, this struggle bring about a change? I see a change is essential; can I bring it about by examining the whole process of my consciousness, by struggling by disciplining by practising various forms of repression? I feel such a process cannot bring about a radical change. Of that one must be completely sure. And if that process cannot bring about a fundamental transformation, a deep inward revolution, then what will?

How are you to bring about true revolution? What is the power, the creative energy that brings about that revolut1on and how is it to be released? You have tried disciplines, you have tried the pursuit of ideals and various speculative theories: that you are God, and that if you can realize that Godhood or experience the Atman, the highest, or what you will, then that very realization will bring about a fundamental change. Will it? First you postulate that there is a reality of which you are a part and build up round it various theories, speculations, beliefs, doctrines, assumptions, according to which you live; by thinking and acting according to that pattern you hope to bring about a fundamental change. Will you?

Suppose you assume, as most so-called religious people do, that there is in you, fundamentally, deeply, the essence of reality; and that if, through cultivating virtue, through various forms of discipline, control, suppression, denial, sacrifice, you can get into touch with that reality, then the required transformation will be brought about. Is not this assumption still part of thought? Is it not the outcome of a conditioned mind, a mind that has been brought up to think in a particular way, according to certain patterns? Having created the image, the idea, the theory, the belief, the hope, you then look to your creation to bring about this radical change.

One must first see the extraordinarily subtle activities of the `me', of the mind, one must become aware of the ideas, beliefs, speculations and put them all aside, for they are deceptions, are they not? Others may have experienced reality; but if you have not experienced it, what is the good of speculating about it or imagining that you are in essence something real, immortal, godly? That is still within the field of thought and anything that springs from thought is conditioned, is of time, of memory; therefore it is not real. If one actually realizes that - not speculatively, not imaginatively or foolishly, but actually sees the truth that any activity of the mind in its speculative search, in its philosophical groping, any assumption, any imagination or hope is only self-deception - then what is the power, the creative energy that brings about this fundamental transformation?

Perhaps, in coming to this point, we have used the conscious mind; we have followed the argument, we have opposed or accepted it, we have seen it clearly or dimly. To go further and experience more deeply requires a mind that is quiet and alert to find out, does it not? It is no longer pursuing ideas because, if you pursue an idea, there is the thinker following what is being said and so you immediately create duality. If you want to go further into this matter of fundamental change, is it not necessary for the active mind to be quiet? Surely it is only when the mind is quiet that it can understand the enormous difficulty, the complex implications of the thinker and the thought as two separate processes, the experiencer and the experienced, the observer and the observed. Revolution, this psychological, creative revolution in which the `me' is not, comes only when the thinker and the thought are one, when there is no duality such as the thinker controlling thought; and I suggest it is this experience alone that releases the creative energy which in turn brings about a fundamental revolution, the breaking up of the psychological `me'.

We know the way of power - power through domination, power through discipline, power through compulsion. Through political power we hope to change fundamentally; but such power only breeds further darkness, disintegration evil, the strengthening of the `me'. We are familiar with the various forms of acquisition, both individually and as groups, but we have never tried the way of love, and we don't even know what it means. Love is not possible so long as there is the thinker, the centre of the `me'. Realizing all this, what is one to do?

Surely the only thing which can bring about a fundamental change, a creative, psychological release, is everyday watchfulness, being aware from moment to moment of our motives, the conscious as well as the unconscious. When we realize that disciplines, beliefs, ideals only strengthen the `me' and are therefore utterly futile - when we are aware of that from day to day, see the truth of it, do we not to the central point when the thinker is constantly separating himself from his thought, from his observations, from his experiences? So long as the thinker exists apart from his thought, which he is trying to dominate, there can be no fundamental transformation. So long as the `me' is the observer, the one who gathers experience, strengthens himself through experience, there can be no radical change, no creative release. That creative release comes only when the thinker is the thought - but the gap cannot be bridged by any effort. When the mind realizes that any speculation any verbalization, any form of thought only gives strength to the `me', when it sees that as long as the thinker exists apart from thought there must be limitation, the conflict of duality - when the mind realizes that, then it is watchful, everlastingly aware of how it is separating itself from experience, asserting itself, seeking power. In that awareness, if the mind pursues it ever more deeply and extensively without seeking an end, a goal, there comes a state in which the thinker and the thought are one. In that state there is no effort, there is no becoming, there is no desire to change; in that state the `me' is not, for there is a transformation which is not of the mind.

It is only when the mind is empty that there is a possibility of creation; but I do not mean this superficial emptiness which most of us have. Most of us are superficially empty, and it shows itself through the desire for distraction. We want to be amused, so we turn to books, to the radio, we run to lectures, to authorities; the mind is everlastingly filling itself. I am not talking of that emptiness which is thoughtlessness. On the contrary, I am talking of the emptiness which comes through extraordinary thoughtfulness, when the mind sees its own power of creating illusion and goes beyond.

Creative emptiness is not possible so long as there is the thinker who is waiting, watching, observing in order to gather experience, in order to strengthen himself. Can the mind ever be empty of all symbols, of all words with their sensations, so that there is no experiencer who is accumulating? Is it possible for the mind to put aside completely all the reasonings, the experiences, the impositions, authorities, so that it is in a state of emptiness? You will not be able to answer this question, naturally; it is an impossible question for you to answer, because you do not know, you have never tried. But, if I may suggest, listen to it, let the question be put to you, let the seed be sown; and it will bear fruit if you really listen to it, if you do not resist it.

It is only the new that can transform, not the old. If you pursue the pattern of the old, any change is a modified continuity of the old; there is nothing new in that, there is nothing creative. The creative can come into being only when the mind itself is new; and the mind can renew itself only when it is capable of seeing all its own activities, not only at the superficial level, but deep down. When the mind sees its own activities, is aware of its own desires, demands, urges, pursuits, the creation of its own authorities, fears; when it sees in itself the resistance created by discipline, by control, and the hope which projects beliefs, ideals - when the mind sees through, is aware of this whole process, can it put aside all these things and be new, creatively empty? You will find out whether it can or cannot only if you experiment without having an opinion about it, without wanting to experience that creative state. If you want to experience it, you will; but what you experience is not creative emptiness, it is only a projection of desire. If you desire to experience the new, you are merely indulging in illusion; but if you begin to observe, to be aware of your own activities from day to day, from moment to moment, watching the whole process of yourself as in a mirror, then, as you go deeper and deeper, you will come to the ultimate question of this emptiness in which alone there can be the new.

Truth, God or what you will, is not something to be experienced, for the experiencer is the result of time, the result of memory, of the past, and so long as there is the experiencer there cannot be reality. There is reality only when the mind is completely free from the analyser, from the experiencer and the experienced. Then you will find the answer, then you will see that the change comes without your asking, that the state of creative emptiness is not a thing to be cultivated - it is there, it comes darkly, without any invitation; only in that state is there a possibility of renewal, newness, revolution.

The First and Last Freedom

The First and Last Freedom Chapter 21 'Power and Realization'

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