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The Only Revolution

Europe 1969

The Only Revolution Europe Part 19

If you walk through the little town with its one street of many shops - the baker, the camera shop, the bookshop and the open restaurant - under the bridge, past the couturier, over another bridge, past the sawmill, then enter the wood and continue along by the stream, looking at all the things you have passed, with your eyes and all your senses fully awake, but without a single thought in your mind - then you will know what it means to be without separation. You follow that stream for a mile or two - again without a single flutter of thought - looking at the rushing water, listening to its noise, seeing the colour of it, the grey-green mountain stream, looking at the trees and the blue sky through the branches, and at the green leaves - again without a single thought, without a single word - then you will know what it means to have no space between you and the blade of grass.

If you pass on through the meadows with their thousand flowers of every colour imaginable, from bight red to yellow and purple, and their bright green grass washed clean by last night's rain, rich and verdant - again without a single movement of the machinery of thought - then you will know what love is. To look at the blue sky, the high full-blown clouds, the green hills with their clear lines against the sky, the rich grass and the fading flower - to look without a word of yesterday; then, when the mind is completely quiet, silent, undisturbed by any thought, when the observer is completely absent - then there is unity. Not that you are united with the flower, or with the cloud, or with those sweeping hills; rather there is a feeling of complete non-being in which the division between you and another ceases. The woman carrying those provisions which she bought in the market, the big black Alsatian dog, the two children playing with the ball - if you can look at all these without a word, without a measure, without any association, then the quarrel between you and another ceases. This state, without the word, without thought, is the expanse of mind that has no boundaries, no frontiers within which the I and the not-I can exist. Don't think this is imagination, or some flight of fancy, or some desired mystical experience; it is not. It is as actual as the bee on that flower or the little girl on her bicycle or the man going up the ladder to paint the house - the whole conflict of the mind in its separation has come to an end. You look without the look of the observer, you look without the value of the word and the measurement of yesterday. The look of love is different from the look of thought. The one leads in a direction where thought cannot follow, and the other leads to separation, conflict and sorrow. From this sorrow you cannot go to the other. The distance between the two is made by thought, and thought cannot by any stride reach the other.

As you walk back by the little farmhouses, the meadows and the railway line, you will see that yesterday has come to an end: life begins where thought ends.

"Why is it I cannot be honest?" she asked. "Naturally, I am dishonest. Not that I want to be, but it slips out of me. I say things I don't really mean. I'm not talking about polite conversation about nothing - then one knows that one is talking just for the sake of talking. But even when I'm serious I find myself saying things, doing things, that are absurdly dishonest. I've noticed it with my husband too. He says one thing and does something entirely different. He promises, but you know so well that while he is saying it he doesn't quite mean it; and when you point it out to him he gets irritated, sometimes very angry. We both know we are dishonest in so many things. The other day he made a promise to somebody whom he rather respected, and that man went away believing my husband. But my husband didn't keep his word and he found excuses to prove that he was right and the other man wrong. You know the game we play with ourselves and with others - it is part of our social structure and relationship. Sometimes it reaches the point where it becomes very ugly and deeply disturbing - and I have come to that state. I am greatly disturbed, not only about my husband but about myself and all those people who say one thing and do something else and think something else again. The politician makes promises and one knows exactly what his promises mean. He promises heaven on earth and you know very well he's going to create hell on earth - and he will blame it all on factors beyond his control. Why is it that one is so basically dishonest?"

What does honesty mean? Can there be honesty - that is, clear insight, seeing things as they are - if there is a principle, an ideal, an ennobled formula? Can one be direct if there is confusion? Can there be beauty if there is the standard of what is beautiful or upright? When there is this division between what is and what should be, can there be honesty - or only an edifying and respectable dishonesty? We are brought up between the two - between what actually is and what may be. In the interval between these two - the interval of time and space - is all our education, our morality, our struggle. We keep a distracted look upon the one and upon the other, a look of fear and a look of hope. And can there be honesty, sincerity, in this state, which society calls education? When we say we are dishonest, essentially we mean there is a comparison between what we have said and what is. One has said something which one doesn't mean, perhaps to give passing assurance or because one is nervous, shy or ashamed to say something which actually is. So nervous apprehension and fear make us dishonest. When we are pursuing success we must be somewhat dishonest, play up to another, be cunning, deceitful, to achieve our end. Or one has gained authority or a position which one wants to defend. So all resistance, all defence, is a form of dishonesty. To be honest means to have no illusions about oneself and no seed of illusion - which is desire and pleasure.

"You mean to say that desire breeds illusion! I desire a nice house - there isn't any illusion in that. I desire my husband to have a better position - I can't see illusion in that either!"

In desire there is always the better, the bigger, the more. In desire there is the measurement, the comparison - and the root of illusion is comparison. The good is not the better, and all our life is spent pursuing the better - whether it be the better bathroom, or the better position, or the better god. Discontent with what is makes the change in what is - which is merely the unproved continuity of what is. Improvement is not change, and it is this constant improvement - both in ourselves and in the social morality - which breeds dishonesty.

"I don't know if I follow you, and I don't know if I want to follow you," she said with a smile. "I understand verbally what you say, but where are you leading? I find it rather frightening. If I lived, actually, what you are saying, probably my husband would lose his job, for in the business world there is a great deal of dishonesty. Our children, too, are brought up to compete, to fight to survive. And when I realize, from what you are saying, that we are training them to be dishonest - not obviously, of course, but in subtle and devious ways - then I get frightened for them. How can they face the world, which is so dishonest and brutal, unless they themselves have some of this dishonesty and brutality? Oh, I know I'm saying dreadful things, but there it is! I'm beginning to see how utterly dishonest I am!"

To live without a principle, without an ideal, is to live facing that which is every minute. The actual facing of what is - which is to be completely in contact with it, not through the word or through past associations and memories, but directly in touch with it - is to be honest. To know you have lied and make no excuse for it but to see the actual fact of it, is honesty; and in this honesty there is great beauty. The beauty does not hurt anybody. To say one is a liar is an acknowledgement of the fact; it is to acknowledge a mistake as a mistake. But to find reason, excuses and justifications for it is dishonesty, and in this there is self-pity. Self-pity is the darkness of dishonesty. It does not mean that one must become ruthless with oneself, but rather, one is attentive. To be attentive means to care, to look.

"I certainly did not expect all this when I came. I felt rather ashamed of my dishonesty and didn't know what to do about it. The incapacity to do anything about it made me feel guilty, and fighting guilt or resisting it brings in other problems. Now I must carefully think over everything you have said."

If I may make a suggestion, don't think it over. See it now as it is. From that seeing something new will happen. But if you think it over you are back again in the same old trap.

The Only Revolution

Europe 1969

The Only Revolution Europe Part 19

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