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Wholeness of Life

Public Talks And Dialogue

The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 8 4th Public Talk Saanen 17th July 1977 'In Negation the Positive Is Born.'

We are dealing with the facts of daily life, our way of living. Most of us abstract from those facts ideas and conclusions which become our prisons. We may ventilate those prisons but still we live there and go on making further abstractions of facts there. We are not dealing with ideas, exotic philosophies, or with abstract conclusions. We are going into problems that require a great deal of care and about which we must be very serious - because the house is burning. The Communist world is pressing in all the time, constraining us to believe in certain ideologies and if we do not we can be sent either to a concentration camp or a mental hospital. That is gradually closing in. If you are aware of the world situation, of what is happening in the world economically, socially, politically, of the preparation for wars, you become extremely serious; it is not a thing to play around with, you have to act.

Most of us are mediocre - we just go half way up the hill. Excellence means going to the very top of it and we are asking for excellence. Otherwise we shall be smothered, destroyed, as human beings, by the politicians, by the ideologists, whether they are Communists, Socialists and so on. We are demanding of ourselves the highest form of excellence. That excellence can only come into being when there is clarity and compassion without which the human mind will destroy human beings, destroy the world.

We are exercising reason, clear objective thinking, and logic, but they themselves do not bring about compassion. We must exercise the qualities that we have, which are reason, careful observation and from those the excellency of clear sight to examine the various contents of consciousness, in which compassion does not exist; there may be pity in them, sympathy and tolerance, there may be the desire to help, there may be a form of love, but all these are not compassion.

Is compassion or love, pleasure? What is the significance and the meaning of pleasure, which every human being is seeking and pursuing at any cost? What is pleasure? There is the pleasure derived from possessions; the pleasure derived from a capacity or talent; the pleasure when you dominate another; the pleasure of having tremendous power, politically, religiously or economically; the pleasure of sex; the pleasure of the great sense of freedom that money gives. There are multiple forms of pleasure. In pleasure there is enjoyment, and further on there is ecstasy, the taking delight in something and the sense of ecstasy. "Ecstasy" is to be beyond yourself. There is no self to enjoy. The self - that is the me, the ego, the personality - has all totally disappeared, there is only that sense of being outside. That is ecstasy. But that ecstasy has nothing whatsoever to do with pleasure.

You take a delight in something; the delight that comes naturally when you look at something very beautiful. At that moment, at that second, there is neither pleasure, nor joy, there is only that sense of observation. In that observation the self is not. When you look at a mountain with its snow cap, with its valleys, its grandeur and magnificence, all thought is driven away. There it is, that greatness in front of you and there is delight. Then thought comes along registering as memory what a marvellous and lovely experience it was. Then that registration, that memory, is cultivated and that cultivation becomes pleasure. Whenever thought interferes with the sense of beauty, the sense of the greatness of anything, a piece of poetry, a sheet of water, or a lonely tree in a field, it is registration. But, to see it and not register it - that is important. The moment you register it, the beauty of it, then that very registration sets thought into action; then the desire to pursue that beauty, which becomes the pursuit of pleasure. One sees a beautiful woman, or man; instantly it is registered in the brain; then that very registration sets thought into motion and you want to be in her or his company and all that follows. Pleasure is the continuation and the cultivation in thought of a perception. You have had sexual experience last night, or two weeks ago, you remember it and desire the repetition of it, which is the demand for pleasure.

It is the function of the brain to register; in registration it is secure, it knows what to do and from that there is the development of skill. That skill in its turn becomes a great pleasure as a talent, a gift; it is the movement, the continuation of thought through desire and pleasure. Is it possible to register only that which is absolutely necessary and not register anything else? Take a very simple thing: most of us have had physical pain of some sort or another; that pain is registered and the brain says, tomorrow, or a week later, I must be very careful not to have that pain again. Physical pain is distorting; you cannot think clearly when there is great pain. It is the function of the brain to register that pain so as to safeguard itself from doing things that will bring about pain. It must register and then there is the fear of that pain happening again later - that registration has caused fear. Is it possible, having had that pain, to end it, not carry it on, not carry it over? If so, then the brain has the security of being free and intelligent; but the moment the pain is carried over it is never free.

Is it possible to register only the things that are absolutely necessary? The necessary things are the knowledge of how to drive a car, how to speak a language, technological knowledge, the knowledge of reading, writing and so on. But in our human relationships, those between man and woman for example, every incident in that relationship is registered. What takes place? The woman is irritated, nags, or is friendly, kindly, or says something just before the man goes off to the office, which is ugly; so from this there is built up, through registration, an image about her and she builds an image about him - this is factual. In human relationships, between man and woman, or between neighbours and so on, there is registration and the process of image making. But when the husband says something ugly listen to it carefully, end it, do not carry it on; then you will find that there is no image-making at all. If there is no image-making between a man and a woman the relationship is entirely different; there is no longer the relationship of one thought opposed to another thought - which is called relationship, which actually it is not; it is just ideas.

Pleasure follows registration of an incident in the continuation given by thought. Thought is the root of pleasure. If you had no thought and you saw a beautiful thing it would rest at that. But thought says: "No I must have that; from this flows the whole movement of thought.

What is the relationship of pleasure to joy? Joy comes to you uninvited, it happens. You are walking along in a street, or sitting in a bus, or wandering in the woods, seeing the flowers, the hills, and the clouds and the blue sky and suddenly there is the extraordinary feeling of great joy; then comes the registration, thought says: "What a marvellous thing that was, I must have more of it." So, again,joy is made into pleasure by thought. This is seeing things as they are, not as you want them to be; it is seeing them exactly, without any distortion, seeing what is taking place.

What is love? Is it pleasure; which is the continuation of an incident through the movement of thought? Is the movement of thought love? Is love remembrance? A thing has happened and living in its remembrance, feeling that remembrance of something which is over, resuscitating it and saying, "What a marvellous thing that was when we were together under that tree; that was love" - all that is the remembrance of a thing that is gone. Is that love? Is love the pleasure of sex? - in which there is tenderness, kindliness and so on - is that love? That is not to say that it is, or that it is not.

We are questioning everything that man has put together of which he says: "This is love." If love is pleasure then it gives emphasis to the remembrance of past things and therefore brings about the importance of the me - my pleasure, my excitement, my remembrances. Is that love? And is love desire? What is desire? One desires a car; one desires a house; one desires prominence, power, position. There are infinite things one desires; to be as beautiful as you are; to be as intelligent, as clever, as smart as you are. Does desire bring clarity?

The thing that is called love is based on desire - desire to sleep with a woman, or sleep with a man, desire to possess her, dominate her, control her, "she is mine, not yours." Is love in the pleasure derived in that possession, in that dominance? Man dominates the world and now there is woman fighting the domination.

What is desire? Does desire bring about clarity? In its field does compassion flower? If it does not bring clarity and if desire is not the field in which the beauty and the greatness of compassion flower, then what place has desire? How does desire arise? One sees a beautiful woman, or a beautiful man - one sees. There is the perception, the seeing, then the contact, then the sensation, then that sensation is taken over by thought, which becomes the image with its desire. You see a beautiful vase, a beautiful sculpture - ancient Egyptian, or Greek - and you look at it and you touch it; you see the depth of sculpture of the figure sitting cross-legged. From that there is a sensation. What a marvellous thing and from that sensation desire; "I wish I had that in my room; to look at it every day, touch it every day" - the pride of possession, to have such a marvellous thing as that. That is desire: seeing, contact, sensation, then thought using that sensation to cultivate the desire to possess - or not to possess.

Now comes the difficulty: realizing this the religious people have said: "Take vows of celibacy; do not look at a woman; if you do look treat her as your sister, mother, whatever you like; because you are in the service of God you need all your energy to serve Him; in the service of God you are going to have great tribulations, therefore be prepared, but do not waste your energy." But the thing is boiling and we are trying to understand that desire which is constantly boiling, wanting to fulfil, wanting to complete itself.

Desire arises from the movement - seeing - contact - sensation - thought with its image - desire. Now we are saying: seeing - touching - sensation, that is normal, healthy - end it there, do not let thought take it over and make it into a desire. Understand this and then you will also understand that there will be no suppression of desire. You see a beautiful house, well proportioned with lovely windows, a roof that melts into the sky, walls that are thick and part of the earth, a beautiful garden, well kept. You look at it, there is sensation; you touch it - you may not actually touch it but you touch it with your eyes - you smell the air, the herbs, the newly-cut grass. Can you not end it there? End it there, say: "It is a beautiful house; but there is no registration and no thought which says: "I wish I had that house" - which is desire and the continuation of desire. You can do this so easily; and I mean easily, if you understand the nature of thought and desire.

Is thought love? Does thought cultivate love? It is not pleasure, it is not desire, it is not remembrance, although they have their places. Then what is love? Is love jealousy? Is love a sense of possession, my wife, my husband, my girl - possession? Has love within it fear? It is none of these things, entirely wipe them all away, end them, putting them all in their right place - then love is.

Through negation the positive is - through negation; that is: is pleasure love? - you examine pleasure and see it is not that - though pleasure has its place it is not that - so you negate that. You see it is not remembrance though remembrance is necessary; so put remembrance in its right place, therefore you have negated remembrance as not being love. You have negated desire, though desire has a certain place. Therefore through negation the positive is. But we, on the contrary, posit the positive and then get caught in the negative. One must begin with doubt - completely doubting - then you end up with certainty. But if you start with certainty, then you end up in uncertainty and chaos.

So in negation the positive is born.

Wholeness of Life

Public Talks And Dialogue

The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 8 4th Public Talk Saanen 17th July 1977 'In Negation the Positive Is Born.'

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