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Wholeness of Life

Public Talks And Dialogue

The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 12 3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park 3rd September 1977 'Sorrow Is the Outcome of Time and Thought'

We are concerned with the whole existence of man and whether a human being can ever be free from his travail, his efforts, his anxieties, violence and brutality, and whether there is an end to sorrow.

Why have human beings, throughout the ages, sustained and put up with suffering? Can there be an ending to it all?

One must be free of all ideologies. Ideologies are dangerous illusions, whether they are political, social, religious, or personal. Every form of ideology either ends up in totalitarianism, or in religious conditioning - as the Catholic, the Protestant, the Hindu, the Buddhist and so on; and ideologies become such great burdens. So, to go into the enormous question of suffering, one must be free from all ideologies. One may have experienced a great deal of suffering which may have brought about certain definite conclusions. But to enquire into this question one must be utterly free of all conclusions.

Obviously there is biological, physical, suffering, and that suffering may distort the mind if one is not very careful. But we are concerned with the psychological suffering of man. In investigating suffering we are investigating the suffering of all mankind, because each one of us is of the essence of all humanity; each one of us is, psychologically, inwardly, deeply, like the rest of mankind.

They suffer, they go through great anxiety, uncertainty, confusion, violence, through great sense of grief, loss, loneliness, as each one of us does. There is no division, psychologically, between us all. We are the world, psychologically, and the world is us. That is not a conviction, that is not a conclusion, that is not an intellectual theory, but an actuality, to be felt, to be realized and to be lived. investigating this question of sorrow one is investigating not only one's own personal limited sorrow but also the sorrow of mankind. Do not reduce it to a personal thing, because when one sees the enormous suffering of mankind, in the understanding of the enormity of it, the wholeness of it, then one's own part has a role in it. It is not a selfish enquiry concerned with how I am to be free of sorrow. If one makes it personal, limited, then one will not understand the full significance of the enormity of sorrow.

In opposition to sorrow there is happiness, as in one's consciousness there is the bad and the good. In one's consciousness there is sorrow and a sense of happiness. In enquiring one is not concerned with sorrow as an opposite to happiness, gladness, enjoyment but with sorrow itself. The opposites contain each other. If the good is the outcome of the bad, then the good contains the bad. And if sorrow is the opposite of happiness, then the enquiry into sorrow has its root in happiness. We are enquiring into sorrow per se, not as an opposite to something else.

It is important to understand how one observes the nature and the movement of sorrow. How does one look at one's sorrow? If one looks at it as though it was different from oneself then there is a division between oneself and that which one calls sorrow. But is that sorrow different from oneself? Is the observer of sorrow different from sorrow itself? Or is it that the observer is sorrow? It is not that he is free from sorrow and then looks at sorrow, or identifies with sorrow. Sorrow is not just in the field of the observer; he is sorrow. The observer is the observed. The experiencer is the experienced; just as the thinker is the thought. There is no division as when the observer says "I am in sorrow", and who then divides himself off and tries to do something about sorrow - run away from it; seek comfort; suppress it; and all the various means of attempting to transcend sorrow. Whereas, if one sees that the observer is the observed, which is a fact, then one eliminates altogether the division that brings about conflict. One has been brought up, educated, to think that the observer is something totally different from the observed; as for example: one is the analyser therefore one can analyse - but the analyser is the analysed. So in this perception there is no division between the observer and the observed, between the thinker and the thought - there is no thought without the thinker - if there is no thinker there is no thought - they are one.

So if one sees that the observer is the observed, then one is not dictating what sorrow is, one is not telling sorrow what it should be, or not be, one is just observing without any choice, without any movement of thought.

There are various kinds of sorrow; the man who has no work; the man who will always remain poor, the man who will never enjoy clean clothes or a fresh bath - as happens among the poor. There is the sorrow of ignorance, the sorrow when children are maltreated, the sorrow when animals are killed - vivisection and so on. There is the sorrow of war, which affects the whole of mankind. There is the sorrow when someone whom you love, dies. There is the sorrow of the desire to fulfil and the ensuing failure and frustration. So, there are multiple kinds of sorrow. Does one deal with all the multiple expressions of sorrow piecemeal? Or does one deal with the root of sorrow as a whole? Does one take each expression of the hundreds of varieties of sorrow? Or go to the very root of sorrow? If one takes all the multiple expressions of sorrow there will be no end. One may trim them individually, diminish them, but more will always remain. Can one look at the multiple branches of sorrow and through that observation go into the very root of sorrow, from the outside go inside and examine what is at the root, the cause? If one does not end sorrow there is no love in one's heart - although one may pity others and be troubled by the slaughter that is going on.

What is sorrow? Why does one suffer? Is it that one has lost something that one had? Or is there suffering because one has been promised a reward and that reward has not been given? - because we are educated through reward and punishment. Does one suffer because of self-pity? Because one has not the things that another has? Does one suffer through comparison, measurement? Does one suffer because, through limitation, one has not been able to achieve that which one is trying to imitate - trying to conform to a pattern and never reaching that pattern fully, completely? So one asks very deeply: What is suffering and why does one suffer?

One must be very careful in examination to see whether the word "sorrow" itself weighs down on man. Sorrow has been praised, romanticized. It has been made into something that is essential in order to find reality - one must go through suffering to find love, pity, compassion. We seek through suffering a reward. Does not the word "sorrow" bring about the feeling of sorrow? Or, independent of that word and the stimulation of that word, the reaction of that word, is there sorrow by itself? If this examination is a matter of tremendous crisis in one's life, as it must be, then, when there is sorrow, it is a challenge and aIl one's energy is brought into being - otherwise one dissipates that energy by running away, seeking comfort, inventing explanations such as karma and so on. It is a challenge: What is sorrow? Is there an ending to sorrow? One can only respond completely to it when one has no fear, when one is not caught up in the machinery of pleasure, when one is not escaping from it, seeking comfort, but responding to it with all one's energy - a response that is the expression of the totality of one's energy.

In the understanding of the cause of sorrow does sorrow disappear? I may say to myself: "I am full of self-pity, if I can end self-pity there will be no sorrow." So I work at getting rid of it because I see how silly it is; I try to suppress it; I worry about it like a dog with a bone. And I may, intellectually, think I am free from sorrow. But the uncovering of the cause of sorrow is not the ending of sorrow. The searching for the cause of sorrow is a wastage of energy; sorrow is there, demanding one's tremendous attention. It is a challenge asking one to act. But instead of that one says: "Let me look to the cause; let me find out; is it this, that, or the other? I may be mistaken; let me talk it over with others; or is there some book that will tell me what the real cause is?" But all this is moving away from the actual fact, the actual, response to that challenge.

If one's mind, the movement of its thought, is looking through its memory and responding according to that memory, according to previous knowledge, then one is acting not directly to the challenge, but merely responding from memory, from the past. I am in sorrow, my son, my wife, or the social conditions - the poverty, the brutality of man - bring about a great sorrow in me. It wants a response, a complete response, from me as a human being who represents the totality of humanity. If thought responds to the challenge saying: "I must find out how to respond to it; I have had sorrow before and I know all the meaning of the suffering and the pain, the anxiety and the loneliness of sorrow," then it is responding according to remembrance, therefore it is not an actual response; it is not actually seeing the fact that any response to that challenge from memory is no response at all, it is mere reaction. It is not action, it is reaction. Once see that, then the question is: What is the root of it all - not the cause? When there is a cause there is an effect and the effect in turn becomes a cause and the action from that becomes the cause for the next action. There is a chain effect. When the mind is caught in this limited chain, and it is always limited, then any response to the challenge will be very limited and time bound. But can one act to that challenge without a time interval? One may not actually have had any immediate sorrow, but one sees the enormity of the sorrow of mankind - the global sorrow of mankind. If one responds to that according to one's conditioning, according to one's past memory, then one is caught in action that is always time binding. The challenge and its response demand no time interval. Therefore there is instant action.

Fear is the movement of thought - thought as measure. Fear is time. Thought is the response of memory, knowledge, experience; it is limited; it is a movement in time. If there is no time there is no fear. I am living now but I am afraid I might die - I might in the future. There is a time interval produced by thought. But if there is no time interval at all, there is no fear. So, in the same way: is the root of sorrow time? - time being the movement of thought. And if there is no thought at all, when one responds to that challenge, is there suffering?

Can one put away, for the time being, all one's habitual ideas about time, sorrow and fear? Put away all one's conclusions, all that one has read about sorrow and begin again as though one knew nothing about sorrow. Though one suffers one has no answer to it. But one has been so conditioned: put the burden of sorrow on to somebody else, as Christianity has done so beautifully; go to church and one sees all the suffering in that figure. The Christians have given all that suffering over to somebody and think by that they have understood the whole vast field of sorrow. In India, in the Asiatic countries, they have also another form of evasion - karma. But face the actual movement at the moment of sorrow and be completely choicelessly aware of that thing and one asks: Is time, which is thought, the fundamental issue that makes sorrow flower? Is thought responsible for suffering? - not only the suffering of others, the brutality of others, but for the total ignorance of this whole earth.

There is no new thought; there is no free thought. There is only thought and that is the response of knowledge and experience, stored up in the brain as memory. Now if that is fact, if one sees that it is true that sorrow is the outcome of time and thought - if that is not a supposition - then one is responding to sorrow without the me for the me is put together by thought. My name, my form, how I look, my qualities, my reactions, all the things that are acquired, are all put together by thought. Thought is `me'. Time is `me', the self, the ego, the personality, all that is the movement of time as me. When there is no time, when one responds to this challenge of suffering and there is no me, then, is there suffering?

Is not all sorrow based on me, the individual, the personality, the ego? It is the self that says, "I suffer", "I am lonely", "I am anxious", this whole movement, this whole structure, is me in thought. And thought posits not only me but also that I am a superior me - something far superior to thought; yet it is still the movement of thought. So, there is an ending to sorrow when there is no me.

Wholeness of Life

Public Talks And Dialogue

The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 12 3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park 3rd September 1977 'Sorrow Is the Outcome of Time and Thought'

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