FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 1 LONDON
2ND PUBLIC TALK 16TH MARCH 1969
For most of us, freedom is an idea and not an actuality. When we
talk about freedom, we want to be free outwardly, to do what we
like, to travel, to be free to express ourselves in different ways, free
to think what we like. The outward expression of freedom seems to
be extraordinarily important, especially in countries where there is
tyranny, dictatorship; and in those countries where outward
freedom is possible one seeks more and more pleasure, more and
If we are to inquire deeply into what freedom implies, to be
inwardly, completely and totally free – which then expresses itself
outwardly in society, in relationship – then we must ask, it seems to
me, whether the human mind, heavily conditioned as it is, can ever
be free at all. Must it always live and function within the frontiers
of its own conditioning, so that there is no possibility of freedom at
all? One sees that the mind, verbally understanding that there is no
freedom here on this earth, inwardly or outwardly, then begins to
invent freedom in another world, a future liberation, heaven and so
Put aside all theoretical, ideological, concepts of freedom so
that we can inquire whether our minds, yours and mine, can ever
be actually free, free from dependence, free from fear, anxiety, and
free from the innumerable problems, both the conscious as well as
those at the deeper layers of the unconscious. Can there be
complete psychological freedom, so that the human mind can come upon something which is not of time, which is not put together by
thought, yet which is not an escape from the actual realities of
daily existence? Unless the human mind is inwardly,
psychologically, totally free it is not possible to see what is true, to
see if there is a reality not invented by fear, not shaped by the
society or the culture in which we live, and which is not an escape
from the daily monotony, with its boredom, loneliness, despair and
anxiety. To find out if there is actually such freedom one must be
aware of one’s own conditioning, of the problems, of the
monotonous shallowness, emptiness, insufficiency of one’s daily
life, and above all one must be aware of fear. One must be aware of
oneself neither introspectively nor analytically, but actually be
aware of oneself as one is and see if it is at all possible to be
entirely free of all those issues that seem to clog the mind.
To explore, as we are going to do, there must be freedom, not at
the end, but right at the beginning. Unless one is free one cannot
explore, investigate or examine. To look deeply there needs to be,
not only freedom, but the discipline that is necessary to observe;
freedom and discipline go together ( not that one must be
disciplined in order to be free). We are using the word `discipline’
not in the accepted, traditional sense, which is to conform, imitate,
suppress, follow a set pattern; but rather as the root meaning of that
word, which is `to learn.’ Learning and freedom go together,
freedom bringing its own discipline; not a discipline imposed by
the mind in order to achieve a certain result. These two things are
essential: freedom and the act of learning. One cannot learn about
oneself unless one is free, free so that one can observe, not
according to any pattern, formula or concept, but actually observe oneself as one is. That observation, that perception, that seeing,
brings about its own discipline and learning; in that there is no
conforming, imitation, suppression or control whatsoever – and in
that there is great beauty.
Our minds are conditioned – that is an obvious fact –
conditioned by a particular culture or society, influenced by
various impressions, by the strains and stresses of relation- ships,
by economic, climatic, educational factors, by religious conformity
and so on. Our minds are trained to accept fear and to escape, if we
can, from that fear, never being able to resolve, totally and
completely, the whole nature and structure of fear. So our first
question is: can the mind, so heavily burdened, resolve completely,
not only its conditioning, but also its fears? Because it is fear that
makes us accept conditioning.
Do not merely hear a lot of words and ideas – which are really
of no value at all – but through the act of listening, observing your
own states of mind, both verbally and nonverbally, simply inquire
whether the mind can ever be free – not accepting fear, not
escaping, not saying, `I must develop courage, resistance,’ but
actually being fully aware of the fear in which one is trapped.
Unless one is free from this quality of fear one cannot see very
clearly, deeply; and obviously, when there is fear there is no love.
So, can the mind actually ever be free of fear? That seems to me
to be – for any person who is at all serious – one of the most
primary and essential questions which must be asked and which
must be resolved. There are physical fears and psychological fears.
The physical fears of pain and the psychological fears as memory
of having had pain in the past, and the idea of the repetition of that pain in the future; also, the fears of old age, death, the fears of
physical insecurity, the fears of the uncertainty of tomorrow, the
fears of not being able to be a great success, not being able to
achieve – of not being somebody in this rather ugly world; the fears
of destruction, the fears of loneliness, not being able to love or be
loved, and so on; the conscious fears as well as the unconscious
fears. Can the mind be free, totally, of all this? If the mind says it
cannot, then it has made itself incapable, it has distorted itself and
is incapable of perception, of understanding; incapable of being
completely silent, quiet; it is like a mind in the dark, seeking light
and never finding it, and therefore inventing a `light’ of words,
concepts, theories. How is a mind which is so heavily burdened
with fear, with all its conditioning, ever to be free of it? Or must
we accept fear as an inevitable thing of life? – and most of us do
accept it, put up with it. What shall we do? How shall I, the human
being, you as the human being, be rid of this fear? – not be rid of a
particular fear, but of the total fear, the whole nature and structure
What is fear? (Don’t accept, if I may suggest, what the speaker
is saying; the speaker has no authority whatsoever, he is not a
teacher, he is not a guru; because if he is a teacher then you are the
follower and if you are the follower you destroy yourself as well as
the teacher.) We are trying to find out what is the truth of this
question of fear so completely that the mind is never afraid,
therefore free of all dependence on another, inwardly,
psychologically. The beauty of freedom is that you do not leave a
mark. The eagle in its flight does not leave a mark; the scientist
does. Inquiring into this question of freedom there must be, not only the scientific observation, but also the flight of the eagle that
does not leave a mark at all; both are required; there must be both
the verbal explanation and the nonverbal perception – for the
description is never the actuality that is described; the explanation
is obviously never the thing that is explained; the word is never the
If all this is very clear then we can proceed; we can find out for
ourselves – not through the speaker, not through his words, not
through his ideas or thoughts – whether the mind can be completely
free from fear.
The first part is not an introduction; if you have not heard it
clearly and understood it, you cannot go on to the next.
To inquire there must be freedom to look; there must be
freedom from prejudice, from conclusions, concepts, ideals,
prejudices, so that you can observe actually for yourself what
— Page fear —
fear at all? That is: you can observe very, very closely,
intimately, what fear is only when the `observer’ is the `observed.’
We are going to go into that. So what is fear? How does it come
about? The obvious physical fears can be understood, like the
physical dangers, to which there is instant response; they are fairly
easy to understand; we need not go into them too much. But we are
talking about psychological fears; how do these psychological fears
arise? What is their origin? – that is the issue. There is the fear of
something that happened yesterday; the fear of something that
might happen later on today or tomorrow. There is the fear of what
we have known, and there is the fear of the unknown, which is
tomorrow. One can see for oneself very clearly that fear arises through the structure of thought – through thinking about that
which happened yesterday of which one is afraid, or through
thinking about the future – right? Thought breeds fear – doesn’t it?
Please let us be quite sure; do not accept what the speaker is
saying; be absolutely sure for yourself, as to whether thought is the
origin of fear. Thinking about the pain, the psychological pain that
one had some time ago and not wanting it repeated, not wanting to
have that thing recalled, thinking about all this breeds fear. Can we
go on from there? Unless we see this very clearly we will not be
able to go any further. Thought, thinking about an incident, an
experience, a state, in which there has been a disturbance, danger,
grief or pain, brings about fear. And thought, having established a
certain security, psychologically, does not want that security to be
disturbed; any disturbance is a danger and therefore there is fear.
Thought is responsible for fear; also, thought is responsible for
pleasure. One has had a happy experience; thought thinks about it
and wants it perpetuated; when that is not possible there is a
resistance, anger, despair and fear. So thought is responsible for
fear as well as pleasure – isn’t it? This is not a verbal conclusion;
this is not a formula for avoiding fear. That is, where there is
pleasure there is pain and fear perpetuated by thought; pleasure
goes with pain, the two are indivisible, and thought is responsible
for both. If there were no tomorrow, no next moment, about which
to think in terms of either fear or pleasure, then neither would exist.
Shall we go on from there? Is it an actuality, not as an idea, but a
thing that you yourself have discovered and which is therefore real,
so you can say, `I’ve found out that thought breeds both pleasure
and fear’? You have had sexual enjoyment, pleasure; later you think about it in the imagery, the pictures of thinking, and the very
thinking about it gives strength to that pleasure which is now in the
imagery of thought, and when that is thwarted there is pain,
anxiety, fear, jealousy, annoyance, anger, brutality. And we are not
saying that you must not have pleasure.
Bliss is not pleasure; ecstasy is not brought about by thought; it
is an entirely different thing. You can come upon bliss or ecstasy
only when you understand the nature of thought – which breeds
both pleasure and fear.
So the question arises: can one stop thought? If thought breeds
fear and pleasure – for where there is pleasure there must be pain,
which is fairly obvious – then one asks oneself: can thought come
to an end? – which does not mean the ending of the perception of
beauty, the enjoyment of beauty. It is like seeing the beauty of a
cloud or a tree and enjoying it totally, completely, fully; but when
thought seeks to have that same experience tomorrow, that same
delight that it had yesterday seeing that cloud, that tree, that flower,
the face of that beautiful person, then it invites disappointment,
pain, fear and pleasure.
So can thought come to an end? Or is that a wrong question
altogether? It is a wrong question because we want to experience
an ecstasy, a bliss, which is not pleasure. By ending thought we
hope we shall come upon something which is immense, which is
not the product of pleasure and fear. What place has thought in
life? – not, how is thought to be ended? What is the relationship of
thought to action and to inaction? What is the relationship of
thought to action where action is necessary? Why, when there is
complete enjoyment of beauty, does thought come into existence at all? – for if it did not then it would not be carried over to tomorrow.
I want to find out – when there is complete enjoyment of the beauty
of a mountain, of a beautiful face, a sheet of water – why thought
should come there and give a twist to it and say, `I must have that
pleasure again tomorrow.’ I have to find out what the relationship
of thought is in action; and to find out if thought need interfere
when there is no need of thought at all. I see a beautiful tree,
without a single leaf, against the sky, it is extraordinarily beautiful
and that is enough – finished. Why should thought come in and say,
`I must have that same delight tomorrow’? And I also see that
thought must operate in action. Skill in action is also skill in
thought. So, what is the actual relationship between thought and
action? As it is, our action is based on concepts, on ideas. I have an
idea or concept of what should be done and what is done is
approximation to that concept, idea, to that ideal. So there is a
division between action and the concept, the ideal, the `should be;
in this division there is conflict. Any division, psychological
division, must breed conflict. I am asking myself, ‘What is the
relationship of thought in action?» If there is division between the
action and the idea then action is incomplete. Is there an action in
which thought sees something instantly and acts immediately so
that there is not an idea, an ideology to be acted on separately? Is
there an action in which the very seeing is the action – in which the
very thinking is the action? I see that thought breeds fear and
pleasure; I see that where there is pleasure there is pain and
therefore resistance to pain. I see that very clearly; the seeing of it
is the immediate action; in the seeing of it is involved thought,
logic and thinking very clearly; yet the seeing of it is instantaneous and the action is instantaneous – therefore there is freedom from it.
Are we communicating with each other? Go slowly, it is quite
difficult. Please do not say, so easily, `yes.’ If you say ‘yes,’ then
when you leave the hall, you must be free of fear. Your saying
`yes’ is merely an assertion that you have understood verbally,
intellectually – which is nothing at all. You and I are here this
morning investigating the question of fear and when you leave the
hall there must be complete freedom from it. That means you are a
free human being, a different human being, totally transformed –
not tomorrow, but now; you see very clearly that thought breeds
fear and pleasure; you see that all our values are based on fear and
pleasure – moral, ethical, social, religious, spiritual. If you perceive
the truth of it – and to see the truth of it you have to be
extraordinarily aware, logically, healthily, sanely observing every
movement of thought – then that very perception is total action and
therefore when you leave you are completely out of it – otherwise
you will say, `How am I to be free of fear, tomorrow?,
Thought must operate in action. When you have to go to your
house you must think; or to catch a bus, train, go to the office,
thought then operates efficiently, objectively, nonpersonally,
nonemotionally; that thought is vital. But when thought carries on
that experience that you have had, carries it on through memory
into the future, then such action is incomplete, therefore there is a
form of resistance and so on.
Then we can go on to the next question. Let us put it this way:
what is the origin of thought, and who is the thinker? One can see
that thought is the response of knowledge, experience, as
accumulated memory, the background from which there is a response of thought to any challenge; if you are asked where you
live there is instant response. Memory, experience, knowledge is
the background, is that from which thought comes. So thought is
never new; thought is always old; thought can never be free,
because it is tied to the past and therefore it can never see anything
new. When I understand that, very clearly, the mind becomes quiet.
Life is a movement, a constant movement in relationship; and
thought, trying to capture that movement in terms of the past, as
memory, is afraid of life.
Seeing all this, seeing that freedom is necessary to examine –
and to examine very clearly there must be the discipline of learning
and not of suppression and imitation – seeing how the mind is
conditioned by society, by the past, seeing that all thought
springing from the brain is old and therefore incapable of
understanding anything new, then the mind becomes completely
quiet – not controlled, not shaped to be quiet. There is no system or
method – it does not matter whether it is Zen from japan, or a
system from India – to make the mind quiet; that is the most stupid
thing for the mind to do: to discipline itself to be quiet. Now seeing
all that – actually seeing it, not as something theoretical – then there
is an action from that perception; that very perception is the action
of liberation from fear. So, on the occasion of any fear arising,
there is immediate perception and the ending of it.
What is love? For most of us it is pleasure and hence fear; that
is what we call love. When there is the understanding of fear and
pleasure, then what is love? And `who’ is going to answer this
question? – the speaker, the priest, the book? Is some outside
agency going to tell us we are doing marvellously well, carry on? Or, is it that having examined, observed, seen non-analytically, the
whole structure and nature of pleasure, fear, pain, we find that the
`observer,’ the `thinker’ is part of thought. if there is no thinking
there is no ‘thinker,’ the two are inseparable; the thinker is the
thought. There is a beauty and subtlety in seeing that. And where
then is the mind that started to inquire into this question of fear? –
you understand? What is the state of the mind now that it has gone
through all this? Is it the same as it was before it came to this state.
It has seen this thing very intimately, it has seen the nature of this
thing called thought, fear and pleasure, it has seen all that; what is
its actual state now? Obviously nobody can answer that except
yourself; if you have actually gone into it, you will see that it has
become completely transformed.
Questioner: ( Inaudible)
Krishnamurti: It is one of the easiest things to ask a question.
Probably some of us have been thinking what our question will be
while the speaker was going on. We are more concerned with our
question than with listening. One has to ask questions of oneself,
not only here but everywhere. To ask the `right’ question is far
more important than to receive the answer. The solution of a
problem lies in the understanding of the problem; the answer is not
outside the problem, it is in the problem. One cannot look at the
problem very clearly if one is concerned with the answer, with the
solution. Most of us are so eager to resolve the problem without
looking into it – and to look into one has to have energy, intensity,
a passion; not indolence and laziness as most of us have – we
would rather somebody else solved it. There is nobody who is
going to solve any of our problems, either political, religious or psychological. One has to have a great deal of vitality and passion,
intensity, to look at and to observe the problem and then, as you
observe, the answer is there very clearly.
This does not mean that you must not ask questions; on the
contrary you must ask questions; you must doubt everything
everybody has said, including the speaker.
Questioner: Is there a danger of introspection in looking into
Krishnamurti: Why shouldn’t there be danger? To cross the
street there is a danger. Do you mean to say, we must not look
because it is dangerous to look? I remember once – if I may repeat
an incident – a very rich man came to see us and he said, `I am
very, very serious and concerned with what you are talking about
and I want to resolve all my `so and so’ you know the nonsense that
people talk about. I said, ‘All right, Sir, let us go into it,’ and we
talked. He came several times, and after the second week he came
to me and he said, `I am having dreadful dreams, frightening
dreams, I seem to see everything around me disappearing, all kinds
of things go; and then he said, `Probably this is the result of my
inquiry into myself and I see the danger of it; after that he did not
come any more.
We all want to be safe; we all want to be secure in our petty
little world, the world of `well established order’ which is disorder,
the world of our particular relationships, which we do not want to
be disturbed – the relationship between wife and husband in which
they hold together tight, in which there is misery, distrust, fear, in
which there is danger, jealousy, anger, domination.
There is a way of looking into ourselves without fear, without danger; it is to look without any condemnation, without any
justification, just to look, not to interpret, not to judge, not to
evaluate. To do that the mind must be eager to learn in its
observation of what actually is. What is the danger in `what is’?
Human beings are violent; that is actually `what is; and the danger
they have brought about in this world is the result of this violence,
it is the outcome of fear. What is there dangerous about observing
it and trying to completely eradicate that fear? – that we may bring
about a different society, different values? There is a great beauty
in observation, in seeing things as they are, psychologically,
inwardly; which does not mean that one accepts things as they are;
which does not mean that one rejects or wants to do something
about `what is; the very perception of `what is’ brings about its own
mutation. But one must know the art of `looking’ and the art of
`looking’ is never the introspective art, or the analytical art, but just
observing without any choice. Questioner: Is there not spontaneous
Krishnamurti: Would you call that fear? When you know fire
burns, when you see a precipice, is it fear to jump away from it?
When you see a wild animal, a snake, to withdraw, is that fear? – or
is it intelligence? That intelligence may be the result of
conditioning, because you have been conditioned to the dangers of
a precipice, for if you were not you could fall and that would be the
end. Your intelligence tells you to be careful; is that intelligence
fear? But is it intelligence that operates when we divide ourselves
into nationalities, into religious groups? – when we make this
division between you and me, we and they, is that intelligence?
That which is in operation in such division, which brings about danger, which divides people, which brings war, is that intelligence
operating or is it fear? There it is fear, not intelligence. In other
words we have fragmented ourselves; part of us acts, where
necessary, intelligently, as in avoiding a precipice, or a bus going
by; but we are not intelligent enough to see the dangers of
nationalism, the dangers of division between people. So one part of
us – a very small part of us – is intelligent, the rest of us is not.
Where there is fragmentation there must be conflict, there must be
misery; the very essence of conflict is the division, the
contradiction in us. That contradiction is not to be integrated. it is
one of our peculiar idiosyncrasies that we must integrate ourselves.
I do not know what it really means. Who is it that is going to
integrate the two divided, opposed, natures? For is not the
integrator himself part of that division? But when one sees the
totality of it, when one has the perception of it, without any choice
– there is no division.
Questioner: Is there any difference between correct thought and
Krishnamurti: When you use that word `correct’, between
thought and action, then that `correct’ action is `incorrect’ action –
isn’t it? When you use that word `correct’ you have already an idea
of what is correct. When you have an idea of what is `correct’ it is
`incorrect,’ because that `correct’ is based on your prejudice, on
your conditioning, on your fear, on your culture, on your society,
on your own particular idiosyncrasies, fears, religious sanctions
and so on. You have the norm, the pattern: that very pattern is in
itself incorrect, is immoral. The social morality is immoral. Do you
agree to that? If you do, then you have rejected social morality, which means greed, envy, ambition, nationality, the worship of
class, all the rest of it. But have you, when you say `yes’? Social
morality is immoral – do you really mean it? – or is it just a lot of
words? Sir, to be really moral, virtuous, is one of the most
extraordinary things in life; and that morality has nothing
whatsoever to do with social, environmental behaviour. One must
be free, to be really virtuous, and you are not free if you follow the
social morality of greed, envy, competition, worship of success –
you know all those things that are put forward by the church and
by society as being moral.
Questioner: Do we have to wait for this to happen or is there
some discipline we can use?
Krishnamurti: Must we have a discipline to realize that the very
seeing is action? Must we?
Questioner: Would you talk about the quiet mind – is it the
result of discipline? Or is it not?
Krishnamurti: Sir, look: a soldier on the parade ground, he is
very quiet, with a straight back, holding the rifle very exactly; he is
drilled, drilled day after day, day after day; any freedom is
destroyed for him. He is very quiet; but is that quietness? Or when
a child is absorbed in a toy, is that quietness? – remove the toy and
the toy becomes what he is. So, will discipline (do understand this,
Sir, once and for all, it is so simple) will discipline bring about
quietness? It may bring about dullness, a state of stagnancy, but
does it bring about quietness in the sense, intensely active, yet
Questioner: Sir, what do you want us people here in this world
to do? Krishnamurti: Very simple, Sir: I don’t want anything. That’s
first. Second: live, live in this world. This world is so marvellously
beautiful. It is our world, our earth to live upon, but we do not live,
we are narrow, we are separate, we are anxious, we are frightened
human beings, and therefore we do not live, we have no
relationship, we are isolated, despairing human beings. We do not
know what it means to live in that ecstatic, blissful sense. I say one
can live that way only when one knows how to be free from all the
stupidities of one’s life. To be free from them is only possible in
becoming aware of one’s relationship, not only with human beings,
but with ideas, with nature, with everything. In that relationship
one discovers what one is, one’s fear, anxiety, despair, loneliness,
one’s utter lack of love. One is full of theories, words, knowledge
of what other people have said; one knows nothing about oneself,
and therefore one does not know how to live.
Questioner: How do you explain different levels of
consciousness in terms of the human brain? The brain seems to be
a physical affair, the mind does not seem to be a physical affair. In
addition, the mind seems to have a conscious part and an
unconscious part. How can we see with any clarity in all these
Krishnamurti: What is the difference between the mind and the
brain; is that it, Sir? The actual physical brain, which is the result
of the past, which is the outcome of evolution, of many thousand
yesterdays, with all its memories and knowledge and experience, is
not that brain part of the total mind? – the mind in which there is a
conscious level and the unconscious level. The physical as well as
the nonphysical, the psychological, isn’t all that one whole? – is it not we who have divided it as the conscious and unconscious, the
brain and the not-brain? Can we not look at the whole thing as a
Is the unconscious so very different from the conscious? Or is it
not part of the totality, but we have divided it? From that arises the
question: how is the conscious mind to be aware of the
unconscious? Can the positive which is the operative – the thing
that is working all day – can that observe the unconscious?
I do not know if we have time to go into this. Are you not tired?
Please, sirs, do not reduce this to an entertainment, as one can,
sitting in a nice warm room, listening to some voice. We are
dealing with very serious things, and if you have worked, as one
should have, then you must be tired. The brain cannot take more
than a certain amount, and to go into this question of the
unconscious and the conscious requires a very sharp, clear mind to
observe. I doubt very much if at the end of an hour and a half you
are capable of it. So may we, if you agree, take up this question
London, March 16, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 2 LONDON
3RD PUBLIC TALK 20TH MARCH 1969
We were going to talk over this evening the question of the
conscious and unconscious, the superficial mind and the deeper
layers of consciousness. I wonder why we divide life into
fragments, the business life, social life, family life, religious life,
the life of sport and so on? Why is there this division, not only in
ourselves but also socially – we and they, you and me, love and
hate, dying and living? I think we ought to go into this question
rather deeply to find out if there is a way of life in which there is
no division at all between living and dying, between the conscious
and the unconscious, the business and social life, the family life
and the individual life.
These divisions between nationalities, religions, classes, all this
separation in oneself in which there is so much contradiction – why
do we live that way? It breeds such turmoil, conflict, war; it brings
about real insecurity, outwardly as well as inwardly. There is so
much division, as God and the devil, the good and the bad, `what
should be’ and `what is.’
I think it would be worthwhile to spend this evening in trying to
find out if there is a way of living – not theoretically or
intellectually but actually – a way of life, in which there is no
division whatsoever; a way of life in which action is not
fragmented, so that it is one constant flow, where every action is
related to all other actions.
To find a way of living in which there is no fragmentation one has to go very deeply into the question of love and death; in
understanding that we may be able to come upon a way of life that
is a continuous movement, not broken up, a way of life that is
highly intelligent. A fragmented mind lacks intell- gence; the man
who leads half a dozen lives – which is accepted as being highly
moral – obviously shows lack of intelligence.
It seems to me that the idea of integration – of putting together
the various fragments to make a whole – is obviously not
intelligent, for it implies that there is an integrator, one who is
integrating, putting together, all the fragments; but the very entity
that tries to do this is also part of that fragment.
What is needed is such intelligence and passion as to bring
about a radical revolution in one’s life, so that there is no
contradictory action but whole, continuous movement. To bring
about this change in one’s life there must be passion. If one is to do
anything worthwhile, one must have this intense passion – which is
not pleasure. To understand that action in which there is no
fragmentation or contradiction, there must be this passion.
Intellectual concepts and formulas will not change one’s way of
life, but only the very understanding of `what is; and for that there
must be an intensity, a passion.
To find out if there is a way of living – daily living, not a
monastic living – which has this quality of passion and intelligence
one has to understand the nature of pleasure. We went into the
question of pleasure the other day, of how thought sustains an
experience, which has given for the moment a delight, and how by
thinking about it pleasure is sustained; where there is pleasure there
is bound to be pain and fear. Is love pleasure? For most of us moral values are based on pleasure; the very sacrificing of oneself,
controlling oneself in order to conform, is the urge of pleasure –
greater, nobler, or whatever it is. Is love a thing of pleasure? Again
that word `love’ is so loaded, everyone uses it, from the politician
to the husband and wife. And it seems to me that it is only love, in
the deepest sense of the word, that can bring about a way of life in
which there is no fragmentation at all. Fear is always part of
pleasure; obviously where there is any kind of fear in relationship
there must be fragmentation, there must be division. It is really
quite a deep issue, this inquiry as to why the human mind has
always divided itself in opposition to others, resulting in violence
and what it is hoped to achieve through violence. We human
beings are committed to a way of life that leads to war and yet at
the same time we want peace, we want freedom; but it is peace
only as an idea, as an ideology; and at the same time everything
that we do conditions us.
There is the division, psychologically, of time; time as the past
(the yesterday), today and tomorrow; we must inquire into this if
we are to find a way of life in which division does not exist at all.
We have to consider if it is time, as the past, the present and the
future – psychological time – that is the cause of this division. Is
division brought about by the known, as memory, which is the
past, which is the content of the brain itself? Or does division arise
because the `observer,’ the `experiencer,’ the `thinker’ is always
separate from the thing which he observes, experiences? Or is it the
egotistic self-centred activity, which is the `me’ and the `you,’
creating its own resistances, its own isolated activities, which
causes this division? In going into this, one must be aware of all these issues: time; the «observer» separating himself from the thing
observed; the experiencer different from the experience; pleasure;
and whether all this has anything whatsoever to do with love.
Is there tomorrow psychologically? – actually, not invented by
thought. There is a tomorrow in chronological time; but is there
actually tomorrow, psychologically, inwardly? If there is tomorrow
as idea, then action is not complete, and that action brings about
division, contradiction. The idea of tomorrow, the future is – is it
not? – the cause of not seeing things very clearly as they are now –
`I hope to see them more clearly tomorrow’. One is lazy; one does
not have this passion, this vital interest, to find out. Thought
invents the idea of eventually arriving, eventually understanding;
so for that, time is necessary, many days are necessary. Does time
bring understan- ding, does it enable one to see something very
Is it possible for the mind to be free of the past so that it is not
bound by time? Tomorrow, psychologically, is in terms of the
known; is there then the possibility of being free from the known?
Is there the possibility of an action not in terms of the known?
One of the most difficult things is to communicate. There must
be verbal communication, obviously, but I think there is a much
deeper level of communication, which is not only a verbal
communication but communion, where both of us meet at the same
level, with the same intensity, with the same passion; then only
does communion take place, something far more important than
mere verbal communication. And as we are talking about
something rather complex, which touches very deeply our daily
life, there must not only be verbal communication but also communion. What we are concerned about is a radical revolution,
psychologically; not in some distant future, but actually today,
now. We are concerned to find out whether the human mind, which
has been so conditioned, can change immediately, so that its
actions are a continuous whole, not broken up, and therefore pitted
with its regrets, despairs, pains, fears, anxieties, its guilt and so on.
How can the mind throw it all off and be completely fresh, young
and innocent? That is really the issue. I do not think this is possible
– such a radical revolution – so long as there is a division between
the `observer’ and the observed, between the `experiencer’ and the
experienced. It is this division that brings about conflict. All
division must bring about conflict, and through conflict, through
struggle, through battle, obviously there can be no change, in the
deep psychological sense – though there may be superficial
changes. So how is the mind, the heart and the brain, the total state,
to cope with this problem of division?
We said we would go into this question of the conscious and the
deeper levels, the unconscious: and we are asking why is there this
division, this division between the conscious mind, occupied with
its own daily activities, worries, problems, superficial pleasures,
earning a livelihood and so on and the deeper levels of that mind,
with all its hidden motives, its drives, compulsive demands, its
fears? Why is there this division? Does it exist because we are so
occupied, superficially, with endless chatter, with the constant
demand, superficially, for amusement, entertainment, religious as
well as otherwise? Because the superficial mind cannot possibly
delve go deeply into itself while this division arises.
What is the content of the deeper layers of the mind? – not according to the psychologists, Freud and so on – and how do you
find out, if you do not read what others have said? How will you
find out what your unconscious is? You will watch it, will you not?
Or, will you expect your dreams to interpret the contents of the
unconscious? And who is to translate those dreams? The experts? –
they are also conditioned by their specialization. And one asks: is it
possible not to dream at all? – excepting of course for nightmares
when one has eaten the wrong food, or has had too heavy a meal in
There is – we will use the word for the time being – the
unconscious. What is it made of? – obviously the past; all the racial
consciousness, the racial residue, the family tradition, the various
religious and social conditioning – hidden, dark, undiscovered; can
all that be discovered and exposed without dreams? – or without
going to an analyst? – so that the mind, when it does sleep, is quiet,
not incessantly active. And, because it is quiet, may there not come
into it quite a different quality, a different activity altogether,
dissociated from the daily anxieties, fears, worries, problems,
demands? To find that out – if that is possible – that is, not to dream
at all, so that the mind is really fresh when it wakes up in the
morning, one has to be aware during the day, aware of the hints
and intimations. Those one can discover only in relationship; when
you are watching your relationship with others, without
condemning, judging, evaluating; just watching how you behave,
your reactions; seeing without any choice; just observing, so that
during the day the hidden, the unconscious, is exposed.
Why do we give such deep significance and meaning to the
unconscious? – for after all, it is as trivial as the conscious. If the conscious mind is extraordinarily active, watching, listening,
seeing, then the conscious mind becomes far more important than
the unconscious; in that state all the contents of the unconscious
are exposed; the division between the various layers comes to an
end. Watching your reactions when you sit in a bus, when you are
talking to your wife, your husband, when in your office, writing,
being alone – if you are ever alone – then this whole process of
observation, this act of seeing (in which there is no division as the
`observer’ and the `observed’) ends the contradiction.
When this is somewhat clear, then we can ask: What is love? Is
love pleasure? Is love jealousy? Is love possessive? Does love
dominate? – the husband over the wife and the wife over the
husband. Surely, not one of these things is love; yet we are
burdened with all these things, and yet we say to our husband or
our wife, or whoever it is, `I love you.’ Now, most of us are, in
some form or other, envious. Envy arises through comparison,
through measurement, through wanting to be something different
from what one is. Can we see envy as it actually is, and be entirely
free of it, for it never to happen again? – otherwise love cannot
exist. Love is not of time; love cannot be cultivated; it is not a
thing of pleasure.
What is death? – What is the relationship between love and
death? I think we will find the relationship between the two when
we understand the meaning of `death; to understand that we must
obviously understand what living is. What actually is our living? –
the daily living, not the ideological, the intellectual something,
which we consider should be, but which is really false. What
actually is our living? – the daily living of conflict, despair, loneliness, isolation. Our life is a battlefield, sleeping and waking;
we try to escape from this in various ways through music, art,
museums, religious or philosophical entertainment, spinning a lot
of theories, caught up in knowledge, anything but putting an end to
this conflict, to this battle which we call living, with its constant
Can the sorrow in daily life end? Unless the mind changes
radically our living has very little meaning – going to the office
every day, earning a livelihood, reading a few books, being able to
quote cleverly, being very well-informed – a life which is empty, a
real bourgeois life. And then as one becomes aware of this state of
affairs, one begins to invent a meaning to life; find some
significance to give to it; one searches out the clever people who
will give one the significance, the purpose, of life – which is
another escape from living. This kind of living must undergo a
Why is it we are frightened of death? – as most people are.
Frightened of what? Do please observe your own fears of what we
call death – being frightened of coming to the end of this battle
which we call living. We are frightened of the unknown, what
might happen; we are frightened of leaving the known things, the
family, the books, the attachment to your house and furniture, to
the people near us. We are frightened to let go of the things known;
and the known is his living in sorrow, pain and despair, with
occasional flashes of joy; there is no end to this constant struggle;
that is what we call living – of that we are frightened to let go. Is it
the `me’ – who is the result of all this accumulation – that is
frightened that it will come to an end? – therefore it demands a future hope, therefore there must be reincarnation. The idea of
reincarnation, in which the whole of the East believes, is that you
will be born next life a little higher up on the rungs of the ladder.
You have been a dishwasher this life, next life you will be a prince,
or whatever it is – somebody else will go and wash the dishes for
you. For those who believe in reincarnation, what you are in this
life matters very much, because what you do, how you behave,
what your thoughts are, what your activities are, so in the next life
depending on this, you either get a reward or you are punished. But
they do not care a pin about how they behave; for them it is just
another form of belief, just as the belief that there is heaven, God,
what you will. Actually all that matters is what you are now, today,
how you actually behave, not only outwardly but inwardly. The
West has its own form of consolation about death, it rationalizes it,
it has its own religious conditioning.
So, what is death, actually – the ending? The organism is going
to end, because it grows old, or from disease and accident. Very
few of us grow old beautifully because we are tortured entities, our
faces show it as we grow older – and there is the sadness of old age,
remembering the things of the past.
Can one die to everything that is `known,’ psychologically, from
day to day? Unless there is freedom from that,known, what is
`possible’ can never be captured. As it is, our `possibility’ is always
within the field of the `known; but when there is freedom, then that
`possibility’ is immense. Can one die, psychologically, to all one’s
past, to all the attachments, fears, to the anxiety, vanity, and pride,
so completely that tomorrow you wake up a fresh human being?
You will say, `How is this to be done, what is the method?’ There is no method, because `a method’ implies tomorrow; it implies that
you will practice and achieve something eventually, tomorrow,
after many tomorrows. But can you see immediately the truth of it
– see it actually, not theoretically – that the mind cannot be fresh,
innocent, young, vital, passionate, unless there is an ending,
psychologically, to everything of the past? But we do not want to
let the past go because we are the past; all our thoughts are based
on the past; all knowledge is the past; so the mind cannot let go;
any effort it makes to let go is still part of the past,the past hoping
to achieve a different state.
The mind must become extraordinarily quiet, silent; and it does
become extraordinarily quiet without any resistance, without any
system, when it sees this whole issue. Man has always sought
immortality; he paints a picture, puts his name on it, that is a form
of immortality; leaving a name behind, man always wants to leave
something of himself behind. What has he got to give – apart from
technological knowledge – what has he of himself to give? What is
he? You and I, what are we, psychologically? You may have a
bigger bank account, be cleverer than I am, or this and that; but
psychologically, what are we? – a lot of words, memories,
experiences, and these we want to hand over to a son, put in a
book, or paint in a picture, `me.’ The `me’ becomes extremely
important, the `me’ opposed to the community, the `me, wanting to
identity itself, wanting to fulfil itself, wanting to become
something great – you know, all the rest of it. When you observe
that `me,’ you see that it is a bundle of memories, empty words:
that is what we cling to; that is the very essence of the separation
between you and me, they and we. When you understand all this – observe it, not through another
but through yourself, watch it very closely, without any judgment,
evaluation, suppression, just to observe – then you will see that
love is only possible when there is death. Love is not memory, love
is not pleasure. It is said that love is related to sex – back again to
the division between profane love and sacred love, with approval
of one and condemnation of the other. Surely, love is none of these
things. One cannot come upon it, totally, completely, unless there
is a dying to the past, a dying to all the travail, conflict and sorrow;
then there is love; then one can do what one will.
As we said the other day, it is fairly easy to ask a question; but
ask it purposefully and keep with it until you have resolved it
totally for yourself; such asking has an importance; but to ask
casually has very little meaning. Questioner: If you do not have the
division between the `what is’ and the `what should be’ you might
become complacent, you would not worry about the terrible things
that are going on.
Krishnamurti: What is the reality of `what should be’? Has it
any reality at all? Man is violent but the `should be’ peaceful. What
is the reality of the `should be,’ and why do we have the `should
be`? If this division were to cease, would man become complacent,
accept everything? Would I accept violence if I had no ideal of
nonviolence? Nonviolence has been preached from the most
ancient days: don’t kill, be compassionate, and so on; and the fact
is, man is violent, that is `what is.’ If man accepts it as inevitable,
then he becomes complacent – as he is now. He has accepted war
as a way of life and he goes on, though a thousand sanctions,
religious, social, and otherwise, say, `Do not kill’ – not only man, but animals; but he does kill animals for food, and he does go to
war. So if there was no ideal at all you would be left with `what is’
Would that make one complacent? Or would you then have the
energy, the interest, the vitality, to solve `what is’? Is not the ideal
of nonviolence an escape from the fact of violence? When the
mind is not escaping, but is confronted with the fact of violence –
that it is violent, not condemning it, not judging it – then surely,
such a mind has an entirely different quality and there is no longer
violence. Such a mind does not accept violence; violence is not
merely hurting or killing somebody; violence is equally this
distortion, in conforming, imitating, following the social morality,
or following one’s own peculiar morality. Every form of control
and suppression is a form of distortion and therefore violence.
Surely, to understand `what is,’ there must be a tension, a
watchfulness to find out what actually is. What actually is, is the
division man has created by nationalism, which is one of the major
causes of war; we accept it, we worship the flag; and there are the
divisions created by religion, we are Christians, Buddhists, this or
that. Can we not be free of the `what is’ by observing the actual
fact? You can only be free of it when the mind does not distort
what is observed.
Questioner: What is the difference between conceptual seeing
and actual seeing?
Krishnamurti: Do you see a tree conceptually or actually? When
you see a flower, do you see it directly, or do you see it through the
screen of your particular knowledge, botanical or nonbotanical, or
through the pleasure it gives? How do you see it? If it is conceptual
seeing, that is to say, it is seen through thought, is it seen? Do you see your wife or your husband? – or do you see the image you have
about him or her? That image is the concept through which you see
conceptually; but when there is no image at all then you actually
see, then you are actually related.
So, what is the mechanism that builds the image, that prevents
us from actually seeing the tree, the wife, or the husband, or the
friend, or whatever it is? Obviously – although I hope I am wrong –
you have an image about me, about the speaker – no? If you have
an image about the speaker, you are really not listening to the
speaker at all. And when you look at your wife, or your husband,
and so on, and you look through an image, you are not actually
seeing the person, you are seeing the person through the image,
and therefore there is no relationship at all; you may say `I love
you’, but it has no meaning at all.
Can the mind stop forming images? – in the sense of which we
are speaking. It is only possible when the mind is completely
attentive at the moment, at the instant of the challenge or the
impression. To take a very simple example: you are flattered, you
like that, and the very `like’ builds the image. But if you listen to
that flattery with complete attention, neither liking nor disliking,
listen to it completely, wholly, then an image is not formed; you do
not call him your friend, and alternatively, the person who insults
you, you do not call him your enemy. `Image forming’ arises from
inattention; when there is attention there is no building up of any
concept. Do it; one finds out, very simply. When you give
complete attention to looking at a tree, or a flower or a cloud, then
there is no projection of your botanical knowledge, or your like or
dislike, you just look – which does not mean that you identify yourself with the tree, you cannot become the tree anyhow. If you
look at your wife, husband or friend without any image, then
relationship is something entirely different; then thought does not
come into it at all and there is a possibility of love.
Questioner: Are love and freedom concomitant?
Krishnamurti: Can we love without freedom? If we are not free,
can we love? If we are jealous, can we love? Frightened, can we
love? Or, if we are pursuing our own particular ambition in the
office and we come home and say `I love you, darling’ – is that
love? In the office we are brutal, cunning, and at home we try to be
docile, loving – is that possible? With one hand kill, with the other
hand love? Can the ambitious man ever love, or the competitive
man ever know what love means? We accept all these things and
social morality; but when we deny that social morality, completely,
with alI our being, then we are really moral – but we do not do that.
We are socially, morally, respectable, therefore we do not know
what love is. Without love we can never find out what truth is, nor
find out if there is such a thing – or not such a thing – as God. We
can only know what love is when we know how to die to
everything of yesterday, to all the images of pleasure, sexual or
otherwise; then, when there is love, which in itself is virtue, which
in itself is morality – all ethics are in it – then only does that reality,
that something which is not measurable, come into being.
Questioner: The individual, being in turmoil, creates society; to
change society are you advocating that the individual detach
himself, so as not to depend on society?
Krishnamurti: Is not the individual the society? You and I have
created this society, with our greed, with our ambition, with our nationalism, with our competitiveness, brutality, violence; that is
what we have done outwardly, because that is what we are
inwardly. The war that is going on in Vietnam, for that we are
responsible, you and I, actually, because we have accepted war as
the way of life. Are you suggesting that we detach ourselves? On
the contrary, how can you detach yourself from yourself? You are
part of this whole mess and can only be free of this ugliness, this
violence, everything that is actually there not by detachment, but
by learning, by watching, by understanding the whole thing in
yourself and thereby being free of all the violence. You cannot
detach yourself from yourself; and this gives rise to the problem of
`who’ is to do it. `Who’ is to detach `me’ from society, or,me, from
myself? The entity who wants to detach himself, is he not part of
the whole circus? To understand all this – that the `observer’ is not
different from the thing observed – is meditation; it requires a great
deal of penetration into oneself, non-analytically; by observing in
relationship with things, with property, with people, with ideas,
with nature, one comes upon this sense of complete freedom
London, March 20, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 3 LONDON
4TH PUBLIC TALK 23RD MARCH 1969
I should like to talk about something which I think is very
important; in the understanding of it we shall, perhaps, be able to
have for ourselves a total perception of life without any
fragmentation, so that we may act totally, freely, happily.
We are always seeking some form of mystery because we are so
dissatisfied with the life we lead, with the shallowness of our
activities, which have very little meaning and to which we try to
give significance, a meaning; but this is an intellectual act which
therefore remains superficial, tricky and in the end meaningless.
And yet knowing all this – knowing our pleasures are very soon
over, our everyday activities are routine; knowing also that our
problems, so many of them, can perhaps never be solved; not
believing in anything, nor having faith in traditional values, in the
teachers, in the gurus, in the sanctions of the Church or society –
knowing all this, most of us are always probing or seeking, trying
to find out something really worthwhile, something that is not
touched by thought, something that really has an extraordinary
sense of beauty and ecstasy. Most of us, I think, are trying to seek
out something that is enduring, that is not easily made corrupt. We
put aside the obvious and there is a deep longing – not emotional or
sentimental – a deep inquiry which might open the door to
something that is not measured by thought, something that cannot
be put into any category of faith or belief. But is there any meaning
to searching, to seeking? We are going to discuss the question of meditation; it is a rather
complex question and before we go into it, we have to be very
clear about this searching, this seeking for experience, trying to
find out a reality. We have to understand the meaning of seeking
and the searching out of truth, the intellectual groping after
something new, which is not of time, which is not brought about by
one’s demands, compulsions and despair. Is truth ever to be found
by seeking? Is it recognizable when one has found it? If one has,
can one say, `This the truth’ – `This is the real’? Has search any
meaning at all? Most religious people are always talking about
seeking truth; and we are asking if truth can ever be sought after. In
the idea of seeking, of finding, is there not also the idea of
recognition – the idea that if I find something I must be able to
recognize it? Does not recognition imply that I have already known
it? Is truth `recognizable’ – in the sense of its having already been
experienced, so that one is able to say, `This is it’? So what is the
value of seeking at all? Or, if there is no value in it, then is there
value only in constant observation, constant listening? – which is
not the same as seeking. When there is constant observation there
is no movement of the past. `To observe’ implies seeing very
clearly; to see very clearly there must be freedom, freedom from
resentment, freedom from enmity, from any prejudice or grudge,
freedom from all those memories that one has stored up as
knowledge, which interfere with seeing. When there is that quality,
that kind of freedom with constant observation – not only of the
things outside but also inwardly – of what is actually going on,
what then is the need of seeking at all? – for it is all there, the fact,
the `what is, it is observed. But the moment we want to change `what is’ into something else, the process of distortion takes place.
Observing freely, without any distortion, without any evaluation,
without any desire for pleasure, in just observing, we see that `what
is’ undergoes an extraordinary change.
Most of us try to fill our life with knowledge, with
entertainment, with spiritual aspirations and beliefs, which, as we
observe, have very little value; we want to experience something
transcendental, something beyond all worldly things, we want to
experience something immense, that has no borders, that has no
time. To `experience’ something immeasurable one must
understand the implications of ‘experience.’ Why do we want
`experience’ at all?
Please do not accept or deny what the speaker is saying, just
examine it. The speaker – let us again be definite about that matter –
has no value whatsoever. (It’s like the telephone, you do not obey
what the telephone says. The telephone has no authority, but you
listen to it.) If you listen with care. there is in that, affection, not
agreement or disagreement, but a quality of mind that says, `Let’s
see what you’re talking about, let us see if it has any value at all, let
us see what is true and what is false.’ Do not accept or deny, but
observe and listen, not only to what is being said, but also to your
reactions, to your distortions, as you are listening; see your
prejudices, your opinions, your images, your experiences, see how
they are going to prevent you from listening.
We are asking: what is the significance of experience? Has it
any significance? Can experience wake up a mind that is asleep,
that has come to certain conclusions and is held and conditioned by
beliefs? Can experience wake it up, shatter all that structure? Can such a mind – so conditioned, so burdened by its own innumerable
problems and despairs and sorrows – respond to any challenge? –
can it? And if it does respond, must not the response be inadequate
and therefore lead to more conflict? Always to seek for wider,
deeper, transcendental experience, is a form of escape from the
actual reality of `what is,’ which is ourselves, our own conditioned
mind. A mind that is extraordinarily awake, intelligent, free, why
should it need, why should it have, any `experience’ at all? Light is
light, it does not ask for more light. The desire for more
`experience’ is escape from the actual, the `what is’.
If one is free from this everlasting search, free from the demand
and the desire to experience something extraordinary, then we can
proceed to find out what meditation is. That word – like the words
`love,’ `death,’ `beauty,’ `happiness’ – is so loaded. There are so
many schools which teach you how to meditate. But to understand
what meditation is, one must lay the foundation of righteous
behaviour. Without that foundation, meditation is really a form of
self-hypnosis; without being free from anger, jealousy, envy,
greed, acquisitiveness, hate, competition, the desire for success –
all the moral, respectable forms of what is considered righteous –
without laying the right foundation, without actually living a daily
life free of the distortion of personal fear, anxiety, greed and so on,
meditation has very little meaning. The laying of that foundation is
all-important. So one asks: what is virtue? What is morality?
Please do not say that this question is bourgeois, that is has no
meaning in a society which is permissive, which allows anything.
We are not concerned with that kind of society; we are concerned
with a life completely free from fear, a life which is capable of deep, abiding love. Without that, meditation becomes a deviation;
it is like taking a drug – as so many have done – to have an
extraordinary experience and yet leading a shoddy little life. Those
who take drugs do have some strange experiences, they see
perhaps a little more colour, they become perhaps a little more
sensitive, and being sensitive, in that chemical state, they do
perhaps see things without space between the `observer’ and the
thing observed; but when the chemical effect is over, they are back
to where they were with fear, with boredom, back again in the old
routine – so they have to take the drug again.
Unless one lays the foundation of virtue, meditation becomes a
trick to control the mind, to make the mind quiet, to force the mind
to conform to the pattern of a system that says, `Do these things
and you will have great reward.’ But such a mind – do what you
will with all the methods and the systems that are offered – will
remain small, petty, conditioned, and therefore worthless. One has
to inquire into what virtue is, what behaviour is. Is behaviour the
result of environ- mental conditioning, of a society, of a culture, in
which one has been brought up? – you behave according to that. Is
that virtue? Or does virtue lie in freedom from the social morality
of greed, envy and all the rest of it? – which is considered highly
respectable. Can virtue be cultivated? – and if it can be cultivated
then does it not become a mechanical thing and therefore have no
virtue at all? Virtue is something that is living, flowing, that is
constantly renewing itself, it cannot possibly be put together in
time; it is like suggesting that you can cultivate humility. Can you
cultivate humility? It is only the vain man that `cultivates’ humility;
whatever he may cultivate he will still remain vain. But in seeing very clearly the nature of vanity and pride, in that very seeing there
is freedom from that vanity and pride – and in that there is humility.
When this is very clear then we can proceed to find out what
meditation is. If one cannot do this very deeply, in a most real and
serious way – not just for one or two days then drop it – please do
not talk about meditation. Meditation, if you understand what it is,
is one of the most extraordinary things; but you cannot possibly
understand it unless you have come to the end of seeking, groping,
wanting, greedily clutching at something which you consider truth
– which is your own projection. You cannot come to it unless you
are no longer demanding `experience’ at all, but are understanding
the confusion in which one lives, the disorder of one’s own life. In
the observation of that disorder, order comes – which is not a
blueprint. When you have done this – which in itself is meditation –
then we can ask, not only what meditation is, but also what
meditation is not, because in the denial of that which is false, the
Any system, any method, that teaches you how to meditate is
obviously false. One can see why, intellectually, logically, for if
you practice something according to a method – however noble,
however ancient, however modern, however popular – you are
making yourself mechanical, you are doing something over and
over again in order to achieve something. In meditation the end is
not different from the means. But the method promises you
something; it is a means to an end. If the means is mechanical, then
the end is also something brought about by the machine; the
mechanical minds says, `I’ll get something.’ One has to be
completely free from all methods, all systems; that is already the beginning of meditation; you are already denying something which
is utterly false and meaningless. And again, there are those who
practice ‘awareness.’ Can you practice awareness? – if you are
`practicing’ awareness, then you are all the time being inattentive.
So, be aware of inattention, not practice how to be attentive; if you
are aware of your inattention, out of that awareness there is
attention, you do not have to practice it. Do please understand this,
it is so clear and so simple. You do not have to go to Burma,
China, India, places which are romantic but not factual. I
remember once travelling in a car, in India, with a group of people.
I was sitting in front with the driver, there were three behind who
were talking about awareness, wanting to discuss with me what
awareness is. The car was going very fast. A goat was in the road
and the driver did not pay much attention and ran over the poor
animal. The gentlemen behind were discussing what is awareness;
they never knew what had happened! You laugh; but that is what
we are all doing, we are intellectually concerned with the idea of
awareness, the verbal, dialectical investigation of opinion, yet not
actually aware of what is taking place.
There is no practice, only the living thing. And there comes the
question: how is thought to be controlled? Thought wanders all
over the place; you want to think about something, it is off on
something else. They say practice, control; think about a picture, a
sentence, or whatever it is, concentrate; thought buzzes off in
another direction, so you pull it back and this battle goes on,
backward and forward. So one asks: what is the need for control of
thought at all and who is the entity that is going to control thought?
Please follow this closely. Unless one understands this real question, one will not be able to see what meditation means. When
one says, ‘I must control thought,’ who is the controller, the censor?
Is the censor different from the thing he wants to control, shape or
change into a different quality? – are they not both the same? What
happens when the `thinker’ sees that he is the thought – which he is
– that the `experiencer’ is the experience? Then what is one to do?
Are you following the question? The thinker is the thought and
thought wanders off; then the thinker, thinking he is separate, says,
`I must control it.’ Is the thinker different from the thing called
thought? If there is no thought, is there a thinker?
What takes place when the thinker sees he is the thought What
actually takes place when the `thinker’ is the thought as the
`observer’ is the observed? What takes place? In that there is no
separation, no division and therefore no conflict therefore thought
is no longer to be controlled, shaped; then what takes place? Is
there then any wandering of thought at all? Before, there was
control of thought, there was concentration of thought, there was
the conflict between the `thinker’ who wanted to control thought,
and thought wandering off. That goes on all the time with all of us.
Then there is the sudden realization that the `thinker’ is the thought
– a realization, not a verbal statement, but an actuality. Then what
takes place? Is there such a thing as thought wandering? It is only
when the `observer’ is different from thought that he censors it;
then he can say, `This is right or this is wrong thought,’ or
`Thought is wandering away I must control it,` But when the
thinker realizes that he is the thought, is there a wandering at all?
Go into it, sirs, don’t accept it, you will see it for yourself. It is only
when there is a resistance that there is conflict; the resistance is created by the thinker who thinks he is separate from the thought;
but when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, there is no
resistance – which does not mean that thought goes all over the
place and does what it likes, on the contrary.
The whole concept of control and concentration undergoes a
tremendous change; it becomes attention, something entirely
different. If one understands the nature of attention, that attention
can be focused, one understands that it is quite different from
concentration, which is exclusion. Then you will ask, `Can I do
anything without concentration?’ `Do I not need concentration in
order to do anything?’ But can you not do something with
attention? – which is not concentration. `Attention’ implies to
attend, that is to listen, hear, see, with all the totality of your being,
with your body, with your nerves, with your eyes, with your ears,
with your mind, with your heart, completely. In that total attention
– in which there is no division – you can do anything; and in such
attention is no resistance. So then, the next thing is, can the mind in
which is included the brain – the brain being conditioned, the brain
being the result of thousands of thousands of years of evolution,
the brain which is the storehouse of memory – can that become
quiet? Because it is only when the total mind is silent, quiet, that
there is perception, seeing clearly, with a mind that is not confused.
How can the mind be quiet, be still? I do not know if you have seen
for yourself that to look at a beautiful tree, or a cloud full of light
and glory, you must look completely, silently, otherwise you are
not looking directly at it, you are looking at it with some image of
pleasure, or the memory of yesterday, you are not actually looking
at it, you are looking at the image rather than at the fact. So, one asks, can the totality of the mind, the brain included, be
completely still? People have asked this question – really very
serious people – they have not been able to solve it, they have tried
tricks, they have said that the mind can be made still through the
repetition of words. Have you ever tried it – repeating `Ave Maria,’
or those Sanskrit words that some people bring over from India,
mantras – repeating certain- words to make the mind still? It does
not matter what word it is, make it rhythmic-Coca Cola, any word –
repeat it often and you will see that your mind becomes quiet; but
it is a dull mind, it is not a sensitive mind, alert, active, vital,
passionate, intense. A dull mind though it may say, `I have had
tremendous transcendental experience,’ is deceiving itself.
So it is not in the repetition of words, nor in trying to force it;
too many tricks have been played upon the mind for it to be quiet;
yet one knows deeply within oneself that when the mind is quiet
then the whole thing is over, that then there is true perception.
How is the mind, the brain included, to be completely quiet?
Some say breathe properly, take deep breaths, that is, get more
oxygen into your blood; a shoddy little mind breathing very
deeply, day after day, can be fairly quiet; but it is still what it is, a
shoddy little mind. Or practice yoga? – again, so many things are
involved in this. Yoga means skill in action, not merely the
practice of certain exercises which are necessary to keep the body
healthy, strong, sensitive – which includes eating the right food, not
stuffing it with a lot of meat and so on (we won’t go into all that,
you are all probably meat eaters). Skill in action demands great
sensitivity of the body, a lightness of the body, eating the right
food, not what your tongue dictates, or what you are used to. Then what is one to do? Who puts this question? One sees very
clearly that our lives are in disorder, inwardly and outwardly; and
yet order is necessary, as orderly as mathematical order and that
can come about only by observing the disorder, not by trying to
conform to the blueprint of what others may consider, or you
yourself may consider, order. By seeing, by being aware of the
disorder, out of that comes order. One also sees that the mind must
be extraordinarily quiet, sensitive, alert, not caught in any habit,
physical or psychological; how is that to come about? Who puts
this question? Is the question put by the mind that chatters, the
mind that has so much knowledge? Has it learned a new thing? –
which is, `I can see very clearly only when I am quiet, therefore, I
must be quiet.’ Then it says, `How am I to be quiet?’ Surely such a
question is wrong in itself; the moment it asks `how’ it is looking
for a system, therefore destroying the very thing that is being
inquired into, which is: how can the mind be completely still? – not
mechanically, not forced, not compelled to be still. A mind that is
not compelled to be still is extraordinarily active, sensitive, alert.
But when you ask `how’ then there is the division between the
observer and the thing observed.
When you realize that there is no method, no system, that no
mantram, no teacher, nothing in the world that is going to help you
to be quiet, when you realize the truth that it is only the quiet mind
that sees, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet. It is like
seeing danger and avoiding it; in the same way, seeing that the
mind must be completely quiet, it is quiet.
Now the quality of silence matters. A very small mind can be
very quiet, it has its little space in which to be quiet; that little space, with its little quietness, is the deadest thing – you know what
it is. But a mind that has limitless space and that quietness, that
stillness, has no centre as the `me’, the `observer,’ is quite different.
In that silence there is no `observer’ at all; that quality of silence
has vast space, it is without border and intensely active; the activity
of that silence is entirely different from the activity which is self-
centred. If the mind has gone that far (and really it is not that far, it
is always there if you know how to look), then perhaps that which
man has sought throughout the centuries, God, truth, the
immeasurable, the nameless, the timeless, is there – without your
invitation, it is there. Such a man is blessed, there is truth for him
Shall we talk this over, ask questions? You might say to me,
`What value has all this in daily life? I’ve got to live, go to the
office; there is the family, there is the boss, competition – what has
all this got to do with it?’ Do you not ask that question? If you ask
it, then you have not followed all that has been said this morning.
Meditation is not something different from daily life; do not go off
into the corner of a room and meditate for ten minutes, then come
out of it and be a butcher – both metaphorically and actually.
Meditation is one of the most serious things; you do it all day, in
the office, with the family, when you say to somebody, `I love
you» when you are considering your children, when you educate
them to become soldiers, to kill, to be nationalized, worshipping
the flag, educating them to enter into this trap of the modern world;
watching all that, realizing your part in it, all that is part of
meditation. And when you so meditate you will find in it an
extraordinary beauty; you will act rightly at every moment; and if you do not act rightly at a given moment it does not matter, you
will pick it up again – you will not waste time in regret. Meditation
is part of life, not something different from life.
Questioner: Can you say something about laziness?
Krishnamurti: Laziness – first of all, what is wrong with
laziness? Do not let us confuse laziness with leisure. Most of us,
unfortunately, are lazy and inclined to be indolent, so we whip
ourselves to be active therefore we become more lazy. The more I
resist laziness the more I become lazy. But look at laziness, in the
morning when I get up feeling terribly lazy, not wanting to do so
many things. Why has the body become lazy? – probably one has
overeaten, overindulged sexually, one has done everything the
previous day and night to make the body heavy, dull; and the body
says for God’s sake leave me alone for a little while; and one wants
to whip it, make it active; but one does not correct the way of one’s
life, so one takes a pill to be active. But if one observes, one will
see that the body has its own intelligence; it requires a great deal of
intelligence to observe the intelligence of the body. One forces it,
one drives it; one is used to meat, one drinks, smokes, you know all
the rest of it and therefore the body itself loses its own intrinsic
organic intelligence. To allow the body to act intelligently, the
mind has to become intelligent and not allow itself to interfere with
the body. You try it and you will see that laziness undergoes a
There is also the question of leisure. People are having more
and more leisure, especially in the well-to-do societies. What does
one do with the leisure? – that is becoming the problem: more
amusement, more cinemas, more television, more books, more chatter, more boating, more cricket: you know up and out, filling
the leisure time with all kinds of activity. The Church says fill it
with God, go to church, pray – all those tricks which they have
done before, which is but another form of entertainment. Or one
talks endlessly about this and that. You have leisure; will you use it
to turn outwardly or inwardly? Life is not just the inward life; life
is a movement, it is like the tide going out and coming in. What
will you do with leisure? Become more learned, more able to quote
books? Will you go out lecturing (which I do unfortunately), or go
inwardly very deeply? To go inward very deeply, the outer must
also be understood. The more you understand the outer – not
merely the fact of the distance between here and the moon,
technological knowledge, but the outward movements of society,
of nations, the wars, the hate that there is – when you understand
the outer then you can go very deeply inwardly and that inward
depth has no limit. You do not say, `I have reached the end, this is
enlightenment.’ Enlightenment cannot be given by another;
enlightenment comes when there is the understanding of confusion;
and to understand confusion one must look at it.
Questioner: If you say that the thinker and the thought are not
separate; and that if one thinks that the thinker is separate and
thereby tries to control thought, that that merely bring back the
struggle and the complexity of the mind; that there cannot be
stillness that way, then I do not understand – if the thinker is the
thought – how the separation arises in the first place. How can
thought fight against itself?
Krishnamurti: How does the separation between the thinker and
the thought arise when they are actually one? Is that so with you? Is it actually a fact that the thinker is the thought – or do you think
it should be that way, therefore it is not an actuality for you? To
realize that, you have to have great energy; that is to say, when you
see a tree you have to have the energy not to have this division as,
me, and the tree. To realize that, you need tremendous energy; then
there is no division and therefore no conflict between the two;
there is no control. But as most of us are conditioned to this idea,
that the thinker is different from thought – then the conflict arises.
Questioner: Why do we find ourselves so difficult?
Krishnamurti: Because we have very complex minds – have we
not? We are not simple people who look at things simply we have
complex minds. And society evolves, becoming more and more
complex – like our own minds. To understand something very
complex one has to be very simple. To understand something
complex, a very complex problem, you must look at the problem
itself without bringing into the investigation all the conclusions,
answers, suppositions and theories. When you look at the problem
– and knowing that the answer is in the problem – your mind
becomes very simple; the simplicity is in the observation, not in the
problem which may be complex.
Questioner: How can I see the whole thing, everything, as
whole? Krishnamurti: One is used to looking at things
fragmentarily, seeing the tree as something separate, the wife as
separate, the office, the boss – everything in fragments. How can I
see the world, of which I am a part, completely, totally, not in
divisions? Now, just listen, Sir, just listen: who is going to answer
that question? Who is going to tell you how to look – the speaker?
You have put the question and you are waiting for an answer – from whom? If the question is really very serious – I am not saying
your question is wrong – if the question is really serious, then what
is the problem? The problem then is: `I can’t see things totally,
because I look at everything in fragments!’ When does the mind
look at things in fragments? Why? Love my wife and hate my
boss! – You understand? If I love my wife I must also love
everybody. No? Don’t say yes, because you do not; you do not love
your wife and children, you do not, although you may talk about it.
If you love your wife and children, you will educate them
differently, you will care, not financially, but in a different way.
Only when there is love, is there no division. You understand, Sir?
When you hate there is division, then you are anxious, greedy,
envious, brutal, violent; but when you love – not love with your
mind, love is not a word, love is not pleasure – when you really
love, then pleasure, sex and so on have quite a different quality; in
that love there is no division. Division arises when there is fear.
When you love there is no `me’ and `you,’ `we’ and `they.’ But now
you will say, `How am I to love? How am I to get that perfume?’
There is only one answer to that; look at yourself, observe yourself;
do not beat yourself, but observe, and out of this observation,
seeing things as they are, then, perhaps you will have that love. But
one has to work very hard at observation, not being lazy, not being
London, March 23, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 4
AMSTERDAM 1ST PUBLIC TALK 3RD MAY
1969 ‘CAN MAN CHANGE?’
Krishnamurti: We look at conditions prevailing in the world and
observe what is happening there – the students’ riots, the class
prejudices, the conflict of black against white, the wars, the
political confusion, the divisions caused by nationalities and
religions. We are also aware of conflict, struggle, anxiety,
loneliness, despair, lack of love, and fear. Why do we accept all
this? Why do we accept the moral, social environment knowing
very well that it is utterly immoral; knowing this for ourselves – not
merely emotionally or sentimentally but looking at the world and at
ourselves – why do we live this way? Why is it that our educational
system does not turn out real human beings but mechanical entities
trained to accept certain jobs and finally die? Education, science
and religion have not solved our problems at all.
Looking at all this confusion, why does each one of us accept
and conform, instead of shattering the whole process in our.
selves? I think we should ask this question, not intellectually, nor
in order to find some god, some realization, some peculiar
happiness which inevitably leads to escapes of various kinds, but
looking at it quietly, with steady eyes, without any judgment and
evaluation. We should ask, as grown-up people, why it is that we
live this way – live, struggle and die. And when we do ask such a
question seriously, with full intention to understand it,
philosophies, theories, speculative ideations have no place at all.
What matters is not what should be or what might be or what principle we should follow, what kind of ideals we should have or
to what religion or to which guru we should turn. All those
responses are obviously utterly meaningless when you are
confronted with this confusion, with the misery and constant
conflict in which we live. We have made life into a battlefield,
each family, each group, each nation against the other. Seeing all
this, not as an idea, but as something which you actually observe,
are confronted with, you will ask yourself what it is all about. Why
do we go on in this way, neither living nor loving, but full of fear
and terror till we die?
When you ask this question, what will you do? It cannot be
asked by those people who are comfortably settled in familiar
ideals, in a comfortable house, with a little money and who are
highly respectable, bourgeois. If they do ask questions, such people
translate them according to their individual demands for
satisfaction. But as this is a very human, ordinary problem, which
touches the life of everyone of us, rich and poor, young and old,
why do we live this monotonous, meaningless life, going to the
office or working in a laboratory or a factory for forty years,
breeding a few children, educating them in absurd ways, and then
dying? I think you should ask this question with all your being, in
order to find out. Then you can ask the next question: whether
human beings can ever change radically, fundamentally, so that
they look at the world anew with different eyes, with a different
heart, no longer filled with hatred, antagonism, racial prejudices,
but with a mind that is very clear, that has tremendous energy.
Seeing all this – the wars, the absurd divisions which religions
have brought about, the separation between the individual and the community, the family opposed to the rest of the world, each
human being clinging to some peculiar ideal, dividing himself into
`me’ and `you,’ `we’ and `they’ – seeing all this, both objectively and
psychologically, there remains only one question, one fundamental
problem and this is whether the human mind, which is so heavily
conditioned, can change. Not in some future incarnation, nor at the
end of life, but change radically now, so that the mind becomes
new, fresh, young, innocent, unburdened, so that we know what it
means to love and to live in peace. I think this is the only problem.
When this is solved, every other problem, economic or social, all
those things which lead to wars will end, and there will be a
different structure of society.
So our question is, whether the mind, the brain and the heart can
live as though for the first time, uncontaminated, fresh, innocent,
knowing what it means to live happily, ecstatically with deep love.
You know, there is danger in listening to rhetorical questions; this
is not a rhetorical question at all – it is our life. We are not
concerned with words or with ideas. Most of us are caught up with
words, never realizing deeply that the word is never the thing, the
description is never the thing described. And if we could, during
these talks, try to understand this deep problem, how the human
mind – involving as it does, the brain, the mind and the heart – has
been conditioned through centuries, by propaganda, fear and other
influences, then we could ask whether that mind can undergo a
radical transformation; so that men can live peacefully throughout
the world, with great love, with great ecstasy and the realization of
that which is immeasurable.
This is our problem, whether the mind, which is so burdened with past memories and traditions, can without effort, struggle or
conflict, bring about the flame of change within itself and burn
away the dross of yesterday. Having put that question – which I am
sure every thoughtful, serious person asks – where shall we begin?
Shall we begin with change in the bureaucratic world, in the social
structure, outwardly? Or shall we start inwardly, that is
psychologically? Shall we consider the outside world, with all its
technological knowledge, the marvels of what man has done in the
scientific field, shall we begin there and bring about a revolution?
Man has tried that, too. He has said, when you change the outer
things radically, as all the bloody revolutions of history have done,
then man will change and he will be a happy human being. The
Communist and other revolutions have said: bring about order
outside and there will be order within. They have also said that it
doesn’t matter if there is no order within, what matters is that we
should have order in the world outside – ideational order, a Utopia,
in the name of which millions have been killed.
So let us begin inwardly, psychologically. This doesn’t mean
that you let the present social order, with all its confusion and
disorder, remain as it is. But is there a division between inner and
outer? Or is there only one movement in which the inner and the
outer exist, not as two separate things but simply as movement? I
think it is very important, if we are to establish not only verbal
communication – speaking English as our common language, using
words that we both understand – also to make use of a different
kind of communication; because we are going to go into things
very deeply and very seriously, so there must be communication
within and beyond verbal communication. There must be communion, which implies that both of us are profoundly
concerned, care, and look at this problem with affection, with an
urge to understand it. So there must be not only verbal
communication, but also a deep communion in which there is no
question of agreement or disagreement. Agreement and
disagreement should never arise, because we are not dealing with
ideas, opinions, concepts or ideals – we are concerned with the
problem of human change. And neither your opinion nor my
opinion has any value at all. If you say that it is impossible to
change human beings, who have been like this for thousands of
years, you have already blocked yourself, you will not proceed,
you will not begin to inquire or to explore. Or if you merely say
that this is possible, then you live in a world of possibilities, not of
So one must come to this question without saying it is or it is
not possible to change. One must come to it with a fresh mind,
eager to find out, young enough to examine and explore. We must
not only establish clear, verbal communication, but there should be
communion between the speaker and yourself, a feeling of
friendship and affection which exists when we are all tremendously
concerned about something. When husband and wife are deeply
concerned about their children, they put aside all opinions, their
particular likes and dislikes, because they are concerned about the
child. In that concern there is great affection, it is not an opinion
that controls action. Similarly there must be that feeling of deep
communion between you and the speaker, so that we are both faced
with the same problem with the same intensity at the same time.
Then we can establish this communion which alone brings about a deep understanding.
So there is this question as to how the mind, deeply conditioned
as it is, can change radically. I hope you are putting this question to
yourself, because unless there is morality which is not social
morality, unless there is austerity which is not the austerity of the
priest with his harshness and violence, unless there is order deeply
within, this search for truth, for reality, for God – or for whatever
name you like to give it – has no meaning at all. Perhaps those of
you who have come here to find out how to realize God or how to
have some mysterious experience, will be disappointed; because
unless you have a new mind, a fresh mind, eyes that see what is
true, you cannot possibly understand the immeasurable, the
nameless, that which is.
If you merely want wider, deeper experiences but lead a
shoddy, meaningless life, then you will have experiences that won’t
be worth anything. We must go into this together – you will find
this question very complex because many things are involved in it.
To understand it there must be freedom and energy; those two
things we must all have – great energy and freedom to observe. If
you are tied to a particular belief, if you are tethered to a particular
ideational Utopia, obviously you are not free to look.
There is this complex mind, conditioned as Catholic or Pro-
testant, looking for security, bound by ambition and tradition. For a
mind that has become shallow – except in the technological field –
going to the moon is a marvellous achievement. But those who
built the spacecraft lead their own shoddy lives, petty, jealous,
anxious and ambitious and their minds are conditioned. We are
asking whether such minds can be completely free from all conditioning, so that a totally different kind of life can be lived. To
find this out, there must be freedom to observe, not as a Christian,
a Hindu, a Dutchman, a German, or a Russian or as anything else.
To observe very clearly there must be freedom, which implies that
the very observation is action. That very observation brings about a
radical revolution. To be capable of such observation, you need
So we are going to find out why human beings do not have the
energy, the drive, the intensity to change. They have any amount of
energy to quarrel, to kill each other, to divide the world, to go to
the moon – they have got energy for these things. But apparently
they have not the energy to change themselves radically. So we are
asking why haven’t we this necessary energy?
I wonder what your response is when such a question is put to
you? We said, man has enough energy to hate; when there is a war
he fights, and when he wants to escape from what really is, he has
the energy to run away from it – through ideas, through
amusements, through gods, through drink. When he wants
pleasure, sexual or otherwise, he pursues these things with great
energy. He has the intelligence to overcome his environment, he
has the energy to live at the bottom of the sea or to live in the skies
– for this he has got vital energy. But apparently he has not the
energy to change even the smallest habit. Why? Because we
dissipate that energy in conflict within ourselves. We are not trying
to persuade you of anything, we are not making propaganda, we
are not replacing old ideas with new ones. We are trying to
discover, to understand. You see, we realize that we must change.
Let us take as an example violence and brutality – those are facts. Human beings are brutal and violent; they have built a society
which is violent in spite of all that the religions have said about
loving your neighbour and loving God. All these things are just
ideas, they have no value whatsoever, because man remains brutal,
violent and selfish. And being violent, he invents the opposite,
which is nonviolence. Please go into this with me.
Man is trying all the time to become nonviolent. So there is
conflict between what is, which is violence, and what should be,
which is nonviolence. There is conflict between the two. That is
the very essence of wastage of energy. As long as there is duality
between what is and what should be – man trying to become
something else, making an effort to achieve what `should be’ – that
conflict is waste of energy. As long as there is conflict between the
opposites, man has not enough energy to change. Why should I
have the opposite at all, as nonviolence, as the ideal? The ideal is
not real, it has no meaning, it only leads to various forms of
hypocrisy; being violent and pretending not to be violent. Or if you
say you are an idealist and will eventually become peaceful, that is
a great pretense, an excuse, because it will take many years for you
to be without violence – indeed it may never happen. In the
meantime you are a hypocrite and still violent. So if we can, not in
abstraction but actually, put aside completely all ideals and only
deal with the fact – which is violence – then there is no wastage of
energy. This is really very important to understand, it isn’t a
particular theory of the speaker. As long as man lives in the
corridor of opposites he must waste energy and therefore he can
So with one breath you could wipe away all ideologies, all opposites. Please go into it and understand this; it is really quite
extraordinary what takes place. If a man who is angry pretends or
tries not to be angry, in that there is conflict. But if he says, `I will
observe what anger is, not try to escape or rationalize it,’ then there
is energy to understand and put an end to anger. If we merely
develop an idea that the mind must be free from conditioning, there
will remain a duality between the fact and what `should be.’
Therefore it is a waste of energy. Whereas if you say, `I will find
out in what manner the mind is conditioned,’ it is like going to the
surgeon when one has cancer. The surgeon is concerned with
operating and removing the disease. But if the patient is thinking
about what a marvellous time he is going to have afterward, or is
frightened about the operation, that is waste of energy.
We are concerned only with the fact that the mind is
conditioned and not that the mind `should be free.’ If the mind is
unconditioned it is free. So we are going to find out, examine very
closely, what makes the mind so conditioned, what are the
influences that have brought about this conditioning, and why we
accept it. First of all, tradition plays an enormous part in life. In
that tradition the brain has developed so that it can find physical
security. One cannot live without security, that is the very first,
primary animal demand, that there be physical security; one must
have a house, food and clothing. But the psychological way in
which we use this necessity for security brings about chaos within
and without. The psyche, which is the very structure of thought,
also want to be secure inwardly, in all its relationships. Then the
trouble begins. There must be physical security for everybody, not
only for the few; but that physical security for everybody is denied when psychological security is sought through nations, through
religions, through the family. I hope you understand and that we
have established some kind of communication between us.
So there is the necessary conditioning for physical security, but
when there is the search and the demand for psychological
security, then conditioning becomes tremendously potent. That is,
psychologically, in our relationship with ideas, people and things,
we want security, but is there security at all, in any relationship?
Obviously there is not. Wanting security psycho- logically is to
deny outward security. If I want to be secure psychologically as a
Hindu, with all the traditions, superstitions and ideas, I identify
myself with the larger unit which gives me great comfort. So I
worship the flag, the nation, the tribe and separate myself from the
rest of the world. And this division obviously brings about
insecurity physically. When I worship the nation, the customs, the
religious dogmas, the superstitions, I separate myself within these
categories and then obviously I must deny physical security for
everybody else. The mind needs physical security, which is denied
when it seeks psychological security. This is a fact, not an opinion
– it is so. When I seek security in my family, my wife, my children,
my house, I must be against the world, I must separate myself from
other families, be against the rest of the world.
One can see very clearly how the conditioning begins, how two
thousand years of propaganda in the Christian world has made it
worship its culture, while the same kind of thing has been going on
in the East. So the mind through propaganda, through tradition,
through the desire to be secure, begins to condition itself. But is
there any security psychologically, in relationship with ideas, with people and with things?
If relationship means being in contact with things directly, you
are unrelated if you are not in contact. If I have an idea, an image
about my wife I am not related to her. I may sleep with her but I
am not related to her, because my image of her prevents my
directly coming into contact with her. And she, with her image,
prevents a direct relationship with me. Is there any psychological
certainty or security such as the mind is always seeking? Obviously
when you observe any relationship very closely, there is no
certainty. In the case of husband and wife or boy and girl who want
to establish a firm relationship, what happens? When the wife or
the husband looks at anyone else there is fear, jealousy, anxiety,
anger and hatred there is no permanent relationship. Yet the mind
all the time wants the feeling of belonging.
So that is the factor of conditioning, through propaganda,
newspapers, magazines, from the pulpit, and one becomes
tremendously aware how necessary it is not to rely on outside
influences at all. You then find out what it means not to be
influenced. Please follow this. When you read a newspaper you are
influenced, consciously or unconsciously. When you read a novel
or a book you are influenced; there is pressure, strain, to put what
you read into some category. That is the whole purpose of
propaganda. It begins at school and you go through life repeating
what others have said. You are therefore secondhand human
beings. How can such a secondhand human being find out
something that is original, that is true? It is very important to
understand what conditioning is and to go into this very deeply; as
you look at it you have the energy to break down all those conditionings that hold the mind.
Perhaps now you would like to ask questions and so go into this
matter, bearing in mind that it is very easy to ask questions, but to
ask the right question is one of the most difficult things. Which
doesn’t mean the speaker is preventing you from asking questions.
We must ask questions, we must doubt everything anybody has
said, books, religions, authorities, everything! We must question,
doubt, be sceptical. But we must also know when to let scepticism
go by and to ask the right question, because in that very question
lies the answer. So if you want to ask questions, please do.
Questioner: Sir, are you crazy?
Krishnamurti: Are you asking the speaker if is he crazy? Good.
I wonder what you mean by that word `crazy; do you mean
unbalanced, mentally ill, with peculiar ideas, neuro- tic? All these
are implied in that word `crazy.’ Who is the judge – you or I or
somebody else? Seriously, who is the judge? Will the crazy person
judge who is crazy and who is not crazy? If you judge whether the
speaker is balanced or unbalanced, is not judgment part of the
craziness of this world? To judge somebody, not knowing a thing
about him except his reputation, the image that you have about
him. If you judge according to the reputation and the propaganda
which you have swallowed, then are you capable of judging?
judgment implies vanity; whether the judge be neurotic or sane,
there is always vanity. Can vanity perceive what is true? – or do
you not need great humility to look, to understand, to love. Sir,it’s
one of the most difficult things to be sane in this abnormal, insane
world. Sanity implies having no illusion, no image at all about
oneself or about another. You say, `I am this, I am that, I am great, I am small, I am good, I am noble; all those epithets are images
about oneself. When one has an image about oneself one is surely
insane, one lives in a world of illusion. And I am afraid most of us
do. When you call yourself a Dutchman – forgive me for saying so
– you are not quite balanced. You separate yourself, isolate yourself
– as others do when they call themselves Hindus. These
nationalistic, religious divisions, with their armies, with their
priests, indicate a state of mental insanity.
Questioner: Can you understand violence without having the
opposite of it?
Krishnamurti: When the mind wants to stay with violence it
invites the ideal of nonviolence. Look, that is very simple. I want
to remain with violence, which is what I am, what human beings
are – brutal. But I have the tradition of ten thousand years which
says, `Cultivate nonviolence’. So there is the fact that I am violent
and thought says, `Look, you must be nonviolent.’ That is my
conditioning. How am I to be free of my conditioning so that I
look, so that I remain with violence and understand it, go through it
and finish with it? – not only at the superficial level but also deep
down, at the so-called unconscious level. How is the mind not to be
caught in the ideal? Is that the question?
Please listen. We are not talking about Martin Luther King or
Mr.Gandhi, or X, Y, Z. We are not concerned with these people at
all – they have their ideals, their conditioning, their political
ambitions, and I am not concerned with any of that. We are dealing
with what we are, you and I, the human beings we are. As human
beings we are violent, we are conditioned through tradition,
propaganda, culture, to create the opposite; we use the opposite when it suits us and we don’t use it if it doesn’t suit us. We use it
politically or spiritually in different ways. But what we are now
saying is that when the mind wants to stay with violence and
understand it completely, tradition and habit come in and interfere.
They say, `You must have the ideal of nonviolence.’ There is the
fact and there is the tradition. How is the mind to break away from
the tradition in order to give all this attention to violence? That is
the question. Have you understood it? There is the fact that I am
violent, and there is the tradition which says I must not be. Now I
will look, not at violence, but at the tradition only. If it interferes
with my wanting to pay attention to violence, why does it
interfere? Why does it come in? My concern is not understanding
violence, but understanding the interference of tradition. Have you
got it? I give my attention to that, and then it doesn’t interfere. So I
find out why tradition plays such an important part in one’s life –
tradition being habit. Whether it is the habit of smoking, or
drinking, a sexual habit or habit of speech – why do we live in
habits? Are we aware of them? Are we aware of our traditions? If
you are not completely aware, if you do not understand the
tradition, the habit, the routine, then it is bound to impinge, to
interfere with what you want to look at. It is one of the easiest
things to live in habits, but to break this down implies a great many
things – I may lose my job. When I try to break through I am
afraid, because to live in habit gives me security, makes me feel
certain, because all other human beings are doing the same. To
stand up in a Dutch world suddenly and say `I am not a Dutchman’
produces a shock. So there is fear. And if you say `I am against this
whole established order, which is disorder» you’ll be thrown out; so you are afraid, and you accept. Tradition plays an extraordinarily
important part in life. Have you ever tried to eat a meal to which
you are not accustomed? Find out and you will see how your
stomach and your tongue will rebel. If you are in the habit of
smoking you go on smoking, and to break the habit you’ll spend
years fighting it.
So the mind finds security in habits, saying, `My family, my
children, my house, my furniture.’ When you say `my furniture’
you are that furniture. You may laugh, but when that particular
furniture which you love is taken away from you, you get angry.
You are that furniture, that house, that money, that flag. To live in
that way is to live not only a shallow, stupid life, but to live in
routine and boredom. And when you live in routine and boredom
you must have violence.
Amsterdam, May 3, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 5
AMSTERDAM 3RD PUBLIC TALK 10TH MAY
1969 ‘WHY CAN’T WE LIVE IN PEACE?’
Krishnamurti: It seems strange that we cannot find a way of living
in which there is neither conflict, nor misery, nor confusion but a
great abundance of love and consideration. We read books by
intellectual people which tell us how society should be organized
economically, socially and morally. Then we turn to books by
religious people and theologians with their speculative ideas.
Apparently it seems very difficult for most of us to find a way of
living which is alive, peaceful, full of energy and clarity, without
depending on others. We are supposed to be very mature and
sophisticated people. Those of us who are older have lived through
two appalling wars, through revolutions, upheavals, and every
form of unhappiness. And yet here we are, on a beautiful morning,
talking about all these things, perhaps waiting to be told what to
do, to be shown a practical way of living, to follow somebody who
may give us some key to the beauty of life and the greatness of
something beyond the daily round.
I wonder – and so may you – why we listen to others. Why is it
that we cannot find clarity for ourselves in our own minds and
hearts, without any distortion; why need we be burdened by books?
Can we not live unperturbed, fully, with great ecstasy and really at
peace? This state of affairs seems to me very odd indeed, but there
it is. Have you ever wondered if you could live a life completely
without any effort or strife? We are endlessly making effort to
change this, to transform that, to suppress this, to accept that, to imitate, to follow certain formulas and ideas.
And I wonder if we have ever asked ourselves if it is pos- sible
to live without conflict – not in intellectual isolation or in an
emotional, sentimental, rather woolly way of life – but to live
without any kind of effort at all. Because effort, however pleasant
(or unpleasant), gratifying or profitable, does distort and pervert
the mind. It is like a machine that is always grinding, never running
smoothly and so wearing itself out very quickly. Then one asks –
and I think it is a worthwhile question – whether it is possible to
live without effort, but without becoming lazy, isolated, indifferent,
lacking in sensitivity, without becoming a sluggish human being.
All our life, from the moment we are born till we die, is an endless
struggle to adjust, to change, to become something. And this
struggle and conflict make for confusion, dull the mind and our
hearts become insensitive.
So is it possible – not as an idea, or as something hopeless,
beyond our measure – to find a way to live without conflict, not
merely superficially but also deep down in the so-called
unconscious, within our own depths? Perhaps this morning we can
go into that question very deeply.
First of all, why do we invent conflicts, either pleasurable or
unpleasurable, and is it possible to end this? Can we end this and
live a totally different kind of life, with great energy, clarity,
intellectual capacity, reason, and have a heart that is full of
abundant love in the real sense of the word? I think we should
apply our minds and our hearts to find out, get involved in this
There is obviously conflict because of contradiction in ourselves, which expresses itself outwardly in society, in the
activity of the `me’ and the ‘not me.’ That is, the `me’ with all its
ambitions, drives, pursuits, pleasures ,anxieties, hate, competition
and fears, and the `other’ which is `not me.’ There is also the idea
about living without conflict or opposing contradictory desires,
pursuits and drives. If we are aware of this tension, we can see this
in ourselves, the pulls of contradictory demands, opposing beliefs,
ideas and pursuits. contradictions that bring about conflict. I think
that is fairly clear, if we watch it in ourselves. The pattern of it is
repeated over and over again, not only in daily life but also in so-
called religious living – between heaven and hell, the good and the
bad, the noble and ignoble, love and hate and so on. If I may
suggest, please do not merely listen to the words but observe
yourselves non-analytically, using the speaker as a mirror in which
you see yourselves factually, so that you become aware of the
workings of your own mind and heart, as you look into that mirror.
One can see how any form of division, separation or contradiction,
within or outside oneself, inevitably brings conflict between
violence and nonviolence. Realizing this state of affairs as it is
actually, is it possible to end it, not only at the superficial level of
our consciousness, in our daily living, but also deep down at the
very roots of our being, so that there is no contradiction, no
opposing demands and desires, no activity of the dualistic
fragmentary mind? Now how is this to be done? One builds a
bridge between the `me’ and the `not me’ – the ‘me’ with all its
ambitions, drives and contradictions, and the `not me’ which is the
ideal, which is the formula, the concept. We are always trying to
build a bridge between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’. And in that there is contradiction and conflict and all our energies are wasted
in this way. Can the mind stop dividing and remain entirely with
what is? In the understanding of what is, is there any conflict at all?
I would like to go into this question, looking at it differently, in
relation to freedom and fear. Most of us want freedom, though we
live in self-centred activity and our days are spent in concern about
ourselves, our failures and fulfillments. We want to be free – not
only politically, which is comparatively easy, except in the world
of dictatorships – but also free from religious propaganda. Any
religion, ancient or modern, is the work of propagandists and is
therefore not reli- gion at all. The more serious one is, the more
one is concerned with the whole business of living, the more one
seeks freedom and is questioning, without accepting or believing.
One wants to be free in order to find out whether there is such a
thing as reality, whether there is something eternal, timeless, or
not. There is this extraordinary demand to be free in every
relationship, but that freedom generally becomes a self-isolating
process and therefore is not true freedom.
In the very demand for freedom there is fear. Because freedom
may involve complete, absolute insecurity and one is frightened of
being completely insecure. Insecurity seems a very dangerous
thing – every child demands security in its relationships. And as we
grow older we keep on demanding security and certainty in all
relationships – with things, with people and with ideas. That
demand for security inevitably breeds fear and being afraid we
depend more and more on the things to which we are attached. So
there arises this question of freedom and fear and whether it is at
all possible to be free of fear; not only physically, but psychologically, not only superficially but deep down in the dark
corners of our mind, in the very secret recesses into which no
penetration has been made. Can the mind be utterly, completely
free from all fear? It is fear that destroys love – this is not a theory –
it is fear that makes for anxiety, attachment, possessiveness,
domination, jealousy in all relationships, it is fear that makes for
violence. As one can observe in the overcrowded cities with their
exploding populations, there is great insecurity, uncertainty, fear.
And it is partly this that makes for violence. Can we be free of fear,
so that when you leave this hall you walk out without any shadow
of the darkness that fear brings?
To understand fear we must examine not only physical fears but
the vast network of psychological fears. Perhaps we can go into
this. The question is: how does fear arise – what keeps it sustained,
gives it duration, and is it possible to end it? Physical fears are
fairly easy to understand. There is instant response to physical
danger and that response is the response of many centuries of
conditioning, because without this there would not have been
physical survival, life would have ended. Physically one must
survive and the tradition of thousands of years says `be careful,’
memory says `be careful there is danger, act immediately.’ But is
this physical response to danger fear?
please do follow all this carefully, because we are going to go
into something quite simple, yet complex, and unless you give your
whole attention to it we shall not understand it. We are asking
whether that physical, sensory response to danger involving
immediate action is fear? Or is it intelligence and therefore not fear
at all? And is intelligence a matter of the cultivation of tradition and memory? If it is, why doesn’t it operate completely, as it
should, in the psychological field, where one is so terribly
frightened about so many things? Why doesn’t that same
intelligence which we find when we observe danger, operate when
there are psychological fears? Is this physical intelligence
applicable to the psychological nature of man? That is, there are
fears of various kinds which we all know – fear of death, of
darkness, what the wife or the husband will say or do, or what the
neighbour or the boss will think – the whole network of fears. We
are not going to deal with the details of various forms of fear; we
are concerned with fear itself, not a particular fear. And when there
is fear and we become aware of it, there is a movement to escape
from it; either suppressing it, running away from it, or taking flight
through various forms of entertainment, including religious ones,
or developing courage which is resistance to fear. Escape,
entertainment and courage are all various forms of resistance to the
actual fact of fear.
The greater the fear the greater the resistance to it and so
various neurotic activities are set up. There is fear, and the mind –
or the `me’ – says `there must be no fear,’ and so there is duality.
There is the `me’ which is different from fear, which escapes from
fear and resists it, which cultivates energy, theorizes or goes to the
analyst; and there is the `not me’! The `not me’ is fear; the `me’ is
separate from that fear. So there is immediate conflict between the
fear, and the `me’ that is overcoming that fear. There is the watcher
and the watched. The watched being fear, and the watcher being
the `me’ that wants to get rid of that fear. So there is an opposition,
a contradiction, a separation and hence there is conflict between fear and the `me’ that wants to be rid of that fear. Are we
communicating with each other?
So the problem consigns of this conflict between the `not me’ of
fear and the `me’ who thinks it is different from it and resists fear;
or who tries to overcome it, escape from it, suppress it or control it.
This division will invariably bring conflict, as it does between two
nations with their armies and their navies and their separate
So there is the watcher and the thing watched – the watcher
saying `I must get rid of this terrible thing, I must do away with it.’
The watcher is always fighting, is in a state of conflict. This has
become our habit, our tradition, our conditioning. And it is one of
the most difficult things to break any kind of habit, because we like
to live in habits, such as smoking, drinking, or sexual or
psychological habits; and so it is with nations, sovereign
governments which say `my country and your country,’ `my God
and your God,’ `my belief and your belief.’ It is our tradition to
fight, to resist fear and therefore increase the conflict and so give
more life to fear.
If this is clear, then we can go on to the next step, which is: is
there any actual difference between the watcher and the watched,
in this particular case? The watcher thinks he is different from the
watched, which is fear. Is there any difference between him and the
thing he watches or are they both the same? Obviously they are
both the same. The watcher is the watched – if something totally
new comes along then there is no watcher at all. But because the
watcher recognizes his reaction as fear, which he has known
previously, there is this division. And as you go into it very, very deeply, you discover for yourself – as I hope you are doing now –
that the watcher and the watched are essentially the same.
Therefore if they are the same, you eliminate altogether the
contradiction, the `me’ and the `not me,’ and with them you also
wipe away all kind of effort totally. But this does not mean that
you accept fear, or identify yourself with fear.
There is fear, the thing watched, and the watcher who is part of
that fear. So what is to be done? (Are you working as hard as the
speaker is working? If you merely listen to the words, then I am
afraid you will not solve this question of fear deeply.) There is only
fear – not the watcher who watches fear, because the watcher is
fear. There are several things that take place. First, what is fear and
how does it come about? We are not talking about the results of
fear, or the cause of fear, or how it darkens one’s life with its
misery and ugliness. But we are asking what fear is and how it
comes about. Must one analyze it continuously to discover the
endless causes of fear? Because when you begin to analyze, the
analyzer must be extraordinarily free from all prejudices and
conditionings; he has to look, to observe. Otherwise if there is any
kind of distortion in his judgment, that distortion increases as he
continues to analyze.
So analysis in order to end fear is not the ending of it. I hope
there are some analysts here! Because in discovering the cause of
fear and acting upon that discovery, the cause becomes the effect,
and the effect becomes the cause. The effect, and acting upon that
effect in order to find the cause, and discovering the cause and
acting according to that cause, becomes the next stage. It becomes
both effect and cause in an endless chain. If we put aside the understanding of the cause of fear and the analysis of fear, then
what is there to do?
You know, this is not an entertainment but there is great joy in
discovery, there is great fun in understanding all this. So what
makes fear? Time and thought make fear – time as yesterday, today
and tomorrow; there is the fear that tomorrow something will
happen – the loss of a job, death, that my wife or my husband will
run away, that the disease and pain that I have had many days ago
will come back again. This is where time comes in. Time,
involving what my neighbour may say about me tomorrow, or time
which up to now has covered up something which I did many years
ago. I am afraid of some deep secret desires which might not be
fulfilled. So time is involved in fear, fear of death which comes at
the end of life, which may be waiting around the corner and I am
afraid. So time involves fear and thought. There is no time if there
is no thought. Thinking about that which happened yesterday,
being afraid that it may happen again tomorrow – this is what
brings about time as well as fear.
Do watch this, please look at it for yourself – don’t accept or
reject anything; but listen, find out for yourself the truth of this, not
just the words, not whether you agree or disagree, but go on. To
find the truth you must have feeling, a passion for finding out,
great energy. Then you will find that thought breeds fear; thinking
about the past or the future – the future being the next minute or the
next day or ten years hence – thinking about it makes it an event.
And thinking about an event which was pleasurable yesterday,
sustains or gives continuity to that pleasure, whether that pleasure
be sexual, sensory, intellectual or psychological; thinking about it, building an image as most people do, gives to that event in the past
a continuity through thought and breeds more pleasure.
Thought breeds fear as well as pleasure; they are both matters of
time. So thought engenders this two-sided coin of pleasure and
pain – which is fear. Then what is there to do? We worship thought
which has become so extraordinarily important that we think the
more cunning it is, the better it is. In the business world, in the
religious world, or in the world of the family, thought is used by
the intellectual who indulges in the use of this coin, in the garland
of words. How we honour the people who are intellectually,
verbally clever in their thinking! But thinking is responsible for
fear and the thing called pleasure.
We are not saying we shouldn’t have pleasure. We are not being
puritanical, we are trying to understand it, and in the very
understanding of this whole process, fear comes to an end. Then
you will see that pleasure is something entirely different, and we
shall go into this if we have time. So thought is responsible for this
agony – one side is agony, the other side is pleasure and its
continuance: the demand for and the pursuit of pleasure, including
the religious and every other form of pleasure. Then what is
thought to do? Can it end? Is that the right question? And who is to
end it? – is it the `me’ who is not thought? But the `me’ is the result
of thought. And therefore you have again the same old problem;
the,me, and the ‘not me` which is the watcher who says, `If only I
could end thought then I’d live a different kind of life.’ But there is
only thought and not the watcher who says, `I want to end thought,’
because the watcher is the product of thought. And how does
thought come into being? One can see very easily, it is the response of memory, experience and knowledge which is the brain,
the seat of memory. When anything is asked of it, it responds by a
reaction which is memory and recognition. The brain is the result
of millennia of evolution and conditioning – thought is always old,
thought is never free, thought is the response of all conditioning.
What is to be done? When thought realizes that it cannot
possibly do anything about fear because it creates fear, then there is
silence; then there is complete negation of any movement which
breeds fear. Therefore the mind, including the brain, observes this
whole phenomenon of habit and the contradiction and struggle
between the `me’ and the `not me.’ It realizes that the watcher is the
watched. And seeing that fear cannot be merely analyzed and put
aside, but that it will always be there, the mind also sees that
analysis is not the way. Then one asks: what is the origin of fear?
How does it arise?
We said that it came about through time and thought. Thought
is the response of memory and so thought creates fear. And fear
cannot end through the mere control or suppression of thought, or
by trying to transmute thought, or indulging in all the tricks one
plays on oneself. Realizing this whole pattern choicelessly,
objectively, in oneself, seeing all this thought itself says, `I will be
quiet without any control or suppression,’ ‘I will be still.
So then there is the ending of fear, which means the ending of
sorrow and the understanding of oneself – self-knowing. Without
knowing oneself there is no ending of sorrow and fear. It is only a
mind that is free from fear that can face reality.
Perhaps you would now care to ask questions. One must ask
questions – this asking, this exposing of oneself to oneself here is necessary, and also when you are by yourself in your room or in
your garden, sitting quietly in the bus or walking – you must ask
questions in order to find out. But one has to ask the right question,
and in the very asking of the right question is the right answer.
Questioner: To accept oneself, one’s pain, one’s sorrow, is that
the right thing to do?
Krishnamurti: How can one accept what one is? You mean to
say you accept your ugliness, your brutality, your violence, your
pretentiousness, your hypocrisies? Can you accept all that? And
don’t you want to change? – indeed mustn’t we change all this?
How can we accept the established order of society with its
morality which is immorality? Isn’t life a constant movement of
change? When one is living there is no acceptance, there is only
living. We are then living with the movement of life and the
movement of life demands change, psychological revolution, a
mutation. Questioner: I don’t understand.
Krishnamurti: I’m sorry. Perhaps when you used the word
`accept’ you did not realize that in ordinary English that means to
accept things as they are. Perhaps you would put it in Dutch.
Questioner: Accept things as they come.
Krishnamurti: Will I accept things as they come, say, when my
wife leaves me? When I lose money, when I lose my job, when I
am despised, insulted, will I accept these things as they come? Will
I accept war? To take things as they come, actually, not
theoretically, one must be free of the `me,’ the `I.’ And that is what
we have been talking about this morning, the emptying of the mind
of the `me’ and `you,’ and the `we’ and `they.’ Then you can live
from moment to moment, endlessly, without struggle, without conflict. But that is real meditation, real action, not conflict,
brutality and violence.
Questioner: We have to think; it is inevitable.
Krishnamurti: Yes, I understand, Sir. Are you suggesting that
we should not think at all? To do a job you have to think, to go to
your house you have to think; there is the verbal communication,
which is the result of thought. So what place has thought in life?
Thought must operate when you are doing something. Please
follow this. To do any technological job, to function as the
computer does – even if not as efficiently – thought is needed. To
think clearly, objectively, non-emotionally, without prejudice,
without opinion; thought is necessary in order to act clearly. But
we also know that thought breeds fear, and that very fear will
prevent us from acting efficiently. So can one act without fear
when thought is demanded, and be quiet when it is not? Do you
understand? Can one have a mind and heart that understands this
whole process of fear, pleasure, thought and the quietness of the
mind? Can one act thoughtfully when it is necessary, and not use
thought when it is not? Surely this is fairly simple, isn’t it? that is,
can the mind be so completely attentive that when it is awake it
will think and act when necessary and remain awake in that action
neither falling asleep nor working in a mechanical way?
So the question is not whether we must think or not, but how to
keep awake. To keep awake one has to have this deep
understanding of thought, fear, love, hate and loneliness; one has to
be completely involved in this way of living as one is but
understand completely. One can understand it deeply only when
the mind is completely awake, without any distortion. Questioner: Do you mean to say that in the face of danger you
just react out of experience?
Krishnamurti: Don’t you? When you see a dangerous animal,
don’t you react out of memory, out of experience? – perhaps not
your personal experience but the racial inheritance which says `be
Questioner: That is what I had in mind.
Krishnamurti: But why don’t we act equally efficiently when we
see the danger of nationalism, of war, of separate governments
with their sovereign rights and armies? These are the most
dangerous things; why don’t we react, why don’t we say, `Let’s
change all that’? This means that you change yourself – the known
being; that you do not belong to any nation, to any flag, country or
religion, so that you are a free human being. But we don’t. We react
to physical dangers but not to psychological dangers, which are
much more devastating. We accept things as they are or we revolt
against them to form some fanciful Utopia, which comes back to
the same thing. To see danger inwardly and to see danger
outwardly is the same thing, which is, to keep awake – which
means to be intelligent and sensitive.
Amsterdam, May 10, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 6
AMSTERDAM 4TH PUBLIC TALK 11TH MAY
1969 ‘THE WHOLENESS OF LIFE’
Krishnamurti: One wonders why human beings throughout the
world lack passion. They lust after power, position and various
forms of entertainment both sexual and religious, and have other
forms of lustful cravings. But apparently few have that deep
passion which dedicates itself to the understanding of the whole
process of living, not giving their whole energy to fragmentary
activity. The bank manager is tremendously interested in his
banking and the artist and the scientist are given over to their own
special interests, but apparently it is one of the most difficult things
to have an abiding, intense passion given over to the understanding
of the wholeness of life.
As we go into this question of what constitutes the total
understanding of living, loving and dying, we shall need not only
intellectual capacity and strong feeling, but much more than these,
great energy that only passion can give. As we have this enormous
problem, complex, subtle and very profound, we must give our
total attention – which is after all passion – to see and find out for
ourselves if there is a way of life, wholly different from that which
we now live. To understand this, one has to go into several
questions, one has to inquire into the process of consciousness,
examining both the surface and the deep layers of one’s own mind,
and one also has to look at the nature of order; not only outwardly,
in society, but within oneself.
One has to find out the meaning of living, not merely giving an intellectual significance to it, but looking at what it means to live.
And one has also to go into this question of what love is, and what
it means to die. Al this has to be examined in the conscious and the
deep, hidden recesses of one’s own mind. One has to ask what
order is, what living really means, and whether one can live a life
of complete, total affection, compassion, tenderness and love. One
has also to find out for oneself the meaning of that extraordinary
thing called death.
These are not fragments, but the total movement, the wholeness
of life. We shall not be able to understand this if we cut it up into
living, loving and dying – it is all one movement. To understand its
total process, there must be energy, not only intellectual energy but
energy of strong feeling, which involves having motiveless
passion, so that it is constantly burning within one. And as our
minds are fragmented, it is necessary to go into this question of the
conscious and the unconscious, for there begins all division – the
`me’ and `not me,’ the `you’ and `me,’ the `we’ and `they.’ As long
as this separation exists – nationally, in the family, between
religions with their separate possessive dependencies – there will
inevitably be divisions in life. There will be the living of everyday
life with its boredom and routine and that thing which we call love,
hedged about by jealousy, possessiveness, dependence, and
domination, there will be fear, the inevitability of death. Could we
go into this question seriously – not merely theoretically, or
verbally, but really investigate it by looking into ourselves and
asking why there is this division, which breeds so much misery,
confusion and conflict?
One can observe in oneself very clearly the activity of the superficial mind with its concern with livelihood, with its
technological, scientific, acquisitive knowledge. One can see
oneself being competitive in the office, one can see the superficial
operations of one’s own mind. But there are the hidden parts which
have not been explored, because we don’t know how to explore
them. If we want to expose them to the light of clarity and
understanding, we either read books which tell us all about it, or
we go to some analyst, or philosopher. But we do not know for
ourselves how to look at things; though we may be capable of
observing the outward, superficial activity of the mind, we are
apparently incapable of looking into this deep, hidden cave in
which the whole of the past abides. Can the conscious mind with
its positive demands and assertions look into the deeper layers of
one’s own being? I do not know if you have ever tried it, but if you
have and have been sufficiently insistent and serious, you may
have found for yourself the vast content of the past, the racial
inheritance, the religious impositions, the divisions; all these are
hidden there. The casual offering of an opinion springs from that
past accumulation, which is essentially based on past knowledge
and experience, with their various forms of conclusions and
opinions. Can the mind look into all this, understand it and go
beyond it, so that there is no division at all?
This is important, because we are so conditioned to look at life
in a fragmentary way. And as long as this fragmentation goes on,
there is the demand for fulfillment – `me’ wanting to fulfil, to
achieve, to compete, to be ambitious. It is this fragmentation of life
that makes us both individualistic and collective, self-centred yet
needing to identify oneself with something greater, while remaining separate. It is this deep division in consciousness, in the
whole structure and nature of our being that makes for division in
our activities, in our thoughts and in our feelings. So we divide life
and those things called loving and dying.
Is it possible to observe the movement of the past, which is the
unconscious? – if one can use that word `unconscious’ without
giving it a special psychoanalytical significance. The deep
unconscious is the past, and we are operating from that. Therefore
there is the division into the past, the present and the future – which
All this may sound rather complicated, but it is not – it is really
quite simple if one can look into oneself, observe oneself in action,
observe the workings of one’s opinions and thoughts and
conclusions. When you look at yourself critically you can see that
your actions are based on a past conclusion, a formula or pattern,
which projects itself into the future as an ideal and you act
according to that ideal. So the past is always operating with its
motives, conclusions and formulas; the mind and the heart are
heavily laden with memories, which are shaping our lives, bringing
One must ask the question whether the conscious mind can see
into the unconscious so completely that one has understood the
whole of its content, which is the past. That demands a critical
capacity – but not self-opinionated criticism – it demands that one
should watch. If one is really awake, then this division in the
totality of consciousness ends. That awakened state is possible only
when there is this critical self-awareness devoid of judgment.
To observe means to be critical – not using criticism based on evaluation, on opinions, but to be critically watchful. But if that
criticism is personal, hedged by fear or any form of prejudice, it
ceases to be truly critical, it becomes merely fragmentary.
What we are now concerned with is the understanding of the
total process, the wholeness of living, not with a particular
fragment. We are not asking what to do with regard to a particular
problem, with regard to social activity which is independent of the
whole process of living; but we are trying to find out what is
included in the understanding of reality and whether there is such a
reality, such an immensity, eternity. It is this whole, total
perception – not fragmentary perception – that we are concerned
with. This understanding of the whole movement of life as one
single unitary activity is possible only when in the whole of our
consciousness there is the ending of one’s own concepts, principles,
ideas and divisions as the,me, and the `not me.’ If that is clear – and
I hope it is – then we can proceed to find out what living is.
We consider living to be a positive action – doing, thinking, the
everlasting bustle, conflict, fear, sorrow, guilt, ambition,
competition, the lusting after pleasure with its pain, the desire to be
successful. All this is what we call living. That is our life, with its
occasional joy, with its moments of compassion without any
motive, and generosity without any strings attached to it. There are
rare moments of ecstasy, of a bliss that has no past or future. But
going to the office, anger, hatred, contempt, enmity, are what we
call everyday living, and we consider it extraordinarily positive.
The negation of the positive is the only true positive. To negate
this so-called living, which is ugly, lonely, fearful, brutal and
violent, without knowledge of the other, is the most positive action. Are we communicating with each other? You know, to deny
conventional morality completely is to be highly moral, because
what we call social morality, the morality of respectability, is
utterly immoral; we are competitive, greedy, envious, seeking our
own way – you know how we behave. We call this social morality;
religious people talk about a different kind of morality, but their
life, their whole attitude, the hierarchical structure of religious
organization and belief, is immoral. To deny that is not to react,
because when you react, this is another form of dissenting through
one’s own resistance. But when you deny it because you
understand it, there is the highest form of morality.
In the same way, to negate social morality, to negate the way
we are living – our petty little lives, our shallow thinking and
existence, the satisfaction at a superficial level with our
accumulated things – to deny all that, not as a reaction but seeing
the utter stupidity and the destructive nature of this way of living –
to negate all that is to live. To see the false as the false – this seeing
is the true.
Then, what is love? Is love pleasure? Is love desire? Is love
attachment, dependence, possession of the person whom you love
and dominate? Is it saying, `This is mine and not yours, my
property, my sexual rights, in which are involved jealousy, hate,
anger and violence’? And again, love has been divided into sacred
and profane as part of religious conditioning; is all that love? Can
you love and be ambitious? Can you love your husband, can he say
he loves you when he is ambitious? Can there be love when there
is competition and the drive for success?
To negate all that, not only intellectually or verbally, but to wipe it out of one’s own being, never to experience jealousy, envy,
competition or ambition – to deny all that, surely this is love. These
two ways of acting cannot ever go together. The man who is
jealous, or the woman who is dominating, doesn’t know what love
means – they may talk about it, they may sleep together, possess
each other, depend on each other for comfort, security, or from fear
of loneliness, but surely all that is not love. If people who say they
love their children meant it, would there be war? And would there
be division of nationalities – would there be these separations?
What we call love is torture, despair, a feeling of guilt. This love is
generally identified with sexual pleasure. We are not being
puritanical or prudish, we are not saying that there must be no
pleasure, When you look at a cloud or the sky or a beautiful face,
there is delight. When you look at a flower there is the beauty of it
– we are not denying beauty. Beauty is not the pleasure of thought,
but it is thought that gives pleasure to beauty.
In the same way, when we love and there is sex, thought gives it
pleasure, the image of that which has been experienced and the
repetition of it tomorrow. In this repetition is pleasure which is not
beauty. Beauty, tenderness and the total meaning of love don’t
exclude sex. But now when everything is allowed, the world
suddenly seems to have discovered sex and it has become
extraordinarily important. Probably that is the only escape man has
now, the only freedom; everywhere else he is pushed around,
bullied, violated intellectually, emotionally, in every way he is a
slave, he is broken, and the only time when he can be free is in
sexual experience. In that freedom he comes upon a certain joy and
he wants the repetition of that joy. Looking at all this, where is love? Only a mind and a heart that are full of love can see the
whole movement of life. Then whatever he does, a man who
possesses such love is moral, good, and what he does is beautiful.
And where does order come into all this – knowing our life is so
confused, so disorderly. We all want order, not only in the house,
arranging things in their proper place, but we also want order
externally, in society, where there is such immense social injustice.
We also want order inwardly – there must be order, deep,
mathematical order. And is this order to be brought about by
conforming to a pattern which we consider to be orderly? Then we
should be comparing the pattern with the fact, and there would be
conflict. Is not this very conflict disorder? – and therefore not
virtue. When a mind struggles to be virtuous, moral, ethical, it
resists, and in that very conflict there is disorder. So virtue is the
very essence of order – though we may not like to use that word in
the modern world. That virtue is not brought about through the
conflict of thought, but comes only when you see disorder
critically, with wakened intelligence, understanding yourself. Then
there is complete order of the highest form, which is virtue. And
that can come only when there is love.
Then there is the question of dying, which we have carefully put
far away from us, as something that is going to happen in the future
– the future may be fifty years off or tomorrow. We are afraid of
coming to an end, coming physically to an end and being separated
from the things we have possessed, worked for, experienced – wife,
husband, the house, the furniture, the little garden, the books and
the poems we have written or hoped to write. And we are afraid to
let all that go because we are the furniture, we are the picture that we possess; when we have the capacity to play the violin, we are
that violin. Because we have identified ourselves with those things
– we are all that and nothing else. Have you ever looked at it that
way? You are the house – with the shutters, the bedroom, the
furniture which you have very carefully polished for years, which
you own – that is what you are. If you remove all that you are
And that is what you are afraid of – of being nothing. Isn’t it
very strange how you spend forty years going to the office and
when you stop doing these things you have heart trouble and die?
You are the office, the files, the manager or the clerk or whatever
your position is; you are that and nothing else. And you have a lot
of ideas about God, goodness, truth, what society should be – that
is all. Therein lies sorrow. To realize for yourself that you are that
is great sorrow, but the greatest sorrow is that you do not realize it.
To see that and find out what it means, is to die.
Death is inevitable, all organisms must come to an end. But we
are afraid to let the past go. We are the past, we are time, sorrow
and despair, with an occasional perception of beauty, a flowering
of goodness or deep tenderness as a passing, not an abiding thing.
And being afraid of death, we say, `Shall I live again?’ – which is to
continue the battle, the conflict, the misery, owning things, the
accumulated experience. The whole of the East believes in
reincarnation. That which you are you would like to see
reincarnated; but you are all this, this mess, this confusion, this
disorder. Also, reincarnation implies that we shall be born to
another life; therefore what you do now, today, matters, not how
you are going to live when you are born into your next life – if there is such a thing. If you are going to be born again, what
matters is how you live today, because today is going to sow the
seed of beauty or the seed of sorrow. But those who believe so
fervently in reincarnation do not know how to behave; if they were
concerned with behaviour, then they would not be concerned with
tomorrow, for goodness is in the attention of today.
Dying is part of living. You cannot love without dying, dying to
everything which is not love, dying to all ideals which are the
projection of your own demands, dying to all the past, to the
experience, so that you know what love means and therefore what
living means. So living, loving and dying are the same thing, which
consists in living wholly, completely, now. Then there is action
which is not contradictory, bringing with it pain and sorrow; there
is living, loving and dying in which there is action. That action is
order. And if one lives that way – and one must, not in occasional
moments but every day, every minute – then we shall have social
order, then there will be the unity of man, and governments will be
run on computers, not by politicians with their personal ambitions
and conditioning. So to live is to love and to die.
Questioner: Can one be free instantly and live without conflicts
or does it take time?
Krishnamurti: Can one live without the past immediately or
does getting rid of the past take time? Does it take time to get rid of
the past, and does this prevent one from living immediately? That
is the question. The past is like a hidden cave, like a cellar where
you keep your wine – if you have wine. Does it take time to be free
of it? What is involved in taking time? – which is what we are used
to. I say to myself, `I’ll take time, virtue is a thing to be acquired, to be practiced day after day, I’ll get rid of my hate, my violence,
gradually, slowly; that is what we are used to, that is our
conditioning. And so we ask ourselves whether it is possible to
throw away all the past gradually – which involves time. That is,
being violent, I say, `I’ll gradually get rid of this.’ What does that
mean – `gradually,’ `step by step’? In the meantime I am being
violent. The idea of getting rid of violence gradually is a form of
hypocrisy. Obviously, if I am violent I can’t get rid of it gradually, I
must end it immediately. Can I end psychological things
immediately? I cannot, if I accept the idea of gradually freeing
myself from the past. But what matters is to see the fact as it is
now, without any distortion. If I am jealous and envious, I must see
this completely by total, not partial, observation. I look at my
jealousy – why am I jealous? Because I am lonely, the person I
depended upon left me and I am suddenly faced with my
emptiness, with my isolation and I am afraid of that, therefore I
depend on you. And if you turn away I am angry, jealous. The fact
is I am lonely, I need companionship, I need somebody not only to
cook for me, to give me comfort, sexual pleasure and all the rest of
it, but because basically I am alone. And that is why I am jealous.
Can I understand this loneliness immediately? I can understand it
only if I observe it, if I do not run away from it – if I can look at it,
observe it critically, with awakened intelligence, not find excuses,
try to fill the void or try to find a new companion. To look at this
there must be freedom and when there is freedom to look I am free
of jealousy. So the perception, the total observation of jealousy and
the freedom from it, is not a matter of time, but of giving complete
attention, critical awareness, observing choicelessly, instantly, all things as they arise. Then there is freedom – not in the future but
now – from that which we call jealousy.
This applies equally to violence, anger or any other habit,
whether you smoke, drink or have sexual habits. If we observe
them very attentively, completely with our heart and mind, we are
intelligently aware of their whole content; then there is freedom.
Once this awareness is functioning, then whatever arises – anger,
jealousy, violence. brutality, shades of double meaning, enmity, all
these things can be observed instantly, completely. In that there is
freedom, and the thing that was there ceases to be. So the past is
not to be wiped away through time. Time is not the way to
freedom. Is not this idea of gradualness a form of indolence, of
incapacity to deal with the past instantly as it arises? When you
have that astonishing capacity to observe clearly as it arises and
when you give your mind and heart completely to observe it, then
the past ceases. So time and thought do not end the past, for time
and thought are the past.
Questioner: Is thought a movement of the mind? Is awareness
the function of a motionless mind?
Krishnamurti: As we said the other day, thought is the response
of memory, like a computer into which you have fed all kinds of
information. And when you ask for the answer, what has been
stored up in the computer responds. In this same way the mind, the
brain, is the storehouse of the past, which is the memory, and when
it is challenged it responds in thought according to its knowledge,
experience, conditioning and so on. So thought is the movement, or
rather part of the movement, of the mind and the brain. The
questioner wants to know whether awareness is a stillness of the mind. Can you observe anything – a tree, your wife, your
neighbour, the politician, the priest, a beautiful face – without any
movement of the mind? The images of your wife, of your husband,
of your neighbour, the knowledge of the cloud or of pleasure, all
that interferes, doesn’t it? So when there is interference by an
image of any kind, subtle or obvious, then there is no observation,
there is no real, total awareness – there is only partial awareness.
To observe clearly there must be no image coming in between the
observer and the thing observed. When you look at a tree, can you
look at it without the knowledge of that tree in botanical terms, or
the knowledge of your pleasure or desire concerning it? Can you
look at it so completely that the space between you – the observer –
and the thing observed disappears? That doesn’t mean that you
become the tree! But when that space disappears, there is the
cessation of the observer, and only the thing which is observed
remains. In that observation there is perception, seeing the thing
with extraordinary vitality, its colour, its shape, the beauty of the
leaf or trunk; when there is not the centre of the `me’ who is obser-
ving, you are intimately in contact with that which you observe.
There is movement of thought, which is part of the brain and the
mind, when there is a challenge which must be answered by
thought. But to discover something new, something that has never
been looked at, there must be this intense attention without any
movement. This is not something mysterious or occult which you
have to practice for years and years; that is all sheer nonsense. It
does take place when, between two thoughts, you are observing.
You know how the man discovered jet propulsion? How did it
happen? He knew all there was to know about the combustion engine, and he was looking for some other method. To look, you
must be silent – if you carry all the knowledge of your combustion
engine with you, you’ll find only that which you have learned.
What you have learned must remain dormant, quiet – then you will
discover something new. In the same way, in order to see your
wife, your husband, the tree, the neighbour, the whole social
structure which is disorder, you must silently find a new way of
looking and therefore a new way of living and acting.
Questioner: How do we find the power to live without theories
Krishnamurti: How do you have the power to live with them?
How do you have this extraordinary energy to live with formulas,
with ideals, with theories? You are living with those formulas –
how do you have the energy? This energy is being dissipated in
conflict. The ideal is over there and you are here, and you are
trying to live according to that. So there is a division, there is
conflict, which is waste of energy. So when you see the wastage of
energy, when you see the absurdity of having ideals, formulas,
concepts, all bringing about such constant conflict, when you see
it, then you have the energy to live without it. Then you have
abundance of energy, because then there is no wastage through
conflict at all. But you see, we are afraid to live that way, because
of our conditioning. And we accept this structure of formulas and
ideals, as others have done. We live with them, we accept conflict
as the way of life. But when we see all this, not verbally, not
theoretically, not intellectually, but feel with our whole being the
absurdity of living that way, then we have the abundance of energy
which comes when there is no conflict whatsoever. Then there is only the fact and nothing else. There is the fact that you are greedy,
not the ideal that you should not be greedy – that is a waste of
energy – but the fact you are greedy, possessive and dominating.
That is the only fact, and when you give your whole attention to
that fact, then you have the energy to dissipate it and therefore you
can live freely, without any ideal, without any principle, without
any belief. And that is loving and dying to everything of the past.
Amsterdam, May 11, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 7 PARIS
2ND PUBLIC TALK 13TH APRIL 1969 ‘FEAR’
Most of us are caught in habits – physical and psychological habits.
Some of us are aware of them and others are not. If one is aware of
these habits then is it possible to stop a particular habit instantly
and not carry it on over many months to put an end to it without
any form of struggle,to drop it instantly – the habit of smoking the
particular twitch of the head, the habitual smile or any one of the
various peculiar habits one has? To become conscious of chattering
endlessly about nothing, of the restlessness of the mind – can one
do that without any form of resistance, or control, and thus end it
easily without effort and immediately? In that are implied several
things: first the understanding that struggle against something, like
a particular habit, develops a form of resistance to that habit; and
one learns that resistance in any form breeds more conflict. If one
resists a habit, tries to suppress it, struggle against it, the very
energy that is necessary to understand that habit is wasted in the
struggle and control. In that is involved the second thing: one takes
for granted that time is necessary, that any particular habit must be
slowly worn out, must slowly be suppressed or got rid of.
We are accustomed on the one hand to the idea that it is only
possible to be free of any habit through resistance, through
developing the opposite habit, and on the other hand to the idea
that we can only do it gradually over a period of time. But if one
really examines it one sees that any form of resistance develops
further conflicts and also that time, taking many days, weeks,
years, does not really end the habit; and we are asking whether it is possible to end a habit without resistance and without time,
To be free of fear what is required is not resistance over a
period of time but the energy that can meet this habit and dissolve
it immediately: and that is attention. Attention is the very essence
of all energy. To give one’s attention means to give one’s mind,
one’s heart, one’s whole physical energy, to attend and with that
energy to face, or to be aware of, the particular habit; then you will
see that the habit has no longer any hold – it disappears instantly.
One may think that one’s various habits are not particularly
important – one has them, what does it matter; or one finds excuses
for one’s habits. But if one could establish the quality of attention
in the mind, the mind having seized the fact, the truth, that energy
is attention and that attention is necessary to dissolve any particular
habit, then becoming aware of a particular habit, or tradition, one
will see that it comes to an end, completely.
One has a way of talking or one indulges in endless chatter
about nothing: if one becomes so attentively aware, then one has an
extraordinary energy – energy that is not brought about through
resistance, as most energies are. This energy of attention is
freedom. If one understands this really very deeply, not as a theory
but an actual fact with which one has experimented, a fact seen and
of which one is fully aware, then one can proceed to inquire into
the whole nature and structure of fear. And one must bear in mind,
when talking about this rather complicated question, that verbal
communication between you and the speaker becomes rather
difficult; if one is not listening with sufficient care and attention
then communication is not possible. If you are thinking about one thing and the speaker is talking about something else, then
communication comes to an end, obviously. If you are concerned
with your own particular fear and your whole attention is given to
that particular fear, then verbal communication between you and
the speaker also comes to an end. To communicate with one
another, verbally, there must be a quality of attention in which
there is care, in which there is an intensity, an urgency to
understand this question of fear.
More important than communication is communion.
Communication is verbal and communion is nonverbal. Two
people who know each other very well can, without saying any
words, understand each other completely, immediately, because
they have established a certain form of communication between
themselves. When we are dealing with such a very complicated
issue as fear, there must be communion as well as verbal
communication; the two must go together all the time, or otherwise
we shall not be working together. Having said all this – which is
necessary – let us consider the question of fear.
It is not that you must be free from fear. The moment you try to
free yourself from fear, you create a resistance against fear.
Resistance, in any form, does not end fear – it will always be there,
though you may try to escape from it, resist it, control it, run away
from it and so on, it will always be there. The running away, the
controlling, the suppressing, all are forms of resistance; and the
fear continues even though you develop greater strength to resist.
So we are not talking about being free from fear. Being free from
something is not freedom. Please do understand this, because in
going into this question, if you have given your whole attention to what is being said, you must leave this hall without any sense of
fear. That is the only thing that matters, not what the speaker says
or does not say or whether you agree or disagree; what is important
it that one should totally, right through one’s being,
psychologically, end fear.
So, it is not that one must be free from or resist fear but that one
must understand the whole nature and structure of fear, understand
it; that means, learn about it, watch it, come directly into contact
with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it, not
how to resist it through courage and so on. We are to learn. What
does that word mean, `to learn’? Surely it is not the accumulation
of knowledge about fear. It will be rather useless going into this
question unless you understand this completely. We think that
learning implies the accumulation of knowledge about something;
if one wants to learn Italian, one has to accumulate the words and
their meaning, the grammar and how to put the sentences together
and so on; having gathered knowledge then one is capable of
speaking that particular language. That is, there is the accumulation
of knowledge and then action; time is involved. Now, such
accumulation we say is not learning. Learning is always in the
active present, it is not the result of having accumulated
knowledge; learning is a process, an action, which is always in the
present. Most of us are accustomed to the idea of first of all
accumulating knowledge, information, experience and from that
acting. We are saying something entirely different. Knowledge is
always in the past and when you act, the past is determining that
acting. We are saying, learning is in the very action itself and
therefore there is never an accumulation as knowledge. Learning about fear is in the present, is something fresh. If I
come upon fear with past knowledge, with past memories and
associations, I do not come face to face with fear and therefore I do
not learn about it. I can do this only if my mind is fresh, new. And
that is our difficulty, because we always approach fear with all the
associations, memories, incidents and experiences, all of which
prevent us from looking at it afresh and learning about it anew.
There are many fears – fear of death, fear of darkness, fear of
losing a job, fear of the husband or wife, insecurity, fear of not
fulfilling, fear of not being loved, fear of loneliness, fear of not
being a success. Are not these many fears the expression of one
central fear? One asks, then: are we going to deal with a particular
fear, or are we dealing with the fact of fear itself?
We want to understand the nature of fear, not how fear
expresses itself in a particular direction. If we can deal with the
central fact of fear, then we shall be able to resolve, or do
something about, a particular fear. So do not take your particular
fear and say `I must resolve this,’ but understand the nature and
structure of fear; then you will be able to deal with the particular
See how important it is that the mind be in a state in which there
is no fear whatsoever. Because when there is fear there is darkness
and the mind becomes dull; then the mind seeks various escapes
and stimulation through amusement – whether the amusement be in
the Church or on the football field or on the radio. Such a mind is
afraid, is incapable of clarity and does not know what it means to
love-it may know pleasure but it certainly does not know what it
means to love. Fear destroys and makes the mind ugly. There is physical fear and psychological fear. There is the
physical fear of danger – like meeting a snake or coming upon a
precipice. That fear, the physical fear of meeting danger, is it not
intelligence? There is a precipice there – I see it and I immediately
react, I do not go near it. Now is not that fear intelligence which
says to me, `be careful, there is danger’? That intelligence has been
accumulated through time, others have fallen over or my mother or
my friend has said, be careful of that precipice. So in that physical
expression of fear there is memory and intelligence operating at the
same time. Then there is the psychological fear of the physical fear
that one has had, of having had a disease which has given a great
deal of pain; having known pain, purely a physical phenomenon,
we do not want it to be repeated again and we have the
psychological fear of it although it is no longer actual. Now can
that psychological fear be understood so as not to bring it into
being at all? I have had pain – most of us do – it happened last week
or a year ago. The pain was excruciating, I do not want it repeated
and I am afraid it might come back. What has taken place there?
Please follow this carefully. There is the memory of that pain and
thought says, `Don’t let it occur again, be careful.’ Thinking about
the past pain brings fear of its repetition, thought brings fear upon
itself. That is a particular form of fear, the fear of disease being
repeated with its pain.
There are all the various psychological fears which derive from
thought – fear of what the neighbour might say, fear of not being
highly bourgeois and respectable, fear of not following the social
morality – which is immorality – fear of losing a job, fear of
loneliness, fear of anxiety – anxiety in itself is fear and so on – all the product of a life which is based on thought.
There are not only the conscious fears, but also the deep, hidden
fears in the psyche, in the deeper layers of the mind. One may deal
with the conscious fears, but the deep, hidden fears are more
difficult. How is one to bring these unconscious, deep, hidden fears
to the surface and expose them? Can the conscious mind do that?
Can the conscious mind with its active thought uncover the
unconscious, the hidden? (We are using the word `unconscious’
non-technically: not being conscious of, or knowing, the hidden
layers – that is all). Can the conscious mind – the mind that is
trained to adjust itself to survive, to go on with things as they are –
you know the conscious mind, how tricky it is – can that conscious
mind uncover the whole content of the unconscious? I do not think
it can. It may uncover a layer which it will translate according to its
conditioning. But that very translation according to its conditioning
will further prejudice the conscious mind, so that it is even less
capable of examining the next layer completely.
One sees that the mere conscious effort to examine the deeper
content of the mind becomes extremely difficult unless the surface
mind is completely free from all conditioning, from all prejudice,
from all fear – otherwise it is incapable of looking. One sees that
that may be extremely difficult, probably completely impossible.
So one asks: is there another way, altogether different? Can the
mind empty itself of all fear through analysis, self. analysis or
professional analysis? In that is involved something else. When I
analyze myself, look at myself, layer after layer, I examine, judge,
evaluate; I say, `This is right,’ `This is wrong,’ `This I will keep,’
`This I won’t keep.’ When I analyze, am I different from the thing I analyze? I have to answer it for myself, see what the truth of it is.
The analyzer, is he different from the thing he is analyzing – say
jealousy? He is not different, he is that jealousy, and he tries to
divide himself off from the jealousy as the entity who says, `I am
going to look at jealousy, get rid of it, or contact it.’ But jealousy
and the analyzer are part of each other.
In the process of analysis time is involved, that is, I take many
days or many years to analyze myself. At the end of many years I
am still afraid. So, analysis is not the way. Analysis implies a great
deal of time and when the house is burning you do not sit down
and analyze, or go to the professional and say, `Please tell me all
about myself’ – you have to act. An analysis is a form of escape,
laziness and inefficiency. (It may be all right for the neurotic to go
to an analyst, but even then he is not completely at the end of his
neuroses. But that is a different question.)
Analysis by the conscious of the unconscious is not the way.
The mind has seen this and said to itself»I will not analyze any
more, I see the valuelessness of it; `I will not resist fear any more.’
You follow what has happened to the mind? `When it has
discarded the traditional approach, the approach of analysis,
resistance, time, then what has happened to the mind itself? The
mind has become extraordinarily sharp. The mind has become,
through the necessity of observation, extraordinarily intense, sharp,
alive. It is asking: is there another approach to this problem of
uncovering its whole content, the past, the racial inheritance, the
family, the weight of the cultural and religious tradition, the
product of two thousand or ten thousand years? Can the mind be
free of all that, can the mind put away all that and therefore put away all fear?
So I have this problem, the problem which a sharpened mind –
the mind having put aside every form of analysis which of
necessity takes time and for which therefore there is no tomorrow –
must resolve completely, now. Therefore there is no ideal; there is
no question of a future, saying, `I will be free of it.’ Therefore the
mind is now in a state of complete attention. It is no longer
escaping, no longer inventing time as a way of resolving the
problem, no longer using analysis, or resistance. Therefore the
mind itself has a quality entirely new.
The psychologists say that you must dream, otherwise you will
go mad. I ask myself, `Why should I dream at all?’ Is there a way
of living so that one does not dream at all? – for then, if one does
not dream at all, the mind really has rest. It has been active all day,
watching, listening, questioning, looking at the beauty of a cloud,
the face of a beautiful person, the water, the movement of life,
everything – it has been watching, watching; and when it goes to
sleep it must have complete rest, otherwise on waking the next
morning it is tired, it is still old.
So one asks is there a way of not dreaming at all so that the
mind during sleep has complete rest and can come upon certain
qualities which it cannot during the waking hours? It is possible
only – and this is a fact, not a supposition, not a theory, not an
invention, or a hope – it is possible only when you are completely
awake during the day, watching every activity of your thought,
your feeling, awake to every motive, to every intimation, every
hint of that which is deep down, when you chatter, when you walk,
when you listen to somebody, when you are watching your ambition, your jealousy, watching your response to the `glory of
France,’ when you read a book which says `your religious beliefs
are nonsense’ – watching to see what is implied in belief. During
the waking hours be completely awake, when you are sitting in the
bus, when you are talking to your wife, to your children, to your
friend, when you are smoking – why you are smoking – when you
read a detective story – why you are reading it – when you go to a
cinema – why – for excitement, for sex? When you see a beautiful
tree or the movement of a cloud across the sky, be completely
aware of what is happening within and without, then you will see,
when you go to sleep, that you do not dream and when you wake
the next morning the mind is fresh, intense and alive.
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 8 PARIS
5TH PUBLIC TALK 24TH APRIL 1969 ‘THE
We have been talking about the chaos in the world, the great
violence, the confusion, not only outwardly but inwardly. Violence
is the result of fear and we went into the question of fear. I think
we ought now to go into something that may be a little foreign to
most of you: but it must be considered and not merely rejected,
saying that it is an illusion, a fancy and so on.
Throughout history, man – realizing his life is very short, full of
accidents, sorrow and inevitable death – has always formulated an
idea which is called God. He realized, as we do now also, that life
is transient and he wanted to experience something vastly great,
supreme, to experience something not put together by the mind or
by emotion; he wanted to experience, or feel his way into, a world
that is entirely different, a world that transcends this, that lies
beyond all misery and torture. And he hoped to find this
transcendental world by seeking, searching it out. We ought to go
into this question as to whether there is, or there is not, a reality – it
doesn’t matter what name one gives it – that is of an altogether
different dimension. To penetrate into its depth one must naturally
realize that it is not enough to merely understand at the verbal level
– for the description is never the described, the word is never the
thing. Can we penetrate into the mystery – if it is a mystery that
man has always been trying to enter or capture, inviting it, holding
it, worshipping it, becoming its devotee?
Life being what it is – rather shallow, empty, a tortuous affair without much meaning – one tries to invent a significance, give it a
meaning. If one has a certain cleverness, the significance and the
purpose of the invention become rather complex. And not finding
the beauty, the love or the sense of immensity, one may become
cynical, not believing in anything. One sees it is rather absurd and
illusory and without much meaning to merely invent an ideology, a
formula, affirming that there is God or that there is not, when life
has no meaning whatsoever – which is true the way we live, it has
no meaning. So do not let us invent a meaning.
If we could go together and discover for ourselves if there is, or
if there is not, a reality, which is not merely an intellectual or
emotional invention, an escape. Man throughout history has said
that there is a reality. for which you must prepare, for which you
must do certain things, discipline yourself, resist every form of
temptation, control yourself, control sex, conform to a pattern
established by religious authority, the saints and so on; or you must
deny the world, withdraw into a monastery, to some cave where
you can meditate, to be alone and not be tempted. One sees the
absurdity of such striving one sees that one cannot possibly escape
from the world, from `what is’, from the suffering, from the
distraction, and from all that man has put together in science. And
the theologies: one must obviously discard all theologies and all
beliefs. If one does completely put aside every form of belief, then
there is no fear whatsoever.
Knowing that social morality is no morality, that it is immoral,
one sees that one must be extraordinarily moral, for after all,
morality is only the bringing of order both within oneself and also
without oneself; but that morality must be in action, not merely an ideational or conceptual morality, but actual moral behaviour.
Is it possible to discipline oneself without suppression, control,
escape? The root meaning of the word `discipline’ is `to learn,’ not
to conform or become a disciple of somebody, not to imitate or
suppress, but to learn. The very act of learning demands discipline
– a discipline which is not imposed nor accommodating itself to
some ideology – not the harsh austerity of the monk. Yet without a
deep austerity our behaviour in daily life only leads to disorder.
One can see how essential it is to have complete order in oneself,
like mathematical order, not relative, not comparative, not brought
about by environmental influence. Behaviour, which is
righteousness, must be established so that the mind is in complete
order. A mind that is tortured, frustrated, shaped by environment,
conforming to the social morality, must in itself be confused; and a
confused mind cannot discover what is true.
If the mind is to come upon that strange mystery – if there is
such a thing – it must lay the foundation of a behaviour, a morality,
which is not that of society, a morality in which there is no fear
whatsoever and which is therefore free. It is only then – after laying
this deep foundation – that the mind can proceed to find out what
meditation is, that quality of silence, of observation, in which the
`observer’ is not. If this basis of righteous behaviour does not take
place in one’s life, in one’s action, then meditation has very little
In the Orient there are many schools, systems and methods of
meditation – including Zen and Yoga – which have been brought
over to the West. One must be very clear in understanding this
suggestion that through a method, through a system, though conforming to a certain pattern or tradition, the mind can come
upon that reality. One can see how absurd the thing is, whether it is
brought from the East or whether it is invented here. Method
implies conformity, repetition; method implies someone who has
reached a certain enlightenment, who says, do this and do not do
that. And we, who are so eager to have that reality, follow,
conform, obey, practice what we have been told, day after day, like
a lot of machines. A dull insensitive mind, a mind that is not highly
intelligent, can practice a method endlessly; it will become more
and more dull, more and more stupid. It will have its own
`experience’ within the field of its own conditioning. Some of you
perhaps have been to the East and have studied meditation there. A
whole tradition exists behind it. In India, throughout the whole of
Asia, it exploded in the ancient days. That tradition even now still
holds the mind, endless volumes are written on it. But any form of
tradition – a carry-over from the past – which is used to find out if
there is great reality, is obviously a waste of endeavour. The mind
must be free of every form of spiritual tradition and sanction;
otherwise one becomes utterly lacking in the highest form of
Then what is meditation, if it is not traditional? – and it cannot
be traditional, no one can teach you, you cannot follow a particular
path, and say, `along that path I will learn what meditation is.’ The
whole meaning of meditation is in the mind becoming completely
quiet; quiet, not only at the conscious level but also at the deep,
secret, hidden levels of consciousness; so completely and utterly
quiet so that thought is silent and does not wander all over the
place. One of the teachings of the tradition of meditation, the traditional approach we are talking about, is that thought must be
controlled; but that must be totally set aside and to set it aside one
must look at it very closely, objectively, non-emotionally.
Tradition says you must have a guru, a teacher, to help you to
meditate, he will tell you what to do. The West has its own form of
tradition, of prayer, contemplation and confession. But in the
whole principle that someone else knows and you do not know,
that the one who knows is going to teach you, give you
enlightenment, in that is implied authority, the master, the guru, the
saviour, the Son of God and so on. They know and you do not
know; they say, follow this method, this system, do it day after
day, practice and you will eventually get there – if you are lucky.
Which means you are fighting with yourself all day long, trying to
conform to a pattern, to a system, trying to suppress your own
desires, your own appetites, your own envy, jealousies, ambitions.
And so there is the conflict between what you are and what should
be according to the system; this means there is effort; and a mind
that is making an effort can never be quiet; through effort mind can
never become completely still.
Tradition also says concentrate in order to control your thought.
To concentrate is merely to resist, to build a wall round yourself, to
protect an exclusive focusing on one idea, on a principle, a picture
or what you will. Tradition says you must go through that in order
to find whatever you want to find. Tradition also says you must
have no sex, you must not look at this world, as all the saints, who
are more or less neurotic, have always said. And when you see –
not merely verbally and intellectually, but actually – what is
involved in all this – and you can see it only if you are not committed to it and can look at it objectively – then you discard it
completely. One must discard it completely, for then the mind, in
the very discarding, becomes free and therefore intelligent, aware,
and not liable to be caught in illusions.
To meditate in the deepest sense of the word one must be
virtuous, moral; not the morality of a pattern, of a practice, or of
the social order, but the morality that comes naturally, inevitably,
sweetly when you begin to understand yourself, when you are
aware of your thoughts, your feelings, your activities, your
appetites, your ambitions and so on – aware without any choice,
merely observing. Out of that observation comes right action,
which has nothing to do with conformity, or action according to an
ideal. Then when that exists deeply in oneself, with its beauty and
austerity in which there is not a particle of harshness – for
harshness exists only when there is effort – when one has observed
all the systems, all the methods, all the promises and looked at
them objectively without like or dislike, then you can discard them
altogether so that your mind is free from the past; then you can
proceed to find out what meditation is.
If you have not actually laid the foundation, you can play with
meditation but that has no meaning – it is like those people who go
out to the East, go to some master who will tell them how to sit,
how to breathe, what to do, this or that, and who come back and
write a book, which is all sheer nonsense. One has to be a teacher
to oneself and a disciple of oneself, there is no authority, there is
Understanding is possible only when there is observation
without the centre as the observer. Have you ever observed, watched, tried to find out, what understanding is? Understanding is
not an intellectual process; understanding is not an intuition or a
feeling. When one says `I understand something very clearly,’ there
is an observation out of complete silence – it is only then there is
understanding. When you say `I understand something,’ you mean
that the mind listens very quietly, neither agreeing nor disagreeing;
that state listens completely – it is only then there is understanding
and that understanding is action. It is not that there is
understanding first and then action follows afterward, it is
simultaneous, one movement.
So meditation – that word which is so heavily loaded by
tradition – is to bring, without effort, without any form of
compulsion, the mind and the brain to their highest capacity, which
is intelligence, which is to be highly sensitive. The brain is quiet;
that repository of the past, evolved through a million years, which
is continuously and incessantly active – that brain is quiet.
Is it at all possible for the brain, which is reacting all the time,
responding to the least stimulus, according to its conditioning, to
be still? The traditionalists say, it can be made still by proper
breathing, by practicing awareness. This again involves the
question, `who’ is the entity that controls, that practices, that shapes
the brain? Is it not thought, which says, ‘I am the observer and I am
going to control the brain, put an end to thought’? Thought breeds
Is it possible for the brain to be completely quiet? It is part of
meditation to find out, not to be told how to do it; nobody can tell
us how to do it. Your brain – which is so heavily conditioned
through culture, through every form of experience, the brain which is the result of vast evolution – can it be so still? – because without
that, whatever it sees or experiences will be distorted, will be
translated according to its conditioning.
What part does sleep play in meditation, in living? It is quite an
interesting question; if you have gone into it yourself you will have
discovered a great deal. As we said the other day: dreams are
unnecessary. We said: the mind, the brain, must be completely
aware during the day – attentive to what is happening both
outwardly and inwardly, aware of the inward reactions to the outer
with its strains evoking reactions, attentive to the intimation of the
unconscious – and then at the end of the day it must take all that
into account. If you do not take all that has happened into account
at the end of the day, the brain has to work at night, when you are
asleep, to bring order into itself – which is obvious. If you have
done all this, then when you sleep you are learning quite a different
thing altogether, you are learning at a different dimension
altogether; and that is part of meditation.
There is the laying of the foundation of behaviour, in which
action is love. There is the discarding of all traditions, so that the
mind is completely free; and the brain is completely quiet. If you
have gone into it you will see that the brain can be quiet, not
through any trick, not through taking a drug, but through that
active and also passive awareness throughout the day. And if you
have taken stock at the end of the day, of what has happened, and
therefore brought order, then when there is sleep, the brain is quiet,
learning with a different movement.
So this whole body, the brain, everything, is quiet, without any
form of distortion; it is only then if there is any reality that such a mind can receive it. It cannot be invited, that immensity – if there is
such an immensity, if there is the nameless, the transcendental, if
there is such a thing – it is only such a mind that can see the false or
the truth of that reality.
You might say, `What has all this to do with living?’ I have to
live this everyday life, go to the office, wash dishes, travel in a
crowded bus with all the noise – what has meditation to do with all
this?’ Yet after all, meditation is the understanding of life, the life
every day with all its complexity, misery, sorrow, loneliness,
despair, the drive to become famous, successful, the fear, envy – to
understand all that is meditation. Without understanding it, the
mere attempt to find the mystery is utterly empty, it has no value. It
is like a disordered life, a disordered mind, trying to find
mathematical order. Meditation has everything to do with life; it
isn’t going off into some emotional, ecstatic state. There is ecstasy
which is not pleasure; that ecstasy comes only when there is this
mathematical order in oneself, which is absolute. Meditation is the
way of life, every day – only then, that which is imperishable,
which has no time, can come into being.
Questioner: Who is the observer that is aware of his own
reactions? What is the energy that is used?
Krishnamurti: Have you looked at anything without reaction?
Have you looked at a tree, at the face of a woman, at the mountain,
or the cloud, or the light on the water, just to observe it, without
translating it into like or dislike, pleasure or pain – just to observe
it? In such observation, when you are completely attentive, is there
an observer? Do it, Sir, do not ask me – if you do it you will find
out. Observe reactions, without judging, evaluating, distorting, be so completely attentive to every reaction and in that attention you
will see that there is no observer or thinker or experiencer at all.
Then the second question: to change anything in oneself, to
bring about a transformation, a revolution in the psyche, what
energy is used? How is that energy to be had? We have energy
now, but in tension, in contradiction, in conflict; there is energy in
the battle between two desires, between what I must do and what I
should do – that consumes a great deal of energy. But if there is no
contradiction whatsoever then you have abundance of energy.
Look at one’s own life, actually do look at it: it is a contradiction;
you want to be peaceful and you hate somebody; you want to love
and you are ambitious. This contradiction breeds conflict, struggle;
that struggle wastes energy. If there is no contradiction whatsoever
you have the supreme energy to transform yourself. One asks: how
is it possible to have no contradiction between the `observer’ and
the `observed,’ between the `experiencer, and the `experience,’
between love and hate? – these dualities, how is it possible to live
without them? It is possible when there is only the fact and nothing
else – the fact that you hate, that you are violent, and not its
opposite as idea. When you are afraid you develop the opposite,
courage, which is resistance, contradiction, effort and strain. But
when you understand completely what fear is and do not escape
into the opposite, when you give your whole attention to fear, then
there is not only its cessation, psychologically, but also you have
the energy that is needed to confront it. The traditionalists say,
`You must have this energy, therefore do not be sexual, do not be
worldly, concentrate, put your mind on God, leave the world, do
not be tempted’ – all in order to have this energy. But one is still a human being with appetites, fuming inside with sexual, biological
urges, wanting to do this, controlling, forcing and all the rest of it –
therefore wasting energy. But if you live with the fact and nothing
else – if you are angry, understand it and not `how to be not angry,’
go into it, be with it, live with it, give complete attention to it – you
will see that you have this energy in abundance. It is this energy
that keeps the mind clear, your heart open, so that there is
abundance of love – not ideas, not sentiment. Questioner: What do
you mean by ecstasy, can you describe it? You said ecstasy is not
pleasure, love is not pleasure?
Krishnamurti: What is ecstasy? When you look at a cloud, at the
light in that cloud, there is beauty. Beauty is passion. To see the
beauty of a cloud or the beauty of light on a tree, there must be
passion, there must be intensity. In this intensity, this passion, there
is no sentiment whatsoever, no feeling of like or dislike. Ecstasy is
not personal; ecstasy is not yours or mine, just as love is not yours
or mine. When there is pleasure it is yours or mine. When there is
that meditative mind it has its own ecstasy – which is not to be
described, not to be put into words.
Questioner: Are you saying that there is no good and bad, that
all reactions are good – are you saying that?
Krishnamurti: No, Sir, I did not say that. I said, observe your
reaction, do not call it good or bad. When you call it good or bad
you bring about contradiction. Have you ever looked at your wife –
I am sorry to keep at it – without the image that you have about her,
the image that you have put together over thirty or so years? You
have an image about her and she has an image about you; these
images have relationship; you and she do not have relationship. These images come into being when you are not attentive in your
relationship – it is inattention that breeds images. Can you look at
your wife without condemning, evaluating, saying she is right, she
is wrong, just observe without bringing in your prejudices? Then
you will see there is a totally different kind of action that comes
from that observation.
Paris, April 24, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 9 SAANEN
1ST PUBLIC DIALOGUE 3RD AUGUST 1969 ‘ON
Krishnamurti: The intention of these discussions is to be creatively
observant – to watch ourselves creatively as we are speaking. All of
us should contribute to any subject that we want to discuss and
there must be a certain frankness – not rudeness or a rough
exposing of another’s stupidity or intelligence; but each one of us
should partake in discussing a certain issue with all its content. In
the very statement of anything that we feel, or inquire into, there
must be a sense of perceiving something new. That is creation, not
the repetition of the old, but the expression of the new in the
discovery of ourselves as we are expressing ourselves in words.
Then I think these discussions will be worthwhile.
Questioner (1: Can we go more deeply into this question of
energy and how it is wasted?
Questioner (2: You have been talking about violence, the
violence of war, the violence in how we treat people, the violence
of how we think and look at other people. But how about the
violence of self-preservation? If I were attacked by a wolf, I would
defend myself passionately with all the forces I have. Is it possible
to be violent in one part of us and not in another?
Krishnamurti: A suggestion has been made with regard to
violence, distorting ourselves to conform to a particular pattern of
society, or morality; but there is also the question of self-
preservation. Where is the demarcation between self- preservation
– which sometimes may demand violence – and other forms of violence? Do you want to discuss that?
Krishnamurti: First of all may I suggest that we discuss the
various forms of psychological violence, and then see what is the
place of self-preservation when attacked. I wonder what you think
of violence? What is violence to you?
Questioner (1: It’s a type of defence.
Questioner (2: It’s a disturbance of my comfort.
Krishnamurti: What does violence, the feeling, the word, the
nature of violence mean to you?
Questioner (1: It is aggression.
Questioner (2: If you are frustrated you get violent.
Questioner (3: If man is incapable of accomplishing something,
then he gets violent.
Questioner (4: Hate, in the sense of overcoming.
Krishnamurti: What does violence mean to you?
Questioner (1) An expression of danger, when the ,me, comes
Questioner (2: Fear.
Questioner (3) Surely in violence you are hurting somebody or
something, either mentally or physically.
Krishnamurti: Do you know violence because you know non-
violence? Would you know what violence was without its
opposite? Because you know states of nonviolence, do you
therefore recognize violence? How do you know violence?
Because one is aggressive, competitive, and one sees the effects of
all that, which is violence, one construes a state of non-violence. If
there were no opposite, would you know what violence was? Questioner: I wouldn’t label it but I’d feel something.
Krishnamurti: Does that feeling exist or come into being
because you know violence?
Questioner: I think that violence causes us pain; it is an
unhealthy feeling we want to get rid of. That’s why we want to
Krishnamurti: I don’t know anything about violence, nor about
nonviolence. I don’t start with any concept or formula. I really don’t
know what violence means. I want to find out.
Questioner: The experience of having been hurt and attacked
makes one want to protect oneself.
Krishnamurti: Yes, I understand that; that has been suggested
before. I am still trying to find out what violence is. I want to
investigate, I want to explore it, I want to uproot it, change it – you
Questioner: Violence is lack of love.
Krishnamurti: Do you know what love is?
Questioner: I think that all these things come from us.
Krishnamurti: Yes, that’s just it. Questioner: Violence comes
Krishnamurti: That’s right. I want to find out whether it comes
from outside or from inside.
Questioner: It’s a form of protection.
Krishnamurti: Let us go slowly, please; it is quite a serious
problem and the whole world is involved in it.
Questioner: Violence wastes part of my energy.
krishnamurti: Everybody has talked about violence and non-
violence. People say, `You must live violently,’ or seeing the effect of it, they say, `You must live peacefully.’ We have heard so many
things, from books, from preachers, from educators and others; but
I want to discover whether it is possible to find out the nature of
violence and what place – if any – it has in life. What is it that
makes one violent, aggressive, competitive? And is violence
involved in conformity to a pattern, however noble? Is violence
part of the discipline imposed by oneself or by society? Is violence
conflict within and without? I want to find out what is the origin,
the beginning, of violence; otherwise I am just spinning a lot of
words. Is it natural to be violent in the psychological sense? (We
will consider the physio-psychological states afterward.) Inwardly,
is violence aggression, anger, hate, conflict, suppression,
conformity? And is conformity based on this constant struggle to
find, to achieve, to become, to arrive, to self-realize, to be noble
and all the rest of it? All that lies in the psychological field. If we
cannot go into it very deeply then we shan’t be able to understand
how we can bring about a different state in our daily life, which
demands a certain amount of self-preservation. Right? So let us
start from there.
What would you consider is violence – not verbally, but
actually, inwardly. Questioner (1: It’s violating something else. It
imposes upon something.
Questioner (2: What about rejection?
Krishnamurti: Let’s take imposing first, violating `what is.’ I am
jealous and I impose on that an idea of not being jealous: ‘I must
not be jealous.’ The imposition, the violating of `what is’, is
violence. We’ll start little by little, perhaps in that one sentence the
whole thing may be covered. The `what is’ is always moving, it is not static. I violate that by imposing on it something which I think
Questioner: Do you mean that when I feel anger I think anger
should not be and, instead of being angry, I hold it back. Is that
violence? Or is it violence when I express it?
Krishnamurti: Look at something in this: I am angry and to give
release to it I hit you and that brings about a chain of reactions, so
that you hit me back. The very expression of that anger is violence.
And if I impose upon the fact that I am angry something else, that
is `not to be angry,’ is that not also violence?
Questioner: I would agree with that very general definition but
the imposition must happen in a brutal way. This is what makes it
violent. If you impose it in a gradual way, then it would not be
Krishnamurti: I understand, Sir. If you apply the imposition
with gentleness, with tact, then it is not violence. I violate the fact
that I hate by gradually, gently, suppressing it. That, the gentleman
says, would not be violent. But whether you do it violently or
gently, the fact is you impose something else on `what is.’ Do we
more or less agree to that?
Questioner: No. Krishnamurti: Let’s examine it. Say I am
ambitious to become the greatest poet in the world (or whatever it
is), and I am frustrated because I can’t. This frustration, this very
ambition, is a form of violence against the fact that I am not. I feel
frustrated because you are better than I am. Doesn’t that breed
Questioner: All action against a person or against a thing is
violence. Krishnamurti: Do please look at the difficulty involved in this.
There is the fact, and the violation of that fact by another action.
Say, for instance, I don’t like the Russians, or the Germans, or the
Americans and I impose my particular opinion, or political
evaluation; that is a form of violence. When I impose on you, that
is violence. When I compare myself with you (who are much
greater, more intelligent), I am violating myself – isn’t that so? I am
violent. At school `B’ is compared with `A,’ who is much better at
his exams and passes brilliantly. The teacher says to `B,’ `You must
be like him.’ Therefore when he compares `B’ with `A’ there is
violence and he destroys `B.’ See what is implied in this fact, that
when I impose on `what is’ the `what should be’ (the ideal, the
perfection, the image and so on), there is violence.
Questioner (1: I feel in myself that if there is any resistance,
anything that might destroy, then violence comes into being, but
also, that if you don’t resist, you could be violating yourself.
Questioner (2: Isn’t all this dealing with the self, the `me’ which
is the root of all violence?
Questioner (3: Suppose I take your word for all this. Suppose
you hate somebody and would like to eliminate that hate. There are
two approaches: the violent approach and the non-, violent
approach. If you impose upon your own being to eliminate that
hate you will do violence to yourself. If on the other hand you take
the time, take the trouble to get to know your feelings and the
object of your hate, you will gradually overcome that hate. Then
you will have solved the problem in a nonviolent way.
Krishnamurti: I think that’s fairly clear, Sir, isn’t it? We are not
trying at present to find out how to dispose of violence, in a violent way or a nonviolent way, but what brings about this violence in us.
What is violence in us, psychologically?
Questioner: In the imposition, isn’t there a breaking up of
something? Then one feels uncomfortable and one begins to get
Krishnamurti: The breaking up of one’s ideas, one’s way of life
and so on, that makes for discomfort. That discomfort brings about
Questioner (1: Violence can come from outside or from inside. I
generally blame this violence on the outside.
Questioner (2: Is not the root of violence the result of
Krishnamurti: Please, there are so many ways of showing what
violence is, or what the causes are. Can’t we see one simple fact
and begin from there, slowly? Can’t we see that any form of
imposition, of the parent over the child, or the child over the
parent, of the teacher over the pupil, of the society, or of the priest,
all these are forms of violence? Can’t we agree on that and begin
Questioner: That comes from the outside. Krishnamurti: We do
that not only outwardly but also inwardly. I say to myself `I am
angry,’ and I impose on that an idea that I must not be angry. We
say that is violence. Outwardly, when a dictator suppresses the
people, that is violence. When I suppress what I feel because I am
afraid, because it is not noble, because it is not pure and so on, that
is also violence. So the nonacceptance of the fact of `what is’
brings about this imposition. If I accept the fact that I am jealous
and offer no resistance to it, there is no imposition; then I will know what to do with it. There is no violence in it.
Questioner: You are saying education is violence.
Krishnamurti: I do. Is there not a way of educating without
Questioner: According to tradition, no.
Krishnamurti: The problem is: by nature, in my thoughts, in the
way I live, I am a violent human being, aggressive, competitive,
brutal and all the rest of it – I am that. And I say to myself, `How
am I to live differently,’ because violence breeds tremendous
antagonism and destruction in the world. I want to understand it
and be free of it, live differently. So I ask myself, `What is this
violence in me?’ Is it frustration, because I want to be famous and I
know I can’t be, therefore I hate people who are famous?’ I am
jealous and I want to be non-jealous and I hate this state of
jealousy with all its anxiety and fear and annoyance, therefore I
suppress it. I do all this and I realize it is a way of violence. Now I
want to find out if that is inevitable; or if there is a way of
understanding it, looking at it, coming to grips with it so that I shall
live differently. So I must find out what violence is.
Questioner: It’s a reaction. Krishnamurti: You are too quick.
Does that help me to under: stand the nature of my violence? I
want to go into it, I want to find out. I see that as long as there is a
duality – that is, violence and nonviolence – there must be conflict
and therefore more violence. As long as I impose on the fact that I
am stupid the idea that I must be clever, there is the beginning of
violence. When I compare myself with you, who are much more
that I am, that’s also violence. Comparison, suppression, control –
all those indicate a form of violence. I am made like that. I compare, I suppress, I am ambitious. Realizing that, how am I to
live nonviolently? I want to find a way of living without all this
Questioner: Isn’t it the `me’ and the self that is against the fact?
Krishnamurti: We’ll come to that. See the fact, see what is
happening first. My whole life, from when I was educated till now,
has been a form of violence. The society in which I live is a form
of violence. Society tells me to conform, accept, do this, not do
that, and I follow it. That is a form of violence. And when I revolt
against society, that also is a form of violence (revolt in the sense
that I don’t accept the values which society has laid down). I revolt
against it and then create my own values, which become the
pattern; and that pattern is imposed on others or on myself, which
becomes another form of violence. I live that kind of life. That is: I
am violent. Now what shall I do?
Questioner: First, you should ask yourself why you don’t want
to be violent anymore.
Krishnamurti: Because I see what violence has done in the
world as it is; wars outwardly, conflict within, conflict in
relationship. Objectively and inwardly I see this battle going on
and I say, `Surely there must be a different way of living.’
Questioner: Why do you dislike that state of affairs?
Krishnamurti: It is very destructive.
Questioner: Then this means that you yourself have already
given the highest value to love.
Krishnamurti: I have given no value to anything. I am just
Questioner: If you dislike, then you have given values. Krishnamurti: I am not giving values, I observe. I observe war
Questioner: What’s wrong with that?
Krishnamurti: I don’t say it is right or wrong.
Questioner: Then why do you want to change it?
Krishnamurti: I want to change it because my son gets killed in
a war, and I ask, `Isn’t there a way of living without killing one
Questioner: So all you want to do is to experiment with a
different way of living, then compare the new way of living with
what is going on now.
Krishnamurti: No, Sir. I don’t compare. I have expressed all
this. I see my son gets killed in a war and I say, `Is there not a
different way of living?’ I want to find out if there is a way in
which violence doesn’t exist.
Questioner: But supposing…
Krishnamurti: No supposition, Sir. My son gets killed and I
want to find a way of living in which other sons aren’t killed.
Questioner: So what you want is one or other of two possibilities.
Krishnamurti: There are a dozen possibilities.
Questioner: Your urge to find another way of living is so great
that you want to adopt another way – whatever it is. you want to
experiment with it and compare it.
Krishnamurti: No, Sir, I am afraid you are insisting on
something which I have not made clear.
Either we accept the way of life as it is, with violence and all
the rest of it; or we say there must be a different way which human
intelligence can find, where violence doesn’t exist. That’s all. And we say this violence will exist so long as comparison, suppression,
conformity, the disciplining of oneself according to a pattern is the
way of life. In this there is conflict and therefore violence.
Questioner: Why does confusion arise? Isn’t it created around
Krishnamurti: We’ll come to that, Sir.
Questioner: The thing underneath violence, the root, the essence
of violence, is in fact affecting. Owing to the fact that we exist, we
affect the rest of existence. I am here, By breathing the air I affect
the existence within it. So I claim that the essence of violence is the
fact of affecting, which is inherent in existence. When we affect in
discord, in disharmony, we call that violence. But if we harmonize
with it, then that’s the other side of violence – but it is still
affecting. One is `affecting against,’ which is violating, the other is
Krishnamurti: Sir, may I ask something? Are you concerned
with violence? Are you involved in violence? Are you concerned
about this violence in yourself and in the world in the sense that
you feel, `I can,t live this way’? Questioner: When we revolt
against violence we form a problem because revolt is violence.
Krishnamurti: I understand, Sir, but how do we proceed with
Questioner: I don’t agree with society. Revolt against ideas –
money, efficiency and so on – is my form of violence.
Krishnamurti: Yes, I understand. Therefore that rebellion
against the present culture, education and so on, is violence.
Questioner: That’s how I see my violence.
Krishnamurti: Yes, therefore what will you do with that? That’s what we are trying to discuss.
Questioner: That is what I want to know.
Krishnamurti: I want to know about this too. So let us stick to it.
Questioner: If I have a problem with a person, I can understand
it much more clearly. If I hate someone I know it; I react against it.
But this is not possible with society.
Krishnamurti: Let us take this, please. I rebel against the present
moral structure of society. I realize that mere rebellion against this
morality, without finding out what is true morality, is violence.
What is true morality? Unless I find that out and live it, merely to
rebel against the structure of a social morality has very little
Questioner: Sir, you can’t know violence unless you live it.
Krishnamurti: Oh! Are you saying I must live violently before I
can understand the other? Questioner: You said to understand true
morality you must live it. You must live violently to see what love
Krishnamurti: When you say I must live that way, you are
already imposing on me an idea of what you think love is.
Questioner: That’s repeating your words.
Krishnamurti: Sir, there is the social morality against which I
rebel because I see how absurd it is. What is true morality in which
there is no violence?
Questioner: Isn’t true morality controlling violence? Surely
there is violence in everybody, people – so called higher beings –
are controlling it, in nature it is always there; whether it is a
thunderstorm or a wild animal killing another, or a tree dying,
violence is everywhere. Krishnamurti: There may be a higher form of violence, more
subtle, more tenuous, and there are the brutal forms of violence.
The whole of life is violence, the little and the big. If one wants to
find out whether it is possible to step out of this whole structure of
violence, one has to go into it. That’s what we are trying to do.
Questioner: Sir, what do you mean by `going into it’?
Krishnamurti: I mean by `going into it,’ first the examination,
the exploration of `what is.’ To explore, there must be freedom
from any conclusion, from any prejudice. Then with that freedom I
look at the problem of violence. That is `going into.,
Questioner: Then does something happen?
Krishnamurti: No, nothing happens.
Questioner: find that my reaction against war is `I don’t want to
fight’…. But I find the thing I do is to try to keep away, live in
another country, or keep away from the people I don’t like. I just
keep away from American society.
Krishnamurti: She says, `I am not a demonstrator or protestor
but I don’t live in the country in which there is all this. I keep away
from people whom I don’t like.’ All this is a form of violence.
Please do let us pay a little attention to this. Let us give our minds
to understand this question. What is a man to do, who sees the
whole pattern of behaviour, political, religious and economic, in
which violence is involved to a greater or smaller degree, when he
feel caught in the trap which he himself has created?
Questioner: May I suggest that there is no violence, but thinking
makes it so.
Krishnamurti: Oh! I kill somebody and I think about it and
therefore it is violent. No, Sir, aren’t we playing with words? Couldn’t we go into this a little more? We have seen that whenever
I impose upon myself, psychologically, an idea or a conclusion,
that breeds violence. (We’ll take that for the moment.) I am cruel –
verbally and in feeling. I impose on that, saying `I must not,’ and I
realize that is a form of violence. How am I to deal with this
feeling of cruelty without imposing something else on it? Can I
understand it without suppressing it, without running away from it,
without any form of escape or substitution. Here is a fact – I am
cruel. That is a problem to me and no amount of explanation,
saying `you should, you should not,’ will solve it. Here is an issue
which affects me and I want to resolve it, because I see there may
be a different way of living. So I say to myself, `How can I be free
of this cruelty without conflict,’ because the moment I introduce
conflict in getting rid of cruelty, I have already brought violence
into being. So first I must be very clear about what conflict implies.
If there is any conflict with regard to cruelty – of which I want to
be free – in that very conflict there is the breeding of violence. How
am I to be free of cruelty without conflict?
Questioner: Accept it.
Krishnamurti: I wonder what we mean by accepting our cruelty.
There it is! I am not accepting or denying it. What is the good of
saying `accept it’? It is a fact that I have a brown skin – it is so.
Why should I accept it or reject it? The fact is I am cruel.
Questioner: If I see I am cruel I accept it, I understand it; but
also I am afraid of acting cruelly and of going along with it.
Krishnamurti: Yes. I said, `I am cruel.` I neither accept nor
reject it. It is a fact; and it is another fact, that when there is
conflict in getting rid of cruelty there is violence. So I have to deal with two things. Violence, cruelty and the ridding myself of it
without effort. What am I to do? All my life struggle and fight.
Questioner: The question is not violence, but the creation of an
Krishnamurti: That image gets imposed upon, or one imposes
that image on `what is right?
Questioner: It comes from ignorance of one’s true being.
Krishnamurti: I don’t quite know what you mean by `true being’.
Questioner: I mean by that one is not separate from the world,
one is the world and therefore one is responsible for the violence
that goes on outside. Krishnamurti: Yes. He says, true being is to
recognize that one is the world and the world is oneself, and that
cruelty and violence are not something different, but part of one. Is
that what you mean, Sir?
Questioner: No. Part of the ignorance.
Krishnamurti: So you are saying there is the true self and there
is ignorance? There are two states, the true being and it getting
covered over by ignorance. Why? This is an old Indian theory.
How do you know that there is a true being which is covered over
by illusion and ignorance?
Questioner: If we realize that the problems we have are in terms
of opposites, all problems will disappear.
Krishnamurti: All one has to do is not to think in opposites. Do
we do that, or is it just an idea?
Questioner: Sir, isn’t duality inherent in thought?
krishnamurti: We come to a point and go away from it. I know I
am cruel – for various psychological reasons. That is a fact. How
shall I be free without effort? Questioner: What do you mean by `without effort’?
Krishnamurti: I explained what I mean by effort. If I suppress it
there is effort involved in the sense that there is contradiction: the
cruelty and the desire not to be cruel. There is conflict between
`what is’ and `what should be.’
Questioner: If I really look at it I can’t be cruel.
Krishnamurti: I want to find out, not accept statements. I want
to find out if it is at all possible to be free of cruelty. Is it possible
to be free of it without suppression, without running
away, trying to force it. What is one to do? Questioner: The
only thing to do is to expose it.
Krishnamurti: To expose it I must let it come out, let it show
itself – not in the sense of becoming more cruel. Why don’t I let it
come out? First of all I am frightened of it. I don’t know if by
letting it come out I might not become more cruel. And if I expose
it, am I capable of understanding it? Can I look at it very carefully,
which means attentively? I can do it only if my energy, my interest
and urgency coincide at this moment of exposure. At this moment I
must have the urgency to understand it, I must have a mind without
any kind of distortion. I must have tremendous energy to look And
these three must take place instantly at the moment of exposure.
Which means, I am sensitive enough and free enough to have this
vital energy, intensity and attention. How do I have that intense
attention? How do I come by it?
Questioner: If we come to that point of wanting to understand it
desperately, then we have this attention.
Krishnamurti: I understand. I am just saying, `Is it possible to be
attentive’? Wait, see the implications of it, see what is involved in it. Don’t give meanings, don’t bring in a new set of words. Here I
am. I don’t know what attention means. Probably I have never
given attention to anything, because most of my life I am
inattentive. Suddenly you come along and say, Look, be attentive
about cruelty; and I say, `I will’ – but what does it mean? How am I
to bring about this state of attention? Is there a method? If there is a
method and I can practice to become attentive, it will take time.
And during that time I continue to be inattentive and therefore
bring more destruction. So all this must take place instantly!
I am cruel. I won’t suppress, I won’t escape; it doesn’t mean that
I am determined not to escape, it doesn’t mean that I have made up
my mind not to suppress it. But I see and understand intelligently
that suppression, control, escape, do not solve the problem;
therefore I have put those aside. Now I have this intelligence,
which has come into being by understanding the futility of
suppression, of escape, of trying to overcome. With this
intelligence I am examining, I am looking at cruelty. I realize that
to look at it, there must be a great deal of attention and to have that
attention I must be very careful of my inattentions. So my concern
is to be aware of inattention. What does that mean? Because if I try
to practice attention, it becomes mechanical, stupid, there is no
meaning to it; but if I become attentive, or aware of lack of
attention, then I begin to find out how attention comes into being.
Why am I inattentive to other people’s feelings, to the way I talk,
the way I eat, to what people say and do? By understanding the
negative state I shall come to the positive, which is attention. So I
am examining, trying to understand how this inattention comes into
being. This is a very serious question because the whole world is
burning. If I am part of that world and that world is me, I must put
an end to the fire. So we are stranded with this problem. Because it
is lack of attention that has brought about all this chaos in the
world. One sees the curious fact that inattention is negation – lack
of attention, lack of `being there’ at the moment. How is it possible
to be so completely aware of inattention that it becomes attention?
How am I to become completely, instantly, aware of this cruelty in
me, with great energy, so that there is no friction, no contradiction,
so that it is complete, whole? How do I bring this about? We said it
is possible only when there is complete attention; and that
complete attention does not exist because our life is spent wasting
energy in inattention.
Saanen, Switzerland, August 3, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 10 SAANEN
4TH PUBLIC DIALOGUE 6TH AUGUST 1969 ‘ON
Krishnamurti: Man has not changed very deeply. We are talking
about the radical revolution in man, not the imposition of another
pattern of behaviour over the old one. We are concerned only with
the basic change in what is actually going on inwardly in ourselves.
As we said, the world and ourselves are not two different entities,
the world is us and we are the world. To bring about a great change
at the very root of our being, a revolution, a mutation, a
transformations – it doesn’t matter what word one uses – that is
what we are involved in during these discussions.
We were asking yesterday: can one look at oneself clearly,
without any distortion – distortion being the desire to evaluate, to
judge, to achieve, to get rid of `what is’? All that prevents clear
perception, prevents one from looking exactly and intimately at
`what is.’ So I think this morning we should spend some time in
discussing, or talking over together, the nature of observation, the
way to look, to listen, to see. We shall try to find out whether it is
at all possible to see, not only with one part of our being, visual,
intellectual, or emotional. Is it at all possible to observe very
closely without any distortion? It may be worthwhile to go into
that. What is it to see? Can we look at ourselves, look at the basic
fact of ourselves – which is greed, envy, anxiety, fear, hypocrisy,
deception, ambition – can we just watch that, without any
Can we this morning spend some time trying to learn what it is to look? Learning is a constant movement, a constant renewal. It is
not `having learned’ and looking from there. By listening to what is
being said and by watching ourselves a little bit, we learn
something, we experience something; and from that learning and
experiencing we look. We look with the memory of what we have
learned and with what we have experienced; with that memory in
mind we look. Therefore it is not looking, it is not learning.
Learning implies a mind that learns each time anew. So it is always
fresh to learn. Bearing that in mind we are not concerned with the
cultivation of memory but rather to observe and see what actually
takes place. We will try to be very alert, very attentive, so that what
we have seen and what we have learned doesn’t become a memory
with which we look, and which is already a distortion. Look each
time as though it were the first time! To look, to observe `what is’
with a memory, means that memory dictates or shapes or directs
your observation, and therefore it is already distorted. Can we go
on from there?
We want to find out what it means to observes The scientist
may look at something through a microscope and observe closely;
there is an outside object and he is looking at it without any
prejudice, though with some knowledge which he must have to
look. But here we are looking at the whole structure, at the whole
movement of living, at the whole being which is `myself.’ It must
be looked at not intellectually, not emotionally, nor with any
conclusion about right or wrong, or that `this must not be; `this
should be.’ So before we can look intimately, we must be aware of
this process of evaluation, judgment, forming conclusions, which is
going on and which will prevent observation. We are now concerned not with looking, but with what it is that
is looking. Is the instrument that is looking spotted, distorted,
tortured, burdened? What is important is not the seeing, but the
observation of yourself who is the instrument that is looking. If I
have a conclusion, for instance nationalism, and look with that
deep conditioning, that tribal exclusiveness called nationalism,
obviously I look with a great deal of prejudice; therefore I can’t see
clearly. Or if I am afraid to look, then that obviously is a distorted
look. Or if I am ambitious for enlightenment, or for a bigger
position, or whatever it is, then that also prevents the clarity of
perception. One has to be aware of all that, aware of the instrument
that is looking and whether it is clean.
Questioner: If one looks and finds that the instrument is not
clean, what does one do then?
Krishnamurti: Please follow this carefully. We said observe
`what is,’ the basic egoistic, self-centred activity, that which resists,
which is frustrated, which becomes angry – observe all that. Then
we said watch the instrument that is observing, find out whether
that instrument is clean. We have moved from the fact to the
instrument that is going to look. We are examining whether that
instrument is clean, and we find that it is not clean. Then what are
we to do? There is the sharpening of intelligence, I was concerned
before to observe only the fact, the `what is; I was watching it, and
I moved away from that and said, `I must watch the instrument that
is looking, whether it is clean.’ In that very questioning there is an
intelligences – you are following all this? Therefore there is a
sharpening of intelligence, a sharpening of the mind, of the brain.
Questioner: Doesn’t this imply that there is a level of consciousness where there is no division, no conditioning?
Krishnamurti: I don’t know what it implies. I am just moving
little by little. The movement is not a fragmentary movement. It is
not broken up. Before, when I looked I had no intelligence. I said,
`I must change it; `I must not change it; `This must not be; `This is
good, this is bad; `This should be’ – all that. With those conclusions
I looked and nothing happened. Now I realize the instrument must
be extraordinarily clean to looks So it is one constant movement of
intelligence, not a fragmentary state. I want to go on with this.
Questioner: Is this intelligence itself energy? If it is dependent on
something it will fizzle out.
Krishnamurti: Don’t bother for the moment; leave the question
of energy alone.
Questioner: You have already got it, whereas to us it seems
refinement upon refinement, but the drive is the same.
Krishnamurti: Yes. Is that what is taking places – refinement?
Or has the mind, the brain, the whole being, become very dull
through various means as pressures and activities and so on? And
we are saying that the whole being must be awakened completely.
Questioner: This is the tricky bit.
Krishnamurti: Wait, I am coming to it, you will see it.
Intelligence has no evolution. Intelligence is not the product of
time. Intelligence is this quality of sensitive awareness of `what is.’
My mind is dull and I say, `I must look at myself’ and this dull
mind is trying to look at itself. Obviously it sees nothing. It either
resists or rejects, or conforms; it is a very respectable mind, a
bourgeois little mind that is looking.
Questioner: You began to speak of ideological systems of morality and now you go further and suggest that we should use
self-observation, that all other systems are futile. Is this not also an
Krishnamurti: No, Sir. I say on the contrary, if you look with
any ideology, including mine, then you are lost, then you are not
looking at all. You have so many ideologies, respectable, not
respectable and all the rest of it; with those ideologies in your
brain, in your heart, you are looking. Those ideologies have made
the brain and the mind and your whole being dull. Now the dull
mind looks. And obviously the dull mind, whatever it looks at,
whether it meditates, or goes to the moon, it is still a dull mind. So
that dull mind observes and somebody comes along and says,
`look, my friend, you are dull, what you see will be equally dull;
because your mind is dull, what you see will inevitably be dull
also.’ That is a great discovery, that a dull mind looking at
something which is extraordinarily vital has made the thing it looks
at also dulls
Questioner: But the same thing keeps reaching out.
Krishnamurti: Wait, go slowly, if you don’t mind, just move
step by step with the speaker.
Questioner: If a dull mind recognizes that it is dull, it is not so
Krishnamurti: I don`t recognize it! That would be excellent if
the dull mind recognized that it was dull, but it doesn’t. Either it
tries to polish itself more and more, by becoming learned, scientific
and all the rest of it, or if it is aware that it is dull it says, `This dull
mind cannot look clearly.’ So the next question is: How can this
dull, spotted mind become extraordinarily intelligent, so that the instrument through which one looks is very clean?
Questioner: Are you saying that when the mind puts the
question in that way, it has put an end to the dullness? Can one do
the right things for the wrong reasons?
Krishnamurti: No. I wish you would leave your conclusion and
find out what the speaker is sayings
Questioner: No, Sir. You stay with me.
Krishnamurti: What you are saying is this: you are trying to get
hold of something, which will make the mind which is dull much
sharper, clearer. I don’t. I am saying: watch the dullness.
Questioner: Without the continual movement?
Krishnamurti: To watch the dull mind without the continual
movement of distortion – show does that happen? My dull mind
looks; therefore there is nothing to sees I ask myself, `How is it
possible to make the mind bright? ` Has this question come into
being because I have compared the dull mind with another, clever
mind, saying, `I must be like it’? You follow? That very
comparison is the continuation of the dull minds
Questioner: Can the dull mind compare itself with a clever one?
Krishnamurti: Doesn’t it always compare itself with some bright
mind? That’s what we call evolution, don,t we?
Questioner: The dull mind doesn’t compare, it asks, `Why
should I’? Or you can put it a little differently: one believes that if
one can be a little cleverer one will get something more.
Krishnamurti: Yes, that’s the same thing. So I have discovered
something. The dull mind says, I am dull through comparison, I am
dull because that man is clever. It is not aware that it is dull in
itself. There are two different states. If I am aware that I am dull because you are bright, that’s one things If I am aware that I am
dull, without comparison, that’s quite different. How is it with you?
Are you comparing yourself and therefore saying, `I am dull’? Or
are you aware that you are dull, without comparisons Can that be?
Do please stay with that a little bits
Questioner: Sir, is this possible?
Krishnamurti: Please give two minutes to this question. Am I
aware that I am hungry because you tell me so, or do I feel hungry?
If you tell me that I am hungry, I may feel a little hunger but it is
not real hunger.2 But if I am hungry, I am am hungry. So I must be
very clear whether my dullness is the result of comparisons Then I
can proceed from there.
Questioner: What has brought it home to you in such a way that
you can leave it and only be concerned with whether you are dull
Krishnamurti: Because I see the truth that comparison makes
the mind dull. At school when one boy is compared with another
boy, you destroy the boy comparing him with another. If you tell
the younger brother that he must be as clever as the elder brother,
you have destroyed the younger brother, haven’t you? You are not
concerned with the younger brother, you are concerned with the
cleverness of the older boys
Questioner: Can a dull mind look and find out if it is dull?
Krishnamurti: We are going to find out. Please let’s begin again.
Could we not stick to this one thing this morning?
Questioner: So long as there is that drive, what validity has it
whether I am dull in myself or by comparison.
Krishnamurti: We are going to find out. Please, just go along with the speaker for a few minutes, not accepting or rejecting but
watching yourself. We said at the beginning of this morning’s
dialogue that the revolution must take place at the very root of our
being, and that it can take place only when we know how to
observe what we are. The observation depends on the brightness,
the clarity and the openness of the mind that looks. But most of us
are dull, and we say we see nothing when we look; we see anger,
jealousy and so on, but it doesn’t result in anything. So we are
concerned with the dull mind, not with what it is looking at. This
dull mind says. `I must be clever in order to looks’ So it has a
pattern of what cleverness is and is trying to become that.
Somebody tells it, `Comparison will always produce dullness.’ So
it says, `I must be terribly careful of that, I won’t compares I only
knew what dullness was through comparison. If I don’t compare,
how do I know I am dull?’ So I say to myself, `I won’t call it dulls’ I
won’t use the word `dull’ at all. I will only observe `what is’ and not
call it dull. Because the moment I call it dull, I have already given
it a name and made it dull. But if I don,t call it dull, but only
observe, I have removed comparison, I have removed the word
`dull’ and there is only `what is.’ This is not difficult, is it? Please
do watch it for yourself. Look what has happened now! Look
where my mind is now.
Questioner: I see that my mind is too slow.
Krishnamurti: Will you please just listens I’ll go very slowly,
step by step.
How do I realize my mind is dull? Because you have told me?
Because I have read books that seem extraordinarily clever,
intricate and subtle? Or I have seen brilliant people and in comparing myself with them I call myself dull? I have to find out
So I won’t compare; I refuse to compare myself with somebody
else. Then do I know I am dull? Is the word preventing me to
observe? Or is the word taking the place of `what actually is’? Are
you following this? So I will not use a word, I won’t call it dull, I
won’t call it slow, I won,t call it anything, but find out `what is.’ So
I have got rid of comparison, which is the most subtle things My
mind has become extraordinarily intelligent because it doesn’t
compare, it doesn’t use a word with which to see `what is,’ because
it has realized the description is not the described. So what is
actually the fact of ‘what is’?
Can we go from there? I am watching it, the mind is watching
its own movements Now do I condemn it, judge and evaluate and
say, `This should be,’ `This should not be’? Has it any formula, any
ideal, any resolution, any conclusion, which will inevitably distort
`what is’? I have to go into that. If I have any conclusion I cannot
looks If I am a moralist, if I am a respectable person, or a
Christian, a Vedantist, or an `enlightened one,’ or this or that – all
that prevents me from looking. Therefore I must be free of it all. I
am watching if I have a conclusion of any kinds So the mind has
become extraordinarily clear and it says, `Is there fear?’ I watch it
and I say, `There is fear, there is a desire for security, there is the
urge for pleasure,’ and so on. I see that I cannot possibly look if
there is any kind of conclusion, any kind of pleasurable movement
taking places So I am watching, and I find I am very traditional and
I realize such a traditional mind can’t looks My deep interest is to
look and that deep interest shows me the danger of any conclusion.
Therefore the very perception of danger is the discarding of that danger. So my mind then is not confused, it has no conclusion,
does not think in terms of words, of descriptions, and is not
comparing. Such a mind can observe and what it observes is itself.
Therefore a revolution has taken places Now you are lost –
Questioner: I don’t think that this revolution has taken place.
Today I managed to look at the mind in the way you say, the mind
becomes sharper, but tomorrow I will have forgotten how to looks
Krishnamurti: You can’t forget it, Sir. Do you forget a snake?
Do you forget a precipice? Do you forget the bottle marked
`poison’? You can`t forget it. The gentleman asked, `How can I
cleanse the instrument?’ We said the cleansing of the instrument is
to be aware how the instrument is made dull, clouded, unclear. We
have described what makes it clouded, and we also said the
description is not the actual thing described; so don’t be caught in
words. Be with the thing described, which is the instrument that is
Questioner: Surely if you look at yourself in the manner you
described you expect something. Krishnamurti: I am not expecting
a transformation, enlightenment, a mutation, I am expecting
nothing, because I don’t know what is going to happens I know
only one thing very clearly, that the instrument that is looking is
not clean, it is clouded, it is cracked. That’s all I know and nothing
else. And my only concern is, how can this instrument be made
Questioner: Why are you looking?
Krishnamurti: The world is burning and the world is me. I am
terribly disturbed, terribly confused, and there must be some order somewhere in all this. That is what is making me look. But if you
say, `The world is all right, why do you bother about it, you have
got good health and a little money, wife and children and a house,
leave it alone’ – then, of course, the world isn’t burning. But it is
burning all the same, whether you like or not. So that is what
makes me look, not some intellectual conception, nor some
emotional excitement, but the actual fact that the world is burning –
the wars, the hatred, the deception, the images, the false gods and
all the rest of its And that very perception of what is taking place
outwardly, makes me aware inwardly. And I say the inward state is
the outward state, they are both one, indivisible.
Questioner: We are back at the very beginning. The fact is the
dull mind doesn’t see that by comparison it will think it should be
Krishnamurti: No, it is all wrong. I don’t want to be different! I
only see that the instrument is dull. I don’t know what to do with it.
So I am going to find out, which doesn’t mean I want to change the
instrument. I don’t.
Questioner: Is using any word an obstacle to seeing?
Krishnamurti: The word is not the thing; therefore if you are
looking at the thing, unless you put the word aside, it becomes
Questioner: I think that I disagree with you. When one looks,
one sees the instrument has two parts, one is perception, the other
is expression. It is impossible to sever these two parts. It is a
linguistic problem, not one of dullness. The difficulty lies in
language, in the randomness of expression.
Krishnamurti: Are you saying, in observation there is perception and expression, the two are not separate. Therefore when you
perceive, there must also be the clarity of expression, the linguistic
understanding, and the perception and the expression must never
be separated, they must always go together. So you are saying that
it is very important to use the right word.
Questioner: I am saying `expression,’ I am not saying
Krishnamurti: I understand – expression. Out of that comes
another factor: perception, expression and action. If action is not
expression and perception – expression being expressing it in
words – then there is a fragmentation. So is not perception action?
The very perceiving is the acting. As when I perceive a precipice
and there is immediate acting; that action is the expression of the
perception. So perception and action can never be separated,
therefore the ideal and action are impossible. If I see the stupidity
of an ideal, the very perception of the stupidity of it is the action of
intelligence. So the watching of dullness, the perceiving of
dullness, is the clearing of the mind of dullness, which is action.
Saanen, Switzerland, August 6, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 11 SAANEN
5TH PUBLIC DIALOGUE 7TH AUGUST 1969
‘THE ART OF SEEING’
Krishnamurti: It is important, I think, to understand the nature and
the beauty of observation, of seeing. As long as the mind is in any
way distorted – by neurotic promptings and feelings, by fear,
sorrow, by health, by ambition, snobbishness and the pursuit of
power – it cannot possibly listen, watch, see. The art of seeing,
listening, watching, is not a thing to be cultivated, it is not a
question of evolution and gradual growth. When one is aware of
danger there is immediate action, the instinctual, instantaneous
response of the body and memory. From childhood one has been
conditioned that way to meet danger, so that the mind responds
instantly, otherwise there is physical destruction. We are asking
whether it is possible to act in the very seeing in which there is no
conditioning at all. Can a mind respond freely and instantly to any
form of distortion and therefore act? That is, perception, action and
expression are all one, they are not divided, broken up. The very
seeing is the acting which is the expression of that seeing. When
there is an awareness of fear, observe it so intimately that the very
observation of it is the freeing of it, which is action. Could we go
into that this morning? I feel this is very important: we might be
able to penetrate into the unknown. But a mind that is in any way
deeply conditioned by its own fears, ambitions, greed, despair and
all the rest of it, cannot possibly penetrate into something that
requires an extraordinarily healthy, sane, balanced and harmonious
being. So our question is whether a mind – meaning the whole being –
can be aware of a particular form of perversion, a particular form
of striving, of violence, and seeing it can end it, not gradually but
instantly. This means not allowing time to occur between
perception and action. When you see danger there is no time
interval, instant action takes place.
We are used to the idea that we will gradually become wise,
enlightened, by watching, practicing, day after day. That is what
we are used to, that is the pattern of our culture and our
conditioning. Now we are saying, this gradual process of the mind
to free itself from fear or violence is to further fear and to
encourage further violence.
Is it possible to end violence – not only outwardly but deep
down at the very roots of our being – end the sense of aggression,
the pursuit of power? In the very seeing of it completely, can we
end it without allowing time to come into being? Can we discuss
that this morning? Usually we allow time to enter the interval
between seeing and acting, the lag between `what is’ and `what
should be.’ There is the desire to get rid of what is in order to
achieve or to become something else. One must understand this
time interval very clearly. We think in those terms because from
childhood we are brought up and educated to think: eventually,
gradually, we will be something. Outwardly, technologically one
can see that time is necessary. I can’t become a first-class
carpenter, or physicist, or mathematician, without spending many
years at it. One may have the clarity – I dislike to use the word
`intuition’ – to see a mathematical issue when one is quite young.
And one realizes that to cultivate the memory that is demanded in learning a new technique or a new language, time is absolutely
necessary. I can’t speak German tomorrow, I need many months. I
know nothing about electronics and to learn about it I need perhaps
many years. So don’t let’s confuse the time element that is
necessary in order to learn a technique with the danger of allowing
time to interfere with perception and action.
Questioner: Should we talk about children about growing up?
Krishnamurti: A child has to grow up. He has to learn so many
things. When one says, `You must grow up,’ it is a rather
Questioner: Sir, partial psychological change does take place
Krishnamurti: Of course! One has been angry, or one is angry,
and one says `I mustn’t be angry’ and gradually one works at it and
brings about a partial state when one is a little less angry, less
irritable and more controlled.
Questioner: I don’t mean that.
Krishnamurti: Then what do you mean, Madam?
Questioner: I mean something that you have and you have
dropped. There may be confusion again, but it’s not the same.
Krishnamurti: Yes, but is it not always the same confusion, only
a little modified? There is a modified continuity. You may stop
depending on somebody, going through the pain of dependence
and the ache of loneliness, and saying, `I will no longer be
dependent.’ And perhaps you will be able to drop it. So you say a
certain change has taken place. The next dependence will not be
exactly the same as it was before. And again you go into it and you
drop it and so on. Now we are asking whether it is possible to see the whole nature of dependence and instantly be free of it – not
gradually – as you would act immediately when there is danger.
This is really an important issue into which we should go not only
verbally but deeply, inwardly. Watch the implication of it. The
whole of Asia believes in reincarnation: that is, one will be born
again in the next life depending on how you have lived in this life.
If you have lived brutally, aggressively, destructively, you are
going to pay for it in the next life. You don’t neces- sarily become
an animal, you go back to a human state living a more painful,
more destructive life, because before you have not lived a life of
beauty. Those who believe in this idea of reincarnation, believe
only in the word, but not in the depth of the meaning of that word.
What you do now matters infinitely for tomorrow – because
tomorrow, which is the next life, you are going to pay for it. So the
idea of gradually attaining different forms is essentially the same in
the East and in the West. There is always this time element, the
`what is’ and `what should be.’ To achieve what should be requires
time, time being effort, concentration, attention. As one has not got
attention or concentration, there is a constant effort to practice
attention, which requires time.
There must be a different way altogether of tackling this
problem. One must understand perception, both seeing and action;
they are not separate, they are not divided. We must equally
inquire into the question of action, of doing. What is action, the
Questioner: How can a blind man who has no perception, act?
Krishnamurti: Have you ever tried putting a band round your
eyes for a week? We did, for fun. You know, you develop other sensitivities, your senses become much sharper. Before you come
to the wall or the chair or the desk, you already know it is there.
We are talking of being blind to ourselves, inwardly. We are
terribly aware of things outwardly, but inwardly we are blind.
What is action? Is action always based on an idea, a principle, a
belief, a conclusion, a hope, a despair? If one has an idea, an ideal,
one is conforming to that ideal; there is an interval between the
ideal and the act. That interval is time. `I shall be that ideal’ – by
identifying myself with that ideal, eventually that ideal will act and
there will be no separation between action and the ideal. What
takes place when there is this ideal and the action that is
approximating itself to the ideal? In that time interval what takes
Questioner: Incessant comparison.
Krishnamurti: Yes, comparison and all the rest of it. What
action takes place, if you observe?
Questioner: We ignore the present.
Krishnamurti: Then, what else?
Krishnamurti: It is a contradiction. It leads to hypocrisy. I am
angry and the ideal says, `Don’t be angry.’ I am suppressing,
controlling, conforming, approximating myself to the ideal and
therefore I am always in conflict and pretending. The idealist is a
person who pretends. Also, in this division there is conflict. There
are other factors which come into being.
Questioner: Why aren’t we allowed to remember our former
lives? Our evolution would be much easier.
Krishnamurti: Would it? Questioner: We could avoid mistakes.
Krishnamurti: What do you mean by former life? The life of
yesterday, twenty-four hours ago?
Questioner: The last incarnation.
Krishnamurti: Which is a hundred years ago? How would it
make life easier?
Questioner: We would understand better. Krishnamurti: Please
follow it step by step – you would have the memory of what you
did or did not do, of what you suffered a hundred years ago, which
is exactly the same as yesterday. Yesterday you did many things
which you like or regret, which caused you pain, despair and
sorrow. There is the memory of all that. And you have the memory
of a thousand years, which is essentially the same as yesterday.
Why call that reincarnation, and not the incarnation of yesterday,
which is being born today. You see, we don’t like that because we
think we are extraordinary beings, or we have time to grow, to
become, to reincarnate. What it is that reincarnates you have never
looked at – which is your memory. There is nothing sacred or holy
about it. Your memory of yesterday is being born today in what
you are doing; the yesterday is controlling what you are doing
today. And a thousand years of memories is operating through
yesterday and through today. So there is constant incarnation of the
past. Don’t think this is a clever way out of it, an explanation.
When one sees the importance of memory and the utter futility of
it, then one will never talk about reincarnation.
We are asking what action is. Is action ever free, spontaneous,
immediate? Or is action always bound by time, which is thought,
which is memory? Questioner: I was watching a cat catching a mouse. She doesn’t
think, `It’s a mouse; immediately, instinctively, she catches it. It
seems to me we must also act spontaneously.
Krishnamurti: Not `we must,’ `we should.’ Sir, please – I think
we shall never say `we should’ `we must’ when we understand the
time element essentially. We are asking ourselves, not verbally, not
intellectually, but deeply, inwardly, what is action? Is action
always time-binding? Action born out of a memory, out of fear, out
of despair, is always time-binding. Is there an action which is
completely free and therefore free of time? Questioner: You say
one sees a snake and acts immediately. But snakes grow with
action. Life is not so simple, there is not only one snake, but two
snakes, and it becomes like a mathematical problem. Then time
Krishnamurti: You are saying we live in a world of tigers and
one doesn’t meet only one tiger but a dozen tigers in human form,
who are brutal, violent, avaricious, greedy, each one pursuing his
own particular delight. And to live and to act in that world you
need time to kill one tiger after another. The tiger is myself – is in
me – there are a dozen tigers in me. And you said, to get rid of
those tigers, one by one, you need time. That is just what we are
questioning altogether. We have accepted that it requires time to
gradually kill those snakes which are in me one after the other. The
`me’ is the `you’ – the `you’ with your tigers, with your serpents – all
this is also the `me.’ And we say, why kill those animals which are
in me one after the other? There are a thousand `me’s’ inside me, a
thousand snakes, and by the time I have killed them all I shall be
dead. So is there a way – do please listen to it, don’t answer it, find out
– of getting rid of all the snakes at once, nor gradually? Can I see
the danger of all the animals, all the contradictions in me and be
free of them instantly? If I cannot do it, then there is no hope for
me. I can pretend all kinds of things but if I cannot wipe away
everything that is in me immediately, I am a slave forever, whether
I am reborn in a next life or in ten thousand lives. So I have to find
a way of acting, of looking, that brings to an ending the instant of
perception, brings to an end the particular dragon, the particular
monkey in me.
Questioner: Do it!
Krishnamurti: No, Madam, please, this is really an
extraordinary question, you can’t just say `do this’ or `don’t do that.
This requires a tremendous inquiry; don’t tell me that you have got
it or that you should do this or that, that doesn’t interest me – I want
to find out.
Questioner: If only I could see it!
Krishnamurti: No, please, not `if.’
Questioner: If I perceive something, should I put it into words
or just let it remain in me?
Krishnamurti: Why do you translate what has been said in very
simple language into your own words – why can’t you see what is
being said? We have got many animals in us, many dangers. Can I
be free of them all with one perception – seeing immediately? You
may have done it, Madam, I am not questioning whether you have
done it or not, that would be impudence on my part. But I am
asking, is this possible?
Questioner: Action has two parts. The inner, decisional part takes place immediately. The action toward the outer world needs
time. Decision means inner action. To bridge over these two
aspects of action necessitates time. This is a problem of language,
Krishnamurti: I understand, Sir. There is outward action which
needs time, and inward action which is perception and action. How
is this inward action, with its perception, decision and immediate
action, to be bridged over to the other action which needs time? Is
the question clear?
If I may point out, I do not think it requires a bridge. There is no
bridging over or connecting the two. I’ll show you what I mean. I
realize very clearly that to go from here to there takes time, to learn
a language needs time, to do anything physically needs time. Is
time necessary inwardly? If I can understand the nature of time,
then I will deal with the time element in the outer world rightly,
and not let that interfere with the inward state. So I am not
beginning with the outer, because I recognize the outer needs time.
But I am asking myself whether in inward perception, decision,
action, time is there at all. Therefore I am asking, `Is decision
necessary at all?’ – decision being an instant part of time – a second,
a point. `I decide’ means there is an element of time; decision is
based on will and desire, all that implies time. So I am asking, why
should decision enter into this at all? Or is that decision part of my
conditioning which says. `You must have time.’
So is there perception and action without decision? That is, I am
aware of fear, a fear brought about by thought, by past memories,
by experiences, the incarnation of that yesterday’s fear into today. I
have understood the whole nature, the structure, the inwardness of fear. And the seeing of it without decision is action which is the
freedom from it. Is this possible? Don’t say yes, I have done it, or
somebody else has done it – that’s not the point. Can this fear end
instantly on its arising? There are the superficial fears, which are
the fears of the world. The world is full of tigers and those tigers,
which are part of me, are going to destroy; therefore there is a war
between me – a part of the tiger – and the rest of the tigers.
There is also inward fear – being psychologically insecure,
psychologically uncertain – all brought about by thought. Thought
breeds pleasure, thought breeds fear – I see all that. I see the danger
of fear as I see the danger of a snake, of a precipice, of deep
running water – I see the danger completely. And the very seeing is
the ending, without the interval of even the slightest second of
making a decision.
Questioner: Sometimes you can recognize a fear and yet you
still have that fear.
Krishnamurti: One has to go into this very carefully. First of all,
I don’t want to get rid of fear. I want to express it, to understand it,
to let it flow, let it come, explode in me, and all the rest of it. I
don’t know anything about fear. I know I am afraid. Now I want to
find out what level, at what depth I am afraid, consciously, or at the
very root, at the deep levels of my being – in the caves, in the
unexplored regions of my mind. I want to find out. I want it all to
come out, be exposed. So how shall I do that? I must do it – not
gradually – you understand? It must come out of my being
Questioner: If there are a thousand tigers and I sit on the ground
I can’t see them. But if I move to a plain above I can deal with them.
Krishnamurti: Not `if’. `If I could fly I would see the beauty of
the earth., I can’t fly, I am here. I am afraid these theoretical
questions have no value at all and apparently we don’t realize that.
I am hungry and you are feeding me with theories. Here is a
problem, do please look at it, because we are all afraid, everyone
has fear of some kind or another. There are deep, hidden fears and
I am very well aware of the superficial fears, the fears of the world;
the fears that arise out of losing a job or of this and that – losing my
wife, my son. I know that very well. Perhaps there are deeper
layers of fears. How am I, how is this mind to expose all that
instantly? What do you say?
Questioner: Do you say that we must chase the animal away
once and for all or do we have to hunt it every time?
Krishnamurti: The questioner says, you are suggesting that it is
possible to chase the animal away entirely, forever, not chase it one
day and let it come back the next day. That is what we are saying. I
don’t want to chase the animal repeatedly. That is what all the
schools, all the saints and all the religions and psychologists say:
chase it away little by little. It doesn’t mean a thing to me. I want to
find out how to chase the animal away so that it will never come
back. And when it comes back I know what to do, I won’t let it
enter the house. You understand?
Questioner: We must now give the animal its right name: it is
thought. And when it comes back we’ll know what to do with it.
Krishnamurti: I don’t know what to do – we’ll see. You are all so
Questioner: This is our life – we have to be eager! Krishnamurti: Eager to answer (was meant). Of course we have
to be eager. This is such a difficult subject; you can’t just throw in a
lot of words. This requires care.
Questioner: Why don’t we actually do perception right now?
Krishnamurti: That is what I am proposing.
Questioner: What happens if I look at you? First I get a
presentation of you. Please look at me. The first thing that happens
is the visual presentation of me, right? Then what happens?
Thought happens about the presentation.
Krishnamurti: That’s what the lady was saying, exactly the same
thing. Thought is the animal. Stick to that animal, please. Don’t say
the animal is thought, or the self, the me, the ego, fear, greed, envy,
and then go back to another description of it. That animal, we say,
is all this. And we see that animal cannot be chased out gradually,
because it will always come back in different forms. Being
somewhat aware, I say: how stupid all this is, this constant chasing
of the animal – its coming back and chasing it again. I want to find
out if it is possible to chase it completely away so that it will never
come back. Questioner: I see different functions in myself, with
different velocities. If one function pursues another, nothing
happens. For instance, if emotion pursues idea. One must look with
Krishnamurti: It is the same thing you are putting into different
Questioner: You started to give an explanation which was
interrupted. You began to say that you did not want to get rid of
fear at all.
Krishnamurti: I said to you, first of all, I don’t want to get rid of the animal. I don’t want to chase him out. Before I take the whip or
the velvet glove, I want to know who is chasing him out. Perhaps it
may be a bigger tiger that is chasing him out. So I say to myself, I
don’t want to chase anything out. See the importance of it!
Questioner: Chasing out might be your eventual death sentence.
Krishnamurti: No, I don’t know. Go slow, Sir, let me explain. I
say before I chase the animal, I want to find out who is the entity
that is going to chase it. And I say, it may be a bigger tiger. If I
want to get rid of all the tigers, it is no good getting a bigger tiger
to chase the little tiger. So I say wait, I don’t want to chase anything
out. See what is happening to my mind. I don’t want to chase
anything out but I want to look. I want to observe, I want to be
very clear whether a bigger tiger is chasing a little tiger. This game
will go on forever, that’s what is going on in the world – the
tyranny of one particular country chasing a smaller country.
So I am now very aware – please follow this – that I mustn’t
chase anything. I must root out this principle of chasing something
out, overcoming it, dominating it. Because the decision which says
`I must get rid of that tiny little tiger’ may grow in to the big tiger.
So there must be complete cessation of all decision, of all the urge
to get rid of something, to chase away anything. Then I can look.
Then I say to myself (I mean this verbally), `I won’t chase anything
away.’ Therefore I am free of the burden of time, which is to chase
one tiger with another tiger. In that there is a time interval and so I
say, `Therefore I won’t do a thing, I won’t chase, I won’t act, I won’t
decide, I must first look.’
I am looking – I don’t mean the ego, but the mind is looking, the
brain is watching. I can spot the various tigers, the mother tiger with her cubs and the husband; I can watch all that but there must
be deeper things inside me and I want them all exposed. Shall I
expose them through action, through doing? Getting more and
more angry and then calming down, and a week later again getting
angry and then calming down? Or is there a way of looking at all
the tigers, the little one, the big one, the one just being born – all of
them? Can I watch them all so completely that I’ve understood the
whole business? If I am not capable of that, then my life will go on
in the old routine, in the bourgeois way, the complicated, the
stupid, the cunning way. That’s all. So if you have known how to
listen the morning’s sermon is over.
Do you remember the story of a master speaking to his disciples
every morning? One day he gets onto the rostrum and a little bird
comes and sits on the window-sill and begins to sing and the
master lets it sing. After it has been singing for a while it flies
away. And the master says to the disciples, ‘This morning’s sermon
Saanen, Switzerland, August 7, 1969
FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE CHAPTER 12 SAANEN
6TH PUBLIC DIALOGUE 8TH AUGUST 1969
Krishnamurti: We were asking how to put aside the whole
menagerie that one has in oneself. We are discussing all this
because we see – at least I see – that one has to penetrate into the
unknown. After all, any good mathematician or physicist must
investigate the unknown and perhaps also the artist, if he is not too
carried away by his own emotions and imagination. And we, the
ordinary people with everyday problems, also have to live with a
deep sense of understanding. We too have to penetrate into the
unknown. A mind that is always chasing the animals that it has
invented, the dragons, the serpents, the monkeys, with all their
troubles and their contradictions – which we are – cannot possibly
penetrate into the unknown. Being just ordinary people, not
endowed with brilliant intellects or great visions, but just living
daily, monotonous, ugly little lives, we are concerned how to
change all that immediately. That is what we are considering.
People change with new inventions, new pressures, new
theories, new political situations; all those bring about a certain
quality of change. But we are talking about a radical, basic
revolution in one’s being and whether such a revolution is to be
brought about gradually or instantly. Yesterday we went into all
that is involved in bringing it about gradually, the whole sense of
distance and the time and effort needed to reach that distance. And
we said, man has tried this for millennia, but somehow he has not
been able to change radically – except perhaps for one or two. So it
is necessary to see whether we can, each one of us and therefore the world – because the world is us and we are the world, they are
not two separate states – instantly wipe away all the travail, the
anger, the hatred, the enmity that we have created and the
bitterness that one bears. Apparently bitterness is one of the
commonest things to have; can that bitterness, knowing all its
causes, seeing its whole structure, be wiped away on the instant?
We said that is possible only when there is observation. When
the mind can observe very intensely, then that very observation is
the action which ends bitterness. We also went into the question of
what is action: whether there is any free, spontaneous, non-
volitional action. Or is action based on our memory, on our ideals,
on our contradictions, on our hurts, our bitterness and so on? Is
action always approximating itself to an ideal, to a principle, to a
pattern? And we said, such action is not action at all, because it
creates contradiction between what `should be’ and `what is.’ When
you have an ideal there is the distance to be covered between what
you are and what you should be. That `should be’ may take years,
or as many believe, many lives incarnating over and over again till
you reach that perfect Utopia. We also said there is the incarnation
of yesterday into today; whether that yesterday stretches back
many millennia or only twenty-four hours, it is still operating when
there is action based on this division between the past, the present
and the future, which is `what should be.’ All this, we said, brings
about contradiction, conflict, misery; it is not action. Perceiving is
action; the very perception is action, which takes place when you
are confronted with a danger; then there is instant action. I think
we came to that point yesterday.
There is also the instant when there is a great crisis, a challenge, or a great sorrow. Then the mind is for an instant extraordinarily
quiet, it is shocked. I don’t know if you
observed it. When you see the mountain in the evening or in the
early morning, with that extraordinary light on it, the shadows, the
immensity, the majesty, the feeling of deep aloneness – when you
see all that your mind cannot take it all in; for the moment it is
completely quiet. But it soon over. comes that shock and responds
according to its own conditioning, its own particular personal
problems and so on. So there is an instant when the mind is
completely quiet, but it cannot sustain that sense of absolute
stillness. That stillness can be produced by a shock. Most of us
know this sense of absolute stillness when there is a great shock.
Either it can be produced outwardly by some incident, or it can be
brought about artificially, inwardly, by a series of impossible
questions as in some Zen school, or by some imaginative state,
some formula which forces the mind to be quiet – which is
obviously rather childish and immature. We are saying that for a
mind that is capable of perception in the sense we have been
talking about, that very perception is action. To perceive, the mind
must be completely still, otherwise it can’t see. If I want to listen to
what you are saying, I must listen silently. Any vagrant thought,
any interpretation of what you are saying, any sense of resistance
prevents the actual listening.
So the mind that wants to listen, observe, see or watch must of
necessity be extraordinarily quiet. That quietness cannot possibly
be brought about through any sense of shock or through absorption
in a particular idea. When a child is absorbed in a toy it is very
quiet, it is playing. But the toy has absorbed the mind of the child, the toy has made the child quiet. In taking a drug or in doing
anything artificial, there is this sense of being absorbed by
something greater – a picture, an image, a Utopia. This still, quiet
mind can come about only through the understanding of all the
contradictions, perversions, conditioning, fears, distortions. We are
asking whether those fears, miseries, confusions, can all be wiped
away instantly, so that the mind is quiet to observe, to penetrate.
Can one actually do it? Can you actually look at yourself with
complete quietness? When the mind is active then it is distorting
what it sees, translating, interpreting, saying `I like this,’ `I don’t
like it.’ It gets tremendously excited and emotional and such a mind
cannot possibly see.
So we are asking, can ordinary human beings like us do this?
Can I look at myself, whatever I am, knowing the danger of words
like `fear’ or `bitterness’ and that the very word is going to prevent
the actual seeing of `what is’? Can I observe, being aware of the
pitfalls of language? Also, not allowing any sense of time to
interfere – any sense of `to achieve,’ `to get rid of’ – but just
observe, quietly, intently, attentively. In that state of intense
attention, the hidden paths, the undiscovered recesses of the mind
are seen. In that there is no analysis whatsoever, only perception.
Analysis implies time and also the analyzer and the analyzed. Is the
analyzer different from the thing analyzed? – if it is not, there is no
sense in analysis. One has to be aware of all this, discard it all –
time, analysis, resistance, trying to reach across, overcome and so
on – because through that door there is no end to sorrow.
After listening to all this, can one actually do it? This is really
an important question. There is no `how.’ There is nobody to tell you what to do and give you the necessary energy. It requires great
energy to observe: a still mind is the total energy without any
wastage, otherwise it is not still. And can one look at oneself with
this total energy so completely that the seeing is acting and
therefore the ending?
Questioner: Sir, is not your question equally impossible?
Krishnamurti: Is this an impossible question? If it is an
impossible question then why are you all sitting here? just to listen
to the voice of a man talking, to listen to the stream going by, have
a nice holiday among these hills and mountains and meadows?
Why can’t you do it? Is it so difficult? Is it a matter of having a
very clever brain? Or is it that you have never in your life actually
observed yourself and therefore you find this so impossible? One
has to do something when the house is burning! You don’t say, `It
is impossible, I don’t believe it, I can’t do anything about it,’ and sit
and watch it burn! You do something in relation to the actuality,
not something in relation to what you think should be. The
actuality is the house burning – you may not be able to put the fire
out completely before the fire engine comes, but in the meantime –
there is no `in the meantime’ at all – you act in relation to the fire.
So when you say it’s an impossible question, as difficult, as
impossible as putting a duck into a little bottle – it shows that you
are not aware that the house is burning. Why isn’t one aware that
the house is burning? The house means the world, the world which
is you, with your discontent, with all the things that are going on
inside you and the world outside you. If you are not aware of this,
why aren’t you? Is it that one is not clever, that one has not read
innumerable books, is not sensitive to know what is happening inside oneself and not aware of what is actually going on? If you
say, `Sorry, I’m not,’ then why aren’t you? You are aware when you
are hungry, when somebody insults you. You are very much aware
if someone flatters you or when you want fulfillment of sexual
desires; then you are very much aware. But here you say, `I am
not.’ So what is one to do? Rely on somebody’s stimulation and
Questioner: You say that there has to be a mutation and that this
can be done by watching one’s thoughts and desires and this has to
be done instantly. I have once done this and there has been no
change. If we do what you suggest, is it then a permanent state, or
must it be done regularly, daily?
Krishnamurti: This perception which is action, can this be done
once and for all, or must it be done every day? What do you think?
Questioner: I think it can be done after listening to music.
Krishnamurti: Therefore music becomes necessary like a drug,
only music is much more respectable than a drug. The question is
this: must one watch every day, every minute, or can one watch it
so completely one day that the whole thing ends? Can I go to sleep
for the rest of the time, once I’ve seen the thing completely? You
understand the question? I am afraid one has to watch every day
and not go to sleep. You have to be aware, not only of insults, of
flattery, of anger, of despair, but also of all the things that are
happening around you and inside you all the time. You can’t say,
`Now I am completely enlightened, nothing will touch me’.
Questioner: At the moment, or the minute, or the time that it
takes to get this perception and to understand what has happened,
are you not then suppressing a violent reaction you had when the insult came? Isn’t this perception simply the suppression of the
reaction which would take place? Instead of reacting you perceive
instead – the perception may just be the suppression of the reaction.
Krishnamurti: We went into this pretty thoroughly, didn’t we? I
have a reaction of dislike – I don’t like you and I watch that
reaction. If I watch it very attentively it unfolds, it exposes my
conditioning, the culture in which I have been brought up. If I am
still watching and have not gone to sleep, if the mind is watching
what has been exposed, many, many things are revealed – there is
no question of suppression at all. Because I am interested to see
what is happening, not in how to go beyond all the reactions. I am
interested to find out whether the mind can look, perceive the very
structure of the me, the ego, the self. And in that, how can any
form of suppression exist? Questioner: I sometimes feel a state of
stillness; can there be action out of that stillness?
Krishnamurti: Are you asking, `How can this stillness be
maintained, sustained, kept going?’ – is that it?
Questioner: Can I go on with my daily work?
Krishnamurti: Can the daily activities come out of silence? You
are all waiting for me to answer this. I have a horror of being an
oracle; because I happen to be sitting on a platform it doesn’t give
me any authority. This is the question: can the mind that is very
still, act in daily life? If you separate the daily life from stillness,
from the Utopia, from the ideal – which is silence – then the two
will never meet. Can I keep the two divided, can I say this is the
world, my daily life, and this is the silence which I have
experienced, which I have felt my way into? Can I translate that
silence into daily life? You can’t. But if the two are not separate – the right hand is the left hand – and there is harmony between the
two, between silence and the daily life, when there is unity, then
one will never ask, `Can I act out of silence?’
Questioner: You are talking of intense awareness, intense
looking, intense seeing. Could it not be said that the degree of
intensity that one has is primarily what makes it possible?
Krishnamurti: One is essentially intense and there is that deep,
basic intensity which one has – is that it?
Questioner: The way one comes to it with a passion, not for its
sake, but it seems to be a primary requirement.
Krishnamurti: Which we have already. Yes?
Questioner: Yes and no. Krishnamurti: Sir, why do we assume
so many things? Can one not take a voyage and examine, not
knowing anything? A voyage into oneself, not knowing what is
good or bad, what is right or wrong, what should be, what must be,
but just take the voyage without any burden? That is one of the
most difficult things, to voyage inwardly without any sense of
burden. And as you voyage you discover – you don’t start and say
at the beginning, `This must not be so,’ `This should be.’
Apparently that is one of the most difficult things to do, I don’t
know why. Look, Sirs, there is nobody to help, including the
speaker. There is nobody in whom to have faith, and I hope you
have no faith in anybody. There is no authority to tell you what is
or what should be, to walk in one direction, not in another, to mind
the pitfalls, all marked out for you – you are walking alone. Can
you do that? You say, `I can’t do it because I am afraid.’ Then take
fear and go into it and understand it completely. Forget about the
journey, forget about authority – examine this whole thing called fear – fear, because you have nobody to lean on, nobody to tell you
what to do, fear because you might make a mistake. Make a
mistake, and in observing the mistake you will jump out of it
Discover as you go along. In this there is greater creativeness
than in painting, writing a book, going on the stage and making a
monkey of oneself. There is greater – if I can use the word –
excitement, a greater sense of…
Krishnamurti: Oh, don’t supply the word.
Questioner: If daily life is performed without introducing an
observer, then nothing disturbs the silence.
Krishnamurti: That is the whole problem. But the observer is
always playing tricks, is always casting a shadow and thereby
bringing further problems. We are asking whether you and I can
take a journey inwardly, not knowing a thing and discovering as
we go along, one’s sexual appetites, one’s cravings, intentions. It is
a tremendous adventure, much greater than going to the moon.
Questioner: This is the problem; they knew where they were
going, they knew the direction when they undertook to go to the
moon. Inwardly there is no direction.
Krishnamurti: The gentleman says, going to the moon is
objective, we know where to go. Here, taking a journey inwardly,
we don’t know where we are going. Therefore there is insecurity
and fear. If you know where you are going you will never penetrate
into the unknown; and therefore you will never be the real person
who discovers what is the eternal.
Questioner: Can there be total, immediate perception without the help of a master?
Krishnamurti: That’s what we’ve been talking about.
Questioner: We didn’t finish the other question; this is a
problem because we know where we are going; we want to hold on
to pleasure, we don’t really want the unknown.
Krishnamurti: Yes, we want to hold on to the apron strings of
pleasure. We want to hold on to the things that we know. And with
all that we want to take a journey. Have you ever climbed a
mountain? The more you are burdened the more difficult it is. Even
to go up these little hills is quite difficult if you carry a burden.
And if you climb a mountain you have to be much freer. I really
don’t know what the difficulty is. We want to carry with us
everything we know – the insults the resistances, the stupidities, the
delights, the exaltations, everything that we have had. When you
say, `I’m going to take a journey carrying all that,’ you are taking a
journey somewhere else, not into that which you are carrying.
Therefore your journey is in imagination, is unreality. But take a
journey into the things which you are carrying, the known – not
into the unknown – into what you already know: your pleasures,
your delights, your despairs, your sorrows. Take a journey into
that, that is all you have. You say, `I want to take a journey with all
that into the unknown and add the unknown to it, add other
delights, other pleasures.’ Or it may be so dangerous that you say,
`I don’t want to.’
WIMBLEDON, LONDON 2ND PUBLIC TALK
16TH MARCH 1969 ‘THOUGHT BREEDS FEAR’
For most of us freedom is an idea but not an actuality. When we
talk about freedom or think about it, we want to be free outwardly,
to do what we like, to travel, to be free to express ourselves in
different ways, free to think what we like. The outward expression
of freedom seems to be extraordinarily important, especially in
countries where there is tyranny, dictatorship; and in those
countries where outward freedom is possible one seeks more and
more pleasure, more and more enjoyment, freedom to possess. And
in the search for freedom, if one is at all serious, there is not only
the outward expression of that freedom, which must, it seems to
me, come from psychological freedom, inward freedom.
And if we are to enquire deeply into what freedom implies,
freedom to be inwardly, completely and totally free – which then
expresses itself outwardly in society, in relationship – then we must
ask, it seems to me, whether the human mind, heavily conditioned
as it is, can ever be free at all. Or must it always live and function
within the frontiers of its own conditioning, and therefore there is
no freedom at all? One sees that the mind, verbally understanding
that there is no freedom here on this earth, inwardly or outwardly,
one then begins to invent freedom in another world, liberation,
moksha, heaven and so on.
So if we could put aside all theoretical, ideological, concepts of
freedom and actually enquire whether our minds, yours and mine,
can ever be free, freedom from dependence, psychologically,
inwardly, freedom from fear, anxiety, the innumerable problems, both the conscious as well as the deeper layers of consciousness.
Whether there can be complete psychological freedom, so that the
human mind, being free from all problems can come upon
something which is not of time, which is not put together by
thought, or as an escape from the actual realities of daily existence?
If we could this morning go into this question whether the
human mind, yours and mine, can ever be inwardly,
psychologically, totally free. Because without that freedom it is not
possible to see what is truth, to see if there is a reality not invented
by fear, not shaped by the society or the culture in which we live,
not as an escape from the daily monotony, with its boredom,
loneliness, despair and anxiety. Because unless one is free you
can’t explore, you can’t investigate, you can’t examine. To look into
it, there needs not only freedom but the discipline that is necessary
to observe. So freedom and discipline go together, not that one
must be disciplined in order to be free. We are using the word
discipline not in the accepted, traditional sense, which is to
conform, imitate, suppress, follow a set pattern, but rather the root
meaning of that word itself, which is to learn.
So learning and freedom go together. Learning bringing its own
discipline, not imposed by the mind in order to achieve a certain
result. So those two things are necessary essentially. The act of
learning and freedom. One cannot learn about oneself unless one is
free. And to learn about oneself one must observe, not according to
any pattern, formula, or concept but actually observe as one is. And
that observation, that perception, that seeing, brings about its own
discipline, its own learning in which there is no conformity,
imitation, suppression, control whatsoever. So freedom and learning are always together. And there is a great deal of beauty in
Our minds are conditioned – that is an obvious fact –
conditioned by the culture or society, influenced by various
impressions, strains, stresses, relationships, economic, social,
climatic, educational, religious conformity, sanctions and so on.
Our minds are trained to accept fear and escape, if we can, from
that fear, never being able to resolve, totally and completely, the
whole nature and structure of fear. So our first question is: whether
the mind, so heavily burdened, can resolve completely, not only its
conditioning, but also its fears? Because it is the fear that makes us
And if we may this morning – please do not merely hear a lot of
words and ideas – which are really of no value at all – but through
the act of listening, observing your own states of mind, then we can
together both verbally and non-verbally, enquire whether the mind
can ever be free from fear – not accepting fear, not escaping from
it, not saying «I must develop courage, resistance», but actually be
fully aware of the fear in which one is trapped. Because unless one
is free from this quality of fear one cannot see very clearly, feel
very clearly, deeply; and obviously, when there is fear there is no
So, can the mind actually ever be free of fear? That seems to me
to be one of the most primary, essential, questions which must be
asked and which must be resolved, for any person who is at all
serious. There are physical fears and psychological fears. The
physical fears of pain, having had pain and the repetition of that
pain in the future; the fears of old age, death, the fears of physical insecurity, the fears of the uncertainty of tomorrow, the fears of not
being able to be a great success, achieve and so on, not being
somebody in this rather ugly world; the fears of destruction, the
fears of loneliness, not being able to love or be loved, and so on;
the conscious fears as well as the unconscious fears. Can the mind
be free, totally, of all this? And if it cannot, then such a mind is
incapable, because it is distorted, it is incapable of perception, of
understanding, of having a mind that is completely silent, quiet; it
is like a blind man seeking light and never finding light, and
therefore inventing a ‘light’ of words, concepts, theories.
So how is a mind which is so heavily burdened with fear, and
with all its conditioning, ever to be free of it? Or must we accept it
as an inevitable thing of life? – and most of us do accept it, put up
Now what shall we do? How shall I, as a human being, and you
as a human being, be rid of this fear, the total fear, not a particular
fear, but the whole nature and structure of fear?
What is fear? Don’t accept, if I may suggest, what the speaker is
saying; the speaker has no authority whatsoever, he is not a
teacher, he is not a guru; because if he is a teacher then you are the
follower and if you are the follower you destroy yourself as well as
the teacher. What we are trying to do is to find out what is truth.
We are trying to go into this question of fear so completely that
your mind is never afraid, therefore you are free of all dependence
on another, inwardly, psychologically. So we are taking a journey
together, not being led, someone ahead of you and you following
in his footsteps. The beauty of freedom is that you do not leave a
mark. The eagle in its flight does not leave a mark, only the scientist does. And in enquiring into this question of freedom there
must be not only the scientific observation, but also the flight of
the eagle that does not leave a mark at all; both are required; which
is, both the verbal explanation and the non-verbal perception,
bearing in mind that the description is never the described, the
explanation is never that thing which is explained, that is the word
is never the thing.
So if all this is very clear then we can proceed to find out for
ourselves – not through the speaker, not through his words, not
through his ideas or thoughts – to find out for ourselves whether the
mind can be completely free from fear.
All right? Shall we go on from there? Please this not an
introduction; if you have not heard the first part clearly and
understood it, you cannot go on to the next.
To enquire there must be freedom, as we said, to look, freedom
from prejudice, from conclusions, concepts, ideals, prejudices, so
that you can observe actually for yourself what fear is. And when
you observe very closely, intimately, is there fear at all? That is:
you can only observe very, very, closely, intimately what fear is,
when the observer is the observed. We are going to go into that. So
what is fear? How does it come about? The obvious physical fears
can be understood, like the physical dangers, in which there is
instant response; that’s fairly easy to understand, into which we
need not go too much. But we are talking about psychological
fears; how do these psychological fears arise? What is their origin?
And whether they can end? That is the issue. What is fear, fear of
something that happened yesterday; the fear of something that
might happen later on today or tomorrow. Fear of the known and fear of the unknown, which is tomorrow – the unknown being death
and all the rest of it, we won’t go into that question this morning.
So one can see for oneself very clearly that fear arises through
the structure of thought. Thought thinking about what happened
yesterday of which one is afraid, thinking about it, thinking about
the future causes fear. Right? Thought breeds fear. No? Please,
sirs, be quite sure; do not accept what the speaker is saying; be
absolutely sure for yourself, that thought is the origin of fear.
Thinking about the pain, psychological pain that one has had some
time ago and not wanting to repeat it again, or have that thing
recalled, or happen, and thought thinking about all this, breeds fear.
Can we go on from there? Unless we see this very clearly we will
not be able – please don’t ask questions yet, it is quite complex,
this, please for the moment just hold on to your question, no, don’t
hold on to your question, drop your question and go on with it,
what we are talking about. Thought, thinking about an incident, an
experience, a state in which there has been a disturbance, danger,
grief, pain, brings about fear. Thought, having established a certain
security, psychologically, does not want that security to be
disturbed, any disturbance is a resistance and therefore fear.
So thought is responsible for fear; as thought is responsible for
pleasure. One has had a happy experience; thought thinks about it
and wants it repeated, perpetuated; and when that is not possible
there is a resistance, there is anger, despair and fear. So thought is
both responsible for fear as well as pleasure. Right? This is not a
verbal conclusion; this is not a formula for avoiding fear. That is,
where there is fear there is pain and pleasure, pleasure goes with
pain, the two are indivisible, and thought is responsible for both. If there were no tomorrow, or the next moment to think about either
fear or pleasure, then neither would exist. Shall we go on from
there? Please bear in mind, not as an idea, but an actuality, a thing
that you yourself have discovered and therefore real, so you say
«I’ve found out that thought breeds both these things.» You have
had sexual enjoyment, pleasure; then you think about it, the image,
the pictures, you know the whole business of it, and the very
thinking about it gives strength to that pleasure which you have
had. And when that is thwarted there is pain, anxiety, fear,
jealousy, annoyance, anger, brutality. So thought is the origin of
both. And we are not saying that you must not have pleasure.
Bliss is not pleasure; ecstasy is not brought about by thought; it
is an entirely different thing. You can only come upon that when
you understand the nature of thought – which breeds both pleasure
and fear. And when a mind seeks bliss or ecstasy, and there is such
a thing which is not pleasure, and to understand that there must be
real enquiry and understanding of fear and pleasure which is
brought about by thought.
So, the question arises: can one stop thought? You are following
all this? If thought breeds fear and pleasure – and where there is
pleasure there must be pain, which is fairly obvious – then one asks
oneself: can thought come to an end? Which does not mean the
ending of the perception of beauty, the enjoyment of beauty. It is
like seeing the beauty of a cloud or a tree and enjoying it totally,
completely, fully; but when thought says, «I must have that same
experience tomorrow, that same delight which I had yesterday
when I saw that cloud, that tree, that flower, the face of that
beautiful person», then it invites both disappointment, pain, fear and pleasure, tomorrow. Obvious, isn’t it?
So, can thought come to an end? Or is that a wrong question
altogether? It is a wrong question because we want to experience
an ecstasy, a bliss, which is not pleasure, therefore you hope by
ending thought we hope we will come upon something immense,
which is not the product of pleasure and fear.
So our question then is: what place has thought in life? Not,
how to end thought. What is the relationship of thought in action
and in inaction? What is the relationship of thought, where action
is necessary, and why does thought come into existence at all when
there is complete enjoyment of beauty? So that it doesn’t carry it
over to tomorrow. I want to find out where thought is necessary,
and it is necessary in action. And I also see that where there is
complete enjoyment of beauty, of a mountain, of a beautiful face, a
sheet of water – why thought should come there and give a twist to
it and say, «I must have that pleasure again tomorrow»? I have to
find out what is the relationship of thought in action; and thought
must not interfere when there is no action of thought at all.
Am I making myself clear? Look: I see a beautiful tree, without
a single leaf, against the sky, it is extraordinarily beautiful and that
is enough – finished. Why should thought come in and say ‘I must
have that same delight tomorrow’? And I also see that thought must
operate in action. Skill in action is also skill in thought which is
really yoga, not merely physical exercise; yoga also means skill in
action – which we will not go into for the moment. So, what is the
actual relationship between thought and action? Our action is now
based on a concept, an idea. I have an idea or knowledge of what
should be done, and what should be done is in approximation to the concept, to the idea, to the ideal. So there is a division between
action and the concept, the ideal, the ‘should be’. in this division
there is conflict. Any division, psychological division, must breed
conflict. I am asking myself, what is the relationship of thought in
action? If action is separated from the idea, then action is
incomplete. Because in that there is a separation, division, conflict,
therefore action is incomplete. So is there an action of thought
which sees something instantly and acts immediately? And
therefore no division, no conflict, and therefore there is not an idea,
an ideology, something to be acted on separately? Right? Is there
an action in which the very seeing is the acting, and therefore the
very thinking is the action?
I see, there is the perception that thought breeds fear and
pleasure; and where there is pleasure there must be pain and
therefore resistance to pain. I see that very clearly; the seeing of it
is the immediate action; and the seeing of it requires perception, a
thought, logic, thinking very clearly; all that is involved. And the
seeing of it is instantaneous, and therefore the action is
instantaneous, therefore freedom from it. That means you are a free
human being, a different human being, totally transformed, not
tomorrow but now because you see very clearly that thought breeds
both fear and pain and pleasure. And all our values are based on it,
moral, ethical, social, religious, spiritual, all the values are based
on that. And if you see the truth of it, and to see the truth of it you
have to be astonishingly aware, logically, healthily, sanely, observe
every movement of thought. Then that very perception is total
action, therefore when you leave you are completely out of it.
Otherwise you will say, how am I to be free of fear tomorrow. So thought must operate in action, and it does operate: to go to
your house you must think, or catch a bus, train, and all the rest of
it, or go to the office, more efficiently, more objectively, non-
personally, non-emotionally, the more vital the thought is. But
when thought carries on that experience that you have had as a
delight, carries on through memory into the future, then such action
is incomplete, therefore it is a form of resistance and so on. Right?
Then we can go on to the next question. Let us put it this way:
what is the origin of thought, and what is the thinker? One can see
that thought is the response of memory, which is fairly simple to
understand, accumulated memory, knowledge, experience, the
background from which there is a response to any challenge; if you
are asked where you live there is instant response, and so on. So
memory, experience, knowledge is the background of thought. But
thought which is always old can never be free, it may express itself
freely but it is always old; and therefore thought can never see
anything new. So when I understand that, very clearly, the mind
becomes quiet. Because Life is a movement, a constant movement
in relationship; and thought, trying to capture that movement in
terms of the past, is afraid of life.
And so, then the question is: seeing all this, seeing that freedom
is necessary to examine – and to examine very clearly there must be
the discipline of learning and not of suppression and imitation,
seeing how the mind is conditioned by society, by the past, and the
mind, the brain is the past, and all thought springing from that is
old and therefore it cannot possibly understand anything new. And
to understand, the mind must be completely quiet – not controlled,
not shaped to be quiet. Now seeing all that – actually seeing it, not theoretically, then there is an action from that perception, or that
very perception is the action of liberation from fear. So on the next
occasion of any fear arising, there is immediate perception and the
ending of it.
Are we going along together? You see from this arises – perhaps
we have no time to go into it this morning – what is love? For most
of us it is fear, pleasure, which we call love. When there is no fear
and the understanding of pleasure, then what is love? And who is
going to answer this question? The speaker, the priest, the book,
some outside agency to tell us you are doing marvellously well,
carry on? Or, having examined, observed, seen non-analytically,
this whole structure and nature of pleasure, fear, pain, and
therefore understood that the observer, the thinker, is part of
thought. Because if there is no thinking there is no observer,
thinker, the two are inseparable. The thinker is the thought.
So seeing all that and the beauty of all that, the subtlety of all
that, then where is the mind that starts to enquire into this question
of fear? You understand? What is the state of the mind now that
has gone through all this? Is it the same as it was before it came
here? Or has it seen this thing very intimately, seen the nature and
the beauty of this thing called thought, fear and pleasure, seen all
that, what is the actual state of the mind now? Obviously nobody
can answer that except yourself; and if you have actually observed
it, gone into it, you will see that it has become completely
Can we now proceed to, if you wish, ask questions? It is one of
the easiest things to ask a question. Probably some of us have been
thinking what our question will be while the speaker was going on. We are more concerned with our question than with listening. One
has to ask questions, not only here but everywhere, of ourselves.
And to ask the right question is far more important than to receive
the answer. Because the solution of a problem lies in the
understanding of the problem; the answer is not outside the
problem, it is in the problem. And we cannot look at the problem
very clearly if we are concerned with the answer, with the solution
of the problem. As most of us are so eager to resolve the problem,
without looking into it – and to look into it one has to have energy,
drive, intensity, a passion, and as most of us are rather indolent,
lazy, though we have problems, we would rather somebody else
solved them. And there is nobody going to solve any of our
problems, either political, religious, psychological, or any problem.
One has to have a great deal of vitality and passion, intensity, to
look, to observe the problems, and as you observe, the answer is
there very clearly. So, please, this does not mean that you must not
ask questions; on the contrary you must ask questions; you must
doubt everything everybody has said, including the speaker.
Q: Is there a danger of introspection in looking into personal
K: Why shouldn’t there be danger? To cross the street is a
danger. Do you means to say, we must not look because it is
dangerous to look? I remember once – if I may repeat an incident –
a very very rich man came to see us and he said «I am very, very
serious about what you are talking about and I want to resolve all
my…» – you know all the rest of it, the nonsense that people talk
about. I said, «All right sir, let us go into it», and we talked. He
came several times, he was really a multimillionaire. And about the second week he came to me and he said, «I am having dreadful
dreams, frightening dreams. I seem to see everything around me
disappearing.», and all kinds of things he went into. And then he
said, «Probably this is the result of my enquiry into myself and I
see the danger of it», and you know, after that he did not come at
You know, we all want to be safe; we all want to be secure in
our petty little world, the world of ‘well established order’ which is
disorder, the world of our particular relationship, which we do not
want to be disturbed – the relationship between the wife and the
husband, and therefore they hold together tight, and in that there is
misery, there is distrust, there is fear, there is danger, jealousy,
anger, domination, you know all the rest of it.
So there is a way of looking into ourselves without fear, without
danger; that is to look without any condemnation, without any
justification, just to look, not to interpret, not to judge, not to
evaluate. And to do that the mind must be eager to learn in its
observation of ‘what is’. What is the danger in ‘what is’? Human
beings are violent; that is actually ‘what is’, and the danger they
have brought about in the world is the result of this violence, which
is the outcome of fear. What is there dangerous about it, to observe
it and to completely eradicate that fear? You may bring about a
different society, different values. You see, there is a great beauty
in observation, in seeing things as they are psychologically,
inwardly; which does not mean that one accepts things as they are;
it doesn’t mean that one rejects or wants to do something about
‘what is; the very perception of ‘what is’ brings about its own
mutation. But one must know the art of looking and the art of looking is never the introspective art, or the analytical art, but just
to observe without any choice.
Q: Is there not spontaneous fear?
K: Would you call that fear? When you know fire burns, when
you see a precipice, is it fear to jump away from it; when you see a
wild animal, a snake, to withdraw, is that fear, or is it intelligence?
That intelligence may be the result of conditioning, because you
have been conditioned to the dangers of a precipice, if you were
not you would throw yourself and that would be the end of you.
Your intelligence tells you to be careful; is that intelligence fear?
And is it intelligence that operates when we divide ourselves into
nationalities, into religious groups – this division between you and
me, we and they, is that intelligence that is in operation in this
division, which brings about danger, which divides people, which
brings war, is that intelligence operating, or fear? There is fear, and
the other is not. So in other words we have fragmented ourselves;
part of us acts intelligently, where necessary, like a precipice, like a
bus going by; but we are not intelligent enough to see the dangers
of nationalism, the dangers of division between people. So one part
of us – a very small part of us – is intelligent, the rest of us is not.
Where there is fragmentation there must be conflict, there must be
misery; and that is the very essence of conflict when there is
division, contradiction in us. And the contradiction is not to be
integrated. It is one of our peculiar idiosyncrasies that we must
integrate ourselves. I do not know what it means really. Who is it
that is going to integrate the two dividing opposing natures? Is not
the integrator himself part of that division? But when one sees the
totality of it, the perception of it, without any choice, in which there is no division. In seeing there is no division.
Q: Is there any difference between correct thought and correct
K: When you use that word ‘correct’ between thought and action
then that correct action is incorrect action. Right? When you use
the word correct, you have already an idea of what is correct.
When you have an idea already of what is correct it is incorrect
because that correct is based on your prejudice, on your
conditioning, on your fear, on your culture, on your society, on
your own particular idiosyncrasies, fears, religious sanctions and so
on. You have the norm, the pattern: that very pattern is in itself
incorrect, is immoral. The social morality is immoral. Right? Yes?
Do you agree to that? Then you have rejected social morality,
which means greed, envy, ambition, nationality, the worship of
class, fear, all the rest of it – have you, when you say yes? Social
morality is immoral – do you really mean it, or is it just a lot of
words? Sir, to be really moral, virtuous, is one of the most
extraordinary things in life; and that morality has nothing
whatsoever to do with the social, environmental, behaviour. That’s
why one must be free to be really virtuous, and you are not free if
you follow the social morality of greed, envy, competition, worship
of success – you know all those things that are put forward by the
church and by society, as being moral.
Q: Do we have to wait for this to happen or is there some
discipline we can use?
K: Must we have a discipline to realize that the very seeing is
action? Must we? No?
Q: Would you talk about the quiet mind – is it the result of discipline? Or is it not?
K: Sir, look: a soldier on the parade ground, he is very quiet,
with a straight back, holding the rifle very exactly, and all the rest
of it, he is drilled, drilled day after day, day after day; any freedom
is destroyed for him. He is very quiet; is that quietness? Like a
child absorbed in a toy, is that quietness? Remove the toy and the
boy becomes what he is. So will discipline (do understand this, sir,
once and for all, it is so simple) will discipline bring about
quietness? It may bring about dullness, a state of stagnancy, but
does it become quiet, quiet in the sense, intensely active, and
Q: Sir what do you want us people here on this world to do?
K: Very simple sir: I don’t want anything. That’s first. Second:
live, live in this world. This world is so marvellously beautiful. It is
our world, our earth to live upon, but we do not live, we are
frightened, we are narrow, we are separate, we are anxious, we are
frightened human beings, and therefore we do not live, we have no
relationship, we are isolated despairing human beings, and
therefore we do not know what it means to live in that ecstatic,
blissful sense. I say one can live that way only when one knows
how to be free from all the stupidities of one’s life and to be free
from them. To be free from them is only possible in becoming
aware of one’s relationship, not only with human beings, but our
relationship with ideas, with nature, with everything. In that
relationship we discover what we are, which is, fear, anxiety,
despair, loneliness, the utter lack of love. We are full of theories,
words, knowledge of what other people have said; we knows
nothing about ourselves, and therefore we don’t know how to live. Q: How do you explain different levels of consciousness in
terms of the human brain? The brain seems to be a physical affair,
the mind does not seem to be a physical affair. In addition, the
mind seems to have a conscious part and an unconscious part. How
can we see with any clarity in all these different ideas?
K: What is the difference between the mind and the brain; is
that it sir? Without the actual physical brain, which is the result of
the past, which is the outcome of evolution, of many thousand
yesterdays, with all its memories and knowledge and experience, is
not that brain part of the total mind – the mind in which there is a
conscious level and the unconscious level? Isn’t all that part of
consciousness? The physical as well as the non-physical, the
psychological, isn’t all that one whole: and haven’t we divided it as
the conscious and unconscious, the brain and the not-brain? Can
we not look at the whole thing as a total affair, non-fragmented?
Is the unconscious so very different from the conscious? Or is it
part of the totality but we have divided it? From that arises the
question: how is the conscious mind to be aware of the
unconscious? Can the positive which is the operative – the thing
that is working all day – can that observe the unconscious?
I do not know if we have time to go into this. Do you want to go
into this now? You do? Are you not tired? Is this an entertainment?
I fear it might become an entertainment. Let me finish this, sir.
Please sirs, don’t reduce it to an entertainment. It is a nice warm
room, sitting there, listening to some voice. We are dealing with
very serious things and if you have worked, as one should have,
then you must be awfully tired. Your brain cannot take more than a
certain amount and to go into this question of the unconscious and the conscious, the brain, the whole thing, requires a very sharp,
clear, mind to observe. I doubt very much if at the end of an hour
and a half you are capable of it. So may we, if you agree, take up
this question on Thursday evening? May we? So may I go now?