Jiddu Krishnamurti Network Of Thought

3
– Saanen –
Chapter 1 1st Public Talk
Saanen 12th July 1981
I see some of my old friends are here – and I am glad to see you. As we are
going  to  have  seven  talks  we  should  go  into  what  I  am  going  to  say  very
carefully, covering the whole field of life, so please be patient those of you who
have  heard  the  speaker  before,  please  be  tolerant  if  the  speaker  repeats
himself, for repetition has a certain value.
Prejudice  has  something  in  common  with  ideals,  beliefs  and  faiths.  We
must be able to think together; but our prejudices, our ideals and so on, limit
the  capacity  and  the  energy  required  to  think,  to  observe  and  examine
together  so  as  to  discover  for  ourselves  what  lies  behind  all  the  confusion,
misery,  terror,  destruction  and  tremendous  violence  in  the  world.  To
understand, not only the mere outward facts that are taking place, but also the
depth and the significance of all this, we must be able to observe together – not
you  observing  one  way  and  the  speaker  another,  but  together  observe  the
same thing. That observation, that examination, is prevented if we cling to our
prejudices,  to  our  particular  experiences  and  our  particular  comprehension.
Thinking together is tremendously important because we have to face a world
that is rapidly disintegrating, degenerating, a world in which there is no sense
of  morality,  where  nothing  is  sacred,  where  no  one  respects  another.  To
understand all this, not only superficially, casually, we have to enter into the
depths of it, into what lies behind it. We have to enquire why it is that after all
these  millions  of  years  of  evolution,  man,  you  and  the  whole  world,  have
become so violent, callous, destructive, enduring wars and the atomic bomb.
The technological world is evolving more and more; perhaps that may be one
of the factors causing man to become like this. So, please let us think together,
not according to my way or your way, but simply using the capacity to think.
Thought is the common factor of all mankind. There is no Eastern thought,
or Western thought; there is only the common capacity to think, whether one is   4
utterly  poor  or  most  sophisticated,  living  in  an  affluent  society.  Whether  a
surgeon,  a  carpenter,  a  labourer  in  the  field,  or  a  great  poet,  thought  is  the
common  factor  of  all  of  us.  We  do  not  seem  to  realize  that  thought  is  the
common factor that binds us all. You think according to your capacity, to your
energy, your experience and knowledge; another thinks differently according
to  his  experience  and  conditioning.  We  are  all  caught  in  this  network  of
thought. This is a fact, indisputable and actual.
We  have  been  `programmed’  biologically,  physically  and  also
`programmed’  mentally,  intellectually.  We  must  be  aware  of  having  been
programmed,  like  a  computer.  Computers  are  programmed  by  experts  to
produce the results that they want. And these computers will outstrip man in
thought.  These  computers  can  gather  experience,  and  from  that  experience
learn,  accumulate  knowledge,  according  to  their  programme.  Gradually  they
are  going  to  outstrip  all  our  thinking  in  accuracy  and  with  greater  speed.  Of
course they cannot compose as Beethoven, or as Keats, but they will outstrip
our thinking.
So,  then,  what  is  man?  He  has  been  programmed  to  be  Catholic,
protestant,  to  be  Italian  or  British  and  so  on.  For  centuries  he  has  been
programmed  –  to  believe,  to  have  faith,  to  follow  certain  rituals,  certain
dogmas;  programmed  to  be  nationalistic  and  to  go  to  war.  So  his  brain  has
become  as  a  computer  but  not  so  capable  because  his  thought  is  limited,
whereas the computer, although being also limited, is able to think much more
rapidly than the human being and can outstrip him.
These are facts, this is what actually is going on. Then what becomes of
man? Then what is man? If the robots and the computer can do almost all that
the human being can do, then what is the future society of man? When cars
can be built by the robot and the computer – probably much better – then what
is going to become of man as a social entity? These and many other problems
are facing us. You cannot any more think as Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and
Muslims. We are facing a tremendous crisis; a crisis which the politicians can   5
never solve because they are programmed to think in a particular way – nor
can the scientists understand or solve the crisis; nor yet the business world,
the world of money. The turning point, the perceptive decision, the challenge,
is not in politics, in religion, in the scientific world, it is in our consciousness.
One has to understand the consciousness of mankind, which has brought us
to  this  point.  One  has  to  be  very  serious  about  this  matter  because  we  are
really  facing  something  very  dangerous  in  the  world  –  where  there  is  the
proliferation of the atomic bomb which some lunatic will turn on. We all must
be aware of all this.
One has to be very very serious, not flippant, not casual but concerned, to
understand this behaviour and how human thought has brought us all to this
point.  We  must  be  able  to  penetrate  very  carefully,  hesitantly,  with  deep
observation,  to  understand  together  what  is  happening  both  out  there  and
inwardly.  The  inward  psychological  activity  always  overcomes  the  outer,
however many regulations, sanctions, decisions you may have outwardly, all
these are shattered by our psychological desires, fears and anxieties, by the
longing for security. Unless we understand that, whatever outward semblance
of  order  we  may  have,  inward  disorder  always  overcomes  that  which  is
outwardly  conforming,  disciplined,  regularized.  There  may  be  carefully
constructed  institutions  –  political,  religious,  economic  –  but  whatever  the
construction  of  these  may  be,  unless  our  inward  consciousness  is  in  total
order,  inward  disorder  will  always  overcome  the  outer.  We  have  seen  this
historically, it is happening now in front of our eyes. This is a fact.
The  turning  point  is  in  our  consciousness.  Our  consciousness  is  a  very
complicated affair. Volumes have been written about it, both in the East and in
the  West.  We  are  not  aware  of  our  own  consciousness;  to  examine  that
consciousness  in  all  its  complexity  one  has  to  be  free  to  look  to  be
choicelessly aware of its movement. it is not that the speaker is directing you
to look or to listen to all the inward movement of consciousness in a particular
way.  Consciousness  is  common  to  all  mankind.Throughout  the  world  man
suffers inwardly as well as outwardly there is anxiety, uncertainty, utter despair   6
of loneliness; there is insecurity, jealousy, greed, envy and suffering. Human
consciousness  is  one  whole;  it  is  not  your  consciousness  or  mine.  This  is
logical, sane, rational: wherever you go, in whatever climate you live, whether
you are affluent or degradingly poor, whether you believe in god, or in some
other  entity,  belief  and  faith  are  common  to  all  mankind  –  the  images  and
symbols  may  be  totally  different  in  various  localities  but  they  stem  from
something common to all mankind. This is not a mere verbal statement. If you
take it as a verbal statement, as an idea, as a concept, then you will not see
the  deep  significance  involved  in  it.  The  significance  is  that  your
consciousness is the consciousness of alI humanity because you suffer, you
are  anxious,  you  are  lonely,  insecure,  confused,  exactly  like  others,  though
they live ten thousand miles away. The realization of it, the feeling of it – the
feeling in your guts – is totally different from the mere verbal acceptance. When
you realize that you are the rest of mankind, it brings a tremendous energy,
you have broken through the narrow groove of individuality the narrow circle of
me  and  you,  we  and  they.  We  are  examining  together  this  very  complex
consciousness  of  man,  not  the  European  man,  not  the  Asiatic  man  or  the
Middle East man, but this extraordinary movement in time that has been going
on in consciousness for millions of years.
Please do not accept what the speaker is saying; if you do it will have no
meaning.  If  you  do  not  begin  to  doubt,  begin  to  question,  be  sceptical  to
enquire, if you hold on to your own particular belief, faith, experience or the
accumulated knowledge, then you will reduce it all to some kind of pettiness
with very little meaning. If you do that you will not be facing the tremendous
issue that is facing man.
We  have  to  see  what  our  actual  consciousness  is.  Thought  and  all  the
things that thought has put together, is part of our consciousness – the culture
in  which  we  live,  the  aesthetic  values,  the  economic  pressures,  the  national
inheritance. If you are a surgeon or a carpenter, if you specialize in a particular
profession, that group consciousness is part of your consciousness. If you live
in  a  particular  country  with  its  particular  tradition  and  religious  culture,  that   7
particular  group-consciousness  has  become  part  of  your  consciousness.
These  are  facts.  If  you  are  a  carpenter  you  have  to  have  certain  skills,
understand  the  nature  of  wood  and  the  tools  of  the  trade,  so  you  gradually
belong to a group that has cultivated these special skills and that has its own
consciousness  –  similarly  the  scientist,  the  archeologist,  just  as  the  animals
have  their  own  particular  consciousness  as  a  group.  If  you  are  a  housewife
you  have  your  own  particular  group  consciousness,  like  all  the  other
housewives. Permissiveness has spread throughout the world; it began in the
far  West  and  has  spread  right  through  the  world.  That  is  a  group-conscious
movement.  See  the  significance  of  it;  go  into  it  for  yourself,  see  what  is
involved in it.
Our consciousness includes, in the much deeper consciousness, our fears.
Man  has  lived  with  fear  for  generation  after  generation.  He  has  lived  with
pleasure, with envy, with all the travail of loneliness, depression and confusion;
and  with  great  sorrow,  with  what  he  calls  love  and  the  everlasting  fear  of
death. All this is his consciousness which is common to all mankind. Realize
what it means: it means that you are no longer an individual. This is very hard
to accept because we have been programmed, as is the computer, to think we
are individuals. We have been programmed religiously to think that we have
souls separate from all the others. Being programmed our brain works in the
same pattern century after century.
If  one  understands  the  nature  of  our  consciousness,  then  the  particular
endeavour of the `me’ that suffers has become something global, then a totally
different  activity  will  take  place.  That  is  the  crisis  we  are  in.  We  have  been
programmed; being programmed we can learn – occasionally have an insight –
and our brain repeats itself over and over again.just see the actual fact of that:
one is a Christian, or a Buddhist or a Hindu; one is against Communism, one
is  a  Communist  or  a  Democrat,  repeat,  repeat,  repeat.  And  in  this  state  of
repetition there is an occasional breakthrough.    8
So, how shall a human being – who is actually the rest of mankind – how
shall  he  face  this  crisis,  this  turning  point?  How  will  you  as  a  human  being,
who has evolved through millennia upon millennia, thinking as an individual –
which is actually an illusion – face a turning point, see what actually is and in
that very perception move totally in another direction?
Let us understand together what it means to look – to look at the actuality of
thought.  You  all  think,  that  is  why  you  are  here.  You  all  think  and  thought
expresses itself in words, or through a gesture, through a look, through some
bodily  movement.  Words  being  common  to  each  one  of  us,  we  understand
through  those  words  the  significance  of  what  is  being  said.  Yet  thought  is
common to all mankind – it is a most extraordinary thing if you have discovered
that, for then you see that thought is not your thought, it is thought. We have to
learn how to see things as they actually are – not as you are programmed to
look. See the difference. Can we be free of being programmed and look? If
you look as a Christian, a Democrat, a Communist, a Socialist or a Catholic or
a protestant – which are all so many prejudices – then you will not be able to
understand  the  enormity  of  the  danger,  the  crisis,  that  we  are  facing.  If  you
belong  to  a  certain  group,  or  follow  a  certain  guru,  or  are  committed  to  a
certain form of action, then, because you have been programmed, you will be
incapable  of  looking  at  things  as  they  actually  are.  It  is  only  if  you  do  not
belong  to  any  organization,  to  any  group,  to  any  particular  religion  or
nationality, that you can really observe. If you have accumulated a great deal
of knowledge from books and from experience, your mind has already been
filled,  your  brain  is  crowded  with  experience,  with  your  particular  tendencies
and so on – all that is going to prevent you from looking. Can we be free of all
that to look at what is actually happening in the world? – at the terror and the
terrible religious sectarian divisions, one guru opposed to another idiotic guru,
the vanity behind all that, the power, the position, the wealth of these gurus, it
is appalling. Can you look at yourself – not as a separate human being but as a
human  being  who  is  actually  the  rest  of  mankind?  To  have  such  a  feeling
means that you have tremendous love for human beings.    9
When you are able to see clearly, without any distortion, then you begin to
enquire into the nature of consciousness, including the much deeper layers of
consciousness.  You  have  to  enquire  into  the  whole  movement  of  thought,
because it is thought that is responsible for all the content of consciousness,
whether  it  is  the  deep  or  the  superficial  layers.  If  you  had  no  thought  there
would  be  no  fear,  no  sense  of  pleasure,  no  time;  thought  is  responsible.
Thought is responsible for the beauty of a great cathedral, but thought is also
responsible for all the nonsense that takes place inside the cathedral. All the
achievements  of  the  great  painters,  poets,  composers,  are  the  activity  of
thought: the composer; inwardly hearing the marvellous sound, commits it onto
paper.  That  is  the  movement  of  thought.  Thought  is  responsible  for  all  the
gods  in  the  world,  all  the  saviours,  all  the  gurus;  for  all  the  obedience  and
devotion;  the  whole  is  the  result  of  thought  which  seeks  gratification  and
escape  from  loneliness.  Thought  is  the  common  factor  of  all  mankind.  The
poorest villager in India thinks as the chief executive thinks, as the religious
leader thinks. That is a common everyday fact. That is the ground on which all
human beings stand. You cannot escape from that.
Thought has done marvellous things to help man but it has also brought
about  great  destruction  and  terror  in  the  world.  We  have  to  understand  the
nature and the movement of thought; why you think in a certain way; why you
cling to certain forms of thought; why you hold on to certain experiences; why
thought has never understood the nature of death. We have to examine the
very structure of thought – not your thought because it is fairly obvious what
your thought is, for you have been programmed. But if you enquire seriously
into what thinking is, then you enter into quite a different dimension – not the
dimension  of  your  own  particular  little  problem.  You  must  understand  the
tremendous  movement  of  thought,  the  nature  of  thinking  –  not  as  a
philosopher,  not  as  a  religious  man,  not  as  a  member  of  a  particular
profession, or a housewife – the enormous vitality of thinking.
Thought is responsible for all the cruelty, the wars, the war machines and
the brutality of war, the killing, the terror, the throwing of bombs, the taking of   10
hostages  in  the  name  of  a  cause,  or  without  a  cause.  Thought  is  also
responsible for the cathedrals, the beauty of their structure, the lovely poems;
it is also responsible for all the technological development, the computer with
its  extraordinary  capacity  to  learn  and  go  beyond  man-s  thought.  What  is
thinking? It is a response, a reaction, of memory. If you had no memory you
would not be able to think. Memory is stored in the brain as knowledge, the
result  of  experience.  This  is  how  our  brain  operates.  First,  experience;  that
experience  may  have  been  from  the  beginning  of  man,  which  we  have
inherited,  that  experience  gives  knowledge  which  is  stored  up  in  the  brain;
from knowledge there is memory and from that memory thought. Prom thought
you act. Prom that action you learn more. So you repeat the cycle. Experience,
knowledge, memory, thought, action; from that action learn more and repeat.
This  is  how  we  are  programmed.  We  are  always  doing  this:  having
remembered  pain,  in  the  future  avoid  pain  by  not  doing  the  thing  that  will
cause  pain,  which  becomes  knowledge,  and  repeat  that.  Sexual  pleasure,
repeat  that.  This  is  the  movement  of  thought.  See  the  beauty  of  it,  how
mechanically thought operates. Thought says to itself: `I am free to operate.’
Yet thought is never free because it is based on knowledge and knowledge is
obviously always limited. Knowledge must also be always limited because it is
part of time. I will learn more and to learn more I must have time. I do not know
Russian but I will learn it. It may take me six months or a year or a lifetime.
Knowledge is the movement of time. Time, knowledge, thought and action; in
this  cycle  we  live.  Thought  is  limited,  so  whatever  action  thought  generates
must be limited and such limitation must create conflict, must be divisive.
If I say that I am a Hindu, that I am Indian, I am limited and that limitation
brings  about  not  only  corruption  but  conflict  because  another  says,  `I  am  a
Christian’ or `I am a Buddhist’, so there is conflict between us. Our life from
birth to death is a series of struggles and conflicts from which we are always
trying  to  escape,  which  again  causes  more  conflict.  We  live  and  die  in  this
perpetual  and  endless  conflict.  We  never  seek  out  the  root  of  that  conflict,
which is thought, because thought is limited. Please do not ask, `How am I to   11
stop thought?’ – that is not the point. The point is to understand the nature of
thought, to look at it.    12
Chapter 2 2nd Public Talk
Saanen 14th July 1981
We were saying that human consciousness is similar in all human beings.
Our consciousness, whether we live in the East or West, is made up of many
layers  of  fears,  anxieties,  pleasures,  sorrows  and  every  form  of  faith.
Occasionally, perhaps, in that consciousness there is also love, compassion,
and  from  that  compassion  a  totally  different  kind  of  intelligence.  And  always
there  is  the  fear  of  ending,  death.  Human  beings  throughout  the  world  from
time immemorial have tried to find out if there is something sacred, beyond all
thought, something incorruptible and timeless.
There are the various group consciousnesses; the businessmen with their
consciousness, the scientists with theirs and the carpenter with his, these are
of the content of consciousness and are the product of thought. Thought has
created wonderful things; from the extraordinary technology of computers, to
telecommunication,  to  robots,  surgery  and  medicine.  Thought  has  invented
religions; all the religious organizations throughout the world are put together
by thought.
Thought has invented the computer. You must understand the complexity
and the future of the computer; it is going to outstrip man in his thought; it is
going to change the structure of society and the structure of government. This
is  not  some  fantastic  conclusion  of  the  speaker,  or  some  fantasy,  it  is
something that is actually going on now, of which you may not be aware. The
computer has a mechanical intelligence; it can learn and invent. The computer
is going to make human labour practically unnecessary – perhaps two hours
work a day. These are all changes that are coming. You may not like it, you
may revolt against it, but it is coming.
Thought has invented the computer, but human thought is limited and the
mechanical  intelligence  of  the  computer  is  going  beyond  that  of  man.  It  is   13
going to totally revolutionize our lives. So what will a human being be then?
These are facts, not some specialized conclusions of the speaker.
When we consider what the capacity of the computer is, then we have to
ask ourselves: what is a human being to do? The computer is going to take
over most of the activities of the brain. And what happens to the brain then?
When a human being’s occupation is taken over by the computer, by the robot,
what  becomes  of  the  human?  We  human  beings  have  been  `programmed’
biologically,  intellectually,  emotionally,  psychologically,  through  millions  of
years, and we repeat the pattern of the programme over and over again. We
have  stopped  learning:  and  we  must  enquire  if  the  human  brain,  which  has
been  programmed  for  so  many  centuries,  is  capable  of  learning  and
immediately transforming itself into a totally different dimension. If we are not
capable  of  that,  the  computer,  which  is  much  more  capable,  rapid  and
accurate, is going to take over the activities of the brain. This is not something
casual, this is a very very serious, desperately serious matter. The computer
can invent a new religion. It could be programmed by an expert Hindu scholar,
by a Catholic, by a protestant or a Muslim, and it would turn out a marvellous
structure for a new religion! And we, if we are not aware of what is happening,
we will follow that new structure which has been turned out by the computer.
See the seriousness of all this, please.
Our consciousness has been programmed for thousands and thousands of
years  to  think  of  ourselves  as  individuals,  as  separate  entities  struggling,  in
conflict from the moment we are born until we die. We are programmed to that.
We have accepted that. We have never challenged it; we have never asked if
it is possible to live a life absolutely without conflict. Never having asked it we
will never learn about it. We repeat. It is an innate part of our existence to be in
conflict  –  nature  is  in  conflict:  that  is  our  argument  –  and  we  consider  that
progress  is  only  through  conflict.  Religious  organizations  throughout  history
have  maintained  the  idea  of  individual  salvation.  We  are  questioning  very
seriously  whether  there  is  an  individual  consciousness;  whether  you,  as  a   14
human being, have a separate consciousness from the rest of mankind. You
have to answer this, not just play with it.
Having been brought up, programmed, conditioned, to be individuals, then
our  consciousness  is  all  this  activity  of  thought.  Fear  and  the  pursuit  of
pleasure are the movement of thought. The suffering, anxiety, uncertainty and
the  deep  regrets,  wounds,  the  burden  of  centuries  of  sorrow,  are  all  part  of
thought.  Thought  is  responsible  for  what  we  call  love,  which  has  become
sensual pleasure, something to be desired.
As we said, and we will repeat it over and over again until we are quite sure
of it, we are thinking together, the speaker is not telling you what to think. He is
not making propaganda – it is a horrible thing, propaganda. He is not telling
you  how  to  act,  what  to  believe,  but  together,  we  are  investigating  the
catastrophe  that  is  taking  place  in  the  world  outside  of  us,  the  utter
ruthlessness  and  violence,  and  also  inwardly  in  each  human  being  the
extraordinary conflict that is going on. Together we are examining. It is not – if
one may point out – that you are merely listening to some ideas or conclusions;
we are not talking about ideas, conclusions or beliefs. We are looking at this
world that human beings have produced, for which all of us are responsible.
We must be clear in our understanding – at whatever level that understanding
be,  whether  it  is  intellectual  understanding,  which  is  merely  verbal,  or  the
understanding of deep significance so that that understanding acts – that we
have come to a point where we have to make a decision, not by the exercise
of will, but the decision that will naturally come when we begin to understand
the whole nature and structure of the world, both externally and internally. That
perception will bring about a decision, an action.
Thought has created the problems which surround us and our brains are
trained,  educated,  conditioned,  to  the  solving  of  problems.  Thought  has
created  the  problems,  like  the  division  between  nationalities.  Thought  has
created  the  division  and  the  conflict  between  various  economic  structures;
thought has created the various religions and the divisions between them and   15
therefore  there  is  conflict.  The  brain  is  trained  to  attempt  to  solve  these
conflicts which thought has created. It is essential that we understand deeply
the nature of our thinking and the nature of our reactions which arise from our
thinking. Thought dominates our lives, whatever we do; whatever action takes
place, thought is behind that action. In every activity, whether it is sensual or
intellectual, or biological, thought is operating all the time. Biologically, through
centuries, the brain has been programmed, conditioned – the body acts in its
own way, the action of breathing, the beat of the heart and so on – so, if you
are a Catholic, a Hindu, or a Buddhist, you repeat that conditioning over and
over again. Thought is a movement in time and space. Thought is memory, the
remembrance of past things. Thought is the activity of knowledge, knowledge
which  has  been  gathered  together  through  millions  of  years  and  stored  as
memory in the brain. If you observe the activity of your thinking you will see
that experience and knowledge are the basis of your life. Knowledge is never
complete, it must always go together with ignorance. We think knowledge is
going 10 solve all our problems, whether the knowledge of the priest, the guru,
the  scientist,  the  philosopher,  or  the  latest  psychiatrist.  But  we  have  never
questioned whether knowledge in itself can solve any of our problems – except
perhaps technological problems.
Knowledge  comes  through  time.  To  learn  a  language  you  need  time.  To
learn a skill or to drive a car efficiently takes time. The same movement of time
is brought over to the psychological field; there too we say, `I must have time
to learn about myself.’ `I must have time in order to change myself from `what I
am’ to `what I should be.’ Bringing over the activity of the external world into
the psychological world means that time is a great factor in our life – tomorrow,
the past and the present. Time is thought. Time is required in the acquisition of
knowledge through experience, both externally in the world and inwardly. That
is the way we have been programmed.
Being so programmed we consider time is necessary to bring about a deep,
fundamental change in the human structure. We employ time as thought – `I
am this, I shall be that.’ You would also say in the technical world: `I do not   16
know how to construct a computer but I will learn., Time, knowledge, memory,
thought,  they  are  a  single  unit;  they  are  not  separate  activities  but  a  single
movement.  Thought,  the  outcome  of  knowledge,  must  everlastingly  be
incomplete and therefore limited, because knowledge is incomplete. Whatever
is  limited  must  bring  about  conflict.  Nationality  is  limited.  Religious  belief  is
limited. An experience which you have had, or which you are longing for, is
limited. Every experience must be limited.
Questioner: Why?
Krishnamurti:  Because  there  are  more  experiences.  I  may  have  an
experience  sexually,  or  the  experience  of  the  possession  of  wealth,  the
experience  of  giving  everything  up  and  going  into  a  monastery  –  those
experiences are all limited.
Thought, being limited, creates problems – national, economic and religious
divisions;  then  thought  says,  `I  must  solve  them.’  So  thought  is  always
functioning  in  the  resolution  of  problems.  And  the  computer,  a  mechanism
which  has  been  programmed,  can  outstrip  all  of  us  because  it  has  no
problems; it evolves, learns, moves.
Our consciousness has been programmed as an individual consciousness.
We are questioning whether that consciousness, which we have accepted as
individual, is actually individual at all. Do not say: `What will happen if I am not
an  individual?’  Something  totally  different  may  happen.  You  may  have  an
individual training in a particular trade, in a particular profession, you may be a
surgeon, a doctor, an engineer, but that does not make you an individual. You
may have a different name, a different form – that does not make individuality;
nor  the  acceptance  that  the  brain  through  time  has  affirmed:  `I  am  an
individual, it is my desire to fulfil, to become through struggle.’ That so-called
individual consciousness, which is yours, is the consciousness of all humanity.
If  your  consciousness,  which  you  have  accepted  as  separate,  is  not
separate,  then  what  is  the  nature  of  your  consciousness?  part  of  it  is  the   17
sensory  responses.  Those  sensory  responses  are  naturally,  necessarily,
programmed  to  defend  yourself,  through  hunger  to  seek  food,  to  breathe,
unconsciously.  Biologically  you  are  programmed.  Then  the  content  of  your
consciousness  includes  the  many  hurts  and  wounds  that  you  have  received
from  childhood,  the  many  forms  of  guilt;  it  includes  the  various  ideas,
imaginary certainties; the many experiences, both sensory and psychological;
there is always the basis, the root, of fear in its many forms. With fear naturally
goes  hatred.  Where  there  is  fear  there  must  be  violence,  aggression,  the
tremendous urge to succeed, both in the physical and the psychological world.
In the content of consciousness there is the constant pursuit of pleasure; the
pleasure  of  possession,  of  domination,  the  pleasure  of  money  which  gives
power, the pleasure of a philosopher with his immense knowledge, the guru
with  his  circus.  pleasure  again  has  innumerable  forms.  There  is  also  pain,
anxiety,  the  deep  sense  of  abiding  loneliness  and  sorrow,  not  only  the  so-
called personal sorrow but also the enormous sorrow brought about through
wars, through neglect, through this endless conquering of one group of people
by  another.  In  that  consciousness  there  is  the  racial  and  group  content;
ultimately there is death.
This is our consciousness – beliefs, certainties and uncertainties, anxiety,
loneliness  and  endless  misery.  These  are  the  facts.  And  we  say  this
consciousness  is  mine!  Is  that  so?  Go  to  the  Far  East,  or  the  Near  East,
America,  Europe,  anywhere  where  human  beings  are;  they  suffer,  they  are
anxious, lonely, depressed, melancholic,  struggling  and  in  conflict  –  they  are
just the same as you. So, is your consciousness different from that of another?
I  know  it  is  very  difficult  for  people  to  accept  –  you  may  logically  accept  it,
intellectually you may say, `Yes, that is so, maybe.’ But to feel this total human
sense that you are the rest of mankind requires a great deal of sensitivity. It is
not a problem to be solved. It is not that you must accept that you are not an
individual, that you must endeavour to feel this global human entity. If you do,
you  have  made  it  into  a  problem  which  the  brain  is  only  too  ready  to  try  to
solve! But if you really look at it with your mind, your heart, your whole being   18
totally aware of this fact, then you have broken the programme. It is naturally
broken. But if you say, `I will break it,` then you are again back into the same
pattern.  To  the  speaker  this  is  utter  reality,  not  something  verbally  accepted
because it is pleasant; it is something that is actual. You may have logically,
reasonably and sanely examined and found that it is so; but the brain which
has been programmed to the sense of individuality is going to revolt against it
(which  you  are  doing  now).  The  brain  is  unwilling  to  learn.  Whereas  the
computer will learn because it has nothing to lose. But here you are frightened
of losing something.
Can the brain learn? That is the whole point; so now we have to go into this
question of what learning is. Learning for most of us is a process of acquiring
knowledge. I do not know the Russian language but I will learn it. I will learn
day  after  day,  memorizing,  holding  on  to  certain  words,  phrases  and  the
meanings,  syntax  and  grammar.  If  I  apply  myself  I  can  learn  almost  any
language within a certain time. To us, learning is essentially the accumulation
of knowledge or skill. Our brains are conditioned to this pattern. Accumulate
knowledge  and  from  that  act.  When  I  learn  a  language,  there  knowledge  is
necessary. But if I am learning psychologically about the content of my mind,
of my consciousness, does learning there imply examining each layer of it and
accumulating  knowledge  about  it  and  from  that  knowledge  acting  –  following
the  same  pattern  as  learning  a  language?  If  the  brain  repeats  that  pattern
when  I  am  learning  about  the  content  of  my  consciousness,  it  means  that  I
need time to accumulate knowledge about myself, my consciousness. Then I
determine what the problems are and the brain is ready to solve them – it has
been trained to solve problems. It is repeating this endless pattern and that is
what I call learning. Is there a learning which is not this? Is there a different
action  of  learning,  which  is  not  the  accumulation  of  knowledge?  You
understand the difference?
Let  me  put  it  differently:  from  experience  we  acquire  knowledge,  from
knowledge  memory;  the  response  of  memory  is  thought,  then  from  thought
action, from that action you learn more, so the cycle is repeated. That is the   19
pattern of our life. That form of learning will never solve our problems because
it is repetition. We acquire more knowledge which may lead to better action;
but  that  action  is  limited  and  this  we  keep  repeating.  The  activity  from  that
knowledge will not solve our human problems at all. We have not solved them,
it is so obvious. After millions of years we have not solved our problems: we
are cutting each other’s throats, we are competing with each other, we hate
each other, we want to be successful, the whole pattern is repeated from the
time man began and we are still at it. Do what you will along this pattern and
no human problem will be solved, whether it be political, religious or economic,
because it is thought that is operating.
Now,  is  there  another  form  of  learning;  learning,  not  in  the  context  of
knowledge, but a different form, a non-accumulative perception-action? To find
out  we  have  to  enquire  whether  it  is  possible  to  observe  the  content  of  our
consciousness  and  to  observe  the  world  without  a  single  prejudice.  Is  that
possible?  Do  not  say  it  is  not  possible,  just  ask  the  question.  See  whether,
when you have a prejudice, you can observe clearly. You cannot, obviously. If
you have a certain conclusion, a certain set of beliefs, concepts, ideals, and
you  want  to  see  clearly  what  the  world  is,  all  those  conclusions,  ideals,
prejudices and so on will actually prevent it. It is not a question of how to get
rid  of  your  prejudices  but  of  seeing  clearly,  intelligently,  that  any  form  of
prejudice, however noble or ignoble will actually prevent perception. When you
see that, prejudices go. What is important is not the prejudice but the demand
to see clearly.
If  I  want  to  be  a  good  surgeon  I  cannot  do  so  with  ideals  or  prejudices
about surgeons; I must actually perform surgery. Can you see that a new form
of  action,  a  new  form  of  non-accumulative  knowledge,  is  possible  which  will
break  the  pattern,  break  the  programme,  so  that  you  are  acting  totally
differently?
The way we have lived, over millions of years, has been the repetition of
the  same  process  of  acquiring  knowledge  and  acting  from  that  knowledge.   20
That knowledge and action is limited. That limitation creates problems and the
brain has become accustomed to solving the problems which knowledge has
repeatedly created. The brain is caught in that pattern and we are saying that
that  pattern  will  never,  in  any  circumstance,  solve  our  human  problems.
Obviously we have not solved them up till now. There must be a different, a
totally different, movement, which is a non-accumulative perception-action. To
have  non-accumulative  perception  is  to  have  no  prejudice.  It  is  to  have
absolutely no ideals, no concepts, no faith – because all those have destroyed
man, they have not solved his problems. So: have you a prejudice? Have you
a prejudice which has something in common with an ideal? Of course. Ideals
are to be accomplished in the future, and knowledge becomes tremendously
important in the realizing of ideals. So, can you observe without accumulation,
without  the  destructive  nature  of  prejudice, ideals, faith, belief  and  your  own
conclusions  and  experiences?  There  is  group  consciousness,  national
consciousness,  linguistic  consciousness,  professional  consciousness,  racial
consciousness,  and  there  is  fear,  anxiety,  sorrow,  loneliness,  the  pursuit  of
pleasure, love and finally death. If you keep acting in that circle, you maintain
the human consciousness of the world. just see the truth of this. You are part
of  that  cOnsciousness  and you  sustain  it  by  saying,  `I  am  an  individual.  My
prejudices are important. My ideals are essential’ – repeating the same thing
over  and  over  again.  Now  the  maintenance,  the  sustenance  and  the
nourishment, of that consciousness takes place when you are repeating that
pattern.  But  when  you  break  away  from  that  consciousness,  you  are
introducing a totally new factor in the whole of that consciousness.
Now, if we understand the nature of our own consciousness, if we see how
it  is  operating  in  this  endless  cycle  of  knowledge,  action  and  division  –  a
consciousness which has been sustained for millennia – if we see the truth that
all this is a form of prejudice and break away from it, we introduce a new factor
into the old. It means that you, as a human being who is of the consciousness
of the rest of mankind, can move away from the old pattern of obedience and
acceptance.  That  is  the  real  turning  point  in  your  life.  Man  cannot  go  on   21
repeating the old pattern, it has lost its meaning, – in the psychological world it
has totally lost its meaning. If you fulfil yourself, who cares? If you become a
saint, what does it matter? Whereas, if you totally move away from that you
affect the whole consciousness of mankind.    22
Chapter 3 3rd Public Talk
Saanen 16th July 1981
I would like to repeat that we are not trying to convince you of anything –
that must be clearly understood. We are not trying to persuade you to accept a
particular point of view. We are not trying to impress you about anything;nor
are we doing any propaganda. We are not talking about personalities, or who
is right and who is wrong, but rather trying to think out, to observe, together,
what the world is and what we are, what we have made of the world and what
we  have  made  of  ourselves.  We  are  trying  together  to  examine  both  the
inward and the outward man.
To  observe  clearly  one  must  be  free  to  look  –  obviously.  If  one  clings  to
one’s particular experiences, judgements and prejudices, then it is not possible
to think clearly. The world crisis which is right in front of us demands, urges,
that we think together so that we can solve the human problem together, not
according  to  any  particular  person,  philosopher,  or  particular  guru.  We  are
trying to observe together. It is important to bear in mind all the time that the
speaker is merely pointing out something which we are examining together. It
is not something one-sided but rather that we are co-operating in examining, in
taking a journey together and so acting together.
It  is  very  important  to  understand  that  our  consciousness  is  not  our
individual consciousness. Our consciousness is not only that of the specialized
group, nationality and so on, but it is also all the human travail, conflict, misery,
confusion and sorrow. We are examining together that human consciousness,
which is our consciousness, not yours or mine, but ours.
One of the factors that is demanded in this examination is the capacity of
intelligence.  Intelligence  is  the  capacity  to  discern,  to  understand,  to
distinguish; it is also the capacity to observe, to put together all that we have
gathered  and  to  act  from  that.  That  gathering,  that  discernment,  that
observation,  can  be  prejudiced;  and  intelligence  is  denied  when  there  is   23
prejudice. If you follow another, intelligence is denied; the following of another,
however  noble,  denies  your  own  perception,  denies  your  own  observation  –
you are merely following somebody who will tell you what to do, what to think.
If  you  do  that,  then  intelligence  does  not  exist;  because  in  that  there  is  no
observation  and  therefore  no  intelligence.  Intelligence  demands  doubting,
questioning,  not  being  impressed  by  others,  by  their  enthusiasm,  by  their
energy.  Intelligence  demands  that  there  be  impersonal  observation.
Intelligence  is  not  only  the  capacity  to  understand  that  which  is  rationally,
verbally  explained  but  also  implies  that  we  gather  as  much  information  as
possible,  yet  knowing  that  that  information  can  never  be  complete,  about
anybody  or  anything.  Where  there  is  intelligence  there  is  hesitation,
observation and the clarity of rational impersonal thinking. The comprehension
of  the  whole  of  man,  of  all  his  complexities,  all  his  physical  responses,  his
emotional reactions, his intellectual capacities, his affection and his travail, the
perceiving  of  all  that  at  one  glance,  in  one  act,  is  supreme  intelligence.
Intelligence  has  not,  so  far,  been  able  to  transcend  conflict.  We  are  going
together to see if it is possible for the brain to be free from conflict. We live with
conflict  from  the  time  we  are  born  and  will  continue  co  do  so  until  we  die.
There  is  the  constant  struggle  to  be,  to  become  something  spiritually,  so-
called, or psychologically; co become successful in the world; to fulfil – all that
is  the  movement  of  becoming:  I  am  this  now  but  I  will  reach  the  ultimate
destination,  the  highest  principle,  whether  that  principle  be  called  god,
Brahman, or any other name. The constant struggle whether co become, or to
be, is the same. But when one is trying to become, in various directions, then
you are denying being. When you try to be you are becoming also. See this
movement  of  the  mind,  of  thought:  I  think;  am,  and  being  dissatisfied,
discontented, with what I am, I try to fulfil myself in something; I drive towards
a particular goal; it may be painful, but the end is thought to be pleasurable.
There is this constant struggle to be and to become.
We are all trying to become; physically, we want a better house, a better
position with more power, higher status. Biologically, if we are not well we seek   24
co  become  well.  psychologically,  the  whole  inward  process  of  thought,  of
consciousness, the whole drive,  inwardly,  is  from  the  recognition  that  one  is
actually nothing, and by becoming, to move away from that. psychologically,
inwardly, there is always the escape from `what is`, always the running away
from that which I am, from that with which I am dissatisfied to something which
will  satisfy  me.  Whether  that  satisfaction  is  conceived  as  deep  contentment,
happiness, or enlightenment, which is a projection of thought, or as acquiring
greater knowledge, it is still the process of becoming – I am, I shall be. That
process involves time. The brain is `programmed’ to this. All our culture, all our
religious sanctions, everything says: `become’. It is a phenomenon to be seen
all over the world. Not only in this Western world but in the East, everyone is
trying  to  become,  or  to  be,  or  to  avoid.  Now:  is  this  the  cause  of  conflict,
inwardly  and  outwardly?  Inwardly  there  is  this  imitation,  competition,
conformity with the ideal; outwardly there is this competition between so-called
individuals of one group against another group, nation against nation. Inwardly
and outwardly there is always this drive to become and to be something.
We are asking: is this the basic cause of our conflict? Is man doomed – as
long  as  he  lives  on  this  marvellous  earth  –  to  perpetual  conflict?  One  can
rationalize this conflict, say nature is in conflict, the tree struggling to reach the
sun is in conflict, and that that is part of our nature, because, through conflict,
through  competition,  we  have  evolved,  we  have  grown  into  this  marvellous
human  being  that  we  are  –  this  is  not  being  said  sarcastically.  Our  brain  is
programmed to conflict. We have a problem which we have never been able to
resolve. You may neurotically escape into some phantasy and in that phantasy
be  totally  content,  or  you  may  imagine  that  you  have  inwardly  achieved
something and be totally content with that: an intelligent mind must question all
this, it must exercise doubt, scepticism. Why have human beings, for millions
of years, from the beginning of man up to the present time, lived in conflict?
We have accepted it, we have tolerated it, we have said it is part of our nature
to compete, to be aggressive, to imitate, to conform; we have said that it is part
of the everlasting pattern of life.    25
Why  is  man,  who  is  so  highly  sophisticated  in  one  direction,  so  utterly
unintelligent  in  other  directions?  Does  conflict  end  through  knowledge  –
knowledge  about  oneself,  or  about  the  world,  knowledge  about  matter,
learning  more  about  society  so  as  to  have  better  organizations  and  better
institutions, acquiring more and more knowledge? Will that solve our human
conflict? Or is it that freedom from conflict has nothing whatsoever to do with
knowledge?
We have a great deal of knowledge about the world, about matter and the
universe; we have also a great deal of historical knowledge about ourselves:
will that knowledge free the human being from conflict? Or has freedom from
conflict nothing to do with analysis, with discovering  the  various  causes  and
factors of conflict? Will analytical discovery of the cause, or many causes, free
the brain from conflict – the conflict which we have while we are awake during
the daytime and the conflict carried on while we are asleep? We can examine
and interpret dreams, we can go into the whole question of why human beings
dream  at  all;  will  that  solve  conflict?  Will  the  analytical  mind  analysing  very
clearly, rationally, sanely into the cause of conflict, end conflict? In analysis the
analyser  tries  to  analyse  conflict,  and  in  doing  so  separates  himself  from
conflict – will that solve it? Or is it that freedom has nothing whatsoever to do
with any of these processes? If you follow somebody who says: `I will show
you the way; I am free from conflict and I will show you the way’ – will that help
you? This has been the part of the priest, the part of the guru, the part of the
so-called enlightened man – `Follow me, I will show you; or, `I will point out the
goal to you.’ History shows this through millennia upon millennia, and yet man
has not been able to solve his deep-rooted conflict.
Let us find out together – not agree, not as an intellectual verbal concept – if
there  is  a  perception,  an  action,  that  will  end  conflict,  not  gradually,  but
immediately. What are the implications of that? The brain being programmed
to conflict is caught in that pattern. We are asking if that pattern can be broken
immediately,  not  gradually.  You  may  think  you  can  break  it  through  drugs,
through  alcohol,  through  sex,  through  different  forms  of  discipline,  through   26
handing oneself over to something – man has tried a thousand different ways
to escape from this terror of conflict. Now, we are asking: is it possible for a
conditioned  brain  to  break  that  conditioning  immediately?  This  may  be  a
theoretical,  non-actual,  question.  You  may  say  it  is  impossible,  it  is  just  a
theory, it is just a wish, a desire, to be free of this conflict. But if you examine
the matter rationally, logically, with intelligence, you see that time will not solve
this  conditioning.  The  first  thing  to  realize  is  that  there  is  no  psychological
tomorrow.  If  you  see  actually,  not  verbally,  but  deeply  in  your  heart,  in  your
mind, in the very very depths of your being, you will realize that time will not
solve this problem. And that means that you have already broken the pattern,
you have begun to see cracks in the pattern we have accepted of time as a
means of unravelling, breaking up, this programmed brain. Once you see for
yourself, clearly, absolutely, irrevocably, that time is not a freeing factor then
already  you  begin  to  see  cracks  in  the  enclosure  of  the  brain.  Philosophers
and scientists have said: time is a factor of growth, biologically, linguistically,
technologically, but they have never enquired into the nature of psychological
time.  Any  enquiry  into  psychological  time  implies  the  whole  complex  of
psychological becoming – I am this, but I will be that; I am unhappy, unfulfilled,
desperately lonely but tomorrow will be different. To perceive that time is the
factor of conflict then that very perception is action; decision has taken place –
YOU do not have to decide – the very perception is the action and decision.
There  are  multiple  forms  of  conflict,  there  are  thousands  of  opinions  so
there are thousands of forms of conflict. But we are not talking about the many
forms  of  conflict  but  about  conflict  itself.  We  are  not  talking  about  your
particular conflict – I don,t get on with my wife, or in my business, or this or that
– but the conflict of the human brain in its existence. Is there a perception – not
born  of  memory,  not  born  of  knowledge  –  that  sees  the  whole  nature  and
structure of conflict; a perception of that whole? Is there such perception at all
– not analytical perception, not intellectual observation of the various types of
conflict,  not  an  emotional  response  to  conflict?  Is  there  a  perception  not  of
remembrance, which is time, which is thought? Is there a perception which is   27
not of time or thought, which can see the whole nature of conflict, and with that
very perception bring about the ending of conflict? Thought is time. Thought is
experience, knowledge, put together in the brain as memory. It is the result of
time  –  `I  didn’t  know  a  week  ago  but  I  know  now.’  The  multiplication  of
knowledge, the expansion of knowledge, the depth of knowledge, is of time.
So thought is time – any psychological movement is time. If I want to go from
here to Montreux, if I want to learn a language, if I want to meet somebody at a
distant  place,  time  is  required.  And  that  same  outer  process  is  carried  on
inwardly  –  `I  am  not,  I  will  be’.  So  thought  is  time.  Thought  and  time  are
indivisible.
And we are asking the question: is there a perception which is not of time
and thought – a perception that is entirely out of the pattern to which the brain
has been accustomed?  Is  there  such  a  thing  that  perhaps  alone  is  going  to
solve  the  problem?  We  have  not  solved  the  problem  in  a  million  years  of
conflict;  we  are  continuing  the  same  pattern.  We  must  find,  intelligently,
hesitantly, with care, if there is a way, if there is a perception which covers the
whole of conflict, a perception which breaks the pattern. The speaker has put
this  question  forward.  Now  how  shall  we  meet  this  together?  He  may  be
wrong,  irrational,  but  after  you  have  listened  to  him  very  carefully,  it  is  your
responsibility as well as the speaker`s, to see if it is so, if it is possible. Do not
say:  `Well  it  is  not  possible  because  I  have  not  done  it;  it  is  not  within  my
sphere; I have not though t enough about it; or, I do not want to think about it
at all because I am satisfied with my conflict and because I am quite certain
one day humanity will be free of conflict.’ That is all just an escape from the
problem. So are we together being aware of all the complexities of conflict, not
denying it. It is there, it is there as actually as pain in the body. Are we aware
without any choice that it is so and at the same time ask the question as to
whether there is a different approach altogether?
Now, can we observe – it does not matter what it is – without the naming,
without the remembrance? Look at your friend, or your wife, or whomever it is,
observe that person without the words `my wife’ or `my friend’ or `we belong to   28
the same group’ – without any of that – observe so that you are not observing
through  remembrance.  Have  you  ever  directly  tried  it?  Look  at  the  person
without naming, without time and remembrance and also look at yourself – at
the  image  that  you  have  built  about  yourself,  the  image  that  you  have  built
about  the  other;  look  as  though  you  were  looking  for  the  first  time  –  as  you
might at a rose for the first time. Learn to look; learn to observe this quality
which comes without all the operation of thought. Do not say it is not possible.
If you go to a professor, not knowing his subject but wanting to learn from him
(I am not your professor), you go to listen. You do not say: `I know something
about it,’ or `You are wrong,’ or `You are right,’ or `I don’t like your attitude.’
You listen, you find out. As you begin to listen sensitively, with awareness, you
begin to discover whether it is a phoney professor using a lot of words, or a
professor  who  has  really  gone  into  the  depths  of  his  subject.  Now,  can  we
together  so  listen  and  observe,  without  the  word,  without  remembrance,
without  all  the  movement  of  thought?  Which  means,  complete  attention;
attention, not from a centre but attention which has no centre. If you have a
centre  from  which  you  are  attending,  that  is  merely  a  form  of  concentration.
But if you are attending and there is no centre, it means that you are giving
complete attention; in that attention there is no time.
Many of you, fortunately or unfortunately, have heard the speaker for many
years and one sees that this breaking of the `programme’ of the brain has not
come about. You repeatedly listen to that statement year after year and it has
not come about. Is it because you want to attain, to become, to have that state
in which the pattern of the brain has been broken? You have listened, and it
has  not  come  about,  and  you  are  hoping  that  it  will  come  about  –  which  is
another form of striving to become. So you are still in conflict. So you brush it
all aside and say you will not come here any more because you have not got
what you want – `I want that but have not got it.’ That wanting is the desire to
be  something  and  is  a  cause  of  conflict.  That  desire  comes  from  the
`programmed’  brain.  We  are  saying:  to  break  that  programme,  that  pattern,
observe without the movement of thought. It sounds very simple, but see the   29
logic of it, the reason, the sanity, of it, not because the speaker says so, but
because  it  is  sane.  Obviously  one  must  exercise  the  capacity  to  be  logical,
rational and yet know its limitation; because rational, logical thinking is still part
of thought. Knowing that thought is limited, be aware of that limitation and do
not push it further because it will still be limited however far you go, whereas if
you observe a rose, a flower, without the word, without naming the colour, but
just look at it, then that look brings  about great sensitivity, breaks down this
sense  of  heaviness  of  the  brain,  and  gives  extraordinary  vitality.  There  is  a
totally  different  kind  of  energy  when  there  is  pure  perception,  which  is  not
related to thought and time.    30
Chapter 4 4th Public Talk
Saanen 19th July 1981
Order is necessary in our everyday activity; order in our action and order in
our relationship with each other. One has to understand that the very quality of
order  is  totally  different  from  that  of discipline.  Order  comes  through  directly
learning  about  ourselves  –  not  according  to  some  philosopher  or  some
psychologist. We discover order for ourselves when we are free from all sense
of  compulsion,  from  all  sense  of  determined  effort  to  obtain  order  along  a
particular  path.  That  order  comes  very  naturally.  In  that  order  there  is
righteousness. It is order, not according to some pattern, and not only in the
outward  world,  which  has  become  so  utterly  chaotic,  but  inwardly  within
ourselves  where  we  are  not  clear,  where  we  are  confused  and  uncertain.
Learning  about  ourselves  is  part  of  order.  If  you  follow  another,  however
erudite, you will not be able to understand yourself.
To find out what order is we must begin to understand the nature of our
relationships. Our life is a movement in relationship; however much one may
think one lives alone, one is always related to something or other, either to the
past  or  to  some  projected  image  in  the  future.  So,  life  is  a  movement  in
relationship and in that relationship there is disorder. We must examine closely
why  we  live  in  such  disorder  in  our  relationships  with  each  other  –  however
intimate or superficial.
The speaker is not trying to persuade you to think in a particular direction,
or put any kind of persuasive, subtle pressure on you. On the contrary, we are
together  thinking  over  our  human  problems  and  discovering  what  our
relationship with each other is and whether in that relationship we can bring
about  order.  To  understand  the  full  meaning  of  relationship  with  each  other,
however close, however distant, we must begin to understand why the brain
creates images. We have images about ourselves and images about others.
Why is it that each one has a peculiar image and identifies himself with that   31
image? Is the image necessary, does it give one a sense of security? Does not
the image bring about the separation of human beings?
We  have  to  look  closely  at  our  relationship  with  wife,  husband  or  friend;
look very closely, not trying to avoid it, not trying to brush it aside. We must
together examine and find out why human beings throughout the world have
this  extraordinary  machinery  that  creates  images,  symbols,  patterns.  Is  it
because in those patterns, symbols and images, great security is found?
If you observe you will see that you have an image about yourself, either an
image  of  conceit  which  is  arrogant,  or  the  contrary  to  that.  Or  you  have
accumulated a great deal of experience, acquired a great deal of knowledge,
which  in  itself  creates  the  image,  the image of the expert. Why do we have
images  about  ourselves?  Those  images  separate  people.  If  you  have  an
image of yourself as Swiss or British or French and so on, that image not only
distorts  your  observation  of  humanity  but  it  also  separates  you  from  others.
And wherever there is separation, division, there must be conflict – as there is
conflict  going  on  all  over  the  world,  the  Arab  against  the  Israeli,  the  Muslim
against the Hindu, one Christian church against another. National division and
economic division, all result from images, concepts, ideas and the brain clings
to these images – why? Is it because of our education, because of our culture
in  which  the  individual  is  most  important  and  where  the  collective  society  is
something totally different from the individual? That is part of our culture, part
of our religious training and of our daily education. When one has an image
about  oneself  as  being  British  or  American,  chat  image  gives  one  a  certain
security.  That  is  fairly  obvious.  Having  created  the  image  about  oneself  that
image  becomes  semi-permanent;  behind  that  image,  or  in  that  image,  one
tries  to  find  security,  safety,  a  form  of  resistance.  When  one  is  related  to
another, however delicately, however subtly, psychically or physically, there is
a  response  based  on  an  image.  If  one  is  married  or  related  intimately  with
somebody, an image is formed in one’s daily life; whether one is acquainted
for  a  week  or  ten  years,  the  image  is  slowly  formed  about  the  other  person
step by step; every reaction is remembered, adding to the image and stored   32
up in the brain so that the relationship – it may be physical, sexual, or psychical
– is actually between two images, one’s own and the other’s.
The speaker is not saying something extravagant, or exotic, or fantastic, he
is  merely  pointing  out  that  these  images  exist.  These  images  exist  and  one
can never know another completely. If one is married or one has a girl friend,
one  can  never  know  her  completely;  one  thinks  one  knows  her  because
having  lived  with  that  person  one  has  accumulated  memories  of  various
incidents various irritations and all the occurrences which happen in daily life;
and she also has experienced her reactions and their. images are established
in her brain. Those images play an extraordinarily important part in one’s life.
Apparently very few of us are free from any form of image. The freedom from
images is real freedom. In that freedom there is no division brought about by
images. If one is a Hindu, born in India with all the conditioning to which one is
subject,  the  conditioning  of  the  race,  or  of  a  particular  group  with  its
superstitions, with its religious beliefs, dogmas, rituals – the whole structure of
that  society  –  one  lives  with  that  complex  of  images,  which  is  one`s
conditioning.  And  however  much  one  may  talk  about  brotherhood,  unity,
wholeness, it is merely empty words having no actual daily meaning. But if one
frees  oneself  from  all  that  imposition,  all  the  conditioning  of  all  that
superstitious  nonsense,  then  one  is  breaking  down  the  image.  And  also  in
one’s relationship, if one is married or lives with somebody, is it possible not to
create an image at all – not to record an incident which may be pleasurable or
painful,  in  that  particular  relationship,  not  to  record  either  the  insult  or  the
flattery, the encouragement or discouragement?
Is  it  possible  not  to  record  at  all?  Because  if  the  brain  is  constantly
recording everything that is happening, psychologically, then it is never free to
be  quiet,  it  can  never  be  tranquil,  peaceful.  If  the  machinery  of  the  brain  is
operating all the time it wears itself out. This is obvious. It is what happens in
our relationships with each other – whatever the relationship is – and if there is
constant recording of everything then the brain slowly begins to wither away
and that is essentially old age.    33
So  in  investigating  we  come  upon  this  question:  is  it  possible  in  our
relationships  with  all  their  reactions  and  subtleties,  with  all  their  essential
responses, is there a possibility of not remembering? This remembering and
recording is going on all the time. We are asking whether it is possible not to
record psychologically, but only to record chat which is absolutely necessary?
In certain directions it is necessary to record. For example, one must record all
chat which is necessary to learn mathematics. If I am to be an engineer I must
record  all  the  mathematics  related  to  structures  and  so  on.  If  I  am  to  be  a
physicist I must record that which has already been established in that subject.
To learn to drive a car I must record. But is it necessary in our relationships to
record, psychologically, inwardly, at all? The remembrance of incidents past, is
that love? When I say to my wife, `I love you,’ is that from a remembrance of
all the things we have been through together – the incidents, the travail, the
struggles, which are recorded, stored in the brain – is that remembrance actual
love?
So is it possible to be free and not to record psychologically at all? It is only
possible when there is complete attention. When there is complete attention
there is no recording.
I do not know why we want explanations, or why it is that our brains are not
swift enough to capture, to have an insight into, the whole thing immediately.
Why is it that we cannot see this thing, the truth of all this, and let that truth
operate and therefore cleanse the slate and have a brain that is not recording
at all psychologically? But most human beings are rather sluggish, they rather
like to live in their old patterns, in their particular habits of thought; anything
new  they  reject  because  they  think  it  is  much  better  to  live  with  the  known
rather than with the unknown. In the known there is safety – at least they think
there is safety, security  – so they keep on repeating,  working  and  struggling
within that field of the known. Can we observe without the whole process and
machinery of memory operating?    34
What  is  love?  This  is  a  very  complex  question;  all  of  us  feel  we  love
something or other, abstract love, love of a nation, love of a person, love of
god, love of gardening, love of overeating. We have abused the word love so
greatly  that  we  have  to  find  out  basically  what  love  is.  Love  is  not  an  idea.
Love of god is an idea,love of a symbol is still an idea. When you go to the
church  and  kneel  down  and  pray,  you  are  really  worshipping,  or  praying  to,
something which thought has created. So, see what is happening, thought has
created  it  –  actually  this  is  a  fact  –  and  you  worship  that  which  thought  has
created; which means you are worshipping, in a very subtle way, yourself. This
may seem a sacrilegious statement, but it is a fact. That is what is happening
throughout the world. Thought creates the symbol with all the attributes of that
symbol,  romantic  or  logical  and  sane;  having  created  it  you  love  it,  you
become totally intolerant of any other thing. All the gurus, all the priests, all the
religious structures, are based on that. See the tragedy of it. Thought creates
the flag, the symbol of a particular country, then you fight for it, you kill each
other  for  it;  your  nation  will  destroy  the  earth  in  competition  with  another
nation,  and  so  the  flag  becomes  a  symbol  of  your  love.  We  have  lived  for
millions of years that way and we are still extraordinarily destructive, violent,
brutal, cynical human beings.
When we say we love another, in that love there is desire, the pleasurable
projections  of  the  various  activities  of  thought.  One  has  to  find  out  whether
love is desire, whether love is pleasure, whether in love there is fear; for where
there  is  fear  there  must  be  hatred,  jealousy,  anxiety,  possessiveness,
domination.  There  is  beauty  in  relationship  and  the  whole  cosmos  is  a
movement in relationship. Cosmos is order and when one has order in oneself
one has order in one’s relationships and therefore the possibility of order in our
society. If one enquires into the nature of relationship one finds it is absolutely
necessary to have order, and out of that order comes love. What is beauty?
You see the fresh snow on the mountains this morning, clean, a lovely sight.
You see those solitary trees standing black against that white. Looking at the
world about us you see the marvellous machinery, the extraordinary computer   35
with its special beauty; you see the beauty of a face, the beauty of a painting,
beauty of a poem – you seem to recognize beauty out there. In the museums
or when you go to a concert and listen to Beethoven, or Mozart, there is great
beauty  –  but  always  out  there.  In  the  hills,  in  the  valleys  with  their  running
waters,  and  the  flight  of  birds  and  the  singing  of  a  blackbird  in  the  early
morning, there is beauty. But is beauty only out there? Or is beauty something
that only exists when the `me’ is not? When you look at those mountains on a
sunny morning, sparkling clear against the blue sky, their very majesty drives
away  all  the  accumulated  memories  of  yourself  –  for  a  moment.  There  the
outward beauty, the outward magnificence, the majesty and the strength of the
mountains,  wipes  away  all  your  problems  –  if  only  for  a  second.  You  have
forgotten yourself. When there is total absence of yourself beauty is. But we
are  not  free  of  ourselves;  we  are  selfish  people,  concerned  with  ourselves,
with  our  importance  or  with  our  problems,  with  our  agonies,  sorrows  and
loneliness. Out of desperate loneliness we want identification with something
or  other  and  we  cling  to  an  idea,  to  a  belief,  to  a  person,  especially  to  a
person.  In  dependency  all  our  problems  arise.  Where  there  is  psychological
dependency, fear begins. When you are tied to something corruption begins.
Desire is the most urgent and vital drive in our life. We are talking about
desire itself, not desire for a particular thing. All religions have said that if you
want to serve god you must subjugate desire, destroy desire, control desire.
All  the  religions  have  said:  substitute  for  desire  an  image  that  thought  has
created – the image that the Christians have, that the Hindus have and so on.
Substitute an image for the actual. The actual is desire – the burning of it and
they think that one can overcome that desire by substituting something else for
it. Or, surrender yourself to that which you think is the master, the saviour, the
guru – which again is the activity of thought. This has been the pattern of all
religious thinking. One has to understand the whole movement of desire; for
obviously  it  is  not  love,  nor  yet  compassion.  Without  love  and  compassion,
meditation  is  utterly  meaningless.  Love  and  compassion  have  their  own
intelligence which is not the intelligence of cunning thought.    36
So it is important to understand the nature of desire, why it has played such
an  extraordinarily  important  part  in  our  life;  how  it  distorts  clarity,  how  it
prevents the extraordinary quality of love.  It  is  important  that  we  understand
and do not suppress, do not try to control it or direct it in a particular direction,
which you think may give you peace.
Please bear in mind that the speaker is not trying to impress you or guide
and help you. But together we are walking a very subtle, complex path. We
have  to  listen  to  each  other  to  find  out  the  truth  about  desire.  When  one
understands  the  significance,  the  meaning,  the  fullness,  the  truth  of  desire,
then desire has quite a different value or drive in one’s life.
When  one  observes  desire,  is  one  observing  it  as  an  outsider  looking  at
desire?  Or  is  one  observing  desire  as  it  arises?  Not  desire  as  something
separate  from  oneself,  one  is  desire.  You  see  the  difference?  Either  one
observes desire, which one has when one sees something in the shop window
which  pleases  one,  and  one  has  the  desire  to  buy  it  so  that  the  object  is
different from `me’, or else the desire is `me’, so there is a perception of desire
without the observer watching desire.
One  can  look  at  a  tree.  `Tree’  is  the  word  by  which  one  recognizes  that
which is standing in the field. But one knows that the word `tree’ is not the tree.
Similarly one’s wife is not the word. But one has made the word one’s wife. I
do  not  know  if  you  see  all  the  subtleties  of  this.  One  must  very  clearly
understand,  from  the  beginning,  that  the  word  is  not  the  thing.  The  word
`desire’ is not the feeling of it – the extraordinary feeling there is behind chat
reaction. So one must be very watchful that one is not caught in the word. Also
the  brain  must  be  active  enough  to  see  that  the  object  may  create  desire  –
desire which is separate from the object. Is one aware that the word is not the
thing  and  that  desire  is  not  separate  from  the  observer  who  is  watching
desire?  Is  one  aware  that  the  object  may  create  desire  but  the  desire  is
independent of the object?    37
How does desire flower? Why is there such extraordinary energy behind it?
If  we  do  not  understand  deeply  the  nature  of  desire  we  will  always  be  in
conflict with each other. One may desire one thing and one’s wife may desire
another and the children may desire something different. So we are always at
loggerheads  with  each  other.  And  this  battle,  this  struggle,  is  called  love,
relationship.
We are asking: what is the source of desire? We must be very truthful in
this,  very  honest,  for  desire  is  very  very  deceptive,  very  subtle,  unless  we
understand the root of it. For all of us sensory responses are important – sight,
touch, taste, smell, hearing. And a particular sensory response may for some
of  us  be  more  important  than  the  other  responses.  If  we  are  artistic  we  see
things  in  a  special  way.  If  we  are  trained  as  an  engineer  then  the  sensory
responses  are  different.  so  we  never  observe  totally,  with  all  the  sensory
responses.  We  each  respond  somewhat  specially,  divided.  Is  it  possible  to
respond  totally  with  all  one’s  senses?  See  the  importance  of  that.  If  one
responds totally with all one’s senses there is the elimination of the centralized
observer. But when one responds to a particular thing in a special way then
the division begins. Find out when you leave this tent, when you look at the
flowing waters of the river, the light sparkling on the swiftness of the waters,
find out if you can look at it with all your senses. Do not ask me how, for that
becomes  mechanical.  But  educate  yourself  in  the  understanding  of  total
sensory response.
When you see something, the seeing brings about a response. You see a
green shirt, or a green dress, the seeing awakens the response. Then contact
takes place. Then from contact thought creates the image of you in that shirt or
dress, then the desire arises. Or you see a car in the road, it has nice lines, it
is highly polished and there is plenty of power behind it. Then you go around it,
examine the engine. Then thought creates the image of you getting into the
car  and  starting  the  engine,  putting  your  foot  down  and  driving  it.  So  does
desire begin and the source of desire is thought creating the image, up to that
point there is no desire. There are the sensory responses, which are normal,   38
but then thought creates the image and from that moment desire begins. Now,
is it possible for thought not to arise and create the image? This is learning
about  desire,  which  in  itself  is  discipline.  Learning  about  desire  is  discipline,
not the controlling of it. If you really learn about something it is finished. But if
you  say  you  must  control  desire,  then  you  are  in  a  totally  different  field
altogether. When you see the whole of this movement you will find that thought
with its image will not interfere; you will only see, have the sensation and what
is wrong with that? We are all so crazy about desire, we want to fulfil ourselves
through  desire.  But  we  do  not  see  what  havoc  it  creates  in  the  world  –  the
desire  for  individual  security,  for  individual  attainment,  success,  power,
prestige. We do not feel that we are totally responsible for everything we do. If
one  understands  desire,  the  nature  of  it,  then  what  place  has  it?  Has  it  any
place where there is love? Is love then something so extraordinarily outside of
human existence that it has actually no value at all? Or, is it that we are not
seeing  the  beauty  and  the  depth,  the  greatness  and  sacredness  of  the
actuality of it; is it that we have not the energy, the time to study, to educate
ourselves,  to  understand  what  it  is?  Without  love  and  compassion  with  its
intelligence,  meditation  has  very  little  meaning.  Without  that  perfume  that
which is eternal can never be found. And that is why it is important to put the
`house’ of our life, of our being, of our struggles, into complete order.    39
Chapter 5 5th Public Talk
Saanen 21st July 1981
We  have  to  consider  together  whether  the  brain,  which  is  now  only
operating partially, has the capacity to function wholly, completely. Now we are
only using a part of it, which one can observe for oneself. One can see that
specialization, which may be necessary, brings about the functioning of only a
part of the brain. If one is a scientist, specializing in that subject, naturally only
one part of the brain is functioning; if one is a mathematician it is the same. In
the modern world one has to specialize, and we are asking whether, even so,
it is possible to allow the brain to operate wholly, completely.
And  another  question  we  are  asking  is:  what  is  going  to  happen  to
humanity,  to  all  of  us,  when  the  computer  out-thinks  man  in  accuracy  and
rapidity – as the computer experts are saying it will? With the development of
the robot, man will only have, perhaps, two hours of work a day. This may be
going to happen within the foreseeable future. Then what will man do? Is he
going  to  be  absorbed  in  the  field  of  entertainment?  That  is  already  taking
place: sports are becoming more important; there is the watching of television;
and  there  are  the  varieties  of  religious entertainment.  Or  is  he  going  to  turn
inwardly, which is not an entertainment but something which demands great
capacity of observation, examination and non-personal perception? These are
the  two  possibilities.  The  basic  content  of  our  human  consciousness  is  the
pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of fear. Is humanity increasingly going to
follow  entertainment?  One  hopes  these  Gatherings  are  not  a  form  of
entertainment.
Now, can the brain be totally free so as to function wholly? – because any
specialization,  any  following  of  a  certain  path,  a  certain  groove  or  pattern,
inevitably  implies  that  the  brain  is  functioning  partially  and  therefore  with
limited  energy.  We  live  in  a  society  of  specialization  –  engineers,  physicists,
surgeons, carpenters and the specializations of particular beliefs, dogmas and
rituals. Certain specializations are necessary, such as that of the surgeon or   40
carpenter,  but  in  spite  of  that  can  the  brain  function  completely,  wholly,  and
therefore  have  tremendous  energy?  This  is,  I  think,  a  very  serious  question
into which we have to enquire together.
If one observes one’s own activity one finds that the brain functions very
partially, fragmentarily, with the result that one’s energy becomes less and less
as one grows older. Biologically, physically, when one is young one is full of
vitality;  but  as  one  is  educated,  and  then  follows  a  livelihood  that  needs
specialization, the activity of the brain becomes narrowed down, limited and its
energy becomes less and less.
Though the brain may have to have a certain form of specialization – not
necessarily religious specialization because that is superstition – as a surgeon
for example, can it also operate wholly? It can only operate wholly, with all the
tremendous  vitality  of  a  million  years  behind  it,  when  it  is  completely  free.
Specialization, which is now necessary for a livelihood may not be necessary if
the computer takes over. It will not take over surgery, obviously. It will not take
over  the  feeling  of  beauty,  as  when  looking  at  the  evening  stars,  but  it  may
take over other functions altogether.
Can  the  human  brain  be  totally  free,  without  any  form  of  attachment  –
attachment to certain beliefs, experiences and so on? If the brain cannot be
totally free it will deteriorate. When the brain is occupied with problems, with
specialization, with a livelihood, it is in limited activity. But when the computer
takes over, this activity will become less and less and therefore it will gradually
deteriorate. This is not something in the future, it is actually happening now if
one observes one’s own mental activity.
Can  your  consciousness,  with  its  basic  content  of  fear,  the  pursuit  of
pleasure with all the implications of grief, pain and sorrow, being hurt inwardly
and so on, become totally free? We may have other forms of consciousness,
group  consciousness,  racial  consciousness,  national  consciousness,  the
consciousness of the Catholic group, the Hindu group and so on but basically
the  content  of  our  consciousness  is  fear,  the  pursuit  of  pleasure,  with  the   41
resultant  pain,  sorrow  and  ultimately  death.  These  comprise  the  central
content  of  our  consciousness.  We  are  together  observing  the  whole
phenomenon  of  human  existence,  which  is  our  existence.  We  are  mankind,
because  our  consciousness,  whether  as  a  Christian  living  in  the  Western
world, or as a Muslim in the Middle East, or a Buddhist in the Asiatic world, is
basically  fear,  the  pursuit  of  pleasure  and  the  never  ending  burden  of  pain,
hurts,  sorrow.  One’s  consciousness  is  not  personal  to  oneself.  This  is  very
difficult to accept because we have been so conditioned, so educated, that we
resist  the  actual  fact  that  we  are  not  individuals  at  all,  we  are  the  whole  of
mankind.  This  is  not  a  romantic  idea,  it  is  not  a  philosophical  concept,  it  is
absolutely not an ideal; examined closely, it is a fact. So we have to find out
whether the brain can be free from the content of its consciousness. Sirs, why
do  you  listen  to  the  speaker?  Is  it  that  in  listening  to  the  speaker  you  are
listening to yourself? Is that what is taking place? The speaker is only pointing
something out, acting as a mirror in which you see yourself, see the actuality
of  your  own  consciousness;  it  is  not  the  description  which  the  speaker  is
pointing out, which becomes merely an idea if you do no more than follow it.
But if through the description, you yourself actually perceive your own state of
mind,  your  own  consciousness,  then  listening  to  the  speaker  has  a  certain
importance. And if at the end of these talks you say to yourself: `I have not
changed; why? It is your fault. You have spoken for fifty years perhaps, and I
have not changed’, is it the fault of the speaker? Or you say: `I have not been
able  to  apply  it;  naturally  it  is  the  fault  of  the  speaker`.  Then  you  become
cynical and do all kinds of absurd things. So please bear in mind that you are
listening  not  so  much  to  the  speaker  as  looking  at  your  own  consciousness
through the description in words – which is the consciousness of all humanity.
The Western world may believe in certain religious symbols and certain rituals;
the Eastern world does likewise, but behind it all there is the same fear, the
same pursuit of pleasure, the same burden of greed, pain, of being hurt and
wanting to achieve – all of which is common to the whole of humanity.    42
So,  in  listening  we  are  learning  about  ourselves,  not  just  following  the
description.  We  are  actually  learning  to  look  at  ourselves  and  therefore
bringing  about  a  total  freedom  in  which  the  whole  of  the  brain  can  operate.
After all, meditation, love and compassion are the operation of the whole of the
brain. When there is the operation of the whole there is integral order. When
there is integral, inward order, there is total freedom. It is only then that there
can be something which is timelessly sacred. That is not a reward; that is not
something  to  be  achieved;  that  which  is  eternally  timeless,  sacred,  comes
about only when the brain is totally free to function in wholeness.
The  content  of  our  consciousness  is  put  together  by  all  the  activities  of
thought;  can  that  content  ever  be  freed  so  that  there  is  a  totally  different
dimension  altogether?  So  let  us  observe  the  whole  movement  of  pleasure.
There is not only biological, including sexual, pleasure, there is also pleasure
in  possessions,  pleasure  in  having  money,  pleasure  in  achieving  something
that  you  have  been  working  towards;  there  is  pleasure  in  power,  political  or
religious,  in  power  over  a  person;  there  is  pleasure  in  the  acquisition  of
knowledge,  and  in  the  expression  of  that  knowledge  as  a  professor,  as  a
writer, as a poet; there is the gratification that comes about through leading a
very strict, moral and ascetic life, the pleasure of achieving something inwardly
which  is  not  common  to  ordinary  man.  This  has  been  the  pattern  of  our
existence  for  millions  of  years.  The  brain  has  been  conditioned  to  it  and
therefore has become limited. Anything that is conditioned must be limited and
therefore  the  brain,  when  it  is  pursuing  the  many  forms  of  pleasure,  must
inevitably  become  small,  limited,  narrow.  And  probably,  unconsciously
realizing  this,  one  seeks  different  forms  of  entertainment,  a  release  through
sex, through different kinds of fulfilment. Please observe it in yourself, in your
own  activity  in  daily  life.  If  you  observe,  you  will  see  that  one,s  brain  is
occupied all day with something or other, chattering, talking endlessly, going
on  like  a  machine  that  never  stops.  And  in  this  way  the  brain  is  gradually
wearing itself out – and it is going to become inactive if the computer takes its
place.    43
So,  why  are  human  beings  caught  in  this  perpetual  pursuit  of  pleasure  –
why?  Is  it  because  they  are  so  utterly  lonely?  Are  they  escaping  from  that
sense  of  isolation?  Is  it  that  they  have  been,  from  childhood,  conditioned  to
this? Is it because thought creates the image of Pleasure and then pursues it?
Is  thought  the  source  of  pleasure?  For  example,  one  has  had  some  kind  of
pleasure, eating very tasty food, or sexual pleasure, or the pleasure of being
flattered  and  the  brain  registers  that  pleasure.  The  incidents  which  have
brought  about  pleasure  have  been  recorded  in  the  brain,  and  the
remembrance of these incidents of yesterday, or last week, is the movement of
thought.  Thought  is  the  movement  of  pleasure;  the  brain  has  registered
incidents, pleasurable and exciting, worth remembering, and thought projects
them  into  the  future  and  pursues  them.  So  the  question  then  is:  why  does
thought carry on the memory of an incident that is over and finished? Is not
that  part  of  our  occupation?  A  man  who  wants  money,  power,  position,  is
perpetually occupied with it. Perhaps, the brain is similarly occupied with the
remembrance of something of a week ago which gave great pleasure, being
held in the brain, which thOught projects as future pleasure and pursues. The
repetition  of  pleasure  is  the  movement  of  thought  and  therefore  limited;
therefore the brain can never function wholly, it can only function partially.
Now the next question that arises is: if this is the pattern of thought, how
can  thought  be  stopPed,  or  rather,  how  can  the  brain  stop  registering  the
incident  of  yesterday  which  gave  delight?  That  is  the  obvious  question,  but
why  does  one  put  it?  Why?  Is  it  because  one  wants  to  escape  from  the
movement  of  pleasure,  and  that  that  very  escape  is  yet  another  form  of
pleasure?  Whereas  if  you  see  the  fact  that  the  incident  which  gave  great
delight,  pleasure,  excitement,  is  over,  that  it  is  no  longer  a  living  thing,  hut
something which happened a week ago – it was a living thing then but it is not
so now – can you not finish with it, end it, not carry it over? It is not how to end
it  or  now  to  stop  it.  It  is  just  to  see  factually  how  the  brain,  how  thought,  is
operating. If one is aware of that, then thought itself will come to an end. The
registering of pleasure is ended, finished.    44
Fear is the common state of all mankind, whether you live in a small house
or in a palace, whether you have no work or plenty of work, whether you have
tremendous knowledge about everything on earth or are ignorant, or whether
you are a priest or the highest representative of god, or whatever, there is still
this  deep  rooted  fear  which  is  common  to  all  mankind.  That  is  a  common
ground  on  which  all  humanity  stands.  There  is  no  question  about  it.  It  is  an
absolute,  irrevocable  fact,  it  cannot  be  contradicted.  As  long  as  the  brain  is
caught in this pattern of fear its operation is limited and therefore can never
function  wholly.  So  it  is  necessary,  if  humanity  is  to  survive  completely  as
human  beings  and  not  as  machines,  to  find  out  for  oneself  whether  it  is
possible to be totally free from fear.
We are concerned with fear itself, not with the expressions of fear. What is
fear? When there is fear, is there at that very moment a recognition as fear? Is
that fear describable at the moment the reaction is taking place? Or does the
description  come  after?  `After’  is  time.  Suppose  one  is  afraid:  either  one  is
afraid of something, afraid of something chat one has done in the past which
one does not want another to know, or something has happened in the past
which again awakens fear, or is there a fear by itself without an object? At the
second  when  there  is  fear  does  one  call  it  fear?  Or  does  that  happen  only
afterwards?  Surely  it  is  after  it  has  happened.  Which  means  that  previous
incidents  of  fear  which  have  been  held  in  the  brain  are  remembered
immediately after the reaction takes place; the memory says `That is fear’. At
the immediacy of the reaction one does not call it fear. It is only after it has
happened  that  one  names  it  as  fear.  The  naming  of  it  as  fear  is  from  the
remembrance of other incidents that have arisen which have been named fear.
One remembers those fears of the past and the new reaction arises which one
immediately identifies with the word fear. That is simple enough. So there is
always the memory operating on the present.
So;  is  fear  time?  –  the  fear  of  something  which  happened  a  week  ago,
which has caused that feeling which we have named as fear and the future   45
implication that it must not happen again; yet it might happen again, therefore
one is afraid of it. So one asks oneself: is it time that is the root of fear?
So  what  is  time?  Time  by  the  watch  is  very  simple.  The  sun  rises  at  a
certain time and sets at a certain time – yesterday, today and tomorrow. That is
a  natural  sequence  of  time.  There  is  also  psychological,  inward  time.  The
incident  which  happened  last  week,  which  has  given  pleasure,  or  which
awakened the sense of fear, is remembered and projected into the future – I
may lose my position, I may lose my money, I may lose my wife – time. So is
fear part of psychological time? It looks like it. And what is psychological time?
Not only does physical time need space, but psychological time needs space
also  –  yesterday,  last  week,  modified  today,  tomorrow.  There  is  space  and
time.  That  is  simple.  So,  is  fear  the  movement  of  time?  And  is  not  the
movement of time, psychologically, the movement of thought? So thought is
time and time is fear – obviously. One has had pain sitting with the dentist. It is
stored,  remembered,  projected;  one  hopes  not  to  have  that  pain  again  –
thought is moving. So fear is a movement of thought in space and time. If one
sees that, not as an idea, but as an actuality (which means one has to give to
that fear complete attention at the moment it arises) then it is not registered.
Do this and you will find out for yourself. When you give complete attention to
an insult, there is no insult. Or if somebody comes along and says, `What a
marvellous person you are’ and you pay attention it is like water off a duck’s
back. The movement of fear is thought in time and space. That is a fact. It is
not something described by the speaker. If you have observed it for yourself,
then it is an absolute fact, you cannot escape from it. You cannot escaPe from
a fact, it is always there. You may try to avoid it, you may try to suppress it, try
every kind of escape, but it is always there. If you give complete attention to
the fact that fear is the movement of thought, then fear is not, psychologically.
The  content  of  our  consciousness  is  the  movement  of  thought  in  time  and
space. Whether that thought is very limited, or wide and extensive, it is still a
movement in time and space.    46
Thought  has  created  many  different  forms  of  power  in  ourselves,
psychologically, but they are all limited. When there is freedom from limitation
there  is  an  astonishing  sense  of  power,  not  mechanical  power  but  a
tremendous sense of energy. It has nothing to do with thought and therefore
that power, that energy cannot be misused. But if thought says, `I will use it’,
then that power, that energy, is dissipated.
Another factor which exists in our consciousness is sorrow, grief, pain and
the wounds and hurts that remain in most human beings from childhood. That
psychological hurt, the pain of it, is remembered, it is held on to; grief arises
from it; sorrow is involved in it. There is the global sorrow of mankind which
has faced thousands and thousands of wars, for which millions of people have
cried. The war machine is still with us, directed by politicians, reinforced by our
nationalism, by our feeling that we are separate from the rest, `we’ and `they’,
`you’ and `me’. It is a global sorrow which the politicians are building, building,
building. We are ready for another war and when we prepare for something
there must be some kind of explosion somewhere – it may not be in the Middle
East, it may happen here. As long as we are preparing for something we are
going to get it – it is like preparing food. But we are so stupid that all this goes
on – including terrorism.
We are asking whether this whole pattern of being hurt, knowing loneliness
and  pain,  resisting,  withdrawing,  isolating  ourselves,  which  causes  further
pain,  can  come  to  an  end;  whether  the  grief,  the  sorrow  of  losing  some
precious belief that we have held, or the disillusionment that comes when we
lose somebody we have followed, for whom we have struggled, surrendered
ourselves, can also come to an end? Is it possible ever to be free of all this? It
is possible if we apply ourselves, not just endlessly talk about it. As it is we
realize  that  we  are  hurt  psychologically  from  childhood,  we  see  all  the
consequences  of  that  hurt,  which  we  resist,  from  which  we  withdraw,  not
wanting to be hurt any more. We encourage isolation and therefore build a wall
round ourselves. In our relationships we are doing the same thing.    47
The  consequences  of  being  hurt  from  childhood  are  pain,  resistance,
withdrawal, isolation, deeper and deeper fear. And as the speaker has said,
there  is  the  global  sorrow  of  mankind;  human  beings  have  been  tortured
through wars, tortured under dictatorships, totalitarianism, tortured in different
parts of the world. And there is the sorrow of my brother, son, wife, running
away, or dying; the sorrow of separation, the sorrow that comes about when
one is deeply interested in something and the other is not. In all this sorrow
there is no compassion, there is no love. The ending of sorrow brings love –
not  pleasure,  not  desire,  but  love.  Where  there  is  love  there  is  compassion
with  which  comes  intelligence,  which  has  nothing  whatever  to  do  with  the
`intelligence’ of thought.
We  have  to  look  very  closely  at  ourselves  as  humanity,  at  why  we  have
borne all these things all our lives, at why we have never ended this condition.
Is it part indolence, part habit? We generally say: `It is part of our habit, part of
our conditioning. What am I to do about it? How am I to uncondition myself? I
cannot find the answer; I will go to the guru next door’ – or further away, or the
priest, or this or that. We never say: `Let us look at ourselves closely and see if
we  can  break  through  it,  like  any  other  habit.’  The  habit  of  smoking  can  be
broken, or that of drugs and alcohol. But we say: `What does it matter. I am
getting  old  anyhow,  the  body  is  destroying  itself,  so  what  does  little  more
pleasure matter?’ So do we carry on. We do not feel utterly responsible for all
the things we do. We either blame it on the environment, on society, on our
parents, on past hereditary; we find some excuse but never apply ourselves. If
we really have the urge, the immediate urge, to find out why we are hurt, it can
be done. We are hurt because we have built an image about ourselves. That is
a fact. When one says, `I am hurt’, it is the image that one has about oneself
that is hurt. Somebody comes along and puts his heavy boot on that image
and one gets hurt. One gets hurt through comparison: `I am this but somebody
else is better’. As long as one has an image about oneself one is going to get
hurt. That is a fact and if one does not pay attention to that fact, but retains an
image of oneself of any kind somebody is going to put a pin into it and one is   48
going  to  get  hurt.  If  one  has  an  image  about  oneself  as  addressing  large
audiences and being famous, having gained a reputation which one wants to
maintain,  then  someone  is  going  to  hurt  it  –  somebody  else  with  a  bigger
audience. If one gives complete attention to the image one has about oneself –
attention, not concentration but attention – then one will see that the image has
no meaning and it disappears.    49
Chapter 6 6th Public Talk
Saanen 23rd July 1981
I  think  we  ought  to  talk  over  together,  going  into  it  rather  deeply,  the
implication of sorrow, so as to find out for ourselves whether sorrow and love
can exist together. And also what is our relationship to the sorrow of mankind?
– not only to our own personal daily grief, hurt, pain, and the sorrow that comes
with  death.  Mankind  has  suffered  thousands  of  wars;  there  seems  to  be  no
end to wars. We have left it to the politicians, all over the world, to bring about
peace, but what they are doing, if you have understood them, will never bring
peace. We are all preparing for war. The preparations are going to have some
kind of blow up somewhere in the world. We human beings have never been
able  to  live  in  peace  with  each  other.  We  talk  about  it  a  great  deal.  The
religions have preached peace – Peace on earth and goodwill – but apparently
it has never been possible to have peace on earth, on the earth on which we
live, which is not the British earth or the French earth, it is our earth. We have
never been able to resolve the problem of killing each other.
Probably we have violence in our hearts. We have never been free from a
sense  of  antagonism,  a  sense  of  retaliation,  never  free  from  our  fears,
sorrows, wounds and the pain of daily existence; we never have peace and
comfort,  we  are  always  in  travail.  That  is  part  of  our  life,  part  of  our  daily
suffering. Man has tried many many ways to be free of this suffering without
love; he has suppressed it, escaped from it, identified himself with something
greater, handed himself over to some ideal, or belief or faith. Apparently this
sorrow can never end; we have become accustomed to it, we put up with it, we
tolerate  it  and  we  never  ask  ourselves  seriously,  with  a  great  sense  of
awareness, whether it is possible to end it.
We should also talk over together the immense implications of death. Death
is part of life, though we generally postpone or avoid even talking about it. It is
there and we ought to go into it. And we should also enquire whether love – not
the  remembrance  of  pleasure  which  has  nothing  to  do  with  love  and   50
compassion  –  whether  love  with  its  own  peculiar  all-comprehending
intelligence can exist in our life.
First of all: do we, as human beings, want to be really free from sorrow?
Have we ever actually gone into it, faced it and understood all the movement
of it, the implications involved in it? Why is it that we human beings – who are
so extraordinarily clever in the technological world – have never resolved the
problem of sorrow? It is important to talk this question over together, and find
out for ourselves whether sorrow can really end.
We all suffer in various ways. There is the sorrow for death of someone,
there is the sorrow of great poverty – which the East knows very well – and the
great sorrow of ignorance – `ignorance’ not in the sense of book knowledge but
the ignorance of not knowing oneself totally, the whole complex activity of the
self. If we do not understand that very deeply then there remains the sorrow of
that ignorance. There is the sorrow of never being able to realize something
fundamentally, deeply – though we are very clever at achieving technological
success  and  other  successes  in  this  world.  We  haver  never  been  able  to
understand  pain,  not  only  physical  pain,  but  the  deep  psychological  pain,
however  learned  or  not  very  erudite  we  may  be.  There  is  the  sorrow  of
constant struggle, the conflict from the moment we are born until we die. There
is the personal sorrow of not being beautiful outwardly or inwardly. There is the
sorrow of attachment with its fear, with its corruption. There is the sorrow of
not being loved and craving to be loved. There is the sorrow of never realizing
something beyond thought, something which is eternal. And ultimately there is
the sorrow of death.
We have described various forms of sorrow. The basic factor of sorrow is
self-centred activity. We are all so concerned with ourselves, with our endless
problems, with old age, with not being able to have a deep inward yet global
outlook. We all have images of ourselves and of others. The brain is always
active  in  day  dreaming,  being  occupied  with  something  or  other,  or  creating
pictures and ideas from the imagination. From childhood one gradually builds   51
the  structure  of  the  image  which  is  `me’.  Bach  one  of  us  is  doing  this
constantly; it is that image, which is `me’, that gets hurt. When the `me’ is hurt
there is resistance, the building of a wall round oneself so as not to be hurt any
more;  and  this  creates  more  fear  and  isolation,  the  feeling  of  having  no
relationship, the encouraging of loneliness which also brings about sorrow.
After having described the various forms of sorrow, can we look at it without
verbalization, without running away from it into intellectual adaptation to some
form of religious or intellectual conclusion? Can we look at it completely, not
moving away from it, but staying with it? Suppose I have a son who is deaf or
blind; I am responsible, and it gives sorrow knowing that he can never look at
the beautiful sky, never hear the running waters. There is this sorrow: remain
with it, do not move away from it. Or suppose I have great sorrow for the death
of someone with whom I have lived for many years. Then there is this sorrow
which  is  the  essence  of  isolation;  we  feel  totally  isolated,  completely  alone.
Now, remain completely with that feeling, not verbalizing it, not rationalizing it,
or escaping from it, or trying to transcend it – all of which is the movement that
thought brings about. When there is that sorrow and thought does not enter
into  it  at  alI  –  which  means  that  you  are  completely  sorrow,  not  trying  to
overcome sorrow, but totally sorrow – then there is the disappearance of it. It is
only when there is the fragmentation of thought that there is travail.
When there is sorrow, remain with it without a single movement of thought
so that there is the wholeness of it. The wholeness of sorrow is not that I am in
sorrow, I am sorrow – and then there is no fragmentation involved in it. When
there  is  that  totality  of  sorrow,  no  movement  away  from  it,  then  there  is  the
withering away of it.
Without  ending  sorrow  how  can  there  be  love?  Strangely  we  have
associated sorrow and love. I love my son and when he dies I am full of sorrow
– sorrow we associate with love. Now we are asking: when there is suffering
can love exist at all? But is love desire? Is love pleasure – so that when that
desire,  that  pleasure,  is  denied,  there  is  suffering?  We  say  that  suffering  as   52
jealousy, attachment, possession, is all part of love. That is our conditioning,
that is how we are educated, that is part of our inheritance, tradition. Now, love
and sorrow cannot possibly go together. That is not a dogmatic statement, or a
rhetorical assertion. When one looks into the depth of sorrow and understands
the movement of it in which is involved pleasure, desire, attachment, and the
consequences of that attachment, which bring about  corruption  when  one  is
aware without any choice, without any movement, aware of the whole nature
of  sorrow,  then  can  love  exist  with  sorrow?  Or  is  love  something  entirely
different? We ought to be clear that devotion to a person, to a symbol, to the
family, is not love. If I am devoted to you for various reasons, there is a motive
behind that devotion. Love has no motive. If there is a motive it is not love,
obviously. If you give me pleasure, sexually, or various forms of comfort, then
there is dependency; the motive is my dependence on you because you give
me something in return; and as we live together I call that love. Is it? So one
questions  the  whole  thing  and  asks  oneself:  where  there  is  motive  can  love
exist?
Where  there  is  ambition,  whether  in  the  physical  world,  or  in  the
psychological  world  –  ambition  to  be  on  top  of  everything,  to  be  a  great
success, to have power, religiously, or physically – can love exist? Obviously
not. We recognise that it cannot exist and yet we go on. Look what hapPens to
the brain when we play such tricks. I am ambitious, I want to be spiritually next
to god, specially on his right hand; I want to achieve illumination – you know,
aU  that  deception;  you  cannot  achieve  illumination;  you  cannot  possibly
achieve  that  which  is  beyond  time.  Competitiveness,  conformity,  jealousy,
fearfulness, hate, all that is going on, psychologically, inwardly. We are either
conscious  of  it,  or  we  deliberately  avoid  it.  Yet  I  say  to  my  wife  or  father,
whoever  it  is,  `I  love  you.’  What  happens  when  there  is  such  deep
contradiction  in  my  life,  in  my  relationship?  How  can  that  contradiction  have
any sense of deep integrity? And yet that is what we are doing until we die,
can one live in this world without ambition, without competitiveness? Look at
what is happening in the outward world. There is competition between various   53
nations;  the  politicians  are  competing  with  each  other,  economically,
technologically, in building up the instruments of war; and so we are destroying
ourselves. We allow this to go on because we are also inwardly competitive.
As we pointed out, if a few really understand what we have been talking
about for the last fifty years, and are really deeply involved and have brought
about the end of fear, sorrow and so on, then that will affect the whole of the
consciousness of mankind. Perhaps you are doubtful whether it will affect the
consciousness  of  mankind?  Hitler  and  his  kind  have  affected  the
consciousness of mankind – Napoleon, the Caesars, the butchers of the world
have affected mankind. Also the good People have affected mankind – I do not
mean  respectable  people.  The  good  are  those  who  live  life  wholly,  not
fragmented.  The  great  teachers  of  the  world  have  affected  human
consciousness. But if there was a group of people who had understood what
we  have  been  talking  about  –  not  verbally  but  actually  living  life  with  great
integrity – then it would affect the whole consciousness of man. This is not a
theory. This is an actual fact. If you understand that simple fact you will see
that it goes right through; television, newspapers, everything, is affecting the
consciousness of man. So love cannot exist where there is a motive, where
there is attachment, where there is ambition and competitiveness, love is not
desire and pleasure. Just feel that, see it.
We are going into all this so as to bring about order in our life – order in our
`house’, which has no order. There is so much disorder in our life and without
establishing  an  order  that  is  whole,  integral,  meditation  has  no  meaning
whatsoever. If one’s `house’ is not in order one may sit in meditation, hoping
that through that meditation one will bring about order; but what happens when
one is living in disorder and one meditates? One has fanciful dreams, illusions
and all kinds of nonsensical results. But a sane, intelligent, logical man, must
first establish order in daily life, then he can go into the depths of meditation,
into the meaning and the beauty of it, the greatness of it, the worth of it.    54
Whether we are very young, middle aged or old, death is part of our life,
just as love, pain, suspicion, arrogance, are all part of life. But we do not see
death as part of our life; we want to postpone it, or put it as far away from us
as possible, so we have a time interval between life and death. What is death?
This question is again rather complex.
The  Christian  concept  of  death  and  suffering  and  the  Asiatic  conclusion
about reincarnation are just beliefs and like all beliefs they have no substance.
So put those aside and let us go into it together. It may be unpleasant; you
may not want to face it. You are living now, healthily, having pleasure, fear,
anxiety and tomorrow there is hope and you do not want to be concerned with
the ending of all this. But if we are intelligent, sane, rational, we have to face
not only the living and all the implications of the living, but also the implications
of dying. We must know both. That is the wholeness of life in which there is no
division. So what is death apart from the physical ending of an organism that
has  lived  wrongly,  addicted  to  drink,  to  drugs  and  over  indulgence  or
asceticism  and  denial?  The  body  goes  through  this  constant  battle  between
the opposites, it has not a balanced harmonious life, but one of extremes. Also
the body goes through great stress imposed by thought. Thought dictates and
the  body  is  controlled  thereby;  and  thought  being  limited  brings  about
disharmony. it causes us to live in disharmony physically, forcing, controlling,
subjugating, driving the body – this is what we are all doing including fasting for
political or religious reasons, which is violence. The body may endure all this
for  many  years,  reaching  old  age  and  not  getting  senile.  But  the  body  will
inevitably come to an end, the organism will die; is that what death is? Is the
coming  to  an  end  of  the  organism,  either  through  some  disease,  old  age  or
accident, what we are concerned about? Is it that thought identifies itself with
the  body,  with  the  name,  with  the  form,  with  all  the  memories,  and  says,
`Death must be avoided’? Is it that we are afraid of the coming to an end of a
body that has been looked after, cared for? Perhaps we are not afraid of that
especially, perhaps slyly anxious about it, but that is not of great importance.
What  is  far  more  important  for  us  is  the  ending  of  the  relationships  that  we   55
have  had,  the  pleasures  that  we  have  had,  the  memories,  pleasant  and
unpleasant, all of which make up what we call living – the daily living, going to
the office, the factory, doing some skilful job, having a family, being attached to
the family, with all the memories of that family, my son, my daughter, my wife,
my husband, in the family unit – which is fast disappearing. There is the feeling
of being related to somebody, though in that relationship there may be great
pain and anxiety; the feeling of being at home with somebody; or not at home
with anybody. Is that what we are afraid of? – the ending of my relationships,
my attachments, the ending of something I have known, something to which I
have clung, something in which I have specialized all my life, – am I afraid of
the  ending  of  all  that?  That  is  the  ending  of  all  that  is  `me’  –  the  family,  the
name, the home, the tradition, the inheritance, the cultural education and racial
inheritance, all that is `me’, the `me’ that is struggling or that is happy. Is that
what  we  are  afraid  of?  –  the  ending  of  `me’,  which  is  the  ending,
psychologically,  of  the  life  which  I  am  leading,  the  life  which  I  know  with  its
pain and sorrow. Is that what we are afraid of? If we are afraid of that and have
not resolved that fear, still death inevitably comes, then what happens to that
consciousness,  which  is  not  your  consciousness  but  the  consciousness  of
mankind, the consciousness of the vast whole of humanity? As long as I am
afraid as an individual with my limited consciousness, it is that that I am afraid
of. It is that of which I am scared. One realizes that it is not a fact that one’s
consciousness is totally separate from that of everybody else – one sees that
separateness is an illusion, it is illogical, unhealthy. So one realizes, perhaps
in  one’s  heart,  in  one’s  feeling,  that  one  is  the  whole  of  mankind  –  not  an
individual consciousness, which has no meaning. And one has lived this kind
of life, which is pain, sorrow, anxiety, and if one’s brain has not transformed
some of all that, one’s life is only a further confusion to the wholeness. But if
one realizes that one’s consciousness is the consciousness of mankind, and
that  for  the  human  consciousness  one  is  totally  responsible,  then  freedom
from  the  limitation  of  that  consciousness  becomes  extraordinarily  important.
When there is that freedom then one is contributing to the breaking down of   56
the  limitation  of  that  consciousness.  Then  death  has  a  totally  different
meaning.
One has lived a so-called individual life, concerned about oneself and one’s
problems. Those problems never end, they increase. One has lived that kind
of  life.  One  has  been  brought  up,  educated,  conditioned,  to  that  kind  of  life.
You come along as a friend – you like me, or you love me – you say to me:
`Look,  your  consciousness  is  not  yours;  you  suffer  as  other  people  suffer’.  I
listen to it and I do not reject what you say, for it makes sense, it is sane and I
see that in what you have told me there can Perhaps be peace in the world.
And I say to myself: `Now, can I be free from fear?I see that I am responsible,
totally, for the whole of consciousness. I See that when I am investigating fear
I am helping the total human consciousness to lessen fear. Then death has a
totally  different  meaning.  I  no  longer  have  phantasies  that  I  am  going  to  sit
next to god, or that I am going to heaven through some Peculiar nebula. I am
living  a  life  which  is  not  my  particular  life.  I  am  living  a  life  of  the  whole  of
humanity and if I understand death, if I understand grief, I am cleansing the
whole  of  the  consciousness  of  mankind.  That  is  why  it  is  important  to
understand  the  meaning  of  death  and  perhaps  to  find  that  death  has  great
significance, great relationship with love, because where you end something
love is. When you end attachment completely then love is.    57
Chapter 7 7th Public Talk
Saanen 26th July 1981
We have talked about the complex problem of existence, about the forming
of images in our relationships with each other and the images which thought
projects and which we worship. We have talked about fear, pleasure and the
ending of sorrow and the question of what love is, apart from all the travail that
is  involved  in  so-called  love.  We  have  talked  about  compassion  with  its
intelligence and about death. We ought now to talk about religion.
Many  intellectuals,  throughout  the  world,  shy  away  from  the  subject  of
religion.  They  see  what  religions  are  in  the  present  world,  with  their  beliefs,
dogmas, rituals and the hierarchical set-up of their established existence; and
they rather scoff at and run away from anything to do with religion. And as they
age and come near to that threshold called death, they often revert to their old
conditioning:  they  become  Catholics  or  pursue  some  guru  in  India  or  japan.
Religion  throughout  the  world  has  lost  its  credibility  and  no  longer  has  any
significance in daily life. The more you examine, the more you are aware of the
whole  content  of  all  the  religious  structures,  the  more  sceptical  you  become
about  the  whole  business  and  like  the  intellectuals,  you  have  nothing  to  do
with  them.  And  those  who  are  not  sceptical,  treat  religions  romantically,
emotionally, or as a form of entertainment.
If  one  puts  aside  the  intellectual,  the  romantic  and  sentimental  attitudes
towards  religions,  one  can  then  begin  to  ask,  not  with  any  naivety,  but  with
seriousness: what is religion? – not looking for the mere meaning of that word,
but deeply. Man, from ancient times, has always thought that there must be
something  beyond  ordinary  daily  life,  the  ordinary  misery,  confusion  and
conflict of daily life. In his search he has invented aU kinds of philosophies,
created  all  kinds  of  images  –  from  those  of  the  ancient  Egyptians  and  the
ancient  Hindus  to  modern  times  –  always  getting  caught  apparently  in  some
kind of delusion. He deludes himself and out of those delusions he creates all
kinds  of  activities.  If  one  could  brush  all  that  aside,  not  hypnotizing  oneself,   58
being  free  from  illusion,  then  one  can  begin  to  examine,  enquire  very
profoundly  if  there  is  something  beyond  all  the  contagion  of  thought,  all  the
corruption of time, if there is something beyond one’s usual existence in space
and time and if there is any path to it, or no path, and how the mind can reach
it, or come to it. If one asks that of oneself then how shall one set about it? Is
any  kind  of  preparation  necessary  –  discipline,  sacrifice,  control,  a  certain
period of preparation and then advance?
First  of  all  it  is  important  to  understand  that  one  should  be  free  of  all
illusions. So, what creates illusions? Is it not the desire to reach something, to
experience  something  out  of  the  ordinary  –  extrasensory  perception,  visions,
spiritual exPeriences? One must be very clear as to the nature of desire and
understand the movement of desire, which is thought with its image and also
have no motive in one’s enquiry. It may seem very difficult to have no intention,
to have no sense of direction so that the brain is free to enquire. There must
be  order  in  one’s  house,  in  one’s  existence,  in  one’s  relationships,  in  one’s
activity.  Without  order,  which  is  freedom,  there  can  be  no  virtue.  Virtue,
righteousness, is not something that is intellectually cultivated. Where there is
order there is virtue; that order is something that is living, not a routine, a habit.
Secondly: is there something to be learnt? Is there something to be learnt
from  another?  One  can  learn  from  another,  history,  biology,  mathematics,
physics;  the  whole  complex  knowledge  of  the  technological  world  one  can
learn  from  another,  from  books.  Is  there  something  to  be  learned  from
psychology about our lives, about that which is eternal? – if there is something
eternal.  Or  is  it  that  there  is  nothing  to  learn  from  another  because  all  the
human  experience,  all  the  psychological  knowledge  that  humanity  has
gathered together for millions of years, is within oneself. If that is so, if one’s
consciousness  is  that  of  the  whole  of  mankind  then  it  seems  rather  absurd,
rather  naive,  to  try  to  learn  from  somebody  else  about  oneself.  It  requires
complete  clarity  of  observation  to  learn  about  ourselves.  That  is  simple.  So
there  is  no  psychological  authority  and  no  spiritual  authority,  because  the
whole  history  of  mankind,  which  is  the  story  of  humanity,  is  in  oneself.   59
Therefore  there  is  nothing  to  exPerience.  There  is  nothing  to  be  learnt  from
somebody who says: `I know’ or, `I will show you the path to truth’ – from the
priests  throughout  the  world,  the  interpreters  between  the  highest  and  the
lowest. To learn about, to understand, oneself, all authority must be set aside.
Obviously.  authority  is  part  of  oneself,  one  is  the  priest,  the  disciple,  the
teacher, one is the experience and one is the ultimate – if one knows how to
understand.
There  is  nothing  to  be  learnt  from  anybody,  including  the  speaker;
especially one must not be influenced by the speaker. One has to be free to
enquire  very,  very  deeply,  not  superficially.  One  may  have  done  all  the
superficial enquiry during the last five or fifty years, and have come to the point
when one has established order, more or less, in one’s life, and as one goes
along  one  may  establish  greater  order,  so  that  one  can  ask:  what  is  the
religious mind which can understand what meditation is?
Within the last fifteen years, that word meditation has become very popular
in the West. Before that, only very few, who had been to Asia, enquired into
the  Eastern  forms  of  meditation.  The  Asiatics  have  said  that  only  through
meditation can you come to, or understand, that which is the timeless, which
has no measure. But during recent years, those who have nothing to do but
call themselves gurus, have come over to the West bringing that word. It has
become a word that has made meditation seem like a drug. There are also the
various systems of meditation – the Tibetan, the Hindu, the Japanese Zen, and
so  on.  These  systems  have  been  invented  by  thought  and  thought  being
limited  the  systems  must  inevitably  be  limited.  And  also  they  become
mechanical,  for  if  you  repeat,  repeat,  your  mind  naturally  goes  dull,  rather
stupid  and  utterly  gullible.  It  is  common  sense  all  this,  but  there  is  such
eagerness  to  experience  something  spiritual,  either  through  drugs,  through
alcohol, or by following a system of meditation which it is hoped will give some
kind of exciting experience; there is such boredom with the daily life of going to
the  office  for  the  next  forty  years  and  at  the  end  of  it  to  die.  There  is  such
boredom with the established religions that when somebody comes along with   60
some  fantastic  notions  people  fall  for  them.  This  is  happening;  this  is  not
exaggeration, this is not attacking anybody personally but a statement of the
nonsense that is going on.
So, if one is sufficiently aware of all this one will have put it aside, for it is
utterly meaningless; one does not have to go to India, or Tibet, or to Rome, if
one  uses  common  sense  and  has  a  critical  mind  that  is  questioning  what
others say and also questioning oneself. It is important to question anything
that one considers to be correct, noble, or a real experience and it is essential
to maintain a mind that is capable, rational, sane, free from all the illusions and
any form of self-hypnosis.
Then what is a human being? The human being has lived on thought; all
the  architecture,  all  the  music,  the  things  that  are  inside  the  churches,  the
temples and mosques, they are all invented by thought. All our relationships
are based on thought, though we say, `I love you’, it is still based on the image
which  thought  has  created  about  another.  Thought,  to  the  human  being,  is
astonishingly important; and thought itself is limited; its action is to bring about
fragmentation – the fragmentation between people – my religion, my country,
my god, my belief as opposed to yours, all that is the movement of thought,
space and time.
Meditation  is  the  capacity  of  the  brain  which  is  no  longer  functioning
partially – the brain which has freed itself from its conditioning and is therefore
functioning  as  a  whole.  The  meditation  of  such  a  brain  is  different  from  the
mere  contemplation  of  one  conditioned  as  a  Christian  or  a  Hindu,  whose
contemplation is from a background, from a conditioned mind. Contemplation
does  not  free  one  from  conditioning.  Meditation  demands  a  great  deal  of
enquiry and becomes extraordinarily serious in order not to function partially.
By  partially  is  meant  to  function  in  a  particular  specialization  or  particular
occupation  that  makes  the  brain  narrow  in  accepting  beliefs,  traditions,
dogmas and rituals, all of which are invented by thought. The Christians use
the word `faith’ – faith in god, in providence so that things will come out all right.   61
The Asiatics have their own forms of faith – karma, reincarnation and spiritual
evolution.  Meditation  is  different  from  contemplation  in  the  sense  that
meditation demands that the brain acts wholly and is no longer conditioned to
act  partially.  That  is  the  requirement  for  meditation,  otherwise  it  has  no
meaning.
So the question is: is it possible to live in this world, which demands certain
forms of specialization, a skilful mechanic, mathematician, or housewife, yet to
be  free  from  specialization?  Suppose  I  am  a  theoretical  physicist  and  have
spent  most  of  my  life  in  mathematical  formulation,  thinking  about  it,
questioning  it,  cultivating  considerable  knowledge  about  it,  so  that  my  brain
has  become  specialized,  narrowed  down  and  then  I  begin  to  enquire  into
meditation. Then in my enquiry into meditation I can only partially understand
the significance and the depth of it because I am anchored in something else,
in the theoretical physics of my profession; anchored there I begin to enquire
theoretically whether there is meditation whether there is the timeless; so my
enquiry becomes partial again. But I have to live in this world; I am a professor
at  a  university;  I  have  a  wife  and  children,  I  have  that  responsibility  and
perhaps I am also ill; yet I want to enquire very profoundly into the nature of
truth,  which  is  part  of  meditation.  So  the  question  is:  is  it  possible  to  be
specialized as a theoretical physicist and yet leave it at a certain level so that
my brain (the brain which is the common brain of all humanity) can say: yes, it
has that specialized function but that function is not going to interfere?
If I am a carpenter, I know the quality of the wood, the grain, the beauty of
the wood and the tools with which to work it. And I see that that is natural and I
also  see  that  the  brain  that  has  cultivated  the  speciality  cannot  possibly
understand the wholeness of meditation. If as a carpenter I understand this,
the  truth  of  it,  that  I,  as  a  carpenter  have  a  place,  but  also  that  that
specialization  has  no  place  in  the  wholeness  of  comprehension,  in  the
wholeness  of  understanding  meditation,  then  that  specialization  becomes  a
small affair.    62
So  then  we  begin  to  ask:  what  is  meditation?  First  of  all,  meditation
demands  attention,  which  is  to  give  your  whole  capacity,  energy,  in
observation. Attention is different from concentration. Concentration is an effort
made by thought to focus its capacity, its energy, on a particular subject. When
you are in school you are trained to concentrate, that is to bring all your energy
to  a  particular  point.  In  concentration you  are  not  allowing  any  other  kind  of
thoughts  to  interfere;  concentration  implies  the  controlling  of  thought,  not
allowing it to wander away but keeping it focused on a particular subject. It is
the  operation  of  thought  which  focuses  attention,  focuses  energy,  on  that
subject.  In  that  operation  of  thought  there  is  compulsion,  control.  So  in
concentration there is the controller and the controlled. Thought is wandering
off; thought says it should not wander off, and I bring it back as the controller
who  says,  `I  must  concentrate  on  this.’  So  there  is  a  controller  and  the
controlled.  Who  is  the  controller?  The  controller  is  part  of  thought  and  the
controller is the past. The controller says,-I have learnt a great deal and it is
important for me, the controller, to control thought.’ That is: thought has divided
itself  as  the  controller  and  the  controlled;  it  is  a  trick  that  thought  is  playing
upon itself. Now, in attention there is no controller, nor is there the controlled,
there is only attention. So a careful examination is required into the nature of
concentration  with  its  controller  and  the  controlled.  All  our  life  there  is  this
controller – `I must do this, I must not do that, I must control my desires, control
my anger, control my impetus.’
We must be very clear in understanding what con- centration is and what
attention is. In attention there is no controller. So, is there in daily existence, a
way of living in which every form of psychological control ceases  to  exist?  –
because control means effort, it means division between the controller and the
controlled; I am angry, I must control my anger; I smoke, I must not smoke and
I must resist smoking. We are saying there is something totally different and
this may be misunderstood and may be rejected altogether because it is very
common to say that aIl life is control – if you do not control you will become
permissive,  nonsensical,  without  meaning,  therefore  you  must  control.   63
Religions, philosophies, teachers, your family, your mother, they all encourage
you to control. We have never asked: who is the controller? The controller is
put  together  in  the  past,  the  past  which  is  knowledge,  which  is  thought.
Thought  has  separated  itself  as  the  controller  and  the  controlled.
Concentration  is  the  operation  of  that.  Understanding  that,  we  are  asking  a
much more fundamental question, which is: can one live in this world, with a
family and responsibilities, without a shadow of control?
See the beauty of that question. Our brain has been trained for thousands
of years to inhibit, to control, and now it is never operating with the wholeness
of itself. See for yourself what it is doing; watch your own brain in operation,
rationally,  critically  examining  it  in  a  way  in  which  there  is  no  deception  or
hypnosis. Most of the meditations that have been put forward from the Asiatic
world involve control; control thought so that you have a mind that is at peace,
that  is  quiet,  that  is  not  eternally  chattering.  Silence,  quietness  and  the
absolute  stillness  of  the  mind,  the  brain,  are  necessary  in  order  to  perceive
and to achieve this these forms of meditation, however subtle, have control as
their basis. Alternatively you hand yourself over to a guru, or to some ideal and
you  can  forget  yourself  because  you  have  given  yourself  over  to  something
and therefore you are at Peace, but again it is the movement of thought, desire
and the excitement of attaining something you have been offered.
Attention is not the opposite of concentration. The opposite has its root in
its own opposite. If love is the opposite of hate, then love is born out of hate.
Attention is not the opposite of concentration, it is totally divorced from it. Does
attention  need  effort?  That  is  one  of  our  principal  activities;  I  must  make  an
effort; I am lazy, I do not want to get up this morning, but I must get up, make
an effort. I do not want to do something but I must. See how extraordinary it is
that  we  cannot  catch  the  significance  of  this  immediately.  It  has  to  be
explained, explained, explained. We seem to be incapable of direct perception
of  the  difference  between  concentration  and  attention;  unable  to  have  an
insight into attention and be attentive.    64
When does attention take place? Obviously not through effort. When one
makes an effort to be attentive, it is an indication that one is inattentive and is
trying to make that inattention become attention. But to have quick insight, to
see instantly the falseness of all religious organizations, so that one is out of
them.  To  see  instantly  that  the  observer  is  the  observed  and  therefore  one
makes  no  effort,  it  is  so.  Effort  exists  when  there  is  division.  Does  it  not
indicate  that  one’s  brain  has  become  dull  because  one  has  been  trained,
trained, so it has lost its pristine quickness, its capacity to see directly without
all the explanations and words, words, words. But unfortunately one has to go
into this because one’s mind, one’s brain, cannot, for example grasp instantly,
that truth has no path; it is unable to see the immensity of that statement, the
beauty of it and put aside all paths so that one’s brain becomes extraordinarily
active. One of the difficulties is that one has become mechanical. If one’s brain
is not extraordinarily alive and active it will gradually wither away. Now one’s
brain has to think, it has to be active, if only partially, but when the computer
can take over all the work and most of the thought, operating with a rapidity
which the brain cannot, then the brain is going to wither. This is happening, it
is not an exaggerated statement of the speaker, it is happening now and we
are unaware of it.
In concentration there is always a centre from which one is acting. When
one concentrates one is concentrating for some benefit, for some deep rooted
motive; one is observing from a centre. Whereas in attention there is no centre
at all. When one looks at something immense – like the mountains with their
extraordinary  majesty,  the  line  against  the  blue  sky  and  the  beauty  of  the
valley – the beauty of it for a moment drives out the centre; one is for a second
stunned by the greatness of it. Beauty is that perception when the centre is
not. A child, given a toy, is so absorbed by it that he is no longer mischievous,
he is completely with the toy. But he breaks the toy and he is back to himself.
Most of us are absorbed by our various toys; when the toys go, we are back to
ourselves.  In  the  understanding  of  ourselves  without  the  toy,  without  any
direction, without any motive, is the freedom from specialization which makes   65
the whole of the brain active. The whole of the brain when it is active is total
attention.
One is always looking or feeling with part of the senses. One hears some
music,  but  one  never  really  listens.  One  is  never  aware  of  anything  with  all
one’s senses. When one looks at a mountain, because of its majesty, one’s
senses are fully in operation, therefore one forgets oneself. When one looks at
the movement of the sea or the sky with the slip of a moon, when one is aware
totally,  with  all  one’s  senses,  that  is  complete  attention  in  which  there  is  no
centre. Which means that attention is the total silence of the brain, there is no
longer chattering, it is completely still – an absolute silence of the mind and the
brain. There are various forms of silence – the silence between two noises, the
silence  between  two  notes,  the  silence  between  thoughts,  the  silence  when
you go into a forest – where there is the great danger of a dangerous animal,
everything becomes totally silent. This silence is not put together by thought,
nor does it arise through fear. When one is really frightened one’s nerves and
brain  become  still  –  but  meditation  is  not  that  quality  of  silence,  it  is  entirely
different.  Its  silence  is  the  operation  of  the  whole  of  the  brain  with  all  the
senses active. It is freedom which brings about the total silence of the mind. It
is only such a mind, such a mind-brain, that is absolutely quiet – not quietness
brought about by effort, by determination, by desire, by motive. This quietness
is the freedom of order, which is virtue, which is righteousness in behaviour. In
that  silence  alone  is  there  that  which  is  nameless  and  timeless.  That  is
meditation.    66
– Amsterdam –
Chapter 8 1st Public Talk
Amsterdam 19th September 1981
Most  unfortunately  there  are  only  two  talks  and  so  it  is  necessary  to
condense what we have to say about the whole of existence. We are not doing
any kind of propaganda; we are not persuading you to think in one particular
direction, nor convince you about anything – we must be quite sure of that. We
are not bringing something exotic from the East like the nonsense that goes on
in  the  name  of  the  gurus  and  those  people  who  write  strange  things  after
visiting India – we do not belong to that crowd at all. And we would like to point
out that during these two talks we are thinking together, not merely listening to
some ideas and either agreeing or disagreeing with them; we are not creating
arguments, opinions, judgements, but together – I mean together, you and the
speaker – we are going to observe what the world has become, not only in the
West  but  also  in  the  East  where  there  is  great  poverty,  great  misery,  with
enormous  overpopulation,  where  the  politicians,  as  here  in  the  West,  are
incapable  of  dealing  with  what  is  happening.  All  politicians  are  thinking  in
terms  of  tribalism.  Tribalism  has  become  glorified  nationalism.  We  cannot
therefore  rely  on  any  politicians,  on  any  leaders,  or  on  any  books  that  have
been written about religion. We cannot possibly rely on any of these people,
nor on the scientists, the biologists, or the psychologists. They have not been
able to solve our human problems. I am quite sure you agree to all that. Nor
can  we  rely  on  any  of  the  gurus  who  unfortunately  come  to  the  West  and
exploit  people  and  get  very  rich,  they  have  nothing  whatsoever  to  do  with
religion.
Having  said  all  this  it  is  important  that  we,  you  and  the  speaker,  think
together.  We  mean  by  thinking  together  not  merely  accepting  any  kind  of
opinion  or  evaluation  but  observing  together,  not  only  externally  what  is
hapPening  in  the  world,  but  also  what  is  happening  to  all  of  us  inwardly,
psychologically.  Externally,  outwardly,  there  is  great  uncertainty,  confusion,   67
wars, or the threat of war. There are wars going on now in some parts of the
world; human beings are killing each other. That is not happening in the West,
here, but there is the threat of nuclear war, and the preparation for war. And
we  ordinary  human  beings  do  not  seem  to  be  able  to  do  anything  about  all
that. There are demonstrations, terrorism, hunger strikes and so on. There is
one tribal group against another and the scientists are contributing to that, and
the  philosophers,  though  they  may  talk  against  it,  are  inwardly  continuing  to
think in terms of nationalism, according to their own particular careers. So that
is what is actually going on in the outward world, which any intelligent human
being can observe.
And inwardly, in our own minds and in our own hearts, we ourselves are
also very confused. There is no security, not only, perhaps, for ourselves but
for  the  future  generation.  Religions  have  divided  human  beings  as  the
Christians, the Hindus, the Muslims, and the Buddhists. So considering all this,
observing objectively, calmly without any prejudice, it is naturally important that
together  we  think  about  it  all.  Think  together,  not  having  opinions  opposing
other sets of opinions, not having one conclusion against another conclusion,
one ideal against another ideal, but rather thinking together and seeing what
we human beings can do. The crisis is not in the economic world, nor in the
political world; the crisis is in consciousness. I think very few of us realize this.
The  crisis  is  in  our  mind  and  in  our  heart;  that  is,  the  crisis  is  in  our
consciousness.  Our  consciousness  is  our  whole  existence.  With  our  beliefs,
with our conclusions, with our nationalism, with all the fears that we have, it is
our  pleasures,  the  apparently  insoluble  problems  and  the  thing  that  we  call
love,  compassion;  it  includes  the  problem  of  death  –  wondering  if  there  is
anything  hereafter,  anything  beyond  time,  beyond  thought  and  if  there  is
something eternal: that is the content of our consciousness.
That is the content of the consciousness of every human being, in whatever
part of the world he lives. The content of our consciousness is the common
ground  of  all  humanity.  I  think  this  must  be  made  very  clear  right  from  the
beginning.  A  human  being  living  in  any  part  of  the  world  suffers,  not  only   68
physically but also inwardly. He is uncertain, fearful, confused, anxious without
any sense of deep security. So our consciousness is common to all mankind.
Please do listen to this. You may be hearing this for the first time so please do
not discard it. Jet us investigate it together, let us think about it together, not
when you get home but now: your consciousness, what you think, what you
feel, your reactions, your anxiety, your loneliness, your sorrow, your pain, your
search for something that is not merely physical but goes beyond all thought,
is the same as that of a person living in India or Russia or America. They all go
through the same problems as you do, the same problems of relationship with
each  other,  man,  woman.  So  we  are  all  standing  on  the  same  ground  of
consciousness.  Our  consciousness  is  common  to  all  of  us  and therefore we
are not individuals. Please do consider this. We have been trained, educated,
religiously as well as scholastically, to think that we are individuals, separate
souls, striving for ourselves, but that is an illusion because our consciousness
is  common  to  all  mankind.  So  we  are  mankind.  We  are  not  separate
individuals fighting for ourselves. This is logical, this is rational, sane. We are
not  separate  entities  with  separate  psychological  content,  struggling  for
ourselves, but we are, each one of us, actually the rest of human kind.
Perhaps  you  will  accept  the  logic  of  this  intellectually,  but  if  you  feel  it
profoundly  then  your  whole  activity  undergoes  a  radical  change.  That  is  the
first issue we have to think about together: that our consciousness, the way we
think, the way we live, some perhaps more comfortably, more affluently, with
greater facility to travel than others, is inwardly, psychologically, exactly similar
to that of those who live thousands and thousands of miles away.
All  is  relationship,  our  very  existence  is  to  be  related.  Observe  what  we
have done with our relationships with each other, whether intimate or not. In all
relationship  there  is  tremendous  conflict,  struggle  –  why?  Why  have  human
beings,  who  have  lived  for  over  a  million  years,  not  solved  this  problem  of
relationship?  So  let  us  this  morning  think  together  about  it.  Let  us  observe
together  actually  what  the  relationship  between  a  man  and  a  woman  is.  All   69
society is based on relationship. There is no society if there is no relationship,
society then becomes an abstraction.
One observes that there is conflict between man and woman. The man has
his  own  ideals,  his  own  pursuits,  his  own  ambitions,  he  is  always  seeking
success, to be somebody in the world. And the woman is also struggling, also
wanting to be somebody, wanting to fulfil, to become. Each is pursuing his or
her own direction. So it is like two railway lines running parallel, never meeting,
except perhaps in bed, but otherwise – if you observe closely – never actually
meeting  psychologically,  inwardly.  Why?  That  is  the  question.  When  we  ask
why,  we  are  always  asking  for  the  cause;  we  think  in  terms  of  causation,
hoping that if we could understand the cause then perhaps we would change
the effect.
So we are asking a very simple but very complex question: why is it that we
human beings have not been able to solve this problem of relationship though
we have lived on this earth for millions of years? Is it because each one has
his own particular image put together by thought, and that our relationship is
based  on  two  images,  the  image  that  the  man  creates  about  her  and  the
image  the  woman  creates  about  him?  So  in  this  relationship  we  are  as  two
images living together. That is a fact. If you observe yourself very closely, if
one may point out, you have created an image about her and she has created
a picture, a verbal structure, about you, the man. So relationship is between
these  two  images.  These  images  have  been  put  together  by  thought.  And
thought is not love. All the memories of this relationship with each other, the
pictures, the conclusions about each other, are, if one observes closely without
any  prejudice,  the  product  of  thought;  they  are  the  result  of  various
remembrances, experiences, irritations and loneliness, and so our relationship
with each other is not love but the image that thought has put together. So if
we are to understand the actuality of relationships we have to understand the
whole movement of thought, because we live by thought; all our actions are
based  on  thought,  alI  the  great  buildings,  the  cathedrals,  churches,  temples
and  mosques  of  the  world  are  the  result  of  thought.  And  everything  inside   70
these  religious  buildings  –  the  figures,  the  symbols,  the  images  –  are  all  the
invention of thought. There is no refuting that. Thought has created not only
the most marvellous buildings and the contents of those buildings, but it has
also created the instruments of war, the bomb in all its various forms. Thought
has also produced the surgeon and his marvellous instruments, so delicate in
surgery. And thought has also produced the carpenter, his study of wood and
the  tools  he  uses.  The  contents  of  a  church,  the  skill  of  a  surgeon,  the
expertise  of  the  engineer  who  builds  a  beautiful  bridge,  are  all  the  result  of
thought – there is no refuting that. So one has to examine what thought is and
why human beings live on thought and why thought has brought about such
chaos in the world – war and lack of relationship with each other – and examine
the great capacity of thought with its extraordinary energy. We must also see
how thought has, through millions of years, brought such sorrow for mankind.
Please observe this together, let us examine it together. Do not just oppose
what the speaker is saying, but examine what he is saying together so that we
understand what is actually happening to all of us human beings, for we are
destroying ourselves.
Thought is the response of the memory of things past; it also projects itself
as  hope  into  the  future.  Memory  is  knowledge;  knowledge  is  memory  of
experience. That is, there is experience, from experience there is knowledge
as memory, and from memory you act. From that action you learn, which is
further knowledge. So we live in this cycle – experience, memory, knowledge,
thought and thence action – always living within the field of knowledge.
What  we  are  talking  about  is  very  serious.  It  is  not  something  for  the
weekend, for a casual listening, it is concerned with a radical change of human
consciousness. So we have to think about all this, look together, and ask why
we human beings, who have lived on this earth for so many millions of years,
are  still  as  we  are.  We  may  have  advanced  technologically,  have  better
communication, better transportation, hygiene and so on, but inwardly we are
the  same,  more  or  less  –  unhappy,  uncertain,  lonely,  carrying  the  burden  of
sorrow  endlessly.  And  any  serious  man  confronted  with  this  challenge  must   71
respond;  he  cannot  take  it  casually,  turn  his  back  on  it.  That  is  why  these
meetings  are  very,  very  serious  because  that  is  why  we  have  to  apply  our
minds  and  our  hearts  to  finding  out  if  it  is  possible  to  bring  about  a  radical
mutation in our consciousness and therefore in our action and behaviour.
Thought is born of experience and knowledge, and there is nothing sacred
whatsoever about thought. Thinking is materialistic, it is a process of matter.
And  we  have  relied  on  thinking  to  solve  all  our  problems  in  politics  and
religions  and  in  our  relationships.  Our  brains,  our  minds,  are  conditioned,
educated  to  solve  problems.  Thinking  has  created  problems  and  then  our
brains, our minds, are trained to solve them with more thinking. All problems
are  created,  psychologically  and  inwardly,  by  thought.  Follow  what  is
happening. Thought creates the problem, psychologically; the mind is trained
to solve problems with further thinking, so thought in creating the problem then
tries to solve it. So it is caught in a continuous process, a routine. Problems
are becoming more and more complex, more and more insoluble, so we must
find out if it is at all possible to approach life in a different way, not through
thought because thought does not solve our problems; on the contrary thought
has brought about greater complexity. We must find out – if it is possible or not
– whether there is a different dimension, a different approach, to life altogether.
And that is why it is important to understand the nature of our thinking. Our
thinking is based on remembrance of things past – which is thinking about what
happened a week ago, thinking about it modified in the present, and projected
into  the  future.  This  is  actually  the  movement  of  our  life.  So  knowledge  has
become  all-important  for  us  but  knowledge  is  never  complete.  Therefore
knowledge always lives within the shadow of ignorance. That is a fact. It is not
the speaker’s invention or conclusion, but it is so.
Love  is  not  remembrance.  Love  is  not  knowledge.  Love  is  not  desire  or
pleasure.  Remembrance,  knowledge,  desire  and  pleasure  are  based  on
thought. Our relationship with each other, however near, if looked at closely, is
based  on  remembrance,  which  is  thought.  So  that  relationship  –  though  you
may  say  you  love  your  wife  or  your  husband  or  your  girl  friend  –  is  actually   72
based on remembrance, which is thought. And in that there is no love. Do you
actually see that fact? Or do you say,-What a terrible thing to say. I do love my
wife?  –  but  is  that  so?  Can  there  be  love  when  there  is  jealousy,
possessiveness,  attachment,  when  each  one  is  pursuing  his  own  particular
direction of ambition, greed and envy, like two parallel lines never meeting? Is
that love?
I hope we are thinking together, observing together, as two friends walking
along a road and seeing what is around us, not only what is very close and
immediately perceived, but what is in the distance. We are taking the journey
together,  perhaps  affectionately,  hand  in  hand  –  two  friends  amicably
examining the complex problem of life, neither of them leader or guru, because
when  one  sees  actually  that  our  consciousness  is  the  consciousness  of  the
rest of mankind, then one realizes that one is both the guru and the disciple,
the teacher as well as the pupil, because all that is in one,s consciousness.
That  is  a  tremendous  realization.  So  as  one  begins  to  understand  oneself
deeply one becomes a light to oneself and not dependent on anybody, on any
book or on any authority – including that of the speaker – so that one is capable
of understanding this whole problem of living and of being a light to oneself.
Love  has  no  problems  and  to  understand  the  nature  of  love  and
compassion  with  its  own  intelligence,  we  must  understand  together  what
desire  is.  Desire  has  extraordinary  vitality,  extraordinary  persuasion,  drive,
achievement; the whole process of becoming, success, is based on desire –
desire which makes us compare ourselves with each other, imitate, conform. It
is very important in understanding the nature of ourselves co understand what
desire is, not to suppress it, not to run away from it, not to transcend it, but to
understand  it,  to  see  the  whole  momentum  of  it.  We  can  do  that  together,
which does not mean that you are learning from the speaker. The speaker has
nothing to teach you. Please realize this. The speaker is merely acting as a
mirror in which you can see yourself. Then when you see yourself clearly you
can discard the mirror, it has no more importance, you can break it up.    73
To understand desire requires attention, seriousness. it is a very complex
problem  co  understand  why  human  beings  have  lived  on  this  extraordinary
energy of desire as on the energy of thought. What is the relationship between
thought and desire? What is the relationship between desire and will? We live
a  great  deal  by  will.  So  what  is  the  movement,  the  source,  the  origin,  of
desire? If one observes oneself one sees the origin of desire; it begins with
sensory responses; then thought creates the image and at that moment desire
begins. One sees something in the window, a robe, a shirt, a car, whatever it is
– one sees it, sensation, then one touches it, and then thought says, `If I put on
that shirt or dress how nice it will look’ – that creates the image and then begins
desire. So the relationship between desire and thought is very close. If there
were no thought there would only be sensation. Desire is the quintessence of
will. Thought dominates sensation and creates the urge, the desire, the will, to
possess.  When  in  relationship  thought  operates  –  which  is  remembrance,
which is the image created about each other by thought – there can be no love.
Desire, sexual or other forms of desire, prevent love – because desire is part of
thought.
We should consider in our examination the nature of fear because we are
all  caught  in  this  terrible  thing  called  fear.  We  do  not  seem  to  be  able  to
resolve it. We live with it, become accustomed to it, or escape from it through
amusement,  through  worship,  through  various  forms  of  entertainment,
religious and otherwise. Fear is common to all of us, whether we live in this
tidy, clean country, or in India where it is untidy, dirty and overpopulated. It is
the  same  problem,  fear,  which  man  has  lived  with  for  thousands  and
thousands of years and which he has not been able to resolve. Is it possible –
one is asking this question most  seriously  –  is  it  at  all  possible  to  be  totally,
completely, free of fear, not only the physical forms of fear but the much more
subtle forms of inward fear – conscious fears and the deep undiscovered fears
which  we  have  never  even  known  were  there?  Examination  of  these  fears
does not mean analysis. It is the fashion co turn to the analyst if you have any
problem. But the analyst is like you and me, only he has a certain technique.   74
Analysis implies there is an analyser. Is the analyser different from that which
he analyses? Or is the analyser the analysed? The analyser is the analysed.
That is an obvious fact. If I am analysing myself, who is the analyser in me
who says, `I must analyse’? It is still the analyser separating himself from the
analysed and then examining that which is to be analysed. So the analyser is
that  which  he  is  analysing.  They  are  the  same.  To  separate  them  is  a  trick
played by thought. But when we observe, there is no analysis; there is merely
the observing of things as they are – the observing of that which actually is, not
analysing that which is, because in the process of analysing we can deceive
ourselves. If you like to play that game you can, and go on endlessly until you
die,  analysing,  and  never  bringing  about  a  radical  transformation  within
yourself.  Whereas  to  look  at  the  present  as  it  is  –  not  as  a  Dutchman,  an
Englishman,  or  a  Frenchman  or  as  this  or  that  –  to  see  what  is  actually
happening, is pure observation of things as they are.
To observe what fear is, is not to examine the cause of fear, which implies
analysis and going further and further back into the origin of fear. It is to learn
the art of observing and not translating or interpreting what you observe, but
just observing, as you would observe a lovely flower. The moment you take it
to pieces the flower is not. That is what analysis does. But observe the beauty
of a flower, or the evening light in a cloud, or a tree by itself in a forest, just
observe. So similarly, we can observe fear and what is the root of fear – not the
various aspects of fear.
We  are  asking  if  it  is  at  all  possible  to  be  free  of  fear,  absolutely.
Psychologically,  inwardly,  what  is  the  root  of  fear?  What  does  fear  mean?
Does not fear arise from something that has given you pain in the past which
might happen again in the future? Not what might happen now because now
there  is  no  fear.  You  can  see  for  yourself  that  fear  is  a  time  process.
Something that happened last week, an incident which brought psychological
or  physical  pain,  and  from  that  there  is  fear  that  it  might  happen  again
tomorrow. Fear is a movement in time; a movement from the past through the
present, modifying the future. So the origin of fear is thought. And thought is   75
time, it is the accumulation of knowledge through experience, the response of
memory  as  thought,  then  action.  So  thought  and  time  are  one;  thought  and
time are the root of fear. That is fairly obvious. It is so.
Now it is not a question of stopping thought or time. Of course it would be
impossible to stop them because the entity who says, `I must stop thought’ is
part  of  thought.  So  the  idea  of  stopping  thought  is  absurd.  It  implies  a
controller who is trying to control thought and such a controller is created by
thought. Please just observe this; OBSERVATION IS AN ACTION IN ITSELF,
it  is  not  that  one  must do something about fear. I  wonder  if  you  understand
this?
Suppose I am afraid about something or other, darkness, my wife running
away, loneliness, or this or that. I am frightened, deeply. You come along and
explain to me the whole movement of fear, the origin of fear, which is time. I
had pain; I went through some accident or incident that caused pain, that is
recorded  in  the  brain,  and  the  memory  of  that  past  incident  produces  the
thought that it might happen again, and therefore there is fear. So you have
explained this to me. And I have listened very carefully to your explanation, I
see the logic of it, the sanity of it, I do not reject it; I listen. And that means that
listening becomes an art. I do not reject what you are saying, nor accept, but I
observe. And I observe that what you tell me about time and thought, is actual.
I do not say, `I must stop time and thought’, but having had it explained to me,
I  just  observe  how  fear  arises,  that  it  is  a  movement  of  thought,  time.  I  just
observe this movement and do not move away from it, I do not escape from it
but  live  with  it,  look  at  it,  put  my  energy  into  looking.  Then  I  see  that  fear
begins to dissolve because I have done nothing about it, I have just observed,
I have given my whole attention to it. That very attention is like bringing light on
fear. Attention means giving all your energy in that observation.
Why is it that man pursues pleasure? Please ask yourself why. Is pleasure
the opposite of pain? We have all had pain of different kinds, both physical and
psychological.  Psychologically,  most  of  us  from  childhood  have  been   76
wounded,  hurt;  that  is  pain.  The  consequence  of  that  pain  has  been  to
withdraw,  to  isolate  oneself  so  as  not  to  be  further  hurt.  From  childhood,
through  school,  by  comparing  ourselves  with  somebody  else  who  is  more
clever, we have hurt ourselves, and others have hurt us through various forms
of scolding, saying something brutal, terrorizing us. And there is this deep hurt
with  all  its  consequences,  which  are  isolation,  resistance,  more  and  more
withdrawal.  And  the  opposite  of  that  we  think  is  pleasure.  Pain  and  the
opposite of it is pleasure. Is goodness the opposite of that which is not good?
If  goodness  is  the  opposite,  then  that  goodness  contains  its  own  opposite.
Therefore  it  is  not  good.  Goodness  is  something  totally  separate  from  that
which  is  not  goodness.  So  is  pleasure  something  opposite  to  pain?  Is  it  a
contrast? We are always pursuing the contrast, the opposite. So one is asking,
is  pleasure  entirely  separate,  like  goodness,  from  that  which  is  not
pleasurable?  Or  is  pleasure  tainted  by  pain?  When  you  look  closely  at
pleasure  it  is  always  remembrance,  is  it  not?  You  never  say  when  you  are
happy, `How happy I am’, it is always after; it is the remembrance of that which
gave you pleasure, like a beautiful sunset, the glory of an evening, full of that
extraordinary  light,  it  gave  great  delight.  Then  that  is  remembered  and
pleasure  is  born.  So  pleasure  is  part  of  thought  too  –  it  is  so  obvious.  The
understanding  of  relationship,  fear,  pleasure  and  sorrow,  is  to  bring  order  in
our house. Without order you cannot possibly meditate. Now the speaker puts
meditation  at  the  end  of  the  talk  because  there  is  no  possibility  of  right
meditation if you have not put your house, your psychological house, in order.
If the psychological house is in disorder, if what you are is in disorder, what is
the point of meditating? It is just an escape. It leads to all kinds of illusions.
You may sit cross-legged or stand on your head for the rest of your life but that
is not meditation. Meditation must begin with bringing about complete order in
your house – order in your relationships, order in your desires, pleasures and
so on.
One of the causes of disorder in our life is sorrow. This is a common factor,
a common condition, in all human beings. Everyone goes through this tragedy   77
of sorrow, whether in the Asiatic world or in the Western world. Again this is a
common thing we all share.  There  is  not  only  so-called personal sorrow but
there is the sorrow of mankind, the sorrow which wars have brought about –
five thousand years of historical records and every year there has been a war,
killing, violence, terror, brutality, the maiming of people, people who have no
hands,  no  eyes  –  the  horrors  and  the  brutality  of  wars  which  have  brought
incalculable misery to mankind. It is not only one,s own sorrow but the sorrow
of mankind; the sorrow of seeing a man who has nothing whatsoever, just a
piece of cloth, and for the rest of his life he is going to be that way – not so
much in these Western countries, but in the Asiatic world it is like that. And
when you see that person there is sorrow. There is also sorrow when people
are  caught  an  illusion,  like  going  from  one  guru  to  another,  escaping  from
themselves. It is a sorrow to observe this, the clever people going off to the
East,  writing  books  about  it,  finding  some  guru  –  so  many  fall  for  that
nonsense. There is the sorrow that comes when you see what the politicians
are doing in the world – thinking in terms of tribalism. There is personal sorrow
and  the  vast  cloud  of  the  sorrow  of  mankind.  Sorrow  is  not  something
romantic, sentimental, illogical; it is there. We have lived with this sorrow from
time measureless, and apparently we have not resolved this problem. When
we  suffer  we  seek  consolation,  which  is  an  escape  from  the  fact  of  sorrow.
When there is that grief, you try every form of amusement and escape, but it
always is there. Apparently humanity has not resolved it. And we are asking
the  question:  is  it  possible  to  be  free  of  it  completely?  Not  avoiding  it,  not
seeking consolation, not escaping into some fanciful theory, but is it possible
to  live  with  it.  Understand  those  words  `to  live  with  it:  they  mean  not  to  let
sorrow become a habit. Most people live with sorrow, with nationalism, which
is  most  destructive,  they  live  with  their  own  separate  religious  conclusions,
they live with their own fanciful ideas and ideals, which all again bring conflict.
So  live  with  something,  live  with  sorrow,  not  accepting  it,  not  becoming
habituated  to  it  –  but  look  at  it,  observe  it  without  any  escape,  without  any
question of trying to go beyond it, just `hold it in your hand’ and look. Sorrow is
also part of the tremendous sense of loneliness: you may have many friends,   78
you may be married, you may have all kinds of things, but inwardly there is this
feeling  of  complete  loneliness.  And  that  is  part  of  sorrow.  Observe  that
loneliness without any direction, without trying to go beyond it, without trying to
find a substitute for it; live with it, not worship it, not become psychotic about it,
but give all your attention to that loneliness, to that grief, to that sorrow.
It is a great thing to understand suffering because where there is freedom
from sorrow there is compassion. One is not compassionate as long as one is
anchored to any belief, to any particular form of religious symbol. Compassion
is  freedom  from  sorrow.  Where  there  is  compassion  there  is  love.  With  that
compassion goes intelligence – not the intelligence of thought with its cunning,
with  its  adjustments,  with  its  capacity  to  put  up  with  anything.  Compassion
means the ending of sorrow and only then is there intelligence.    79
Chapter 9 2nd Public Talk
Amsterdam 20th September 1981
We are like two friends sitting in the park on a lovely day talking about life,
talking about our problems, investigating the very nature of our existence, and
asking  ourselves  seriously  why  life  has  become  such  a  great  problem,  why,
though intellectually we are very sophisticated, yet our daily life is such a grind,
without any meaning, except survival – which again is rather doubtful. Why has
life, everyday existence, become such a torture? We may go to church, follow
some leader, political or religious, but the daily life is always a turmoil, though
there are certain periods which are occasionally joyful, happy, there is always
a cloud of darkness about our life. And these two friends, as we are, you and
the  speaker,  are  talking  over  together  in  a  friendly  manner,  Perhaps  with
affection, with care, with concern, whether it is at all possible to live our daily
life without a single problem. Although we are highly educated, have certain
careers and specializations yet we have these unresolved struggles, the pain
and suffering, and sometimes joy and a feeling of not being totally selfish.
So let us go into this question of why we human beings live as we do, going
to the office from nine until five or six for fifty years, and always the brain, the
mind, constantly occupied. There is never a quietness, there is never peace,
but always this occupation with something or other. And that is our life. That is
our  daily,  monotonous,  rather  lonely,  insufficient  life.  And  we  try  to  escape
from it through religion, through various forms of entertainment. At the end of
the  day  we  are  still  where  we  have  been  for  thousands  and  thousands  of
years.  We  seem  to  have  changed  very  little,  psychologically,  inwardly.  Our
problems  increase,  and  always  there  is  the  fear  of  old  age,  disease,  some
accident that will put us out. So this is our existence, from childhood until we
die, either voluntarily or involuntarily die. We do not seem to have been able to
solve that problem, the problem of dying. Especially as one grows older one
remembers all the things that have been the times of pleasure, the times of
pain, and of sorrow, and of tears. Yet always there is this unknown thing called   80
death of which most of us are frightened. And as two friends sitting in the park
on a bench, not in this hall with all this light, which is rather ugly, but sitting in
the dappling light, the sun coming through the leaves, the ducks on the canal
and the beauty of the earth, let us talk this over together. Let us talk it over
together as two friends who have had a long serious life with all its trouble, the
troubles of sex, loneliness, despair, depression, anxiety, uncertainty, a sense
of meaninglessness – and at the end of it always death.
In talking about it, we approach it intellectually – that is, we rationalize it, say
it is inevitable, not to fear it or escape from it through some form of belief in the
hereafter, or reincarnation, or, if you are highly intellectual, telling yourself that
death is the end of all things, of our existence, our experiences, our memories,
be  they  tender,  delightful,  plentiful;  the  end  also  of  pain  and  suffering.  What
does it all mean, this life which is really, if we examine it very closely, rather
meaningless? We can, intellectually, verbally, construct a meaning to life but
the  way  we  actually  live  has  very  little  meaning.  Living  and  dying  is  all  we
know. Everything apart from that is theory, speculation; meaningless pursuit of
a  belief  in  which  we  find  some  kind  of  security  and  hope.  We  have  ideals
projected by thoughts and we struggle to achieve them. This is our life, even
when we are very young, full of vitality and fun, with the feeling that we can do
almost  anything;  but  with  youth,  middle  and  old  age  supervening,  there  is
always this question of death.
You are not merely, if one may point out, listening to a series of words, to
some  ideas,  but  rather  together,  I  mean  together,  investigating  this  whole
problem  of  living  and  dying.  And  either  you  do  it  with  your  heart,  with  your
whole mind, or else partially, superficially – and so with very little meaning.
First of all we should observe that our brains never act fully, completely; we
use  only  a  very  small  part  of  our  brain.  That  part  is  the  activity  of  thought.
Being in itself a part, thought is incomplete. The brain functions within a very
narrow  area,  depending  on  our  senses,  which  again  are  limited,  partial;  the
whole  of  the  senses  are  never  free,  awakened.  I  do  not  know  if  you  have   81
experimented with watching something with all your senses, watching the sea,
the  birds  and  the  moonlight  at  night  on  a  green  lawn,  to  see  if  you  have
watched partially or with all your senses fully awakened. The two states are
entirely  different.  When  you  watch  something  partially  you  are  establishing
more  the  separative,  egotistically  centred  attitude  to  living.  But  when  you
watch that moonlight on the water making a silvery path with all your senses,
that  is  with  your  mind,  with  your  heart,  with  your  nerves,  giving  all  your
attention  to  that  observation,  then  you  will  see  for  yourself  that  there  is  no
centre from which you are observing.
Our ego, our personality, our whole structure as an individual, is entirely put
together from memory; we are memory. Please, this is subject to investigation,
do not accept it. Observe it, listen. The speaker is saying that the `you’, the
ego, the `me’, is altogether memory. There is no spot or space in which there
is  clarity  –  you  can  believe,  hope,  have  faith,  that  there  is  something  in  you
which  is  uncontaminated,  which  is  god,  which  is  the  spark  of  that  which  is
timeless, you can believe all that, but that belief is merely illusory. All beliefs
are.  But  the  fact  is  that  our  whole  existence  is  entirely  memory,
remembrances. There is no spot or space inwardly which is not memory. You
can investigate this; if you are enquiring seriously into yourself you will see that
the  `me’,  the  ego,  is  all  memory,  remembrances.  And  that  is  our  life.  We
function, live, from memory. And for us, death is the ending of that memory.
Am I speaking to myself or are we all together in this? The speaker is used
to talking in the open, under trees, or in a vast tent without these glaring lights,
then we can have an intimate communication with each other. As a matter of
fact there is only you and I talking together, not this enormous audience in a
vast hall, but you and I sitting on the banks of a river, on a bench, talking over
this thing together. And one is saying to the other, we are nothing but memory,
and  it  is  to  that  memory  that  we  are attached  –  my  house,  my  property,  my
experience,  my  relationship,  the  office  or  the  factory  I  go  to,  the  skill  I  like
being  able  to  use  during  a  certain  period  of  time  –  I  am  all  that.  To  all  that,
thought is attached. That is what we call living. And this attachment creates all   82
manner  of  problems;  when  we  are  attached  there  is  fear  of  losing;  we  are
attached  because  we  are  lonely  with  a  deep  abiding  loneliness  which  is
suffocating, isolating, depressing. And the more we are attached to another,
which is again memory, for the other is a memory, the more problems there
are.  I  am  attached  to  the  name,  to  the  form;  my  existence  is  attachment  to
those  memories  which  I  have  gathered  during  my  life.  Where  there  is
attachment I observe that there is corruption. When I am attached to a belief,
hoping  that  in  that  attachment  there  will  be  a  certain  security,  both
psychologically  as  well  as  physically,  that  attachment  prevents  further
examination.  I  am  frightened  to  examine  when  I  am  greatly  attached  to
something,  to  a  person,  to  an  idea,  to  an  experience.  So  corruption  exists
where there is attachment. One`s whole life is a movement within the field of
the known This is obvious. Death means the ending of the known it means the
ending of the physical organism, the ending of aU the memory which I am, for I
am nothing but memory – memory being the known. And I am frightened to let
all  that  go,  which  means  death.  I  think  that  is  fairly  clear,  at  least  verbally.
Intellectually you can accept that logically, sanely; it is a fact.
The Asiatic world believes in reincarnation, that is that the soul, the ego, the
`me’, which is a bundle of memories, will be born next time to a better life if
they  behave  rightly  now,  conduct  themselves  righteously,  live  a  life  without
violence, without greed and so on, then in the next reincarnation they will have
a  better  life,  a  better  position.  But  a  belief  in  reincarnation  is  just  a  belief
because those who have this strong belief do not live a righteous life today. It
is just an idea that the next life will be marvellous. They say that the quality of
the next life must correspond to the quality of the present life. But the present
life is so tortuous, so demanding, so complex, that they forget the belief, and
struggle, deceive, become hypocrites, and accept every form of vulgarity. That
is one response to death, believing in the next life. But what is it that is going
to reincarnate? What is it that will continue? What is it that has continuity in our
present  daily  life?  It  is  the  remembrance  of  yesterday’s  experiences,   83
pleasures,  fears,  anxieties,  and  that  continues  right  through  life  unless  we
break it and move away from that current.
Now the question is: is it possible, while one is living, with all the energy,
capacity and turmoil, to end, for example, attachment? Because that is what is
going to happen when you die. You may be attached to your wife or husband,
to your property. You may be attached to some belief in god which is merely a
projection,  or  an  invention,  of  thought,  but  you  are  attached  to  it  because  it
gives  a  certain  feeling  of  security  however  illusory  it  is.  Death  means  the
ending  of  that  attachment.  Now  while  living,  can  you  end  voluntarily,  easily,
without any effort, that form of attachment? Which means dying to something
you have known – you follow? Can you do this? Because that is dying together
with living, not separated by fifty years or so, waiting for some disease to finish
you off. It is living with all your vitality, energy, intellectual capacity and with
great  feeling,  and  at  the  same  time  for  certain  conclusions,  certain
idiosyncrasies, exPeriences, attachments, hurts to end, to die. That is, while
living, also live with death. Then death is not something far away, death is not
something  that  is  at  the  end  of  one`s  life,  brought  about  through  some
accident, disease or old age, but rather an ending to all the things of memory –
that is death, a death not separate from living.
Also we should consider as two friends sitting together on the banks of a
river, with the clear water flowing – not muddied, polluted water – seeing the
movement of the waves pursuing each other down the river, why religion has
played such a great part in people’s lives from the most ancient of times until
today? What is a religious mind, what is it like? What does the word `religion’
actually mean? Because historically civilizations have  disappeared,  and  new
beliefs have taken their place, which have brought about new civilizations and
new cultures – not the technological world of the computers, the submarines,
the  war  materials,  nor  the  businessmen,  nor  the  economists,  but  religious
people  throughout  the  world  have  brought  about  a  tremendous  change.  So
one  must  enquire  together  into  what  we  mean  by  `religion’.  What  is  its
significance?  Is  it  mere  superstition,  illogical  and  meaningless?  Or  is  there   84
something  far  greater,  something  infinitely  beautiful?  To  find  that,  is  it  not
necessary  –  we  are  talking  this  over  together  as  two  friends  –  is  it  not
necessary  to  be  free  of  all  the  things  which  thought  has  invented  about
religion?
Man has always sought something beyond the physical existence. He has
always  searched,  asked,  suffered,  tortured  himself,  to  find  out  if  there  is
something which is not of time, which is not of thought, which is not belief or
faith. To find that out one must be absolutely free, for if you are anchored to a
particular form of belief, that very belief will prevent investigation into what is
eternal – if there is such a thing as eternity which is beyond all time, beyond all
measure.  So  one  must  be  free  –  if  one  is  serious  in  the  enquiry  into  what
religion is – one must be free of all the things that thought has invented about
that  which  is  considered  religious.  That  is,  all  the  things  that  Hinduism,  for
example, has invented, with its superstitions, with its beliefs, with its images,
and  its  ancient  literature  such  as  the  Upanishads  –  one  must  he  completely
free of all that. If one is attached to all that then it is impossible, naturally, to
discover that which is original. You understand the problem? If my mind, my
brain is conditioned by Hindu superstitions, beliefs, dogmas and idolatry, with
all the ancient tradition, then it is anchored to that and cannot move, it is not
free. Similarly, one must be free totally from all the inventions of thought, the
rituals, dogmas, beliefs, symbols, saviours and so on of Christianity. That may
be rather more difficult, that is coming nearer home. But all religions, whether
Christian,  Muslim,  Hindu,  Buddhist,  are  the  movement  of  thought  continued
through time, through literature, through symbols, through things made by the
hand or by the mind – and all that is considered religious in the modern world.
To  the  speaker  that  is  not  religious.  To  the  speaker  it  is  a  form  of  illusion,
comforting, satisfying, romantic, sentimental but not actual.
Religion must affect the way we live, the significance of life, for then only is
there  order  in  our  life.  Order  is  something  that  is  totally  disassociated  from
disorder.  We  live  in  disorder  –  that  is,  in  conflict,  contradiction,  saying  one
thing,  doing  another,  chinking  one  way  and  acting  in  another  way;  that  is   85
contradiction.  Where  there  is  contradiction,  which  is  division,  there  must  be
disorder.  And  a  religious  mind  is  completely  without  disorder.  That  is  the
foundation of a religious life – not all the nonsense that is going on with the
gurus with their idiocies.
It  is  a  most  extraordinary  thing  how  many  gurus  have  come  to  see  the
speaker,  some  of  them  because  they  think  I  attack  them.  They  want  to
persuade me not to attack, they say what you are saying and what you are
living  is  the  absolute  truth,  but  it  is  not  for  us  because  we  must  help  those
people who are not as fully advanced as you are. You see the game they play
–  you  understand?  So  one  wonders  why  some  Western  people  go  to  India,
follow these gurus, get initiated – whatever that may mean – put on different
robes  and  think  they  are  very  religious.  But  strip  them  of  their  robes,  stop
chem and enquire into them, and they are just like you and me. So the idea of
going  somewhere  to  find  enlightenment,  of  changing  your  name  to  some
Sanskrit name, seems strangely absurd and romantic, without any reality – but
thousands  are  doing  it.  Probably  it  is  a  form  of  amusement  without  much
meaning. The speaker is not attacking. Please let us understand that: we are
not attacking anything, we are just observing – observing the absurdity of the
human mind, how easily we are caught; we are so gullible.
A  religious  mind  is  a  very  factual  mind;  it  deals  with  facts,  with  what  is
actually  happening  with  the  world  outside  and  the  world  inside.  The  world
outside is the expression of the world inside; there is no division between the
outer and the inner. A religious life is a life of order, diligence, dealing with that
which  is  actually  within  oneself,  without  any  illusion,  so  that  one  leads  an
orderly,  righteous  life.  When  that  is  established,  unshakeably,  then  we  can
begin co enquire into what meditation is.
Perhaps that word did not exist in the Western world, in its present usage
until about thirty years or so ago. The Eastern gurus have brought it over here.
There  is  the  Tibetan  meditation,  Zen  meditation,  the  Hindu  meditation,  the
particular  meditation  of  a  particular  guru  –  the  yoga  meditation,  sitting  cross   86
legged, breathing – you know all that. All that is called meditation. We are not
denigrating  the  people  who  do  all  this.  We  are  just  pointing  out  how  absurd
meditation has become. The Christian world believes in contemplation, giving
themselves over to the will of god, grace and so on. There is the same thing in
the Asiatic world, only they use different words in Sanskrit, but it is the same
thing – man seeking some kind of everlasting security, happiness, peace, and
not finding it on earth, hoping that it exists somewhere or other – the desperate
search  for  something  imperishable  –  the  search  of  man  from  time  beyond
measure.
So we should enquire together, deeply, into what meditation is and whether
there  is  anything  sacred,  holy  –  not  the  thing  that  thought  has  invented  as
being  holy,  that  is  not  holy.  What  thought creates is not holy, is not sacred,
because it is based on knowledge, and how can anything that thought invents,
being  incomplete,  be  sacred?  But  all  over  the  world  we  worship  that  which
thought has invented.
There is no system, no practice but the clarity of perception of a mind that
is free to observe, a mind which has no direction, no choice. Most systems of
meditations have the problem of controlling thought. Most meditation, whether
the Zen, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Christian, or that of the latest guru, tries
to control thought; through control you centralize, you bring all your energy to a
particular point. That is concentration, which means that there is a controller
different from the controlled. The controller is thought, memory, and that which
he  is  controlling  is  still  thought  –  which  is  wandering  off,  so  there  is  conflict.
You are sitting quietly and thought goes off; you are like a schoolboy looking
out  of  the  window  and  the  teacher  says,  `Don’t  look  out  of  the  window,
concentrate on your book.’ We have to learn the fact that the controller is the
controlled. The controller, the thinker, the experiencer, are, we think, different
from the controlled, from the movement of thought, from the experience. But if
we observe closely, the thinker IS the thought. Thought has made the thinker
separate from thought, who then says, `I must control.’ So when you see that
the controller is the controlled you totally remove conflict. Conflict exists only   87
when there is the division. Where there is the division between the observer,
the one who witnesses, the one who experiences and that which he observes
and experiences, there must be conflict. Our life is in conflict because we live
with this division. But this division is fallacious, it is not real, it has become our
habit, our culture, to control. We never see that the controller is the controlled.
So  when  one  realizes  that  fact  –  not  verbally,  not  idealistically,  not  as  a
Utopian  state  for  which  you  have  to  struggle,  actually  in  one’s  life  that  the
controller is the controlled, the thinker is the thought – then the whole pattern of
one’s  thinking  undergoes  a  radical  change  and  there  is  no  conflict.  That
change  is  absolutely  necessary  if  one  is  meditating  because  meditation
demands a mind that is highly compassionate, and therefore highly intelligent,
with  an  intelligence  which  is  born  out  of  love,  not  out  of  cunning  thought.
Meditation means the establishment of order in one’s daily life, so that there is
no contradiction; it means having rejected totally alI the systems of meditation
so that one’s mind is completely free, without direction; so that one’s mind is
completely  silent.  Is  that  possible?  Because  one  is  chattering  endlessly;  the
moment  one  leaves  this  place  one  will  start  chattering.  One’s  mind  will
continue everlastingly occupied, chattering, thinking, struggling, and so there is
no  space.  Space  is  necessary  to  have  silence,  for  a  mind  that  is  practising,
struggling,  to  be  silent  is  never  silent.  But  when  it  sees  that  silence  is
absolutely  necessary  –  not  the  silence  projected  by  thought,  not  the  silence
between two notes, between two noises, between two wars, but the silence of
order – then in that silence, truth, which has no path to it, exists. Truth that is
timeless, sacred, incorruptible. That is meditation, that is a religious mind.    88
– Longer, Unedited Versions –
Saanen 1st Public Talk
12th July 1981
I see some of my old friends are here – I am glad to see you. I am sorry we are
having bad weather – this is Switzerland!
As we are going to have six or seven talks we should go into what I am
going to say very carefully, in detail, covering the whole field of life. So please
those  who  have  heard  the  speaker  before  please  be  patient,  please  have
some kind of tolerance, if one may repeat, repetition has certain value. And as
we are going to discuss, or talk over together, the many problems of our lives,
it is important that we hear each other carefully, affectionately, with a sense of
comprehension, not only the verbal meaning but what lies behind the word.
Prejudice has something in common with ideals, beliefs and faith. And as
we are going to talk over together, observing the state of the world together,
and  what  is  happening  in  the  outward  world  and  also  in  the  inward,
psychological  world  of  man,  we  must  be  able  to  think  together.  In  thinking
together  our  prejudices,  our  ideals  and  so  on  prevent  the  capacity  and  the
energy required to think together, to observe together, to examine together, to
discover  for  ourselves  what  lies  behind  all  this  confusion,  misery,  terror,
destruction,  tremendous  violence;  to  understand  all  this,  not  only  the  mere
outward facts that are taking place but also to understand the depth of all this,
the  significance  of  all  this,  we  must  be  able  together  to  observe  –  not  you
observing one way and the speaker another, but together observe the same
thing.  And  that  observation,  that  examination  is  prevented  if  we  cling  to  our
prejudices, to our particular experience, to our particular comprehension. So if
we  are  to  think  together,  and  the  thinking  together  becomes  tremendously
important  because  we  have  to  face  a  world  that  is  rapidly  disintegrating,
degenerating, where there is no sense of morality, nothing sacred in life, no
one  respects  another.  And  to  understand  all  this,  not  only  superficially,
casually, but we have to enter into the depths of it, into what lies behind all   89
this, why after all these millions and millions of years of evolution, why man,
you and the whole world whether it is East, or West, or North, or South, why
man  has  become  like  this  –  violent,  callous,  destructive,  facing  wars,  the
atomic  bomb  and  all  the  technological  world  is  becoming  more  and  more,
evolving.  And  perhaps  that  technological  improvement  may  be  one  of  the
factors  why  man  has  become  like  this.  So  please  let  us  think  together,  not
according to my way or your way, but the capacity to think.
Thought is the common factor of all mankind. There is no Eastern thought,
or Western thought, there is only the capacity to think, whether one is utterly
poor  or  greatly  sophisticated  living  in  an  affluent  society,  whether  he  is  a
surgeon,  a  carpenter,  a  labourer  in  the  field,  or  a  great  poet,  thought  is  the
common  factor  of  all  of  us.  We  don’t  seem  to  realize  that.  Thought  is  the
common factor that binds us all. You may think differently, according to your
capacity,  to  your  energy,  to  your  experience  and  knowledge;  another  thinks
according to his experience, to his knowledge, to his conditioning. So we are
all caught in this network of thought. This is a fact, indisputable and actual.
And  to  understand  all  the  chaos  in  the  world  –  and  as  we  have  been
programmed both biologically, physically, programmed mentally, intellectually,
one must be aware of this being programmed, like a computer. The computer
has  been  programmed  by  the  experts  who  programme  it  according  to  what
they  want.  The  speaker  has  talked  a  great  deal  with  the  professionals,  the
computer  builders,  and  they  are  advancing  so  rapidly  that  these  computers
which have been programmed will outstrip man in thought. These computers
learn  –  please  follow  all  this.  If  you  want  to  find  out  more  about  it  you  can
discuss, read about them. These computers can learn, gather experience, and
from  that  experience  learn,  accumulate  knowledge  according  to  being
programmed.  So  gradually  they  are  going  to  outstrip  all  our  thinking,  more
accurately,  with  greater  speed  and  so  then  what  is  man?  I  hope  you  are
understanding all this. The computer experts, some of them are so frightened
when  the  computer  can  do  almost  anything  the  human  being  can  do.  Of   90
course it cannot write, compose as Beethoven, or as Keats and so on but it will
outstrip our thinking.
So  we  human  beings  have  been  programmed  to  be  Catholics,  to  be
Protestants,  to  be  Italians,  to  be  British,  Swiss  and  so  on.  For  centuries  we
have  been  programmed  –  to  believe,  to  have  faith,  to  follow  certain  rituals,
certain dogmas, we have been programmed to be nationalists, we have been
programmed to have wars. So our brain has become as the computer and it is
not  so  capable  because  its  thought  is  limited,  whereas  the  computer  being
also limited but being able to think much more rapidly than human beings, it
will outstrip us.
So these are facts, this is what actually is going on, especially in California,
England  and  so  on.  Then  what  becomes  of  man?  Then  what  is  man?  You
understand my question? If the machines can do almost all that human beings
can  do,  robots  and  the  computer,  what  is  the  future  society  of  man?  When
cars can be built by the robot and the computer, probably much better, then
what  is  going  to  become  of  man  as  a  social  entity?  These  and  many  other
problems are facing us. We cannot any more think as Christians, Buddhists,
Hindus  and  Muslims  and  so  on.  We  are  facing  a  tremendous  crisis;  a  crisis
which the politicians can never solve because they are programmed to think in
a particular way; nor can the scientists solve or understand the crisis; nor the
business world, the world of money. So the crisis, the turning point is in our
consciousness. Right? Please follow this step by step because we are going
into it very carefully. The turning point, the perceptive decision, the challenge,
whatever word you may like to use, is not in politics, in religion, in the scientific
world,  but  one  has  to  understand  the  consciousness  of  mankind,  which  has
brought us to this point. One has to be very serious about this matter because
we  are  really  facing  something  very  dangerous  in  the  world,  where  the
proliferation of the atomic bomb, where some lunatic will turn it on. We all must
be aware of all this.    91
So,  unless  one  is  very,  very  serious,  not  flippant,  not  casual  but  is
concerned  with  the  whole  of  humanity,  and  to  understand  this  human
behaviour,  human  thought  that  has  brought  us  all  to  this  point,  we  must  be
able  very  carefully,  hesitantly,  with  great  observation,  understand  together
what  is  happening  both  out  there  and  inwardly.  The  inward  psychological
activity always overcomes the outer, however much you may have regulations,
sanctions,  decisions  outwardly,  lay  down  certain  rules,  regulations,  all  these
are  shattered  by  our  psychological  desires,  fears,  anxieties,  the  longing  for
security, the fear of loneliness. Unless we understand all that, however much
we  may  have  outward  semblance  of  order,  that  inward  disorder  always
overcomes that which is outwardly conforming, disciplined, regularized. I hope
we  understand  this  clearly.  One  may  have  carefully  constructed  institutions,
politically,  religiously,  economically,  whatever  the  construction  of  these  be,
unless  our  inward  consciousness  is  in  total  order  that  disorder  will  always
overcome the outer. We have seen this historically, it is happening right now in
front of our eyes. This ia a fact. (Noise of train.) There is our good old train!
That train is as regular as we come here! It is quite amusing, isn’t it? There is a
great deal of humour in this but we won’t go into that for the moment.
So please be serious even for this hour, if you cannot be serious all the
time at least give your being serious whilst you are here.
As we said, the turning point is in our consciousness. Our consciousness is
a very complicated affair. Volumes have been written about it both in the East
and in the West. We are not aware of our own consciousness and to examine
that complicated consciousness one has to be free to look, to be choicelessly
aware of its movement. And that is what we are going to do together. When
we use the word ‘together’, it is not that the speaker is directing you to look at it
in a particular way, or to listen to all the movement, the inward movement of
our  consciousness.  We  are  together  looking  at  consciousness,  which  is  not
yours  or  mime,  theirs  or  his.  Consciousness  is  common  to  all  mankind.  All
mankind whether they live in the Far East or the Near East, or in the far West,
that consciousness, with all its content, is common to all mankind. When you   92
go to India, or the Far East, there they suffer inwardly as well as outwardly, as
here. They are anxious, uncertain, utterly despairingly lonely, as you are here.
They have no security, they are jealous, greedy, envious, suffering. And in the
West it is the same thing. So human consciousness is one whole, it is not your
consciousness  or  mine.  It  is  the  consciousness  of  humanity.  Please
understand  this.  It  is  logical,  sane,  rational  because  wherever  you  go,  in
whatever  climate  you  live,  whether  you  are  affluent  or  degradingly  poor,
whether you believe in god, or in christ or in some other entity, the belief, the
faith  is  common  to  all  mankind.  The  picture  may  vary,  the  image  may  be
different, the symbol may be totally different from another but that is common
to all mankind. This is not a mere verbal statement. If you take it as a verbal
statement, as an idea, as a concept, then you will not see the depth of it, the
deep significance involved in this. The significance is that your consciousness
is the consciousness of all humanity because you suffer, you are anxious, you
are  lonely,  insecure,  confused,  exactly  like  another  who  lives  ten  thousand
miles away from you. The realization of it, the feeling of it, the feeling in your
guts, if I may use that word, is totally different from mere verbal acceptance of
that.  When  one  realizes  that  you  are  the  rest  of  mankind,  you  have  a
tremendous  energy,  you  have  broken  through  the  narrow  groove  of
individuality, the narrow circle of me and you, they and we. And we are going
to  examine  together  this  very,  very  complex  consciousness  of  man,  not  the
European  man,  not  the  Asiatic  man  or  the  Middle  East  man,  but  this
extraordinary  movement  that  has  been  going  on  for  millions  of  years  as
conscious movement in time.
Please  don’t  accept  what  the  speaker  is  saying  for  then  it  will  have  no
meaning, but if you begin to doubt, begin to question, be sceptical to enquire,
not hold on to your own particular belief, faith, experience or the accumulated
knowledge  that  you  have  been  given,  or  that  you  have,  and  reduce  it  all  to
some kind of petty little ‘me’. If one may point out very respectfully, you are not
facing the tremendous issue that is facing man. So we are thinking together – I
mean  together  –  not  you  think  one  way,  I  think  another,  together  as  human   93
beings  confronted  with  this  tremendous  danger  of  existence  of  the  whole  of
humanity. Because the atom bomb, the wars, whether in the Middle East or
somewhere else, the terror that is spreading all over the world, the kidnapping,
the killing, the brutality of it all, we as human beings are responsible for all this.
So we have to examine very closely and carefully the state of consciousness.
We  understand  the  meaning  of  that  word  to  be  conscious,  to  be  aware,  to
recognise, to see what our actual consciousness is.
First thought and all the things that thought has made, put together, is part
of our consciousness, the culture  in  which  we  live,  the  aesthetic  values,  the
economic  pressures,  the  national  inheritance.  If  you  are  a  surgeon,  a
carpenter,  specialize  in  a  particular  profession,  that  group  consciousness  is
part of your consciousness – right? You understand what we are saying? Are
we making it difficult? We are not scholars, at least the speaker is not. We are
dealing with human existence with all its complexities. If you live in a particular
country  with  its  particular  tradition,  with  its  religious  culture  and  so  on,  that
particular  form  has  become  part  of  your  consciousness,  the  group
consciousness – right? – the national consciousness, the particular professional
consciousness. These again are facts. If you are a carpenter you have to have
certain skills, understand the wood, the nature of the wood, the instrument, so
you gradually belong to a group that has cultivated this special particular form
and that has its own consciousness; like the scientist, like the archeologist, like
the animals have their own particular consciousness as a group and so on and
so on, that is part of your consciousness. Right? Please see the fact of this for
yourself. If you are a housewife you have your own particular consciousness,
like all the other housewives, it is a group consciousness. Permissiveness has
spread throughout the world; it began in the West, far West and has spread
right through the world. That is a group conscious movement – right? See the
significance  of  it.  Please  understand,  go  into  it  for  yourself,  see  what  is
involved in it. They are discovering scientifically, they are experimenting with
certain animals, say in England and say in Australia, and those animals learn
much  quicker  there  because  one  set  of  animals,  like  rats,  have  learnt  after   94
twenty generations certain actions, and the twenty fifth or twenty eighth learn
much  more  rapidly.  And  in  Australia  these  rats  have  learnt  much  quicker
without going through all the experiments – you understand all this? So it is not
a  genetic  transformation,  genetically  evolving,  but  there  is  the  group
consciousness that is operating – you understand this? I hope you understand
this.
The Catholic consciousness: one group believes in something, that begins
to activate, live, spread – you understand? So our consciousness is not only a
group,  national,  economic  consciousness,  a  professional  consciousness,  but
also much deeper consciousness which is our fears. Man has lived with fear
for generation after generation, with pleasure, with envy, with all the travail of
loneliness, with depression, confusion. Watch it in yourself as we are talking.
And  with  great  sorrow,  with  what  he  calls  love  and  the  everlasting  fear  of
death.  This  is  his  consciousness,  not  only  the  professional,  the  group,  the
national, but all the rest of it, which is common to all mankind. Do you realize
what it means, that you are no longer – please don’t resist this, look at it – you
are no longer an individual. This is very hard to accept because we have been
programmed  like  the  computer  to  think  we  are  individuals.  We  have  been
programmed  religiously  to  think  that  we  have  souls  separate  from  all  the
others.  And  being  programmed  our  brain works  in  the  same  pattern  century
after century.
So  if  one  understands  the  nature  of  our  consciousness,  the  particular
endeavour,  the  ‘me’  that  suffers,  that  has  become  something  global,  then  a
totally different activity will take place. That is the crisis we are in. We have
been programmed by the computer. Like a computer, being programmed, we
can  learn,  occasionally  have  an  insight  and  being  programmed  our  brain
repeats itself over and over and over again – right? Just see the actual fact of
that:  that  I  am  a  Christian,  I  am  a  Buddhist,  I  am  a  Hindu,  I  am  against
Communism, Democrat – you follow? – repeat, repeat, repeat. And in this state
of repetition there is an occasional break through.    95
So how shall a human being who is actually the rest of mankind, how shall
he face this crisis, this turning point? How will you as a human being, who has
evolved  through  millenia  upon  millenia,  thinking  as  an  individual,  which  is,
actually, if you observe, you are not an individual, it is an illusion – you know,
like  any  neurotic  person  it  is  very  difficult  for  him  to  give  up  certain  belief
deeply rooted in him. So are we prepared as human beings to face a turning
point,  see  what  actually  is  and  that  very  perception  is  the  decision  to  move
totally in another direction.
So  first  let  us  understand  together  what  it  means  to  look:  to  look  at  our
mind, at our brain, at the actuality of thought. You all think, that is why you are
here. You all think and thought expresses itself in words and those words are
means  to  communicate,  either  through  a  gesture,  through  a  look,  through
some  bodily  movement,  to  express  what  you  are  thinking  briefly,  or  through
the  usage  of  words,  the  words  being  common  to  each  one  of  us,  we
understand  through  those  words  the  significance  of  what  is  being  said.  And
thought being common to all mankind – it is a most extraordinary thing if you
discover that. Then you say it is not your thought, it is thought. And so we have
to observe, or rather learn about how to see things actually as they are, not
being  programmed  to  look.  Do  you  see  the  difference?  Can  we  be  free  of
being programmed and look? If you look as a Christian, as a Democrat, as a
Communist, as a Socialist, as a Catholic,  as  a  Protestant  –  which  are  all  so
many prejudices – then we shall not be able to understand the enormity of the
danger, the crisis, that we are facing. If you belong to a certain group, or follow
a  certain  guru  –  and  I  hope  none  of  you  do,  forgive  me  if  I  say  that  –  or
committed to a certain form of action, then you will be incapable because you
have  been  programmed,  you  will  then  be  incapable  of  looking  at  things
actually as they are.
So  can  we  look  together?  Because  the  speaker  doesn’t  belong  to  any
organization, to any group, to any particular religion, no nationality, etc. etc. It
is only then you can observe. If you have learnt a great deal, accumulated a
great  deal  of  knowledge  from  books,  from experience and so on, your mind   96
has already been filled, your brain is crowded with your experience, with your
particular tendency and so on. All that is going to prevent you from looking.
Can we be free of all that to look? To look at what is happening actually in the
world. That is the criteria, the terror and all that, the terrible religious sectarian
divisions. One guru opposed to another idiotic guru, the vanity behind all that,
the power, the position, the wealth of these gurus, it is appalling. Now look at
it. In the same way to be free to look at what we have been programmed. If
you are an engineer you have spent years and years and years learning all the
implications  of  being  an  engineer,  that  is  part  of  your  consciousness.  If  you
have followed a certain guru, that is part of your consciousness. That is part of
your being programmed as a Catholic and so on and so on and so on. Can
you look at yourself, not as a separate human being but a human being that is
actually  the  rest  of  mankind?  To  have  such  a  feeling  means  that  you  have
tremendous  love  for  human  beings.  Then  when  you  are  able  to  see  clearly
without  any  distortion,  then  you  begin  to  enquire  into  the  nature  of
consciousness, not only professional and all the rest of it, the group, but also
much deeper layers of consciousness.
We have to enquire into the whole movement of thought because thought is
responsible  for  all  the  content  of  consciousness,  whether  it  is  the  deeper
layers  of  consciousness  or  the  superficial  layers,  all  the  content  –  the
professional,  the  group,  the  particular  religious  programme,  all  that  is  the
movement of thought – right? If you had no thought there would be no fear, no
sense of pleasure, no time; thought is responsible. Right? Not only responsible
for the beauty of a marvellous cathedral, but thought is also responsible for all
the nonsense that is inside the cathedral. All the great paintings, the poems,
the music, all that is the activity of thought: perceiving the sound, hearing the
marvellous  sound  and  transmitting  it  on  paper.  That  is  the  movement  of
thought. The poet imagining, like Keats, and putting into words the marvellous
Odes of Keats, and thought is responsible for all the gods in the world, all the
saviours, all the gurus and all the obedience, following, the whole works is the
result of thought, which may be turned into pleasure, gratification, escape from   97
loneliness  and  all  that.  Thought  is  the  common  factor  of  all  mankind.  The
poorest villager in India or in the Asiatic world, thinks, as the business man,
the  chief  executive  thinks,  as  the  religious  head  thinks.  That  is  a  common
everyday fact. That is the ground on which all human being stand. You cannot
escape from that. And we have to find out whether thought has brought about
not only great things in the world like surgery, communication, satellites, you
know what technologically it has done in the world, and also thought has been
responsible for the division of man – the American, the Russian, the English,
the  French,  the  Swiss,  the  Muslim  –  you  follow?  –  thought  has  been
responsible  for  the  division  of  man.  Thought  has  been  responsible  for  the
division of all religions – right? Obviously. If there was no thought there would
be no religions, as organized now, baptism, you know, all that stuff.
So thought has done marvellous things to help man but also thought has
brought about great destruction, terror in the world. So we have to understand
the nature and the movement of thought. Why you think in a certain way. Why
you cling to certain forms of thought. Why you hold on to certain experiences.
Why thought has never understood the nature of death and so on and so on.
When you are serious, and not relying on some philosopher, brain specialist
and  so  on,  you  can  watch  it  for  yourself,  which  is:  why  thought,  which  has
done extraordinary things to help man, and also why thought at the same time
brings about such degradation, degeneration, destruction – right?
We have to enquire: what is thought? Not why you think in a particular way,
we will come to that later. But we are examining the very structure of thought,
not your thought because it is fairly obvious what your thought is because you
have  been  programmed,  as  an  engineer,  as  a  poet,  as  a  scientist,  as  a
housewife, as a scholar, as a religious man, a guru, you have been trained,
trained, trained. And if you begin to look at your particular programmed brain,
you are limiting your outlook – right? But if you enquire seriously into what is
thinking then you enter into quite a different dimension. Not the dimension of
your particular little problem, which we will come to a little later but first you
must understand the tremendous movement of thought, the nature of thinking,   98
not as a philosopher, not as a religious man, not as a particular profession, or
a housewife or this or that, but the enormous vitality of thinking – right? Is this
clear?
Shouldn’t  we  stop  here?  It  is  half  past  eleven.  Can  you  tolerate  more?
Because probably you are merely listening to the speaker, you are not actually
working.  You  are  not  actually  listening,  watching,  examining,  exploring  into
yourself.  Because  we  are  again  programmed  to  listen  to  somebody.  Please
there is no teacher and the taught. There is no prophet and the disciple. There
is  no  guru  and  his  follower,  the  one  who  knows  and  the  one  who  does  not
know; but only a human being in travail. It is only the man who has stepped
out of all this knows what is truth. We will come to that much later.
So since it is half past eleven shall we go on with it? Let’s continue the day
after tomorrow with this: thought is responsible for all the cruelty, the wars, the
war  machines  and  the  brutality  of  war,  the  killing,  the  terror,  the  throwing
bombs, taking hostages in the name of a cause, or without a cause. Thought is
also  responsible  for  the  cathedrals,  the  beauty  of  their  structure,  the  lovely
poems, it is also responsible for all that. Thought is also responsible for all the
technological  development,  the  computer  with  its  extraordinary  capacity  to
learn and go beyond man: thought. So we have to enquire into thought. What
is thinking? Thinking is a response, a reaction to memory – right? If you had no
memory  you  wouldn’t  be  able  to  think.  Memory  is  stored  in  the  brain  as
knowledge,  as  knowledge  which  has  come  through  experience.  Listen
carefully  to  this.  This  is  how  our  brain  operates.  The  speaker  is  not  a  brain
expert – thank God! – nor a neurological expert but you can watch it, how you
act for yourself without going to any professor, without any psychologist and so
on,  you  can  watch  the  operation  of  your  own  brain.  First  experience,  that
experience  may  have  been  from  the  beginning  of  man,  which  we  have
inherited, that experience gives knowledge, then that knowledge is stored up
in the brain, from knowledge there is memory and from that memory thought.
From  thinking  you  act  –  right?  So  from  that  action  you  learn  more.  So  you   99
repeat the cycle. Experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action, from that
action learn more and repeat. You follow this? Right?
So  this  is  being  programmed  –  right?  We  are  always  doing  this:  having
remembered  pain,  in  the  future  to  avoid  pain,  and  not  do  the  thing  that  will
cause pain, which becomes knowledge, repeat that. Sexual pleasure, repeat
that. This is the movement of thought. Please this is clear, see the beauty of it,
how mechanically thought operates. And thought says to itself, «I am free to
operate».  Thought  is  never  free  because  it  is  based  on  knowledge  and
knowledge is always limited, obviously. Right? Watch it please, carefully watch
it.  Knowledge  must  be  always  limited  because  knowledge  is  part  of  time  –
right?  I  will  learn  more  and  to  learn  more  I  must  have  time.  I  do  not  know
Russian  but  I  will  learn  Russian.  It  may  take  me  six  months  or  a  year  or
whatever  time.  So  knowledge  is  the  movement  of  time.  Right?  So  time,
knowledge and thought and action, in this cycle we live. So thought is limited,
obviously, so whatever action that thought does must be limited, and any form
of limitation of thought must create conflict – right? Anything that is limited must
be divisive – right? Come on Sirs!
That is, if I say I am a Hindu, I am Indian, that is limited and that limitation
brings  about  not  only  corruption  but  conflict  because  you  say  «I  am  a
Christian», «I am a Buddhist». I am this – which is limitation, so there is conflict
between  us.  You  understand?  Yes?  Thought  is  always  limited  because
knowledge and ignorance always go together – right? – and thought is the child
of knowledge and therefore it is limited, and whatever its action is, that action
must be limited and therefore it must bring conflict. And our life from birth to
death is a series of struggles and conflict and we are always trying to escape
from that conflict, which again becomes another conflict. So we live and die in
this perpetual endless conflict. And we never ask the root of that conflict, which
is  thought,  because  thought  is  limited.  Please  don’t  say,  «How  am  I  to  stop
thought?»  –  that  is  not  the  point.  The  point  is  to  understand  the  nature  of
thought, to look at it.    100
I think that is enough. May I get up now?    101
Saanen 2nd Public Talk
14th July 1981
Shall we continue where we left off yesterday – or the day before, sorry?
We  were  saying,  weren’t  we,  that  human  consciousness  is  similar  in  all
human  beings.  Our  consciousness,  whether  we  live  in  the  East  or  West,  is
made up of many layers of fears, anxieties, pleasures, sorrow, beliefs, every
form  of  faith  and  perhaps  in  the  content  of  that  consciousness  there  is  also
love,  compassion,  and  from  that  compassion  a  totally  different  kind  of
intelligence. And always there is this fear of ending, which is death. And also
human beings throughout the world from time immemorial have sought, have
tried to find out if there is something sacred beyond all thought, something that
is incorruptible, timeless and so on. And also we were saying, there is not only
group consciousness, like the business people with their consciousness, the
scientists with theirs, and the carpenter with his, and so on, all these layers or
the content of consciousness are the product of thought. Thought has created
extraordinary  things  technologically,  from  the  extraordinary  computers,  to
communication, to robots and so on, surgery, medicine – if you like that kind of
medicine. And also thought has invented religions. Please don’t be angry or
impatient,  or  irritated  when  we  point  out  certain  things,  when  we  say  all  the
religious  organizations  throughout  the  world  are  put  together,  invented,
brought together by thought. And thought has invented the computer. We must
understand  the  complexity  and  the  future  of  the  computer.  The  computer  is
going  to  outstrip  man  in  his  thought;  the  computer  is  going  to  change  the
structure of society, the structure of government, the structure of society. This
is  not  some  fantastic  conclusion  of  the  speaker,  or  some  fantasy,  this  is
actually going on now, of which we are not aware. The computer can learn,
invent  and  has  a  mechanical  intelligence.  The  computer  is  going  to  make
employment of human beings practically unnecessary. Perhaps human beings
may have to work a couple of hours a day.    102
Please  these  are  all  facts  that are coming. You may not like it, you may
revolt  against  it  but  it  is  coming.  And  thought  has  invented  it,  and  human
thought is limited, but the mechanical intelligence of the computer is going to
outstrip  man.  So  what  is  a  human  being  then?  You  are  following  all  this?
These  are  facts,  not  some  specialized  conclusion  of  the  speaker.  As  we
pointed  out  the  day  before  yesterday,  we  have  talked  to  several  computer
experts and all the rest of it. It is going to revolutionize totally our lives.
And when you consider what its capacity is, then we have to ask ourselves:
what is a human being to do? It is going to take over all the activities of the
brain,  most  of  it.  And  what  happens  to  the  brain  then?  You  understand?
Please follow this a little bit. They are concerned about a human being whose
occupation is taken over by the computer, by the robot and so on, then what
becomes of the human? We have been programmed biologically, intellectually,
emotionally, psychologically through a million years, and we repeat over and
over  again  the  same  pattern.  As  we  pointed  out  the  other  day,  we  have
stopped learning.
We will go into that question of what is learning. Whether the human brain
which  has  been  programmed  for  so  many,  many  centuries,  whether  it  is
capable of learning and immediately transforming itself into a totally different
dimension. If we are not capable of that, the computer, which is much more
capable, more rapid, more accurate, is going to take over the activities of the
brain – right? See the importance of this please. This is not something casual,
this is very, very serious, desperately serious. The computer can invent a new
religion. It can be programmed by an expert Hindu scholar, by the Catholic, by
the Protestant, by the Muslim, and it will turn out a marvellous structure for a
new religion. And we, if we are not at all aware of what is happening, will follow
that new programmed structure which has been put forward by the computer.
See the seriousness of all this, please.
So our consciousness has been programmed for thousands and thousands
of years. And we have been conditioned, programmed, wired – if you like to put   103
it  that  way  –  to  think  as  individuals,  to  think  as  separate  entities  struggling,
struggling,  in  conflict,  from  the  moment  you  are  born  until  you  die.  We  are
programmed to that. We have accepted that. We have never challenged, we
have never asked if it is possible to live a life totally absolutely without conflict.
We have never asked it and therefore we will never learn about it. We repeat.
It  is  part  of  our  existence  to  be  in  conflict,  nature  is  in  conflict  –  that  is  our
argument  –  and  progress  is  through  conflict.  That’s  what  we  have  been
programmed with for millions of years. And religious organizations throughout
the  world  have  maintained  this  individual  salvation.  And  we  are  questioning
very seriously whether there is an individual consciousness, whether you, as a
human being, have a separate consciousness from the rest of mankind. You
have to answer this, not just play with it.
My consciousness  and  yours,  if we have been brought  up,  programmed,
conditioned  to  be  individual,  then  my  consciousness  is  all  this  activity  of
thought – fear is thought, we will go into that presently. Pursuit of pleasure is
the movement of thought. And the suffering, the anxiety, the uncertainty, the
deep  regrets,  wounds,  the  burden  of  centuries  of  sorrow,  is  part  of  thought.
Thought  is  responsible  for  all  this.  What  we  call  love  has  become  sensual
pleasure, something to be desired, and so on.
So as we ended up last time we met here, we went somewhat briefly into
the whole movement and the nature of thought. Please as we said, and we will
repeat it over and over again until we are quite sure of it, that we are thinking
together  and  the  speaker  is  not  telling  you  what  to  think.  He  is  not  doing
propaganda, it is a horrible thing, propaganda. He is not telling you how to act,
what to think, what to believe, and so on, but together we are investigating the
catastrophe  that  is  taking  place  in  the  world  outside  of  us,  the  utter
ruthlessness, violence, thought and all the rest of it, and also inwardly in each
human  being  the  extraordinary  conflict  that  is  going  on.  Together  we  are
examining, taking the journey together, perhaps hand in hand. So it is not, if
one  may  point  out,  that  you  are  merely  listening  to  some  ideas,  to  some
conclusions:  we  are  not  talking  about  conclusions,  beliefs,  ideas.  We  are   104
together looking at this world that human beings have produced, for which all
of  us  are  responsible.  So  first  we  must  be  clear  in  our  understanding,  at
whatever level that understanding be, whether it is intellectual understanding,
which is merely verbal, or the understanding of the deep significance and that
understanding  acts.  We  have  come  to  a  point  where  we  have  to  make  a
decision – not by the exercise of will, but the decision that naturally will take
place when we begin to understand the whole nature and the structure of the
world  outside  of  us  and  inside.  That  perception  will  bring  about  a  decision,
action. Right?
So first let us examine together what thought is. Though the speaker has
repeated  several  times  what  thought  is  but  each  time  when  we  talk  about  it
you discover something new.  Unless  you  do  it  together,  not  merely  listen  to
what  the  speaker  is  saying,  if  you  are  doing  it  together  then  you  will,  for
yourself, discover the truth and the significance and the limitation of thought.
Thought has created the problems which surround us. And our brains are
trained,  educated,  conditioned  to  solving  problems.  Please  understand  this.
Thought has created the problems, like division between nationalities, thought
has created the division and therefore the conflict between various economic
structures,  thought  has  created,  invented  various  religions  and  divided  them
and therefore there is conflict. And the brain is trained to solve these conflicts
which thought has created. I wonder if you see all this. Can we go on? Do we
understand  this  problem  together?  And  unless  we  deeply  understand  the
nature of our thinking, the nature of our reactions, which is part of our thinking;
and  thought  dominates  our  lives,  whatever  we  do,  whatever  action  takes
place, thought is behind that action. Every activity whether it is sensual activity,
or  intellectual  activity  or  merely  biological,  physical  activity,  thought  is
operating all the time. Biologically through centuries it has been programmed,
conditioned – the body acts in its own way, breathes, but the brain which has
evolved through millenia upon millenia, that has been programmed to a certain
pattern, which is obvious. If you are a Catholic, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist, or
whatever it is, you repeat it over and over and over again.    105
And, as we asked the other day, what is thought? Why has thought become
so extraordinarily important in our lives? Is there an action which is not born of
thought? We have to enquire into all this, it is not just ask these questions and
wait for somebody else to answer. Nobody is going to answer them. And if you
put the question to yourself and are serious in the question, you will break the
pattern. I will show you as we go along. The speaker will go into it.
Thought is the movement of time. I will go very carefully into it. Please let
us go together into it. Thought is the movement of time and space. Which is:
thought is memory, the remembrance of past things. Thought is the activity of
knowledge, knowledge which has been gathered together through millions and
millions of years and stored as memory in the brain. Please the speaker is not
an expert on the brain. But if you observe your own activity you will see that
experience  and  knowledge  is  the  basis  of  our  life.  And  knowledge  is  never
complete,  it  must  always  go  together  with  ignorance.  See  the  importance  of
this,  please  understand  this.  Knowledge  we  think  is  going  to  solve  all  our
problems, whether it is the knowledge of the priest, the guru, the scientist or
the  philosopher,  or  the  latest  psychiatrist.  But  we  have  never  questioned
whether  knowledge  in  itself,  not  about  something  –  you  understand  the
difference?  –  whether  knowledge  in  itself  can  solve  any  of  our  problems,
except perhaps technological problems. So we must go into it.
Knowledge comes through time. If one has to learn a language you need
time. If you have to learn a skill you need to have time. If you want to drive a
car  efficiently,  you  have  to  learn  about  it.  That  requires  time.  You  have  the
knowledge of how to drive, how to do something skilfully if you are a carpenter,
or a surgeon, or to put together a computer you must have knowledge, which
means time. That same movement, which is the movement of time, is brought
over  to  the  psychological  field;  there  too  we  say,  «I  must  have  time  to  learn
about myself». «I must, in order to change myself from ‘what is ‘ to what should
be’,  I  must  have  time».  The  same  activity  as  in  the  technological  world,  we
have brought over that same movement into the psychological world. You are
following  all  this?  Which  means  that  time  is  a  great  factor  in  our  life  –  the   106
tomorrow, the past and the present. So time is thought. Time is the acquisition
of knowledge through experience both there in the world, and here inwardly, it
requires time. That is what we have been programmed. You are following this?
Are we understanding each other a little bit?
So,  being  programmed  that  time  is  necessary  to  bring  about  a  deep,
fundamental change in human structure, we employ thought – right? Which is: I
am this, I shall be that. As you would say in the technical world, «I do not know
how to put together a computer but I will learn». So time, knowledge, memory,
thought:  they  are  a  single  unit,  they  are  not  separate  activities,  they  are  a
single movement. And thought, being of time, must be limited – right? Thought,
the  outcome  of  knowledge,  and  knowledge  being  incomplete,  thought  must
everlastingly be incomplete, therefore limited – right? And whatever is limited
must bring about conflict. Nationality is limited. A religious belief is limited. An
experience which you have had, or which you are longing for, is limited. Every
experience – I don’t want to go into that for the moment, it is too complicated –
every experience must be limited.
Questioner: Why?
K:  Because  there  are  more  experiences.  I  may  have  an  experience
sexually, the experience of the possession of wealth, the experience of giving
up and going to a monastery  –  they  are  all  limited.  So knowledge is limited.
And so thought is limited. Thought, being limited, creating problems, national
divisions,  economic  divisions,  religious  divisions,  racial  divisions,  which  is
happening in the world, and therefore bringing tremendous conflict, and having
created  the  problem  thought  says,  «I  must  solve  it».  And  so  it  is  always
functioning in the resolution of problems – you understand? I wonder if you get
this? See what we are doing. And the computer, which has been programmed,
can outstrip all of us because it has no problems, it evolves, learns, moves. I
won’t go into that for the moment.
So: our consciousness which we have been programmed as the individual
consciousness – right? – we are questioning whether that consciousness which   107
you have accepted as individual is actually individual at all. We are thinking
together. Don’t resist it. Don’t say, «What will happen if I am not individual?».
Something  totally  different  may  happen,  but  as  long  as  we  have  been
programmed through time endlessly that we are individual, our consciousness
is individual, is that so? You may have a skilful individual training in a particular
trade, in a particular profession, you may be a surgeon, a doctor, an engineer,
and so on, that doesn’t make you an individual. You may be tall, short, black,
white, purple – whatever colour it is – but that doesn’t make you an individual.
You  may  have  a  different  name,  a  different  form  –  does  that  make
individuality? Or the acceptance of the brain that has through time said, «I am
an  individual,  it  is  my  desire  to  fulfil,  to  become,  to  struggle»  –  so  we  are
examining  that  so-called  individual  consciousness,  which  is  yours,  whether
that individual consciousness is not the consciousness of the entire humanity,
apart from the training as a doctor, as a surgeon – you know, all that.
Is  consciousness,  your  consciousness,  which  you  have  accepted  as
separate, is it so and what is the nature of your consciousness? Please, as we
said, look at it, together. The consciousness that we think is separate from the
rest  of  mankind,  that  consciousness  is  the  sensory  responses,  part  of  it,
sensory  responses.  And  also  those  sensory  responses  are  naturally,
necessarily  programmed:  to  defend  oneself,  to  be  hungry,  to  breathe
unconsciously – you are doing this. So that biologically you are programmed.
Then the content of your  consciousness  is  the  many  hurts,  the  wounds  that
one  has  received  from  childhood  until  now,  the  many  forms  of  guilt.  I  am
beginning slowly, we are going to expand it. The various conclusions, ideas,
imaginary certainties, the many experiences, both sensory, sexually and other
forms of psychological experiences, and there is always the basis, the root of
fear  in  its  multiple  forms.  Please  we  are  looking  at  it  together,  your  own
consciousness,  which  is  you.  Fear,  and  with  it  naturally  goes  hatred,  where
there  is  fear  there  must  be  violence,  aggression,  the  tremendous  urge  to
succeed, both in the physical world as well as in the psychological world; fear
has many factors which we will go into when we are talking about fear. And the   108
constant pursuit of pleasure – pleasure of possession, pleasure of domination,
the pleasure of money which gives power, the pleasure of a philosopher with
his  immense  knowledge,  the  guru  with  his  circus.  Pleasure  again  has
innumerable forms.
And  then  there  is  also  sorrow,  pain,  anxiety,  the  deep  sense  of  abiding,
endless  loneliness,  and  not  only  the  so-called  personal  sorrow  but  also  the
enormous sorrow mankind has brought about through wars, through neglect,
through this endless sense of conquering one group of people by another. And
in that consciousness there is the racial group content, and ultimately there is
death.  This  is  our  consciousness:  belief,  certainties,  and  uncertainties,  great
sense of anxiety, loneliness, sorrow and endless misery. This is the fact. And
we say this consciousness is mine. Is that so? You go to the far East, or the
Near  East,  India,  America,  Europe,  anywhere  you  go  where  human  beings
are, they suffer, they are anxious, lonely, depressed, melancholic, struggling,
conflict, the same, like you, similar to you. So is your consciousness different
from another? I know it is very difficult for people – you may logically accept
this, which is intellectually, verbally you say, «Yes, that is so, maybe», but to
feel this total human sense that there is no humanity except you, you are the
rest of mankind, that requires a great deal of sensitivity, it is not a problem to
be  solved  –  you  understand?  It  isn’t  that  I  must  accept  that  I  am  not  an
individual and how am I to feel this global human entity? Then you have made
it into a problem, and the brain is ready to solve the problem! Do this. Don’t do
that. Go to a guru. You know, all the circus that goes on. But if you really look
at it with your mind, with your heart, with your whole being, totally aware of this
fact, then you have broken  the  programme.  It  is  naturally broken. But if you
say, «I will break it», you are again back into the same pattern.
I wonder if you understand this? Shall I go over it again? Is it necessary for
the speaker to repeat this? Please don’t accept this because the speaker feels
this. To him this is utter reality, not something verbally accepted because it is
pleasant. But it is something that is actual. Then, if that is so, which is logically
reasonably,  sanely  examined  and  see  that  it  is  so,  but  the  brain  which  has   109
been  accustomed  to  this  programme  of  the  individuality  is  going  to  revolt
against it – which you are doing now. Which is – listen – which is the brain is
unwilling to learn – right? Whereas the computer is willing to learn because it
has  nothing  to  lose.  Here  we  are  frightened  of  losing  something.  And  if  you
don’t  understand  this  we  can  go  into  it  over  and  over  again,  but  a  serious
person  confronting  the  world  situation,  the  world  catastrophe,  the  terror,  the
atom  bomb,  the  endless  competition  between  nations,  that  is  destroying
human beings, that is destroying us, each one. And the decision comes when
you perceive the truth that you are not an individual.
So can the brain learn? That is the whole point. So we have to go into this
question  of  what  is  learning.  You  understand?  Learning  for  most  of  us  is  a
process of acquiring knowledge – right? I do not know Russian but I will learn. I
will learn day after day, learning, memorizing, holding on to certain phrases,
words, the meanings, syntax, verbs, regular verbs and all the rest of it. I apply
and  can  learn  any  language  within  a  certain  time.  So  to  us  learning  is
essentially the accumulation of knowledge, skill and so on. That is, our brains
are conditioned to this pattern – right? Accumulate knowledge and act. Right?
That is what we do. So, look, are we learning? When I learn a language, I am
learning,  there  knowledge  is  necessary.  But  am  I  learning  psychologically
about the content of my mind, of my consciousness, and learning there implies
examining  each  layer  of  it,  accumulating  knowledge  about  it  and  from  that
knowledge act. The same pattern as the other – you are following? And I am
questioning, that is only a part of learning. If the brain is repeating this pattern,
learning a language, learning about the content of my consciousness is similar
because  I  need  time,  which  means  I  am  accumulating  knowledge  about
myself, my consciousness. And then I determine what the problems are and
the brain is ready to solve the problems because it has been trained to solve
problems – right? So I am repeating this endless pattern and that is what I call
learning – right? I go to a guru, if I am silly enough and he will tell me what to
do, what not to do, be initiated – all that tommy rot that goes on!    110
So what does it mean to learn? Is there a learning which is not this? You
understand?  We  are  enquiring.  Please  don’t  say  there  is  no  other  way  than
this, or, «Tell us the other way», but together we are doing it. So you are not
learning  from  me.  The  speaker  has  nothing  to  tell  you.  But  together  we  are
looking.  This  is  the  pattern  the  brain  has  been  programmed  to,  always
accumulating  knowledge,  and  knowledge  has  become  so  astonishingly
important.  And  we  don’t  see  that  knowledge  in  itself  is  limited.  Now  we  are
going  to  find  out  if  there  is  a  different  action  of  learning,  which  is  not
accumulation of knowledge. You understand the difference? Please somebody
say yes or no!
Let  me  put  it  differently:  experience,  from  experience  knowledge,  from
knowledge  memory,  memory,  the  response  of  memory  is  thought,  then
thought acts, from that action you learn more, so you repeat the cycle – right?
This is the pattern of our life. And we are saying that form of learning will never
solve  our  problems,  because  it  is  repetition  –  you  understand?  More
knowledge, better action, but that action is limited and so on, keep repeating.
That  is  clear.  Right?  And  the  activity  of  that  knowledge  will  not  solve  our
human  problems  at  all.  It  is  so  obvious,  we  haven’t  solved  them.  After  five
million  years  we  haven’t  solved  our  problems:  we  are  cutting  each  other’s
throat, we are competing with each other, we hate each other – not here – we
want to be a success, we want to have – you know, the whole pattern is being
repeated from the time man began and we are still there. So this pattern has
not  solved  the  problems  –  right?  Is  that  clear?  Do  what  you  will  along  this
pattern  and  no  human  problem  will  be  solved,  either  politically,  religiously,
economically because it is thought that is operating.
Now,  is  there  another  form  –  we  will  use  the  word  for  the  moment  –  of
learning? Learn, not in the context of knowledge, but a different form of non-
accumulative  action  –  let’s  call  it  that  way.  Right?  Non-accumulative
perception-action. So we have to enquire whether it is possible to observe the
content  of  our  consciousness,  to  observe  the  world  and  my  consciousness
without a single prejudice – right? Is that possible? Don’t say it is not possible,   111
how am I to get rid of prejudice – just ask the question. See whether when you
have  a  prejudice  you  can  observe  clearly  –  right?  You  cannot,  obviously  –
right? If I have a certain conclusion, a certain set of beliefs, concepts, ideals,
and  I  want  to  see  clearly  what  the  world  is,  all  my  conclusions,  ideals,
prejudices  and  so  on  will  actually  prevent  it.  It  is  not  how  to  get  rid  of  my
prejudices but to see clearly, intelligently, that any form of prejudice, however
noble or ugly, any form of prejudice will actually prevent perception. When you
see that prejudice goes. What is important is not the prejudice but the demand
to see clearly – right? I wonder if you are meeting me?
If I want to be a good surgeon I can’t become a good surgeon with all my
ideals and prejudices about surgeons, I have to actually do it. So can you see
that a new form of action, a new form of non-accumulative knowledge, is only
possible and therefore breaks the pattern, breaks the programme so that you
are  acting  totally  differently.  Have  I  put  the  question  clearly?  (Gosh,  I  am
struggling  so  much  to  put  it  clearly.  No,  I  am  not  struggling,  sorry.)  Is  this
clear?  That  is:  the  way  we  have  lived  over  millions  of  years  has  been  the
repetition  of  the  same  process  of  acquiring  knowledge  and  acting  from  that
knowledge, which is limited. And that limitation creates problems and the brain
has  become  accustomed  to  solving  the  problems  which  knowledge  has
created. So it is caught in that pattern. And any form of learning is to add more
to it. And we are saying that pattern will never under any circumstances solve
our human problems. It is so obvious, because we have not solved them up to
now.  There  must  be  a  different,  a  totally  different,  movement,  which  is:  the
non-accumulative  perception-action.  And  to  have  the  non-accumulative
perception  is  to  have  no  prejudice.  It  is  to  have  absolutely  no  ideals,  no
concepts,  no  faith,  because  all  those  have  destroyed  man,  they  have  not
solved  the  problems.  Do  you  understand?  Are  you  doing  it  now?  Otherwise
there is no point in just listening to the nonsense. Unless you do it, it has no
meaning. You grow old and die. You may attend these Conferences year after
year, and it is nice to meet each other, but…    112
So:  have  you  a  prejudice?  Have  you  a  prejudice  which  has  something
common  with  ideals?  Of  course.  Right?  Ideals  are  the  future,  to  be
accomplished,  and  ideals  become  tremendously  important  in  the  process  of
knowledge. So can you observe without accumulation the destructive nature of
prejudice,  ideals,  faith,  belief,  and  your  own  conclusions  and  experiences?
Can you do this? Don’t ask the speaker, «Have you done it?» Otherwise the
speaker  wouldn’t  be  here.  So  please  understand  this.  There  is  group
consciousness, we went into it, I am not talking irrelevantly, I want to point out
something.  There  is  group  consciousness,  national  consciousness,  linguistic
consciousness,  and  professional  consciousness,  racial  consciousness,  and
fear, anxiety, loneliness, pursuit of pleasure, sorrow, love, death, all that is part
of it – right? If you are keeping on acting in that circle, you maintain the human
consciousness  of  the  world  –  you  understand?  Just  see  the  truth  of  this.
Because you are part of that consciousness and if you sustain it by saying, «I
am an individual. My prejudices are important. My ideals are essential» – you
follow? «My guru is a better guru than the other guru» and so on and so on,
you are repeating the same thing over and over again.
Now  the  maintenance,  the  sustenance  and  the  nourishment  of  that
consciousness comes when you are repeating that pattern, you sustain it. But
when you break away from that consciousness, you are introducing a totally
new  factor  in  the  whole  of  that  consciousness.  You  understand?  Please
understand this: they are experimenting, as the speaker pointed out the other
day, with various forms of group consciousness. They haven’t come to that. If
one group has learnt something quickly, the animals that belong to that group
learn much quicker because the consciousness of that group is enlivened by a
new  factor.  You  understand?  Now  if  we  understand  the  nature  of  our  own
consciousness,  see  how  it  is  operating  in  this  endless  cycle  of  knowledge,
action, division and so on, that consciousness has been sustained for millenia,
millions of years, if when you see the truth that any form of prejudice, all this is
a form of prejudice, and break away from it, you give a new factor into the old.
You understand what I am saying? Which means are you, as a human being,   113
who is the rest of mankind, of whose consciousness you are, and whether you
can move away from the old pattern, the old pattern of obedience, acceptance,
you know, all that, that is the real turning point in our life. Because man cannot
go  on  repeating  this  pattern,  it  has  lost  its  meaning,  except  in  the  biological
and technical world. In the psychological world it has totally lost its meaning. If
you fulfil, who cares? If you become a saint, what does it matter? You follow?
Whereas  if  you  totally  move  away  from  that  you  affect  the  whole  of
consciousness of mankind. Right, that’s enough.    114
Saanen 3rd Public Talk
16th July 1981
May we continue where we left off the day before yesterday? I would like, if
I may, to repeat what we said a little bit. We are not trying to convince you of
anything. That must be clearly understood. We are not trying to persuade you
to accept a particular point of view, nor trying to impress you about anything.
We are not doing any propaganda – that is dreadful, for and against, and so
on. We are not talking about personalities, or who is right and who is wrong,
but  rather  trying  to  think  out  together,  which  seems  to  be  the  most  difficult
thing to do: to observe together what the world is and what we are, what we
have made of the world and what we have made of ourselves. We are trying
together  to  examine  both  the  inward  and  the  outward  man.  And  to  observe
clearly one must be free to look. If one clings to one’s particular experience,
opinion, judgement, prejudice, then it is not possible to think together. And the
world crisis which is right in front of us demands, urges us to think together so
that we can solve the human problem together, not according to any particular
person,  to  a  particular  philosopher,  to  a  particular  guru,  to  any  particular
person.  We  are  trying,  looking,  observing  together.  And  this  is  important  to
bear in mind all the time, that the speaker is merely pointing out and we are
together examining it. So it is not one sided but rather co-operating together
and examining, taking a journey together and so act together.
As  we  pointed  out,  our  consciousness  is  not  our  consciousness,  our
individual  consciousness.  This  is  very  important  to  understand  because  our
consciousness is not only the specialized group, the national and so on, but
also all the travail, the conflicts, the misery, the confusion, sorrow and so on.
And  we  are  examining  together  that  consciousness,  which  is  the  human
consciousness, which is our consciousness, not mine but ours.
Now one of the factors that is demanded in this examination is that one has
to  have  the  capacity  of  intelligence.  According  to  the  dictionary  meaning,
intelligence means to discern, to understand, to distinguish. And also it means   115
observing,  gathering,  putting  it  together  all  which  we  have  gathered  and  act
from  that.  That  gathering,  that  discernment,  that  observation,  can  be
prejudiced  and  then  that  intelligence  is  denied  when  there  is  prejudice.  And
that  intelligence,  if  you  follow  another  that  intelligence  is  denied:  following
another,  however  noble,  however  this  or  that,  denies  your  own  perception,
denies your own observation, you are merely following somebody who will tell
you what to do, what to think and so on. And if you do that, that intelligence
doesn’t exist because in that intelligence there is no observation. Intelligence
demands  doubt,  questioning,  not  being  impressed  by  persons,  by  their
enthusiasm,  by  their  energy.  Intelligence  demands  that  there  must  be
impersonal observation. And intelligence is not only the capacity to understand
that which is rationally explained verbally but also it demands that we gather
as  much  information  as  possible,  knowing  that  information  can  never  be
complete  about  anybody,  about  anything,  and  therefore  where  there  is  that
intelligence  there  is  hesitation,  rational  impersonal  thinking,  observation  and
clarity  of  thinking.  Intelligence  also  implies  the  comprehension  of  the  whole;
the whole of man, all his complexities, all his physical responses, his emotional
reactions, his intellectual capacity, his affection, his travail, all that, to perceive
all that at one glance and act, that is supreme intelligence.
And intelligence has not so far been able to transcend conflict – right? And
we are going this morning, together, to see if it is possible if the brain can be
free  from  conflict,  because  we  have  lived  with  conflict  from  the  time  we  are
born  until  we  die.  The  constant  struggle  to  be,  or  to  become,  to  become
something,  so-called  spiritually,  psychologically  or  in  the  world,  which  is,  to
become successful, to fulfil, that is the whole movement of becoming. I am this
but I will be that. And the ultimate reaching, destination, direction, is towards
the  highest  principle,  whether  that  principle  is  called  God,  Brahmin,  or  any
other name one gives to it. This constant struggle to become, or to be. Both
are the same. When one is trying to become in various directions, then you are
denying  being.  And  when  you  try  to  be  you  are  becoming  also.  See  this
movement of the mind, of thought: I am, I think I am, and being dissatisfied   116
with what I am, discontented with what I am, I try to fulfil in something, or drive
towards  a  particular  direction,  pleasurable,  it  may  be  painful  but  at  the  end
pleasurable. So there is this constant struggle to be and to become.
What is it that we are trying to become, all of us? Physically we want more
money,  better  house,  better  position,  more  power,  more  money,  a  better
status. Biologically, if one is not well, to become well. Psychologically, that is
the  whole  inward  process  of  thought,  consciousness,  the  whole  drive,
inwardly, is from the perception or the recognition that one is nothing, actually,
but to become, move away from that, through education, through university – if
one is so-called lucky enough to go to any university – get a good career, job,
that will give you position, money, etc. etc. Psychologically, inwardly, there is
always the escape from ‘what is’, always running away from that which I am,
with which I am dissatisfied to something which will satisfy me. Whether that
satisfaction  is  deep  contentment,  happiness,  a  projection  of  thought  as
enlightenment,  as  acquiring  greater  knowledge,  this  is  the  process  of
becoming  –  I  am,  I  shall  be  –  right?  That  involves  time.  Now  the  brain  is
programmed to this. All our culture, all our religious sanctions, everything says
become – right? You see this phenomenon all over the world. It is not only in
this Western world but in the East and Far East, and West, everyone is trying
to become, or be, or avoid, and so on. Is this the cause of conflict, inwardly
and outwardly? Inwardly there is this imitation, conformity, competition with the
ideal.  And  also  outwardly  there  is  this  competition  between  so-called
individuals of one group against another group, nation against nation and so
on. So inwardly and outwardly there is this drive to be and become something.
We are asking: is this the basic cause of our conflict? Or man is doomed
forever  as  long  as  he  lives  on  this  marvellous  earth,  doomed  to  perpetual
conflict?  One  can  rationalize  this  conflict,  say  nature  is  in  conflict,  the  tree
struggling to reach the sun is in conflict, and that is part of our nature because
through  conflict,  through  competition,  we  have  evolved,  we  have  grown  into
this marvellous human being that we are. This is not being said sarcastically,
this is what most of us do think. So our brain is programmed to conflict. And   117
we have never been able to resolve this problem. You may neurotically escape
into  some  phantasy  and  hold  on  to  that  phantasy  and  be  totally  content.  Or
imagine that you have inwardly achieved something and be totally content with
that. And any questioning, any doubt, any scepticism that must be exercised
by an intelligent mind, must question all this: why human beings after millions
and millions of years, from the beginning of man, we have lived with conflict.
There are in those caves where man is fighting evil in the form of a boar, or
this or that. From the ancient times of the Sumerians, there has been conflict,
the Egyptians and so on up to the present evolution of man he has lived in
conflict. We have accepted it, we have tolerated it, we have said it is part of
our nature to compete, to be aggressive, to imitate, to conform, is part of this
everlasting pattern of conflict.
Please we are observing together. I am not – the speaker is not verbally
putting a map of conflict and you accept that map, but rather together we are
observing the conflict in ourselves and outwardly – right?
Since our  brains  have been  programmed  to  this  conflict, like a computer
that is programmed, but the computer can learn, can discover its own fallacies,
its  own  mistakes  and  correct  them.  A  highest  mathematician  can  inform  or
programme  the  computer  with  all  his  theories  and  so  on,  and  the  computer
being  so  programmed  discovers  new  theorems.  This  has  been  proved,  not
programmed by the professor, it has the capacity to learn, to discover, which is
a  mechanical,  perhaps,  intelligence.  They  are  trying  to  bring  about  ultra
intelligence machines which go far beyond our human brain. And our human
brain has not solved this problem for ourselves but the machine has solved it.
You follow all this?
So why is man who is so highly sophisticated in one direction, so utterly
unintelligent in other directions? Does conflict end through knowledge? Please
put  these  questions  to  yourself.  Knowledge  about  knowing  oneself,  or
knowledge about the world, knowledge about matter. The world, the society,
learning more about society, better organizations, better institutions and so on,   118
will that solve our human conflict – acquiring more and more knowledge? Or
the freedom from conflict has nothing whatsoever to do with knowledge? You
are following all this? Please together we are thinking this out, not the speaker
talking to himself, he can do that in his own room, if he wants to, but together
we are working this out.
We  have  knowledge,  a  great  deal of knowledge about the world, matter,
about  the  universe,  and  also  a  great  deal  of  historical  knowledge  about
ourselves. The whole of history is the story of mankind. And if we know how to
read  that  book,  which  is  me,  myself,  my  consciousness,  I  may  have
tremendous knowledge about myself, and will that knowledge free the human
being  from  conflict?  You  understand?  Please  go  along  with  me.  Or  it  has
nothing  to  do  with  analysis,  discovering  the  various  causes  and  factors  of
conflict.  We  can  go  into  that.  Will  the  cause,  or  many  causes,  through
analytical discovery, will that free the brain from conflict, conflict not only while
we are awake during the daytime, but also this conflict carried on when we are
asleep?  You  can  examine  the  dreams,  interpret  dreams,  go  into  the  whole
nature of why human beings dream at all, and will that solve conflict? Will the
analytical  mind,  brain  analysing  very  clearly,  rationally,  sanely  the  cause  of
conflict, there are many causes, many factors of conflict, will that analysis end
conflict? Analysis being not only time but the analyser separating himself from
the object, which is conflict, and then try to analyse that conflict, so separating
himself  from  conflict  –  you  follow?  Will  that  solve  it?  Or  it  has  nothing
whatsoever to do with any of these processes. That is, analysis, discovering
the cause, and trying to force ourselves to be free from that cause, or through
various examinations acquiring a great deal of knowledge about ourselves, will
that  solve  the  problem  of  conflict?  Or  following  somebody  who  says,  «I  will
show you the way. I am free from conflict but I will show you the way» – will that
help you? This has been the part of the priest, part of the guru, part of the so-
called enlightened man – ‘Follow me, I will show you. Or I will point out to you
the  goal’.  And  we  have  had  all  these  through  millenia  upon  millenia,  history   119
shows  this  and  yet  man  has  not  been  able  to  solve  that  one  deep  rooted
conflict. Right?
Let  us  together  find  out,  not  agree,  not  a  verbal  indication,  not  an
intellectual  verbal  concept,  let’s  find  out  together  if  there  is  a  perception,  an
action that will end conflict, not gradually, end it immediately. You understand
my question? Please first understand the question. What are the implications
of  that  question?  The  brain  being  programmed,  or  wired,  programmed  to
conflict.  It  is  caught  in  that  pattern.  You  can  see  it  for  yourself.  And  we  are
asking  if  that  pattern  can  be  broken  immediately,  not  gradually.  Either  you
think  you  break  it  through  drugs,  through  alcohol,  through  sex,  through
different forms of discipline, through different forms of handing oneself over to
something, man has tried a thousand different ways to escape from this terror
of conflict – right? And we are asking: is it possible for a brain so conditioned to
break that conditioning immediately? Right? This is maybe a theoretical, non-
actual  question.  You  may  say  it  is  impossible,  it  is  just  a  theory,  it  is  just  a
wish,  a  desire  to  be  free  of  this.  But  if  you  examine  the  thing  rationally,
logically, which is part of our intelligence, time will not solve this conditioning –
right? That is the first thing to realize, not tomorrow, there is no psychological
tomorrow – I won’t go into that for the moment – that implies time. If one sees
actually,  not  verbally,  deeply  in  one’s  heart,  in  one’s  mind,  in  the  very,  very
depths of one’s being time will not solve this problem. That means you have
already broken the pattern, beginning to see the cracks in the pattern because
we have accepted time – right? – as a means of unravelling, breaking up this
programmed  brain.  So  when  you  observe  clearly  that  time,  under  no
circumstances,  will  free  the  brain  from  time  –  I  mean  by  time,  as  it  is  now
conditioned,  programmed,  I  will  examine  it,  make  efforts  to  break  it,
uncondition it, all that process involves time – right? So when you do that you
are caught in the same pattern, you have not moved away from it – right? But
once  you  clearly  for  yourself  see  absolutely,  irrevocably,  that  time  is  not  a
factor then already you begin to see the cracks in the world, in the enclosure of
the brain – right? Are you doing it now? Because philosophers and scientists   120
have said time is a factor of growth, biologically, linguistically, technologically,
time is necessary, but they never go – perhaps some may have, we don’t know
–  never  enquired  into  the  nature  of  psychological  time.  And  this  enquiry  into
time implies the whole psychological becoming – right? I am this, but I will be
that.  I  am  unhappy,  unfulfilled,  desperately  lonely  but  tomorrow  will  be
different.
So is our brain, which is common to all mankind, it is not your brain, you
may  have  certain  peculiarities,  tendencies,  but  this  brain  of  mine  and  yours
has evolved through time, it is not my brain. Biologically it is so, it is not my
brain. And that brain has been evolving through centuries to come to this point
through conflict. Are we moving together? Do we see together the rationality of
it, the logic of it, that our consciousness is not ours but human consciousness –
which  we  went  into  very  carefully  the  other  day.  And  to  realize  that  it  is  the
human  consciousness,  you  have  already  broken  the  pattern  of  individual
consciousness. Right? So if one realizes that time is a factor of conflict then
that  very  perception  is  action,  decision  has  taken  place,  you  don’t  have  to
decide, the very perception is the action and decision. Right? Please we have
to work together, it is not just you listen and agree or disagree, we are working
together.
Now there are multiple forms of conflict, as there are a thousand opinions
so there are a thousand ways of conflict. We are not talking about the many
forms of conflict but conflict itself. Not my particular conflict – I don’t get on with
my wife, or with my businessman, or this or that – but the conflict of the human
brain in its existence. Is there a perception – please just first listen, you may
not  agree  or  agree,  but  just  listen  first  –  is  there  a  perception  not  born  of
memory,  not  born  of  knowledge,  a  perception  that  sees  the whole nature of
conflict,  the  whole  nature,  the  nature  and  the  structure  of  conflict,  the
perception of that whole, is there such perception at all? You understand my
question? Not analytical perception, not intellectual observation of the conflict,
various  types  of  conflict,  nor  an  emotional  response  to  conflict,  but  we  are
asking:  is  there  a  perception  not  of  remembrance,  which  is  time,  which  is   121
thought, is there a perception which is not of time or thought, which can see
the  whole  nature  of  conflict,  and  that  very  perception  is  the  ending  of  that
conflict? That is my question. You understand the question? That is, thought is
time  –  right?  Do  you  see  that?  Thought.  Thought  is  memory,  knowledge,
experience put together in the brain as memory. All that is the result of time. «I
didn’t know a week ago but I know» and so on, the multiplication of knowledge,
the expanse of knowledge, the depth of knowledge is of time. So thought is
time. Right? Obviously. Any movement, any psychological movement is time –
right?  It  is  not  –  don’t  agree  with  me,  it  is  so.  If  I  want  to  go  from  here  to
Montreux I must use time. If I want to learn a language, time. If I want to meet
somebody at a distant place it requires time. That time can be shortened or
lengthened. And the same process, the outer process is carried inwardly. «I am
not, I will be» – and the expanse of that. So thought is time. Thought and time
are indivisible. Can we go on? Do we see this fact?
And we are asking a question: is there a perception which is not time and
thought? That perception is entirely out of the pattern of the brain which has
been  accustomed  to  certain  patterns,  certain  moulds,  certain  ways.  Is  there
such a thing? And perhaps that alone is going to solve the problem. Because
we have not solved the problem in a million years of conflict, we are continuing
the same pattern. We must find intelligently, hesitantly, with care, if there is a
perception which covers the whole of conflict and that very perception breaks
the pattern. Right?
Now how shall we meet this together? You understand? The speaker has
put  this  question  forward.  He  may  be  wrong,  he  may  be  silly,  irrational,  but
after  you  have  listened  to  him  very  carefully,  if  you  have  listened,  it  is  our
responsibility, yours as well as mine, as well as the speaker, to see if it is so, if
it is possible – right? Not say, «Well it is not possible because I haven’t done it.
It is not within my sphere. I haven’t thought enough about it. Or I don’t want to
think about that way at all because I am satisfied with my conflict because I am
quite  certain  one  day  humanity  will  be  free  of  conflict.»  That  is  all  just  an
escape from the problem – right? Are we together in this now? Together being   122
aware of all the complexities of conflict, aware, not denying it, it is there, it is
there as actual as pain in the body, it is there, one is aware of it, aware without
any choice, it is so. And at the same time asking the question whether there is
a different approach to this altogether? You understand?
Now can we observe – it doesn’t matter what it is – without the word, without
the naming, without the remembrance? You understand? Can you do it? To
look  at  your  friend,  or  your  wife,  or  whatever  it  is,  to  observe  the  person,
without  the  word  ‘my  wife’,  ‘my  friend’,  we  belong  to  the  same  little  group,
without any of that, to observe. Which is, not observing through remembrance.
Can we do that? Have you ever directly tried it? Now as you are sitting there,
can  we  do  it  together?  That  is,  not  only  look  at  the  person  without  naming,
without time and remembrance, and also at ourselves – you understand? The
image that we have built about ourselves, the image that we have built about
the other, to look at that image as though you were looking at it for the first
time, looking at a rose for the first time. Will you do that? That is, to learn to
look. Learn to observe this quality without all the operation of thought. Don’t
say it is not possible. Sirs, it is like going to a professor not knowing his subject
but  you  want  to  learn  from  him.  I  am  not  your  professor.  You  want  to  learn
from him. So you go to him and listen. You don’t say, «I know something about
it», or «You are wrong», or «You are right», or «I don’t like your look». You listen,
you find out. And as you begin to listen sensitively, with awareness, you begin
to  discover  whether  he  is  a  phoney  professor  with  a  lot  of  words,  or  a
professor  that  has  really  gone  into  the  depths  of  himself.  You  understand?
Now  can  we  together  so  listen  and  observe,  without  the  word,  without
remembrance, without all the movement of thought? Which means, complete
attention – right? Attention not from a centre to attend, but attention which has
no centre. Of course, if you have a centre from which you are attending, that is
merely a form of concentration. But if there is no centre but you are attending,
which means you are giving your complete attention, in that attention there is
no time. Right? I wonder if you see this?    123
Suppose I am listening to you. You are telling me a story. A story which is a
story  of  myself,  a  story  of  mankind.  You  are  telling  me  that  story  and  I  am
listening to you because I don’t know anything about it. But as I am listening
not only to what you are saying verbally, to communicate what you think, but in
that very sensitive attention to listening I am not only listening to the words but
I  have  gone  beyond  the  words,  I  am  capturing  the  depth  of  the  meaning  of
what you are saying. You understand? Are we doing this?
Many of you, unfortunately or fortunately, have heard the speaker for many
years. And you see this breaking the programme of the brain has not come
about. And you repeat that statement year after year, it hasn’t come about. Is it
because – please listen – is it because you want to attain, become, have that
state of brain in which the pattern has been broken – you follow? That is, you
have listened, it has not come about, and you are hoping it will come about.
Which is another form of becoming. Right? So you are still in conflict. And you
brush me aside and say you won’t come here any more because you haven’t
got  what  you  want.  «I  want  that  but  haven’t  got  it».  So  the  wanting  is  the
becoming.  I  wonder  if  you  see  all  this.  The  desire  to  be  something  is  the
beginning of conflict. And that desire is part of the programmed brain. And we
are  saying  to  break  that  pattern,  observe  without  the  movement  of  time,
thought. It sounds very simple, but see the logic of it, the reason, the sanity of
it, not because the speaker says so, it is sane.
So  one  must  exercise  the  capacity  to  be  logical,  rational  and  know  its
limitation, because rational thinking, rational observation is still part of thought,
and knowing that thought is limited, be aware of that limitation and don’t push it
further because it will still be limited however far you go. Whereas if you say:
«Can I observe a rose, a flower without the word, without the colour, just look
at  it?»,  that  look  brings  about  great  sensitivity,  breaks  down  this  sense  of
heaviness of the brain, and gives extraordinary vitality because thought has its
own energy through conflict, obviously. But there is a totally different kind of
energy  when  there  is  pure  perception,  which  is  not  related  to  thought,  time.
Right?    124
I think that is enough for this morning, isn’t it?    125
Saanen 4th Public Talk
19th July 1981
I hope you are all warm! The Ice Age is coming!
The  speaker  has  talked  about  meditation  and  the  things  involved  in
meditation  at  the  end  of  the  talks  because  he  feels  that  unless  we  put  the
house  in  order  meditation  has  very  little  value.  Meditation  is  really  quite
important if one knows or understands the deep meaning of meditation. And
he has purposely put it at the end of the talks because order in our lives must
be established righteously before we can even think about meditation and that
which is eternally sacred.
And so we will talk this morning about order, and we have talked about it
also  during  the  last  three  talks.  And  order  is  necessary,  order  in  our  action,
order in our relationship with each other, order in our daily, everyday activity.
And  to  understand  the  very  quality  of  order,  which  is  totally  different  from
discipline – discipline, the root of it, is to learn, not to conform, not to obey, not
to  imitate,  but  rather  the  order  that  comes  through  learning,  learning  about
ourselves,  not  according  to  some  philosopher,  some  psychologist,  but  to
discover order for ourselves, which is free from all sense of compulsion, from
all  sense  of  determined  effort,  or  order  along  a  particular  direction.  And  to
discover  that  order  which  comes  very  naturally  and  therefore  in  that  order
there is righteousness, not according to some pattern, but order not only in the
outward world which has become so utterly chaotic because in ourselves we
are  not  clear,  we  are  confused,  uncertain.  And  so  to  learn  about  ourselves,
and that learning is part of order. And to learn about oneself, not according to
some psychologist however erudite, however verbal, but if you follow another
you will not be able to understand yourself. And it is necessary to understand
ourselves in order to have order.
We live in disorder, both outwardly, politically, religiously, socially and also
economically, except in the technological world we live in some kind of chaotic,   126
meaningless existence. To find out what is order we must begin to understand,
if we may point out, the nature of our relationship. We live, and our life is a
movement in relationship; we cannot possibly live alone because however one
may think one lives alone one is always related to something or other, either to
the  past,  or  some  projected  image  in  the  future.  So  life  is  a  movement  in
relationship. And in that relationship there is disorder. And we must together
examine  closely  why  we  live  in  our  relationship  with  each  other,  however
intimately or superficially, why we live in such disorder in our daily life.
As we have been pointing out during the past three talks, we are thinking
together, the speaker is not pointing out anything, or trying to persuade you to
think in a particular direction, or put any kind of persuasive subtle pressure on
you.  On  the  contrary,  we  are  together  thinking  over  our  problems,  human
problems,  thinking  together  and  discovering  what  our  relationship  with  each
other  is.  Whether  in  that  relationship  there  is  order.  Whether  in  that
relationship we can bring about order. And so to understand the full meaning
of relationship with each other, however close, however distant, we must begin
to think, we must begin to understand why the brain creates images. I hope we
are following each other. Why we have images about ourselves and images or
pictures about others, why in us, each one has a peculiar image and identifies
oneself with that image, why human beings throughout the world have created
an  image  about  themselves,  whether  that  image  is  necessary,  whether  that
image gives one a sense of security, whether that image does not bring about
separative  action,  and  in  relationship,  intimate  or  otherwise,  why  this  image
exists, for images separate human beings.
Please, we are thinking together, I am not telling you how to think or what
to think. The speaker is not pointing out but together we are investigating into
this  very  complex  problem  of  relationship.  If  we  could  look  closely  at  our
relationship with our wife, husband, friend, or whatever it is, and look at it very
closely,  not  try  to  avoid  it,  not  try  to  brush  it  aside  but  if  we  could  together
examine  it  and  find  out  why  human  beings  throughout  the  world  have  this
capacity,  this  extraordinary  machinery,  that  creates  images,  that  creates   127
symbols,  patterns,  and  in  those  patterns,  symbols,  images,  one  finds  great
security. We have to examine that together.
If you observe, and I hope you don’t mind the speaker pointing this out to
you,  if  you  observe  one  has  an  image  about  oneself.  Either  one  has  an
imagination  of  conceit,  arrogance,  or  the  contrary  to  that.  Or  one  has
accumulated a great deal of experience, acquired a great deal of knowledge
which in itself creates the image. Why do we have images about ourselves?
Please put that question to yourself and look at it. Whether those images do
not separate people. If you have an image as a Swiss or a British, or French
and so on, do not those images not only distort our observation of humanity
but  also  do  they  not  separate?  And  therefore  wherever  there  is  separation,
division, there must be conflict; as there is conflict going on in the Middle East,
the  Arab  against  the  Israelite,  the  Muslim  against  the  Hindu,  the  Christian
against all the rest of the world. This is going on. There is not only national
division,  economic  division,  which  are  all  images,  concepts,  ideas,  and  the
brain  clings  to  these  images  –  why?  Is  it  because  of  our  education?  Is  it
because of our culture where the individual is the most important, where the
collective society is something totally different from the individual. That is part
of  our  culture,  part  of  our  religious  training,  part  of  our  daily  education.  And
when one has an image about oneself as being British, and so on, having that
image gives one certain security. This is fairly obvious. That is, having created
the  image  about  oneself  and  that  image  becomes  permanent,  semi
permanent, and behind that image or in that image one tries to find security,
safety, a form of resistance. Right?
And  when  one  is  related  to  another,  however  delicately,  however  subtly,
however  physically,  biologically,  there  is  a  response  both  psychologically  as
well as sensory, based on this image. Again, that is a fact. If one observes, if
you are married or living with somebody, in our daily life the image is formed,
whether you are acquainted or live with a person for a week or ten years, the
image is slowly formed step by step, every reaction is remembered, stored up
in  the  brain  so  the  image  is  formed  about  my  wife  and  the  wife  about  the   128
husband – right? Are we following this? And the relationship may be physical,
sexual,  sensory  but  actually  the  relationship  is  between  these  two  images  –
right?
The  speaker  is  not  saying  something  extravagant,  or  exotic,  or  fantastic,
but he is merely pointing out – or rather together we are learning that these
images  exist.  And  these  images  exist  because  we  can  never  know  another
completely.  If  I  am  married  or  have  a  girl-friend,  I  can  never  know  my  wife
completely,  I  think  I  know  her  because  after  having  lived  with  that  person  I
have  accumulated  various  incidents,  various  irritations  and  all  the  rest  of  it
which  happen  in  daily  life,  and  she  has  also  gathered  those  reactions,  and
those  reactions  with  their  images  are  established  in  the  brain  –  right?  And
those images play an extraordinarily important part in our life. Apparently very
few  of  us  are  free  of  any  form  of  image.  The  freedom  from  images  is  real
freedom  –  right?  Because  then  in  that  freedom  there  is  no  division  brought
about by images. If I am a Hindu, born in India – which the speaker is but he is
not a Hindu – suppose the speaker is born in India with all the conditioning that
goes  on,  the  conditioning  of  the  race,  a  particular  group  with  their
superstitions, with their religious beliefs, dogmas, rituals, the whole structure of
society, he lives with that image, which is his conditioning. And however much
he  may  talk  about  brotherhood,  unity,  wholeness  –  those  are  merely  words,
they  have  no  actual  daily  meaning.  But  if  he  frees  himself  from  all  that
imposition,  all  that  conditioning,  all  that  superstitious  nonsense  then  he  is
breaking down the image.
And also in his relationship, if he is married or lives with somebody, is it
possible not to create an image at all? You understand? That is, not to record
an incident which may be pleasurable or painful in that particular relationship,
not  to  record  either  the  insult  or  the  flattery,  the  encouragement  or
discouragement – you follow? All that is taking place in our daily relationship, is
that possible not to record at all? Are we meeting each other? Because if the
brain is constantly recording everything that is happening to it psychologically,
then  it  is  never  free  to  be  quiet,  it  can  never  be  tranquil,  peaceful.  If  the   129
machinery is operating all the time it  wears  itself  out,  which is obvious. And
this  is  what  happens  in  our  relationship  with  each  other,  whether  that
relationship  is  as  a  politician,  as  a  guru,  as  a  disciple,  whatever  the
relationship is, if there is constant recording of everything then the brain slowly
begins to wither away and that is essentially old age – right?
So  we  are  asking  together,  I  am  not  putting  the  question  to  you,  but
together we are investigating and we come upon this question: whether it is
possible in our relationship with all its reactions and subtleties, with essential
responses,  whether  there  is  a  possibility  of  not  remembering?  That  is:  is  it
necessary to explain further? Suppose I am married and my wife bullies me,
flatters  me,  encourages  me  and  so  on  and  so  on  and  so  on;  it  is  our  daily
education  that  is  responsible  for  this  remembrance,  remembrance  of  that
irritation,  remembrance  of  that  encouragement,  remembrance  of  that
depression which she or the other person feels and lives in that depression,
therefore it feels separated. You follow? This recording is going on all the time.
And we are asking psychologically whether it is possible not to record, but only
record that which is absolutely necessary?
The brain records because it is necessary in one direction. That is, it must
record all the things it may learn mathematically. If I am to be an engineer I
must know, record all the mathematics, the pressures and so on and so on, I
must record. If I am to be a physicist I must record all the previous physicists
and what they have said. If I am to learn to drive a car I must record and so on.
But we are asking whether it is necessary to psychologically, inwardly, record
in  our  relationship  at  all?  –  Right?  This  remembrance  of  things  past,  is  that
love?  When  I  say  to  my  wife,  «I  love  you»,  is  that  a  remembrance  of  all  the
things  we  have  been  through  together  –  remembrance,  the  incidents,  the
travail, the troubles, the struggles, which are all being recorded, stored in the
brain and when I say I love my wife, is that remembrance actual love? Do you
understand my question?    130
So is it possible to be free and not to record at all? Please don’t wait for an
answer from the speaker whether it is possible or not, but let us together find
out. That is, it is only possible not to record when there is complete attention.
Right, I will show you. I don’t know why we want explanations. Why our brains
are  not  swift  enough  to  capture,  have  an  insight  into  the  whole  thing
immediately.  Why  we  cannot  see  this  thing,  the  truth  of  all  this,  and  let  that
truth operate and therefore cleanse the slate, to have a mind, a brain that is
not  recording  at  all  psychologically.  But  as  most  human  beings  are  rather
sluggish,  rather  like  to  live  in  their  old  patterns,  in  their  particular  habit  of
thought,  anything  new  they  reject  because  it  is  much  better  to  live  with  the
known rather than with the unknown. In the known there is safety, at least we
think  there  is  safety,  we  think  there  is  security  in  the  known  so  we  keep
repeating,  walking,  struggling  within  that  field  of  the  known.  And  to  discover
together  an  observation  without  the  whole  process  of  the  machinery  of
memory operating.
Now you have put that question to me and we have put the question to you:
is it possible in our relationship with each other, intimate or not, is it possible
not  to  create  an  image  about  each  other?  Because  that  image,  the
remembrance of things past, which is the image, divides people. It is not only
the image, but if I am ambitious, competing, trying to become chief executive,
or  psychologically  something  or  other,  and  my  wife  is  also  doing  something
else  equally  in  other  directions,  how  can  we  have  a  relationship?  You
understand  my  question?  This  is  actually  what  is  going  on  in  the  modern
world: the man and the woman, each is seeking his own particular career, their
own  ambitions,  separate  ambitions,  greed,  envy,  success,  identification,  and
perhaps they meet in a bed and they call that relationship. So observing all this
in  one’s  daily  life,  one  inevitably  asks:  is  there  a  relationship  which  is  not
actually based on this?
Then one has to enquire very closely and deeply, what is love? Are you
waiting for me to tell you? This is a very complex question, because all of us
feel we love something or other, not only the abstract love, love of a nation,   131
love of a people, love of god, love of gardening, love of overeating; we have
abused that word so terribly. So we have to find out basically what is love. You
see love is not an idea – right? Love of god is an idea, love of a symbol is still
an idea. When you go to the church and kneel down and pray, you are really
worshipping, or praying to something which thought has created – right? And
so, see what happens, thought has created it, actually this ia a fact, and you
worship that which thought has created, which means you are worshipping in a
very  subtle  form  yourself  –  right?  I  know  this  is  probably  a  sacrilegious
statement  but  it  is  a  fact.  That  is  what  is  happening  throughout  the  world.
Thought creates the flag, the symbol of a particular country, then you fight for
it, you kill each other, will destroy the earth in competition with another nation,
and  so  the  flag  becomes  a  symbol  of  our  love.  And  similarly  there  is  the
religious  love,  the  devotion  to  a  symbol.  Again  see  what  thought  does.  You
create  the  symbol,  thought  creates  the  symbol  with  all  the  attributes  of  that
symbol, romantic, logical, sane, and having created it you love it, you become
totally  intolerant  of  any  other  thing.  Again  thought  having  created  it,  thought
which  is  your  own  particular  education,  conditioning,  and  you  worship  that,
which is you are worshipping yourself. That is how all the gurus exist in the
world,  all  the  priests,  all  the  religious  structure  is  based  on  that.  See  the
tragedy of it. Because we have lived for millions and millions of years we are
still extraordinarily destructive, violent, brutal, cynical human beings.
And  also  when  we  say  we  love  another,  in  that  love  there  is  desire,
pleasure, projections of various activities of thought. So one has to look into
and find out whether love is desire, whether love is pleasure, whether in love
there is fear. Because where there is fear there must be hatred – right? Please,
I am not telling you all this, you know all this. Where there is fear there must be
jealousy, anxiety, possessiveness, domination.
So to understand the depth of relationship and the beauty of relationship,
because there is beauty in relationship. The whole cosmos is a movement in
relationship; cosmos means order and when one has order in oneself one has
order  in  one’s  relationship,  and  therefore  order  in  our  society.  So  one  must   132
enquire in this relationship if we find it is absolutely necessary to have order,
and  therefore  out  of  that  order  comes  love.  One  must  enquire  into  what  is
desire. Right? Desire to become something, desire to reach illumination, god,
desire  for  this  or  that.  So  this  has  been  one  of  the  problems,  perhaps  the
problem, for human beings. Must I go into all this?
You see one must ask something else too: what is beauty? You see the
snow, the fresh snow on the mountains this morning, clean, a lovely sight if
you are not too cold! And those solitary trees standing black against that white.
And looking at the world about us, the marvellous machinery, the extraordinary
computer  with  its  special  beauty,  and  the  beauty  of  a  face,  the  beauty  of  a
painting,  beauty  of  a  poem  –  we  seem  to  recognize  beauty  out  there  in  the
museums,  when  you  go  to  a  concert  and  listen  to  Beethoven,  or  Mozart,  or
whatever you listen to, there is great beauty. Always out there, in the hills, in
the valleys, in the running waters, and the flight of birds and the singing of a
blackbird in the early morning, but is there beauty only out there? Or is beauty
something that only exists when the ‘me’ is not? You understand? When you
look at those mountains on a sunny morning, clear against the blue sparkling
sky  –  I  am  not  being  romantic  –  the  very majesty  of  that  drives  away  all  the
accumulated memories of yourself for a moment – haven’t you noticed that?
There  the  outward  beauty,  the  outward  magnificence,  the  majesty  and  the
strength  of  that  mountain  wipes  away  all  your  problems,  everything  for  a
second out of you. You have forgotten yourself. Where there is total absence
of yourself beauty is. But we are not free of ourselves. We are terribly selfish
people,  concerned  with  ourselves,  with our  problems,  with  our  agonies,  with
our sorrows, with our loneliness. And out of that desperate loneliness we want
identification  with  something  or  other.  Out  of  that  loneliness  we  cling  to
somebody, to a belief, to an idea, to a person, specially to a person. And in
that  dependency  all  our  problems  arise.  And  where  there  is  dependency,
psychologically, fear begins. When you are tied to something corruption begins
– right?    133
So  one  must  go  into  this  question  of  what  is  desire,  because  that  is  the
most  urgent,  vital  drive  in  our  life.  We  are  not  talking  about  the  desire  for  a
particular  thing  but  desire  itself,  not  for  something.  Let’s  go  into  it  very
carefully. Because as one must know, all religions have said that if you want to
serve  god  subjugate  desire,  destroy  desire,  control  desire.  And  all  religions
have said substitute for that desire the image thought has created – right? The
image that the Christians have, the Hindus and all the rest of it. You substitute
an image for the actual. Follow all this. The actual is desire, the burning of it.
And one thinks one can overcome that by substituting that for something else.
This has been the pattern of all religious thinking. Or, surrender yourself to that
which you think is the master, the guru, is the symbol, etc., which again is the
activity of thought. I don’t know if you are following all this. So one has to very
carefully understand the whole movement of desire. For obviously desire is not
love,  desire  isn’t  compassion.  Without  love  and  compassion  meditation
becomes  utterly  meaningless  because  love  and  compassion  have  their  own
intelligence, it is not the intelligence of cunning thought.
So let us together – the speaker means together, not the speaker explains
and  you  follow,  then  you  will  be  merely  followers.  Whereas  if  both  of  us
together, step by step, understand the nature of desire, why it has played such
extraordinary importance in our life, how it distorts clarity, how it prevents the
extraordinary quality of love and so on. It is important that we understand and
not suppress, not try to control it, nor to direct it in a particular direction which
may give you peace and all the rest of it, but rather examine together, please
together, the nature and the movement of desire. Shall we go on? You are not
tired? It is nice and warm in here!
Please bear in mind the speaker is not trying to impress you, guide you,
help you, nothing. But together we are walking, perhaps hand in hand, along a
very  subtle,  complex  path.  And  one  has  to  listen  to  each  other.  One  has  to
listen to find out the truth about desire. When one understands the truth, the
significance, the meaning, the fulness, the truth of desire, then desire has quite
a different value or drive in one’s life.    134
And also one must look at something else too: which is, when you observe
desire, are you observing it as an outsider looking at desire? You understand?
Or you are observing desire as it arises? Not desire something separate from
you, you are desire. You see the difference? Either I observe desire, which I
have when I see something in the window which pleases me, and I have the
desire to buy it, and then the object is different from me. Right? But the object
is different but desire is me – right? So there is a perception of desire without
the observer watching desire. Am I making this somewhat clear? No. All right I
will explain.
I can look at a tree. The tree is the word by which I recognize that which is
standing in the field. But I also know that the word is not the tree – right? The
word is not the tree. My wife is not the word – right? But I have made the word
my  wife.  I  don’t  know  if  you  see  all  the  subtleties  of  all  this.  So  I  must  very
clearly  understand  from  the  beginning  the  word  is  not  the  thing.  The  word
‘desire’ is not the feeling of it – right? The extraordinary energy there is behind
that reaction. So I must be very watchful that I am not caught in the word. And
also the brain must be active enough to see that the object may create desire –
right?  –  but  there  is  a  desire  which  is  separate  from  the  object.  You  are
following all this? Are we together in this? Are we so aware that the word is not
the  thing?  That  desire  is  not  separate  from  the  observer  who  is  watching
desire? That the object may create desire but there is desire independent of
the  object  –  right?  And  each  one  has  a  separate  desire  –  the  religion,  one’s
god, and so on and so on. So one must be aware of all this.
So we are going to find out what is desire, not the object in the window or
on the road, or the person I see, but how does desire arise? Right? How does
desire flower? Why is there such extraordinary energy behind it? Please we
are together in this, not I explain and you follow but together we are moving
because  this  has  a  great  importance  in  relationship.  If  we  don’t  understand
deeply the nature of desire we will always be in conflict with each other. I may
desire  one  thing  and  my  wife  may  desire  another.  My  children  may  desire   135
something totally different. So we are always at loggerheads with each other.
And this battle, this struggle, is called love, relationship.
We are asking: what is the source of desire? How does desire begin? And
we must be very truthful in this, very honest, because it is very, very deceptive,
very  subtle  unless  we  understand  the  root  of  it.  For  most  of  us,  all  of  us,
sensations are important, sensory responses – right? The touch, the taste, the
smell, the hearing. And for most of us a particular sensory response is more
important  than  the  other  responses.  If  we  are  artistic  we  see  something
specially.  If  we  are  trained  as  an  engineer  or  this  or  that,  then  the  sensory
responses are different and so on. So we never observe with all the sensory
responses totally. We respond, or observe in our responses about something
special,  divided.  Now  let’s  find  out  if  it  is  possible  to  respond  totally  with  all
your senses. See the importance of that. That is, if one responds totally with all
one’s senses there is the elimination of a centralized observer. I wonder if you
are  following  all  this?  Right?  But  when  we  respond  to  a  particular  thing
separated, then in that separation begins the division – right? Find out when
you go out of this tent, when you look at the river, the flowing waters, the light
on the waters, the swiftness of the waters, find out if you can look at it with all
your  senses.  Don’t  ask  me  how,  then  that  becomes  mechanical.  You
understand?  But  if  you  say  let  me  look  at  it,  find  out.  That  is,  to  educate
ourselves in the understanding of the sensory responses which will be total. I
must come back to something else – sorry. That is only part of it.
We are asking what is the source of desire? As we said, sensory responses
– we will begin with sensory responses. You see something, the seeing brings
about  a  response.  You  see  a  green  shirt,  or  a  green  dress,  the  seeing
awakens the response. Then the contact takes place – right? Then from that
contact thought creates the image of you in that dress, or you in that car, or
you  in  that  house.  So  watch  it,  go  slowly  into  this.  Sensory  responses,  the
seeing, the hearing, the tasting, sensory responses, then the contact, not only
with  the  eye  but  touching  it,  then  thought  creating  the  image  of  you  in  that
shirt, or in that dress, or in that car and then the desire arises. You follow this?   136
The  seeing  of  a  car  in  the  road,  nice  lines,  highly  polished,  etc.,  the  power
behind it, then I touch it, feel around it, go around it, examine the engine. Then
thought creates the image of me getting into the car and starting the ignition,
putting my foot down and driving it. Just see it. This is actually what goes on –
right?  So  desire  begins,  the  source  of  desire  is  when  thought  creates  the
image,  up  to  then  there  is  no  desire.  There  is  sensory  responses,  contact,
which is normal, all right, healthy, but then thought creates the image and from
that second begins desire. You follow? I see a beautiful vase; feel the shape of
it, the beauty of it, the Grecian and all the rest, I won’t go into it. And touching
it, looking at it, the beauty of it, and gradually creating the image, wanting it
begins.
If this is clear then the question is: is it possible for thought not to create the
image? You understand this? This is learning about desire, which in itself is
discipline. You understand? Learning about it is discipline, not the controlling
of desire. I wonder if you understand this? Is this clear? Learning about desire,
if you learn about something it is finished. But whereas if you say you must
control desire, then you are totally in a different field altogether. But if you say
look, I understand now that when thought creates the image, at that second
desire begins. Now is it possible to see the whole of this movement, the whole
of it, not just sections of it, when you see the whole of it you will understand
that thought will not interfere with its image but only you see, have sensation,
what is wrong with that? Are you understanding? No, you don’t!
Because  you  see  we  are  all  so  crazy  about  desire,  we  want  to  fulfil
ourselves  through  desire  –  right?  But  we  don’t  see  what  havoc  desire  has
created  in  the  world.  Desire  for  individual  security,  desire  for  individual
attainment, success, power, position, prestige – you follow? We don’t feel we
are totally responsible for everything we do. And if one understands desire, the
nature of it, then what place has desire? Or has it any place where there is
love? Is love something so extraordinarily outside of human existence that it
has really actually no value at all? Or because we have not seen the beauty
and the depth and the greatness, sacredness of this word – not the word – of   137
the  actuality  of  it,  that  we  haven’t  the  energy,  time,  to  study,  to  educate
ourselves to understand what it is. Because without love and compassion with
its  intelligence,  meditation  has  very  little  meaning.  And  without  that  perfume
that which is eternal can never be found. And that is why it is important to put
our house, the house in which we dwell, not only in the house outwardly but
the  house  of  our  life,  of  our  being,  of  our  struggles,  there  to  bring  complete
order. Finished!    138
Saanen 5th Public Talk
21st July 1981
We have got three more talks – today, Thursday and Sunday. We have to
cover quite a bit during these three talks. First we have to consider together
whether the brain, which is now only operating partially, whether that brain has
the capacity to function wholly, completely. I do not know if you have gone into
that  question  at  all.  Because  we  are  only  using  now  a  part  of  it.  One  can
observe this for oneself without going to any specialist. One can see that any
specialization, which may be necessary, whether that specialization does not
bring  about  the  functioning  of  only  a  part  of  the  brain:  if  one  is  a  scientist,
specialized in that subject, naturally only one part of him is functioning; or if
one is a mathematician and so on. And we are asking whether – together we
are asking, I am not imposing the question on you, we must ask this question:
whether the brain, though in the modern world one has to specialize, whether
it is possible to allow the brain to operate wholly, completely. That is one of the
problems that we are going to discuss this morning.
And the other problem is: what is going to happen to humanity, to all of us,
when  the  computer  which  will  outthink  man  accurately,  much  more  quickly,
rapidly – as the computer experts are saying it can – with the help of the robot
man  will  then  only  have  a  couple  of  hours  of  work  a  day.  This  is  going  to
happen within the next five, ten, twenty years. Then what will man do? Either
he  is  going  to  follow  the  entertainment  field,  which  is  already  taking  place:
sports  are  becoming  more  and  more  important,  if  you  watch  the  television.
Entertainment in different forms, football, you know all that is happening. And
also  religious  entertainment.  Either  humanity  is  going  to  follow  the  whole
movement  of  entertainment;  or  he  is  going  to  turn  inwardly,  which  is  not  an
entertainment,  which  demands  much  greater  capacity  of  observation,
examination, non-personal perception and so on inwardly. These are the two
possibilities. And this is happening already, the entertainment world is going to
take  over  –  the  cinemas,  you  know,  all  the  rest  of  it.  Or  the  computer  can   139
formulate a new religion, putting all the religions together, synthesize, bring out
something totally new. And humanity – which is another form of entertainment –
will follow that, or enter into something totally different. That is one problem.
And the other is the whole content of our consciousness is basically fear,
pleasure, the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of fear, and the suffering
of  mankind.  That  is  the  basic  content  of  our  human  consciousness  with  its
varieties. Right? These are the three problems that man is facing. If humanity
is  going  to  follow  entertainment,  it  is  very  simple.  And  one  hopes  these
Gatherings are not a form of entertainment.
And  also  whether  the  brain  can  be  totally  free  so  as  to  function  wholly,
because  any  specialization,  any  following  a  certain  path,  a  certain  groove,
certain pattern, must inevitably make the brain function partially and therefore
limited energy. I hope we are thinking together about all this.
And we live in a world of specialization – engineers, physicists, surgeons,
carpenters – you know, the whole mechanical world. And also specialization of
a  particular  belief,  of  a  particular  dogma,  rituals,  they  are  all  specializations.
And  those  certain  specializations,  which  are  necessary,  like  surgeons,
carpentry, and so on, whether in spite of that specialization, whether the brain
can function completely, wholly, not partially, and therefore have tremendous
energy. I hope we are following each other. We are thinking together – right? Is
this a problem at all to any of us? Or the speaker is imposing the problem onto
you?  We  have  so  many  problems,  I  don’t  know  why  we  have  so  many
problems, but don’t let us add another problem to already innumerable other
problems.  This  is,  I  think,  a  very  serious  question  into  which  we  have  to
enquire together.
If  one  observes  one’s  own  activity  you  will  find  more  and  more  that  the
brain functions only, operates only very partially, very, very little. And therefore
our  energy  becomes  less  and  less  and  less,  as  we  grow  older.  Biologically,
physically,  when  we  are  young  we  are  full  of  this  vitality,  but  as  we  get
educated,  follow  a  livelihood  and  need  specialization,  that  brain  becomes   140
small,  narrow,  limited,  and  therefore  the  energy  becomes  less  and  less  and
less, but it has its own vitality – right?
So we are asking whether that brain, though it may have to have a certain
form  of  specialization,  not  necessarily  religious,  because  that  is  superstition,
we can put all that out, whether, suppose I am a surgeon, I have to specialize,
whether  in  spite  of  that  the  brain  can  operate  wholly.  It  can  only  operate
wholly, completely with all the tremendous vitality of a million years behind it,
only when it is completely free. Is this somewhat clear? Are we meeting each
other? As a question – we are going to enquire whether the brain can ever be
totally free, in spite of the specialization, which is necessary for a livelihood.
And  it  may  not  be  necessary  if  the  computer  takes  over.  It  won’t  take  over
surgery,  obviously.  It  won’t  take  over  the  feeling  of  beauty,  looking  at  the
evening stars, Orion, Pleiades and so on, but it may take over other functions
altogether – right? So can the human brain be totally free? You understand my
question? – without any form of attachment? – attachment of any kind, physical,
attachment  to  certain  beliefs,  experience  and  so  on.  Can  the  brain  be  so
completely free? If the brain cannot be so totally free it will begin to deteriorate,
because when it is occupied with problems, with specialization, livelihood and
so on and so on, it is active. The brain is active, but when the computer takes
over this activity the brain will have less and less problems and therefore it will
gradually  deteriorate  –  right?  This  is  happening,  it  is  not  something  in  the
future, this is actually happening now when you observe one’s own activity –
right?
So the question is we have to find an answer to whether the brain can be
totally free, and therefore function altogether, not partially – right? And whether
our consciousness, with its content, basically fear, the pursuit of pleasure and
all the implications of that, grief, pain and sorrow, being hurt inwardly and so
on,  that  is  the  basic  content  of  one’s  consciousness.  You  may  have  other
forms  of  consciousness,  a  group  consciousness,  racial  consciousness,
national  consciousness,  the  consciousness  of  a  particular  group,  the
consciousness of the Catholic group, the Hindu group and so on and so on,   141
but basically the consciousness with its content is fear, pleasure, the pursuit of
pleasure,  pain,  sorrow,  death  –  right?  This  is  the  central  content  of  our
consciousness  –  right?  We  are  thinking  together,  please.  Right?  We  are
thinking  together,  examining  together.  The  speaker  is  not  laying  down
anything.  We  are  together  observing  the  whole  phenomenon  of  existence,
human  existence,  that  is  our  existence.  As  we  pointed  out  earlier,  we  are
mankind because our consciousness, whether it is as a Christian living in the
Western  world,  or  in  the  Middle  East,  or  in  the  Asiatic  world,  that
consciousness,  its  content  is  basically  fear,  pursuit  of  pleasure,  pain,  hurts,
sorrow and the never ending burden of all this – right? So our consciousness is
not personal, mine. This is very difficult to accept because we have been so
conditioned, so educated, that we resist this actuality, which means we are not
individuals at all, we are the whole of mankind. This is not a romantic idea, it is
not  a  philosophical  concept,  it  is  not  absolutely  an  ideal;  if  one  examines  it
closely it is a fact. So we are going together to find out whether the brain can
be free from the content of its consciousness – right?
Sirs, why do you listen? Why do you listen to the speaker? Or in listening to
the speaker you are listening to yourself – right? Is that what is taking place?
The speaker is only pointing out, acting as a mirror in which you see actually
yourself. The actuality of one’s own consciousness, not the description which
the speaker is pointing out, not the description which becomes merely an idea,
if you merely follow the description. But through the description you yourself
perceive actually your own state of mind, brain, your own consciousness, then
the  listening  to  the  speaker  has  a  certain  importance.  But  if  you  are  merely
listening to the speaker as a telephone, then it has very little value – right? So
please  don’t  say  to  yourself  at  the  end  of  these  talks  and  questions  and
answers,  «I  haven’t  changed.  Why  have  I  not  changed?  It  is  your  fault.  You
have spoken for sixty years perhaps and I have not changed.» Is it the fault of
the speaker? Or you have not been able to apply it? So if you don’t apply it
naturally  it  is  the  fault  of  the  speaker!  Then  you  become  cynical  and  do  all
kinds of absurd things. So please bear in mind that we are listening not to the   142
speaker but through the description and the words we are looking at our own
consciousness, which is the consciousness of all humanity. The Western world
may believe in a certain symbol, religiously, certain figure, certain rituals; and
the  Eastern  world  also  has  the  same  thing  but  behind  it  the  same  fear,  the
same  pursuit  of  pleasure,  grief,  pain,  being  hurt,  wanting  this  –  the  whole  of
that is the movement of common humanity – right?
So  in  listening  we  are  learning  about  ourselves,  not  following  the
description and therefore learning the description, but actually learning to look
and therefore bringing about a total freedom in which the whole of the brain
can  operate  –  right?  After  all  sirs,  meditation,  love  and  compassion  is  the
operation of the whole of the brain. When there is the operation of the whole
there is integral order. And when there is integral, inward order there is total
freedom. And it is only then that there can be something which is timelessly
sacred.  That  is  not  a  reward;  that  is  not  something  to  be  achieved;  but  it
comes about, that which is eternally timeless, sacred, only when the brain is
totally  free  to  function  wholly,  and  in  that  wholeness  there  is  order  and  so
freedom.
So, after stating that let us proceed to find out together whether the content
of our consciousness, which is the operation of thought – right? – the content is
put together by all the activities of thought, which we will go into, and whether
that  content  can  ever  be  free  so  that  there  is  a  totally  different  dimension
altogether.  Right?  First  let  us  observe  together  the  whole  movement  of
pleasure.  There  is  not  only  biological,  sexual  pleasure,  there  is  pleasure  in
possession, pleasure in having money, pleasure in achieving something that
you have been working towards, there is pleasure in power, political, religious,
power over a person, power in acquisition of knowledge, and the expression of
that  knowledge  as  a  professor,  as  a  writer,  as  a  poet,  the  gratification  that
comes  about  through  knowledge,  and  the  pleasure  of  leading  a  very  strict,
moral, aesthetic life, the pleasure of achieving something inwardly which is not
common to ordinary man. And this has been the pattern of our existence for
millions of years – right? Our brain is conditioned to it, therefore our brain has   143
become limited – right? I wonder if you see this? Anything that is conditioned
must be limited and therefore the brain, when it is pursuing these forms and
many other forms of pleasure, it must inevitably become small, limited, narrow.
And  probably  unconsciously  realizing  this  one  seeks  different  forms  of
entertainment, a release through sex, through different kinds of fulfilment and
so on – right? Please observe it in yourself, you are not listening to me, you are
listening to yourself, to your own activity of daily life. And if you observe, your
brain is occupied all day with something or other, chattering, talking, endlessly
– you follow? – that is going on, like a machine that never stops. And so the
brain  is  gradually  wearing  itself  out,  and  it  is  going  to  be  inactive  if  the
computer is going to take its place – you follow? All the things computers will
do.
So why is man, human beings, caught in this perpetual pursuit of pleasure,
why?  Please  find  out,  let’s  find  out.  Is  it  because  he  is  so  utterly  lonely?
Escape from that sense of isolation? Is it that he has been, from childhood,
conditioned to this? Is it because thought creates the image of pleasure and
then pursues it? You are following? So can we ask together whether thought is
the source of pleasure? Right? Is it? Find out. That is, one has had some kind
of  pleasure,  either  eating  very  tasty  food,  sexual,  or  the  sense  of  being
flattered and so on and so on, thought – or rather the brain has registered it.
These incidents which have brought about pleasure have been recorded in the
brain, and the remembrance of that pleasure of yesterday, or last week, that
remembrance  is  the  movement  of  thought  –  right?  And  so  thought  is  the
movement  of  pleasure  –  right?  Thought  has  registered  that  incident,
pleasurable, exciting, worthwhile to remember, and it is stored, held, attached,
and thought projects in the future and pursues it – right?
So the question then is: why does thought or memory of an incident that is
over,  finished,  carry  on?  Is  that  part  of  our  occupation?  A  man  who  wants
money, power, position, is perpetually occupied with it. Perhaps similarly the
brain is occupied with this question of remembrance of something a week ago
which gave great pleasure, being held in the brain and thought projects future   144
pleasure  and  pursues  it.  This  is  the  repetition  of  pleasure  which  is  the
movement of thought and therefore limited. Right? I wonder if we see this. And
therefore the brain can never function wholly, it can only function partially.
Now the next question that arises is: what am I to do? If this is the pattern
of  thought,  how  can  thought  be  stopped?  Or  how  can  the  brain  not  register
that incident of yesterday which gave me delight? That is the obvious question.
Right? Now why do you put such  a  question?  Just  investigate  it.  Why?  Is  it
because  you  want  to  escape  from  the  movement  of  pleasure,  and  that  very
escape is another form of pleasure? You understand? Right? Whereas if you
say,  look,  this  is  a  fact.  The  fact  is  the  incident  which  gave  great  delight,
pleasure, excitement, and the fact is over, it is not a living thing of that which
happened a week ago. It was a living thing then but now it is not – right? Can
you finish last week’s pleasure, entertainment, excitement, finished, end it, not
carry it over? It is not how to end it. It is not how to stop it. But just see the fact
how the brain is operating, how thought is operating. If one is aware of that
thought  itself  will  come  to  an  end.  That  is  the  registering  of  last  week’s
pleasure is ended, finished. Right? Please sirs, if we don’t do this don’t accuse
the speaker of not making it clear, and therefore becoming cynical, or being
helped to be cynical.
And  the  other  problem  is  fear.  Again  this  is  the  common  ground  of  all
mankind, whether you are living in a small house, or in a palace, whether you
have  no  work  or  have  plenty  of  work,  whether  you  have  tremendous
knowledge about everything on earth, or whether you are a priest, whether you
are the highest representative of god, or whatever it is, there is still this deep
rooted  fear  in  all  mankind.  That  is  a  common  ground  on  which  all  humanity
stands. There is no question about it. That is an absolute, irrevocable fact, it
cannot be contradicted. It is a fact. And again as long as the brain is caught in
this pattern of fear its operation is limited – right? And therefore it can never
function  wholly.  So  it  behoves  us,  it  is  necessary  if  humanity  is  to  survive
completely as human beings not as machines, one must find out for oneself
whether it is possible to be totally free from this fear, not only physical fears of   145
losing a job, of getting hurt, of having pain which has been experienced last
week, and carry on with that remembrance of that pain, and therefore hoping
that pain will not recur and fear involved in it. There is a biological fear and
deep  psychological  rooted  fears.  You  are  looking  at  yourself,  not  at  the
speaker.  The  speaker  is  not  important.  What  is  important  is  to  look  at  the
content of our consciousness with its fear. We are not talking about the various
forms of fear – fear of old age, fear of death, fear of loneliness, fear of anxiety,
fear  which  breeds  hate,  fear  of  not  arriving,  not  achieving,  not  fulfilling,  not
reaching Nirvana, or whatever you want to reach spiritually. We are not talking
about  the  objects  of  fear  but  fear  itself  –  right?  See  the  difference.  We  are
afraid  about  something,  or  fear  of  something.  Fear  of  yesterday,  or  fear  of
tomorrow, which is fear of time – right? I want to go into that a little bit.
So we are talking about fear itself, not the expressions of fear – clear? What
is fear? When there is fear, is there any sense – no, let me put it differently:
When there is fear, at that very moment is there a recognition as fear? Do you
understand my question? There is fear in me, suppose. Is that fear describable
at the moment it is taking place, the reaction, or after? The after is time – right?
I wonder if you see this. Right? Are we meeting together in this? I am afraid –
suppose  I  am  afraid.  Either  I  am  afraid  about  something,  or  I  am  afraid  of
something that I have done  in the past which I don’t want you to realize, or
know, or something has happened in the past which again awakens that fear.
Or is there a fear by itself without the object? And when there is fear at the
second do you call it fear? Or only after it has come? Do you understand all
this? It is surely after it has happened. Which means what? The memory of
other incidents of fear has been held in the brain and the moment that reaction
which takes place, the memory says «That is fear» – right? Are we together in
this? I will explain again. Gosh, how we depend on explanations! How terrible!
I recognize that at the immediacy of that feeling, you don’t call it fear. It is
only after it has happened that I name it as fear. The naming of it as fear is the
remembrance  of  other  incidents  that  have  arisen  which  have  caused  fear  –
right?  I  remember  those  fears  of  the  past  and  the  new  feeling  arises  and  I   146
immediately  identify  it  with  the  word  fear  –  right?  That  is  simple  enough.  So
there is always the memory operating on the present.
So  we  are  enquiring:  what  is  fear?  Is  fear  time?  Fear  of  that  something
which  happened  a  week  ago,  which  has  caused  that  feeling  which  I  have
named as fear, and the future implications that it must not happen again, and it
might happen therefore I am afraid of it – you follow? So I am asking myself
and you are asking yourself: is it time that is the root of fear? Right? Are you
getting bored with all this? Are you getting bored with all this? No? I hope not.
So what is time? Do you understand this? Time by the watch is very simple.
There  is  sunrise  at  a  certain  time  and  the  sun  sets  at  a  certain  time.  And
yesterday, today, tomorrow. That is a natural sequence of time. There is also
psychological  time  in  us.  That  is,  the  incident  which  happened  last  week,
which  has  given  pleasure,  or  which  awakened  the  sense  of  fear,  and  the
remembrance of that projecting not only in the present being modified, but the
future, I may not have a job, I may lose my position, I may lose my money, I
may lose my wife – you follow? – time. So is fear part of time? Right? It looks
like  it.  Right?  And  what  is  psychological  time?  There  is  time  by  the  clock,
obviously. If one has to catch a train, it is fixed, there is time. To go from here
to there requires time, and so on. Time implies space – right? Not only physical
time which needs space, there is also psychological time which needs space –
yesterday,  last  week,  modified  today,  tomorrow.  There  is  space  and  time  –
right?  That  is  simple.  So  is  fear  the  movement  of  time?  And  is  not  the
movement of time psychologically the movement of thought? You are following
all this? Please this is very good education for each one of us.
So thought is time – right? Time is fear. Obviously. I have had pain sitting
with the dentist. I remember it, stored, projected, hope not to have that pain
again  –  thought  is  moving.  Which  is,  time  of  yesterday’s  pain,  held  and  not
wanting it again. So fear is a movement in space and time which is thought.
Right? If one sees that not as an idea but as an actuality, which means one
has to pay attention to that pain, that fear which happened last week, to give to   147
that fear complete attention at the moment it arises then it is not registered. Do
this and you will find out for yourself. When you give complete attention to an
insult,  there  is  no  insult.  Or  if  somebody  comes  along  and  says,  «What  a
marvellous person you are», and if you pay attention it is like water on a duck’s
back – right? So please see the truth of this for yourself, that when you realize,
time, space, thought is the movement of fear, that is a fact, not described by
the speaker, but if you have observed it for yourself that is an absolute fact,
you can’t escape from it. You can’t escape from a fact, it is always there. You
may try to avoid it, you might try to suppress it, do every kind of escape, but it
is always there – right? And if you give complete attention to the fact, the fact is
not, psychologically. You understand?
So the content of our consciousness is the movement of thought, time and
space.  Whether  that  space  is  very  limited,  or  wide,  extensive,  it  is  still  a
movement  of  time,  space,  thought.  (Noise  of  jet  plane.)  It  has  now  gone
behind  the  other  mountain.  I  hope  you  have  observed  something.  The
extraordinary  mechanical  power  of  that  instrument  –  right?  The  tremendous
power.  And  thought  has  created  it.  Thought  has  created  different  forms  of
power in ourselves but they are all limited. And when there is freedom from
this limitation there is an astonishing sense of power, not mechanical power, a
tremendous sense of energy, much more than that jet. It has nothing to do with
thought  and  therefore  that  power,  that  energy  cannot  be  misused.  But  if
thought says, «I will use it», then that power, that energy is dissipated.
We have got five minutes more left. We must also talk over together the
other factor which exists in our consciousness, which is sorrow, grief, pain and
the wound, the hurts that exist in most human beings from childhood. The hurt,
from  that  hurt,  psychological  hurt,  the  pain  of  it,  the  remembrance  of  it,  the
holding  on  to  it,  and  the  grief  that  arises  from  it,  and  also  there  is  sorrow
involved in it; and also there is the global sorrow of mankind which has faced
thousands and thousands of wars, millions and millions of people have cried.
And  this  war  machine  is  still  going  on,  directed  by  the  politicians,  by  our
nationalism, by our feeling that we are separate from the rest, ‘we and they’,   148
‘you  and  me’.  That  is  a  global  sorrow  which  the  politicians  are  building,
building, building. And we are ready for another war – I hope there won’t be,
but  when  you  are  preparing  for  something  there  must  be  some  kind  of
explosion somewhere. It may not be in the Middle East, it may happen here,
as long as you are preparing for something you are going to get it – it is like
preparing food. But we are so – if I may use the word without disrespect – we
are so stupid to allow all this to go on: terrorism – you know, the whole of it.
So,  we  are  asking  –  and  perhaps  we  shall  continue  with  it  the  day  after
tomorrow  –  we  are  asking  whether  this  whole  pattern  of  being  hurt,  lonely,
pain, resistance, withdrawal, isolation, which causes further pain, grief, sorrow
of my son’s death, sorrow of losing something, losing some precious belief that
I have held, the disillusionment that comes when I have followed somebody,
one has given one’s life, one’s endeavour, struggled for somebody, surrender
oneself to somebody, and then get disillusioned and from that pain, anxiety,
uncertainty,  sorrow.  You  have  noticed  all  this.  That  is  the  pattern  of  our
consciousness. When one asks: is it possible ever to be free, ever, of all this?
It is possible if we apply, not endlessly talk about it. If I realize that I am hurt
from childhood, psychologically and see all the consequences of that hurt, the
consequences  are  I  resist,  I  withdraw,  I  don’t  want  to  be  hurt  anymore,  I
encourage isolation and therefore I am building a wall round myself; and my
wife also is hurt and she is doing the same thing – right? I don’t know if you
realize  all  these  things.  So  that  is,  the  consequences  of  being  hurt  from
childhood are pain, resistance, withdrawal, isolation, more and more, deeper
and deeper fear. And the global sorrow of mankind – I don’t know if you have
ever  thought  about  it  even.  How  man,  human  beings,  have  been  tortured
through wars, tortured under dictatorship, Totalitarianism, tortured in different
parts  of  the  world.  And  also  there  is  the  sorrow  of  my  brother,  son,  wife,
running away, or dying, and the sorrow of separation, the sorrow that comes
about when one is interested in something completely and the other is not –
you are following? In this sorrow there is no compassion, there is no love. And
the  ending  of  sorrow  brings  love,  not  pleasure,  not  desire,  love.  And  where   149
there is love there is compassion. With compassion comes intelligence, which
has nothing whatever to do with the intelligence of thought.
So  one  has  to  look  very  closely  at  ourselves  as  humanity,  why  we  have
born all these things all our lives, why we have never ended it. Is it part of our
indolence, part of our habit? And if you say, «It is part of our habit, part of our
conditioning.  What  am  I  to  do  about  it?  Let’s  talk  about  it.  How  am  I  to
uncondition myself?» Keep at it. That is what we are all doing. «I can’t find the
answer, I will go to the guru next door» – or further away, or the priest, or this or
that.  We  never  say:  Look,  let  me  look  at  myself  closely  and  see  if  one  can
break through it, like any habit. If you have a habit of smoking, it can be broken
very easily, or drugs, alcohol. But we say what does it matter. I am getting old
anyhow, the body is destroying itself, so a little more pleasure, what does it
matter? So we carry on. We don’t feel utterly responsible for all the things we
do. We either blame it on the environment, on society, on our parents, on past
hereditary, it is genetic – some excuse but never apply it. And if one really has
the urge, the immediate urge to find out why I am hurt, why one is hurt. One is
hurt because one has built an image about oneself. That is a fact. When you
say,  «I  am  hurt»  –  it  is  the  image  that  you  have  about  yourself.  Somebody
comes along and puts his heavy boot on that image and you get hurt. You get
hurt through comparison: I am this but somebody else is better. As long as one
has an image about oneself you are going to get hurt. That is a fact. But if you
pay  attention  to  that  fact  that  as  long  as  you  have  an  image  of  any  kind
somebody  is  going  to  put  a  pin  into  it.  As  long  as  I  have  an  image  about
myself,  because  I  address  lots  of  people,  a  big  audience,  become  stupidly
famous in the world and all that rot that goes on with reputation, and I want to
maintain it, you are going to hurt it. Somebody else has a bigger audience –
you follow? So I get hurt. So if you give complete attention to the image you
have about yourself, attention, not concentration, give attention, then you will
see the image has no meaning, it disappears. Right, we will stop there. We will
continue the day after tomorrow.    150
Saanen 6th Public Talk
23rd July 1981
We  have  covered  most  of  the  problems  of  our  life,  the  complicated
existence. And we also ought to go into whether it is possible to end sorrow. I
think we ought to talk it over together and go into it rather deeply and find out
for ourselves what are the implications of sorrow, and whether sorrow and love
can exist together. And what is our relationship to the sorrow of mankind, not
only  our  own  personal  daily  grief,  hurt,  pain,  and  sorrow  that  comes  with
death? And also, as we were pointing out the other day, mankind has suffered
thousands  of  wars,  wars  that  seem  to  have  no  end.  We  have  left  it  to  the
politicians all over the world to bring about peace, and what they are doing, if
you have followed them, will never bring peace. We are all preparing for war.
When you prepare you are going to have some kind of blow up, whether in the
Middle  East,  here  in  the  West,  Far  West  or  in  Asia.  And  we  human  beings
have never been able to live in peace with each other. We talk about it a great
deal. The religions have preached, talked, about peace – peace on earth and
goodwill  and  so  on.  But  apparently  that  has  never  been  possible  –  to  have
peace on earth, on the earth on which we live, which is our earth, and not the
British earth and the French earth and so on, it is our earth. And apparently we
have never been able to resolve the problem of killing each other.
Probably we have violence in our heart. We have never been free from any
sense  of  antagonism,  any  sense  of  retaliation,  never  free  from  our  fears,
sorrows, wounds and the pain of daily existence. Except for the very, very rich
and the people who have position, apparently all the rest of us can never have
peace,  comfort,  always  in  travail.  That  is  part  of  our  life,  part  of  our  daily
suffering. And this suffering, without love man has tried many, many ways to
be  free  of  it,  he  has  suppressed  it,  escaped  from  it,  identified  himself  with
something  greater,  handed  himself  over  to  some  idea,  some  ideals,  beliefs
and  faith  and  so  on.  But  apparently  this  sorrow  can  never  end.  We  have
become  accustomed  to  it,  we  put  up  with  it,  we  tolerate  it,  we  never  ask   151
ourselves seriously, with a great sense of awareness, whether it is possible to
end sorrow.
And  we  also  should  talk  about,  together  talk  over  the  whole  immense
implications of death because death is part of life, though we have postponed,
avoided even talking about it, it is there. So we ought to go into that too. And
whether love, not the remembrance of pleasure which has nothing to do with
love and compassion, whether that love and compassion with its own peculiar
all-comprehending intelligence, whether that love can exist in our life.
These  are  the  problems  or  questions  which  we  are  going  to  talk  over
together this morning.
First of all do we, as human beings, want to be really free from sorrow? Or
we have never actually gone into it, faced it and understood all the movement
of it, what are the implications involved in it, why human beings, who are so
extraordinarily clever in their technological world, why sorrow has never been
resolved. I think it is important to talk it over together this question, and to find
out for ourselves whether sorrow can really end.
We all suffer, in different ways. There is the sorrow of death of someone,
there  is  the  sorrow  of  great  poverty  which  the  East  knows  very  well,  great
sorrow  of  ignorance  –  we  use  the  word  ‘ignorance’  in the sense not of book
knowledge but the ignorance of not knowing totally oneself, the whole complex
activity  of  the  self.  And  if  we  don’t  understand  that  very  deeply  there  is  the
sorrow of that ignorance. And there is the sorrow of never being able to realize
something  fundamentally,  deeply,  though  we  are  very  clever  at  achieving
technological success and success in this world. And also we have never been
able to understand pain, not only physical pain but also the deep psychological
pain.  One  is  sure  that  one  knows  all  these  things,  one  is  aware  of  all  this,
however  learned  or  not  very  erudite,  we  know  all  these  things:  that  there  is
personal  sorrow  of  not  being  beautiful  outwardly  or  inwardly,  there  is  the
sorrow of constant struggle, conflict from the moment we are born until we die,
there is the sorrow of attachment with its fear, with its corruption, and there is   152
the sorrow of not being loved and asking, craving to be loved, and there is the
sorrow of never realizing something beyond thought, that which is eternal. And
ultimately there is the sorrow of death.
Now we have described various forms of sorrow. And the factor of sorrow is
self centred activity – right? We are all so concerned with ourselves, with our
endless problems, with old age, not being able to have a global deep inward
outlook. And together this morning can we go into it, not verbally, intellectually,
but actually realize the sorrow that one has had, or that one is having, and the
sorrow of the whole world.
Physical pain one can understand, do something about it, and perhaps not
register  it,  not  record  it.  I  do  not  know  if  you  have  ever  tried  that.  You  may
have had pain last week and finished with that pain when that pain is over, not
record it. That is possible if you go into it very carefully, it is possible to have
physical pain and end it the moment it is over, not carry the remembrance of it
at all. It is possible so that that pain does not interfere or bring about neurotic
activity in our daily life, and not make that as an excuse to hurt others.
And we bear psychological pain. We all have, as we pointed out the other
day, images of ourselves and about others. The brain is always active in either
daydreaming, being occupied with something or other, or imagining, creating
from that imagination pictures, ideas, and gradually from childhood one builds
this  structure  of  the  image  which  is  me.  And  each  one  of  us  is  doing  this
constantly,  and  it  is  that  image  that  gets  hurt,  which  is  me.  Right?  As  we
pointed out, when one is hurt there is this resistance, which is building a wall
round oneself not to be hurt anymore and therefore more fear and isolation,
and  the  feeling  of  having  no  relationship  and  encouraging  loneliness  which
brings about sorrow also. I hope we are together thinking, following this and
not merely listening to a series of words and ideas which will become rather
boring.  But  if  we  actually  see,  are  aware  how  this  hurt,  with  all  its
consequences,  is  part  of  our  life,  and  whether  those  wounds  can  ever   153
disappear completely because if that doesn’t disappear completely it is part of
our sorrow. Are you following this? Are we thinking together?
And there is this pain of isolation, separateness. Not only as a race, as a
community, as a nation, but also isolating ourselves as an individual, and all
the consequences, the travail, the misery of that individual. And our activity is
always self centred, which is one of the factors of isolation.
Now  the  question  then  is,  after  having  described  the  various  forms  of
sorrow, whether we can look at it without verbalization, without running away
from  it,  or  by  intellectual  adaptation  to  some  other  form  of  a  religious  or
intellectual conclusion, but to look at it completely, not move away from it, stay
with it. You understand? What we mean by that is, suppose I have a son who
is deaf and dumb, who may die, and I am responsible, I have produced him.
And it gives sorrow knowing that he can never look at the beautiful sky, never
hear the running waters. And there is this sorrow, to remain with it, not move
away  from  it.  You  understand?  Are  you  following?  That  is,  I  have  this  great
pain, this sorrow, either of his deformity, or the death of someone with whom I
have lived for many years and the ending of that person. There is this sorrow.
Sorrow  is  the  essence  of  isolation  –  right?  I  wonder  if  you  understand  that?
Right?  When  we  are  totally  isolated,  completely  alone  and  that  feeling  is
sorrow. Now to remain completely with that feeling, not verbalize it, rationalize
it, escape from it, transcend it, all the movement that thought brings about. Are
we meeting each other? So that when there is that sorrow, and when thought
doesn’t  enter  into  it  at  all,  which  means that you are completely sorrow, not
that you are trying to overcome sorrow, you are totally sorrow. And when there
is that totality of it then there is the disappearance of it. It is only when there is
fragmentation then there is travail. You understand this? Are we meeting each
other?
So  when  there  is  sorrow,  to  remain  with  it  without a single movement of
thought, and the wholeness of sorrow is not that I am in sorrow, I am sorrow.
So there is no fragmentation involved in sorrow. So when there is that totality   154
of that, and there is no movement away from that, then there is the withering
away of it – right? Are we together in this?
You  see  without  ending  sorrow  how  can  there  be  love?  We  have
associated  sorrow  and  love  strangely  together.  I  love  my  son  and  when  he
dies I am full of sorrow. So we have associated sorrow with love. Now we are
asking when there is suffering can love exist at all? We are asking then: is love
desire? Is love pleasure? And when that desire, that pleasure, is denied, there
is suffering. And we say suffering as jealousy, attachment, possession and all
that is part of love. That is our conditioning, that is how we are educated, that
is part of our great inheritance, tradition. Now we are asking: love and suffering
cannot  possibly  go  together.  Right?  That  is  not  a  dogmatic  statement,  a
rhetorical  assertion,  but  when  one  looks  into  the  depth  of  sorrow  and
understands  the  movement  of  it,  in  which  is  involved  pleasure,  desire,
attachment,  and  the  consequences  of  that  attachment  which  brings  about
corruption,  if  we  are  tied  to  anything  it  will  bring  corruption  inevitably.  And
when one is aware without any choice, without any movement, aware of the
whole nature of sorrow, then can love exist with sorrow? You understand? Or
love is something entirely different? I think we ought to be clear that devotion
to  a  person,  to  a  symbol,  to  the  family,  to  something  or  other,  is  not  love  –
right? Please, is it? I am devoted to you for various reasons, there is a motive
behind that devotion. Love has no motive – right? If there is a motive it is not
love,  obviously.  If  you  give  me  pleasure,  sexually,  various  forms  of  comfort,
dependency, the motive is I depend on you because you give me something in
return. And as we live together I call that love. Is it?
So one questions where there is motive can love exist? And where there is
ambition, whether in the physical world, or in the psychological world; ambition
to be on top of everything, to be a great success, to have power, religiously, or
physically;  where  there  is  aggression,  competitiveness,  jealousy,  can  love
exist? Obviously, not. But we recognize it cannot exist and yet we go on. Look
what happens to our brain when we are playing such kinds of tricks. I say, «I
love  you»,  I  have  a  motive  behind  that  love.  I  am  ambitious,  I  want  to  be   155
spiritually next to god, specially on his right hand! I want to achieve illumination
–  you  know,  all  that  deception.  You  cannot  achieve  illumination.  You  cannot
possibly  achieve  that  which  is  beyond  time.  But  that  is  our  constant
endeavour,  psychologically.  So  I  am  ambitious,  competitive,  conforming,
jealous, fearful, hating, all that is going on psychologically, inwardly. Either we
are  conscious  of  it,  or  deliberately  avoiding  it.  And  yet  I  say  to  my  wife  or
father,  or  whatever  it  is,  «I  love  you».  So  what  happens  when  there  is  such
deep  contradiction  in  my  life,  in  my  relationship? How can that contradiction
have any sense of deep integrity? You are following all this? And yet this is
what we are doing until we die.
So can there be no ambition and yet live in this world – go to the office,
factory, being a Shop Steward – oh, you may not know that word – the ambition
of  a  guru  –  you  understand?  Can  one  live  in  this  world  without  ambition,
without  competition?  Look  what  is  happening  in  the  outward  world.  There  is
competition  between  various  nations,  which  is  taking  place,  please  look  at
what is happening in the world for god’s sake. The politicians are competing
with each other, economically, technologically, in the instruments of war, they
are  competing  and  so  we  are  destroying  ourselves.  We  allow  this  to  go  on
because we are also inwardly competitive. When we realize the politicians are
never going to solve a thing, but if we are totally responsible for ourselves and
have this deep integrity then we affect the consciousness of the world.
As we pointed out, if a few of us really understand this whole movement of
what we have been talking about for the last sixty years, and if a few of us are
really deeply involved and have brought about the end of fear, sorrow and so
on,  it  will  affect  the  whole  consciousness  of  mankind?  You  are  doubtful
whether it will affect the consciousness of mankind? Hitlers have affected the
consciousness of mankind – right? Napoleon, the Ceasars, the butchers of the
world  have  affected  mankind.  And  also  the  good  people  have  affected
mankind.  I  mean  good  people,  not  respectable  people,  but  the  good  being
those  who  live  a  life  wholly,  not  fragmented.  And  the  great  teachers  of  the
world  have  affected  human  consciousness.  Individuals  have  affected  human   156
consciousness. But if there were a group of people who understand all this,
what  we  have  been  talking  about,  not  verbally  but  actually  live  that  life  with
great integrity, then it will affect the whole consciousness of man. This is not a
theory; this is an actual fact, because great warriors have affected mankind. If
you understand that simple fact you will see it goes right through: television,
newspapers, everything is affecting the consciousness of man.
So love cannot exist where there is a motive, where there is attachment,
where  there  is  ambition  and  competitiveness,  and  love  is  not  desire  and
pleasure.  Just  feel  that,  see  it.  And  also  what  is  the  relationship  between
human beings when death occurs, when death takes place? Right? Let’s talk
about it together.
Because we are going through all this in order to bring about order in our
life – right? Order in our house, which has no order, where there is so much
disorder in our life. And without establishing an order that is whole, integral,
meditation has no meaning whatsoever. See the logic of it. Right? Because if
my house is not in order I may sit in meditation, hoping that through meditation
I  will  bring  order.  But  what  happens  when  I  am  living  in  disorder  and  I
meditate?  I  have  fanciful  dreams  and  illusions  and  all  kinds  of  nonsensical
results. But a sane man, intelligent, logical, must first establish order in daily
life, then we can to into the depths of meditation together, and the meaning of
that meditation, the beauty of it, the greatness of it, the worth of it and so on.
We have  also  to  understand what death is. Whether we are very young,
middle aged or old, it is part of our life, as love is part of our life, pain is part of
our life, agony, suspicion, arrogance, all that is part of our life. But we do not
take death as part of our life. We want to postpone it, put it as far away from us
as possible, to have a time interval, space between the living and the dying.
So we ought to, together, go into this question, which is again rather complex,
what death is. If you have observed, and I am sure you have, all religions have
somehow avoided this question. Avoided it in the sense, in the Christian world
it is, you know, somebody suffers for you. And in the Asiatic world there is the   157
whole idea that you have lived in the past, you will die and be born next life. If
you are going to be born next life, live rightly now, lead a righteous life, lead a
life which doesn’t harm, hurt others, which is not cruel and so on. But those
who believe in an after life, in the Asiatic world don’t care a pin about leading a
righteous life. It is just a belief and like all beliefs it has no substance.
So putting all that aside, the Christian concept of death and suffering, and
the Asiatic conclusion about reincarnation, karma, that which you sow you will
pay, that is part of that Asiatic concept, putting those two aside, the Christian
and the Asiatic, concern or explanation or lack of confrontation with death, let
us  together  go  into  it.  It  may  be  unpleasant  because  nobody  wants  to  face
that. You are living now, healthily, having pleasure, fear, anxiety, there is the
tomorrow, hope, all that. And one doesn’t want to be concerned with the other
thing which is the ending of all this. So if we are intelligent, sane, rational, we
have  to  face  not  only  the  living,  the  implications  of  the  living,  but  also  the
implications  of  dying.  We  must  know  both.  That  is  the  wholeness  of  life,  in
which there is no division.
So  what  is  death,  apart  from  the  physical  ending,  biological  usage  of  an
organism  that  has  lived  wrongly,  drinks,  drugs,  over  indulgence,  asceticism,
denial, you know this constant battle between the opposites, not a balanced
harmonious  living,  but  extremes,  and  so  the  body  goes  through  a  great
struggle imposed by thought? I don’t know if you realize that: thought dictates
and the body is controlled by thought, and thought being limited, as we went
into, so everything it does brings about disharmony. And we live in disharmony
physically, forcing it, controlling it, subjugating it, driving it – this is what we are
all doing. Fasting, you know, Northern Ireland, for political or religious reasons,
it is the same thing, violence. The body can endure for many years, old age,
not get senile. And as the body will inevitably come to an end, the organism
will die, is that what is death? Is the organism coming to an end, either through
some disease, old age, accidents, it will come to an end, and is that what we
are  concerned  about  with  death?  Is  it  –  please  follow  this  –  is  it  thought
identifies  itself  with  the  body,  with  the  name,  with  the  form,  with  all  the   158
memories, and says «Death must be avoided»? So is that what we are afraid
of? The coming to an end of a body that has been looked after, cared for, if
you care for it, dies? I don’t think we are afraid of that specially. We are a little
bit  slyly  anxious  about  it  but  that  is  not  of  great  importance.  But  what  is  far
more  important  for  us  is  to  end  the  relationships  that  we  have  had,  the
pleasures that we have had, the memories, pleasant and unpleasant, the thing
that  we  call  living  –  right?  The  daily  living,  going  to  the  office,  factory,  doing
some  skilful  job,  having  a  family,  being  attached  to  the  family,  with  all  the
memories of that family, my son, my daughter, my wife, my husband, that unit,
which  is  fast  disappearing  but  there  is  that  feeling  of  being  related  to
somebody, though in that relationship there is great pain, anxiety and all the
rest of it, it is there. I am at home with somebody. Or you are not at home with
anybody. If you are not at home with anybody, then that has its own sorrow.
So  is  that  what  we  are  afraid  of?  The  ending  of  my  relationship,  my
attachments,  the  ending  of  something  I  have  known,  something  to  which  I
have clung, something in which I have specialized all my life, and all that I am
afraid of ending – right? That is, the ending of all that is me – right? All that, the
family, the name, the form, the tradition, the inheritance, cultural education, the
racial inheritance, all that is me, me that is struggling, me that is happy – is that
what  we  are  afraid  of?  The  ending  of  me,  which  is  all  that?  Which  is,  the
ending  psychologically  of  the  life  which  I  am  leading,  the  life  which  I  know
psychologically with its pain, sorrow, all that, is that what we are afraid of?
And  if  we  are  afraid  of  that,  and  have  not  resolved  that  fear,  death
inevitably  comes,  and  what  happens  to  that  consciousness  –  please  listen  –
what happens to that consciousness which is not your consciousness, which
we  went  into  very  thoroughly,  it  is  the  consciousness  of  mankind,
consciousness of the vast humanity, not my consciousness – we went into that
very carefully and I won’t go into it now, I haven’t time. So please see as long
as I am afraid as an individual with my limited consciousness, it is that that I
am afraid of – right? Are you following this? It is that which I am scared of. And
to avoid that I go through all kinds of nonsense, Gabriel and you know all that   159
stuff. And I realize, one realizes that is not a fact – right? It is not a fact that my
consciousness is totally separate from everybody else – right? It is an illusion,
it is an absurdity, it is illogical, it is unsanitary, if I can use that word, unhealthy.
So – follow this carefully – I realize this, perhaps in my heart, in my feeling, I
realize that I am the whole of mankind, not an individual consciousness, that is
too  silly,  illogical,  it  has  no  meaning.  And  I,  who  have  lived  this  kind  of  life,
which is pain, which is sorrow, which is anxiety, all that, if my brain has not
transformed some of all that, my life is only further confusion to the wholeness.
You understand? I wonder if you understand this? But if I live it, realize that my
consciousness  is  the  consciousness  of  mankind,  and  for  the  human
consciousness I am totally responsible, then freedom from the limitation of that
consciousness  becomes  extraordinarily  important,  because  then  I  am
contributing  or  I  am  breaking  down  the  limitation  of  that  consciousness.  So
death has a totally different meaning. You are following? Are we meeting each
other?
Look sirs: I have lived a so-called individual life, concerned about myself,
my problems. And those problems never end, they are increasing. I live that
kind of life. I have been brought up, educated, conditioned to that kind of life.
You come along and tell me pleasantly, as a friend, or you like me, or you love
me, you tell me: look, your consciousness is not yours. You suffer, so do other
people suffer and so on. I have gone into this. So you tell me all that. I listen to
it  and  it  makes  sense  to  me.  I  won’t  reject  what  you  say  because  it  makes
logical sense, sanity and I see in what you have told me that perhaps there
can be peace in the world. So I have listened to you, and I say to myself, now
can I be free from fear? Right? Because I am responsible totally for the whole
of  consciousness  –  right?  So  when  I  am  investigating  fear  and  the  moving
away  from  fear  I  am  helping  the  total  human  consciousness  to  lessen  fear.
You  understand?  Is  this  somewhat  clear?  Then  death  has  a  totally  different
meaning.  Not  that  I  am  going  to  sit  next  to  god  or  I  am  going  to  heaven
through some peculiar nebulae, but I am living a life which is not my particular
life. I am living a life of the whole of humanity and if I understand death, if I end   160
grief, I am cleansing the whole of the consciousness of mankind. That is why it
is important to understand the meaning of death. And perhaps death has great
significance,  great  relationship  with  love  because  where  you  end  something
love is. When you end completely attachment, then love is. Right? Right sirs.    161
Saanen 7th Public Talk
26th July 1981
We have been talking about the complex problem of existence. We have
talked  about  forming  images  in  our  relationship  with  each  other,  the  images
which thought has projected and which we worship. We have also talked about
fear, pleasure and the ending of sorrow. We have also gone into the question
of  what  is  love,  without  all  the  travail  that is involved in that word. We have
also  talked  about  compassion  with  its  intelligence.  And  we  ought  now,  this
morning, to talk about what is religion.
Most  of  the  intellectuals  throughout  the  world  shy  away  from  that  word.
They see what religions are in the present world, with their beliefs, with their
dogmas,  with  their  rituals,  and  the  hierarchical  set-up  of  the  established
religion.  And  they  rather  scoff  at  it  and  run  away  from  anything  to  do  with
religion. And as they get older, get very near that threshold called death, they
begin  to  revert  to  their  old  conditioning:  they  either  become  Catholics  or
pursue some guru, or trot off, if they have money, to India or to Japan. And
religion throughout the world has  lost  totally  its  creditability,  it  no  longer  has
any  significance  in  daily  life.  They  may  go  to  the  marvellous  cathedrals,
churches, and all the things that go on in them, but their heart isn’t in it. The
more you examine, the more you criticize, the more one is aware of the whole
content of all the religious structure, one becomes very sceptical, very doubtful
of the whole business. And so the intellectuals have nothing to do with it. And
those who are not, either treat it romantically, emotionally, or something you
go to to be entertained.
But if one puts aside all the intellectual, the romantic, sentimental attitude
towards  religion,  one  can  then  begin  to  ask,  not  with  any  naivety  but  with
seriousness, in which is included doubt, one begins to ask: what is religion –
not  the  mere  meaning  of  that  word,  the  etymological  meaning,  but  deeply,
what is religion? Man, from the ancient of times, has always thought that their
must  be  something  beyond  the  ordinary  daily  life,  the  ordinary  misery,   162
confusion, conflict of daily life. And in his search he has invented all kinds of
philosophies, all kinds of images, created all kinds of images from the ancient
Egyptians and the ancient Hindus to modern times, but he always gets caught
apparently  in  some  kind  of  illusion.  He  begins  to  delude  himself.  And  out  of
that illusion he begins to create all kinds of activities. And again, if we could
brush  all  that  aside,  because  we  have  examined  it  sufficiently,  gone  into  it
fairly  deeply,  with  all  the  contemporary  religions,  then  one  begins  to  ask
oneself: what is, and if there is something, beyond all the contagion of thought,
all the corruption of time? If there is something beyond the usual existence in
space  and  time.  And  if  we  begin  to  ask  that  of  ourselves,  how  shall  we  set
about it? Is any kind of preparation necessary? Discipline, sacrifice, control, all
that – a certain period of preparation and then advance.
And we are asking ourselves, we are thinking together, if there is anything
beyond, and if one does not hypnotize oneself, if one is free from illusion, then
one can begin to examine, enquire very profoundly, what is truth and if there is
any path to it, or there is no path, or how can the mind reach that, or come to
it?
So we are going together this morning, together, to enquire, explore into
these  problems.  First  of  all  it  is  important  to  understand,  is  it  not,  that  one
should be free of all illusions, otherwise the mind remains in various forms and
varieties  of  illusions.  So  what  creates  illusions?  Is  it  not  desire,  wanting  to
reach something, wanting to experience something, wanting to have, desiring
something  out  of  the  ordinary,  extra-sensory  perception,  visions,  spiritual
experiences, and so on. So one must be very clear as to the nature of desire,
which  we  talked  about  considerably  in  the  past  talks,  and  understand  the
movement of desire, which is thought with its image, which we went into, and
also  to  have  no  motive  in  our  enquiry.  That  is  very  difficult:  to  have  no
intention, to have no sense of direction, then the brain is free to really enquire.
Again,  we  have  been  into  these  problems  right  through  our  talks.  We  said
there must be order in our house, in our existence, in our relationship, in our
activity. Without that order, which is freedom, there can be no virtue. Virtue,   163
righteousness, is not something that is intellectually cultivated. Where there is
order there is virtue, and the order is something that is living, not a routine, a
habit.
And  another  point  is:  is  there  something  to  be  learnt?  We  are  thinking
together please. Is there something to be learnt from another? You can learn
from  another  history,  biology,  mathematics,  physics,  the  whole  technological
world with all its complex knowledge, you can learn from another, from a book,
from  one  who  has  already  studied  all  that.  And  is  there  something  to  be
learned  from  another  psychologically?  Please,  this  is  an  important  question
that we must investigate together: to learn from another psychologically about
ourselves, about that which is eternal, if there is something eternal. Or there is
nothing  to  learn  from  another  because  all  the  human  experience,  all  the
psychological  knowledge  that  one  has,  that  humanity  has  gathered  together
for millions of years, is within oneself. You are following? Therefore if that is
so,  that  is,  we  are  the  rest  of  mankind,  our  consciousness  is  the  whole  of
mankind,  and  our  consciousness  is  that.  And  it  seems  rather  absurd  and
rather naive to go out and learn from somebody else about ourselves, because
it  requires  a  clarity  of  observation  to  learn  about  ourselves.  That  is  simple.
There is no psychological authority and therefore there is no spiritual authority,
because the whole history of mankind, which is the story of humanity, is in us.
Right? Therefore there is nothing to experience. I wonder if you see this. There
is nothing to be learnt from somebody who says, «I know». Or, «I will show you
the path to truth». This has been the whole trend of the priests throughout the
world. They are the interpreters between the highest and the common. From
the  ancient  of  days  they  have  played  this  game.  And  to  learn  about,  to
understand ourselves, all that authority must be set aside – right? Obviously.
Because that authority is part of us. We are the priests, we are the disciples,
we are the teachers, we are the experience, we are the ultimate, if we know
how to understand – right?
So  there  is  nothing  to  be  learnt  from  somebody,  including  the  speaker,
specially  from  the  speaker,  because  one  greatly  accepts  other  people’s   164
influence,  impressions  –  right?  So  one  has  to  be  free  to  enquire.  And  to
enquire  very,  very  deeply,  not  superficially  because  we  have  done  all  the
superficial enquiry during the last six or sixty years, and we have come to the
point when we say we have more or less established order in our life, more or
less,  and  as  we  go  along  we  will  establish  greater  order,  then  we  can  ask:
what is the religious mind which can understand what is meditation? – which
we are going into.
Within  the  last  perhaps  ten,  fifteen  years,  that  word  has  become  very
popular in the West. Before only very few who had been to Asia or India talked
and  enquired  into  their  form  of  meditation,  because  the  Asiatics  and  the
Hindus have said – we will call the Hindus and the Asiatics one word – Asiatics
– the Asiatics have said only through meditation can you come to, understand
that which is timeless, which has no measure. But during the last ten or fifteen
years those who have nothing to do call themselves gurus, come over to the
West and have brought that word. It became a word that rather made it like a
drug.  The  word  ‘meditation’  actually  means,  the  dictionary  meaning,  to  think
over,  ponder  over,  be  concerned  with  and  so  on.  And  these  people  who
brought that word from the East sold it to those gullible people, you paid for it,
paid for the mantras which they brought, and you gradually learned their tricks.
And also you learnt the various mantras which they brought along. You know
the word, I am sure, like guru, mantra, meditation, is part of the daily common
coin.  The  word  ‘mantra’  in  Sanskrit,  I  believe,  means consider, ponder over,
meditate,  in  not  becoming.  You  understand?  –  not  becoming.  And  also  that
word means to put aside all self-centred activity. Mantra means that. Which is,
ponder  over,  meditate  on  not  becoming  and  put  away  altogether  the  self-
centred  activity  –  right?  That  is  the  real  meaning  of  that  word  mantra.  You
cannot sell that. You cannot go to somebody and say, «Give me money and I
will  tell  you».  And  those  people  who  have  done  it  have  become  enormously
rich people, it has become something commercial.
And also there have been various systems of meditation – the Tibetan, the
Hindu,  the  Japanese,  Zen  and  so  on  and  so  on.  Right?  And  these  systems   165
have  been  invented  by  thought,  obviously.  And  thought  being  limited  the
systems must inevitably be limited. And also they become mechanical if you
repeat, repeat, repeat, your mind naturally goes dull, rather stupid and utterly
gullible.  Right?  It  is  common  sense  all  this,  but  we  are  all  so  eager  to
experience something spiritual, either through drugs, through alcohol, or follow
a system that you hope will give you some kind of exciting experience because
we are bored with our own daily life, going to the office for the next forty years,
at the end of it die, we are bored with all that. We are bored with our present
religions  and  so  somebody  comes  along  and  brings  some  fantastic  notions
and  we  fall  for  it.  This  is  happening.  We  are  not  exaggerating,  we  are  not
attacking anybody personally but we are just examining the nonsense that is
going on.
So if one is sufficiently aware of all this and has put aside all this, because
it  is  utterly  meaningless,  you  don’t  have  to  go  to  India,  or  to  Tibet,  or  god
knows  somewhere  else,  or  even  to  Rome,  because  if  one  uses  not  only
common  sense  but  has  a  critical  mind,  a  mind  that  is  questioning,  not  only
what others say but also questioning yourself, which is far more important, not
to  accept  anything  that  you  yourself  see  that  it  is  correct  or  noble  or  real
experience, to question it, to have a mind that is capable, rational, sane, that is
essential. And to have a mind that is free from all the illusions, a form of self-
hypnosis. If that is possible in a world that has more or less gone mad, violent,
terror, wars, the atomic bomb and the computer that is going to take over all
the activities of thought. Then what is a human being? The human being has
lived on thought; all the architecture, all the music, the things that are inside
the  churches,  the  temples  and  mosques,  they  are  all  put  there  by  thought,
invented by thought. All our relationship is based on thought, though we say, «I
love you», it is still part of the image which thought has created about another.
So  thought  to  us  is  astonishingly  important,  and  thought  itself,  as  we  have
examined  very  carefully,  is  limited,  it  has  the  capacity  to  break  up,  to  bring
about fragmentation between people, as my religion, my country, my god, my   166
belief  and  so  on  and  so  on,  all  that  is  the  movement  of  thought:  thought,
space, and time, which we talked about.
Now together, if we have gone that far, we can begin to examine what is
actually meditation. The Christian form of that is contemplation. Contemplation
is different from meditation. Meditation is the capacity of the brain, which is no
longer functioning partially – which we talked about also – but the brain that has
freed itself from its conditioning and therefore functioning as a whole, such a
brain is different from mere contemplation. I can be conditioned as a Christian,
a Hindu, whatever you will, and also contemplate from my background, from
my  conditioning.  That  contemplation  does  not  free  my  conditioning.  But
meditation demands, and therefore it becomes extraordinarily serious, and it
requires a great deal of enquiry and attention not to function partially, which we
again explained carefully. By partially we mean in a particular specialization, or
to function in a particular occupation, to narrowly make the brain, or allow the
brain  to  accept  beliefs,  traditions,  dogmas,  rituals,  which  are  only  partial.  All
those are invented by thought. The Christians have this word ‘faith’. And if one
has faith in god, or whatever you will, things will be all right, or things will come
out all right! This has been the slogan for two thousand years. And the Asiatics
have their own form of faith – karma, reincarnation, evolution, time and so on.
So meditation is different from contemplation in the sense that meditation
demands  that  the  brain  is  no  longer  conditioned  to  act  partially  but  wholly.
Right?  That  is  the  requirement  for  meditation,  otherwise  meditation  has  no
meaning.
So the question then is: is it possible, living in this world, which demands
certain  forms  of  specialization;  a  skilful  carpenter,  skilful  mechanic,  skilful
mathematician, or a very skilful housewife, it doesn’t matter, living in this world
which demands this and yet to be free from specialization. I wonder if we are
together in this? Suppose I am a physicist, that is, theoretical physicist and I
have  spent  my  life,  most  of  my  life  in  formulating  mathematically,  thinking
about  it,  questioning  it,  asking,  cultivating  a  tremendous  knowledge  about  it,   167
and  my  brain  has  become  specialized,  narrowed  down,  and  yet  I  begin  to
enquire  into  meditation.  Right?  And  in  my enquiry into meditation I can only
partially understand the significance and the depth of that word because I am
anchored in something else – right? I wonder if we are meeting each other?
Right?  I  am  anchored  in  my  theoretical  physics  as  my  profession;  anchored
there  I  begin  to  enquire  theoretically  whether  there  is  the  timeless,  whether
there is meditation and so on. So my enquiry becomes partial again – right?
But I have to live in this world, I am a professor at some university. I have got a
wife, children, I have the responsibility of all that and perhaps I am also ill. I
have got the responsibility of all that, and yet I want to enquire very profoundly
into the nature of truth, which is part of meditation. So my approach is partial.
So my question is: is it possible to be specialized as a carpenter and yet leave
it at a certain level so that my brain, the brain which is common brain to all
humanity – this is very difficult for people to accept, your brain is not your brain,
it has been growing for millions of years, accumulating all kinds of things, and
so  on,  knowledge,  it  is  not  yours,  your  consciousness  is  not  your
consciousness, which you readily accept but you would rather resist when we
say that your brain is not yours, it has grown through space and time, which is
common to all humanity. This we won’t go into now.
So  my  question  is:  being  specialized,  can  my  brain  say,  yes  it  has  its
function but that function is not going to interfere – right? I wonder if you are
understanding all this? I am a carpenter, I know the quality of wood, the tools,
the grain, the beauty of the wood and so on. I say, yes, that is natural, I must
have  that,  but  the  brain  that  has  cultivated  the  speciality  cannot  possibly
understand the wholeness of meditation – right? If I as a carpenter understand
this, the truth of it, that I as a carpenter have a place, but that specialization
has  no  place  in  the  wholeness  of  comprehension,  in  the  wholeness  of
understanding meditation. If I see the truth of that then specialization becomes
a small affair. Right? Are we meeting?
So  then  we  begin  to  ask:  what  is  meditation?  Why  certain  parts  of  the
world,  the  Asiatic  world,  have  given  importance  to  this  word.  Asia  is  not   168
geographically  separate  from  the  rest  of  the  world  –  it  is  geographically
separate but Asia is you and me – right? Because we are part of humanity, part
of  our  consciousness,  we  are  the  rest  of  humanity.  So  when  one  part  of
humanity has given a great deal of time for two or three four thousand years,
as the Egyptians have done, as the Hindus have done, it is part of our enquiry
to find out.
First of all meditation demands attention – right? To attend, which is to give
your  whole  capacity,  energy,  in  observation.  Attention  is  different  from
concentration.  I  hope  you  are  following  all  this.  Are  we  together  in  this?
Concentration is an effort made by thought to focus its capacity as energy on a
particular  point  –  right?  That  is  concentration.  When  you  are  in  a  school  the
teacher says, concentrate on your book, don’t look out of the window, look at
your beastly book. And you are trained to concentrate, that is. to bring all your
energy  to  a  particular  point.  Which  means  in  that  concentration  you  are  not
allowing any kind of other thoughts to interfere, that is to control; concentration
implies  controlling  thought,  not  to  wander  away  –  right?  I  hope  you  are
following this – but to focus your thought on a particular subject, on a particular
page,  on  a  particular  picture.  Which  is,  thought  says  that  it  is  important  to
focus  my  attention,  focus  my  energy  on  that  –  right?  It  is  the  operation  of
thought.  I  wonder  if  you  see.  It  is  the operation  of  thought  in  which  there  is
compulsion, control, which says, «Look».
So in concentration, please understand this carefully if you don’t mind, in
concentration there is the controller and the controlled – right? My thought is
wandering off, I say it should not wander off, I bring it back, the controller who
says, «I must concentrate on this». So there is a controller and the controlled –
right? Who is the controller? The controller is part of thought, the controller is
the past – right? The controller who says, «I have learnt a great deal and it is
important  for  me,  the  controller,  to  control  thought.»  That  is,  thought  has
divided itself as the controller and the controlled, so it is a trick that thought is
playing upon itself. I wonder if you see all this. Please we must understand this
very  carefully  because  in  attention  there  is  no  controller,  nor  the  controlled,   169
there is only attention. So it requires a careful examination into the nature of
concentration with its controller and the controlled – right? All our life there is
this controller – I must do this, I must not do that, I must control my desires,
control my anger, control my impetus – you know, control, control. Therefore I
have  gradually  learnt  to  inhibit  myself  and  there  are  those  people  who  say,
«Don’t inhibit, do whatever you like» – right? That is the game also being played
by the gurus.
So one must be very clear in understanding what is concentration and what
is attention. As we are pointing out, in attention, that is to attend, there is no
controller.  Please  understand  this  because  as  we  are  going  to  find  out
presently: is there a way of living our daily life in which there is no controller?
Right? That is part of meditation. I wonder if you see. This is a question one
must ask oneself. Is there, in daily existence, a way of living in which every
form of control doesn’t exist at all, because control means effort, control means
division between the controller and the controlled. I am angry, I must control
my anger. I smoke, I must not smoke and I must resist smoking – right? And so
on and so on. What we are saying is something totally different and therefore it
may be misunderstood and may be rejected altogether, which is very common
because  we  say  all  life  is  a  control.  If  you  don’t  control  you  will  become
permissive, nonsensical, it has no meaning, therefore you must control – right?
Religions,  philosophy,  your  teachers,  family,  mother,  control.  But  we  have
never enquired into who is the controller. The controller is put together in the
past, the past is the knowledge, which is thought, thought has separated itself
as the controller and the controlled. And concentration is all that.
And  in  understanding  that  we  are  asking  a  much  more  fundamental
question, which is: can one live in this world with a family and all the rest of it,
without  a  shadow  of  control?  Right?  First  of  all,  see  the  beauty  of  that
question. Because our brain has been trained for thousands of years to inhibit,
to control, control, it is never operating with the wholeness of the brain – right?
See  what  it  is  doing  for  yourself.  You  are  not  learning  from  me,  from  the
speaker,  you  are  watching  your  own  brain  in  operation,  rationally,  a  critical   170
examination in which there is no deception, hypnosis and so on. And most of
the  meditations  that  have  been  put  forward  from  the  Asiatic  world,  are  to
control; control thought so that you have a mind that is at peace, you have a
mind  that  is  quiet,  not  eternally  chattering.  Because  silence,  quietness,
absolute stillness of the mind, brain, is necessary in order to perceive – right?
Therefore  all  the  types  of  meditation,  however  subtle,  have  the  basis  to
control; or hand yourself over to some guru, to some ideal – right? And forget
yourself because you have given yourself over to something and therefore you
are  at  peace.  Which  is  again  the  movement  of  thought,  desire  and  the
excitement  of  something  you  have  offered  and  have  been  accepted.  You
follow all this?
So whereas attention is something entirely different. It is not the opposite of
concentration – right? If it is the opposite then the opposite has its root in its
own opposite – right? If love is the opposite of hate, then love is born out of
hate  –  right?  I  wonder  if  you  see  this?  Any  opposite  has  its  root  in  its  own
opposite. So we are saying that attention is not the opposite of concentration,
it  is  totally  divorced  from  it.  So  we  are  going  to  enquire  together,  what  is
attention. Does it need effort? Right? That is one of our principal activities, I
must make an effort. I am lazy, I don’t want to get up this morning but I must
get up. Make an effort – right? I don’t want to do something but I must. (I am
getting tired of this.)
See  how  extraordinary  it  is  that  we  cannot  catch  the  significance  of  this
immediately.  It  has  to  be  explained,  explained,  explained.  We  seem  to  be
incapable of direct perception between concentration and attention. Right? To
have an insight into attention and be attentive. We will go into it.
When does attention take place? Obviously not through effort. When you
make an effort to be attentive, it is an indication that you are inattentive and
trying to make that inattention become attention – you understand? (I am tired
of these explanations.) Personally I have never learned about any of all this
nonsense. Personally nobody explained all this to me, thank god! Personally I   171
have  never  read  about  all  this,  it  wouldn’t  be  authentic,  it  would  have  no
meaning.  But  to  have  quick  insight,  you  understand?  To  see  instantly  the
falseness of all religious organizations, all of them, and therefore you are out
of it. To see instantly that the observer is the observed and therefore no effort,
it  is  so.  It  is  only  effort  exists  when  there  is  division.  You  are  following?  So
does it indicate that our brains have become so dull because we have been
trained, trained, so it has lost its pristine quickness, its capacity to see directly
without  all  the  explanations  and  words,  words,  words.  But  unfortunately  one
has  to  go  into  this  because  our  minds, our  brains  cannot  grasp  instantly  for
example that truth has no path. You understand? To see the immensity of that
statement, the beauty of that statement and put aside all paths – the Asiatic,
the  Western,  North,  South,  East,  West,  so  that  your  brain  becomes
extraordinarily active.
One of the difficulties is that we are becoming mechanical. The computer is
learning more and quicker than we are learning. The computer can go so far
ahead of us. And so if our brains are not extraordinarily alive and active, our
brains will gradually wither away, because now we exist because we have to
think, we have to be active partially, but when the computer can take all the
work, most of the thought, and operate at a rapidity which the brain cannot,
then the brain is going to wither – you understand? Please realize all this, this
is  happening,  it  is  not  an  exaggerated  statement  of  the  speaker,  it  is
happening now. We are unaware of it.
So we are enquiring into what is attention. In concentration there is always
a centre from which you are acting – right? You can see it. This is clear? When
I  concentrate,  I  am  concentrating  for  some  benefit,  for  some  deep  rooted
motive,  for  something  to  gain  and  so  on,  which  is,  from  a  centre  I  am
observing.  Whereas  in  attention  there  is  no  centre  at  all.  When  you  look  at
something  immense,  like  the  mountains,  their  extraordinary  majesty,  the
beauty of the valley, the line against the blue sky, the beauty of it for a moment
drives  out  the  centre  –  haven’t  you  noticed  this?  And  you  are  for  a  second
stunned by the greatness of it. Beauty is that perception when the centre is   172
not. You understand? Like a child given a toy, he is so absorbed by the toy he
is no longer being mischievous, he is completely with the toy. But he breaks
the  toy  and  he  is  back  to  himself.  Right?  So  most  of  us  are  absorbed  by
various  toys.  And  when  the  toys  go  we  are  back  to  ourselves.  Now  in  the
understanding  of  ourselves  without  the  toy,  that  understanding  without  any
direction,  without  any  motive,  that  very  understanding  is  the  freedom  from
specialization which makes the whole of the brain active. Now the whole of the
brain when it is active is total attention.
Now I’ll point out something else. We are always looking or feeling with one
of the senses – right? I like the taste of something, or hear some music, but
one  never  listen,  one  never  looks  at  anything  with  all  one’s  senses  –  right?
Have you ever done it? Oh go on, sirs. When you look at a mountain, because
of its majesty, your senses are fully in operation, therefore you forget yourself –
you  understand?  Now  when  you  look  at  the  movement  of  the  sea  or  the
waters, or the sky and the slip of a moon, when you look at it totally, with all
your  senses,  that  is  complete  attention  in  which  there  is  no  centre.  Which
means that attention is total silence of the brain that is no longer chattering,
completely still. Is it taking place with you now? Is your brain completely still?
Because we are talking about a stillness, an absolute silence of the mind, of
the  brain.  Because  there  are  various  forms  of  silence  –  the  silence  between
two  noises,  the  silence  between  two  notes,  the  silence  between  thoughts  –
right? The silence when you go into a forest, where there is great danger, of a
dangerous animal, everything becomes totally silent. I don’t know if you have
noticed – no you haven’t, here you have killed everything.
So this silence is not put together by thought, or through fear. When you
are really frightened your whole body, your nerves, your brain becomes still –
haven’t  you  noticed  it?  Oh  Lord!  So  this  is  not  that  quality  of  silence,  it  is
entirely different. It is the operation of the whole of the brain with all its sense
active, it is that freedom which brings about total silence of the mind. And it is
only such a mind, such a brain – mind-brain, I don’t want to divide it into two for
the moment, we will stick to the brain – such a brain that is absolutely quiet, not   173
brought  about  by  effort,  by  determination,  by  desire,  by  motive,  it  is  the
freedom  of  order,  which  is  virtue,  righteousness  in  behaviour;  and  in  that
silence alone there is that which is nameless and timeless. That is meditation.    174
Amsterdam 1st Public Talk
19th September 1981
Most unfortunately there are only two  talks  and  so  we have to condense
what we have to say about the whole existence of life. We are not doing any
kind  of  propaganda;  we  are  not  persuading  you  to  think  in  one  particular
direction, nor convince you about anything. We must be quite sure of that. We
are not bringing something exotic from the East, all that nonsense that goes on
in  the  name  of  the  gurus  and  those  people  who  write  strange  things  after
visiting India. We do not belong to that crowd at all. But we would like to point
out that during these two talks we are thinking together; not merely listening to
the  talks,  listening  to  some  ideas,  either  agreeing  or  disagreeing  with  those
ideas, we are not creating any kind of arguments, opinions, judgements, but
together – I mean together, you and the speaker are going to observe what the
world has become, not only in the Western world but also in the East where
there  is  a  great  deal  of  poverty,  great  misery,  an  enormous  amount  of
population, where the politicians, as here in the West, are incapable of dealing
with what is happening. They are all politicians thinking in terms of tribalism.
Tribalism has become the glorified nationalism. And we cannot therefore rely
on any politicians, or on any leader, or on any books that have been written
about  religion.  We  cannot  possibly  rely  on  any  of  these  people,  neither  the
scientists, nor the biologists, nor the psychologists. They have not been able to
solve our human problems. I am quite sure you agree to all that. Nor can we
rely  on  any  of  the  gurus.  Unfortunately  these  people  come  to  the  West  and
exploit people and get very rich, and they have nothing whatsoever to do with
religion.
Having  said  all  that,  it  is  important  that  we,  you  and  the  speaker,  think
together.  We  mean  by  thinking  together  not  merely  accepting  any  kind  of
opinion or evaluation but together observe, not only externally, that is, what is
happening  in  the  world,  but  also  what  is  happening  to  all  of  us  inwardly,
psychologically.  Externally,  outwardly  there  is  great  uncertainty,  confusion,   175
wars, or the threat of war. There are wars going on in some part of the world,
human beings are killing each other. That is not happening in the West, here,
but there is the threat of the nuclear war, the bomb, and the preparation for
war. And we ordinary human beings do not seem to be able to do anything
about all that. There are demonstrations, terrorism, hunger strikes and so on
and so on. This is what is actually going on in the outward world; one tribal
group against another tribal group; the West, America against another country
and  so  on.  The  scientists  are  contributing  to  all  that,  and  the  philosophers,
though  they  may  talk  against  all  that  but  inwardly  they  continue  in  terms  of
nationalism, according to their own particular career and so on. So that is what
is actually going on in the outward world, which any intelligent human being
can observe.
And inwardly, in our own minds and in our own hearts, we are also very
confused.  There  is  no  security,  not  only  perhaps  for  ourselves  but  for  our
future,  our  future  generation.  Religions  have  divided  human  beings  as  the
Christian, the Hindus, the Muslims and the Buddhists and so on.
So  considering  all  this,  looking  objectively,  calmly  without  any  prejudice,
observing, it is naturally important that we think about all this together. Think
together:  not  have  opinions  opposing  another  set  of  opinions;  or  one
conclusion  against  another  conclusion,  one  ideal  against  another  ideal;  but
rather think together and see what we human beings can do. The crisis is not
in  the  economic  world,  nor  in  the  political  world,  but  the  crisis  is  in  our
consciousness. I think very few of us realize that: the crisis is in our mind and
in  our  heart.  That  is,  the  crisis  is  in  our  consciousness.  Our  consciousness,
which is our whole existence with our beliefs, with our conclusions, with our
nationalism,  with  all  the  fears  that  one  has,  the  pleasures,  the  apparently
insoluble problem of sorrow, the thing that we call love, compassion, and the
problem of death, if there is anything hereafter, and the question of meditation,
beyond time, beyond thought, if there is something eternal. That is the content
of our consciousness. That is the content of every human being, whether they
live in this country or in Asia, in India or in America or Russia. The content of   176
our consciousness is the common ground of all humanity. I think this must be
made very clear right from the beginning.
As  a  human  being  living  in  this  part  of  the  world,  he  suffers,  not  only
physically  but  also  inwardly.  He  is  anxious,  uncertain,  fearful,  confused,
anxious, without any sense of deep security. It is the same in Asia, with every
human being there, it is the same in India, it is the same in America, in Russia.
So our consciousness is common to all mankind. Please do listen to this. You
may  be  hearing  this  for  the  first  time  and  so  don’t  please  discard  it.  Let’s
investigate it together, let’s think about it together. Not when you get home but
now. That your consciousness – what you think, what you feel, your reactions,
your anxiety, your loneliness, your sorrow, your pain, the search for something
that  is  not  merely  physical  but  goes  beyond  all  thought,  is  the  same  as  a
person  living  in  India  or  Russia  or  America.  They  go  through  the  same
problems as you do, the same problems of relationship with each other, man,
woman.  So  we  are  all  standing  on  the  same  ground,  consciousness.  Our
consciousness is common to all of us. And therefore we are not individuals.
Please do consider this. We have been trained, educated, religiously as well
as scholastically, that we are separate souls, individuals, striving for ourselves,
but that is an illusion because our consciousness is common to all mankind.
So  we  are  mankind.  We  are  not  separate  individuals  fighting  for  ourselves.
This  is  logical,  this  is  rational,  sane.  So  we  are  not  separate  entities  with
separate psychological content, struggling for ourselves. But we are, each one
of us is actually the rest of human kind.
So  logically,  perhaps  you  will  accept  it  intellectually,  but  if  you  feel  that
profoundly, then our whole activity undergoes a radical change. That is the first
issue that we have to think together about: that our consciousness, the way we
think,  the  way  we  live,  perhaps  more  comfortably,  affluently,  with  greater
facility to travel and so on, apart from that inwardly, psychologically you are
exactly similar to those who live thousands and thousands of miles away.    177
And so we have to think about these problems together. First the problem
of relationship: all life is relationship, the very existence is to be related. And
when you observe what we have done with our relationship with each other,
whether  it  is  intimate  or  not,  whether  between  two  human  beings,  man  and
woman, in that relationship there is tremendous conflict, struggle – why? Why
have human beings who have lived for over a million years, why have they not
solved this problem of relationship? That is, two people living together without
conflict, apparently we have not solved it. So if we could this morning perhaps
for an hour, think together about it. Let’s together observe actually what is that
relationship  between  a  man  and  a  woman,  because  all  society  is  based  on
relationship.  There  is  no  society  if  here  is  no  relationship,  society  becomes
then  an  abstraction.  So  we  should  together,  this  morning,  consider  together
what actually our relationships are.
If one observes it closely there is conflict between man and woman. The
man  has  his  own  ideals,  his  own  pursuits,  his  own  ambition,  he  is  always
seeking  success,  to  be  somebody  in  the  world.  And  also  the  woman  is
struggling, also wanting to be somebody, wanting to fulfil, to become. Each is
pursuing his own direction. So it is like two railway lines running parallel, but
never meeting, perhaps in bed but otherwise, if you observe closely they never
meet actually, psychologically, inwardly – why? That is the question. When we
ask why, we are always asking for the cause; we think in terms of causation,
hoping  thereby  if  we  could  understand  the  cause  then  perhaps  we  would
change the effect. May I ask now – you all understand English I hope. If not I
am talking to myself, which is rather absurd. One has not been in this country
for ten years but one is glad to be back here again, but if we don’t understand
English then I am afraid our communication is not possible. So one hopes that
you understand English as clearly as possible. Unfortunately one can speak in
French or Italian but that would be equally difficult.
So we are asking a very simple but very complex question: why is it that we
human beings have not been able to solve this problem of relationship though
we  have  lived  on  this  earth  for  millions  and  millions  of  years?  Is  it  because   178
each  one  has  his  own  particular  image  put  together  by  thought,  and  our
relationship  is  only  based  on  two  images;  the  image  that  the  man  creates
about  her  and  the  image  the  woman  creates  about  him?  So  we  are  in  this
relationship  two  images  living  together.  That  is  a  fact.  If  you  observe  very
closely yourself, if one may point out, you have created an image about her,
and  she  has  created  a  picture,  a  verbal  structure  about  you,  the  man.  So
relationship  is  between  these  two  images.  These  images  have  been  put
together by thought. And thought is not related to love.
Is thought love? Are all the memories of this relationship with each other,
the remembrances, the pictures, the conclusions about each other, are if one
observes  closely  without  any  prejudice,  are  the  product  of  thought,  are  the
result  of  various  remembrances,  experiences,  irritations,  loneliness.  And  so
our relationship with each other is not love but the image that thought has put
together.
So  we  have  to  examine,  if  we  are  to  understand  the  actuality  of
relationship, we have to understand the whole movement of thought because
we live by thought, all our actions are based on thought; all the great buildings
of the world are put together by thought, all the cathedrals, churches, temples
and mosques are put there by thought, constructed by thought. And what is
inside  all  these  religious  buildings  –  the  inside,  the  figures,  the  symbols,  the
images – are all the inventions of thought. There is no refuting that. So thought
has  created  not  only  the  most  marvellous  architectural  buildings  and  the
contents of those buildings, but also it has created the instruments of war, the
bomb, various forms of that bomb. Thought has also put together the surgeon,
the marvellous instruments, so delicate in surgery. And also thought has made
the carpenter, he must study the wood, the instruments and so on. So thought
has  done  all  this.  The  content  of  a  church  and  the  surgeon,  the  expert
engineer who builds a beautiful bridge, are all the result of thought. There is no
refuting that however much one may argue. So one has to examine what is
thought. Why human beings live on thought. Why thought has brought about
such chaos in the world – war, lack of relationship with each other, the great   179
capacity of thought with its extraordinary energy. And also what thought has
done through millions of years, bringing sorrow for mankind. Please observe
this together, let’s examine it together. Don’t let’s oppose what the speaker is
saying but let’s examine what the speaker is saying together so we understand
what is actually happening to all human beings. We are destroying ourselves.
So we have to go very carefully into the question of thought. Thought is the
response of memory. Memory is not only the remembrance of things past but
also  thought  which  projects  itself  as  hope  in  the  future.  So  thought  is  the
response of memory, memory is knowledge, knowledge is experience. That is,
there  is  experience,  from  experience  there  is  knowledge,  from  knowledge
there  is  memory,  or  remembrance,  and  from  memory  you  act.  So  from  that
action  you  learn,  which  is  further  knowledge.  So  we  live  in  this  cycle  –
experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action. In this cycle human beings
live, always living within the field of knowledge. I hope this is not boring you. If
you  are  bored,  I  am  sorry.  If  you  want  something  romantic,  sentimental,
something that pleases you, I hope you won’t listen. But what we are talking
about  is  very  serious.  It  is  not  something  for  the  weekend,  for  a  casual
listening  because  we  are  concerned  with  the  radical  change  of  human
consciousness.  So  we  have  to  think  about  all  this,  look  together,  see  if  it  is
possible why human beings who have lived on this earth for so many millions
of  years  are  still  as  we  are.  We  may  have  advanced  technologically,  better
communication, better transportation, hygiene and so on, but inwardly we are
the  same,  more  or  less;  unhappy,  uncertain,  lonely,  carrying  the  burden  of
sorrow  endlessly.  And  any  serious  man  confronted  with  this  challenge  must
respond, he can’t take it casually, turn his back on it. That is why this meeting
and  tomorrow  morning’s  meeting  is  very,  very  serious  because  we  have  to
apply  our  minds  and  our  hearts  to  find  out  if  it  is  possible  to  radically  bring
about  a  mutation  in  our  consciousness  and  therefore  in  our  action  and
behaviour.
So as we were saying, thought is born of experience, knowledge and so
there  is  nothing  whatsoever  sacred  about  thought.  It  is  materialistic,  it  is  a   180
process of matter, thinking. And we have relied on that, on thought to solve all
our problems, political, religious, relationship and so on. And our brains, our
minds are conditioned, educated to solve problems. Thought has created the
problem and then our brains, our minds, are trained to solve problems. If you
have an engineering problem you solve it; a problem of disease one solves it
and  so  on.  Our  minds  are  trained  to  solve  problems.  These  problems  are
created  by  thought  psychologically,  inwardly.  You  follow  what  is  happening?
Thought creates the problem psychologically and the mind is trained to solve
problems,  so  thought  creating  the  problem  thought  then  tries  to  solve  the
problem. So it is caught in the same old process, a routine. So problems are
becoming  more  and  more  complex,  more  and  more  insoluble.  So  we  must
find, if it is at all possible, if there is a different way of approaching this life, not
through  thought  because  thought  has  not  solved  our  problems.  On  the
contrary  thought  has  brought  about  greater  complexity.  We  must  find  if  it  is
possible,  or  if  it  is  not  possible,  if  there  is  a  different  dimension,  a  different
approach to life altogether. And that is why it is important to understand the
nature  of  thought,  the  nature  of  our  thinking.  Our  thinking  is  based  on
remembrance,  remembrance  of  things  past.  Which  is,  thinking  about  what
happened a week ago, thinking about it modified in the present, and projected
into  the  future.  This  is  the  movement  of  our  life,  which  is  an  actuality.  So
knowledge has become all important for us but knowledge is never complete.
Knowledge  about  anything  is  still  incomplete,  will  always  be  incomplete.
Therefore  knowledge  always  goes  with  ignorance,  knowledge  always  lives
within the shadow of ignorance. That is a fact. It is not the speaker’s invention,
or conclusion, but that is so.
So love is not knowledge. Love is not remembrance. Love is not desire or
pleasure.  Desire,  pleasure,  remembrance  are  based  on  thought.  So  our
relationship  with  each  other,  however  close,  however  near,  if  you  look  at  it
closely,  is  based  on  remembrance,  which  is  thought.  So  in  that  relationship
actually, though one may say you love your wife or your husband or your girl
friend  and  so  on,  it  is  actually  based  on  remembrance,  which  is  thought.   181
Therefore in that there is no love. Would you actually see that fact? Or do we
say, ‘What terrible things you are saying. I do love my wife’ – but is that so?
Can there be love when there is jealousy, possessiveness, attachment, when
each one is pursuing his own particular ambition, greed, envy, direction, like
two parallel lines never meeting. Is that love? So one has to enquire if one is to
pursue the problem of existence seriously, profoundly, one must examine what
is desire. Why human beings have been driven by desire. Can the speaker go
on with all this? Sorry, you have to bear this but it is your fault that you are
here!  And  perhaps  also  the  speaker’s!  I  hope  we  are  thinking  together,
observing together, as two friends walking along that road and seeing what is
around us; not only what is very close, what is immediately perceived, but also
what  one  sees  in  the  distance;  because  we  are  taking the journey together,
perhaps affectionately, hand in hand, or as two friends amicably examining the
very  complex  problem  of  life  in  which  there  is  no  leader,  there  is  no  guru,
because when one sees actually that our consciousness is the consciousness
of the rest of mankind then we realize we are both the guru and the disciple,
the  teacher  as  well  as  the  pupil,  because  we  are  all  that,  it  is  all  in  our
consciousness.  That  is  a  tremendous  realization.  So  that  as  one  begins  to
understand oneself deeply one becomes a light to oneself and not depend on
anybody, on any book, on any authority, including that of the speaker, so that
we are capable of understanding this whole problem of living and be a light to
ourselves.
So we must examine together desire, because if desire is love then desire
creates  problems.  Love  has  no  problems,  and  to  understand  the  nature  of
love, compassion, with its own intelligence, we must understand together what
is  desire.  Desire  is  extraordinary  vitality,  extraordinary  persuasion,  drive,
achievement, and the whole process of becoming, success, is based on desire
– desire which makes us compare with each other, imitate, conform. So it is
very important in understanding the whole nature of ourselves to understand
what desire is, not to suppress it, not to run away from it, not to transcend it,
but to understand it, to look at it, to see the whole momentum of it. We can do   182
that together, which doesn’t mean that you are learning from the speaker. The
speaker has nothing to teach you. Please realize this. The speaker is merely
acting  as  a  mirror  in  which  you  can  see  yourself.  And  then  when  you  see
yourself  clearly  you  can  discard  the  mirror,  it  has  no  importance,  you  can
break it up.
So  to  understand  desire  requires  attention,  seriousness,  it  is  a  very
complex problem: why human beings have lived on this extraordinary energy
of desire as the energy of thought. What is the relationship between thought
and desire? What is the relationship between desire and will? Because we live
a great deal by will. So what is the movement, the source, the origin of desire?
If  one  observes  oneself  one  sees  the  origin,  the  beginning  of  desire  begins
with  sensation,  sensory  responses,  sensory  responses  with  its  contact,
sensation,  then  thought  creates  the  image,  at  that  moment  begins  desire.
Please let’s look at it very closely. One sees something in the window, a robe,
a shirt, a car, a scarf, whatever it is. You see it: sensation, then touching it; and
then thought saying, «If I put that shirt or that dress on how nice it will look» – it
creates the image and then begins desire. Right? Do you follow all this? See it
for  oneself,  it  is  fairly  simple.  You  see  something  very  nice,  there  is  the
sensation  crated  through  nervous  responses,  optical  response,  then  thought
saying, «How nice I would look with that dress» – or shirt, or coat, or whatever it
is, then desire begins. So the relationship between desire and thought is very
close.  If  there  was  no  thought  there  would  only  be  sensation;  not  all  the
problems, created by desire. I hope we are meeting each other.
So desire is the quintessence of will. So thought dominates sensation and
creates the urge, the desire to possess. Right? Am I talking to myself, or are
you all in it? Perhaps all this may be new to you, but we have to think about all
these  things  together,  not  as  separate  individuals  with  his  own  particular
conclusions but together observe all this and be very clear about all this.
So where in relationship thought operates, which is remembrance, creating
the  image  about  each  other,  where  there  is  that  image  created  by  thought   183
there can be no love. Or where there is desire, sexual or other forms of desire,
prevents – because desire is part of thought – prevents love.
And also we should consider in our examination together the nature of fear,
because we are all caught in this terrible thing called fear. We don’t seem to be
able to resolve it. We live with it, become accustomed to it, or escape from it;
through amusement, through worship, through various forms of entertainment,
religious and otherwise. So we must together examine again the nature and
the structure of fear. Please, fear is common to all of us, whether you live in
this tidy, clean country, or in India where it is untidy, dirty, overpopulated, and
so on. It is the same problem, fear. And man has lived with it for thousands
and thousands of years, and we haven’t been able to resolve it. Is it possible –
one is asking this question most seriously – is this at all possible to be totally
completely free of fear, not only physical forms of fear but much more subtle
forms  of  fear  inwardly.  Conscious  fears  and  the  deep  undiscovered  fears,
fears  that  are  deeply  in  our  consciousness  which  we  have  never  even
examined that they are there.
Examination  does  not  mean  analysis.  I  know  it  is  the  fashion  that  if  you
have any problem turn to the analyst.  I hope there aren’t any here! And the
analyst is like you and me, only he has got a certain technique. But we must
examine  what  is  observation  and  analysis.  Analysis  implies  there  is  an
analyser.  Is  the  analyser  different  from  that  which  he  analyses?  Or  the
analyser is the analysed? You understand the question? The analyser is the
analysed.  That  is  an  obvious  fact.  I  am  analysing  myself  but  who  is  the
analyser in me who says, «I must analyse»? It is still the analyser separating
himself  from  the  analysed,  and  then  examining  that  which  is  going  to  be
analysed.  Right?  So  the  analyser  is  that  which  he  is  examining,  analysing.
Both are the same. It is a trick played by thought. So when we observe there is
no analysis, merely to observe things as they are. To observe actually what is,
not to analyse ‘what is’ because in the process of analysis one can deceive
oneself. And if you like to play that game you can go on endlessly until you die,
analysing,  and  never  bringing  about  a  radical  transformation  within  oneself.   184
Whereas  observation,  to  look,  to  look  at  the  present  world  as  it  is,  not  as  a
Dutchman, Englishman, or French or this or that, but to see actually what is
happening: that is observation, pure observation of things as they are.
So we have to examine or observe what fear is, not what is the cause of
fear, we will look at that presently, not what is the cause of fear which implies
analysis, going further, further back, the origin of fear, we will find that out in a
minute; but to learn the art of observing, not translating what you observe, or
interpreting  what  you  observe  but  just  to  observe,  as  you  would  observe  a
lovely flower. The moment you tear it to pieces the flower is not. That is what
analysis  is.  But  to  observe  the  beauty  of  a  flower,  the  light  in  a  cloud,  the
evening light, a tree by itself in a forest, just to observe it. So similarly if we can
to  observe  fear.  What  is  the  root  of  fear,  not  the  various  aspects  of  fear?
Right? Can we go on with this? That is, suppose I am afraid. Suppose – I am
not – suppose I am afraid – I must make this point very clear. What the speaker
says he lives, otherwise he wouldn’t get up on a platform and talk about it. He
has done it for sixty years, he wouldn’t deceive himself, one can, but he has
gone into it very, very deeply. So what he says is what to him is a fact, not just
an illusion, an escape.
So  we  are  asking  if  it  is  at  all  possible  to  be  free  of  fear,  absolutely.
Psychologically, inwardly, what is the root of fear? What does fear mean? Fear
of something that has given you pain, fear of what might happen. That is, the
past or what might happen in the future. Right? Not what might happen now
because  now  there  is  no  fear.  But  you  can  see  for  yourself  fear  is  a  time
process. Right? Fear of something that has happened last week, an incident
which  has  brought  psychological  pain,  or  physical  pain,  and  the  fear  that  it
might happen again tomorrow; losing a job, not achieving something you want,
not  achieving  illumination  and  all  that  stuff.  So  fear  is  a  movement  in  time.
Right? A movement from the past through the present, modifying itself to the
future. So the origin of fear is thought. Right? And thought is time, because
thought  is  the  accumulation  of  knowledge  through  experience,  memory,   185
response of memory, thought, action. So thought, time, are one, and thought,
time, is the root of fear. Right? That is fairly obvious. It is so.
Now it is not a question of stopping thought or time. Of course it would be
impossible  to  stop  it  because  who  is  the  entity  that  says,  «I  must  stop
thought»? Which would be absurd because that entity is part of thought. Are
you  following  all  this?  So  this  idea  of  stopping  thought  is  impossible.  That
implies a controller who is trying to control thought. The controller is created by
thought. So please just listen to this, just observe. The observation is an action
in itself, not that one must do something about fear. You get it? I wonder if you
understand this?
Look:  suppose  I  am  afraid  about  something  or  other,  darkness,  my  wife
running away, or I am lonely, or this or that. I am frightened, deeply. You come
along and tell me, you explain to me the whole movement of fear, the origin of
fear, which is time. I had pain, or I went through some accident, incident that
has caused fear, recorded it in the brain and that memory of that past incident
might happen again, and therefore there is fear. So you have explained this to
me.  And  I  listen  very  carefully  to  your  explanation,  I  see  the  logic  of  it,  the
sanity of it, I don’t reject it, I listen. And that means listening becomes an art. I
don’t reject what you are saying, nor accept, but observe. So I observe that
what you tell me about time, thought, is actual. I don’t say, «I must stop time
and  thought»,  but  you  have  explained  to  me,  don’t  do  that,  but  just  observe
how  fear  arises,  it  is  a  movement  of  thought,  time.  Just  observe  this
movement. And don’t move away from it, don’t escape from it, live with it, look
at  it,  put  your  energy  in  your  looking.  Then  you  will  see  that  fear  begins  to
resolve because we have done nothing about it, we have just observed, you
have given your attention to it. That very attention is like bringing light on fear.
Attention  means  giving  all  your  energy  in  that  observation.  Is  this  clear
somewhat?
Q: It is important also…    186
K: Sir, unfortunately we have only two talks, I wish there were more talks. If
you begin to ask questions we will come to something different. But I hope you
don’t mind if I go on. May I?
So  observation  without  analysis  implies  giving  your  total  attention  to  a
problem.  The  problem  which  is  relationship;  the  problem  which  is  fear;  and
also we have to go into the problem of pleasure. May I ask what time it is?
Q: Quarter past twelve.
K:  Quarter  past  twelve.  We  have  talked  for  an  hour.  Do  you  want  to
continue another half hour, twenty minutes? Can you bear it?
Audience: Yes.
K: It’s up to you, not to me, sirs.
Also  –  sir,  would  you  mind  not  taking  photographs.  Please,  this  is  very
serious all this. This is not something you play with for a day and drop it. It
concerns our lives, our whole existence. And if you are at all serious we must
give our attention to all this.
Why  is  it  that  man  has  pursued  pleasure?  Please  ask  yourself  why.  Is
pleasure opposite to pain? Please go into it a little bit. We have all had pain of
different  kinds,  both  physical  and  psychological.  Psychologically  most  of  us
from childhood have been wounded, hurt, that is pain. And the consequences
of that pain has been to withdraw, isolate oneself, not to be further hurt. We
are  hurt  from  childhood,  through  school,  by  comparing  ourselves  with
somebody else who is more clever. We have hurt ourselves, and others have
hurt us through various forms of scoldings, hurting, saying something brutal,
terrorizing us. And there is this deep hurt with all its consequences, which is
isolation, resistance, more and more withdrawing. And the opposite of that we
think is pleasure. Pain and the opposite of it is pleasure. Is that so?
So we have to examine closely if you have the energy, if you have the time,
if you want to, is goodness opposite of that which is not good? If goodness is   187
the opposite, then that goodness contains its own opposite. Right? Therefore it
is not good. Goodness is something totally separate from that which it is not.
Right? So is pleasure – please just listen to this if you don’t mind, one is asking
this  most  respectfully  –  is  pleasure  something  opposite  of  pain?  Or  it  is  a
contrast? Right? And we are always pursuing the contrast, the opposite. So
one  is  asking,  is  pleasure  separate  entirely,  like  goodness,  which  is  not
pleasure? You understand? Or is pleasure tainted by pain? So when you look
closely at pleasure it is always remembrance, isn’t it? One never says when
one is happy, «How happy I am», it is always after, the remembrance of that
thing which gave you pleasure and the remembrance of that pleasure; like a
sunset,  when  you  look  at  the  glory  of  the  evening,  full  of  that  extraordinary
light,  it  gives  great  pleasure,  great  delight.  Then  that  is  remembered,  then
pleasure is born. So pleasure is part of thought too. It is so obvious.
So the next problem is – it is very complex, like all our human problems – is
it possible to end all sorrow? Because where there is sorrow there is no love.
Where there is sorrow obviously there cannot be intelligence. We will go into
that word, which is a very complex word, intelligence.
You know the understanding of relationship, fear, pleasure and sorrow, is to
bring  order  in  our  house.  Without  order  you  cannot  possible  meditate.  You
understand that word? Unfortunately that word has been brought to the West
by the Eastern people. Now the speaker puts meditation at the end of the talks
because  there  is  no  possibility  of  right  meditation  if  you  have  not  put  your
house,  your  psychological  house,  in  order.  If  the  house  is  in  disorder,
psychological  house,  what  you  are,  if  that  house  is  not  in  order  what  is  the
point of meditating? It is just an escape. It leads to all kinds of illusions. And
you may sit cross legged or stand on your head for the rest of your life but that
is not meditation. Meditation must begin with bringing about complete order in
your house; order in your relationship, order in one’s desires, pleasure and so
on.    188
And  also  one  of  our  causes  of  disorder  in  our  life  is  sorrow.  This  is  a
common factor, common reality in all human beings. Everyone goes through
this  tragedy  of  sorrow,  here  or  in  the  Asiatic  world  or  in  the  Western  world.
Again this is a common thing we all share. There is not only so-called personal
sorrow but there is the sorrow of mankind, sorrow which wars have brought
about;  five  thousand  years  of  historical  record,  every  year there has been a
war, killing each other, violence, terror, brutality, maiming people, people have
no  hands,  eyes  and  so  on,  the  horrors  and  the  brutality  of  wars,  which  has
brought incalculable misery to mankind. It is not only one’s own sorrow but the
sorrow  of  mankind,  the  sorrow  when  you  see  a  man  who  has  nothing
whatsoever, just a piece of cloth and for the rest of one’s life he is going to be
that way. Not in these Western countries but in the Asiatic world it is like that.
And  when  you  see  that  person  there  is  sorrow.  There  is  also  sorrow  when
people  are  caught  in  illusion;  like  going  from  one  guru  to  another,  which  is
escaping from yourself. That is a sorrow, to observe this. The clever people
going off to the East, writing books about it, paging some guru, and we all fall
for that nonsense. That is also sorrow. Sorrow that comes when you see what
the politicians are doing in the world. Thinking in terms of tribalism, that is also
sorrow.
So  there  is  personal  sorrow  and  the  vast  cloud  of  sorrow  of  mankind.
Sorrow  is  not  something  romantic,  sentimental,  illogical,  it  is  there.  My  sons
dies and it has shattered one’s life. And we have lived with this sorrow from
time measureless. And apparently one has not resolved this problem. When
one suffers one seeks consolation, which is an escape from the fact of sorrow.
When there is that grief, you try every form of amusement, escape, but it is
always there. And apparently humanity has not resolved it. And we are asking
the question: whether it is possible to be free of it completely? Not avoiding it,
not seeking consolation, not escaping into some fanciful theory, but to live with
it. Just let’s understand what we mean by that word to ‘live with it’, not to let it
become a habit like most people do; they live with nationalities, which is most
destructive,  they  live  with  their  own  separate  religious  conclusions,  they  live   189
with  their  own  fanciful  ideas  and  ideals,  and  that  again  brings  their  own
conflict.  So  if  you  live  with  something,  to  live  with  sorrow,  not  accept  it,  not
become habituated to it; that is, to look at it, to observe it without any escape,
without any question of trying to go beyond it, just to hold it in your hand and
look. Which is, sorrow is also part of this tremendous sense of loneliness, you
may have many friends, you may be married, you may have all kinds of things
but  inwardly  there  is  this  feeling  of  complete  loneliness.  And  that  is  part  of
sorrow. To observe that loneliness without any direction, without trying to go
beyond it, without trying to find a substitute for it; to live with it, not worship it,
not become psychotic about it. Which means to give all your attention to that
pain, to that grief, to that sorrow. So when my son dies, or somebody whom I
think I love, dies, there is great grief, and without running away from it just to…
It is a great thing to understand suffering because then where there is freedom
from sorrow there is compassion. And one is not compassionate as long as
you  are  anchored  to  any  belief,  to  your  particular  form  of  religious  symbol,
compassion is freedom from sorrow. And where there is compassion there is
love,  and  with  that  compassion  goes  intelligence  –  not  the  intelligence  of
thought with its cunning, with its adjustments, with its capacity to put up with
anything.  Compassion  means  the  ending  of  sorrow  and  only  then  is  there
intelligence.
We  will  continue  tomorrow  if  you  don’t  mind,  taking  about  death,  what
happens,  if  anything  happens  after  death,  and  what  is  the  significance  of
death, and what is meditation. That is if you can bear it until tomorrow.
(Clapping) Please don’t clap. May I most respectfully request that you don’t
clap. By clapping you are not encouraging me. You are clapping because you
understand it for yourself.    190
Amsterdam 2nd Public Talk
20th September 1981
I am afraid this is the last talk. Like two friends sitting in the park on a lovely
day talking about life, talking about their problems, investigating seriously the
very  nature  of  their  existence  and  asking  themselves  seriously  why  life  has
become  such  a  great  problem;  why,  though  intellectually  you  are  very
sophisticated, yet our daily life is such a grind, without any meaning, except
survival,  which  again  is  rather  doubtful,  why  life,  everyday  existence,  has
become such a torture. One may go to church, follow some leader politically or
religiously,  but  the  daily  life  is  always  a  turmoil,  though  there  are  certain
periods  which  are  occasionally  joyful,  happy,  but  there  is  always  a  cloud  of
darkness about our life. And these two friends talking together, as we are, you
and the speaker, we are talking over together in a friendly manner, perhaps
with affection, with care, with concern, whether it is at all possible to live a life,
our  daily  life  without  a  single  problem.  And  though  we  are  highly  educated,
have  certain  careers,  specialized,  yet  we  have  these  unresolved  struggles,
pain, suffering, joy and sometimes a great feeling of not being totally selfish.
And together, if we can this morning, go into this question why human beings
live as we do live – go to the office from nine o’clock until five or six for the next
fifty  years;  or  be  occupied  all  the  time,  not  only  with  our  own  problems,  but
also  the  brain,  the  mind  is  constantly  occupied,  there  is  never  a  quietness,
there is never peace, there is always this occupation with something or other.
And that is our life. That is our daily, monotonous rather lonely insufficient life.
And  we  try  to  escape  from  it  through  religion,  through  various  forms  of
entertainment.
At the end of the day we are still where we were for the last thousand and
thousand  years.  We  seem  to  have  changed  very  little  psychologically,
inwardly. And our problems increase, and always there is the fear of old age,
disease,  some  accident  that  will  put  us  out.  So  this  is  our  existence,  from
childhood until we die, either voluntarily or involuntarily die. And we don’t seem   191
to  have  been  able  to  solve  that  problem  also,  the  problem  of  living  and  the
problem of dying. Specially as one grows older one remembers all the things
that have been; the times of pleasure, the times of pain, the times of sorrow,
the times of tears. But always there is this unknown thing called death of which
most of us are frightened. And as two friends sitting in the park on a bench, not
in this hall with all this  light and so on, which is rather ugly, but sitting on a
bench in the park with sunlight, and the dappling light, the sun coming through
the leaves, the ducks on the canal and the beauty of the earth, talking over
together.  And  that’s  what  we  are  going  to  do,  talking  over  together  as  two
friends who have had a long life, a long serious life with all the troubles; the
troubles of sex, loneliness, despair, depression, anxiety, uncertainty, a sense
of meaninglessness to all this. And there is always at the end of all this, death.
And in talking about it, either we intellectually approach it; that is, rationalize
it,  say  it  is  inevitable,  don’t  be  frightened,  or  escape  through  some  form  of
belief, the hereafter as the Asiatics believe, reincarnation, or if you are highly
intellectual  this  is  the  end  of  all  things,  end  of  all  our  existence,  our
experiences, our memories, tender, delightful, plentiful. And also with it goes
the great pain and the suffering. What does it all mean, this life which is really,
if  one  examines  very  closely,  rather  meaningless?  One  can  intellectually,
verbally construct a meaning to life, but the way we live has very little meaning
actually.
So there is thing called living and dying. That is all we know. Everything
apart  from  that  becomes  a  theory,  a  speculation;  or  a  pursuit  of  a  belief  in
which one finds some kind of security, hope. But those beliefs are also very
shallow, rather meaningless, as all beliefs are. Or you have ideals projected by
thought, and struggle to achieve those ideals. This is our life; whether we are
very young, full of vitality, fun, a sense that one can do almost anything, but
even then with youth, middle age and old age, there is always this question of
death,  dying.  Can  we,  this  morning,  talk  over  together  this?  Please,  as  we
pointed out yesterday, we are thinking about it together. You are not merely, if
one  may  point  out,  listening  to  a  series  of  words,  to  some  ideas,  but  rather   192
together, I mean together, investigate this whole problem of living and dying.
And  either  one  does  it  with  one’s  heart,  with  one’s  whole  mind,  or  partially,
superficially, and so with very little meaning.
So first of all we should look: our brains never act fully, completely, we only
use a very small part of our brain. That part is the structure of thought. That
part being in itself a part and therefore incomplete, as thought is incomplete,
so  the  brain  functions  within  a  very  narrow  area,  depending  on  our  senses,
which again our senses are partial, never all the senses free, awakened. I do
not know if you have not experimented with watching something with all your
senses;  watching  the  sea,  the  birds  and  the  moonlight  at  night  on  a  green
lawn; if you have not watched partially or with all your senses fully awakened.
The two states are entirely different. When you watch something partially you
are  establishing  more  the  separative,  egotistic  attitude  and  living.  But  when
you  watch  that  moonlight  on  the  water  making  a  silvery  path  with  all  your
senses,  that  is,  with  your  mind,  with  your  heart,  with  your  nerves,  giving  all
your attention to that observation, then you will see for yourself that there is no
centre from which you are observing.
So can we observe what is living, the actuality, and what does it mean to
die  –  together?  Our  life,  daily  life,  is  a process of remembrances. Our brain,
mind is entirely memory. Right? Are we together in it? You see the difficulty is
that  I  am  not  sure  that  we  are  understanding  each  other.  I  don’t  know  how
much  English  you  know,  and  that  is  not  an  insulting  statement,  whether  we
understand  English  completely,  what  the  speaker  is  saying.  Or  you  are
partially listening, partially understanding English, and so attention wandering
off and so one looks rather dazed from here! The language that the speaker is
using is very ordinary non-specialized language. It is simple English. So I hope
we understand each other.
We are saying we are – we, our ego, our personality, our whole structure –
entirely put together as memory, we are memory. Right? Please this is subject
to investigation, don’t accept it. Observe it, listen. The speaker is saying, the   193
you, the ego, the me, is altogether memory. There is no spot or space in which
there is clarity. Or you can believe, hope, have faith that there is something in
you which is uncontaminated, which is god, which is a spark of that which is
timeless, you can believe all that. But that belief is merely illusory; all beliefs
are.  But  the  fact  is  that  our  whole  existence,  we  are  entirely  memory,  a
remembrance. There is no spot or space inwardly which is not memory. You
can investigate this, if you have time, perhaps not this morning because we
have a lot to cover, but if you are enquiring seriously into yourself you will see
that the ‘me’, the ego, is all memory, remembrances. And that is our life. We
function,  live  from  memory.  And  for  us  death  is  the  ending  of  that  memory.
Right?
Am I speaking to myself, or are we all together in this? You see the speaker
is  used  to  talking  in  the  open,  under  trees,  or  in  a  vast  tent  without  these
glaring  lights;  and  one  can  then  have  an  intimate  communication  with  each
other. As a matter of fact there is only you and me talking together, not all this
enormous audience in a vast hall, but you and I sitting on the banks of a river,
on a bench, talking over this thing together. And one is saying to the other, we
are  nothing  but  memory,  and  it  is  to  that  memory  that  we  are  attached:  my
house,  my  property,  my  experience,  my  relationship,  the  office  I  go  to,  the
factory, the skill I like being able to gather during a certain period of time; I am
all that. And to that, thought is attached. That’s what we call living. And this
attachment, with all its problems, because when you are attached there is fear
of  losing,  we  are  attached  because  we  are  lonely,  deep  abiding  loneliness
which is suffocating, isolating, depressing. And the more we are attached to
another,  which  is  again  memory,  the  other  is  a  memory  –  my  wife,  my
husband,  my  children,  are  physically  different  from  me,  psychologically  the
memory  of  my  wife,  I  am  attached  to  that,  to  the  name,  to  the  form,  my
existence  is  attachment  to  that  memory  which  I  have  gathered  all  my  life.
Where there is attachment I recognize, observe there is corruption. When I am
attached to a belief, hoping in that attachment to that belief there will be certain
security, both psychologically as well as  physically,  that  attachment  not  only   194
prevents further examination, but I am frightened to examine even when I am
greatly attached to something – to a person, to an idea, to an experience. So
corruption  exists  where  there  is  an  attachment.  And  one’s  whole  life  is  a
movement within the field of the known. This is obvious. And death means the
ending of the known. Right? Ending of the physical organism, ending of all the
memory of which I am. I am nothing but memory, memory being the known.
And I am frightened to let all that go, which means death. I think that is fairly
clear, at least verbally. Intellectually you can accept that. Logically, sanely, that
is a fact.
So the question is: why human beings throughout the world, though they
believe, some of them, in the Asiatic world, in the rebirth of themselves in the
next  life;  the  next  life  being  much  more  dignified,  more  prosperous,  better
houses, better position. So those who believe in reincarnation, that is, the soul,
the ego, the ‘me’, which is a bundle of memories being born next life; the next
life is a better life because if I behave rightly now, conduct myself righteously,
live a life without violence, without greed and so on, the next life I will have a
better life, better position. But that is, the next life, a belief in reincarnation, is
just a belief because those who have this strong belief don’t live a righteous
life today. Right? You are following all this? It is just an idea that the next life
will be marvellous. The beauty of the next life must correspond to the beauty of
the present life. But the present life is so tortuous, so demanding, so complex,
we forget the belief and struggle, deceit, hypocrisy, every form of vulgarity and
so on. That is one aspect of death, that is, believing in something next life.
But  those  who  do  not  accept  such  theory,  though  they  are  trained  to
compile evidence of reincarnation, which is rather absurd too – you understand
all  this  –  because  what  is  it  that  is  going  to  reincarnate?  What  is  it  that  has
continuity? You understand my question? Are we talking together? What is it
that has continuity in life, in our daily life? It is the remembrance of yesterday’s
experience,  pleasures,  fears,  anxieties  and  there  is  that  continuity  right
through life unless we break it and move away from that current. Right?    195
Now the question is: is it possible while one is ling, with all the turmoil, with
that energy, capacity, to  end,  say  for  example,  attachment?  Because  that  is
what is going to happen when you die. You may be attached to your wife, to
your husband, to your property – not to property, that is dangerous – we are
attached to some belief, belief in god. That belief is merely a projection, or an
invention of thought, but we are attached to it because it gives a certain feeling
of  security  however  illusory  it  is,  we  are  attached  to  that.  Death  means  the
ending  of  that  attachment.  Now  while  living  can  we  end  voluntarily,  easily,
without any effort, that form of attachment? Which means dying to something
we have known. You follow? Can we do this? Because that is living and dying
together,  not  separated  by  a  hundred  years,  or  fifty  years,  waiting  for  some
disease  to  push  us  off.  But  living  with  all  our  vitality,  energy,  intellectual
capacity,  with  the  greater  feeling,  to  end  certain  conclusions,  certain
idiosyncrasies, experiences, attachments, hurts, to end it. That is, while living
also living with death. You understand this? Are we meeting each other? So
that death is not something far away, death is not something that is at the end
of one’s life, through some accident, disease, old age, but rather living, to all
the  things  of  memory,  ending  that,  which  is  death.  That  means  death  is  not
separate from living.
Also,  as  we  said  yesterday,  we  should  consider  together,  sitting  on  the
banks of a river on a bench, water flowing, clear, not muddied, polluted water,
seeing all the movement of the waves pursuing each other down the river, we
also as two friends sitting there, talk together about what is religion. Why has
religion  played  such  a  great  part  in  our  lives  from  the  ancient  of  times  until
today?  What  is  a  religious mind  like?  What  does  the world  ‘religion’  actually
mean?  Because  historically,  not  that  one  has  read  a  great  deal  about  it  but
one  has  observed  how  civilizations  disappear,  to  be  reborn  again  with  a
different religion, religions have brought about new civilizations, new culture;
not  the  technological  world,  not  the  computers,  the  submarines,  the  war
materials;  nor  the  businessman,  nor  the  economists;  but  religious  people
throughout the world have brought about a tremendous change. So one must   196
enquire together what we mean by that world ‘religion’. What is its significance,
whether it is mere superstition, illogical, meaningless? Or there is something
far greater, something much more infinitely beautiful. And to find that is it not
necessary – we are talking over together as two friends – is it not necessary to
be free of all the things thought has invented as religion? You understand my
question?  I  want  to  find  out  what  is  the  significance  of  religion.  What  is  the
depth  of  it?  What  is  its  end?  Because  man  has  always  sought  something
beyond  the  physical  existence.  He  has  always  looked,  searched,  asked,
suffered, tortured himself to find out if there is something which is not of time,
which  is  not  of  thought,  which  is  not  belief  or  faith.  And  to  find  that  out  one
must be absolutely free, otherwise if you are anchored to a particular form of
belief that very belief will prevent investigation into what is eternal, if there is
such a thing as eternity which is beyond all time, beyond all measure. So one
must be free, if one is serious in the enquiry into what is religion, one must be
free of all the things that thought has invented, put together about that which is
considered religious. That is, all the things that Hinduism has invented, with its
superstitions, with its beliefs, with its images, and the ancient literature as the
Upanishads  and  so  on,  one  must  be  completely  free  of  all  that.  If  one  is
attached  to  all  that  then  it  is  impossible,  naturally,  to  discover  that  which  is
original. You understand the problem?
That  is,  if  my  mind,  my  brain  is  conditioned  by  the  Hindu  superstition,
beliefs,  dogmas,  idolatry,  with  all  the  ancient  tradition,  my  mind  then  is
anchored to that, therefore it cannot move, it is not free. Therefore one must
be free completely from all that – being a Hindu. Right? Similarly, one must be
free totally from all the inventions of thought, as the rituals, dogmas, beliefs,
symbols, the saviours and so on of Christianity. That may be rather difficult,
that is coming near home. Or if you go to Ceylon or the Tibetan, the North,
Buddhism, with all their idolatry, as the idolatry of Christianity, they too have
this problem: being attached as security to the things thought has invented. So
all religions, whether Christianity, Muslim, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism, they
are  the  movement  of  thought  continued  through  time,  through  literature,   197
through symbols, through things made by the hand or by the mind, all that is
considered religious in the modern world. To the speaker that is not religion.
To  the  speaker  it  is  a  form  of  illusion,  comforting,  satisfying,  romantic,
sentimental but not actual, because religion must affect life, the way we live,
that is the significance of life. Because only when there is order, as we talked
about yesterday, in our life.
Order  is  something  that  is  totally  disassociated  with  disorder.  We  live  in
disorder, that is, in conflict, contradiction, say one thing, do another, think one
thing and act another, that is contradiction. Where there is contradiction which
is division, there must be disorder. And a religious mind is completely without
disorder.  That  is  the  foundation  of  religious  life,  not  all  the  nonsense  that  is
going on with the gurus with their idiocies.
You know it is a most extraordinary thing: many gurus have come to see
the  speaker;  many  of  them  because  they  think  I  attack  the  gurus.  You
understand? They want to persuade me not to attack. They say, what you are
saying and what you are living is the absolute truth, but not for us, because we
must help those people who are not as fully advanced as you are. You see the
game they play. You understand? So one wonders why the Western world, or
some  of  the  Western  people  go  to  India,  follow  these  gurus,  get  initiated  –
whatever  that  may  mean  –  put  on  different  robes  and  think  they  are  terribly
religious.  But  strip  them  of  their  robes,  stop  them  and  enquire  into  their  life,
they are just like you and me.
So  the  idea  of  going  somewhere  to  find  enlightenment,  changing  your
name  to  some  Sanskrit  name,  seems  so  strangely  absurd  and  romantic
without  any  reality,  but  thousands  are  doing  it.  Probably  it  is  a  form  of
amusement without much meaning. I am – the speaker is not attacking. Please
let’s  understand:  we  are  not  attacking  anything,  we  are  just  observing;
observing the absurdity of the human mind, how easily we are caught, we are
so gullible.    198
So a religious mind is a very factual mind, it deals with facts. That is, facts
being what is actually happening, with the world outside, and the world inside.
The  world  outside  is  the  expression  of  the  world  inside,  there  is  no  division
between the outer and the inner – that is too long to go into. So a religious life
is a life of order, diligence, dealing with what is actually within oneself, without
any  illusion  so  that  one  leads  an  orderly,  righteous  life.  When  that  is
established, unshakably then we can begin to enquire what is meditation.
Perhaps that word did not exist about twenty years ago, or thirty years ago
in the Western world. The Eastern gurus have brought it over here. There is
the  Tibetan  meditation,  Zen  meditation,  the  Hindu  meditation,  the  particular
meditation  of  a  particular  guru,  the  meditation  of  yoga,  sitting  cross  legged,
breathing,  you  know,  all  that.  All  that  is  called  meditation.  We  are  not
denigrating  the  people  who  do  all  this.  We  are  just  pointing  out  how  absurd
meditation has become. The Christian world believe in contemplation, giving
themselves over to the will of god, grace and so on. They have the same thing
in the Asiatic world, only they use different words in Sanskrit, but it is the same
thing: man seeking some kind of everlasting security, happiness, peace, not
finding it on earth, hoping it exists somewhere or other, the desperate search
for  something  imperishable.  This  has  been  the  search  of  man  from  time
beyond measure. The ancient Egyptians, the ancient Hindus, Buddhists and
so on, and some of the Christians, have followed this.
So  to  enquire  together,  to  go  into,  deeply  into,  what  is  meditation  and
whether there is anything called sacred, holy: not the thing that thought has
invented as being holy, that is not holy. What thought creates is not holy, is not
sacred because it is based on knowledge, and knowledge being incomplete,
and whatever thought invents, how can that be sacred. But we worship that
which thought has invented all over the world.
So together, having established, some partially, others completely, totally,
order  in  their  life,  in  their  behaviour,  in  which  there  is  no  contradiction
whatsoever,  having  established  that,  and  rejected,  totally  rejected,  all  the   199
various forms of meditation, their systems, their practices because when you
practise you are repeating over and over and over again, like a pianist when
he practises he may be practising the wrong note. You understand? So it is
easy to conform to a pattern, to obey something somebody has said that will
help  you  to  reach  the  highest  state  of  whatever  it  is.  So  you  practise,  you
accept systems because you want to get something other than ‘what is’.
Now we are saying quite the contrary. There is no system, no practice; but
the  clarity  of  perception  of  a  mind  that  is  free,  which  has  no  direction,  no
choice,  but  free  to  observe.  Most  meditations  have  this  problem,  which  is
controlling  thought.  The  one  who  practises  is  different  from  that  which  he  is
practising.  I  hope  you  are  following  all  this,  if  it  interests  you.  So  most
meditation,  whether  the  Zen,  the  Hindu,  the  Buddhist,  the  Christian,  or  the
latest guru, is to control your thought because through control you centralize,
you bring all your energy to a particular point. That is, concentrate. Which is,
there  is  a  controller  different  from  the  controlled.  Are  you  following  all  this?
Which is, the controller is the past, which is still thought, still memory, and that
which  he  is  controlling  is  still  thought,  which  is  wandering  off,  so  there  is
conflict. You are sitting quietly and thought goes off, you want to concentrate,
like a schoolboy looking out of the window and the teacher says, «Don’t look
out of the window, concentrate on your book». And we do the same thing. So
one has to learn the fact, the controller is the controlled. Is that clear? Must all
this be explained, step by step? That is – I’ll explain, please.
The controller, the thinker, the experiencer, we think is different from the
controlled,  from  the  movement  of  thought,  from  the  experiencer  and  the
experience,  we  think  these  two  are  different  movements.  But  if  you  observe
closely, the thinker is the thought. Thought has made the thinker separate from
thought, which then he says, I must control. You are following all this? This is
so logical, so sane. So when the controller is the controlled, then you remove
totally conflict. Conflict exists only when there is division. Right? Between you
and  the  Germans,  between  the  Israelis  and  the  Arabs.  Where  there  is
nationalistic, or economic, or social division there must be conflict. So inwardly where there is the division between the observer, the one who witnesses, the
one who experiences is different from that which he experiences, there must
be conflict. And our life is conflict because we live with this division. But this
division is fallacious, is not real, it has become our habit, our culture, to control.
We never see the controller is the controlled. Right? Do you get all this?
So when one realizes that, not verbally, not idealistically, not as a utopian
state for which you have to struggle, but to observe it actually in one’s life that
the  controller  is  the  controlled,  the  thinker  is  the  thought,  then  the  whole
pattern  of  our  thinking  undergoes  a  radical  change  because  there  is  no
conflict.  And  that  is  absolutely  necessary  if  you  are  meditating  because
meditation demands a mind that is highly compassionate. And therefore highly
intelligent, the intelligence which is born out of love, not out of cunning thought.
So meditation means the establishment of order in our daily life, in which
there is no contradiction. Then rejecting totally all the systems, meditations, all
that, because the mind must be completely free, without direction, and also it
means  a  mind  that  is  completely  silent.  Is  that  possible?  Because  we  are
chattering  endlessly;  the  moment  you  leave  this  place  I  know  you  will  start
chattering.  So  our  minds  are  everlastingly  occupied,  chattering,  thinking,
struggling, and so there is no space. Space is necessary to have silence. For a
mind that is practising, struggling, wanting to be silent is never silent. But when
it  sees  that  silence  is  absolutely  necessary,  not  the  silence  projected  by
thought, not the silence between two notes, between two noises, between two
wars,  but  the  silence  of  order.  And  when  there  is  that  absolute  silence,  not
cultivated silence, which is what must meditations try to do, cultivate silence;
that  is,  cultivate  thought  which  is  never  silent.  I  don’t  know  if  you  see  the
absurdity of it. So when there is that silence then one discovers – sorry, one
doesn’t discover – in that silence truth, which has no path to it, exists. Truth
then  is  timeless,  sacred,  incorruptible.  That  is  meditation,  that  is  a  religious
mind.

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