Chapter 1
Man  has  throughout  the  ages  been  seeking  something  beyond  himself,
beyond  material  welfare  –  something  we  call  truth  or  God  or  reality,  a  timeless
state  –  something  that  cannot  be  disturbed  by  circumstances,  by  thought  or  by
human corruption.
Man has always asked the question: what is it all about? Has life any meaning
at all? He sees the enormous confusion of life, the brutalities, the revolt, the wars,
the  endless  divisions  of  religion,  ideology  and  nationality,  and  with  a  sense  of
deep  abiding  frustration  he  asks,  what  is  one  to  do,  what  is  this  thing  we  call
living, is there anything beyond it?
And not finding this nameless thing of a thousand names which he has always
sought, he has cultivated faith – faith in a saviour or an ideal – and faith invariably
breeds violence.
In  this  constant  battle  which  we  call  living,  we  try  to  set  a  code  of  conduct
according to the society in which we are brought up, whether it be a Communist
society or a so-called free society; we accept a standard of behaviour as part of
our tradition as Hindus or Muslims or Christians or whatever we happen to be.
We look to someone to tell us what is right or wrong behaviour, what is right or
wrong thought, and in following this pattern our conduct and our thinking become
mechanical,  our  responses  automatic.  We  can  observe  this  very  easily  in
For centuries we have been spoon-fed by our teachers, by our authorities, by
our books, our saints. We say, ‘Tell me all about it – what lies beyond the hills and
the mountains and the earth?’ and we are satisfied with their descriptions, which
means  that  we  live  on  words  and  our  life  is  shallow  and  empty.  We  are
secondhand people. We have lived on what we have been told, either guided by
our  inclinations,  our  tendencies,  or  compelled  to  accept  by  circumstances  and
3environment. We are the result of all kinds of influences and there is nothing new
in  us,  nothing  that  we  have  discovered  for  ourselves;  nothing  original,  pristine,
Throughout theological history we have been assured by religious leaders that
if we perform certain rituals, repeat certain prayers or mantras, conform to certain
patterns, suppress our desires, control our thoughts, sublimate our passions, limit
our appetites and refrain from sexual indulgence, we shall, after sufficient torture
of  the  mind  and  body,  find  something  beyond  this  little  life.  And  that  is  what
millions  of  so-called  religious  people  have  done  through  the  ages,  either  in
isolation, going off into the desert or into the mountains or a cave or wandering
from village to village with a begging bowl, or, in a group, joining a monastery,
forcing their minds to conform to an established pattern. But a tortured mind, a
broken mind, a mind which wants to escape from all turmoil, which has denied
the outer world and been made dull through dis- cipline and conformity – such a
mind, however long it seeks, will find only according to its own distortion.
So  to  discover  whether  there  actually  is  or  is  not  something  beyond  this
anxious, guilty, fearful, competitive existence, it seems to me that one must have
a completely different approach altogether. The traditional approach is from the
periphery inwards, and through time, practice and renunciation, gradually to come
upon  that  inner  flower,  that  inner  beauty  and  love  –  in  fact  to  do  everything  to
make oneself narrow, petty and shoddy; peel off little by little; take time; tomorrow
will do, next life will do – and when at last one comes to the centre one finds there
is  nothing  there,  because  one’s  mind  has  been  made  incapable,  dull  and
Having  observed  this  process,  one  asks  oneself,  is  there  not  a  different
approach altogether – that is, is it not possible to explode from the centre?
The world accepts and follows the traditional approach. The primary cause of
disorder  in  ourselves  is  the  seeking  of  reality  promised  by  another;  we
4mechanically follow somebody who will assure us a comfortable spiritual life. It is
a  most  extraordinary  thing  that  although  most  of  us  are  opposed  to  political
tyranny and dictatorship, we inwardly accept the authority, the tyranny, of another
to twist our minds and our way of life. So fl we completely reject, not intellectually
but actually, all so-called spiritual authority, all ceremonies, rituals and dogmas, it
means that we stand alone and are already in conflict with society; we cease to
be respectable human beings. A respectable human being cannot possibly come
near to that infinite, immeasurable, reality.
You have now started by denying something absolutely false – the traditional
approach – but if you deny it as a reaction you will have created another pattern in
which you will be trapped; if you tell yourself intellectually that this denial is a very
good  idea  but  do  nothing  about  it,  you  cannot  go  any  further.  If  you  deny  it
however, because you understand the stupidity and immaturity of it, if you reject it
with tremendous intelligence, because you are free and not frightened, you will
create a great disturbance in yourself and around you but you will step out of the
trap of respectability. Then you will find that you are no longer seeking. That is
the first thing to learn – not to seek. When you seek you are really only window-
The question of whether or not there is a God or truth or reality, or whatever
you like to call it, can never be answered by books, by priests, philosophers or
saviours. Nobody and nothing can answer the question but you yourself and that
is why you must know yourself. Immaturity lies only in total ignorance of self. To
understand yourself is the beginning of wisdom.
And what is yourself, the individual you? I think there is a difference between
the  human  being  and  the  individual.  The  individual  is  a  local  entity,  living  in  a
particular  country,  belonging  to  a  particular  culture,  particular  society,  particular
religion. The human being is not a local entity. He is everywhere. If the individual
merely acts in a particular corner of the vast field of life, then his action is totally
5unrelated  to  the  whole.  So  one  has  to  bear  in  mind  that  we  are  talking  of  the
whole  not  the  part,  because  in  the  greater  the  lesser  is,  but  in  the  lesser  the
greater is not. The individual is the little conditioned, miserable, frustrated entity,
satisfied  with  his  little  gods  and  his  little  traditions,  whereas  a  human  being  is
concerned with the total welfare, the total misery and total confusion of the world.
We human beings are what we have been for millions of years – -colossally
greedy,  envious,  aggressive,  jealous,  anxious  and  despairing,  with  occasional
flashes  of  joy  and  affection.  We  are  a  strange  mixture  of  hate,  fear  and
gentleness; we are both violence and peace. There has been outward progress
from  the  bullock  cart  to  the  jet  plane  but  psychologically  the  individual  has  not
changed  at  all,  and  the  structure  of  society  throughout  the  world  has  been
created  by  individuals.  The  outward  social  structure  is  the  result  of  the  inward
psychological structure of our human relationships, for the individual is the result
of  the  total  experience,  knowledge  and  conduct  of  man.  Each  one  of  us  is  the
storehouse of all the past. The individual is the human who is all mankind. The
whole history of man is written in ourselves.
Do observe what is actually taking place within yourself and outside yourself in
the  competitive  culture  in  which  you  live  with  its  desire  for  power,  position,
prestige, name, success and all the rest of it – observe the achievements of which
you are so proud, this whole field you call living in which there is conflict in every
form  of  relationship,  breeding  hatred,  antagonism,  brutality  and  endless  wars.
This field, this life, is all we know, and being unable to understand the enormous
battle of existence we are naturally afraid of it and find escape from it in all sorts
of subtle ways. And we are frightened also of the unknown – frightened of death,
frightened  of  what  lies  beyond  tomorrow.  So  we  are  afraid  of  the  known  and
afraid  of  the  unknown.  That  is  our  daily  life  and  in  that  there  is  no  hope,  and
therefore every form of philosophy, every form of theo- logical concept, is merely
an escape from the actual reality of what is.
6     All outward forms of change brought about by wars, revolutions, reformations,
laws  and  ideologies  have  failed  completely  to  change  the  basic  nature  of  man
and therefore of society. As human beings living in this monstrously ugly world,
let us ask ourselves, can this society, based on competition, brutality and fear,
come  to  an  end?  Not  as  an  intellectual  conception,  not  as  a  hope,  but  as  an
actual fact, so that the mind is made fresh, new and innocent and can bring about
a  different  world  altogether?  It  can  only  happen,  I  think,  if  each  one  of  us
recognises the central fact that we, as individuals, as human beings, in whatever
part of the world we happen to live or whatever culture we happen to belong to,
are totally responsible for the whole state of the world.
We  are  each  one  of  us  responsible  for  every  war  because  of  the
aggressiveness of our own lives, because of our nationalism, our selfishness, our
gods, our prejudices, our ideals, all of which divide us. And only when we realize,
not  intellectually  but  actually,  as  actually  as  we  would  recognise  that  we  are
hungry or in pain, that you and I are responsible for all this existing chaos, for all
the misery throughout the entire world because we have contributed to it in our
daily  lives  and  are  part  of  this  monstrous  society  with  its  wars,  divisions,  its
ugliness, brutality and greed – only then will we act.
But  what  can  a  human  being  do  –  what  can  you  and  I  do  –  to  create  a
completely different society? We are asking ourselves a very serious question. Is
there anything to be done at all? What can we do? Will somebody tell us? People
have  told  us.  The  so-called  spiritual  leaders,  who  are  supposed  to  understand
these things better than we do, have told us by trying to twist and mould us into a
new pattern, and that hasn’t led us very far; sophisticated and learned men have
told us and that has led us no further. We have been told that all paths lead to
truth  –  you  have  your  path  as  a  Hindu  and  someone  else  has  his  path  as  a
Christian and another as a Muslim, and they all meet at the same door – which is,
when  you  look  at  it,  so  obviously  absurd.  Truth  has  no  path,  and  that  is  the
beauty of truth, it is living. A dead thing has a path to it because it is static, but
7when you see that truth is something living, moving, which has no resting place,
which  is  in  no  temple,  mosque  or  church,  which  no  religion,  no  teacher,  no
philosopher, nobody can lead you to – then you will also see that this living thing
is what you actually are – your anger, your brutality, your violence, your despair,
the agony and sorrow you live in. In the understanding of all this is the truth, and
you can understand it only if you know how to look at those things in your life.
And  you  cannot  look  through  an  ideology,  through  a  screen  of  words,  through
hopes and fears.
So  you  see  that  you  cannot  depend  upon  anybody.  There  is  no  guide,  no
teacher, no authority. There is only you – your relationship with others and with
the  world  –  there  is  nothing  else.  When  you  realize  this,  it  either  brings  great
despair, from which comes cynicism and bitterness, or, in facing the fact that you
and nobody else is responsible for the world and for yourself, for what you think,
what  you  feel,  how  you  act,  all  self-pity  goes.  Normally  we  thrive  on  blaming
others, which is a form of self-pity.
Can you and I, then, bring about in ourselves without any outside influence,
without any persuasion, without any fear of punishment – can we bring about in
the very essence of our being a total revolution, a psychological mutation, so that
we  are  no  longer  brutal,  violent,  competitive,  anxious,  fearful,  greedy,  envious
and all the rest of the manifestations of our nature which have built up the rotten
society in which we live our daily lives?
It is important to understand from the very beginning that I am not formulating
any  philosophy  or  any  theological  structure  of  ideas  or  theological  concepts.  It
seems  to  me  that  all  ideologies  are  utterly  idiotic.  What  is  important  is  not  a
philosophy  of  life  but  to  observe  what  is  actually  taking  place  in  our  daily  life,
inwardly  and  outwardly.  If  you  observe  very  closely  what  is  taking  place  and
examine  it,  you  will  see  that  it  is  based  on  an  intellectual  conception,  and  the
intellect  is  not  the  whole  field  of  existence;  it  is  a  fragment,  and  a  fragment,
8however cleverly put together, however ancient and traditional, is still a small part
of existence whereas we have to deal with the totality of life. And when we look at
what is taking place in the world we begin to understand that there is no outer
and  inner  process;  there  is  only  one  unitary  process,  it  is  a  whole,  total
movement,  the  inner  movement  expressing  itself  as  the  outer  and  the  outer
reacting  again  on  the  inner.  To  be  able  to  look  at  this  seems  to  me  all  that  is
needed,  because  if  we  know  how  to  look,  then  the  whole  thing  becomes  very
clear, and to look needs no philosophy, no teacher. Nobody need tell you how to
look. You just look.
Can you then, seeing this whole picture, seeing it not verbally but actually, can
you easily, spontaneously, transform yourself? That is the real issue. Is it possible
to bring about a complete revolution in the psyche?
I wonder what your reaction is to such a question? You may say, ‘I don’t want
to change’, and most people don’t, especially those who are fairly secure socially
and  economically  or  who  hold  dogmatic  beliefs  and  are  content  to  accept
themselves  and  things  as  they  are  or  in  a  slightly  modified  form.  With  those
people we are not concerned. Or you may say more subtly, ‘Well, it’s too difficult,
it’s not for me’, in which case you will have already blocked yourself, you will have
ceased to enquire and it will be no use going any further. Or else you may say, ‘I
see  the  necessity  for  a  fundamental  inward  change  in  myself  but  how  am  I  to
bring it about? Please show me the way, help me towards it.’ If you say that, then
what you are concerned with is not change itself; you are not really interested in a
fundamental  revolution:  you  are  merely  searching  for  a  method,  a  system,  to
bring about change.
If I were foolish enough to give you a system and if you were foolish enough to
follow  it,  you  would  merely  be  copying,  imitating,  conforming,  accepting,  and
when you do that you have set up in yourself the authority of another and hence
there is conflict between you and that authority. You feel you must do such and
9such a thing because you have been told to do it and yet you are incapable of
doing  it.  You  have  your  own  particular  inclinations,  tendencies  and  pressures
which conflict with the system you think you ought to follow and therefore there is
a contradiction. So you will lead a double life between the ideology of the system
and the actuality of your daily existence. In trying to conform to the ideology, you
suppress yourself – whereas what is actually true is not the ideology but what you
are.  If  you  try  to  study  yourself  according  to  another  you  will  always  remain  a
secondhand human being.
A man who says, ‘I want to change, tell me how to’, seems very earnest, very
serious,  but  he  is  not.  He  wants  an  authority  whom  he  hopes  will  bring  about
order in himself. But can authority ever bring about inward order? Order imposed
from  without  must  always  breed  disorder.  You  may  see  the  truth  of  this
intellectually but can you actually apply it so that your mind no longer projects any
authority, the authority of a book, a teacher, a wife or husband, a parent, a friend
or of society? Because we have always functioned within the pattern of a formula,
the formula becomes the ideology and the authority; but the moment you really
see  that  the  question,  ‘How  can  I  change?’  sets  up  a  new  authority,  you  have
finished with authority for ever.
Let us state it again clearly: I see that I must change completely from the roots
of  my  being;  I  can  no  longer  depend  on  any  tradition  because  tradition  has
brought  about  this  colossal  laziness,  acceptance  and  obedience;  I  cannot
possibly look to another to help me to change, not to any teacher, any God, any
belief, any system, any outside pressure or influence. What then takes place?
First of all, can you reject all authority? If you can it means that you are no
longer afraid. Then what happens? When you reject something false which you
have been carrying about with you for generations, when you throw off a burden
of any kind, what takes place? You have more energy, haven’t you? You have
more  capacity,  more  drive,  greater  intensity  and  vitality.  If  you  do  not  feel  this,
10then you have not thrown off the burden, you have not discarded the dead weight
of authority.
But when you have thrown it off and have this energy in which there is no fear
at all – no fear of making a mistake, no fear of doing right or wrong – then is not
that energy itself the mutation? We need a tremendous amount of energy and we
dissipate it through fear but when there is this energy which comes from throwing
off every form of fear, that energy itself produces the radical inward revolution.
You do not have to do a thing about it.
So you are left with yourself, and that is the actual state for a man to be who is
very  serious  about  all  this;  and  as  you  are  no  longer  looking  to  anybody  or
anything for help, you are already free to discover. And when there is freedom,
there  is  energy;  and  when  there  is  freedom  it  can  never  do  anything  wrong.
Freedom is entirely different from revolt. There is no such thing as doing right or
wrong  when  there  is  freedom.  You  are  free  and  from  that  centre  you  act.  And
hence there is no fear, and a mind that has no fear is capable of great love. And
when there is love it can do what it will.
What  we  are  now  going  to  do,  therefore,  is  to  learn  about  ourselves,  not
according to me or to some analyst or philosopher – because if we learn about
ourselves according to someone else, we learn about them, not ourselves – we
are going to learn what we actually are.
Having realized that we can depend on no outside authority in bringing about
a total revolution within the structure of our own psyche, there is the immensely
greater  difficulty  of  rejecting  our  own  inward  authority,  the  authority  of  our  own
particular  little  experiences  and  accumulated  opinions,  knowledge,  ideas  and
ideals. You had an experience yesterday which taught you something and what it
taught  you  becomes  a  new  authority  –  and  that  authority  of  yesterday  is  as
destructive as the authority of a thousand years. To understand ourselves needs
no  authority  either  of  yesterday  or  of  a  thousand  years  because  we  are  living
11things, always moving, flowing, never resting. When we look at ourselves with the
dead authority of yesterday, we will fail to understand the living movement and
the beauty and quality of that movement.
To  be  free  of  all  authority,  of  your  own  and  that  of  another,  is  to  die  to
everything  of  yesterday,  so  that  your  mind  is  always  fresh,  always  young,
innocent,  full  of  vigour  and  passion.  It  is  only  in  that  state  that  one  learns  and
observes. And for this a great deal of awareness is required, actual awareness of
what is going on inside yourself, without correcting it or telling it what it should or
should not be, because the moment you correct it you have established another
authority, a censor.
So  now  we  are  going  to  investigate  ourselves  together  –  not  one  person
explaining  while  you  read,  agreeing  or  disagreeing  with  him  as  you  follow  the
words on the page, but taking a journey together, a journey of discovery into the
most secret corners of our minds. And to take such a journey we must travel light;
we cannot be burdened with opinions, prejudices and conclusions – all that old
furniture we have collected for the last two thousand years and more. Forget all
you know about yourself; forget all you have ever thought about yourself; we are
going to start as if we knew nothing.
It rained last night heavily, and now the skies are beginning to clear; it is a new
fresh day. Let us meet that fresh day as if it were the only day. Let us start on our
journey together with all the remembrance of yesterday left behind – and begin to
understand ourselves for the first time.
12Chapter 2
If you think it is important to know about yourself only because I or someone
else has told you it is important, then I am afraid all communication between us
comes  to  an  end.  But  if  we  agree  that  it  is  vital  that  we  understand  ourselves
completely,  then  you  and  I  have  quite  a  different  relationship,  then  we  can
explore together with a happy, careful and intelligent enquiry.
I do not demand your faith; I am not setting myself up as an authority. I have
nothing to teach you – no new philosophy, no new system, no new path to reality;
there  is  no  path  to  reality  any  more  than  to  truth.  All  authority  of  any  kind,
especially in the field of thought and understanding, is the most destructive, evil
thing. Leaders destroy the followers and followers destroy the leaders. You have
to be your own teacher and your own disciple. You have to question everything
that man has accepted as valuable, as necessary.
If you do not follow somebody you feel very lonely. Be lonely then. Why are
you frightened of being alone? Because you are faced with yourself as you are
and you find that you are empty, dull, stupid, ugly, guilty and anxious – a petty,
shoddy, secondhand entity. Face the fact; look at it, do not run away from it. The
moment you run away fear begins.
In enquiring into ourselves we are not isolating ourselves from the rest of the
world. It is not an unhealthy process. Man throughout the world is caught up in
the same daily problems as ourselves, so in enquiring into ourselves we are not
being in the least neurotic because there is no difference between the individual
and the collective. That is an actual fact. I have created the world as I am. So
don’t let us get lost in this battle between the part and the whole.
I  must  become  aware  of  the  total  field  of  my  own  self,  which  is  the
consciousness  of  the  individual  and  of  society.  It  is  only  then,  when  the  mind
13goes beyond this individual and social consciousness, that I can become a light
to myself that never goes out.
Now where do we begin to understand ourselves? Here am I, and how am I to
study myself, observe myself, see what is actually taking place inside myself? I
can observe myself only in relationship because all life is relationship. It is no use
sitting in a corner meditating about myself. I cannot exist by myself. I exist only in
relationship  to  people,  things  and  ideas,  and  in  studying  my  relationship  to
outward  things  and  people,  as  well  as  to  inward  things,  I  begin  to  understand
myself. Every other form of understanding is merely an abstraction and I cannot
study myself in abstraction; I am not an abstract entity; therefore I have to study
myself in actuality – as I am, not as I wish to be.
Understanding is not an intellectual process. Accumulating knowledge about
yourself and learning about yourself are two different things, for the knowledge
you accumulate about yourself is always of the past and a mind that is burdened
with the past is a sorrowful mind. Learning about yourself is not like learning a
language or a technology or in the present and knowledge is always in the past,
and  as  most  of  us  live  in  the  past  and  are  satisfied  with  the  past,  knowledge
becomes extraordinarily important to us. That is why we worship the erudite, the
clever,  the  cunning.  But  if  you  are  learning  all  the  time,  learning  every  minute,
learning  by  watching  and  listening,  learning  by  seeing  and  doing,  then  you  will
find that learning is a constant movement without the past.
If you say you will learn gradually about yourself, adding more and more, little
by  little,  you  are  not  studying  yourself  now  as  you  are  but  through  acquired
knowledge. Learning implies a great sensitivity. There is no sensitivity if there is
an idea, which is of the past, dominating the present. Then the mind is no longer
quick, pliable, alert. Most of us are not sensitive even physically. We overeat, we
do  not  bother  about  the  right  diet,  we  oversmoke  and  drink  so  that  our  bodies
become  gross  and  insensitive;  the  quality  of  attention  in  the  organism  itself  is
14made dull. How can there be a very alert, sensitive, clear mind if the organism
itself is dull and heavy? We may be sensitive about certain things that touch us
personally but to be completely sensitive to all the implications of life demand that
there  be  no  separation  between  the  organism  and  the  psyche.  It  is  a  total
To understand anything you must live with it, you must observe it, you must
know all its content, its nature, its structure, its movement. Have you ever tried
living with yourself? If so, you will begin to see that yourself is not a static state, it
is a fresh living thing. And to live with a living thing your mind must also be alive.
And it cannot be alive if it is caught in opinions, judgements and values.
In order to observe the movement of your own mind and heart, of your whole
being, you must have a free mind, not a mind that agrees and disagrees, taking
sides  in  an  argument,  disputing  over  mere  words,  but  rather  following  with  an
intention to understand – a very difficult thing to do because most of us don’t know
how to look at, or listen to, our own being any more than we know how to look at
the beauty of a river or listen to the breeze among the trees.
When  we  condemn  or  justify  we  cannot  see  clearly,  nor  can  we  when  our
minds are endlessly chattering; then we do not observe what is we look only at
the projections we have made of ourselves. Each of us has an image of what we
think we are or what we should be, and that image, that picture, entirely prevents
us from seeing ourselves as we actually are.
It  is  one  of  the  most  difficult  things  in  the  world  to  look  at  anything  simply.
Because our minds are very complex we have lost the quality of simplicity. I don’t
mean simplicity in clothes or food, wearing only a loin cloth or breaking a record
fasting or any of that immature nonsense the saints cultivate, but the simplicity
that  can  look  directly  at  things  without  fear  –  that  can  look  at  ourselves  as  we
actually are without any distortion – to say when we lie we lie, not cover it up or
run away from it.
15     Also in order to understand ourselves we need a great deal of humility. If you
start  by  saying,  `I  know  myself’,  you  have  already  stopped  learning  about
yourself; or if you say, ‘There is nothing much to learn about myself because I am
just a bundle of memories, ideas, experiences and traditions’, then you have also
stopped  learning  about  yourself.  The  moment  you  have  achieved  anything  you
cease  to  have  that  quality  of  innocence  and  humility;  the  moment  you  have  a
conclusion or start examining from knowledge, you are finished, for then you are
translating every living thing in terms of the old. Whereas if you have no foothold,
if there is no certainty, no achievement, there is freedom to look, to achieve. And
when you look with freedom it is always new. A confident man is a dead human
But how can we be free to look and learn when our minds from the moment
we  are  born  to  the  moment  we  die  are  shaped  by  a  particular  culture  in  the
narrow  pattern  of  the  `me’?  For  centuries  we  have  been  conditioned  by
nationality,  caste,  class,  tradition,  religion,  language,  education,  literature,  art,
custom,  convention,  propaganda  of  all  kinds,  economic  pressure,  the  food  we
eat,  the  climate  we  live  in,  our  family,  our  friends,  our  experiences  –  every
influence  you  can  think  of  –  and  therefore  our  responses  to  every  problem  are
Are you aware that you are conditioned? That is the first thing to ask yourself,
not how to be free of your conditioning. You may never be free of it, and if you
say,  `I  must  be  free  of  it’,  you  may  fall  into  another  trap  of  another  form  of
conditioning. So are you aware that you are conditioned? Do you know that even
when you look at a tree and say, `That is an oak tree’, or `that is a banyan tree’,
the  naming  of  the  tree,  which  is  botanical  knowledge,  has  so  conditioned  your
mind that the word comes between you and actually seeing the tree? To come in
contact with the tree you have to put your hand on it and the word will not help
you to touch it.
16     How do you know you are conditioned? What tells you? What tells you you are
hungry? – not as a theory but the actual fact of hunger? In the same way, how do
you discover the actual fact that you are conditioned? Isn’t it by your reaction to a
problem,  a  challenge?  You  respond  to  every  challenge  according  to  your
conditioning  and  your  conditioning  being  inadequate  will  always  react
When  you  become  aware  of  it,  does  this  conditioning  of  race,  religion  and
culture  bring  a  sense  of  imprisonment?  Take  only  one  form  of  conditioning,
nationality, become seriously, completely aware of it and see whether you enjoy it
or rebel against it, and if you rebel against it, whether you want to break through
all conditioning. If you are satisfied with your conditioning you will obviously do
nothing about it, but if you are not satisfied when you become aware of it, you will
realize that you never do anything without it. Never! And therefore you are always
living in the past with the dead.
You will be able to see for yourself how you are conditioned only when there is
a conflict in the continuity of pleasure or the avoidance of pain. If everything is
perfectly happy around you, your wife loves you, you love her, you have a nice
house,  nice  children  and  plenty  of  money,  then  you  are  not  aware  of  your
conditioning  at  all.  But  when  there  is  a  disturbance  –  when  your  wife  looks  at
someone else or you lose your money or are threatened with war or any other
pain or anxiety – then you know you are conditioned. When you struggle against
any kind of disturbance or defend yourself against any outer or inner threat, then
you know you are conditioned. And as most of us are disturbed most of the time,
either  superficially  or  deeply,  that  very  disturbance  indicates  that  we  are
conditioned. So long as the animal is petted he reacts nicely, but the moment he
is antagonized the whole violence of his nature comes out.
We  are  disturbed  about  life,  politics,  the  economic  situation,  the  horror,  the
brutality, the sorrow in the world as well as in ourselves, and from that we realize
17how  terribly  narrowly  conditioned  we  are.  And  what  shall  we  do?  Accept  that
disturbance and live with it as most of us do? Get used to it as one gets used to
living with a backache? Put up with it?
There is a tendency in all of us to put up with things, to get used to them, to
blame them on circumstances. `Ah, if things were right I would be different’, we
say, or, `Give me the opportunity and I will fulfil myself’, or, ‘I am crushed by the
injustice  of  it  all’,  always  blaming  our  disturbances  on  others  or  on  our
environment or on the economic situation.
If one gets used to disturbance it means that one’s mind has become dull, just
as one can get so used to beauty around one that one no longer notices it. One
gets indifferent, hard and callous, and one’s mind becomes duller and duller. If we
do not get used to it we try to escape from it by taking some kind of drug, joining
a  political  group,  shouting,  writing,  going  to  a  football  match  or  to  a  temple  or
church or finding some other form of amusement.
Why is it that we escape from actual facts? We are afraid of death – I am just
taking that as an example – and we invent all kinds of theories, hopes, beliefs, to
disguise the fact of death, but the fact is still there. To understand a fact we must
look at it, not run away from it. Most of us are afraid of living as well as of dying.
We  are  afraid  for  our  family,  afraid  of  public  opinion,  of  losing  our  job,  our
security, and hundreds of other things. The simple fact is that we are afraid, not
that we are afraid of this or that. Now why cannot we face that fact?
You can face a fact only in the present and if you never allow it to be present
because you are always escaping from it, you can never face it, and because we
have cultivated a hole network of escapes we are caught in the habit of escape.
Now, if you are at all sensitive, at all serious, you will not only be aware of your
conditioning but you will also be aware of the dangers it results in, what brutality
and hatred it leads to. Why, then, if you see the danger of your conditioning, don’t
18you act? Is it because you are lazy, laziness being lack of energy? Yet you will
not  lack  energy  if  you  see  an  immediate  physical  danger  like  a  snake  in  your
path, or a precipice, or a fire. Why, then, don’t you act when you see the danger
of your conditioning? If you saw the danger of nationalism to your own security,
wouldn’t you act?
The answer is you don’t see. Through an intellectual process of analysis you
may  see  that  nationalism  leads  to  self-destruction  but  there  is  no  emotional
content in that. Only when there is an emotional content do you become vital.
If you see the danger of your conditioning merely as an intellectual concept,
you will never do anything about it. In seeing a danger as a mere idea there is
conflict between the idea and action and that conflict takes away your energy. It is
only when you see the conditioning and the danger of it immediately, and as you
would see a precipice, that you act. So seeing is acting.
Most of us walk through life inattentively, reacting unthinkingly according to the
environment in which we have been brought up, and such reactions create only
further bondage, further conditioning, but the moment you give your total attention
to your conditioning you will see that you are free from the past completely, that it
falls away from you naturally.
19Chapter 3
When you become aware of your conditioning you will understand the whole of
your consciousness. Consciousness is the total field in which thought functions
and  relationships  exist.  All  motives,  intentions,  desires,  pleasures,  fear,
inspiration, longings, hopes, sorrows, joys are in that field. But we have come to
divide the consciousness into the active and the dormant, the upper and lower
level  –  that  is,  all  the  daily  thoughts,  feelings  and  activities  on  the  surface  and
below them the so-called subconscious, the things with which we are not familiar,
which express themselves occasionally through certain intimations, intuitions and
We are occupied with one little corner of consciousness which is most of our
life;  the  rest,  which  we  call  the  subconscious,  with  all  its  motives,  its  fears,  its
racial  and  inherited  qualities,  we  do  not  even  know  how  to  get  into.  Now  I  am
asking you, is there such a thing as the subconscious at all? We use that word
very freely. We have accepted that there is such a thing and all the phrases and
jargon of the analysts and psychologists have seeped into the language; but is
there such a thing? And why is it that we give such extraordinary importance to
it?  It  seems  to  me  that  it  is  as  trivial  and  stupid  as  the  conscious  mind  –  as
narrow, bigoted, conditioned, anxious and tawdry.
So is it possible to be totally aware of the whole field of consciousness and not
merely a part, a fragment, of it? If you are able to be aware of the totality, then
you are functioning all the time with your total attention, not partial attention. This
is  important  to  understand  because  when  you  are  being  totally  aware  of  the
whole  field  of  consciousness  there  no  friction.  it  is  only  when  you  divide
consciousness, which is all thought, feeling and action, into different levels that
there is friction.
20     We live in fragments. You are one thing at the office, another at home; you
talk about democracy and in your heart you are autocratic; you talk about loving
your neighbours, yet kill him with competition; there is one part of you working,
looking, independently of the other. Are you aware of this fragmentary existence
in yourself? And is it possible for a brain that has broken up its own functioning,
its own thinking, into fragments – is it possible for such a brain to be aware of the
whole  field?  Is  it  possible  to  look  at  the  whole  of  consciousness  completely,
totally, which means to be a total human being?
If, in order to try to understand the whole structure of the `me’, the self, with all
its  extraordinary  complexity,  you  go  step  by  step,  uncovering  layer  by  layer,
examining  every  thought,  feeling  and  motive,  you  will  get  caught  up  in  the
analytical  process  which  may  take  you  weeks,  months,  years  –  and  when  you
admit time into the process of understanding yourself, you must allow for every
form of distortion because the self is a complex entity, moving, living, struggling,
wanting,  denying,  with  pressures  and  stresses  and  influences  of  all  sorts
continually at work on it. So you will discover for yourself that this is not the way;
you will understand that the only way to look at yourself is totally, immediately,
without time; and you can see the totality of yourself only when the mind is not
fragmented. What you see in totality is the truth.
Now  can  you  do  that?  Most  of  us  cannot  because  most  of  us  have  never
approached  the  problem  so  seriously,  because  we  have  never  really  looked  at
ourselves. Never. We blame others, we explain things away or we are frightened
to look. But when you look totally you will give your whole attention, your whole
being, everything of yourself, your eyes, your ears, your nerves; you will attend
with complete self-abandonment, and then there is no room for fear, no room for
contradiction, and therefore no conflict.
Attention is not the same thing as concentration. Concentration is exclusion;
attention, which is total awareness, excludes nothing. It seems to me that most of
21us are not aware, not only of what we are talking about but of our environment,
the  colours  around  us,  the  people,  the  shape  of  the  trees,  the  clouds,  the
movement of water. Perhaps it is because we are so concerned with ourselves,
with our own petty little problems, our own ideas, our own pleasures, pursuits and
ambitions that we are not objectively aware. And yet we talk a great deal about
awareness. Once in India I was travelling in a car. There was a chauffeur driving
and  I  was  sitting  beside  him.  There  were  three  gentlemen  behind  discussing
awareness  very  intently  and  asking  me  questions  about  awareness,  and
unfortunately at that moment the driver was looking somewhere else and he ran
over  a  goat,  and  the  three  gentlemen  were  still  discussing  awareness  –  totally
unaware that they had run over a goat. When the lack of attention was pointed
out to those gentlemen who were trying to be aware it was a great surprise to
And with most of us it is the same. We are not aware of outward things or of
inward things. If you want to understand the beauty of a bird, a fly, or a leaf, or a
person with all his complexities, you have to give your whole attention which is
awareness.  And  you  can  give  your  whole  attention  only  when  you  care,  which
means that you really love to understand – then you give your whole heart and
mind to find out.
Such awareness is like living with a snake in the room; you watch its every
movement, you are very, very sensitive to the slightest sound it makes. Such a
state  of  attention  is  total  energy;  in  such  awareness  the  totality  of  yourself  is
revealed in an instant.
When you have looked at yourself so deeply you can go much deeper. When
we use the word `deeper’ we are not being comparative. We think in comparisons
– deep and shallow, happy and unhappy. We are always measuring, comparing.
Now is there such a state as the shallow and the deep in oneself? When I say,
`My  mind  is  shallow,  petty,  narrow,  limited’,  how  do  I  know  all  these  things?
22Because I have compared my mind with your mind which is brighter, has more
capacity,  is  more  intelligent  and  alert.  Do  I  know  my  pettiness  without
comparison? When I am hungry, I do not compare that hunger with yesterday’s
hunger. Yesterday’s hunger is an idea, a memory.
If I am all the time measuring myself against you, struggling to be like you,
then I am denying what I am myself. Therefore I am creating an illusion. When I
have understood that comparison in any form leads only to greater illusion and
greater misery, just as when I analyse myself, add to my knowledge of myself bit
by bit, or identify myself with something outside myself, whether it be the State, a
saviour or an ideology – when I understand that all such processes lead only to
greater  conformity  and  therefore  greater  conflict  –  when  I  see  all  this  I  put  it
completely  away.  Then  my  mind  is  no  longer  seeking.  It  is  very  important  to
understand this. Then my mind is no longer groping, searching, questioning. This
does not mean that my mind is satisfied with things as they are, but such a mind
has no illusion. Such a mind can then move in a totally different dimension. The
dimension in which we usually live, the life of every day which is pain, pleasure
and fear, has conditioned the mind, limited the nature of the mind, and when that
pain, pleasure and fear have gone (which does not mean that you no longer have
joy: joy is something entirely different from pleasure) – then the mind functions in
a different dimension in which there is no conflict, no sense of `otherness’.
Verbally  we  can  go  only  so  far:  what  lies  beyond  cannot  be  put  into  words
because the word is not the thing. Up to now we can describe, explain, but no
words  or  explanations  can  open  the  door.  What  will  open  the  door  is  daily
awareness and attention – awareness of  how we speak, what we say, how we
walk, what we think. It is like cleaning a room and keeping it in order. Keeping the
room in order is important in one sense but totally unimportant in another. There
must be order in the room but order will not open the door or the window. What
will  open  the  door  is  not  your  volition  or  desire.  You  cannot  possibly  invite  the
other. All that you can do is to keep the room in order, which is to be virtuous for
23itself, not for what it will bring. To be sane, rational, orderly. Then perhaps, if you
are  lucky,  the  window  will  open  and  the  breeze  will  come  in.  Or  it  may  not.  It
depends on the state of your mind. And that state of mind can be understood only
by yourself, by watching it and never trying to shape it, never taking sides, never
opposing,  never  agreeing,  never  justifying,  never  condemning,  never  judging  –
which  means  watching  it  without  any  choice.  And  out  of  this  choiceless
awareness perhaps the door will open and you will know what that dimension is
in which there is no conflict and no time.
24Chapter 4
We  said  in  the  last  chapter  that  joy  was  something  entirely  different  from
pleasure, so let us find out what is involved in pleasure and whether it is at all
possible to live in a world that does not contain pleasure but a tremendous sense
of joy, of bliss.
We  are  all  engaged  in  the  pursuit  of  pleasure  in  some  form  or  other  –
intellectual,  sensuous  or  cultural  pleasure,  the  pleasure  of  reforming,  telling
others what to do, of modifying the evils of society, of doing good – the pleasure
of  greater  knowledge,  greater  physical  satisfaction,  greater  experience,  greater
understanding of life, all the clever, cunning things of the mind – and the ultimate
pleasure is, of course, to have God.
Pleasure  is  the  structure  of  society.  From  childhood  until  death  we  are
secretly,  cunningly  or  obviously  pursuing  pleasure.  So  whatever  our  form  of
pleasure is, I think we should be very clear about it because it is going to guide
and  shape  our  lives.  It  is  therefore  important  for  each  one  of  us  to  investigate
closely,  hesitantly  and  delicately  this  question  of  pleasure,  for  to  find  pleasure,
and then nourish and sustain it, is a basic demand of life and without it existence
becomes dull, stupid, lonely and meaningless.
You may ask why then should life not be guided by pleasure? For the very
simple reason that pleasure must bring pain, frustration, sorrow and fear, and, out
of  fear,  violence.  If  you  want  to  live  that  way,  live  that  way.  Most  of  the  world
does, anyway, but if you want to be free from sorrow you must understand the
whole structure of pleasure
To understand pleasure is not to deny it. We are not condemning it or saying it
is right or wrong, but if we pursue it, let us do so with our eyes open, knowing that
a mind that is all the time seeking pleasure must inevitably find its shadow, pain.
They cannot be separated, although we run after pleasure and try to avoid pain.
25     Now, why is the mind always demanding pleasure? Why is it that we do noble
and ignoble things with the undercurrent of pleasure? Why is it we sacrifice and
suffer on the thin thread of pleasure? What is pleasure and how does it come into
being? I wonder if any of you have asked yourself these questions and followed
the answers to the very end?
Pleasure  comes  into  being  through  four  stages  –  perception,  sensation,
contact  and  desire.  I  see  a  beautiful  motor  car,  say;  then  I  get  a  sensation,  a
reaction, from looking at it; then I touch it or imagine touching it, and then there is
the desire to own and show myself off in it. Or I see a lovely cloud, or a mountain
clear against the sky, or a leaf that has just come in springtime, or a deep valley
full  of  loveliness  and  splendour,  or  a  glorious  sunset,  or  a  beautiful  face,
intelligent,  alive,  not  self-conscious  and  therefore  no  longer  beautiful.  I  look  at
these things with intense delight and as I observe them there is no observer but
only  sheer  beauty  like  love.  For  a  moment  I  am  absent  with  all  my  problems,
anxieties and miseries – there is only that marvellous thing. I can look at it with joy
and the next moment forget it, or else the mind steps in, and then the problem
begins; my mind thinks over what it has seen and thinks how beautiful it was; I tell
myself  I  should  like  to  see  it  again  many  times.  Thought  begins  to  compare,
judge, and say `l must have it again tomorrow’. The continuity of an experience
that has given delight for a second is sustained by thought.
It is the same with sexual desire or any other form of desire. There is nothing
wrong  with  desire.  To  react  is  perfectly  normal.  If  you  stick  a  pin  in  me  I  shall
react unless I am paralysed. But then thought steps in and chews over the delight
and turns it into pleasure. Thought wants to repeat the experience, and the more
you  repeat,  the  more  mechanical  it  becomes;  the  more  you  think  about  it,  the
more  strength  thought  gives  to  pleasure.  So  thought  creates  and  sustains
pleasure through desire, and gives it continuity, and therefore the natural reaction
of  desire  to  any  beautiful  thing  is  perverted  by  thought.  Thought  turns  it  into  a
memory and memory is then nourished by thinking about it over and over again.
26     Of course, memory has a place at a certain level. In everyday life we could not
function at all without it. In its own field it must be efficient but there is a state of
mind where it has very little place. A mind which is not crippled by memory has
real freedom.
Have  you  ever  noticed  that  when  you  respond  to  something  totally,  with  all
your heart, there is very little memory? It is only when you do not respond to a
challenge with your whole being that there is a conflict, a struggle, and this brings
confusion and pleasure or pain. And the struggle breeds memory. That memory
is  added  to  all  the  time  by  other  memories  and  it  is  those  memories  which
respond.  Anything  that  is  the  result  of  memory  is  old  and  therefore  never  free.
There is no such thing as freedom of thought. It is sheer nonsense.
Thought  is  never  new,  for  thought  is  the  response  of  memory,  experience,
knowledge. Thought, because it is old, makes this thing which you have looked at
with delight and felt tremendously for the moment, old. From the old you derive
pleasure, never from the new. There is no time in the new.
So if you can look at all things without allowing pleasure to creep in – at a face,
a bird, the colour of a sari, the beauty of a sheet of water shimmering in the sun,
or anything that gives delight – if you can look at it without wanting the experience
to be repeated, then there will be no pain, no fear, and therefore tremendous joy.
It is the struggle to repeat and perpetuate pleasure which turns it into pain.
Watch it in yourself. The very demand for the repetition of pleasure brings about
pain, because it is not the same, as it was yesterday. You struggle to achieve the
same delight, not only to your aesthetic sense but the same inward quality of the
mind, and you are hurt and disappointed because it is denied to you.
Have  you  observed  what  happens  to  you  when  you  are  denied  a  little
pleasure?  When  you  don’t  get  what  you  want  you  become  anxious,  envious,
hateful. Have you noticed when you have been denied the pleasure of drinking or
27smoking or sex or whatever it is – have you noticed what battles you go through?
And all that is a form of fear, isn’t it? You are afraid of not getting what you want
or  of  losing  what  you  have.  When  some  particular  faith  or  ideology  which  you
have held for years is shaken or torn away from you by logic or life, aren’t you
afraid  of  standing  alone?  That  belief  has  for  years  given  you  satisfaction  and
pleasure, and when it is taken away you are left stranded, empty, and the fear
remains until you find another form of pleasure, another belief.
It  seems  to  me  so  simple  and  because  it  is  so  simple  we  refuse  to  see  its
simplicity. We like to complicate everything. When your wife turns away from you,
aren’t you jealous? Aren’t you angry? Don’t you hate the man who has attracted
her? And what is all that but fear of losing something which has given you a great
deal  of  pleasure,  a  companionship,  a  certain  quality  of  assurance  and  the
satisfaction of possession?
So if you understand that where there is a search for pleasure there must be
pain,  live  that  way  if  you  want  to,  but  don’t  just  slip  into  it.  If  you  want  to  end
pleasure, though, which is to end pain, you must be totally attentive to the whole
structure of pleasure – not cut it out as monks and sannyasis do, never looking at
a woman because they think it is a sin and thereby destroying the vitality of their
understanding – but seeing the whole meaning and significance of pleasure. Then
you  will  have  tremendous  joy  in  life.  You  cannot  think  about  joy.  Joy  is  an
immediate thing and by thinking about it, you turn it into pleasure. Living in the
present  is  the  instant  perception  of  beauty  and  the  great  delight  in  it  without
seeking pleasure from it.
28Chapter 5
Before  we  go  any  further  I  would  like  to  ask  you  what  is  your  fundamental,
lasting  interest  in  life?  Putting  all  oblique  answers  aside  and  dealing  with  this
question directly and honestly, what would you answer? Do you know?
Isn’t it yourself? Anyway, that is what most of us would say if we answered
truthfully. I am interested in my progress, my job, my family, the little corner in
which  I  live,  in  getting  a  better  position  for  myself,  more  prestige,  more  power,
more domination over others and so on. I think it would be logical, wouldn’t it, to
admit to ourselves that that is what most of us are primarily interested in – ‘me’
Some of us would say that it is wrong to be primarily interested in ourselves.
But what is wrong about it except that we seldom decently, honestly, admit it? If
we  do,  we  are  rather  ashamed  of  it.  So  there  it  is  –  one  is  fundamentally
interested in oneself, and for various ideological or traditional reasons one thinks
it is wrong. But what one thinks is irrelevant. Why introduce the factor of its being
wrong? That is an idea, a concept. What is a fact is that one is fundamentally and
lastingly interested in oneself.
You may say that it is more satisfactory to help another than to think about
yourself.  What  is  the  difference?  It  is  still  self-concern.  If  it  gives  you  greater
satisfaction to help others, you are concerned  about  what  will  give  you  greater
satisfaction. Why bring any ideological concept into it? Why this double thinking?
Why  not  say,  `What  I  really  want  is  satisfaction,  whether  in  sex,  or  in  helping
others,  or  in  becoming  a  great  saint,  scientist  or  politician’?  It  is  the  same
process, isn’t it? Satisfaction in all sorts of ways, subtle and obvious, is what we
want.  When  we  say  we  want  freedom  we  want  it  because  we  think  it  may  be
wonderfully  satisfying,  and  the  ultimate  satisfaction,  of  course,  is  this  peculiar
29idea of self-realization. What we are really seeking is a satisfaction in which there
is no dissatisfaction at all.
Most of us crave the satisfaction of having a position in society because we
are  afraid  of  being  nobody.  Society  is  so  constructed  that  a  citizen  who  has  a
position  of  respect  is  treated  with  great  courtesy,  whereas  a  man  who  has  no
position  is  kicked  around.  Everyone  in  the  world  wants  a  position,  whether  in
society, in the family or to sit on the right hand of God, and this position must be
recognized by others, otherwise it is no position at all. We must always sit on the
platform. Inwardly we are whirlpools of misery and mischief and therefore to be
regarded outwardly as a great figure is very gratifying. This craving for position,
for prestige, for power, to be recognized by society as being outstanding in some
way,  is  a  wish  to  dominate  others,  and  this  wish  to  dominate  is  a  form  of
aggression.  The  saint  who  seeks  a  position  in  regard  to  his  saintliness  is  as
aggressive as the chicken pecking in the farmyard. And what is the cause of this
aggressiveness? It is fear, isn’t it?
Fear is one of the greatest problems in life. A mind that is caught in fear lives
in confusion, in conflict, and therefore must be violent, distorted and aggressive. It
dare not move away from its own patterns of thinking, and this breeds hypocrisy.
Until we are free from fear, climb the highest mountain, invent every kind of God,
we will always remain in darkness.
Living  in  such  a  corrupt,  stupid  society  as  we  do,  with  the  competitive
education  we  receive  which  engenders  fear,  we  are  all  burdened  with  fears  of
some kind, and fear is a dreadful thing which warps, twists and dulls our days.
There  is  physical  fear  but  that  is  a  response  we  have  inherited  from  the
animals.  It  is  psychological  fears  we  are  concerned  with  here,  for  when  we
understand  the  deep-rooted  psychological  fears  we  will  be  able  to  meet  the
animal fears, whereas to be concerned with the animal fears first will never help
us to understand the psychological fears.
30     We are all afraid about something; there is no fear in abstraction, it is always
in relation to something. Do you know your own fears – fear of losing your job, of
not  having  enough  food  or  money,  or  what  your  neighbours  or  the  public  think
about  you,  or  not  being  a  success,  of  losing  your  position  in  society,  of  being
despised or ridiculed – fear of pain and disease, of domination, of never knowing
what  love  is  or  of  not  being  loved,  of  losing  your  wife  or  children,  of  death,  of
living in a world that is like death, of utter boredom, of not living up to the image
others have built about you, of losing your faith – all these and innumerable other
fears – do you know your own particular fears? And what do you usually do about
them? You run away from them, don’t you, or invent ideas and images to cover
them? But to run away from fear is only to increase it.
One of the major causes of fear is that we do not want to face ourselves as we
are.  So,  as  well  as  the  fears  themselves,  we  have  to  examine  the  network  of
escapes  we  have  developed  to  rid  ourselves  of  them.  If  the  mind,  in  which  is
included the brain, tries to overcome fear, to suppress it, discipline it, control it,
translate it into terms of something else, there is friction, there is conflict, and that
conflict is a waste of energy.
The  first  thing  to  ask  ourselves  then  is  what  is  fear  and  how  does  it  arise?
What do we mean by the word fear itself? I am asking myself what is fear not
what I am afraid of.
I lead a certain kind of life; I think in a certain pattern; I have certain beliefs
and dogmas and I don’t want those patterns of existence to be disturbed because
I  have  my  roots  in  them.  I  don’t  want  them  to  be  disturbed  because  the
disturbance produces a state of unknowing and I dislike that. If I am torn away
from everything I know and believe, I want to be reasonably certain of the state of
things to which I am going. So the brain cells have created a pattern and those
brain  cells  refuse  to  create  another  pattern  which  may  be  uncertain.  The
movement from certainty to uncertainty is what I call fear.
31     At the actual moment as I am sitting here I am not afraid; I am not afraid in the
present, nothing is happening to me, nobody is threatening me or taking anything
away from me. But beyond the actual moment there is a deeper layer in the mind
which is consciously or unconsciously thinking of what might happen in the future
or worrying that something from the past may overtake me. So I am afraid of the
past and of the future. I have divided time into the past and the future. Thought
steps  in,  says,  `Be  careful  it  does  not  happen  again’,  or  `Be  prepared  for  the
future. The future may be dangerous for you. You have got something now but
you may lose it. You may die tomorrow, your wife may run away, you may lose
your job. You may never become famous. You may be lonely. You want to be
quite sure of tomorrow.’
Now take your own particular form of fear. Look at it. Watch your reactions to
it. Can you look at it without any movement of escape, justification, condemnation
or  suppression?  Can  you  look  at  that  fear  without  the  word  which  causes  the
fear?  Can  you  look  at  death,  for  instance,  without  the  word  which  arouses  the
fear of death? The word itself brings a tremor, doesn’t it, as the word love has its
own tremor, its own image? Now is the image you have in your mind about death,
the  memory  of  so  many  deaths  you  have  seen  and  the  associating  of  yourself
with those incidents – is it that image which is creating fear? Or are you actually
afraid of coming to an end, not of the image creating the end? Is the word death
causing you fear or the actual ending? If it is the word or the memory which is
causing you fear then it is not fear at all.
You  were  ill  two  years  ago,  let  us  say,  and  the  memory  of  that  pain,  that
illness, remains, and the memory now functioning says, `Be careful, don’t get ill,
again’. So the memory with its associations is creating fear, and that is not fear at
all because actually at the moment you have very good health. Thought, which is
always  old,  because  thought  is  the  response  of  memory  and  memories  are
always old – thought creates, in time, the feeling that you are afraid which is not
an actual fact. The actual fact is that you are well. But the experience, which has
32remained in the mind as a memory, rouses the thought, `Be careful, don’t fall ill
So  we  see  that  thought  engenders  one  kind  of  fear.  But  is  there  fear  at  all
apart from that? Is fear always the result of thought and, if it is, is there any other
form of fear? We are afraid of death – that is, something that is going to happen
tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, in time. There is a distance between actuality
and what will be. Now thought has experienced this state; by observing death it
says, `I am going to die.’ Thought creates the fear of death, and if it doesn’t is
there any fear at all? Is fear the result of thought? If it is, thought being always
old, fear is always old. As we have said, there is no new thought. If we recognise
it,  it  is  already  old.  So  what  we  are  afraid  of  is  the  repetition  of  the  old  –  the
thought  of  what  has  been  projecting  into  the  future.  Therefore  thought  is
responsible  for  fear.  This  is  so,  you  can  see  it  for  yourself.  When  you  are
confronted with something immediately there is no fear. It is only when thought
comes in that there is fear.
Therefore our question now is, is it possible for the mind to live completely,
totally, in the present? It is only such a mind that has no fear. But to understand
this, you have to understand the structure of thought, memory and time. And in
understanding  it,  understanding  not  intellectually,  not  verbally,  but  actually  with
your heart, your mind, your guts, you will be free from fear; then the mind can use
thought without creating fear.
Thought, like memory, is, of course, necessary for daily living. It is the only
instrument we have for communication, working at our jobs and so forth. Thought
is  the  response  to  memory,  memory  which  has  been  accumulated  through
experience, knowledge, tradition, time. And from this background of memory we
react  and  this  reaction  is  thinking.  So  thought  is  essential  at  certain  levels  but
when thought projects itself psychologically as the future and the past, creating
33fear  as  well  as  pleasure,  the  mind  is  made  dull  and  therefore  inaction  is
So I ask myself, `Why, why, why, do I think about the future and the past in
terms  of  pleasure  and  pain,  knowing  that  such  thought  creates  fear?  Isn’t  it
possible for thought psychologically to stop, for otherwise fear will never end?’
One of the functions of thought is to be occupied all the time with something.
Most of us want to have our minds continually occupied so that we are prevented
from  seeing  ourselves  as  we  actually  are.  We  are  afraid  to  be  empty.  We  are
afraid to look at our fears.
Consciously you can be aware of your fears but at the deeper levels of your
mind are you aware of them? And how are you going to find out the fears that are
hidden, secret? Is fear to be divided into the conscious and the subconscious?
This  is  a  very  important  question.  The  specialist,  the  psychologist,  the  analyst,
have  divided  fear  into  deep  superficial  layers,  but  if  you  follow  what  the
psychologist says or what I say, you are understanding our theories, our dogmas,
our  knowledge,  you  are  not  understanding  yourself.  You  cannot  understand
yourself according to Freud or Jung, or according to me. Other people’s theories
have no importance whatever. It is of yourself that you must ask the question, is
fear  to  be  divided  into  the  conscious  and  subconscious?  Or  is  there  only  fear
which you translate into different forms? There is only one desire; there is only
desire. You desire. The objects of desire change, but desire is always the same.
So perhaps in the same way there is only fear. You are afraid of all sorts of things
but there is only one fear.
When you realize that fear cannot be divided you will see that you have put
away  altogether  this  problem  of  the  subconscious  and  so  have  cheated  the
psychologists  and  the  analysts.  When  you  understand  that  fear  is  a  single
movement  which  expresses  itself  in  different  ways  and  when  you  see  the
movement and not the object to which the movement goes, then you are facing
34an immense question: how can you look at it without the fragmentation which the
mind has cultivated?
There  is  only  total  fear,  but  how  can  the  mind  which  thinks  in  fragments
observe this total picture? Can it? We have lived a life of fragmentation, and can
look at that total fear only through the fragmentary process of thought. The whole
process of the machinery of thinking is to break up everything into fragments: I
love  you  and  I  hate  you;  you  are  my  enemy,  you  are  my  friend;  my  peculiar
idiosyncrasies  and  inclinations,  my  job,  my  position,  my  prestige,  my  wife,  my
child,  my  country  and  your  country,  my  God  and  your  God  –  all  that  is  the
fragmentation of thought. And this thought looks at the total state of fear, or tries
to look at it, and reduces it to fragments. Therefore we see that the mind can look
at this total fear only when there is no movement of thought.
Can  you  watch  fear  without  any  conclusion,  without  any  interference  of  the
knowledge  you  have  accumulated  about  it?  If  you  cannot,  then  what  you  are
watching is the past, not fear; if you can, then you are watching fear for the first
time without the interference of the past.
You can watch only when the mind is very quiet, just as you can listen to what
someone is saying only when your mind is not chattering with itself, carrying on a
dialogue with itself about its own problems and anxieties. Can you in the same
way look at your fear without trying to resolve it, without bringing in its opposite,
courage – actually look at it and not try to escape from it? When you say, `I must
control it, I must get rid of it, I must understand it’, you are trying to escape from it.
You can observe a cloud or a tree or the movement of a river with a fairly quiet
mind because they are not very important to you, but to watch yourself is far more
difficult because there the demands are so practical, the reactions so quick. So
when  you  are  directly  in  contact with fear or despair,  loneliness or jealousy, or
any other ugly state of mind, can you look at it so completely that your mind is
quiet enough to see it? Can the mind perceive fear and not the different forms of
35fear  –  perceive  total  fear,  not  what  you  are  afraid  of?  If  you  look  merely  at  the
details of fear or try to deal with your fears one by one, you will never come to the
central issue which is to learn to live with fear.
To  live  with  a  living  thing  such  as  fear  requires  a  mind  and  heart  that  are
extraordinarily  subtle,  that  have  no  conclusion  and  can  therefore  follow  every
movement of fear. Then if you observe and live with it – and this doesn’t take a
whole day, it can take a minute or a second to know the whole nature of fear – if
you live with it so completely you inevitably ask, ‘Who is the entity who is living
with  fear?  Who  is  it  who  is  observing  fear,  watching  all  the  movements  of  the
various  forms  of  fear  as  well  as  being  aware  of  the  central  fact  of  fear?  Is  the
observer a dead entity, a static being, who has accumulated a lot of knowledge
and  information  about  himself,  and  is  it  that  dead  thing  who  is  observing  and
living with the movement of fear? Is the observer the past or is he a living thing?’
What is your answer? Do not answer me, answer yourself. Are you, the observer,
a  dead  entity  watching  a  living  thing  or are  you  a  living  thing  watching  a  living
thing? Because in the observer the two states exist.
The observer is the censor who does not want fear; the observer is the totality
of all his experiences about fear. So the observer is separate from that thing he
calls  fear;  there  is  space  between  them;  he  is  forever  trying  to  overcome  it  or
escape  from  it  and  hence  this  constant  battle  between  himself  and  fear  –  this
battle which is such a waste of energy.
As  you  watch,  you  learn  that  the  observer  is  merely  a  bundle  of  ideas  and
memories without any validity or substance, but that fear is an actuality and that
you  are  trying  to  understand  a  fact  with  an  abstraction  which,  of  course,  you
cannot do. But,in fact, is the observer who says, `I am afraid’, any different from
the thing observed which is fear? The observer is fear and when that is realized
there is no longer any dissipation of energy in the effort to get rid of fear, and the
time-space  interval  between  the  observer  and  the  observed  disappears.  When
36you see that you are a part of fear, not separate from it – that you are fear – then
you cannot do anything about it; then fear comes totally to an end.
37Chapter 6
FEAR, PLEASURE, SORROW, thought and violence are all interrelated. Most
of us take pleasure in violence, in disliking somebody, hating a particular race or
group  of  people,  having  antagonistic  feelings  towards  others.  But  in  a  state  of
mind  in  which  all  violence  has  come  to  an  end  there  is  a  joy  which  is  very
different from the pleasure of violence with its conflicts, hatreds and fears.
Can we go to the very root of violence and be free from it? Otherwise we shall
live everlastingly in battle with each other. If that is the way you want to live – and
apparently most people do – then carry on; if you say, `Well, I’m sorry, violence
can  never  end’,  then  you  and  I  have  no  means  of  communication,  you  have
blocked yourself; but if you say there might be a different way of living, then we
shall be able to communicate with each other.
So let us consider together, those of us who can communicate, whether it is at
all possible totally to end every form of violence in ourselves and still live in this
monstrously  brutal  world.  I  think  it  is  possible.  I  don’t  want  to have a breath of
hate, jealousy, anxiety or fear in me. I want to live completely at peace. Which
doesn’t mean that I want to die. I want to live on this marvellous earth, so full, so
rich, so beautiful. I want to look at the trees, flowers, rivers, meadows, women,
boys and girls, and at the same time live completely at peace with myself and
with the world. What can I do?
If we know how to look at violence, not only outwardly in society – the wars,
the riots, the national antagonisms and class conflicts – but also in ourselves, then
perhaps we shall be able to go beyond it.
Here is a very complex problem. For centuries upon centuries man has been
violent; religions have tried to tame him throughout the world and none of them
have succeeded. So if we are going into the question we must, it seems to me,
be  at  least  very  serious  about  it  because  it  will  lead  us  into  quite  a  different
38domain,  but  if  we  want  merely  to  play  with  the  problem  for  intellectual
entertainment we shall not get very far.
You may feel that you yourself are very serious about the problem but that as
long as so many other people in the world are not serious and are not prepared to
do  anything  about  it,  what  is  the  good  of  your  doing  anything?  I  don’t  care
whether they take it seriously or not. I take it seriously, that is enough. I am not
my  brother’s  keeper.  I  myself,  as  a  human  being,  feel  very  strongly  about  this
question of violence and I will see to it that in myself I am not violent – but I cannot
tell  you  or  anybody  else,  `Don’t  be  violent.’  It  has  no  meaning  –  unless  you
yourself  want  it.  So  if  you  yourself  really  want  to  understand  this  problem  of
violence let us continue on our journey of exploration together.
Is  this  problem  of  violence  out  there  or  here?  Do  you  want  to  solve  the
problem in the outside world or are you questioning violence itself as it is in you?
If you are free of violence in yourself the question is, `How am I to live in a world
full of violence, acquisitiveness, greed, envy, brutality? Will I not be destroyed?’
That is the inevitable question which is invariably asked. When you ask such a
question  it  seems  to  me  you  are  not  actually  living  peacefully.  If  you  live
peacefully you will have no problem at all. You may be imprisoned because you
refuse  to  join  the  army  or  shot  because  you  refuse  to  fight  –  but  that  is  not  a
problem; you will be shot. it is extraordinarily important to understand this.
We are trying to understand violence as a fact, not as an idea, as a fact which
exists  in  the  human  being,  and  the  human  being  is  myself.  And  to  go  into  the
problem  I  must  be  completely  vulnerable,  open,  to  it.  I  must  expose  myself  to
myself – not necessarily expose myself to you because you may not be interested
– but I must be in a state of mind that demands to see this thing right to the end
and at no point stops and says I will go no further.
Now  it  must  be  obvious  to  me  that  I  am  a  violent  human  being.  I  have
experienced  violence  in  anger,  violence  in  my  sexual  demands,  violence  in
39hatred, creating enmity, violence in jealousy and so on – I have experienced it, I
have known it, and I say to myself, `I want to understand this whole problem not
just one fragment of it expressed in war, but this aggression in man which also
exists in the animals and of which I am a part.’
Violence is not merely killing another. It is violence when we use a sharp word,
when we make a gesture to brush away a person, when we obey because there
is fear. So violence isn’t merely organized butchery in the name of God, in the
name of society or country. Violence is much more subtle, much deeper, and we
are inquiring into the very depths of violence.
When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or
anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you
are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by
belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to
understand  violence  does  not  belong  to  any  country,  to  any  religion,  to  any
political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of
Now  there  are  two  primary  schools  of  thought  with  regard  to  violence,  one
which says, `Violence is innate in man’ and the other which says, `Violence is the
result  of  the  social  and  cultural  heritage  in  which  man  lives.’  We  are  not
concerned  with  which  school  we  belong  to  –  it  is  of  no  importance.  What  is
important is the fact that we are violent, not the reason for it.
One of the most common expressions of violence is anger. When my wife or
sister is attacked I say I am righteously angry; when my country is attacked, my
ideas, my principles, my way of life, I am righteously angry. I am also angry when
my habits are attacked or my petty little opinions. When you tread on my toes or
insult  me  I  get  angry,  or  if  you  run  away  with  my  wife  and  I  get  jealous,  that
jealousy  is  called  righteous  because  she  is  my  property.  And  all  this  anger  is
morally justified. But to kill for my country is also justified. So when we are talking
40about anger, which is a part of violence, do we look at anger in terms of righteous
and unrighteous anger according to our own inclinations and environmental drive,
or do we see only anger? Is there righteous anger ever? Or is there only anger?
There  is  no  good  influence  or  bad  influence,  only  influence,  but  when  you  are
influenced by something which doesn’t suit me I call it an evil influence.
The moment you protect your family, your country, a bit of coloured rag called
a flag, a belief, an idea, a dogma, the thing that you demand or that you hold, that
very protection indicates anger. So can you look at anger without any explanation
or  justification,  without  saying,  `I  must  protect  my  goods’,  or  `I  was  right  to  be
angry’, or `How stupid of me to be angry’? Can you look at anger as if it were
something  by  itself?  Can  you  look  at  it  completely  objectively,  which  means
neither defending it nor condemning it? Can you?
Can  I  look  at  you  if  I  am  antagonistic  to  you  or  if  I  am  thinking  what  a
marvellous person you are? I can see you only when I look at you with a certain
care in which neither of these things is involved. Now, can I look at anger in the
same way, which means that I am vulnerable to the problem, I do not resist it, I
am watching this extraordinary phenomenon without any reaction to it?
It is very difficult to look at anger dispassionately because it is a part of me,
but that is what I am trying to do. Here I am, a violent human being, whether I am
black, brown, white or purple. I am not concerned with whether I have inherited
this violence or whether society has produced it in me; all I am concerned with is
whether  it  is  at  all  possible  to  be  free from  it.  To  be  free  from  violence  means
everything to me. It is more important to me than sex, food, position, for this thing
is  corrupting  me.  It  is  destroying  me  and  destroying  the  world,  and  I  want  to
understand  it,  I  want  to  be  beyond  it.  I  feel  responsible  for  all  this  anger  and
violence in the world. I feel responsible – it isn’t just a lot of words – and I say to
myself, `I can do something only if I am beyond anger myself, beyond violence,
41beyond nationality’. And this feeling I have that I must understand the violence in
myself brings tremendous vitality and passion to find out.
But to be beyond violence I cannot suppress it, I cannot deny it, I cannot say,
`Well, it is a part of me and that’s that’, or `I don’t want it’. I have to look at it, I
have to study it, I must become very intimate with it and I cannot become intimate
with  it  if  I  condemn  it  or  justify  it.  We  do  condemn  it,  though;  we  do  justify  it.
Therefore I am saying, stop for the time being condemning it or justifying it.
Now, if you want to stop violence, if you want to stop wars, how much vitality,
how much of yourself, do you give to it? Isn’t it important to you that your children
are killed, that your sons go into the army where they are bullied and butchered?
Don’t you care? My God, if that doesn’t interest you, what does? Guarding your
money? Having a good time? Taking drugs? Don’t you see that this violence in
yourself is destroying your children? Or do you see it only as some abstraction?
All right then, if you are interested, attend with all your heart and mind to find
out. Don’t just sit back and say, `Well, tell us all about it’. I point out to you that
you cannot look at anger nor at violence with eyes that condemn or justify and
that  if  this  violence  is  not  a  burning  problem  to  you,  you  cannot  put  those  two
things away. So first you have to learn; you have to learn how to look at anger,
how to look at your husband, your wife, your children; you have to listen to the
politician,  you  have  to  learn  why  you  are  not  objective,  why  you  condemn  or
justify. You have to learn that you condemn and justify because it is part of the
social  structure  you  live  in,  your  conditioning  as  a  German  or  an  Indian  or  a
Negro or an American or whatever you happen to have been born, with all the
dulling  of  the  mind  that  this  conditioning  results  in.  To  learn,  to  discover,
something fundamental you must have the capacity to go deeply. If you have a
blunt instrument, a dull instrument, you cannot go deeply. So what we are doing
is sharpening the instrument, which is the mind – the mind which has been made
dull by all this justifying and condemning. You can penetrate deeply only if your
42mind is as sharp as a needle and as strong as a diamond. It is no good just sitting
back and asking, `How am I to get such a mind?’ You have to want it as you want
your next meal, and to have it you must see that what makes your mind dull and
stupid is this sense of invulnerability which has built walls round itself and which
is part of this condemnation and justification. If the mind can be rid of that, then
you can look, study, penetrate, and perhaps come to a state that is totally aware
of the whole problem.
So let us come back to the central issue – is it possible to eradicate violence in
ourselves?  It  is  a  form  of  violence  to  say,  `You  haven’t  changed,  why  haven’t
you?’  I  am  not  doing  that.  It  doesn’t  mean  a  thing  to  me  to  convince  you  of
anything. It is your life, not my life. The way you live is your affair. I am asking
whether it is possible for a human being living psychologically in any society to
clear  violence  from  himself  inwardly?  If  it  is,  the  very  process  will  produce  a
different way of living in this world.
Most of us have accepted violence as a way of life. Two dreadful wars have
taught us nothing except to build more and more barriers between human beings
that is, between you and me. But for those of us who want to be rid of violence,
how  is  it  to  be  done?  I  do  not  think  anything  is  going  to  be  achieved  through
analysis,  either  by  ourselves  or  by  a  professional.  We  might  be  able  to  modify
ourselves slightly, live a little more quietly with a little more affection, but in itself it
will not give total perception. But I must know how to analyse which means that in
the  process  of  analysis  my  mind  becomes  extraordinarily  sharp,  and  it  is  that
quality of sharpness, of attention, of seriousness, which will give total perception.
One hasn’t the eyes to see the whole thing at a glance; this clarity of the eye is
possible only if one can see the details, then jump. Some of us, in order to rid
ourselves of violence, have used a concept, an ideal, called non-violence, and we
think by having an ideal of the opposite to violence, non-violence, we can get rid
of the fact, the actual – but we cannot. We have had ideals without number, all the
43sacred  books  are  full  of  them,  yet  we  are  still  violent  –  so  why  not  deal  with
violence itself and forget the word altogether?
If you want to understand the actual you must give your whole attention, all
your  energy,  to  it.  That  attention  and  energy  are  distracted  when  you  create  a
fictitious, ideal world. So can you completely banish the ideal? The man who is
really serious, with the urge to find out what truth is, what love is, has no concept
at all. He lives only in what is.
To investigate the fact of your own anger you must pass no judgement on it,
for the moment you conceive of its opposite you condemn it and therefore you
cannot see it as it is. When you say you dislike or hate someone that is a fact,
although it sounds terrible. If you look at it, go into it completely, it ceases, but if
you say, `I must not hate; I must have love in my heart’, then you are living in a
hypocritical world with double standards. To live completely, fully, in the moment
is  to  live  with  what  is,  the  actual,  without  any  sense  of  condemnation  or
justification – then you understand it so totally that you are finished with it. When
you see clearly the problem is solved.
But  can  you  see  the  face  of  violence  clearly  –  the  face  of  violence  not  only
outside you but inside you, which means that you are totally free from violence
because  you  have  not  admitted  ideology  through  which  to  get  rid  of  it?  This
requires very deep meditation not just a verbal agreement or disagreement.
You have now read a series of statements but have you really understood?
Your  conditioned  mind,  your  way  of  life,  the  whole  structure  of  the  society  in
which you live, prevent you from looking at a fact and being entirely free from it
immediately. You say, `I will think about it; I will consider whether it is possible to
be free from violence or not. I will try to be free.’ That is one of the most dreadful
statements you can make, `I will try’. There is no trying, no doing your best. Either
you do it or you don’t do it. You are admitting time while the house is burning. The
house is burning as a result of the violence throughout the world and in yourself
44and you say, `Let me think about it. Which ideology is best to put out the fire?’
When the house is on fire, do you argue about the colour of the hair of the man
who brings the water?
45Chapter 7
THE  CESSATION  OF  violence,  which  we  have  just  been  considering,  does
not necessarily mean a state of mind which is at peace with itself and therefore at
peace in all its relationships.
Relationship between human beings is based on the image-forming, defensive
mechanism.  In  all  our  relationships  each  one  of  us  builds  an  image  about  the
other and these two images have relationship, not the human beings themselves.
The  wife  has  an  image  about  the  husband  –  perhaps  not  consciously  but
nevertheless it is there – and the husband has an image about the wife. One has
an  image  about  one’s  country  and  about  oneself,  and  we  are  always
strengthening these images by adding more and more to them. And it is these
images  which  have  relationship.  The  actual  relationship  between  two  human
beings  or  between  many  human  beings  completely  end  when  there  is  the
formation of images.
Relationship based on these images can obviously never bring about peace in
the  relationship  because  the  images  are  fictitious  and  one  cannot  live  in  an
abstraction. And yet that is what we are all doing: living in ideas, in theories, in
symbols, in images which we have created about ourselves and others and which
are not realities at all. All our relationships, whether they be with property, ideas
or people, are based essentially on this image-forming, and hence there is always
How is it possible then to be completely at peace within ourselves and in all
our  relationships  with  others?  After  all,  life  is  a  movement  in  relationship,
otherwise there is no life at all, and if that life is based on an abstraction, an idea,
or a speculative assumption, then such abstract living must inevitably bring about
a relationship which becomes a battlefield. So is it at all possible for man to live a
completely  orderly  inward  life  without  any  form  of  compulsion,  imitation,
46suppression or sublimation? Can he bring about such order within himself that it
is a living quality not held within the framework of ideas – an inward tranquillity
which  knows  no  disturbance  at  any  moment  –  not  in  some  fantastic  mythical
abstract world but in the daily life of the home and the office?
I think we should go into this question very carefully because there is not one
spot in our consciousness untouched by conflict. In all our relationships, whether
with  the  most  intimate  person  or  with  a  neighbour  or  with  society,  this  conflict
exists  –  conflict  being  contradiction,  a  state  of  division,  separation,  a  duality.
Observing ourselves and our relationships to society we see that at all levels of
our  being  there  is  conflict  –  minor  or  major  conflict  which  brings  about  very
superficial responses or devastating results.
Man has accepted conflict as an innate part of daily existence because he has
accepted  competition,  jealousy,  greed,  acquisitiveness  and  aggression  as  a
natural way of life. When we accept such a way of life we accept the structure of
society as it is and live within the pattern of respectability. And that is what most
of us are caught in because most of us want to be terribly respectable. When we
examine our own minds and hearts, the way we think, the way we feel and how
we act in our daily lives, we observe that as long as we conform to the pattern of
society, life must be a battlefield. If we do not accept it – and no religious person
can  possibly  accept  such  a  society  –  then  we  will  be  completely  free  from  the
psychological structure of society.
Most of us are rich with the things of society. What society has created in us
and what we have created in ourselves, are greed, envy, anger, hate, jealousy,
anxiety – and with all these we are very rich. The various religions throughout the
world  have  preached  poverty.  The  monk  assumes  a  robe,  changes  his  name,
shaves  his  head,  enters  a  cell  and  takes a  vow  of  poverty  and  chastity;  in  the
East he has one loin cloth, one robe, one meal a day – and we all respect such
poverty. But those men who have assumed the robe of poverty are still inwardly,
47psychologically,  rich  with  the  things  of  society  because  they  are  still  seeking
position and prestige; they belong to this order or that order, this religion or that
religion; they still live in the divisions of a culture, a tradition. That is not poverty.
poverty  is  to  be  completely  free  of  society,  though  one  may  have  a  few  more
clothes,  a  few  more  meals  –  good  God,  who  cares?  But  unfortunately  in  most
people there is this urge for exhibitionism.
Poverty  becomes  a  marvellously  beautiful  thing  when  the  mind  is  free  of
society. One must become poor inwardly for then there is no seeking, no asking,
no desire, no – nothing! It is only this inward poverty that can see the truth of a life
in which there is no conflict at all. Such a life is a benediction not to be found in
any church or any temple.
How is it possible then to free ourselves from the psychological structure of
society, which is to free ourselves from the essence of conflict? It is not difficult to
trim and lop off certain branches of conflict, but we are asking ourselves whether
it is possible to live in complete inward and therefore outward tranquillity? Which
does  not  mean  that  we  shall  vegetate  or  stagnate.  On  the  contrary,  we  shall
become dynamic, vital, full of energy.
To  understand  and  to  be  free  of  any  problem  we  need  a  great  deal  of
passionate and sustained energy, not only physical and intellectual energy but an
energy that is not dependent on any motive, any psychological stimulus or drug. If
we are dependent on any stimulus that very stimulus makes the mind dull and
insensitive. By taking some form of drug we may find enough energy temporarily
to see things very clearly but we revert to our former state and therefore become
dependent on that drug more and more. So all stimulation, whether of the church
or  of  alcohol  or  of  drugs  or  of  the  written  or  spoken  word,  will  inevitably  bring
about  dependence,  and  that  dependence  prevents  us  from  seeing  clearly  for
ourselves and therefore from having vital energy.
48      We  all  unfortunately  depend  psychologically  on  something.  Why  do  we
depend? Why is there this urge to depend? We are taking this journey together;
you  are  not  waiting  for  me  to  tell  you  the  causes  of  your  dependence.  If  we
enquire together we will both discover and therefore that discovery will be your
own, and hence, being yours, it will give you vitality.
I discover for myself that I depend on something – an audience, say, which will
stimulate  me.  I  derive  from  that  audience,  from  addressing  a  large  group  of
people,  a  kind  of  energy.  And  therefore  I  depend  on  that  audience,  on  those
people, whether they agree or disagree. The more they disagree the more vitality
they give me. If they agree it becomes a very shallow, empty thing. So I discover
that I need an audience because it is a very stimulating thing to address people.
Now why? Why do I depend? Because in myself I am shallow, in myself I have
nothing, in myself I have no source which is always full and rich, vital, moving,
living. So I depend. I have discovered the cause.
But  will  the  discovery  of  the  cause  free  me  from  being  dependent?  The
discovery  of  the  cause  is  merely  intellectual,  so  obviously  it  does  not  free  the
mind  from  its  dependency.  The  mere  intellectual  acceptance  of  an  idea,  or  the
emotional  acquiescence  in  an  ideology,  cannot  free  the  mind  from  being
dependent on something which will give it stimulation. What frees the mind from
dependence  is  seeing  the  whole  structure  and  nature  of  stimulation  and
dependence and how that dependence makes the mind stupid, dull and inactive.
Seeing the totality of it alone frees the mind.
So I must enquire into what it means to see totally. As long as I am looking at
life  from  a  particular  point  of  view  or  from  a  particular  experience  I  have
cherished,  or  from  some  particular  knowledge  I  have  gathered,  which  is  my
background,  which  is  the  ‘me’,  I  cannot  totally.  I  have  discovered  intellectually,
verbally,  through  analysis,  the  cause  of  my  dependence,  but  whatever  thought
49investigates must inevitably be fragmentary, so I can see the totality of something
only when thought does not interfere.
Then I see the fact of my dependence; I see actually what is. I see it without
any like or dislike; I do not want to get rid of that dependence or to be free from
the cause of it. I observe it, and when there is observation of this kind I see the
whole picture, not a fragment of the picture, and when the mind sees the whole
picture  there  is  freedom.  Now  I  have  discovered  that  there  is  a  dissipation  of
energy  when  there  is  fragmentation.  I  have  found  the  very  source  of  the
dissipation of energy.
You  may  think  there  is  no  waste  of  energy  if  you  imitate,  if  you  accept
authority, if you depend on the priest, the ritual, the dogma, the party or on some
ideology, but the following and acceptance of an ideology, whether it is good or
bad, whether it is holy or unholy, is a fragmentary activity and therefore a cause
of conflict, and conflict will inevitably arise so long as there is a division between
`what should be’ and `what is’, and any conflict is a dissipation of energy.
If you put the question to yourself, `How am I to be free from conflict?’, you are
creating another problem and hence you are increasing conflict, whereas if you
just  see  it  as  a  fact  –  see  it  as  you  would  see  some  concrete  object  –  clearly,
directly – then you will understand essentially the truth of a life in which there is no
conflict at all.
Let us put it another way. We are always comparing what we are with what we
should  be.  The  should-be  is  a  projection  of  what  we  think  we  ought  to  be.
Contradiction  exists  when  there  is  comparison,  not  only  with  something  or
somebody,  but  with  what  you  were  yesterday,  and  hence  there  is  conflict
between  what  has  been  and  what  is.  There  is  what  is  only  when  there  is  no
comparison at all, and to live with what is, is to be peaceful. Then you can give
your whole attention without any distraction to what is within yourself – whether it
50be  despair,  ugliness,  brutality,  fear,  anxiety,  loneliness  –  and  live  with  it
completely; then there is no contradiction and hence no conflict.
But  all  the  time  we  are  comparing  ourselves  –  with  those  who  are  richer  or
more brilliant, more intellectual, more affectionate, more famous, more this and
more  that.  The  `more’  plays  an  extraordinarily  important  part  in  our  lives;  this
measuring  ourselves  all  the  time  against  something  or  someone  is  one  of  the
primary causes of conflict.
Now why is there any comparison at all? Why do you compare yourself with
another? This comparison has been taught from childhood. In every school A is
compared with B, and A destroys himself in order to be like B. When you do not
compare at all, when there is no ideal, no opposite, no factor of duality, when you
no longer struggle to be different from what you are – what has happened to your
mind?  Your  mind  has  ceased  to  create  the  opposite  and  has  become  highly
intelligent,  highly  sensitive,  capable  of  immense  passion,  because  effort  is  a
dissipation  of  passion  –  passion  which  is  vital  energy  –  and  you  cannot  do
anything without passion.
If you do not compare yourself with another you will be what you are. Through
comparison  you  hope  to  evolve,  to  grow,  to  become  more  intelligent,  more
beautiful.  But  will  you?  The  fact  is  what  you  are,  and  by  comparing  you  are
fragmenting  the  fact  which  is  a  waste  of  energy.  To  see  what  you  actually  are
without  any  comparison  gives  you  tremendous  energy  to  look.  When  you  can
look at yourself without comparison you are beyond comparison, which does not
mean that the mind is stagnant with contentment. So we see in essence how the
mind wastes energy which is so necessary to understand the totality of life.
I  don’t  want  to  know  with  whom  I  am  in  conflict;  I  don’t  want  to  know  the
peripheral conflicts of my being. What I want to know is why conflict should exist
at all. When I put that question to myself I see a fundamental issue which has
nothing to do with peripheral conflicts and their solutions. I am concerned with the
51central issue and I see – perhaps you see also? – that the very nature of desire, if
not  properly  understood,  must  inevitably  lead  to  conflict.  Desire  is  always  in
contradiction.  I  desire  contradictory  things  –  which  doesn’t  mean  that  I  must
destroy desire, suppress, control or sublimate it – I simply see that desire itself is
contradictory. It is not the objects of desire but the very nature of desire which is
contradictory.  And  I  have  to  understand  the  nature  of  desire  before  I  can
understand conflict. In ourselves we are in a state of contradiction, and that state
of contradiction is brought about by desire – desire being the pursuit of pleasure
and the avoidance of pain, which we have already been into.
So we see desire as the root of all contradiction – wanting something and not
wanting it – a dual activity. When we do something pleasurable there is no effort
involved at all, is there? But pleasure brings pain and then there is a struggle to
avoid the pain, and that again is a dissipation of energy. Why do we have duality
at all? There is, of course, duality in nature – man and woman, light and shade,
night  and  day  –  but  inwardly,  psychologically,  why  do  we  have  duality?  Please
think this out with me, don’t wait for me to tell you. You have to exercise your own
mind to find out. My words are merely a mirror in which to observe yourself. Why
do we have this psychological duality? Is it that we have been brought up always
to compare `what is’ with `what should be’? We have been conditioned in what is
right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, what is moral and what is
immoral. Has this duality come into being because we believe that thinking about
the opposite of violence, the opposite of envy, of jealousy, of meanness, will help
us to get rid of those things? Do we use the opposite as a lever to get rid of what
is? Or is it an escape from the actual?
Do you use the opposite as a means of avoiding the actual which you don’t
know  how  to  deal  with?  Or  is  it  because  you  have  been  told  by  thousands  of
years of propaganda that you must have an ideal – the opposite of `what is’ – in
order to cope with the present? When you have an ideal you think it helps you to
52get rid of `what is’, but it never does. You may preach non-violence for the rest of
your life and all the time be sowing the seeds of violence.
You have a concept of what you should be and how you should act, and all
the time you are in fact acting quite differently; so you see that principles, beliefs
and ideals must inevitably lead to hypocrisy and a dishonest life. It is the ideal
that creates the opposite to what is, so if you know how to be with `what is’, then
the opposite is not necessary.
Trying to become like somebody else, or like your ideal, is one of the main
causes of contradiction, confusion conflict. A mind that is confused, whatever it
does,  at  any  level,  will  remain  confused;  any  action  born  of  confusion  leads  to
further confusion. I see this very clearly; I see it as clearly as I see an immediate
physical  danger.  So  what  happens?  I  cease  to  act  in  terms  of  confusion  any
more. Therefore inaction is complete action.
53Chapter 8
NONE OF THE agonies of suppression, nor the brutal discipline of conforming
to a pattern has led to truth. To come upon truth the mind must be completely
free, without a spot of distortion.
But  first  let  us  ask  ourselves  if  we  really  want  to  be  free?  When  we  talk  of
freedom  are  we  talking  of  complete  freedom  or  of  freedom  from  some
inconvenient or unpleasant or undesirable thing? We would like to be free from
painful and ugly memories and unhappy experiences but keep our pleasurable,
satisfying ideologies, formulas and relationships. But to keep the one without the
other is impossible, for, as we have seen, pleasure is inseparable from pain.
So it is for each one of us to decide whether or not we want to be completely
free.  If  we  say  we  do,  then  we  must  understand  the  nature  and  structure  of
Is  it  freedom  when  you  are  free  from  something  –  free  from  pain,  free  from
some kind of anxiety? Or is freedom itself something entirely different? You can
be  free  from  jealousy,  say,  but  isn’t  that  freedom  a  reaction  and  therefore  not
freedom  at  all?  You  can  be  free  from  dogma  very  easily,  by  analysing  it,  by
kicking it out, but the motive for that freedom from dogma has its own reaction
because  the  desire  to  be  free  from  a  dogma  may  be  that  it  is  no  longer
fashionable  or  convenient.  Or  you  can  be  free  from  nationalism  because  you
believe  in  internationalism  or  because  you  feel  it  is  no  longer  economically
necessary to cling to this silly nationalistic dogma with its flag and all that rubbish.
You can easily put that away. Or you may react against some spiritual or political
leader who has promised you freedom as a result of discipline or revolt. But has
such rationalism, such logical conclusion, anything to do with freedom?
If you say you are free from something, it is a reaction which will then become
another  reaction  which  will  bring  about  another  conformity,  another  form  of
54domination.  In  this  way  you  can  have  a  chain  of  reactions  and  accept  each
reaction as freedom. But it is not freedom; it is merely a continuity of a modified
past which the mind clings to.
The youth of today, like all youth, are in revolt against society, and that is a
good  thing  in  itself,  but  revolt  is  not  freedom  because  when  you  revolt  it  is  a
reaction  and  that  reaction  sets  up  its  own  pattern  and  you  get  caught  in  that
pattern. You think it is something new. it is not; it is the old in a different mould.
Any  social  or  political  revolt  will  inevitably  revert  to  the  good  old  bourgeois
Freedom comes only when you see and act, never through revolt. The seeing
is the acting and such action is as instantaneous as when you see danger. Then
there is no cerebration, no discussion or hesitation; the danger itself compels the
act, and therefore to see is to act and to be free.
Freedom  is  a  state  of  mind  –  not  freedom  from  something  but  a  sense  of
freedom, a freedom to doubt and question everything and therefore so intense,
active  and  vigorous  that  it  throws  away  every  form  of  dependence,  slavery,
conformity  and  acceptance.  Such  freedom  implies  being  completely  alone.  But
can the mind brought up in a culture so dependent on environment and its own
tendencies ever find that freedom which is complete solitude and in which there is
no leadership, no tradition and no authority?
This  solitude  is  an  inward  state  of  mind  which  is  not  dependent  on  any
stimulus or any knowledge and is not the result of any experience or conclusion.
Most  of  us,  inwardly,  are  never  alone.  There  is  a  difference  between  isolation,
cutting oneself off, and aloneness, solitude. We all know what it is to be isolated –
building a wall around oneself in order never to be hurt, never to be vulnerable, or
cultivating detachment which is another form of agony, or living in some dreamy
ivory tower of ideology. Aloneness is something quite different.
55      You  are  never  alone  because  you  are  full  of  all  the  memories,  all  the
conditioning, all the mutterings of yesterday; your mind is never clear of all the
rubbish it has accumulated. To be alone you must die to the past. When you are
alone,  totally  alone,  not  belonging  to  any  family,  any  nation,  any  culture,  any
particular  continent,  there  is  that  sense  of  being  an  outsider.  The  man  who  is
completely  alone  in  this  way  is  innocent  and  it  is  this  innocency  that  frees  the
mind from sorrow.
We carry about with us the burden of what thousands of people have said and
the memories of all our misfortunes. To abandon all that totally is to be alone, and
the  mind  that  is  alone  is  not  only  innocent  but  young  –  not  in  time  or  age,  but
young, innocent, alive at whatever age – and only such a mind can see that which
is truth and that which is not measurable by words.
In this solitude you will begin to understand the necessity of living with yourself
as you are, not as you think you should be or as you have been. See if you can
look at yourself without any tremor, any false modesty, any fear, any justification
or condemnation – just live with yourself as you actually are. It is only when you
live  with  something  intimately  that  you  begin  to  understand  it.  But  the  moment
you get used to it – get used to your own anxiety or envy or whatever it is – you
are no longer living with it. If you live by a river, after a few days you do not hear
the sound of the water any more, or if you have a picture in the room which you
see  every  day  you  lose  it  after  a  week.  It  is  the  same  with  the  mountains,  the
valleys, the trees – the same with your family, your husband, your wife. But to live
with something like jealousy, envy or anxiety you must never get used to it, never
accept it. You must care for it as you would care for a newly planted tree, protect
it against the sun, against the storm. You must care for it, not condemn it or justify
it. Therefore you begin to love it. When you care for it, you are beginning to love
it.  It  is  not  that  you  love  being  envious  or  anxious,  as  so  many  people  do,  but
rather that you care for watching.
56     So can you – can you and I – live with what we actually are, knowing ourselves
to  be  dull,  envious,  fearful,  believing  we  have  tremendous  affection  when  we
have not, getting easily hurt, easily flattered and bored – can we live with all that,
neither accepting it nor denying it, but just observing it without becoming morbid,
depressed or elated?
Now let us ask ourselves a further question. Is this freedom, this solitude, this
coming into contact with the whole structure of what we are in ourselves – is it to
be come upon through time? That is, is freedom to be achieved through a gradual
process?  Obviously  not,  because  as  soon  as  you  introduce  time  you  are
enslaving yourself more and more. You cannot become free gradually. It is not a
matter of time.
The next question is, can you become conscious of that freedom? If you say, ‘I
am free’, then you are not free. It is like a man saying,`I am happy’. The moment
he  says,  `I  am  happy’  he  is  living  in  a  memory  of  something  that  has  gone.
Freedom can only come about naturally, not through wishing, wanting, longing.
Nor will you find it by creating an image of what you think it is. To come upon it
the  mind  has  to  learn  to  look  at  life,  which  is  a  vast  movement,  without  the
bondage of time, for freedom lies beyond the field of consciousness.
57Chapter 9
I AM TEMPTED TO repeat a story about a great disciple going to God and
demanding to be taught truth. This poor God says, `My friend, it is such a hot day,
please get me a glass of water.’ So the disciple goes out and knocks on the door
of the first house he comes to and a beautiful young lady opens the door. The
disciple falls in love with her and they marry and have several children. Then one
day  it  begins  to  rain,  and  keeps  on  raining,  raining,  raining  –  the  torrents  are
swollen,  the  streets  are  full,  the  houses  are  being  washed  away.  The  disciple
holds on to his wife and carries his children on his shoulders and as he is being
swept away he calls out, ‘Lord, please save me’, and the Lord says, `Where is
that glass of water I asked for?’
It is rather a good story because most of us think in terms of time. Man lives
by time. Inventing the future has been a favourite game of escape.
We  think  that  changes  in  ourselves  can  come  about  in  time,  that  order  in
ourselves  can  be  built  up  little  by  little,  added  to  day  by  day.  But  time  doesn’t
bring  order  or  peace,  so  we  must  stop  thinking  in  terms  of  gradualness.  This
means that there is no tomorrow for us to be peaceful in. We have to be orderly
on the instant.
When  there  is  real  danger  time  disappears,  doesn’t  it?  There  is  immediate
action. But we do not see the danger of many of our problems and therefore we
invent time as a means of overcoming them. Time is a deceiver as it doesn’t do a
thing to help us bring about a change in ourselves. Time is a movement which
man has divided into past, present and future, and as long as he divides it he will
always be in conflict.
Is learning a matter of time? We have not learnt after all these thousands of
years that there is a better way to live than by hating and killing each other. The
58problem of time is a very important one to understand if we are to resolve this life
which we have helped to make as monstrous and meaningless as it is.
The  first  thing  to  understand  is  that  we  can  look  at  time  only  with  that
freshness  and  innocency  of  mind  which  we  have  already  been  into.  We  are
confused about our many problems and lost in that confusion. Now if one is lost
in a wood, what is the first thing one does? One stops, doesn’t one? One stops
and looks round. But the more we are confused and lost in life the more we chase
around,  searching,  asking,  demanding,  begging.  So  the  first  thing,  if  I  may
suggest it, is that you completely stop inwardly. And when you do stop inwardly,
psychologically,  your  mind  becomes  very  peaceful,  very  clear.  Then  you  can
really look at this question of time.
Problems exist only in time, that is when we meet an issue incompletely. This
incomplete coming together with the issue creates the problem. When we meet a
challenge partially, fragmentarily, or try to escape from it – that is, when we meet
it  without  complete  attention  –  we  bring  about  a  problem.  And  the  problem
continues so long as we continue to give it incomplete attention, so long as we
hope to solve it one of these days.
Do  you  know  what  time  is?  Not  by  the  watch,  not  chronological  time,  but
psychological time? It is the interval between idea and action. An idea is for self-
protection obviously; it is the idea of being secure. Action is always immediate; it
is not of the past or of the future; to act must always be in the present, but action
is so dangerous, so uncertain, that we conform to an idea which we hope will give
us a certain safety.
Do look at this in yourself. You have an idea of what is right or wrong, or an
ideological concept about yourself and society, and according to that idea you are
going to act. Therefore the action is in conformity with that idea, approximating to
the idea, and hence there is always conflict. There is the idea, the interval and
action. And in that interval is the whole field of time. That interval is essentially
59thought. When you think you will be happy tomorrow, then you have an image of
yourself achieving a certain result in time. Thought, through observation, through
desire,  and  the  continuity  of  that  desire  sustained  by  further  thought,  says,
`Tomorrow I shall be happy. Tomorrow I shall have success. Tomorrow the world
will be a beautiful place.’ So thought creates that interval which is time.
Now we are asking, can we put a stop to time? Can we live so completely that
there is no tomorrow for thought to think about? Because time is sorrow. That is,
yesterday  or  a  thousand  yesterday’s  ago,  you  loved,  or  you  had  a  companion
who  has  gone,  and  that  memory  remains  and  you  are  thinking  about  that
pleasure  and  that  pain  –  you  are  looking  back,  wishing,  hoping,  regretting,  so
thought, going over it again and again, breeds this thing we call sorrow and gives
continuity to time.
So long as there is this interval of time which has been bred by thought, there
must be sorrow, there must be continuity of fear. So one asks oneself can this
interval come to an end? If you say, `Will it ever end?’, then it is already an idea,
something you want to achieve, and therefore you have an interval and you are
caught again.
Now take the question of death which is an immense problem to most people.
You know death, there it is walking every day by your side. Is it possible to meet it
so completely that you do not make a problem of it at all? In order to meet it in
such a way all belief, all hope, all fear about it must come to an end, otherwise
you  are  meeting  this  extraordinary  thing  with  a  conclusion,  an  image,  with  a
premeditated anxiety, and therefore you are meeting it with time.
Time  is  the  interval  between  the  observer  and  the  observed.  That  is,  the
observer,  you,  is  afraid  to meet this thing called death. You don’t know what it
means;  you  have  all  kinds  of  hopes  and  theories  about  it;  you  believe  in
reincarnation  or  resurrection,  or  in  something  called  the  soul,  the  atman,  a
spiritual entity which is timeless and which you call by different names. Now have
60you found out for yourself whether there is a soul? Or is it an idea that has been
handed  down  to  you?  Is  there  something  permanent,  continuous,  which  is
beyond thought? If thought can think about it, it is within the field of thought and
therefore it cannot be permanent because there is nothing permanent within the
field  of  thought.  To  discover  that  nothing  is  permanent  is  of  tremendous
importance for only then is the mind free, then you can look, and in that there is
great joy.
You cannot be frightened of the unknown because you do not know what the
unknown is and so there is nothing to be frightened of. Death is a word, and it is
the  word,  the  image,  that  creates  fear.  So  can  you  look  at  death  without  the
image of death? As long as the image exists from which springs thought, thought
must always create fear. Then you either rationalize your fear of death and build
a  resistance  against  the  inevitable  or  you  invent  innumerable  beliefs  to  protect
you from the fear of death. Hence there is a gap between you and the thing of
which you are afraid. In this time-space interval there must be conflict which is
fear, anxiety and self-pity. Thought, which breeds the fear of death, says, `Let’s
postpone it, let’s avoid it, keep it as far away as possible, let’s not think about it’ –
but  you  are  thinking  about  it.  When  you  say,  `I  won’t  think  about  it’,  you  have
already  thought  out  how  to  avoid  it.  You  are  frightened  of  death  because  you
have postponed it.
We have separated living from dying, and the interval between the living and
the  dying  is  fear.  That  interval,  that  time,  is  created  by  fear.  Living  is  our  daily
torture, daily insult, sorrow and confusion, with occasional opening of a window
over enchanted seas. That is what we call living, and we are afraid to die, which
is to end this misery. We would rather cling to the known than face the unknown –
the known being our house, our furniture, our family, our character, our work, our
knowledge, our fame, our loneliness, our gods – that little thing that moves around
incessantly within itself with its own limited pattern of embittered existence.
61     We think that living is always in the present and that dying is something that
awaits us at a distant time. But we have never questioned whether this battle of
everyday life is living at all. We want to know the truth about reincarnation, we
want proof of the survival of the soul, we listen to the assertion of clairvoyants
and to the conclusions of psychical research, but we never ask, never, how to live
– to live with delight, with enchantment, with beauty every day. We have accepted
life  as  it  is  with  all  its  agony  and  despair  and  have  got  used  to it, and think of
death as some- thing to be carefully avoided. But death is extraordinarily like life
when we know how to live. You cannot live without dying. You cannot live if you
do not die psychologically every minute. This is not an intellectual paradox. To
live completely, wholly, every day as if it were a new loveliness, there must be
dying  to  everything  of  yesterday,  otherwise  you  live  mechanically,  and  a
mechanical mind can never know what love is or what freedom is.
Most of us are frightened of dying because we don’t know what it means to
live. We don’t know how to live, therefore we don’t know how to die. As long as
we  are  frightened  of  life  we  shall  be  frightened  of  death.  The  man  who  is  not
frightened of life is not frightened of being completely insecure for he understands
that  inwardly,  psychologically,  there  is  no  security.  When  there  is  no  security
there is an endless movement and then life and death are the same. The man
who  lives  without  conflict,  who  lives  with  beauty  and  love,  is  not  frightened  of
death because to love is to die.
If  you  die  to  everything  you  know,  including  your  family,  your  memory,
everything you have felt, then death is a purification, a rejuvenating process; then
death brings innocence and it is only the innocent who are passionate, not the
people who believe or who want to find out what happens after death.
To find out actually what takes place when you die you must die. This isn’t a
joke. You must die – not physically but psychologically, inwardly, die to the things
you have cherished and to the things you are bitter about. If you have died to one
62of your pleasures, the smallest or the greatest, naturally, without any enforcement
or argument, then you will know what it means to die. To die is to have a mind
that  is  completely  empty  of  itself,  empty  of  its  daily  longing,  pleasure;  and
agonies. Death is a renewal, a mutation, in which thought does not function at all
because  thought  is  old.  When  there  is  death  there  is  something  totally  new.
Freedom from the known is death, and then you are living.
63Chapter 10
THE DEMAND TO be safe in relationship inevitably breeds sorrow and fear.
This seeking for security is inviting insecurity. Have you ever found security in any
of your relationships? Have you? Most of us want the security of loving and being
loved, but is there love when each one of us is seeking his own security, his own
particular path? We are not loved because we don’t know how to love.
What is love? The word is so loaded and corrupted that I hardly like to use it.
Everybody talks of love – every magazine and newspaper and every missionary
talks everlastingly of love. I love my country, I love my king, I love some book, I
love that mountain, I love pleasure, I love my wife, I love God. Is love an idea? If it
is, it can be cultivated, nourished, cherished, pushed around, twisted in any way
you like. When you say you love God what does it mean? It means that you love
a  projection  of  your  own  imagination,  a  projection of yourself clothed in certain
forms of respectability according to what you think is noble and holy; so to say, `I
love  God’,  is  absolute  nonsense.  When  you  worship  God  you  are  worshipping
yourself – and that is not love.
Because  we  cannot  solve  this  human  thing  called  love  we  run  away  into
abstractions. Love may be the ultimate solution to all man’s difficulties, problems
and travails, so how are we going to find out what love is? By merely defining it?
The  church  has  defined  it  one  way,  society  another  and  there  are  all  sorts  of
deviations  and  perversions.  Adoring  someone,  sleeping  with  someone,  the
emotional exchange, the companionship  –  is  that  what  we  mean  by  love?  That
has  been  the  norm,  the  pattern,  and  it  has  become  so  tremendously  personal,
sensuous, and limited that religions have declared that love is something much
more  than  this.  In  what  they  call  human  love  they  see  there  is  pleasure,
competition, jealousy, the desire to possess, to hold, to control and to interfere
with another’s thinking, and knowing the complexity of all this they say there must
be another kind of love, divine beautiful untouched, uncorrupted.
64     Throughout the world, so-called holy men have maintained that to look at a
woman is something totally wrong: they say you cannot come near to God if you
indulge in sex, therefore they push it aside although they are eaten up with it. But
by  denying  sexuality  they  put  out  their  eyes  and  cut  out  their  tongues  for  they
deny the whole beauty of the earth. They have starved their hearts and minds;
they are dehydrated human beings; they have banished beauty because beauty
is associated with woman.
Can  love  be  divided  into  the  sacred  and  the  profane,  the  human  and  the
divine, or is there only love? Is love of the one and not of the many? If I say, `I
love you’, does that exclude the love of the other? Is love personal or impersonal?
Moral or immoral? Family or non-family? If you love mankind can you love the
particular? Is love sentiment? Is love emotion? Is love pleasure and desire? All
these questions indicate, don’t they, that we have ideas about love, ideas about
what it should or should not be, a pattern or a code developed by the culture in
which we live.
So  to  go  into  the  question  of  what  love  is  we  must  first  free  it  from  the
encrustation of centuries, put away all ideals and ideologies of what it should or
should not be. To divide anything into what should be and what is, is the most
deceptive way of dealing with life.
Now how am I going to find out what this flame is which we call love – not how
to  express  it  to  another  but  what  it  means  in  itself?  I  will  first  reject  what  the
church, what society, what my parents and friends, what every person and every
book has said about it because I want to find out for myself what it is. Here is an
enormous  problem  that  involves  the  whole  of  mankind,  there  have  been  a
thousand  ways  of  defining  it  and  I  myself  am  caught  in  some  pattern  or  other
according  to  what  I  like  or  enjoy  at  the  moment  –  so  shouldn’t  I,  in  order  to
understand  it,  first  free  myself  from  my  own  inclinations  and  prejudices?  I  am
confused, torn by my own desires, so I  say  to  myself,  ‘First  clear  up  your  own
65confusion. perhaps you may be able to discover what love is through what it is
The government says, `Go and kill for the love of your country’. Is that love?
Religion says, `Give up sex for the love of God’. Is that love? Is love desire? Don’t
say no. For most of us it is – desire with pleasure, the pleasure that is derived
through the senses, through sexual attachment and fulfilment. I am not against
sex, but see what is involved in it. What sex gives you momentarily is the total
abandonment of yourself, then you are back again with your turmoil, so you want
a  repetition  over  and  over  again  of  that  state  in  which  there  is  no  worry,  no
problem,  no  self.  You  say  you  love  your  wife.  In  that  love  is  involved  sexual
pleasure, the pleasure of having someone in the house to look after your children,
to  cook.  You  depend  on  her;  she  has  given  you  her  body,  her  emotions,  her
encouragement, a certain feeling of security and well-being. Then she turns away
from  you;  she  gets  bored  or  goes  off  with  someone  else,  and  your  whole
emotional  balance  is  destroyed,  and  this  disturbance,  which  you  don’t  like,  is
called jealousy. There is pain in it, anxiety, hate and violence. So what you are
really saying is, `As long as you belong to me I love you but the moment you don’t
I begin to hate you. As long as I can rely on you to satisfy my demands, sexual
and otherwise, I love you, but the moment you cease to supply what I want I don’t
like you.’ So there is antagonism between you, there is separation, and when you
feel  separate  from  another  there  is  no  love.  But  if  you  can  live  with  your  wife
without thought creating all these contradictory states, these endless quarrels in
yourself,  then  perhaps  –  perhaps  –  you  will  know  what  love  is.  Then  you  are
completely free and so is she, whereas if you depend on her for all your pleasure
you are a slave to her. So when one loves there must be freedom, not only from
the other person but from oneself.
This  belonging  to  another,  being  psychologically  nourished  by  another,
depending on another – in all this there must always be anxiety, fear, jealousy,
guilt, and so long as there is fear there is no love; a mind ridden with sorrow will
66never  know  what  love  is;  sentimentality  and  emotionalism  have  nothing
whatsoever to do with love. And so love is not to do with pleasure and desire.
Love is not the product of thought which is the past. Thought cannot possibly
cultivate love. Love is not hedged about and caught in jealousy, for jealousy is of
the past. Love is always active present. It is not `I will love’ or `I have loved’. If you
know love you will not follow anybody. Love does not obey. When you love there
is neither respect nor disrespect.
Don’t you know what it means really to love somebody to love without hate,
without jealousy, without anger, without wanting to interfere with what he is doing
or  thinking,  without  condemning,  without  comparing  –  don’t  you  know  what  it
means? Where there is love is there comparison? When you love someone with
all  your  heart,  with  all  your  mind,  with  all  your  body,  with  your  entire  being,  is
there comparison? When you totally abandon yourself to that love there is not the
Does love have responsibility and duty, and will it use those words? When you
do  something  out  of  duty  is  there  any  love  in  it?  In  duty  there  is  no  love.  The
structure of duty in which the human being is caught is destroying him. So long as
you are compelled to do something because it is your duty you don’t love what
you are doing. When there is love there is no duty and no responsibility.
Most  parents  unfortunately  think  they  are  responsible  for  their  children  and
their sense of responsibility  takes  the  form  of  telling them what they should do
and what they should not do, what they should become and what they should not
become.  The  parents  want  their  children  to  have  a  secure  position  in  society.
What  they  call  responsibility  is  part  of  that  respectability  they  worship;  and  it
seems  to  me  that  where  there  is  respectability  there  is  no  order;  they  are
concerned  only  with  becoming  a  perfect  bourgeois.  When  they  prepare  their
children to fit into society they are perpetuating war, conflict and brutality. Do you
call that care and love?
67     Really to care is to care as you would for a tree or a plant, watering it, studying
its needs, the best soil for it, looking after it with gentleness and tenderness – but
when you prepare your children to fit into society you are preparing them to be
killed. If you loved your children you would have no war.
When you lose someone you love you shed tears – are your tears for yourself
or for the one who is dead? Are you crying for yourself or for another? Have you
ever cried for another? Have you ever cried for your son who was killed on the
battlefield? You have cried, but do those tears come out of self-pity or have you
cried  because  a  human  being  has  been  killed?  If  you  cry  out  of  self-pity  your
tears  have  no  meaning  because  you  are  concerned  about  yourself.  If  you  are
crying because you are bereft of one in whom you have invested a great deal of
affection, it was not really affection. When you cry for your brother who dies cry
for him. It is very easy to cry for yourself because he is gone. Apparently you are
crying  because  your  heart  is  touched,  but  it  is  not  touched  for  him,  it  is  only
touched by self-pity and self-pity makes you hard, encloses you, makes you dull
and stupid.
When you cry for yourself, is it love – crying because you are lonely, because
you have been left, because you are no longer powerful – complaining of your lot,
your environment – always you in tears? If you understand this, which means to
come in contact with it as directly as you would touch a tree or a pillar or a hand,
then you will see that sorrow is self-created, sorrow is created by thought, sorrow
is the outcome of time. I had my brother three years ago, now he is dead, now I
am  lonely,  aching,  there  is  no  one  to  whom  I  can  look  for  comfort  or
companionship, and it brings tears to my eyes.
You can see all this happening inside yourself if you watch it. You can see it
fully, completely, in one glance, not take analytical time over it. You can see in a
moment the whole structure and nature of this shoddy little thing called `me’, my
tears, my family, my nation, my belief, my religion – all that ugliness, it is all inside
68you. When you see it with your heart, not with your mind, when you see it from
the very bottom of your heart, then you have the key that will end sorrow. Sorrow
and  love  cannot  go  together,  but  in  the  Christian  world  they  have  idealized
suffering, put it on a cross and worshipped it, implying that you can never escape
from  suffering  except  through  that  one  particular  door,  and  this  is  the  whole
structure of an exploiting religious society.
So when you ask what love is, you may be too frightened to see the answer. It
may mean complete upheaval; it may break up the family; you may discover that
you do not love your wife or husband or children – do you? – you may have to
shatter the house you have built, you may never go back to the temple.
But if you still want to find out, you will see that fear is not love, dependence is
not  love,  jealousy  is  not  love,  possessiveness  and  domination  are  not  love,
responsibility and duty are not love, self-pity is not love, the agony of not being
loved is not love, love is not the opposite of hate any more than humility is the
opposite of vanity. So if you can eliminate all these, not by forcing them but by
washing them away as the rain washes the dust of many days from a leaf, then
perhaps you will come upon this strange flower which man always hungers after.
If you have not got love – not just in little drops but in abundance – if you are
not filled with it – the world will go to disaster. You know intellectually that the unity
of mankind is essential and that love is the only way, but who is going to teach
you  how  to  love?  Will  any  authority,  any  method,  any  system,  tell  you  how  to
love? If anyone tells you, it is not love. Can you say, `I will practise love. I will sit
down day after day and think about it. I will practise being kind and gentle and
force  myself  to  pay  attention  to  others’?  Do  you  mean  to  say  that  you  can
discipline yourself to love, exercise the will to love? When you exercise discipline
and  will  to  love,  love  goes  out  of  the  window.  By  practising  some  method  or
system of loving you may become extraordinarily clever or more kindly or get into
a state of non-violence, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with love.
69     In this torn desert world there is no love because pleasure and desire play the
greatest roles, yet without love your daily life has no meaning. And you cannot
have love if there is no beauty. Beauty is not something you see – not a beautiful
tree, a beautiful picture, a beautiful building or a beautiful woman. There is beauty
only when your heart and mind know what love is. Without love and that sense of
beauty there is no virtue, and you know very well that, do what you will, improve
society, feed the poor, you will only be creating more mischief, for without love
there is only ugliness and poverty in your own heart and mind. But when there is
love  and  beauty,  whatever  you  do  is  right,  whatever  you  do  is  in  order.  If  you
know how to love, then you can do what you like because it will solve all other
So  we  reach  the  point:  can  the  mind  come  upon  love  without  discipline,
without thought, without enforcement, without any book, any teacher or leader –
come upon it as one comes upon a lovely sunset?
It  seems  to  me  that  one  thing  is  absolutely  necessary  and  that  is  passion
without motive – passion that is not the result of some commitment or attachment,
passion  that  is  not  lust.  A  man  who  does  not  know  what  passion  is  will  never
know  love  because  love  can  come  into  being  only  when  there  is  total  self-
A mind that is seeking is not a passionate mind and to come upon love without
seeking it is the only way to find it – to come upon it unknowingly and not as the
result of any effort or experience. Such a love, you will find, is not of time; such a
love is both personal and impersonal, is both the one and the many. Like a flower
that has perfume you can smell it or pass it by. That flower is for everybody and
for  the  one  who  takes  trouble  to  breathe  it  deeply  and  look  at  it  with  delight.
Whether one is very near in the garden, or very far away, it is the same to the
flower because it is full of that perfume and therefore it is sharing with everybody.
70      Love  is  something  that  is  new,  fresh,  alive.  It  has  no  yesterday  and  no
tomorrow. It is beyond the turmoil of thought. It is only the innocent mind which
knows  what  love  is,  and  the  innocent  mind  can  live  in  the  world  which  is  not
innocent. To find this extraordinary thing which man has sought endlessly through
sacrifice, through worship, through relationship, through sex, through every form
of pleasure and pain, is only possible when thought comes to understand itself
and  comes  naturally  to  an  end.  Then  love  has  no  opposite,  then  love  has  no
You may ask, `If I find such a love, what happens to my wife, my children, my
family? They must have security.’ When you put such a question you have never
been  outside  the  field  of  thought,  the  field  of  consciousness.  When  once  you
have been outside that field you will never ask such a question because then you
will  know  what  love  is  in which  there  is  no  thought and  therefore  no  time.  You
may read this mesmerized and enchanted, but actually to go beyond thought and
time – which means going beyond sorrow – is to be aware that there is a different
dimension called love.
But you don’t know how to come to this extraordinary fount – so what do you
do? If you don’t know what to do, you do nothing, don’t you? Absolutely nothing.
Then inwardly you are completely silent. Do you understand what that means? It
means that you are not seeking, not wanting, not pursuing; there is no centre at
all. Then there is love.
71Chapter 11
WE HAVE BEEN enquiring into the nature of love and have come to a point, I
think, which needs much greater penetration, a much greater awareness of the
issue. We have discovered that for most people love means comfort, security, a
guarantee  for  the  rest  of  their  lives  of  continuous  emotional  satisfaction.  Then
someone like me comes along and says, ‘Is that really love?’ and questions you
and asks you to look inside yourself. And you try not to look because it is very
disturbing  –  you  would  rather  discuss  the  soul  or  the  political  or  economic
situation – but when you are driven into a corner to look, you realize that what you
have  always  thought  of  as  love  is  not  love  at  all;  it  is  a  mutual  gratification,  a
mutual exploitation.
When I say, `Love has no tomorrow and no yesterday’, or, `When there is no
centre then there is love’, it has reality for me but not for you. You may quote it
and make it into a formula but that has no validity. You have to see it for yourself,
but to do so there must be freedom to look, freedom from all condemnation, all
judgement all agreeing or disagreeing.
Now, to look is one of the most difficult things in life – or to listen – to look and
listen are the same. If your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see
the beauty of the sunset. Most of us have lost touch with nature. Civiliza- tion is
tending more and more towards large cities; we are becoming more and more an
urban people, living in crowded apartments and having very little space even to
look at the sky of an evening and morning, and therefore we are losing touch with
a great deal of beauty. I don’t know if you have noticed how few of us look at a
sunrise or a sunset or the moonlight or the reflection of light on water.
Having  lost  touch  with  nature  we  naturally  tend  to  develop  intellectual
capacities.  We  read  a  great  many  books,  go  to  a  great  many  museums  and
concerts,  watch  television  and  have  many  other  entertainments.  We  quote
72endlessly from other people’s ideas and think and talk a great deal about art. Why
is it that we depend so much upon art? Is it a form of escape, of stimulation? If
you are directly in contact with nature; if you watch the movement of a bird on the
wing, see the beauty of every movement of the sky, watch the shadows on the
hills or the beauty on the face of another, do you think you will want to go to any
museum to look at any picture? Perhaps it is because you do not know how to
look at all the things about you that you resort to some form of drug to stimulate
you to see better.
There is a story of a religious teacher who used to talk every morning to his
disciples.  One  morning  he  got  on  to  the  platform  and  was  just  about  to  begin
when a little bird came and sat on the window sill and began to sing, and sang
away with full heart. Then it stopped and flew away and the teacher said, `The
sermon for this morning is over’.
It seems to me that one of our greatest difficulties is to see for ourselves really
clearly, not only outward things but inward life. When we say we see a tree or a
flower or a person, do we actually see them? Or do we merely see the image that
the word has created? That is, when you look at a tree or at a cloud of an evening
full  of  light  and  delight,  do  you  actually  see  it,  not  only  with  your  eyes  and
intellectually, but totally, completely?
Have  you  ever  experimented  with  looking  at  an  objective  thing  like  a  tree
without any of the associations, any of the knowledge you have acquired about it,
without any prejudice, any judgement, any words forming a screen between you
and the tree and preventing you from seeing it as it actually is? Try it and see
what actually takes place when you observe the tree with all your being, with the
totality of your energy. In that intensity you will find that there is no observer at all;
there is only attention. It is when there is inattention that there is the observer and
the observed. When you are looking at something with complete attention there is
no  space  for  a  conception,  a  formula  or  a  memory.  This  is  important  to
73understand  because  we  are  going  into  something  which  requires  very  careful
It is only a mind that looks at a tree or the stars or the sparkling waters of a
river with complete self-abandonment that knows what beauty is, and when we
are actually seeing we are in a state of love. We generally know beauty through
comparison or through what man has put together, which means that we attribute
beauty to some object. I see what I consider to be a beautiful building and that
beauty I appreciate because of my knowledge of architecture and by comparing it
with other buildings I have seen. But now I am asking myself, `Is there a beauty
without object?’ When there is an observer who is the censor, the experiencer,
the thinker, there is no beauty because beauty is something external, something
the  observer  looks  at  and  judges,  but  when  there  is  no  observer  –  and  this
demands a great deal of meditation, of enquiry then there is beauty without the
Beauty lies in the total abandonment of the observer and the observed and
there  can  be  self-abandonment  only  when  there  is  total  austerity  –  not  the
austerity of the priest with its harshness, its sanctions, rules and obedience – not
austerity in clothes, ideas, food and behaviour – but the austerity of being totally
simple which is complete humility. Then there is no achieving, no ladder to climb;
there is only the first step and the first step is the everlasting step.
Say  you  are  walking  by  yourself  or  with  somebody  and  you  have  stopped
talking. You are surrounded by nature and there is no dog barking, no noise of a
car  passing  or  even  the  flutter  of  a  bird.  You  are  completely  silent  and  nature
around you is also wholly silent. In that state of silence both in the observer and
the observed – when the observer is not translating what he observes into thought
– in that silence there is a different quality of beauty. There is neither nature nor
the observer. There is a state of mind wholly, completely, alone; it is alone – not in
isolation – alone in stillness and that stillness is beauty. When you love, is there
74an observer? There is an observer only when love is desire and pleasure. When
desire and pleasure are not associated with love, then love is intense. It is, like
beauty, something totally new every day. As I have said, it has no today and no
It is only when we see without any preconception, any image, that we are able
to  be  in  direct  contact  with  anything  in  life.  All  our  relationships  are  really
imaginary  –  that  is,  based  on  an  image  formed  by  thought.  If  I  have  an  image
about you and you have an image about me, naturally we don’t see each other at
all as we actually are. What we see is the images we have formed about each
other which prevent us from being in contact, and that is why our relationships go
When  I  say  I  know  you,  I  mean  I  knew  you  yesterday.  I  do  not  know  you
actually now. All I know is my image of you. That image is put together by what
you have said in praise of me or to insult me, what you have done to me – it is put
together by all the memories I have of you – and your image of me is put together
in  the  same  way,  and  it  is  those  images  which  have  relationship  and  which
prevent us from really communing with each other.
Two people who have lived together for a long time have an image of each
other  which  prevents  them  from  really  being  in  relationship.  If  we  understand
relationship  we  can  co-operate  but  co-operation  cannot  possibly  exist  through
images,  through  symbols,  through  ideological  conceptions.  Only  when  we
understand the true relationship between each other is there a possibility of love,
and love is denied when we have images. Therefore it is important to understand,
not intellectually but actually in your daily life, how you have built images about
your wife, your husband, your neighbour, your child, your country, your leaders,
your politicians, your gods – you have nothing but images.
These  images  create  the space between  you  and  what  you observe and in
that  space  there  is  conflict,  so  what  we  are  going  to  find  out  now  together  is
75whether  it  is  possible  to  be  free  of  the  space  we  create,  not  only  outside
ourselves  but  in  ourselves,  the  space  which  divides  people  in  all  their
Now the very attention you give to a problem is the energy that solves that
problem. When you give your complete attention – I mean with everything in you –
there  is  no  observer  at  all.  There  is  only  the  state  of  attention  which  is  total
energy,  and  that  total  energy  is  the  highest  form  of  intelligence.  Naturally  that
state  of  mind  must  be  completely  silent  and  that  silence,  that  stillness,  comes
when there is total attention, not disciplined stillness. That total silence in which
there  is  neither  the  observer  nor  the  thing  observed  is  the  highest  form  of  a
religious  mind.  But  what  takes  place  in  that  state  cannot  be  put  into  words
because what is said in words is not the fact. To find out for yourself you have to
go through it.
Every problem is related to every other problem so that if you can solve one
problem completely – it does not matter what it is – you will see that you are able
to meet all other problems easily and resolve them. We are talking, of course, of
psychological problems. We have already seen that a problem exists only in time,
that is when we meet the issue incompletely. So not only must we be aware of
the nature and structure of the problem and see it completely, but meet it as it
arises and resolve it immediately so that it does not take root in the mind. If one
allows a problem to endure for a month or a day, or even for a few minutes, it
distorts  the  mind.  So  is  it  possible  to  meet  a  problem  immediately  without  any
distortion and be immediately, completely, free of it and not allow a memory, a
scratch on the mind, to remain? These memories are the images we carry about
with us and it is these images which meet this extraordinary thing called life and
therefore there is a contradiction and hence conflict. Life is very real – life is not
an abstraction – and when you meet it with images there are problems.
76     Is it possible to meet every issue without this space-time interval, without the
gap between oneself and the thing of which one is afraid? It is possible only when
the observer has no continuity, the observer who is the builder of the image, the
observer  who  is  a  collection  of  memories  and  ideas,  who  is  a  bundle  of
When you look at the stars there is you who are looking at the stars in the sky;
the  sky  is  flooded  with  brilliant  stars,  there  is  cool  air,  and  there  is  you,  the
observer,  the  experiencer,  the  thinker,  you  with  your  aching  heart,  you,  the
centre,  creating  space.  You  will  never  understand  about  the  space  between
yourself and the stars, yourself and your wife or husband, or friend, because you
have  never  looked  without  the  image,  and  that  is  why  you  do  not  know  what
beauty is or what love is. You talk about it, you write about it, but you have never
known it except perhaps at rare intervals of total self-abandonment. So long as
there  is  a  centre  creating  space  around  itself  there  is  neither  love  nor  beauty.
When there is no centre and no circumference then there is love. And when you
love you are beauty.
When  you  look  at  a  face  opposite,  you  are  looking  from  a  centre  and  the
centre creates the space between person and person, and that is why our lives
are so empty and callous. You cannot cultivate love or beauty, nor can you invent
truth, but if you are all the time aware of what you are doing, you can cultivate
awareness  and  out  of  that  awareness  you  will  begin  to  see  the  nature  of
pleasure, desire and sorrow and the utter loneliness and boredom of man, and
then you will begin to come upon that thing called `the space’.
When there is space between you and the object you are observing you will
know there is no love, and without love, however hard you try to reform the world
or bring about a new social order or however much you talk about improvements,
you  will  only  create  agony.  So  it  is  up  to  you.  There  is  no  leader,  there  is  no
77teacher, there is nobody to tell you what to do. You are alone in this mad brutal
78Chapter 12
PLEASE  GO  ON  with  me  a  little  further.  It  may  be  rather  complex,  rather
subtle, but please go on with it.
Now, when I build an image about you or about anything, I am able to watch
that image, so there is the image and the observer of the image. I see someone,
say, with a red shirt on and my immediate reaction is that I like it or that I don’t
like it. The like or dislike is the result of my culture, my training, my associations,
my inclinations, my acquired and inherited characteristics. It is from that centre
that I observe and make my judgement, and thus the observer is separate from
the thing he observes.
But the observer is aware of more than one image; he creates thousands of
images.  But  is  the  observer  different  from  these  images?  Isn’t  he  just  another
image?  He  is  always  adding  to  and  subtracting  from  what  he  is;  he  is  a  living
thing  all  the  time  weighing,  comparing,  judging,  modifying  and  changing  as  a
result of pressures from outside and within – living in the field of consciousness
which is his own knowledge, influence and innumerable calculations. At the same
time when you look at the observer, who is yourself, you see that he is made up
of memories, experiences, accidents, influences, traditions and infinite varieties of
suffering,  all  of  which  are  the  past.  So  the  observer  is  both  the  past  and  the
present, and tomorrow is waiting and that is also a part of him. He is half alive
and half dead and with this death and life he is looking, with the dead and living
leaf. And in that state of mind which is within the field of time, you (the observer)
look at fear, at jealousy, at war, at the family (that ugly enclosed entity called the
family) and try to solve the problem of the thing observed which is the challenge,
the new; you are always translating the new in terms of the old and therefore you
are everlastingly in conflict.
79     One image, as the observer, observes dozens of other images around himself
and inside himself, and he says, `I like this image, I’m going to keep it’ or `I don’t
like that image so I’ll get rid of it’, but the observer himself has been put together
by the various images which have come into being through  reaction  to  various
other images. So we come to a point where we can say, `The observer is also the
image,  only  he  has  separated  himself  and  observes.  This  observer  who  has
come  into  being  through  various  other  images  thinks  himself  permanent  and
between  himself  and  the  images  he  has  created  there  is  a  division,  a  time
interval. This creates conflict between himself and the images he believes to be
the cause of his troubles. So then he says, «I must get rid of this conflict», but the
very desire to get rid of the conflict creates another image.
Awareness  of  all  this,  which  is  real  meditation,  has  revealed  that  there  is  a
central  image  put  together  by  all  the  other  images,  and  the  central  image,  the
observer, is the censor, the experiencer, the evaluator, the judge who wants to
conquer  or  subjugate  the  other  images  or  destroy  them  altogether.  The  other
images are the result of judgements, opinions and conclusions by the observer,
and the observer is the result of all the other images – therefore the observer is
the observed.
So awareness has revealed the different states of one’s mind, has revealed
the various images and the contradiction between the images, has revealed the
resulting conflict and the despair at not being able to do anything about it and the
various attempts to escape from it. All this has been revealed through cautious
hesitant  awareness,  and  then  comes  the  awareness  that  the  observer  is  the
observed. It is not a superior entity who becomes aware of this, it is not a higher
self (the superior entity, the higher self, are merely inventions, further images; it is
the awareness itself which had revealed that the observer is the observed.
If you ask yourself a question, who is the entity who is going to receive the
answer?  And  who  is  the  entity  who  is  going  to  enquire?  If  the  entity  is  part  of
80consciousness, part of thought, then it is incapable of finding out. What it can find
out is only a state of awareness. But if in that state of awareness there is still an
entity  who  says,  `I  must  be  aware,  I  must  practise  awareness’,  that  again  is
another image.
This  awareness  that  the  observer  is  the  observed  is  not  a  process  of
identification  with  the  observed.  To  identify  ourselves  with  something  is  fairly
easy. Most of us identify ourselves with something – with our family, our husband
or  wife,  our  nation  –  and  that  leads  to  great  misery  and  great  wars.  We  are
considering something entirely different and we must understand it not verbally
but in our core, right at the root of our being. In ancient China before an artist
began to paint anything – a tree, for instance – he would sit down in front of it for
days, months, years, it didn’t matter how long, until he was the tree. He did not
identify himself with the tree but he was the tree. This means that there was no
space  between  him  and  the  tree,  no  space  between  the  observer  and  the
observed, no experiencer experiencing the beauty, the movement, the shadow,
the depth of a leaf, the quality of colour. He was totally the tree, and in that state
only could he paint.
Any  movement  on  the  part  of  the  observer,  if  he  has  not  realized  that  the
observer is the observed, creates only another series of images and again he is
caught  in  them.  But  what  takes  place  when  the  observer  is  aware  that  the
observer is the observed? Go slowly, go very slowly, because it is a very complex
thing we are going into now. What takes place? The observer does not act at all.
The observer has always said, `I must do something about these images, I must
suppress them or give them a different shape; he is always active in regard to the
observed, acting and reacting passionately or casually, and this action of like and
dislike on the part of the observer is called positive action – `I like, therefore I must
hold. I dislike therefore I must get rid of.’ But when the observer realizes that the
thing about which he is acting is himself, then there is no conflict between himself
and the image. He is that. He is not separate from that. When he was separate,
81he did, or tried to do, something about it, but when the observer realizes that he is
that, then there is no like or dislike and conflict ceases.
For what is he to do? If something is you, what can you do? You cannot rebel
against it or run away from it or even accept it. It is there. So all action that is the
outcome of reaction to like-and dislike has come to an end.
Then you will find that there is an awareness that has become tremendously
alive. It is not bound to any central issue or to any image – and from that intensity
of  awareness  there  is  a  different  quality  of  attention  and  therefore  the  mind  –
because the mind is this awareness – has become extraordinarily sensitive and
highly intelligent.
82Chapter 13
LET US NOW go into the question of what is thinking, the significance of that
thought which must be exercised with care, logic and sanity (for our daily work)
and  that  which  has  no  significance  at  all.  Unless  we  know  the  two  kinds,  we
cannot possibly understand something much deeper which thought cannot touch.
So let us try to understand this whole complex structure of what is thinking, what
is memory, how thought originates, how thought conditions all our actions; and in
understanding  all  this  we  shall  perhaps  come  across  something  which  thought
has never discovered, which thought cannot open the door to.
Why has thought become so important in all our lives – thought being ideas,
being  the  response  to  the  accumulated  memories  in  the  brain  cells?  Perhaps
many of you have not even asked such a question before, or if you have you may
have said, `It’s of very little importance – what is important is emotion.’ But I don’t
see how you can separate the two. If thought doesn’t give continuity to feeling,
feeling  dies  very  quickly.  So  why  in  our  daily  lives,  in  our  grinding,  boring,
frightened lives, has thought taken on such inordinate importance? Ask yourself
as I am asking myself – why is one a slave to thought – cunning, clever, thought
which can organize, which can start things, which has invented so much, bred so
many  wars,  created  so  much  fear,  so  much  anxiety,  which  is  forever  making
images  and  chasing  its  own  tail  –  thought  which  has  enjoyed  the  pleasure  of
yesterday and given that pleasure continuity in the present and also in the future –
thought  which  is  always  active,  chattering,  moving,  constructing,  taking  away,
adding, supposing?
Ideas have become far more important to us than action – ideas so cleverly
expressed in books by the intellectuals in every field. The more cunning, the more
subtle,  those  ideas  are  the  more  we  worship  them  and  the  books  that  contain
them. We are those books, we are those ideas, so heavily conditioned are we by
them.  We  are  forever  discussing  ideas  and  ideals  and  dialectically  offering
83opinions. Every religion has its dogma, its formula, its own scaffold to reach the
gods,  and  when  inquiring  into  the  beginning  of  thought  we  are  questioning  the
importance of this whole edifice of ideas. We have separated ideas from action
because ideas are always of the past and action is always the present – that is,
living  is  always  the  present.  We  are  afraid  of  living  and  therefore  the  past,  as
ideas, has become so important to us.
It  is  really  extraordinarily  interesting  to  watch  the  operation  of  one’s  own
thinking,  just  to  observe  how  one  thinks,  where  that  reaction  we  call  thinking,
springs from. Obviously from memory. Is there a beginning to thought at all? If
there is, can we find out its beginning – that is, the beginning of memory, because
if we had no memory we would have no thought?
We have seen how thought sustains and gives continuity to a pleasure that we
had  yesterday  and  how  thought  also  sustains  the  reverse  of  pleasure  which  is
fear and pain, so the experiencer, who is the thinker, is the pleasure and the pain
and also the entity who gives nourishment to the pleasure and pain. The thinker
separates  pleasure  from  pain.  He  doesn’t  see  that  in  the  very  demand  for
pleasure he is inviting pain and fear. Thought in human relation. ships is always
demanding  pleasure  which  it  covers  by  different  words  like  loyalty,  helping,
giving,  sustaining,  serving.  I  wonder  why  we  want  to  serve?  The  petrol  station
offers good service. What do those words mean, to help, to give, to serve? What
is it all about? Does a flower full of beauty, light and loveliness say,`I am giving,
helping, serving’? It is! And because it is not trying to do anything it covers the
Thought  is  so  cunning,  so  clever,  that  it  distorts  everything  for  its  own
convenience.  Thought  in  its  demand  for  pleasure  brings  its  own  bondage.
Thought is the breeder of duality in all our relationships: there is violence in us
which gives us pleasure but there is also the desire for peace, the desire to be
kind and gentle. This is what is going on all the time in all our lives. Thought not
84only  breeds  this  duality  in  us,  this  contradiction,  but  it  also  accumulates  the
innumerable  memories  we  have  had  of  pleasure  and  pain,  and  from  these
memories  it  is  reborn.  So  thought  is  the  past,  thought  is  always  old,  as  I  have
already said.
As every challenge is met in terms of the past – a challenge being always new
–  our  meeting  of  the  challenge  will  always  be  totally  inadequate,  hence
contradiction, conflict and all the misery and sorrow we are heir to. Our little brain
is in conflict whatever it does. Whether it aspires, imitates, conforms, suppresses,
sublimates,  takes  drugs  to  expand  itself  –  whatever  it  does  –  it  is  in  a  state  of
conflict and will produce conflict.
Those who think a great deal are very materialistic because thought is matter.
Thought  is  matter  as  much  as  the  floor,  the  wall,  the  telephone,  are  matter.
Energy  functioning  in  a  pattern  becomes  matter.  There  is  energy  and  there  is
matter. That is all life is. We may think thought is not matter but it is. Thought is
matter  as  an  ideology.  Where  there  is  energy  it  becomes  matter.  Matter  and
energy  are  interrelated.  The  one  cannot  exist  without  the  other,  and  the  more
harmony there is between the two, the more balance, the more active the brain
cells are. Thought has set up this pattern of pleasure, pain, fear, and has been
functioning inside it for thousands of years and cannot break the pattern because
it has created it.
A new fact cannot be seen by thought. It can be understood later by thought,
verbally, but the understanding of a new fact is not reality to thought. Thought can
never  solve  any  psychological  problem.  However  clever,  however  cunning,
however erudite, whatever the structure thought creates through science, through
an electronic brain, through compulsion or necessity, thought is never new and
therefore  it  can  never  answer  any  tremendous  question.  The  old  brain  cannot
solve the enormous problem of living.
85     Thought is crooked because it can invent anything and see things that are not
there.  It  can  perform  the  most  extraordinary  tricks,  and  therefore  it  cannot  be
depended upon. But if you understand the whole structure of how you think, why
you think, the words you use, the way you behave in your daily life, the way you
talk to people, the way you treat people, the way you walk, the way you eat – if
you are aware of all these things then your mind will not deceive you, then there
is  nothing  to  be  deceived.  The  mind  then  is  not  something  that  demands,  that
subjugates; it becomes extraordinarily quiet, pliable, sensitive, alone, and in that
state there is no deception whatsoever.
Have you ever noticed that when you are in a state of complete attention the
observer,  the  thinker,  the  centre,  the  ‘me’,  comes  to  an  end?  In  that  state  of
attention thought begins to wither away. If one wants to see a thing very clearly,
one’s  mind  must  be  very  quiet,  without  all  the  prejudices,  the  chattering,  the
dialogue, the images, the pictures – all that must be put aside to look. And it is
only in silence that you can observe the beginning of thought – not when you are
searching,  asking  questions,  waiting  for  a  reply.  So  it  is  only  when  you  are
completely quiet, right through your being, having put that question, `What is the
beginning of thought?’, that you will begin to see, out of that silence, how thought
takes shape.
If there is an awareness of how thought begins then there is no need to control
thought.  We  spend  a  great  deal  of  time  and  waste  a  great  deal  of  energy  all
through  our  lives,  not  only  at  school,  trying  to  control  our  thoughts  –  `This  is  a
good thought, I must think about it a lot. This is an ugly thought, I must suppress
it.’ There is a battle going on all the time between one thought and another, one
desire and another, one pleasure dominating all other pleasures. But if there is an
awareness of the beginning of thought, then there is no contradiction in thought.
Now  when  you  hear  a  statement  like  ‘Thought  is  always  old’  or  `Time  is
sorrow’,  thought  begins  to  translate  it  and  interpret  it.  But  the  translation  and
86interpretation  are  based  on  yesterday’s  knowledge  and  experience,  so  you  will
invariably  translate  according  to  your  conditioning.  But  if  you  look  at  the
statements  and  do  not  interpret  them  all  but  just  give  them  your  complete
attention  (not  concentration)  you  will  find  there  is  neither  the  observer  nor  the
observed, neither the thinker nor the thought. Don’t say, `Which began first?’ That
is a clever argument which leads nowhere. You can observe in yourself that as
long as there is no thought – which doesn’t mean a state of amnesia, of blankness
– as long as there is no thought derived from memory, experience or knowledge,
which are all of the past, there is no thinker at all. This is not a philosophical or
mystical  affair.  We  are  dealing  with  actual  facts,  and  you  will  see,  if  you  have
gone this far in the journey, that you will respond to a challenge, not with the old
brain, but totally anew.
87Chapter 14
IN THE LIFE we generally lead there is very little solitude. Even when we are
alone our lives are crowded by so many influences, so much knowledge, so many
memories of so many experiences, so much anxiety, misery and conflict that our
mind  become  duller  and  duller,  more  and  more  insensitive,  functioning  in  a
monotonous  routine.  Are  we  ever  alone?  Or  are  we  carrying  with  us  all  the
burdens of yesterday?
There is a rather nice story of two monks walking from one village to another
and they come upon a young girl sitting on the bank of a river, crying. And one of
the  monks  goes  up  to  her  and  says,  `Sister,  what  are  you  crying  about?’  She
says, `You see that house over there across the river? I came over this morning
early and had no trouble wading across but now the river has swollen and I can’t
get back. There is no boat.’ `Oh,’ says the monk, `that is no problem at all’, and
he picks her up and carries her across the river and leaves her on the other side.
And the two monks go on together. After a couple of hours, the other monk says,
`Brother, we have taken a vow never to touch a woman. What you have done is a
terrible sin. Didn’t you have pleasure, a great sensation, in touching a woman?’
and the other monk replies, `I left her behind two hours ago. You are still carrying
her, aren’t you?’ That is what we do. We carry our burdens all the time; we never
die  to  them,  we  never  leave  them  behind.  it  is  only  when  we  give  complete
attention to a problem and solve it immediately – never carrying it over to the next
day, the next minute – that there is solitude. Then, even, if we live in a crowded
house or are in a bus, we have solitude. And that solitude indicates a fresh mind,
an innocent mind.
To  have  inward  solitude  and  space  is  very  important  because  it  implies
freedom  to  be,  to  go,  to  function,  to  fly.  After  all,  goodness  can  only  flower  in
space just as virtue can flower only when there is freedom. We may have political
freedom but inwardly we are not free and therefore there is no space. No virtue,
88no quality that is worth while, can function or grow without this vast space within
oneself. And space and silence are necessary because it is only when the mind is
alone, uninfluenced, untrained, not held by infinite varieties of experience, that it
can come upon something totally new.
One  can  see  directly  that  it  is  only  when  the  mind  is  silent  that  there  is  a
possibility of clarity. The whole purpose of meditation in the East is to bring about
such a state of mind – that is, to control thought, which is the same as constantly
repeating  a  prayer  to  quieten  the  mind  and  in  that  state  hoping  to  understand
one’s problems. But unless one lays the foundation, which is to be free from fear,
free from sorrow, anxiety and all the traps one lays for oneself, I do not see how it
is possible for a mind to be actually quiet. This is one of the most difficult things to
communicate. Communication between us implies, doesn’t it, that not only must
you understand the words I am using but that we must both, you and I, be intense
at  the  same  time,  not  a  moment  later  or  a  moment  sooner  and  capable  of
meeting each other on the same level? And such communication is not possible
when  you  are  interpreting  what  you  are  reading  according  to  your  own
knowledge, pleasure or opinions, or when you are making a tremendous effort to
It seems to me that one of the greatest stumbling blocks in life is this constant
struggle to reach, to achieve, to acquire. We are trained from childhood to acquire
and to achieve – the very brain cells themselves create and demand this pattern
of  achievement  in  order  to  have  physical  security,  but  psychological  security  is
not within the field of achievement. We demand security in all our relationships,
attitudes and activities but, as we have seen, there is actually no such thing as
security.  To  find  out  for  yourself  that  there  is  no  form  of  security  in  any
relationship – to realize that psychologically there is nothing permanent – gives a
totally different approach to life. It is essential, of course, to have outward security
– shelter, clothing, food – but that outward security is destroyed by the demand for
psychological security.
89      Space  and  silence  are  necessary  to  go  beyond  the  limitations  of
consciousness, but how can a mind which is so endlessly active in its self-interest
be quiet? One can discipline it, control it, shape it, but such torture does not make
the mind quiet; it merely makes it dull. Obviously the mere pursuit of the ideal of
having a quiet mind is valueless because the more you force it the more narrow
and  stagnant  it  becomes.  Control  in  any  form,  like  suppression,  produces  only
conflict.  So  control  and  outward  discipline  are  not  the  way,  nor  has  an
undisciplined life any value.
Most of our lives are outwardly disciplined by the demands of society, by the
family,  by  our  own  suffering,  by  our  own  experience,  by  conforming  to  certain
ideological or factual patterns – and that form of discipline is the most deadening
thing. Discipline must be without control, without suppression, without any form of
fear.  How  is  this  discipline  to  come  about?  It  is  not  discipline  first  and  then
freedom;  freedom  is  at  the  very  beginning,  not  at  the  end.  To  understand  this
freedom, which is the freedom from the conformity of discipline, is discipline itself.
The  very  act  of  learning  is  discipline  (after  all  the  root  meaning  of  the  word
discipline is to learn), the very act of learning becomes clarity. To understand the
whole  nature  and  structure  of  control,  suppression  and  indulgence  demands
attention. You don’t have to impose discipline in order to study it, but the very act
of studying brings about its own discipline in which there is no suppression.
In order to deny authority (we are  talking of psychological authority, not the
law)  –  to  deny  the  authority  of  all  religious  organizations,  traditions  and
experience,  one  has  to  see why one normally obeys  –  actually  study  it.  And  to
study  it  there  must  be  freedom  from  condemnation,  justification,  opinion  or
acceptance. Now we cannot accept authority and yet study it – that is impossible.
To  study  the  whole  psychological  structure  of  authority  within  ourselves  there
must be freedom. And when we are studying we are denying the whole structure,
and when we do deny, that very denial is the light of the mind that is free from
authority. Negation of everything that has been considered worthwhile, such as
90outward  discipline,  leadership,  idealism,  is  to  study  it;  then  that  very  act  of
studying  is  not  only  discipline  but  the  negative  of  it,  and  the  very  denial  is  a
positive act. So we are negating all those things that are considered important to
bring about the quietness of the mind.
Thus  we  see  it  is  not  control  that  leads  to  quietness.  Nor  is  the  mind  quiet
when it has an object which is so absorb- ing that it gets lost in that object. This is
like giving a child an interesting toy; he becomes very quiet, but remove the toy
and he returns to his mischief-making. We all have our toys which absorb us and
we think we are very quiet but if a man is dedicated to a certain form of activity,
scientific, literary or whatever it is, the toy merely absorbs him and he is not really
quiet at all.
The only silence we know is the silence when noise stops, the silence when
thought stops – but that is not silence. Silence is something entirely different, like
beauty, like love. And this silence is not the product of a quiet mind, it is not the
product  of  the  brain  cells  which  have  understood  the  whole  structure  and  say,
`For God’s sake be quiet; then the brain cells themselves produce the silence and
that is not silence. Nor is silence the outcome of attention in which the observer is
the observed; then there is no friction, but that is not silence.
You  are  waiting  for  me  to  describe  what  this  silence  is  so  that  you  can
compare it, interpret it, carry it away and bury it. It cannot be described. What can
be described is the known, and the freedom from the known can come into being
only when there is a dying every day to the known, to the hurts, the flatteries, to
all the images you have made, to all your experiences – dying every day so that
the  brain  cells  themselves  become  fresh,  young,  innocent.  But  that  innocency,
that freshness, that quality of tenderness and gentleness, does not produce love;
it is not the quality of beauty or silence.
That  silence  which  is  not  the  silence  of  the  ending  of  noise  is  only  a  small
beginning. It is like going through a small hole to an enormous, wide, expansive
91ocean,  to  an  immeasurable,  timeless  state.  But  this  you  cannot  understand
verbally unless you have understood the whole struc- ture of consciousness and
the  meaning  of  pleasure,  sorrow  and  despair,  and  the  brain  cells  themselves
have  become  quiet.  Then  perhaps  you  may  come  upon  that  mystery  which
nobody can reveal to you and nothing can destroy. A living mind is a still mind, a
living mind is a mind that has no centre and therefore no space and time. Such a
mind is limitless and that is the only truth, that is the only reality.
92Chapter 15
WE  ALL  WANT  experiences  of  some  kind  –  the  mystical  experience,  the
religious  experience,  the  sexual  experience,  the  experience  of  having  a  great
deal  of  money,  power,  position,  domination.  As  we  grow  older  we  may  have
finished with the demands of our physical appetites but then we demand wider,
deeper  and  more  significant  experiences,  and  we  try  various  means  to  obtain
them – expanding our consciousness, for instance, which is quite an art, or taking
various  kinds  of  drugs.  This  is  an  old  trick  which  has  existed  from  time
immemorial – chewing a piece of leaf or experimenting with the latest chemical to
bring  about  a  temporary  alteration  in  the  structure  of  the  brain  cells,  a  greater
sensitivity  and  heightened  perception  which  give  a  semblance  of  reality.  This
demand for more and more experiences shows the inward poverty of man. We
think  that  through  experiences  we  can  escape  from  ourselves  but  these
experiences  are  conditioned  by  what  we  are.  If  the  mind  is  petty,  jealous,
anxious, it may take the very latest form of drug but it will still see only its own
little creation, its own little projections from its own conditioned background.
Most of us demand completely satisfying, lasting experiences which cannot be
destroyed  by  thought.  So  behind  this  demand  for  experience  is  the  desire  for
satisfaction,  and  the  demand  for  satisfaction  dictates  the  experience,  and
therefore we have not only to understand this whole business of satisfaction but
also  the  thing  that  is  experienced.  To  have  some  great  satisfaction  is  a  great
pleasure; the more lasting, deep and wide the experience the more pleasurable it
is, so pleasure dictates the form of experience we demand, and pleasure is the
measure by which we measure the experience. Anything measurable is within the
limits  of  thought  and  is  apt  to  create  illusion.  You  can  have  marvellous
experiences  and  yet  be  completely  deluded.  You  will  inevitably  see  visions
according  to  your  conditioning;  you  will  see  Christ  or  Buddha  or  whoever  you
happen to believe in, and the greater a believer you are the stronger will be your
visions, the projections of your own demands and urges.
93     So if in seeking something fundamental, such as what is truth, pleasure is the
measure, you have already projected what that experience will be and therefore it
is no longer valid.
What  do  we  mean  by  experience?  Is  there  anything  new  or  original  in
experience? Experience is a bundle of memories responding to a challenge and it
can  respond  only  according  to  its  background,  and  the  cleverer  you  are  at
interpreting  the  experience  the  more  it  responds.  So  you  have  to  question  not
only the experience of another but your own experience. If you don’t recognize an
experience  it  isn’t  an  experience  at  all.  Every  experience  has  already  been
experienced or you wouldn’t recognize it. You recognize an experience as being
good, bad, beautiful, holy and so on according to your conditioning, and therefore
the recognition of an experience must inevitably be old.
When  we  demand  an  experience  of  reality  –  as  we  all  do,  don’t  we?  –  to
experience it we must know it and the moment we recognise it we have already
projected it and therefore it is not real because it is still within the field of thought
and  time.  If  thought  can  think  about  reality  it  cannot  be  reality.  We  cannot
recognize a new experience. It is impossible. We recognize only something we
have already known and therefore when we say we have had a new experience it
is not new at all. To seek further experience through expansion of consciousness,
as  is  being  done  through  various  psychedelic  drugs,  is  still  within  the  field  of
consciousness and therefore very limited.
So  we  have  discovered  a  fundamental  truth,  which  is  that  a  mind  that  is
seeking, craving, for wider and deeper experience is a very shallow and dull mind
because it lives always with its memories.
Now if we didn’t have any experience at all, what would happen to us? We
depend  on  experiences,  on  challenges,  to  keep  us  awake.  If  there  were  no
conflicts  within  ourselves,  no  changes,  no  disturbances,  we  would  all  be  fast
asleep. So challenges are necessary for most of us; we think that without them
94our  minds  will  become  stupid  and  heavy,  and  therefore  we  depend  on  a
challenge,  an  experience,  to  give  us  more  excitement,  more  intensity,  to  make
our minds sharper. But in fact this dependence on challenges and experiences to
keep us awake, only makes our minds duller – It doesn’t really keep us awake at
all. So I ask myself, is it possible to keep awake totally, not peripherally at a few
points of my being, but totally awake without any challenge or any experience?
This implies a great sensitivity, both physical and psychological; it means I have
to be free of all demands, for the moment I demand I will experience. And to be
free  of  demand  and  satisfaction  necessitates  investigation  into  myself  and  an
understanding of the whole nature of demand.
Demand is born out of duality: `I am unhappy and I must be happy’. In that
very demand that I must be happy is unhappiness. When one makes an effort to
be good, in that very goodness is its opposite, evil. Everything affirmed contains
its own opposite, and effort to overcome strengthens that against which it strives.
When you demand an experience of truth or reality, that very demand is born out
of your discontent with what is, and therefore the demand creates the opposite.
And in the opposite there is what has been. So one must be free of this incessant
demand,  otherwise  there  will  be  no  end  to  the  corridor  of  duality.  This  means
knowing yourself so completely that the mind is no longer seeking.
Such a mind does not demand experience; it cannot ask for a challenge or
know a challenge; it does not say, `I am asleep’ or `I am awake’. It is completely
what  it  is.  Only  the  frustrated,  narrow,  shallow  mind,  the  conditioned  mind,  is
always seeking the more. Is it possible then to live in this world without the more –
without  this  everlasting  comparison?  Surely  it  is?  But  one  has  to  find  out  for
Investigation into this whole question is meditation. That word had been used
both  in  the  East  and  the  West  in  a  most  unfortunate  way.  There  are  different
schools of meditation, different methods and systems. There are systems which
95say, `Watch the movement of your big toe, watch it, watch it, watch it; there are
other systems which advocate sitting in a certain posture, breathing regularly or
practising awareness. All this is utterly mechanical. The other method gives you a
certain  word  and  tells  you  that  if  you  go  on  repeating  it  you  will  have  some
extraordinary transcendental experience. This is sheer nonsense. It is a form of
self-hypnosis.  By  repeating  Amen  or  Om  or  Coca-Cola  indefinitely  you  will
obviously have-a certain experience because by repeti- tion the mind becomes
quiet. It is a well known phenomenon which has been practised for thousands of
years in India – Mantra Yoga it is called. By repetition you can induce the mind to
be gentle and soft but it is still a petty, shoddy, little mind. You might as well put a
piece of stick you have picked up in the garden on the mantelpiece and give it a
flower every day. In a month you will be worshipping it and not to put a flower in
front of it will become a sin.
Meditation  is  not  following  any  system;  it  is  not  constant  repetition  and
imitation.  Meditation  is  not  concentration.  It  is  one  of  the  favourite  gambits  of
some teachers of meditation to insist on their pupils learning concentration – that
is,  fixing  the  mind  on  one  thought  and  driving  out  all  other  thoughts.  This  is  a
most stupid, ugly thing, which any schoolboy can do because he is forced to. It
means that all the time you are having a battle between the insistence that you
must concentrate on the  one  hand  and  your  mind  on  the other which wanders
away  to  all  sorts  of  other  things,  whereas  you  should  be  attentive  to  every
movement  of  the  mind  wherever  it  wanders.  When  your  mind  wanders  off  it
means you are interested in something else.
Meditation  demands  an  astonishingly  alert  mind;  meditation  is  the
understanding  of  the  totality  of  life  in  which  every  form  of  fragmentation  has
ceased.  Meditation  is  not  control  of  thought,  for  when  thought  is  controlled  it
breeds conflict in the mind, but when you understand the structure and origin of
thought,  which  we  have  already  been  into,  then  thought  will  not  interfere.  That
96very  understanding  of  the  structure  of  thinking  is  its  own  discipline  which  is
Meditation is to be aware of every thought and of every feeling, never to say it
is right or wrong but just to watch it and move with it. In that watching you begin
to  understand  the  whole  movement  of  thought  and  feeling.  And  out  of  this
awareness comes silence. Silence put together by thought is stagnation, is dead,
but the silence that comes when thought has understood its own beginning, the
nature  of  itself,  understood  how  all  thought  is  never  free  but  always  old  –  this
silence is meditation in which the meditator is entirely absent, for the mind has
emptied itself of the past.
If you have read this book for a whole hour attentively, that is meditation. If
you have merely taken away a few words and gathered a few ideas to think about
later, then it is no longer meditation. Meditation is a state of mind which looks at
everything  with  complete  attention,  totally,  not  just  parts  of  it.  And  no  one  can
teach  you  how  to  be  attentive.  If  any  system  teaches  you  how  to  be  attentive,
then you are attentive to the system and that is not attention. Meditation is one of
the greatest arts in life – perhaps the greatest, and one cannot possibly learn it
from  anybody,  that  is  the  beauty  of  it.  It  has  no  technique  and  therefore  no
authority.  When  you  learn  about  yourself,  watch  yourself,  watch  the  way  you
walk, how you eat, what you say, the gossip, the hate, the jealousy – if you are
aware of all that in yourself, without any choice, that is part of meditation.
So meditation can take place when you are sitting in a bus or walking in the
woods full of light and shadows, or listening to the singing of birds or looking at
the face of your wife or child.
In the understanding of meditation there is love, and love is not the product of
systems, of habits, of following a method. Love cannot be cultivated by thought.
Love can perhaps come into being when there is complete silence, a silence in
which  the  mediator  is  entirely  absent;  and  the  mind  can  be  silent  only  when  it
97understands  its  own  movement  as  thought  and  feeling.  To  understand  this
movement of thought and feeling there can be no condemnation in observing it.
To observe in such a way is the discipline, and that kind of discipline is fluid, free,
not the discipline of conformity.
98Chapter 16
WHAT  WE  HAVE  been  concerned  with  all  through  this  book  is  the  bringing
about in ourselves, and therefore in our lives, of a total revolution that has nothing
whatsoever  to  do  with  the  structure  of  society  as  it  is.  Society  as  it  is,  is  a
horrifying thing with its endless wars of aggression, whether that aggression be
defensive or offensive. What we need is something totally new – a revolution, a
mutation,  in  the  psyche  itself.  The  old  brain  cannot  possibly  solve  the  human
problem of relationship. The old brain is Asiatic, European, American or African,
so  what  we  are  asking  ourselves  is  whether  it  is  possible  to  bring  about  a
mutation in the brain cells themselves?
Let us ask ourselves again, now that we have come to understand ourselves
better,  is  it  possible  for  a  human  being  living  an  ordinary  everyday  life  in  this
brutal, violent, ruthless world – a world which is becoming more and more efficient
and  therefore  more  and  more  ruthless  –  is  it  possible  for  him  to  bring  about  a
revolution  not  only  in  his  outward  relationships  but  in  the  whole  field  of  his
thinking, feeling, acting and reacting.
Every day we see or read of appalling things happening in the world as the
result of violence in man. You may say, `I can’t do anything about it’, or, `How can
I  influence  the  world?’  I  think  you  can  tremendously  influence  the  world  if  in
yourself you are not violent, if you lead actually every day a peaceful life – a life
which is not competitive, ambitious, envious – a life which does not create enmity.
Small fires can become a blaze. We have reduced the world to its present state
of  chaos  by  our  self-centred  activity,  by  our  prejudices,  our  hatreds,  our
nationalism, and when we say we cannot do anything about it, we are accepting
disorder in ourselves as inevitable. We have splintered the world into fragments
and if we ourselves are broken, fragmented, our relationship with the world will
also be broken. But if, when we act, we act totally, then our relationship with the
world undergoes a tremendous revolution.
99     After all, any movement which is worth while, any action which has any deep
significance, must begin with each one of us. I must change first; I must see what
is  the  nature  and  structure  of  my  relationship  with  the  world  –  and  in  the  very
seeing is the doing; therefore I, as a human being living in the world, bring about
a different quality, and that quality, it seems to me, is the quality of the religious
The religious mind is something entirely different from the mind that believes
in religion. You cannot be religious and yet be a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, a
Buddhist. A religious mind does not seek at all, it cannot experiment with truth.
Truth is not something dictated by your pleasure or pain, or by your conditioning
as a Hindu or whatever religion you belong to. The religious mind is a state of
mind in which there is no fear and therefore no belief whatsoever but only what is
– what actually is.
In the religious mind there is that state of silence we have already examined
which  is  not  produced  by  thought  but  is  the  outcome  of  awareness,  which  is
meditation when the meditator is entirely absent. In that silence there is a state of
energy in which there is no conflict. Energy is action and movement. All action is
movement and all action is energy. All desire is energy. All feeling is energy. All
thought is energy. All living is energy. All life is energy. If that energy is allowed to
flow without any contradiction, without any friction, without any conflict, then that
energy is boundless, endless. When there is no friction there are no frontiers to
energy.  It  is  friction  which  gives  energy  limitations.  So,  having  once  seen  this,
why is it that the human being always brings friction into energy? Why does he
create friction in this movement which we call life? Is pure energy, energy without
limitation, just an idea to him? Does it have no reality?
We need energy not only to bring about a total revolution in ourselves but also
in order to investigate, to look, to act. And as long as there is friction of any kind
in  any  of  our  relationships,  whether  between  husband  and  wife,  between  man
100and  man,  between  one  community  and  another  or  one  country  and  another  or
one ideology and another – if there is any inward friction or any outward conflict in
any form, however subtle it may be – there is a waste of energy.
As long as there is a time interval between the observer and the observed it
creates friction and therefore there is a waste of energy. That energy is gathered
to its highest point when the observer is the observed, in which there is no time
interval  at  all.  Then  there  will  be  energy  without  motive  and  it  will  find  its  own
channel of action because then the `I’ does not exist.
We  need  a  tremendous  amount  of  energy  to  understand  the  confusion  in
which we live, and the feeling, `I must understand’, brings about the vitality to find
out. But finding out, searching, implies time, and, as we have seen, gradually to
uncondition the mind is not the way. Time is not the way. Whether we are old or
young  it  is  now  that  the  whole  process  of  life  can  be  brought  into  a  different
dimension. Seeking the opposite of what we are is not the way either, nor is the
artificial discipline imposed by a system, a teacher, a philosopher or priest – all
that is so very childish. When we realize this, we ask ourselves is it possible to
break through this heavy conditioning of centuries immediately and not enter into
another  conditioning  –  to  be  free,  so  that  the  mind  can  be  altogether  new,
sensitive, alive, aware, intense, capable? That is our problem. There is no other
problem because when the mind is made new it can tackle any problem. That is
the only question we have to ask ourselves.
But we do not ask. We want to be told. One of the most curious things in the
structure of our psyche is that we all want to be told because we are the result of
the propaganda of ten thousand years. We want to have our thinking confirmed
and corroborated by another, whereas to ask a question is to ask it of yourself.
What I say has very little value. You will forget it the moment you shut this book,
or you will remember and repeat certain phrases, or you will compare what you
have read here with some other book – but you will not face your own life. And
101that is all that matters – your life, yourself, your pettiness, your shallowness, your
brutality, your violence, your greed, your ambition, your daily agony and endless
sorrow – that is what you have to understand and nobody on earth or in heaven is
going to save you from it but yourself.
Seeing everything that goes on in your daily life, your daily activities – when
you pick up a pen, when you talk, when you go out for a drive or when you are
walking  alone  in  the  woods  –  can  you  with  one  breath,  with  one  look,  know
yourself very simply as you are? When you know yourself as you are, then you
understand  the  whole  structure  of  man’s  endeavour,  his  deceptions,  his
hypocrisies,  his  search.  To  do  this  you  must  be  tremendously  honest  with
yourself  throughout  your  being.  When  you  act  according  to  your  principles  you
are being dishonest because when you act according to what you think you ought
to be you are not what you are. it is a brutal thing to have ideals. If you have any
ideals, beliefs or principles you cannot possibly look at yourself directly. So can
you be completely negative, completely quiet, neither thinking nor afraid, and yet
be extraordinarily, passionately alive?
That state of mind which is no longer capable of striving is the true religious
mind,  and  in  that  state  of  mind  you  may  come  upon  this  thing  called  truth  or
reality  or  bliss  or  God  or  beauty  or  love.  This  thing  cannot  be  invited.  please
understand that very simple fact. It cannot be invited, it cannot be sought after,
because the mind is too silly, too small, your emotions are too shoddy, your way
of life too confused for that enormity, that immense something, to be invited into
your  little  house,  your  little  corner  of  living  which  has  been  trampled  and  spat
upon. You cannot invite it. To invite it you must know it and you cannot know it. It
doesn’t matter who says it, the moment he says, `I know’, he does not know. The
moment you say you have found it you have not found it. If you say you have
experienced  it,  you  have  never  experienced  it.  They  are  all  ways  of  exploiting
another man – your friend or your enemy.
102     One asks oneself then whether it is possible to come upon this thing without
inviting, without waiting, without seeking or exploring – just for it to happen like a
cool breeze that comes in when you leave the window open? You cannot invite
the wind but you must leave the window open, which doesn’t mean that you are in
a  state  of  waiting;  that  is  another  form  of  deception.  It  doesn’t  mean  you  must
open yourself to receive; that is another kind of thought.
Haven’t you ever asked yourself why it is that human beings lack this thing?
They beget children, they have sex, tenderness, a quality of sharing something
together in companionship, in  friendship,  in  fellowship, but  this  thing  –  why  is  it
they haven’t got it? Haven’t you ever wondered lazily on occasion when you are
walking by yourself in a filthy street or sitting in a bus or are on holiday by the
seaside or walking in a wood with a lot of birds, trees, streams and wild animals –
hasn’t it ever come upon you to ask why it is that man, who has lived for millions
and millions of years, has not got this thing, this extraordinary unfading flower?
Why is it that you, as a human being, who are so capable, so clever, so cunning,
so competitive, who have such marvellous technology, who go to the skies and
under the earth and beneath the sea, and invent extraordinary electronic brains –
why is it that you haven’t got this one thing which matters? I don’t know whether
you have ever seriously faced this issue of why your heart is empty.
What would your answer be if you put the question to yourself – your direct
answer  without  any  equivocation  or  cunningness?  Your  answer  would  be  in
accordance with your intensity in asking the question and the urgency of it. But
you are neither intense nor urgent, and that is because you haven’t got energy,
energy being passion – and you cannot find any truth without passion – passion
with a fury behind it, passion in which there is no hidden want. Passion is a rather
frightening thing because if you have passion you don’t know where it will take
103     So is fear perhaps the reason why you have not got the energy of that passion
to find out for yourself why this quality of love is missing in you, why there is not
this  flame  in  your  heart?  If  you  have  examined  your  own  mind  and  heart  very
closely,  you  will  know  why  you  haven’t  got  it.  If  you  are  passionate  in  your
discovery  to  find  why  you  haven’t  got  it,  you  will  know  it  is  there.  Through
complete negation alone, which is the highest form of passion, that thing which is
love,  comes  into  being.  Like  humility  you  cannot  cultivate  love.  Humility  comes
into being when there is a total ending of conceit – then you will never know what
it is to be humble. A man who knows what it is to have humility is a vain man. In
the same way when you give your mind and your heart, your nerves, your eyes,
your whole being to find out the way of life, to see what actually is and go beyond
it, and deny completely, totally, the life you live now – in that very denial of the
ugly, the brutal, the other comes into being. And you will never know it either. A
man who knows that he is silent, who knows that he loves, does not know what
love is or what silence is.


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