Flame of Attention
The Flame of Attention
By J. Krishnamurti
E-Text Source: www.jiddu-krishnamurti.net
Chapter 1 - 1st Public Talk at New Delhi - 31st October 1981
Chapter 2 - 4th Public Talk at New Delhi - 8th November 1981
Chapter 3 - 2nd Public Talk at Benaras - 26th November 1981
Chapter 4 - 2nd Public Talk at Madras - 27th December 1981
Chapter 5 - 5th Public Talk at Bombay - 6th February 1982
Chapter 6 - 1st Public Talk at New York - 27th March 1982
Chapter 7 - 1st Public Talk at Ojai - 1st May 1982
Chapter 8 - 3rd Public Talk at Saanen - 15th July 1982
Chapter 9 - 3rd Public Talk at Brockwood Park - 4th September 1982
Public Talk at New Delhi - 6th November, 1982
Public Talk at New Delhi - 7th November, 1982
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'Observation, like a flame of attention, it wipes away hate.'
'Observation is like a flame which is attention, and with that capacity of observation, the wound, the feeling of hurt, the hate, all that, is burnt away, gone.'
1st Public Talk
31st October, 1981
If one may I would like to point out that we are not doing any kind of propaganda for any belief, for any ideal, for any organization. We are together considering what is taking place in the world outside of us. We are looking at it not from an Indian point of view, or from a European or American, or from any conclusion, or any particular national interest, but together we are going to observe what actually is going on in the world.
We are thinking together but not having one mind. There is a difference between having one mind and thinking together. Having one mind implies that we have come to some conclusion, that we have come to certain beliefs, certain concepts. That is implied, more or less, in having one mind. But thinking together is quite different. Thinking together implies that you and the speaker have a responsibility to look objectively, non-personally, at what is going on. So we are thinking together. The speaker though he is sitting on a platform for convenience has no authority. Please we must be very clear on this point. He is not trying to convince you of anything. He is not asking you to follow him. He is not your guru, thank god! He is not advocating a particular system, particular philosophy, but to observe together, as two friends who have known each other for some time, who are concerned not about their private life, which we will discuss later on, but together they are looking at this world which seems to have gone mad. The world that is preparing for war, where each nation is piling up armaments, spending millions and millions and millions of dollars, or rupees, or whatever it is. There is the atom bomb, the nuclear bomb, and also the computer. There are these two problems which we have to face together. That means you and the speaker, non-personally, not attached to any particular belief, to any nation, but to observe clearly, objectively, what is happening.
The whole world is arming, spending incredible amounts of money to destroy human beings, whether they live in America, Europe, or Russia, or here. They are taking a disastrous course which cannot possibly be solved by politicians. The politicians throughout the world are making a mess of things. So we cannot possibly rely on them, nor on the scientists. They are helping to build up the military technology, armaments; competing one country against another. Nor can we rely on so-called religions, they have lost all their meaning. They have become merely verbal, repetitive, absolutely without any meaning. It has become a superstition, following mere tradition, whether it be five thousand years or two thousand years. So you cannot rely on politicians who are throughout the world seeking to maintain their position, their power, there status. Nor can we rely on scientists because they are inventing each year, or perhaps each week, new forms of destruction. Nor can we look to any religion to solve this human chaos. I hope we understand that.
And what is a human being like us to do? Is the crisis intellectual, economic; or national, with all the poverty, confusion, anarchy, lawlessness, terrorism, always the threat of a bomb in the street? Realizing all that, observing all that, what is our responsibility?
I am not at all sure that you are interested in all this. Whether you are concerned with what is happening in the world. Or are you merely concerned with your own private salvation? Please do consider all this very seriously. To think together, that is you and the speaker observe objectively what is taking place not only outwardly, but also in our consciousness, in our thinking, in the way we live, in our action. If we are not at all concerned with the world but only with our personal salvation, following certain beliefs and superstitions, following gurus, then I am afraid it will be impossible for you and the speaker to communicate with each other. We must be clear on this point. We are not concerned at all with private personal salvation, but we are concerned earnestly, seriously, with what the human mind has become, what humanity is facing, that is human beings, human beings who are not Indians, or Russians, or Americans, human beings who are not labelled as Indians and so on. We are concerned in looking at this world and what part a human being living in this world has to do, what is his role?
I do not know if you are aware, though you may read a great deal in the newspapers, and every morning in the newspapers there is some kind of murder, bomb, destruction, terrorism, kidnapping, and you read it every day and you pay little attention to it. But if it happens to you personally then you are all in a state of confusion, misery and asking somebody else, the government or the policeman to save you, to protect you. Right? And in this country when you look, as the speaker has been here for the last sixty years watching all this phenomena that is going on in this unfortune country, poverty, which never seems to be solved, over population, the linguistic differences, one community wanting to break away from the rest of the community, the religious differences, the gurus who are becoming enormously rich, private aeroplanes; and you are following all this blindly, accepting it, not being capable to do anything about all this. These are facts. And we are not dealing with ideas, we are dealing with facts, what is actually taking place.
And, if we are to think together, look together, observe, we must be free of our nationalism. We are interrelated. That is, we are human beings whether we live in America, here or anywhere. Please realize this, how serious, urgent it all is. And has this country become lethargic, totally indifferent to what is going on, utterly careless, only concerned about their own little salvation, little happiness? So in order to observe and so discover what to do, we must think together.
The question then is: what is thinking? You understand? What is the operation, or the process, or the content of thinking? Because we live by thought. All the temples are put there by thought. The inside of the temples, the images, all the puja, all the ceremonies, are the result of thinking. All the sacred books that you have - Upanishads, Gita and so on - are the result of thought, the expression of thought into words, to convey what somebody else has experienced or thought about. So the word is not sacred. No book in the world is sacred because it is the result of thinking, of thought. Right? That is clear. And we worship the intellect. Those who are intellectual are apart from you and me who are not intellectual. Their ideas, their concepts, the way they write, we respect their intellect. And they either become bitter, angry, or attacking, because intellect they think will solve our problems, but it is not possible because it is like developing one arm out of proportion to the rest of the body. So neither the intellect, nor emotions, nor romantic sentimentality is going to help us. We have to face things as they are, to look at it very closely and the urgency of it, we have to do something immediately, not leave it to any scientist, politician and so on.
So are we, you and the speaker, thinking together, not agreeing together, not having the same opinion, or judgement, but looking at this world that human beings, you, your grandparents, we all have contributed to this? Right?
So first of all let us look at what the human consciousness has become, because our consciousness is what we are. What you think, what you feel, your fears, your pleasures, your anxieties, insecurity, your unhappiness, depressions, love, pain, sorrow and the ultimate fear of death. That is the content of our consciousness, which you are. Right? Your content of your consciousness makes the human being. Unless we understand the content of that and go beyond it, if it is possible, we shall not be able to act seriously, fundamentally, basically, to bring about a transformation, a mutation in this consciousness.
I hope we are communicating with each other because I am not talking to myself. If I want to talk to myself I can do it in my room. But please for god's sake please let's both of us look at all this and find out for ourselves what to do, what is our responsibility in this chaos. To find out what is right action we must understand the content of our consciousness. That is clear.
If my consciousness is confused, uncertain, pressurized, driven from one corner to the other, from one state to another, I become more and more confused, uncertain, insecure, and from that confusion I cannot act. So I depend on somebody else, which we have done for millions of years. I do not know if you have noticed that as long as you are under somebody's thumb you behave. You were under the thumb of the British at one time, you behaved extraordinarily well because there was fear behind that. When you remove the thumb, we have anarchy, confusion, everybody doing what he likes. An engine driver arrives two hours late - nobody cares. So our thinking is based on reward and punishment. If you are rewarded you behave properly, or if you are punished you behave properly. Right? This is the traditional conduct of a human being right throughout the world; it is not only in this country but everywhere. But here it is worse, nobody seems to care.
And to bring about order, not only in ourselves, which is the primary importance because from that order there will be outward order. I do not know if you have noticed we are always seeking outward order. We want order in the world established through dictatorships, or strong governments, or through totalitarianism dictatorship. We all want to be pressurized to behave rightly. Remove that pressure and we become rather what we are in the present India.
So please this is a serious talk, it is not a lecture as it is commonly understood. This is a talk of two friends, or several friends sitting together amicably, with affection, with care, with their hearts and minds looking, trying to find out what they have to do in this world, the world that has gone mad, insane, a country like this which is so appallingly poor. You are buying four hundred thousand million dollars worth of aeroplanes from France. You know all this. You read it in all your papers every morning and you feel irresponsible. We feel it has gone out of our hands, out of our control. So it becomes more and more serious on the part of the so-called intellectuals, on those who are serious, who are facing a terrible crisis, it becomes more and more urgent, necessary, that we find out for ourselves, not from books, not from your gurus, or from your ancient books, but to find out what our consciousness is and to be able to free the content of that consciousness so that we become truly religious people. We are not religious people, we are becoming more and more materialistic.
So together, and the speaker means together, we are going to examine, investigate, the content of our consciousness. That content makes you what you are. And without understanding the content of that you cannot possibly bring about right action, not possibly able to face the crisis that is in front of us. Please understand this. The speaker is not trying to convince you of anything. This is a terribly serious matter.
So what is the content of your consciousness? What are you? We are going to learn together what we are. The speaker is not going to tell you what you are, but together, you and the speaker, are going to examine what we are. Whether it is possible to radically transform what we are. So we are going to observe first the content of our consciousness. Right? Are you following all this? Or are you tired at the end of the day? You know you are under pressure all day long, all the week long: pressure at home, pressure in your jobs, economic pressure, religious pressure, government pressure, the gurus who impose their beliefs, their idiocy on you. We are under pressure. And here we are not under pressure. Please realize this. We are two friends talking over together our sorrows, our hurts, our anxieties, our uncertainty, insecurity, and how to find security, how to be free of fear, whether our sorrows can ever end. We are concerned about that. Because if you don't understand that, look at it very clearly, we will bring about more confusion in the world, more destruction. Perhaps all of us will be vaporized by an atom bomb. So we have to act urgently, seriously, with all our hearts and mind. This is really very, very important, we are facing a tremendous crisis. So together let us look.
We have looked at the world, the world which we have created, which thought has brought about. We must understand something too: we have not created nature - the trees, the birds, the waters, the rivers, the beautiful skies and the running streams, the tiger, the marvellous tree, we have not created them. Who created it is a different matter - don't say god created it. How it has come about is a different matter, it is not for the moment under view, but we have created everything else. We have destroyed the forests, we are destroying animals, the wild animals, millions and millions of them we are killing every year. Certain species are disappearing. So we have not created nature: the deer, the wolf, but thought has created everything else. Thought has created the marvellous cathedrals, the ancient temples and mosques and the things that are in them. And thought having created the image in the temple, in the cathedral, in the churches, and the inscription in the mosques, then that very thought worships that which it has created. Do you understand all this? You are following all this? Well, it is up to you.
So is the content of our consciousness brought about by thought? You understand my question? Why has thought become all important in our lives? Why has thought, which is the intellect, the capacity to invent, to write, to think, to do, thought, why has it become important? Why has not affection, care, sympathy, love, why have those not become extraordinarily more important than thought? We are going to find out.
So first let us examine together what is thinking, because our structure, both the psyche as well as outwardly is based on thought, thinking. Please, right? So we have to examine what is thinking, what is thought. Right? Don't go to sleep. I may put it into words but you are observing it, seeing it for yourself, not the speaker indicates and then you see, it but in talking over together you see it for yourself. Right? You all understand English, don't you? I am afraid I don't speak any other language, any other Indian language. I speak several European languages but no Indian languages. So what is thinking? Unless we understand what is thinking very carefully we shall not be able to understand, or observe, or have an insight into the whole content of our consciousness, of which we are. If I don't understand myself, that is, my consciousness, why I think this way, why I behave that way, my fears, my hurts, my anxieties, my various attitudes and convictions, if I don't comprehend all that whatever I do will bring more confusion. Right? That is clear.
So first I have to understand what is thinking. How do you answer it? What is thinking to you? When I ask you that question, somebody challenges you with that question, what is your response, what is thinking? Why do you think? You know most of us have become secondhand people because we read an awful lot, go to university if you are lucky, accumulate a great deal of knowledge, information, what other people think, what other people have said, and you quote them. You compare what is being said with what you have already learnt. There is nothing original but repeat, repeat, repeat. Right? So when one asks: what is thought, what is thinking, you are incapable of answering.
Questioner: But sir, there is the problem...
K: Yes, sir, yes sir, we will go into problems presently. This is a tremendous problem: what is thinking? And we live, act, behave according to our thinking. We have set up this government according to our thinking, we have wars because of our thinking - all the cannons, the aeroplanes, the shells, the bombs, everything is put there by thought. Thought has created the marvellous surgeons, the extraordinary technicians, marvellous carpenters, plumbers, thought has brought about these experts, but we have never investigated what is thinking. So we are going to do it together. I am not the expert, I am not your guru. I am sitting here, a little higher up for convenience. I am not your authority or your guru. But we are thinking together, investigating together.
So thinking is a process born out of knowledge, experience. Listen to it quietly, first listen to me and then see if that is not true, actual, then you discover it for yourself as though the speaker is acting as a mirror in which you see for yourself exactly what is, without distortion, then you can throw the mirror away or break it up. You understand? Thinking is first, experience, knowledge, knowledge stored up in the brain as memory, from memory the reaction is thought and action. Experience, knowledge, memory, stored in the brain, in the cells of the brain, then thought and action. Right? No, please see this for yourself, not repeat what I say. This is an actual fact: experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action; from that action you learn more. So you are caught in this cycle. Right? You are following this? Experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action, and from that action learning more, so we are caught in this cycle. That is our chain. Right?
Questioner: That is reaction, not action.
K: Sir. I beg your pardon.
Questioner: That is reaction, not action.
K: It doesn't matter. Call it reaction, action, it doesn't matter. This is the way we live. And we have never moved away from this field. You may call it action, reaction, whatever you like but we have never moved away from this field. We have always lived within the field of the known. That's a fact. Now the content of our consciousness is all the things which thought has put in it. I may think - oh, so many ugly things - I may think there is god in me, which is again the product of thought. I may think that whatever you think is there. So I am going to take one by one the content of our consciousness and look at it. Most of us from childhood are hurt, wounded, not only at home but at school, college, university and later in life we are all wounded, hurt. And when you are hurt you build a wall round yourself. Are you following all this? And the consequences of that hurt are to become more and more isolated, more and more disturbed, frightened, not to be hurt further, and your actions from that hurt are obviously neurotic. So that is one of the contents of your consciousness.
So what is it that is hurt? When you say, 'I am hurt' - not physically but inwardly, psychologically, the psyche, what is it that is hurt?
Questioner: I have built an image of myself and that is hurt.
K: How do you know? Are you repeating?
Questioner: No. Because I have such an image.
K: All right. Now I mustn't enter into discussion because there are too many people. Right sir. If you and I were alone then we can discuss, have a dialogue, but you cannot possibly have a dialogue with so many people, so I hope you do not mind if I do not answer your particular question.
We are asking: what is it that is hurt? The image that you have, or the picture that you have about yourself. All of us have images about ourselves. Right? Either you are a great man, or a very humble man, or you are a great politician, you follow, the pride, the vanity, the power, the position, etc., that creates an image of you. Or if you are a PhD, you have a certain image; if you are a housewife you have a certain image about yourself. Everybody has an image about himself. Right? That is an indisputable fact. And that image gets hurt and thought has identified or created that image. Right? And that image gets hurt. You are following all this? So is it possible - please listen - is it possible not to have an image about yourself at all? See what happens when you have an image about yourself: you create a division between each other. Look at it carefully. I will go into it.
What is your relationship with your wife? Have you any relationship with your wife, with your neighbour, with your rulers? When you ask what is relationship - suppose I am married - thank god I am not - but suppose I am married - please listen, this is important. Don't laugh it away, for god's sake look at it carefully, it is your life. We are wasting our lives, we are destroying our lives. It is important to understand relationship because we are interrelated to the world. You are not only related to your wife, to your neighbour, to your children but you are related to the whole human species. One has to understand very deeply what is relationship. Is it merely sensory, sexual relationship? Or is it merely romantic, convenient companionship? You cook and I go to the office. You bear children and I work from morning until night for the next fifty years, until I retire, in a beastly little office. And that is called living. So I must find out very clearly, carefully, what is relationship. Because if my relationship is based on hurt then I am using the lady or the man to escape from that hurt. Right? I wonder if you see all this. So I must look at relationship. If I am married, what is my relationship to my wife? Is it based on mutual images? You understand? I have created an image about her and she has created an image about me, and the relationship is between these two images which thought has put together. Right? Do you understand all this? So is thought love? Is desire love? Is pleasure love? You may say, no, no, you shake your head but actually you never find out, never investigate, go into it.
So together we will discover what is relationship, and in that relationship can there be no conflict at all? You understand my question? We live in conflict from morning until night, why? Is that part of our nature, part of our tradition, part of our religion? Or each one has an image about himself: my wife has an image about herself, and I have an image about myself, she has not only an image about herself, she has other images: her ambition, the desire to be something or other. And also I have my ambitions, my competitiveness. You follow? So we are running parallel, like two railway lines running parallel, never meeting, except perhaps in bed but never meeting at any other level. You are understanding all this? What a tragedy it has become. For god's sake wake up.
K: Oh, golly, how eager you are to ask questions. You don't even listen. You are ready to ask. You don't look at yourself. You don't want to find out what your relationship is. What your relationship to the world is.
K: Sir, please forgive me, we cannot possibly answer your question, or this gentleman's question, remarks, if I do then we enter into something quite different. We are two friends, talking over together. So please it is important to understand this question of relationship. The world outside is interrelated, you are not separate from the rest of the world. You are the rest of the world. They are suffering, they have great anxieties, fears, they are threatened by war, as you are threatened by war. They are accumulating vast armaments to destroy each other and we never realize how interrelated we are. I may be a Muslim and you may be a Hindu, but my tradition says, 'I am a Muslim' - which is I have been programmed like a computer to repeat 'I am a Muslim' and you repeat 'I am a Hindu'. You understand what thought has done?
So it is very important to look at our relationship, not only my intimate relationship but also my relationship with the rest of the world. The rest of the world is like you, modified, educated differently, superficial manners, perhaps affluent or not but the same reactions, the same pains, the same anxieties, the same fears. That is why, please give your mind, your heart to find out what your relationship is with the world, with your neighbour and with yourself, with your wife or husband. If it is based on images, pictures, remembrances then there will be inevitably conflict with your wife, with your husband, with your neighbour, with the Muslim, with Pakistan, with Russia. You follow? You don't see the urgency of all this. And the content of your consciousness is the hurt which you have not resolved, which has not been completely wiped away, it has left scars and from those scars you have various forms of fears which ultimately leads to isolation, because each one of us is isolated, through tradition, religious traditions, through education, through this idea that you must always succeed, succeed, succeed, become something. And also in our relationship with each other, intimate or otherwise, whether you live here or live in America or Russia, we are interrelated. So the world is you and you are the world. You may have a different name, different form, different kind of education, different position, but inwardly we all suffer, we all go through great agonies, shed tears, frightened of death, great sense of insecurity, without any love, compassion.
So how do you observe, or listen to this fact? You understand? That is, how do you listen to what is being said? The speaker is saying that you are the rest of mankind deeply, you may be dark, you may be short, you may put on saris, but those are all superficial educated traditions, but inwardly the common, the flow, whether I am an American, a Russian or Indian, the flow is the same. The movement of human beings is similar. Right? So we are the world and the world is you very profoundly. And one has to realize this relationship. You understand I am using the word 'realize' in the sense that you must be able to observe it and see the actual fact of it.
So from that arises the question: how do you observe? How do you look at things? How do you look at your wife? Or your husband, or your Prime Minister? How do you look at a tree? You understand? Because the art of observation has to be learnt. Oh god, there is so much to talk about. All right. How do you observe me? You are sitting there, how do you look at me? What is your reaction? Do you look at me, at the speaker because he has got a reputation? What is your reaction when you see a man like me? Or are you merely satisfied by looking at the reputation he has, which may be nonsensical, it generally is, how he has come to this point to address so many people, whether he is important and what you can get out him. He can't give you any government jobs, he can't give you money because he has no money. He can't give you any honours, any status, any position, or guide you, tell you what to do. How do you look at him? Have you looked at anybody freely, openly, without any word, without any image?
Questioner: Probably never.
K: Never. Have you looked at a tree, the beauty of a tree, the flutter of the leaves? So can we learn together how to observe? You cannot observe, not only visually, optically, if your mind is occupied. Right? As most of our minds are occupied: the article I have to write next day, I am occupied with my cooking, I am occupied with my job, I am occupied about sex, I am occupied about how to meditate, I am occupied about what other people might say. So my mind is occupied, from morning until night. Now can such a mind, being occupied, observe anything? You are following? If I am occupied with becoming a marvellous carpenter, not a politician, not a guru - just a carpenter, a master carpenter, not one of your amateur carpenters who is not really an artist - if I want to be a first-class carpenter I have to know the texture of the wood, I have to know the instruments, how to use the instruments, I have to study how to put joints together without a nail and so on and so on. So my mind is occupied. Or if I am neurotic my mind is occupied with sex, or becoming a success. So how can I, being occupied, observe? Right? So is it possible not to be occupied all the time? I am occupied when I have to talk, when I have to write something or other, but the rest of the time why should I be occupied? You understand this?
This leads to a very important question, which is - you know something about computers, you have heard of them? The computers can be programmed as we human beings are programmed, the computers can be programmed. Take for instance, it can learn, think faster, more accurately than man. It can play with a grand chess master. After being defeated four times, the master beats the computer four times, on the fifth time or sixth time the computer beats the master. The computer can do extraordinary things. I won't go into all that. It has been programmed. You understand? It can invent, create new machines which will be better programmed than the first programme. A machine that will be ultimately intelligent, not created by man. The machine will itself create the ultimate intelligent machine. You don't know anything. Please, the speaker has been talking, discussing with a great many computer experts in California and other places, and what is going to happen to man. You understand? What is going to happen to man, or to woman, when the computer takes the whole thing over? The Encyclopaedia Britannica can be put in a little chip and it contains all that knowledge. So what place has knowledge in a human life?
So we are saying our brains are occupied, never still. So to learn how to observe your wife, your neighbour, your government, the poverty, the brutality of poverty, the beastliness of wars, there must be freedom to observe. You see we object to being free because we are frightened to be free, to stand alone. So that is one of the things in our consciousness: hurt, relationship, this immense occupation.
Now you have listened to the speaker for nearly an hour and a quarter. Right? What have you heard? Or what have you gathered? Words, ideas, which ultimately have no meaning? Right? But what have you gathered? Have you seen for yourself, never to be hurt? That means never to have an image about yourself. And have you seen the importance, the urgency of understanding the relationship and having a mind that is not occupied? You understand? When it is not occupied it is extraordinarily free, it sees great beauty. But the shoddy little mind, the secondhand little mind is always occupied, about knowledge, about becoming something or other, enquiring, discussing, arguing, never a quiet, free, unoccupied mind. When there is such a mind, out of that freedom comes supreme intelligence, not out of thought.
So tomorrow we will continue with the content of our consciousness.
4th Public Talk
8th November, 1981
This is the last talk. We were going to talk over together the question of meditation. Before we go into that question, the last three talks have been, if you have followed them earnestly and seriously, bringing about order in our house. The order in which we do not live, we live in disorder, as we talked about it yesterday; and we went into the question of desire, freedom from fear, and the nature of pleasure, and also we talked yesterday about the ending of sorrow, and from that ending passion, not lust, passion, love and compassion arise, with the ending of sorrow. And that compassion has its own immense energy, great intelligence. That is what we talked about yesterday evening.
We ought to discuss or share together, perhaps that is the right word, share together what is discipline. Because most in the world are not disciplined in the sense that they are not learning. The word 'discipline' comes from the word disciple, the disciple who learns, whose mind is learning, not from a particular person, a guru, or from a preacher, or teacher, or from books, he is learning through the observation of his own mind, of his own heart, learning from his own actions. And that learning requires certain discipline, not conformity as most disciplines are understood. Conformity, obedience and imitation, so that you are never in the act of learning, you are merely following. Whereas the word discipline is to learn, learn from the very complex mind one has, from life of daily existence, learn about relationship with each other so the mind is always pliable, active. So we ought to understand when we are going to share together what meditation is, we must understand this question of discipline.
Ordinary discipline implies conflict: conforming to a pattern, like a soldier, conforming to an ideal, conforming to a certain statement in the sacred books and so on and so on. Where there is conflict there must be friction, there must be wastage of energy. I hope we are sharing all this together. It is not a question of agreeing or disagreeing with what is being said. But together we are sharing in this question of discipline and responsibility. And in understanding conflict, a mind, or your heart, if it is in conflict it can never possibly meditate. We will go into that. It is not a mere statement which you accept or deny, but we are enquiring together into this question.
We have lived for millennia upon millennia in conflict, conforming, obeying, imitating, repeating, so that our minds have become extraordinarily dull. We have become secondhand people because we are always quoting somebody else, what somebody said or did not say. So we have lost the capacity, the energy to learn from our own actions, for which we are utterly responsible, not society or environment, or politicians, we are responsible entirely for that, and from there learn. And in learning we discover so much more because we are after all, every human being throughout the world, in him is the story of mankind; the mankind is his anxiety, his fears, his loneliness, his despairs, his sorrows, pain, this tremendous complex history is in us, If you know how to read that book then you don't have to read a single book except books on technology. But we are negligent, we are not diligent in learning from ourselves, from our actions. And so we are not responsible for our actions, we are not responsible for what is happening throughout the world and what is happening in this unfortunate country. So if we share together this question of discipline then we can go to the next problem, the next question.
As we said, we must put our house in order and nobody on earth, or in heaven, is going to put our house in order, neither your gurus, nor your vows, nor your devotion because our house is in disorder: the way we live, the way we think, the way we act. Unless that house is in order, which is to understand disorder, which we went into yesterday, how can a mind that is in disorder perceive that which is total order, as the universe is in total complete order?
And also we ought to share together the question of beauty. You might ask what has beauty to do with a religious mind? You might ask all our tradition, our rituals and so on have never talked about beauty. So meditation is part of the understanding of beauty, not the beauty of a woman or a man, but what is beauty? We must understand this very deeply because it doesn't exist except in tradition, in ancient sculpture in this country. We only too willingly destroy trees, birds, flowers. So we must enquire together, share together, this question of what is beauty. We are not talking about the beauty of a person, a face, it has its own beauty, but what is actually the essence of beauty? Because most monks and sannyasis and those religiously inclined minds totally disregard this. They become hardened towards their environment. Once it happened that we were staying in the Himalayas with some friends and there were a group of sannyasis in front of us, going down the path, chanting; they never looked at the trees, never looked at the beauty of the earth, the beauty of the blue sky, the birds, the flowers, the running waters, but were totally concerned with their own salvation, with their own entertainment. And that custom, that tradition, has been going on for a thousand years. A man who is supposed to be religious must shun, put aside all beauty; and our lives become dull, without any aesthetic sense because beauty is one of the delights of truth.
So what is beauty? I hope you have the energy this evening to sit quietly to go into it even though we may speak an hour and a half because we have to deal with a great many things this evening.
Have you ever noticed when you give a toy to a child who has been chattering, naughty, playing around, shouting, when you give a child a complicated toy he is totally absorbed in it, he is very quiet, enjoying the mechanics of it. There the toy has absorbed the child. Follow all this please, step by step, if you will, because we are sharing this thing together. The toy has absorbed the mischief of the playing of the child, he becomes completely concentrated, completely involved with that toy. And we grown-up people, we have toys of belief, we have toys of ideals, we have toys of every kind, which absorb us. If you worship some image, and all images are created by the hand or the mind, there is no image on earth which is sacred because they are all made by your hand and by your mind, by your thought. And when we are so absorbed, as the child is absorbed in a toy, we become extraordinarily quiet, gentle. And when you see a marvellous mountain, snowcapped against the blue hills, blue sky and the deep shadow in the valleys, that great grandeur, majesty of a mountain absorbs you completely, for a moment you are completely silent because the majesty of that mountain takes you over, you forget yourself by the beauty of that line against the blue sky.
So surely beauty is where you are not. You understand what has been said? The essence of beauty is the absence of the self. And the question of meditation is having put the house in order to meditate, that is the word to ponder over, to think over, to enquire into the abnegation of the self.
And also we ought to share together the energy, the energy that is required in meditation. You need tremendous energy to meditate. So we ought to go into that question of energy. Friction is not energy. When we are in our daily life there is a great deal of friction, conflict between people, the work which we don't like to do, there is a wastage of energy. Please we are sharing together, this is not a lecture. This is a conversation between us, a conversation between two friends who are enquiring into this complex problem of meditation and what is religion? And to enquire really most profoundly, not superficially, not verbally, but go very deeply into oneself, into one's mind, why we live as we do, wasting immense energy.
Meditation is the release of creative energy, which we will go into. So first let us look at what we call religion. Religion has played an immense part in history. From the beginning of time man has struggled to find out what truth is. And the accepted religion of the modern world is no religion at all, it is merely vain repetition of phrases, gibberish nonsense, it is a form of personal entertainment without much meaning. All the rituals, all the gods, specially in this country where there are I don't know how many thousands of gods, all the gods are invented by thought, all the rituals are put together by thought. And what thought creates is not sacred, but we attribute what thought has created in the image the qualities that we like that image to have. So we are worshipping unconsciously ourselves. You understand this? What thought has created in the temples, in the rituals, in the pujas, and all that business, and what thought has invented in the Christian churches, is all put together by thought, invented by thought. And that which thought has created we then worship it. Just see the irony, the deception, the dishonesty of this!
So the religions of the world have completely lost their meaning. All the intellectuals - forgive me using that word - all the intellectuals in the world shun it, run away from it. And when you use the words the 'religious mind', which the speaker uses very often, they say, 'Why do you use that word religion?' Etymologically the root meaning of that word is not very clear. Originally it meant to bind, to bind with that which is noble, with that which is great, and to be bounded to that which is great you had to live a very diligent, scrupulous honest life. All that is gone. We have lost our integrity. So what is religion? If you discard all the present existing religious traditions and their images, their symbols, then what is religion? To find out what is a religious mind, your mind to have the sense of religiosity, one must find out what truth is. Truth has no path to it. There is no path. You have to find out. Your mind with compassion, with its intelligence, will come upon that which is eternally true. But there is no direction, there is no captain to tell you in this ocean of life, or give you direction. You, as a human being, have to discover this. So you cannot belong to any cult, to any group, whether they are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, or whatever they are, you have to abandon all that if you want to come upon truth. And it is the religious mind that doesn't belong to any organization, to any group, to any sect, it has the quality of a global mind.
So religion, a religious mind is a mind that is utterly free from all attachment, from all conclusions, concepts, it is dealing only with what actually is, not, what should be, what must be. It is dealing everyday of one's life with what actually is happening both outwardly and definitely inwardly, to understand the whole complex problem of living. So the mind must be free from prejudice, from tradition, from all the sense of direction too, because to come upon truth you need a clarity of mind, not a confused mind.
So we have talked about discipline, we have talked about beauty, which doesn't exist in our hearts or in our minds. How can one live without this quality of beauty, which is love. You may accumulate all the pictures in the world, go to all the museums, see the latest painter, or read the latest poem, but if you have no beauty in your heart, in your mind, which is the essence of love, one has wasted one's life.
So having put order in our life, let's then examine, share together, what is meditation? Not how to meditate, that is an absurd question. When you ask how, you want a system, a method, a design carefully laid out. See what happens - please do pay attention to all this - see what happens when you are following a method, a system. Why do you want a system, a method? It is the easiest way isn't it, to follow somebody who says, 'I will tell you how to meditate'. When anybody tells you how to meditate he doesn't know what meditation is. The man who says, 'I know', doesn't know. But in enquiring into this really very, very complex question of meditation we must first of all see how destructive a system of meditation is, whether it is Zen meditation, or the dozen forms of meditation that apparently you have invented, or in the West they are all concerned with the form of meditation - how you should sit, how you should breathe, how you should do this, that and the other. And we poor fools follow them. Because if you observe that when you practise something repeatedly over and over again your mind becomes mechanical, which already is mechanical and you add more mechanical routine to it. So gradually your mind atrophies. Please do pay attention to what the speaker is saying. It is like a pianist practising the wrong note. So if you see the truth that no system, no method, no practice, will ever lead to truth, then you abandon all these as fallacious, unnecessary.
So we must also enquire when we meditate, when you do, if you do, this whole problem of control. Most of us control our responses, our reactions, we try to suppress, control desires, we try to shape our desires. There is always the controller and the controlled. We never ask: who is the controller, and what is that that we are controlling in so-called meditation? Who is the controller, who tries to control his thought, his ways of thinking and so on? Who is the controller? The controller surely is that entity which has determined to practise, to control, the entity. Now who is that entity? That entity is put there by the past, by thought, by reward and punishment. So the controller is the past. Right? Are you following all this? That controller is trying to control his thoughts but the controller is the controlled. Do you see this? Look: this is all so childish really. When you are envious, jealous, violent, when you are envious you have separated envy from yourself. Then you say, 'I must control envy, I must suppress it' - or rationalize and so on. But you are not separate from envy, you are envy. Envy is not separate from you. Right? That is so obvious. And yet we play this trick, that we try to control envy as though it was something separate from us. So please listen: can you live a life without a single control, which doesn't mean indulging in whatever you want. Please put this question to yourself: whether you can live a life, which is already so disastrous, so mechanical, so repetitive, whether you can live without a single sense of control. That can only happen when you perceive clearly every action. When you give your attention to every thought that arises, not just indulge in it, every reaction. When you give complete attention to all that then you will find out that you can live a life without a single conflict. Do you know what that means to a mind that has never had conflict, or understood conflict and lives without a single shadow of conflict? It means complete freedom. And one must have that total freedom to enquire or come upon that which is eternally true.
And also we should talk over, share together, the qualitative difference between concentration and attention. Most of us know concentration. We learn it at school, in college, in university, to concentrate. The boy looks out of the window in the school and the teacher says, 'Concentrate on your book.' And so we know what it means. To concentrate implies bringing all your energy to focus on a certain point, and thought wanders away, so you have a perpetual battle between the desire to concentrate, to give all your energy to look at a page, but your mind is wandering, and you try to control it. Whereas attention has no control, no concentration. It is complete attending, which means giving all your energy, your nerves, your capacity of the energy of the brain, your heart, everything, giving attention to something. Probably you have never done it. Probably you have never so completely attended. You know when you attend so completely there is no recording. You understand my statement? For god's sake! When you are attending the brain doesn't record. Whereas when you are concentrating, making effort, the brain is recording and therefore you are always acting from memory, like a gramophone record repeating. You understand all this?
Whereas if you know, if you understand the nature of a brain that needs no recording except what is necessary. It is necessary to record where I live. It is necessary to record various activities of life. But not to record psychologically, inwardly, either the insult, the flattery, all that, nothing to record inwardly. Have you ever done it? Have you ever tried it? It is all so new to you. So that the brain and the mind is entirely free, entirely free from all conditioning, because our brains, our minds are conditioned through education, through culture, through environmental influences, by the food, by the clothes, by the climate, our minds are conditioned. We are Hindus, or Muslims, or Sikhs, or some rot like that.
So we are all slaves to tradition and we think we are all so totally different from each other. We are not. We all go through great miseries, unhappiness, shed tears, we are all human beings. not Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Russians and all the rest of it - those are all labels without meaning.
So the mind must be totally free. That means one has to stand completely alone. And to stand alone we are frightened.
And meditation apparently is a lot of repetition of mantras, prayers, and all that. You mean to say by repeating some words, a mantra, you are going to achieve something? What happens when you constantly repeat, repeat, repeat? You might just as well repeat Coco Cola, only you pay for them more than for the Coco Cola, or Pepsi Cola, or whatever it is. No, please see what your mind has become, for god's sake look at it. So none of those, whatever the mantra, whatever the word - the word is never the thing, the symbol is never the actual - so the mind must be free from all that. Then we can proceed. Then the mind becomes utterly still, not controlled. And meditation then is a mind which is completely religious, not this phoney religion, but a mind that is not only free but enquiring into the nature of truth. There is no guide to truth, no path to truth. And it is only the silent mind, the mind that is free, that can find out, can come upon what which is beyond time.
There are different forms of silence: the silence between two noises, the silence between two notes, the silence between two thoughts, the silence that you desire, that you cultivate, by practice, by control, those are all artificial, cultivated silences of thought and desire. So one must enquire into what is silence? Have you noticed, if you have observed yourself that your mind is eternally chattering, eternally occupied with something or other. If you are a Sannyasi your mind is occupied with god, with prayers, with this, with that. If you are a housewife, it is occupied with the next meal, what you are going to have, how to utilize this and that, it is occupied. If you are a businessman, you know what that is. And if you are a politician, then you also know exactly what they are. (Laughter) Don't laugh please, it is not a matter of laughing. You are not observing your own life. And the priest is occupied with his own nonsense. So our minds are all the time occupied. An occupied mind has no space. And space is necessary.
So let's find out what space is. Space is from one point to another point, which is from here to there, space also implies time. Right? Space implies an emptiness. And that which is empty has immense energy. So we have to enquire, share together, the nature of silence. You can make your mind silent through a drug, by some chemical pill, you can make your thought slow down by some chemical intake so the thought becomes quieter and quieter. Those are all experimental ways of making the mind quiet, silent. But that silence is concerned with sound. Are you all interested in all this? Does it means anything to you, all this? Or am I just prattling to myself? Have you ever enquired what it is to have a mind that is absolutely silent without a movement, a mind that is not recording except those things that are necessary? So that your psyche, your inward nature becomes absolutely still. Have you enquired into all that? Or are you merely caught in the stream of tradition, in the stream of work, labour, and worrying about tomorrow?
So where there is silence there is space, not from one point to another point. Where there is silence there is no point but only silence. And that silence has that extraordinary energy of the universe. Just a minute, I will go into it.
The universe - you know what the word universe is - it has no cause, it exists. This is a scientific fact. No cause. But we human beings have causes. And through analysis you can discover the cause of poverty in this country, or in other countries, you can find out the cause of over population, the lack of birth control, you can find out the cause why human beings have divided themselves into Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, and all the rest of it. You can find out the cause of your anxiety, you can find out the cause for your loneliness. But you may find the cause through analysis but you never are free from the causation. You are following? All our action is based on reward or punishment, however finely subtle, however deeply flattering. That is, our actions are based on that, which is a causation, a cause.
So to understand order of the universe, which is without cause, is it possible to live a daily life without any cause? And that is supreme order. Then out of that order you have creative energy. The technicians, the inventors, the scientists have certain limited energy of creation. Have you ever noticed the scientists of this world? They are specialized, they know their subject extraordinary well, and in that area, in that field they live. They may have wives and children and all the rest of it, but that is all secondhand, that is all part of a necessary life but the mind is occupied, inventive, theorizing, a hypothesis, testing it, moving it further. And we are talking about creative energy, not the scientific inventive energy.
Meditation is to release that creative energy, not through some kind of awakening of Kundalini, and all that kind of stuff, those who talk about Kundalini don't know what it is. You don't talk about those things.
So we have to enquire what is this creative energy, because we have lost it. We have lost it completely. Have you ever noticed that those who go out of this country, some of them, the Indians, are doing extraordinarily well: they are great scientists, great businessmen away from this country. Haven't you noticed it? There are a great many writers now, outside. I do not call those creative energy. Creative energy is necessary for a religion, because religion transforms social order, historically it is so. Every culture is born anew out of a new religion, not in the old repetition of dead tradition. So it is immensely important to know, to understand the depth and the beauty of meditation.
And man has always been asking, from timeless time, whether there is something beyond all thought, beyond all romantic inventions, beyond all time? He has always been asking is there something beyond all this suffering, beyond all this chaos, beyond the wars, beyond the battle between human beings, is there something that is immovable, sacred, utterly pure, untouched by any thought, by any experience? This has been the enquiry of serious religious people, from the ancient of days. To find that out, to come upon it, meditation is necessary. Not the repetitive meditation, that is utterly meaningless. There is a creative energy which is truly religious energy, when the mind is free from all conflict, from all the travail of thought. Thought has its place - I couldn't go from here to the house if I didn't think. Thought is necessary, as knowledge is necessary at a certain level. But in the enquiry into the origin of all things, the beginning of all things, we say, 'Yes, God' - that is an easy word but god is the invention of man, the invention of thought, you have created god, god hasn't created you. If god created you to lead a miserable life, god is not worth it. You understand? Apparently god wants you to live a rotten life, but god is the invention of thought. We have attributed to it all our noble sentiments. But to find out beyond god, to come upon that which has no beginning, no end, that is the real depth of meditation and the beauty of it. That requires freedom from all conditioning.
So what is the origin of all this? What is the origin of all our sorrows, what is the origin of all our suffering, aching, anxiety, seeking security? There is complete security in compassionate intelligence. Total security. But we want security in ideas, in beliefs, in concepts, in ideals, we hold on to them, that is our security. However false, however irrational it is. So where there is compassion there is supreme intelligence, there is security, if one is seeking security. When you are compassionate, when there is that intelligence, there is no question of security.
So there is an origin, the original ground from which all things start, and that original ground is not the word. The word is never the thing. And meditation is to come upon that ground, which is the origin of all things, and which is free from all time. This is the way of meditation. And blessed is he who finds it.
2nd Public Talk
26th November 1981
The speaker is not giving a lecture; you are not being talked at, or being instructed. This is as a conversation between two friends, two friends who have a certain affection for each other, a certain care for each other, who will not betray each other and have certain deep common interests. So they are conversing amicably, with a sense of deep communication with each other, sitting under a tree on a lovely cool morning with the dew on the grass, talking over together the complexities of life. That is the relationship which you and the speaker have we may not meet actually there are too many of us but we are as if walking along a path, looking at the trees, the birds, the flowers, breathing the scent of the air, and talking seriously about our lives; not superficially, not casually, but concerned with the resolution of our problems. The speaker means what he says; he is not just being rhetorical, trying to create an impression; we are dealing with problems of life much too serious for that.
Having established a certain communication between ourselves unfortunately it has to be verbal communication, but between the lines, between the content of the words, there is, if one is at all aware, much deeper, more profound relationship we ought to consider the nature of our problems. We all have problems sexual, intellectual, the problems of relationship, the problems which humanity has created through wars, through nationalism, through the so-called religions. What is a problem? A problem means something thrown at you, something that you have to face, a challenge, minor or major. A problem that is not resolved demands that you face it, understand it, resolve it and act. A problem is something thrown at you, often unexpectedly, either at the conscious level or at the unconscious level; it is a challenge, superficial or deep.
How does one approach a problem? The way you approach a problem is more important than the problem itself. Generally, one approaches a problem with fear or with a desire to resolve it, to go beyond it, to fight against it, escape from it, or totally neglect it, or else one puts up with it. The meaning of that word approach is to come as close as possible, to approximate. Having a problem, how does one approach it? Does one come near it, close to it, or does one run away from it? Or does one have the desire to go beyond it? So long as one has a motive, the motive dictates one's approach.
If one does not approach a problem freely one is always directing the solution according to one's conditioning. Suppose one is conditioned to suppress a certain problem, then one's approach is conditioned and the problem is distorted; whereas, if one approaches it without a motive and comes very close to it, then in the problem itself is the answer, an answer which is not something away from the problem.
It is very important to see how one approaches a problem, whether it be a political problem, a religious problem or a problem of intimate relationship. There are so many problems; one is burdened with problems. Even meditation becomes a problem. One never actually looks at one`s problems. Yet why should one live burdened with problems? Problems which one has not understood and dissolved, distort all one`s life. It is very important to be aware of how one approaches a problem, observing it and not trying to apply a solution; that is, to see in the problem itself, the answer. And that depends upon how one approaches it, on how one looks at it. It is very important to be aware of one`s conditioning when one approaches it and to be free of that conditioning. What is perception, what is seeing? How do you see that tree? Look at it for the moment. With what sight do you see it? Is it solely an optical observation, just looking at the tree with the optical reaction, observing the form, the pattern, the light on the leaf? Or do you, when you observe a tree, name it, saying, `That is an oak' and walk by? By naming it you are no longer seeing the tree; the word denies the thing. Can you look at it without the word?
So, are you aware how you approach, how you look at, the tree? Do you observe it partially, with only one sense, the optical sense; or do you see it, hear it, smell it, feel it, see the design of it, take the whole of it in? Or, do you look at it as though you are different from it of course, when you look at it you are not the tree. But can you look at it without a word, with all your senses responding to the totality of its beauty? So perception means not only observing with all the senses, but also to see, or be aware of whether there is a division between you and that which you observe. Probably you have not thought anything about all this. It is important to understand this, because we are going to discuss presently the approach to fear and the perceiving of the whole content of fear. It is important to be aware of how you approach this burden which man has carried for millennia. It is easier to perceive something outside of you, like a tree, like the river, or the blue sky, without naming, merely observing, but can you look at yourself, the whole content of your consciousness, the whole content of your mind, your being, your walk, your thought, your feeling, your depression, so that there is no division between all that and you?
If there is no division there is no conflict. Wherever there is division there must be conflict: that is a law. So in us, is there a division as between the observer and the thing observed? If the observer approaches fear, greed, or sorrow, as though it was something different from himself which he has to resolve, suppress, understand, go beyond, then division and all the struggle comes into it.
Then how do you approach fear; do you perceive fear without any distortion, without any reaction to escape, suppress, explain, or even analyse? Most of us are afraid of something or of many things; you may be afraid of your wife or your husband, afraid of losing a job, afraid of not having security in old age, afraid of public opinion which is the most silly form of fear afraid of so many things darkness, death and so on. Now we are going to examine together, not what we are afraid of, but what fear is in itself. We are not talking about the object of fear, but about the nature of fear, how fear arises, how you approach it. Is there a motive behind one's approach to the problem of fear? Obviously one usually has a motive; the motive to go beyond it, to suppress it, to avoid it, to neglect it; and one has been used to fear for the greater part of one's life so one puts up with it. If there is any kind of motive one cannot see it clearly, cannot come near it. And when one looks at fear does one consider that fear is separate from oneself, as if one was an outsider looking inside, or an insider looking out? But is fear different from oneself? Obviously not nor is anger. But through education, through religion, one is made to feel separate from it, so that one must fight it, must get over it. One never asks if that thing called fear is actually separate from oneself. It is not, and in understanding that, one understands that the observer is the observed.
Supposing one is envious. One may think the envy is different from oneself but the actual fact is that one is part of it. One is part of the envy, as one is part of greed, anger, suffering, pain; so that pain, suffering, greed, envy, anxiety or loneliness is oneself. One is all that. First see that logically it is so. And seeing it logically, does one make an abstraction of what one sees, so that it becomes an idea, a mere semblance of the fact? One makes an abstraction, an idea that one should escape from it, and then one works on the basis of that idea; and that prevents one from observing very closely what fear is. But if one does not make an abstraction but sees it as a fact, then one approaches it without any motive. One observes it as something not different from oneself; one understands the combination. One observes it as part of oneself, one is that, there is no division between oneself and that; therefore one`s observation is that the observer is the observed; the observed is not different from oneself.
So what is fear? Come very close to it. Because one can only see it very clearly if one is very near. What is fear? Is it time as a movement of the past, the present modified and continued? One is the past, the present and also the future. One is the result of the past, a thousand years and more; one is also the present with its impressions, its present social conditions, its present climate, one is all that and also the future. One is the past, modified in the present, continued in the future; that is inward time. And also there is outward time, time by the watch, by the rising and setting of the sun; the succession of the morning, the afternoon, the evening. It takes outward time to learn a language, to learn the skill to drive a car, to become a carpenter, an engineer, or even a politician. There is time outwardly, to cover the distance from here to there, and there is also time as hope, inward time. One hopes to become non-violent which is absurd. One hopes to gain, or avoid, pain or punishment, one hopes to have a reward. So there is not only time outwardly, physically, but there is also time inwardly, psychologically. One is not this but one will become that; which means time. The physical time is actual, it is there, it is eleven o`clock or twelve o`clock, now. But inwardly, psychologically one has assumed there is time: that is, `I am not good but I will be good.` Now one is questioning that inward time, questioning whether there need be such inward time. When there is time inwardly there is fear. One has a job, but one may lose that job, which is the future, which is time. One has had pain and hopes one will never have such pain again. That is the remembrance of the pain, and the continuation of that memory, hoping there will be no future pain.
So one asks, is not time part of fear? Is not inward time fear? And is not another factor of fear thought? One thinks about one's pain, which one had last week, and which is now recorded in the brain; one thinks one might have that pain again tomorrow. So there is the operation of thought, which says: `I have had that pain, I hope not to have it again.` So thought and time are part of fear. Fear is a remembrance, which is thought and it is also time, the future. I am secure now, I may be insecure tomorrow, fear arises. So time plus thought equals fear. Now just see the truth of it in yourself, not listening to me, to the speaker and verbalizing and remembering it; but actually see that is a fact, not an abstraction as an idea. You have to be aware of whether it is by hearing you have made up an idea, made an abstraction of what you have heard into an idea, or whether you are actually facing the fact of fear, which is time and thought.
Now, it is important how you perceive the whole movement of fear. Either you perceive by negating it, or you perceive it without the division as me and fear, perceiving that you are fear, so you remain with that fear.
There are two ways of negating fear; either by totally denying it, saying, `I have no fear' which is absurd or negating it by perceiving that the observer is the observed so that there is no action. We normally want to negate fear, negate it in the sense of getting over it, running away from it, destroying it, finding some way of comforting ourselves against it all forms of negation; such negation is acting upon it. Then there is a totally different form of negation, which is the beginning of a new movement, in which the observer is the observed, fear is `me'. The observer is fear. Therefore he cannot do anything about it; therefore there is a totally different kind of negation which means a totally different beginning. Have you realized that when you act upon it you strengthen it? Running away, suppressing, analysing, finding the cause, is acting upon it. You are trying to negate something as if it was not you. But when you realize you are that and that therefore you cannot act or do anything about it, then there is non-action and a totally different movement taking place.
Is pleasure different from fear? Or is fear pleasure? They are like two sides of the same coin when you understand the nature of pleasure, which is also time and thought. You have experienced something very beautiful in the past and it is recorded as memory and you want that pleasure repeated; just as you remember the fear of a past event and want to avoid it. So both are movements of the same kind although you call one pleasure and the other fear.
Is there an end to sorrow? Man has done everything possible to transcend sorrow. He has worshipped sorrow, run away from sorrow, has held sorrow to his heart, has tried to seek comfort away from sorrow, has pursued the path of happiness, holding on to it, clinging to it in order to avoid suffering. Yet man has suffered. Human beings have suffered right through the world throughout ages. They have had ten thousand wars think of the men and women who have been maimed, killed and the tears that have been shed, the agony of the mothers, wives, and all those people who have lost their sons, their husbands, their friends through wars, for millennia upon millennia, and we still continue, multiplying armaments on a vast scale. There is this immense sorrow of mankind. The poor man along that road will never know a good clean bath, clean clothes or ride in an aeroplane; all the pleasures that one has, he will never know. There is the sorrow of a man who is very learned and of a man who is not very learned. There is the sorrow of ignorance; there is the sorrow of loneliness. Most people are lonely; they may have many friends, a lot of knowledge, but they are also very lonely people. You know what that loneliness is, if you are at all aware of yourself a sense of total isolation. You may have a wife, children, a great many friends, but there comes a day or an event that makes you feel utterly isolated, lonely. That is tremendous sorrow. Then there is the sorrow of death; the sorrow for someone you have lost. And there is the sorrow which has been gathering, which has been collecting, through the millennia of mankind's existence.
Then there is the sorrow of one's own personal degeneration, personal loss, personal lack of intelligence, capacity. And we are asking whether that sorrow can ever end? Or does one come to sorrow with sorrow and die with sorrow? Logically, rationally, intellectually, we can find many reasons for sorrow, there are all the many explanations according to Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity or Islam. But in spite of the explanations, the causes, the authorities that seek to explain it all away, sorrow still remains with us. So, is it possible to end that sorrow? For if there is no end to sorrow there is no love, there is no compassion. One has to go into it very deeply and see if it can ever end.
The speaker says there is an end to sorrow, a total end to sorrow; which does not mean that he does not care, that he is indifferent or callous. With the ending of sorrow there is the beginning of love. And you naturally ask the speaker: how? How is sorrow to end? When you ask `how?' you want a system, a method, a process. That is why you ask. `Tell me how to get there. I will follow the path, the road.' You want direction, when you say: `How am I to end sorrow?' That question, that demand, that enquiry says, `Show me.' When you ask how, you are putting the wrong question, if I may point out, because you are only concerned with getting over it. Your approach to it is: tell me how to get over it. So you never come near it. If you want to look at that tree you must come near it to see the beauty of it, the shade, the colour of the leaf, whether or not it has flowers you must come near it. But you never come near sorrow. You never come near it because you are always avoiding it, running away from it. So, how you approach sorrow matters very greatly, whether you approach it with a motive to escape, to seek comfort and avoid it, or whether you approach and come very, very close to it. Find out whether you come very close to it. You cannot come close to it if there is self pity or if there is the desire to somehow find the cause, the explanation; then you avoid it. So it matters very much how you approach it, come near it, and how you see it, how you perceive sorrow.
Is it the word `sorrow' that makes you feel sorrow? Or is it a fact? And if it is a fact do you want to come close to it so that sorrow is you? You are not different from sorrow. That is the first thing to see that you are not different from sorrow. You are sorrow. You are anxiety, loneliness, pleasure, pain, fear, the sense of isolation. You are all that. So you come very close to it, you are it, therefore you remain with it.
When you want to look at that tree you come to it, you look at every detail, you take time. You are looking, looking, looking, and it tells you all its beauty. You do not tell the tree your story, it tells you, if you watch it. In the same way if you come near sorrow, hold it, look at it, not run away from it, see what it is trying to tell you, its depth, its beauty, its immensity, then if you remain with it entirely, with that single movement, sorrow ends. Do not just remember that and then repeat it! That is what your brains are accustomed to do: to memorize what has been said by the speaker and then say, `How shall I carry that out?' Because you are it, you are all that and therefore you cannot escape from yourself. You look at it and there is no division between the observer and the observed, you are that, there is no division. When there is no division you remain entirely with it. It requires a great deal of attention, a great deal of intensity, clarity, the clarity of the mind that sees instantly the truth. Then out of that ending of sorrow comes love. I wonder if you love anything. Do you? Do you love anything? Your wife, your children, your so-called country; do you love the earth, love the beauty of a tree, the beauty of a person? Or are you so terribly self-centred that you never have any perception of anything at all? Love brings compassion. Compassion is not doing some social work. Compassion has its own intelligence. But you do not know anything of all that. All that you know are your desires, your ambitions, your deceptions, your dishonesty. When you are asked most profound questions, which stir you up, you become negligent. When I ask you a question of that kind, whether you love somebody, your faces are blank. And this is the result of your religion, of your devotion to your nonsensical gurus, your devotion to your leaders not devotion, you are frightened, therefore you follow. At the end of all these millennia you are what you are now; just think of the tragedy of all this! That is the tragedy of yourself, you understand. So ask yourself, if one may suggest it, walking along that path with you as a friend: do you know what love means? Love that does not demand a thing from another. Ask yourselves. It does not demand a thing from your wife, from your husband nothing, physically, emotionally, intellectually is demanded from another. Not to follow another, not to have a concept, and pursue that concept. Because love is not jealousy, love has no power in the ordinary sense of that word. Love does not seek position, status, power. But it has its own capacity, its own skill, its own intelligence.