Wholly Different Way of Living
18th Conversation with Dr. Allan W. Anderson
San Diego, California
28th February 1974
Meditation - 2
A: Mr Krishnamurti, we were discussing in our conversation last time meditation. And just as we concluded you brought up the very beautiful analogy from the flowering of a plant, and it struck me that the order that is intrinsic to the movement of the plant as it flowers is a revelatory image of order that you have been discussing. And we were talking also about the relation of meditation to understanding on the one hand and knowledge on the other, a distinction that's very, very rarely made.
A: Though in ordinary language we make the distinction perhaps unwittingly. It's there.
K: It's there.
A: We have the two words.
A: But then to go into what the distinction is was something you were beginning to do. And perhaps we could...
K: We could on from there.
K: Sir, we were talking, if I remember rightly about control.
K: And we said the controller is the controlled. And we went into that sufficiently. And when there is control there is direction. Direction implies will. Control implies will. And in the desire to control there is established a goal and a direction. Which means to carry out the decision made by will, and the carrying out is the duration of time; and therefore direction means time, control, will, and an end. All that's implied in the word control. Isn't it?
K: So what place has will in meditation and therefore in life?
A: Yes, yes.
K: Or it has no place at all. That means there is no place for decision at all. Only seeing, doing. And that doesn't demand will, nor direction. You follow?
A: Yes, I do, yes I do.
K: The beauty of this, sir, how it works out. When the mind sees the futility of control because it has understood the controller is the controlled, one fragment trying to dominate other fragments, and the dominant fragment is a part of other fragments, and therefore it is like going around in circles, vicious circle, never getting out of it. So can there be a living without control? Just listen to it sir. Without will, and without direction? There must be direction in the field of knowledge. Agreed? Otherwise I couldn't get home, to the place I live. I would lose the capacity to drive a car, ride a cycle, speak a language, all the technological things necessary in life. There, direction, calculation, decision in that field is necessary. Choice is necessary between this and that. Here where there is choice there is confusion, because there is no perception. Where there is perception there is no choice. Choice exists because the mind is confused between this and that. So, can a life be led without control, without will, without direction, that means time? And that is meditation. Not just a question, an interesting, perhaps, a stimulating question, but a question however stimulating has no meaning by itself. It has a meaning in living.
A: I was thinking about ordinary language usage again, as you were speaking. It's interesting isn't it, that when we regard that somebody has performed an action, that we call wilful that this is an action that has been undertaken without understanding.
K: Of course.
A: So in the very distinction between will as a word and wilful as an adjective, we have a hint of this distinction. But I'd like to ask you, if I could, about the relationship of will, for the moment, even though we are talking about meditation, we did regard that knowledge, in its own right, does have a proper career.
K: Of course.
A: And we say that decision is referred to that. Choice is referred to that and therefore will is operative there.
K: And a direction and everything.
A: And a direction and so on. And so we are, we are making a distinction here between will and its role in relation to the whole field of what we call loosely know-how.
K: Know-how, knowledge.
A: Yes. And the confusion that occurs when that activity, so necessary in its own right is brought over into this.
K: That's right.
A: And then we can't do either of them, really.
K: Then, that's just it. Therefore we become inefficient.
A: But you see we don't think that. What we think is that we can be terribly efficient in knowledge and be what is called unspiritual. And be a success here and not be a success here. Whereas, if I understand you correctly, you don't fail in one or the other, you just fail period. It's a total failure if this confusion is made. You simply can't operate even well here no matter what it might look like in the short run.
K: As long as you are not completely in order inside yourself.
A: Right. Exactly. So the very division that we make between inner and outer is itself a symptom of this terrible...
K: ...of thought which has divided the outer and the inner.
A: Yes, yes. I hope you'll bear with me in going through that...
K: Yes, actually you are quite right.
A: ...because I know in religious thought, my academic discipline, in religious thought this confusion, well, the weight of it.
K: I know.
A: You feel...
A: And as soon as you begin to make a comment of any kind about it that is simply raising the question. The extreme rigidity and nervousness that occurs...
K: Quite, quite.
A: ...is dramatic. Yes. Yes.
K: You see, sir. So I'm asking, meditation covers the whole field of living, not one segment of it. Therefore living a life without control, without the action of will, decision, direction, achievement. Is that possible? If it is not possible it is not meditation. Therefore life becomes superficial, meaningless. And to escape from that meaningless life we chase all the gurus, the religious entertainment, circuses, you follow? All the practices of meditation. It has no meaning.
A: You know, well, of course you do, it's a rhetorical question: in the classical tradition we have a definition of will. We say that it's desire made reasonable. Desire made reasonable.
K: Desire made reasonable.
A: Desire made reasonable. Now, of course, we've long since lost the idea of what the ancients meant, against their contemplative background, by the word reason. We think it means calculation. But of course that's not what the classical tradition means when it says reasonable. It points rather to that order which isn't defined. And it occurs to me that if we understood that statement correctly we'd be saying, will is the focus of desire without my focusing self consciously.
K: Yes, that's right. And watching desire to flower.
K: And therefore watching the will in operation and let it flower and as it flowers as you are watching it dies, it withers away. After all it's like a flower you allow it to bloom and it withers.
A: It comes to be and passes away in its own time.
K: Therefore if you are choicelessly aware of this movement of desire, control, will, focusing that will in action, and so on, so on, so on, let it, watch it. And as you watch it you will see how it loses its vitality. So there is no control. So from that arises the next question which is, direction means space.
A: Yes, of course.
K: It's very interesting what comes.
A: Yes it is, it is.
K: What is space? Space which thought has created is one thing. Space that exists in heaven, in our, what is it, in the universe, space. There must be space for a mountain to exist. There must be space for a tree to grow. There must be space for a flower to bloom. So what is space? And have we space? Or are we all so limited physically to living in a little apartment, little houses, no space at all outwardly, and therefore having no space we become more and more violent.
K: I don't know if you have watched of an evening when all the swallows are lined up on a wire.
A: Oh, yes.
K: And how exact spaces they have in between, you follow, sir? Have you?
A: Yes I have. It's marvelous.
K: It's marvelous to see this space. And space is necessary. And we have no space physically with more and more population and all the rest of it. And therefore more and more violence, more and more living together in a small flat, thousand people, you know, crowded.
A: Oh yes.
K: Breathing the same air, thinking the same thing, seeing the same television, seeing the same, reading the same book, going to the same church, believing the same thing. You follow?
K: The same sorrow. The same anxiety. The same fears. My country - all that. So mind, and so the brain, has very little space. And space is necessary, otherwise I stifle. So can the mind have space? And there will be no space if there is a direction.
A: Clearly, yes.
K: You see, sir?
A: Of course, of course. Yes I do. Yes.
K: There is no space if direction means time.
K: And so when mind is occupied with family, with business, with God, with drink, with sex, with experience, occupied, filled, there is no space.
A: That's right. Exactly.
K: So when knowledge occupies the whole field of the mind as thought there is no space. And thought creates a space around itself as the 'me' enclosed, and you enclosed, we and they. So the self, the 'me', which is the very essence of thought has its own little space.
K: And to move out of that space is terror, is fear, is anxiety because I am only used to that little space. I don't know?
A: Yes, exactly. That brings us back to an earlier conversation we had when we touched on the point of terror.
K: Yes, that's right.
K: Not being and the being is in the little space which thought has created. So thought can never give space.
A: Of course not.
K: So, meditation is the freeing of the mind of its content as consciousness which creates its own little space. You follow, sir?
A: Yes, I do.
K: So from that says, is that possible. Because I'm occupied with my wife, my children, my responsibilities, I care for the tree, I care for the cat, I care for this and that and I'm occupied, occupied, occupied.
A: This throws a marvelous light on that saying of Jesus which people have pondered and wondered about and thought it was very strange: foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the son of man hath not where to lay his head. He doesn't, man as such who grasps himself understands, is not inventing a space for himself. It fits perfectly. It fits perfectly. That's marvelous.
K: I don't know.
A: No, I understand. But I was thinking in the context of the whole discourse. It just flashed over me. And our conversations have been such a revelation to me with respect to the literatures that I've soaked myself in for so many years. And it's a demonstration to me of what you've said. For instance, in so far as I ask these questions of myself personally, precisely as they become answered...
K: Quite, sir.
A: ...so all these things out here become answered. And what could be more empirically demonstrable to an individual that I am the world and the world is me than that.
K: That's right, sir.
A: All I am doing is giving a report of the journey without direction.
K: So, sir, look. The world is getting more and more overpopulated. Cities are growing more and more, spreading spreading, spreading, suburbs, and so on. Man is getting less and less space and therefore driving out animals, killing. You follow?
A: Oh, yes, yes, yes.
K: Killing the red Indians, the American Indians, killing the Indians in Brazil, and so on. They are doing this, actually it is going on.
A: Oh yes.
K: And, having no space out there, outwardly, except on occasions I go off into the country and say to myself, my god, I wish I could live here. But I can't because I've got... and so on. So, can there be space inwardly? When there is space inwardly there is space outwardly.
K: But the outward space is not going to give the inner space. The inner space of mind that is free from occupation, though it is occupied at the moment with what it has to do, it is occupied, but free, the moment it is finished it is over. I don't carry the office to my home. It is over. So space in the mind means the emptying of consciousness of all its content and therefore the consciousness which thought as the 'me' has created ends and therefore there is space. And that space isn't yours or mine. It is space. You follow?
A: Yes, yes I was thinking of the creation story in Genesis. The appearance of space occurs when the waters are separated from the waters and we have vault now over which the birds fly and this space is called heaven.
K: It is heaven.
A: It is heaven.
K: That's right.
A: Yes, yes. Of course, of course. But then we read that you, see and we don't...
K: Fortunately I don't read.
K: So space, direction, time, will, choice, control - you understand, sir. Now, all that has importance in my living, in the daily living of my life, of every human being. If he doesn't know what the meaning of meditation is, he merely lives in that field of knowledge and therefore that becomes a prison. And therefore being in prison he says, I must escape through entertainment, through Gods, through this and through that, through amusement. You know, that is what is actually taking place.
A: The word vacation...
K: Vacation that's right.
A: ...says it all.
A: Doesn't it.
A: To vacate is to exit into space.
A: But then we go from one hole to another.
K: To another hole.
K: If that is clearly established, perceived in myself, I see the thing operating in my daily life, then what takes place? Space means silence. If there is no silence there is direction, it is the operation of will, I must do, I must not do, I must practise this, I must get this, you follow? The should be, should not be, what has been, what should not be, I regret. All that operates. Therefore space means silence inwardly.
A: That's very deep. Very, very deep. Archetypally we associate manifestation as over against latency with sound.
K: Yes, sound.
A: And what you have said puts the whole thing into astonishing...
K: Silence isn't the space between two noises. Silence isn't the cessation of noise. Silence isn't something that thought has created. It comes naturally, inevitably as you open, as you observe, as you examine, as you investigate. So then the question arises, silence, without a movement. Movement of direction. Movement of thought, Movement of time. All silence. Now, that silence, can that operate in my daily life? I live in the field of noise as knowledge. That I have to do. And is there a living with silence and at the same time the other? The two moving together, two rivers flowing in balance. No division. You follow? In harmony. There is no division. Is that possible? Because otherwise, if that's not possible to be deeply honest I can only live that in the field of knowledge. I don't know if you see?
A: Oh yes, yes.
K: So, for me it is possible, therefore, I am not saying that out of vanity, I say this in great humility. I think that is possible. It is so. Then what takes place? Then what is creation? Is creation something to be expressed - in paint, in poem, in statue, in writing, in bringing about a baby? Is that creation? Does creation need, or must it be expressed? To us it must be expressed - to most people. Otherwise one feels frustrated, anxious, I am not living. You follow? All that business. So what is creation? One can only answer that if one has really gone through all this. You understand, sir? Otherwise creation becomes a rather cheap thing.
A: Yes, it becomes, in terms of the word expressed, simply something pressed out.
K: Pressed out, of course.
A: That's all.
K: That's all.
K: Like the life of literary people who - some of them - are everlastingly in battle in themselves, tension and all that, and out of that they write a book, become famous.
A: Yes, the psychological theory that works of art are based on neurosis, which means I am driven.
K: Yes, so what is creation? Is it something, a flowering in which the flower does not know that it is flowering.
A: Exactly, exactly.
K: Have I made it clear?
A: Yes, you've made it very, very clear. All through our conversations the one word that has, for me, been like a clean blade of a two edged sword has been this word 'act'.
K: Yes, sir.
A: But not act over against inaction.
K: No, no, no, no.
A: No, not action as over against the philosophical term of it's opposite, passion, which is a different use from the one you were using in our conversations. But sheerly act.
A: Sheerly act.
K: So, sir, see what takes place. Creation in my living. You follow, sir? Not expressing, creating a beautiful chair, this or that may come, that will come, but in living. And from that arises another question which is really much more important: thought is measure. And as long as we cultivate thought, and all our actions are based on thought as it is now, the search for the immeasurable has no meaning. I can give a meaning to it, say there is the immeasurable, there is the unnameable, there is the eternal. Don't let us talk about it. It is there. It has no meaning. That is just a supposition, a speculation, or the assertion of a few who think they know. One has discarded all that. Therefore one asks, when the mind is utterly silent what is the immeasurable? You follow, sir? What is the everlasting? What is the eternal? Not in terms of God, and you know all these things man has invented. Actually to be that. Now silence in that deep sense of that word opens the door. Because you've got there all your energy. Not a thing is wasted. There is no dissipation of energy at all. Therefore in that silence there is summation of energy.
K: Not stimulated energy, not self-projected energy, and so on, sir, that's all too childish. There is, because there is no conflict, no control, no reaching out or not reaching, searching, asking, questioning, demanding, waiting, praying, none of that. Therefore there is all that energy which has been wasted is now gathered in that silence. You follow? That silence has become sacred. Because obviously...
A: Of course it has.
K: It has, not the sacred thing which thought has invented.
A: No, not the sacred over against the profane.
K: No, no, no not all that.
A: No, no, no.
K: So it is only such a sacred mind can see this the most supreme sacred, the essence of all that is sacred, which is beauty. You follow, sir?
A: I do.
K: So there it is. God isn't something that man has invented, or created it out of his image and longing and failure. But when the mind itself becomes sacred then it opens the door to something that is immeasurably sacred. That is religion. And that affects the daily living, the way I talk, the way I treat people, the conduct, behaviour - all that. That is the religious life. If that doesn't exist then every other kind of mischief exists, however clever, however intelligent, however - all that.
A: And meditation does not occur in the context of all this disorder.
A: Absolutely not. But in its ongoingness, the way you have mentioned it, one is precisely in that, where your word religious is pointing to.
K: That is the most profound religious way of living. You see sir what takes place, another thing. You see as this thing is happening, because your energy is being gathered - energy is being gathered, not your's - energy is being gathered, you have other kind of powers, extra sensory power, can do miracles, which has happened all this to me, exorcise, and all that kind of stuff, and healing. But they become totally irrelevant. Not that you don't love people. On the contrary religion is the essence of it. But they are all second issues. And people get caught in the second issues. I mean, look at what has happened, man who really can heal he becomes - people worship him, a little healing.
A: It reminds me of a story you told me once. It was a year ago: it was about the old man sitting on the banks of a river and the young man came to him, after the older man had sent him away to undertake whatever he needed to learn and all this. And he came back with a marvelous announcement that he could now walk on water. And then you said that the older man looked at him and said, "What's all that about? So you can walk on water. And you have taken all these years to learn how to walk on water. Didn't you see the boat over there?"
K: Oh yes, that's right, sir. That's right.
A: Of course, of course.
K: You see, sir, that's very important. Religion is as we said, is the gathering of all energy, which is attention. In that attention many things happen. Some of them have this gift of healing, miracles. I've had it and I know what I'm speaking about. And the religious man never touches it. You follow? He may say occasionally, "Do this or that" but it is a thing to be put away, like a gift, like a talent. It is to be put away, because it is a danger.
K: But the more you are talented, the more me, I am important, I have this talent, worship me. With that talent I'll get money, position, power. So this too is a most dangerous thing. So a mind that is religious is aware of all this and lives a life...
A: ...in this space, in this marvelous space. Something occurred to me about our discussion earlier concerning energy and your remark that energy, when it patterns itself - I've forgotten what you used to designate what the pattern energy was, but I suspect it's what we often call matter.
K: Matter, yes.
A: Wouldn't that be correct? Right. In terms of this pointing to act that you have mentioned, it throws a very, very different light on the character of patterned energy and draws our gaze away from the pattern and reminds us...
A: ...that the substance, or rather the substantive element - I don't want to use the word substance there for philosophical reasons - the substantive element that we point to is not the pattern but the energy.
K: Energy, quite. You see sir, that is love, isn't it sir?
K: And when there is this sense of religious summation of energy that is love, that is compassion, and care. That operates in daily life.
A: In love the pattern never resists change.
K: So, you see, sir, that love you can do what you like, it will be still love. But there the love becomes sensation. You follow?
A: Yes, the whole track of knowledge.
K: And therefore there is no love there.
A: Yes, that image of the Lionel train, the toy that goes round and round and round. Isn't that extraordinary?
K: You see, sir, that means, can the mind, I'm using the word mind in the sense mind, the brain, the body, the whole thing, can the mind be really silent? Not induced silence, silence, not silence put together, not silence that thought imagines is silence. Not the silence of a church or the temple. They have their own silence when you enter a temple or a...
A: Oh yes.
K: ...old cathedrals. They have an extraordinary sense of silence. Thousands of people chanted or talked, prayed and all that. But it is above all that. It is not that either. So this silence isn't contrived and therefore it is real. It isn't, I have brought about through practice a silence.
A: No, it's not what you mentioned earlier, that space between two noises...
K: Oh, yes, that's right.
A: ...because that would become an interval.
K: That's right.
A: And as an interval it simply becomes successive.
K: Successive. That's right.
A: This is extraordinary in terms of the continuing return to question. It seems to me that it's only in the attitude of the question that there's any possibility even intuiting from afar the possibility of the silence, since already the answer is a noise.
K: Ah, yes. So, sir, just a minute, there is something very interesting. Does this come up through questioning?
A: No. I didn't mean to suggest that questioning generates it. I meant that simply to take a step back from the enthrallment and enchantment with answers is in itself a necessary step.
K: Of course.
A: And that in itself has its own terror.
K: Of course, of course. So I'm asking, is silence, is the sense of the immeasurable, does that come about by my questioning?
K: No. Perception sees the false and discards the false... There is no question, it sees, and finished. But if I keep on questioning I keep on doubting. Doubt has its place but it must be kept on a leash.
A: Now, let me ask you a question here, if I may. The act of perceiving is, as you have said, the doing.
A: There's absolutely no interval between one.
K: I see danger and I act.
A: And I act. Exactly. Now, in this perceiving, the act is totally free...
K: Yes, sir.
A: ...and then every energy pattern is free to become changed.
K: Yes, quite, sir.
A. Yes, exactly. No more hoarding to itself...
K: No regrets.
A: ...all that its worked for all its life. And amazingly though, it seems to me, there's, if I have understood you correctly, there's a corollary to this. Not only is the pattern free to be changed, but the energy is free to pattern itself.
K: Or not to pattern.
A: Or not to pattern. Yes.
K: There it is. The knowledge has to pattern.
A: Of course.
K: But here it can't pattern, pattern for what? If it patterns it has become thought again. And therefore thought, if it is divisive, thought is superficial. I don't know if I told you the other day, somebody was telling me, he was saying that in Eskimo language thought means the outside. Very interesting. The outside. When they say, go outside, the word is thought. So thought has created the outer and the inner. If thought is not then there is neither the outer nor the inner. That is space. It isn't, I've got inner space.
A: No. We've been talking about meditation in relation to religion and I simply feel I must ask you to speak about the interrelationship of prayer to meditation, with meditation, because eventually we always refer to prayer and meditation.
K: No. I don't, to repeat a prayer has no place in meditation. To whom am I praying? Whom am I supplicating? Begging? Asking?
A: A prayer as petition has no place in it.
K: Petition, right.
A: Is there any use of the word prayer that would be consonant with what we we've been talking about?
K: If there is no petition, you understand, deeply, inwardly, there is no petition...
A: No grabbing, grasping.
K: ...because the grabber is the grabbed.
K: If there is no petition what takes place? I petition only when I don't understand. When I'm in conflict, when I'm in sorrow, when I'm in - you follow? When I say, "Oh, God, I've lost everything. I'm finished. I can't arrive. I can't achieve."
A: When there's no petition I can look. Yes. Exactly. Exactly.
K: A woman came to me once, some time ago. She said, "I have prayed, enormously, for years. And I have prayed for my refrigerator. And I got it." Yes, sir! I pray for peace. And I live a life of violence all the time. I say, I pray for my country, and I have divided the country opposed to another country. And I pray for my country. It becomes so childish.
A: In conventional prayers there is usually both petition and praise, both are there.
K: Of course. Praising, and receiving
K: You must know in Sanskrit it always begins, some parts of it, praising and then begging. There's a marvelous chant which is asking protection of the gods. Protection. And it says, "May you protect my steps."
A: Yes, yes.
K: Praising God, then saying, please protect my steps. So if there is no petition, because the petitioner is the petition, the beggar is the begged, is the receiver, then what takes place in the mind. No asking.
A: An immense quietude. Immense quietude. The proper sense of whatever the word tranquillity points to.
K: That's right, sir. That is real peace, not the phony peace they are all talking about - politicians and the religious people. There is no asking a thing.
A: There is a very beautiful Biblical phrase, "The peace that passeth understanding."
K: I've heard that phrase when I was small boy.
A: I've always asked myself since a child, how it's the case that there is so much talk about such a thing and there's so little evidence of it.
K: Sir, I think you know, books have become tremendously important. What they have written. What they have said. And so the human mind has become secondhand. Or the mind that has acquired so much knowledge about what other people have experienced about reality, how can such a mind experience or find, or come up on that thing which is original?
A: Not that route.
K: No. No, no. And can the mind empty itself of its content? If it cannot, it cannot acquire, then reject, then receive. You follow?
K: Why should I go through all those things? But I'll look. There is no book in the world that is going to teach me. There is no teacher that is going to teach me. Because the teacher is the taught. The disciple is the teacher. I don't know?
A: That is in itself, as a statement, if one will, as we said in an earlier conversation at the inception of looking, if one will hold that very statement, "I am the world and the world is me", is an occasion for healing.
K: Yes, sir.
A: But that very statement, "I am the world and the world is me" sounds, as you have said so often, so absurd that at that point one starts to bolt again.
K: I know.
A: Panic again. Meditation, when undertaken, as it must be, continuously, because we talked about that movement...
K: That means one has to be very, very serious. It isn't a thing we play with.
A: No. It's not what's called these days a fun thing.
K: No sir!
A: In no sense. No, no, no. The discussion that you have undertaken concerning it is so total. A meditation isn't a thing that you do among other things.
K: Meditation means attention, care. That's part of it, care for my children, for my neighbour, for my country, for the earth, for the earth, for the trees, for the animals. Don't kill animals. You follow? Don't kill them to eat. It's so unnecessary. It's part of the tradition which says, you must eat meat. Therefore, sir, all this comes to a sense of deep, inward seriousness, and that seriousness itself brings about attention, caring and responsibility and all that we have discussed. It isn't that one has gone through all this. One sees it. And the very perception is action which is wisdom. Because wisdom is the ending of suffering. It isn't callous, callousness, the ending of it. And the ending of it means the observation, the seeing of suffering. Not to go beyond it, to refuse it, rationalize it or run away from it. Just to see it. Let it flower. And as you are choicelessly aware of this flowering, it comes naturally to wither away. I don't have to do something about it.
A: Marvelous. Marvelous how energy can be free to pattern itself or not pattern itself. The pattern is free to be energized or the whole thing is simply all round.
K: Yes, sir. It covers the whole of man's endeavour, his thoughts, his anxieties, everything it covers.
A: So, in our conversations, all through, we have reached the point of consummation here where it is round. I wonder if Shakespeare had some intimation of this when he said, "Ripeness is all." He must have been thinking of that, not simply as setting a term to the career of fruit.
K: No sir, time comes to an end, time stops. In silence, time stops.
A: In silence time stops. Immensely beautiful. I must express to you my gratitude from the bottom of my heart. I hope you will let me. Because throughout the whole career of our discussions I have been undergoing a transformation.
K: Quite. Because you are willing enough to listen, good enough to listen. Most people are not, they won't listen. They won't take the time, the trouble, the care to listen.
A: I've already seen, in my relation to my classes, in the activity my students and I share, the beginning of a flowering.
K: Flowering, quite.
A: The beginning of a flowering.
A: Thank you, so much again.