Ojai 2nd Public Talk 17th July 1949
As I was suggesting yesterday, we should be able to listen to what is being said without rejection, or acceptance. We should be able to listen so that, if something new is being said, we do not im- mediately reject it - which does not mean either, that we must accept everything that is being said. That would be really absurd; because then we would merely be building up authority, and where there is authority, there can be no thinking, feeling; there can be no discovery of the new. And, as most of us are inclined to accept something eagerly, without true understanding, there is a danger, is there not?, that we may accept without thought or investigation, without looking deeply into it. This morning I may perhaps say something new, or put something differently, which you may pass by, if you do not listen with that ease, with that quietness which brings understanding.
I want to discuss this morning a subject which may be rather difficult: The question of action, activity and relationship. Then I will answer questions. But before I do that, we have to understand first what we mean by activity, what we mean by action. Because, our whole life seems based on action, or rather, activity - I want to differentiate between activity and action. We seem to be so engrossed in doing things; we are so restless, so consumed with movement, doing something at any cost, getting on, achieving, striving for success. And what is the place of activity in relationship? Because, as we were discussing yesterday, life is a question of relationship. Nothing can exist in isolation; and if relationship is merely an activity, then relationship has not much significance. I do not know if you have noticed that the moment you cease to be active, there is immediately a feeling of nervous apprehension; you feel as though you are not alive, not alert, so you must keep going. And there is the fear of being alone - of going out for a walk alone, of being by yourself, without a book, without a radio, without talking; the fear of sitting quietly without doing something all the time with your hands or with your mind or with your heart.
So, to understand activity, surely we must understand relationship, must we not? If we treat relationship as a distraction, as an escape from something else, relationship then is merely an activity. And is not most of our relationship merely a distraction, and therefore but a series of activities involved in relationship? As I said, relationship has true significance only when it is a process of self-revelation, when it is the revealing to oneself in the very action of relationship. But most of us do not want to be revealed in relationship. On the contrary, we use relationship as a means of covering up our own insufficiency, our own troubles, our own uncertainty. So, relationship becomes mere movement, mere activity. I do not know if you have noticed that relationship is very painful; and that as long as it is not a revealing process, in which you are discovering yourself, relationship is merely a means of escape from yourself.
I think it is important to understand this; because, as we were discussing yesterday, the question of self-knowledge lies in the unfolding of relationship, whether to things, to people, or to ideas. Can relationship be based on an idea? And, surely, any act based on an idea must be merely the continuation of that idea, which is activity. Action is not based on an idea. Action is immediate, spontaneous, direct, without the process of thought involved. But when we base action on an idea, then it becomes an activity; and if we base our relationship on an idea, then surely such a relationship is merely an activity, without comprehension. It is merely carrying out a formula, a pattern, an idea. Because we want something out of relationship, such relationship is always restricting, limiting, confining.
Idea is, is it not?, the outcome of a want, of a desire, of a purpose. If I am related to you because I need you, physiologically or psychologically, then that relationship is obviously based on idea, is it not; because I want something from you. And such a relationship based on an idea, cannot be a self-revealing process. It is merely a momentum, an activity, a monotony, in which habit is established. Hence, such relationship is always a strain, a pain, a contention, a struggle, causing us agony.
Is it possible to be related without idea, without demand, without owner- ship, possession? Can we commune with each other - which is real relationship on all the different levels of consciousness - if we are related to each other through a desire, a physical or psychological need? And can there be relationship without these conditioning causes, arising from want? As I said, this is quite a difficult problem. One has to go very deeply and very quietly into it. It is not a question of accepting or rejecting.
We know what our relationship is at present - a contention, a struggle, a pain, or mere habit. If we can understand fully, completely, relationship with the one, then perhaps there is a possibility of understanding relationship with the many, that is, with society. If I do not understand my relationship with the one, I certainly shall not understand my relationship with the whole, with society, with the many. And if my relationship with the one is based on a need, on gratification, then my relationship with society must be the same. Therefore, there must follow contention, with the one and with the many. And is it possible to live, with the one and with the many, without demand? Surely, that is the problem, is it not? Not only between you and me, but between me and society. And to understand that problem, to inquire into it very deeply, you have to go into the question of self-knowledge; because, without knowing yourself as you are, without knowing exactly what is, obviously, you cannot have right relationship with another. Do what you will - escape, worship, read, go to cinemas, turn on radios - as long as there is no understanding of yourself, you cannot have right relationship. Hence the contention, battle, antagonism, confusion, not only in you, but outside of you and about you. As long as we use relationship, merely as a means of gratification, of escape, as a distraction which is mere activity, there can be no self-knowledge. But self-knowledge is understood, is uncovered, its process is revealed, through relationship - that is, if you are willing to go into the question of relationship and expose yourself to it. Because, after all, you cannot live without relationship. But we want to use that relationship to be comfortable, to be gratified to be something. That is, we use relationship based on an idea; which means, the mind plays the important part in relationship. And as mind is concerned always with protecting itself, with remaining always within the known, it reduces all relationship to the level of habit, or of security; and therefore, relationship becomes merely an activity.
So, you see that relationship, if we allow it, can be a process of self-revelation; but, since we do not allow it, relationship becomes merely a gratifying activity. As long as the mind merely uses relationship for its own security, that relationship is bound to create confusion and antagonism. And is it possible to live in relationship without the idea of demand, of want, of gratification? Which means, is it possible to love without the interference of the mind? We love with the mind, our hearts are filled with the things of the mind; but surely, the fabrications of the mind cannot be love. You cannot think about love. You can think about the person whom you love; but that thought is not love, and so, gradually, thought takes the place of love. And, when the mind becomes supreme, the all-important, then obviously, there can be no affection. Surely, that is our problem, is it not? We have filled our hearts with the things of the mind. And the things of the mind are essentially ideas - what should be, and what should not be. Can relationship be based on an idea? And if it is, is it not a self-enclosing activity and therefore inevitable that there should be contention, strife, and misery? But if the mind does not interfere, then it is not erecting a barrier it is not disciplining suppressing or sublimating itself. This is extremely difficult, because it is not through determination, practice, or discipline, that the mind can cease to interfere; the mind will cease to interfere only when there is full comprehension of its own process. Then only is it possible to have right relationship with the one and with the many, free of contention and discord. Question: I gather definitely from you that learning and knowledge are impediments. To what are they impediments?
Krishnamurti: Obviously, knowledge and learning are an impediment to the understanding of the new, the timeless, the eternal. Surely, developing a perfect technique does not make you creative. You may know how to paint marvellously, you may have the technique; but you may not be a creative painter. You may know how to write poems, technically most perfect; but you may not be a poet. To be a poet implies, does it not?, being capable of receiving the new; to be sensitive enough to respond to something new, fresh. But, with most of us, knowledge, or learning has become an addiction, and we think that through knowing we shall be creative. A mind that is crowded, encased in facts, in knowledge - is it capable of receiving something new, sudden, spontaneous? If your mind is crowded with the known, is there any space in it to receive something that is of the unknown? Surely, knowledge is always of the known; and with the known, we are trying to understand the unknown, something which is beyond measure.
Take, for example, a very ordinary thing that happens to most of us: those who are religious - whatever that word may mean for the moment - try to imagine what God is, or try to think about what God is. They have read innumerable books, they have read about the experiences of the various saints, the Masters, the Mahatmas, and all the rest, and they try to imagine, or try to feel, what the experience of another is. That is, with the known, you try to approach the unknown. Can you do it? Can you think of something that is not knowable? You can only think of something that you know. But there is this extraordinary perversion taking place in the world at the present time: we think we shall understand if we have more information, more books, more facts, more printed matter.
Surely, to be aware of something that is not the projection of the known, there must be the elimination through the understanding of the process of the known. Why is it that the mind clings always to the known? Is it not because the mind is constantly seeking certainty, security? Its very nature is fixed in the known, in time; and how can such a mind, whose very foundation is based on the past, on time, experience the timeless? It may conceive, formulate, picture the unknown, but that is all absurd. The unknown can come into being only when the known is understood, dissolved, put aside. And that is extremely difficult; because the moment you have an experience of anything, the mind translates it into the terms of the known and reduces it to the past. I do not know if you have noticed that every experience is immediately translated into the known, given a name, tabulated, and recorded. So, the movement of the known, is knowledge. And, obviously, such knowledge, learning is a hindrance.
Suppose you had never read a book, religious or psychological, and you had to find the meaning, the significance, of life. How would you set about it? Suppose there were no Masters, no religious organizations, no Buddha, no Christ, and you had to begin from the beginning. How would you set about it? First, you would have to understand your process of thinking, would you not? - and not project yourself, your thoughts, into the future and create a God which pleases you; that would be too childish. So, first you would have to understand the process of your thinking. Surely, that is the only way to discover anything new, is it not?
When we say that learning or knowledge is an impediment, is a hindrance, surely we are not including technical knowledge - how to drive a car, how to run machinery, or the efficiency which such knowledge brings. We have in mind quite a different thing: that sense of creative happiness which no amount of knowledge or learning will bring. And, to be creative in the truest sense of that word, is to be free of the past from moment to moment. Because, it is the past that is continually shadowing the present. Merely to cling to information, to the experiences of others, to what someone has said, however great, and try to approximate your action to that - all that is knowledge, is it not? But, to discover anything new, you must start on your own; you must start on a journey completely denuded, especially of knowledge. Because it is very easy, through knowledge and belief, to have experiences; but those experiences are merely the products of self-projection, and therefore utterly unreal, false. And if you are to discover for yourself what is the new, it is no good carrying the burden of the old, especially knowledge - the knowledge of another, however great. Now, you use knowledge as a means of self-protection, security, and you want to be quite sure that you have the same experiences as the Buddha, or the Christ, or X. But a man who is protecting himself constantly through knowledge, is obviously not a truth-seeker.
For the discovery of truth, there is no path. You must enter the uncharted sea - which is not depressing, which is not being adventurous. Surely, when you want to find something new, when you are experimenting with anything, your mind has to be very quiet, has it not? But if your mind is crowded, filled with facts, knowledge, they act as an impediment to the new; and our difficulty is, for most of us, the mind has become so important, so predominantly significant, that it interferes constantly with anything that may be new, with anything that may exist simultaneously with the known. So, knowledge and learning are impediments for those who would seek, for those who would try to understand that which is timeless.
Question: I gather from your various talks that thought must cease before there can be understanding. What is that thinking which must come to an end? What do you mean by thinking and thought?
Krishnamurti: I hope you are interested in all this. After all, you should be; because that is what you are doing. The only instrument we have is the mind, thought; and what do we mean by thinking? What do we mean by thought? How does it arise? What is its function? So, let us investigate it together. Though I may answer it, you too, please, think it out; let us think it out together.
What is thought? Surely, thought is the result of the past, isn't it? Thought is founded upon the reaction of the past, of yesterday, and of many, many, many yesterdays. You would not be capable of thinking if there were no yesterdays. So, thought is the result of the conditioned responses, established in the mind as the past. The mind is the result of the past. That is, thinking is the response of memory. If you had no memory, there would be no thinking. If you had no memory of the way to your house, you could not get there. So, thinking is the response of memory. Memory is a process, a residue of experiences - whether immediate, or of the past. Contact, sensation, desire, create experience. That is, through contact, sensation, desire, there is experience; that experience leaves a residue, which we call memory, whether pleasant or unpleasant, profitable or unprofitable. From that residue there is a response, which we call thinking, conditioned according to different environmental influences, and so on and so on. That is, the mind - not only the upper levels of consciousness, but the whole process - is the residue of the past. After all, you and I are the result of the past. Our whole conscious process of living, thinking, feeling, is based on the past; and, most of us live in the upper levels of consciousness, the superficial mind. There we are active, there we have our problems, innumerable contentions, everyday questions; and with that we are satisfied. But surely, what is on the surface, the little that shows, is not the whole content of consciousness. To understand the whole content of consciousness, the superficial mind must be quiet, if only for a few seconds, a few minutes. Then it is possible, is it not?, to receive what is the unknown.
Now, if thought is merely the response of the past, then the thought process must cease for something new, must it not? If thought is the result of time, which it is, then, to have the intimation of the timeless, of something which you do not know, the thought process must come to an end, must it not? To receive something new, the old must cease. If you have a modern picture, and if you don't understand it, you cannot approach it with your classical training; at least for the time being, you must put it aside to understand the new. Similarly, if you are to understand that which is new, timeless, then the mind, which is the instrument of thought, which is the residue of the past, must come to an end; and the process of ending thought - though that may sound rather crazy - does not come through discipline, through so-called meditation. We will discuss presently, in the following weeks, what is right meditation, and so on. But we can see that any action on the part of the mind to make itself come to an end, is still a process of thought.
So, this problem is really quite arduous to go into and quite subtle. Because, there can be no happiness, there can be no joy, no bliss, unless there is creative renewal; and this creative renewal cannot take place if the mind is constantly projecting itself into the future, into the tomorrow, into the next second. And, as it does that all the time, we are uncreative. We may produce babies; but to be inwardly creative, to have that extraordinary sense of renewal in which there is constant newness, freshness, in which the mind is totally absent - that sense of creativeness cannot take place if the mind is constantly projecting itself into the future, into the tomorrow. That is why it is important to understand the whole thought process. Without understanding the thought process - all its subtleties, its varieties, its depth - you cannot come to the other. You may talk about it, but you have to stop thinking - though it sounds crazy. To have that renewal, that freshness, that extraordinary sense of otherness, the mind must understand itself. And that is why it is important that there should be deeper and wider awareness of self-knowledge.
Question: I agree with you that knowledge has not brought happiness. I have been trying to be receptive, to be intuitive and eager for hints from within. Am I on the right track?
Krishnamurti: To understand this question, we must understand what we mean by consciousness; because, what you call intuition may be the projection of your own desire. There are so many people who say, "I believe in reincarnation. I feel it is so. My intuition tells me." It is obviously their desire to prolong, to continue themselves. Because they are so scared of death, they want to be assured that there is a next life, another opportunity, and so on, and so on. Therefore, `intuitively' they feel it is correct. So, to understand this question, we must understand what you mean by within and without. Is it possible to receive intimations of that which is within when you are continually seeking an end - when you want to attain, when you want to cultivate, when you want to be happy? Surely, to receive intimations from within, the mind, the upper mind, must be completely free from all entanglements and prejudices, from all want, from all nationalism; otherwise, your `intimations' will make you into the greatest nationalist, and a terror to the rest of the world.
So, our question is, how is it possible to receive the intimation of the unknown without warping it, without translating it into our conditioned thought pattern? To understand that, we must go into the question of what is consciousness. What do we mean by being conscious? What is the process of consciousness? When do you say you are conscious? Surely, you say, "I am conscious", when you are experiencing, do you not? When there is an experience - whether pleasurable or not pleasurable is irrelevant - then, there is an awareness of your being conscious of that experience. Then, from that experiencing, the next step is, you name it, you term it, do you not? You say it is pleasure, it is not pleasure; this I remember, that I do not remember. So you give it a name. Then you record it, do you not? By the very pro- cess of giving it a name, you are recording it. Are you following all this, or is it too Sunday-morningish? (Laughter).
So, there is consciousness only when there is experiencing, terming, and recording. Don't accept what I am saying - watch it yourself, and you will see this is how it operates. This is going on at all the levels, all the time, consciously or unconsciously. And, at the deeper levels of consciousness, the process is almost instantaneous, as on the upper level; but the difference is, is it not?, that on the upper level there is choice, there is choosing; at the wider, deeper level, there is instant recognition, without choice. And, the upper mind or the superficial mind can receive the intimation only when this terming or naming or recording process comes to an end - which happens when the problem is much too great, or much too difficult. You try to solve a problem, and there is no answer. Then you let it go. The moment you let it go, there is a response, there is an intimation; because the mind, the conscious mind, is no longer struggling, trying to find an answer. It is quiet. The very exhaustion is a process of quietness; and therefore, the mind is capable of receiving the intimation. But the so-called intuition that the majority of people have, is really their own wish-fulfillment. That is why there are so many wars, organized beliefs, antagonisms, so much contention, because each one thinks his intuition is so true, that for it he is willing to die, or ill-treat others.
I am afraid the person who thinks he is following intuition is obviously on the wrong track; because, to understand all this, one must transcend reason. To transcend reason, you must first know what the reasoning process is. You cannot go beyond something which you do not know; to go beyond it, you must know what it is; you must understand the whole meaning of reason, how to reason, how to go into it - you cannot jump beyond it. That does not mean that you must have a very clever brain, that you must be a great student, someone erudite. It needs honesty of thinking, clarity, the desire to be open, to invite what is, without fear of suffering.
Then the barrier between the inner and the outer is non-existent. The inner then is the outer, and the outer is the inner. But to have that integration there must be a comprehension of the process of the mind.
Question: Please explain clearly what part memory has in our life. You seem to distinguish between two forms of memory. Actually, is there not only memory, which is our only means of consciousness, and that which makes us aware of time and space? Therefore, can we dispense with memory, as you seem to suggest?
Krishnamurti: Let us investigate the question anew. Let us forget what has been said, and let us try to find out what we mean. We said this morning that thought is a result of the past, which is an obvious fact; whether you like it or not, it is so. Thought is founded on the past. There can be no thought without being conscious; and, as I said, consciousness is a process of experiencing, terming, which is recording. That is what you do all the time: if you see that, (pointing to a tree) you call it a tree and name it, and you think you have had an experience. This process of naming is part of memory, is it not? And it is a very convenient way of experiencing. You think you have experienced a thing by naming it. You call me a Hindu, and you think you have understood all Hindus; I call you an American, and it is over. So we think we understand something by giving it a name. We give it a name in order to recognize it, as a species, or this or that; but that is not understanding, experiencing a thing. And we do it out of slackness - it is so much easier to dispense with people by giving them a name.
So, this process of experiencing, which is contact, sensation, desire, consciousness, identification, and experience - this process, with naming, is considered consciousness, isn't it? Part of that consciousness is awake, and the other part is dormant. The conscious mind, our everyday mind, the upper level of our mind is awake. The rest is sleeping. Now when we sleep, the conscious, upper mind, is silent; and therefore it is able to receive hints, intimations, translated as dreams, but which need further interpretation. Now, the questioner wants to know what we mean by memory, what is its function, and whether we can dispense with it. So, the question really is: What is the function of thought? Memory has no function apart from thinking. So, the question is, what is the function of thought? Can thought be divided at all? Is it to be dispensed with?
So, what is the function of thought? We say, thought is the response of memory, which it is; and memory is incomplete experience, termed and thought out for self-protection, and so on, and so on. Now, if thought is the result of memory, what function has thought in life? When do you use thought? I wonder if you have ever considered this? You use your thought when you want to go to your home, do you not? You think how to get to your place. This is one kind of thought. When does your thought function? When you are protecting yourself, isn't it? When you are seeking security: economic, social, psychological. Isn't that so? When you want to safeguard yourself. That is, thought functions when there is the urge for self-protection. When you are kind to another, is that a thought process? When you love another, is that a thought process? When you love another and use that love as a means of self-enrichment, then obviously, it is a thought process; then, it is no longer love. So, thought process comes into being when there is fear, when there is the desire to possess, when there is conflict - in other words, thought process comes into being when the self, the me, becomes important. Surely? Because, after all, thought is concerned with me; when the I, the me, predominates, then the thought process as self-protection begins. Otherwise you don't think, you are unaware of your thought process, are you not? It is only when there is conflict that you are aware of the thought process - either to protect or to discard, to accept or to deny.
Now, the questioner wants to know what part memory plays in our life. If we understand that the thought process begins only when the me becomes important, and that the me is important only when there is the desire to safeguard itself, then we see that most of our life is spent in safeguarding ourselves. Therefore, thought has a very important part in our life; because most of us are concerned with ourselves. Most of us are concerned with how to protect ourselves, how to gain, how to arrive, how to achieve, how to become more perfect, how to have this virtue and that virtue, how to discard, how to deny, how to be detached, how to find happiness, how to be more beautiful, how to love, how to be loved - you know how we are concerned with ourselves.
So, we are consumed in the thought process. We are the thought process. We are not separate from the thought. And thought is memory; how to be more of something. That is, when there is the urge to be the more or the less, the positive or the negative, then thought process comes into being. The thought process does not come into being when there is the recognition of what is. A fact does not demand a thought process; but if you want to avoid a fact, then the thought process begins. If I accept that I am what I am, then thought is not; but something else takes place when I accept what is. Quite a different process, which is not the process of thought, comes into being. So, as long as there is the desire for the more, or the less, there must be thought, there must be the process of memory. After all, if you want to be a very rich man, a powerful man, a popular man, or a man of God, if you want to become something, you must have memory. That is, you must think about it; the mind must constantly sharpen itself to become something.
Now, what part has that becoming in life? Surely, as long as we want to be something, there must be contention; as long as our desire, our urge, our pursuit, is to be the more, or to be the less - the positive or the negative - there must be strife, antagonism. But it is extremely arduous, extremely difficult, not to be the more or the less. Verbally you may throw it off and say, "I am nobody", but that is merely living on the verbal level, without much significance - it is empty-headedness. That is why one has to understand the thought process, which is consciousness; which means, the whole problem of time, of yesterday, of tomorrow. And a man who is caught in yesterday, can never understand that which is timeless. And most of us are caught in the net of time. Our thought is basically entangled in the net of time - it is the net of time. Our thought is the net of time; and with that thought process - educated, cultivated, sharpened, made keen, subtle - we want to find something that is beyond.
We go to one teacher after another, one hero after another, one Master after another. Our mind is sharpening itself on all these, and thereby hopes to find that which is beyond. But, thought can never find that which is beyond, because thought is the result of time, and that which is of the known, cannot receive the unknown. Therefore, the man who is entangled in the known is never creative; he may have moments of creativeness, as some painters do, some musicians, some writers; but they get entangled in the known - popularity, money, a hundred other things; and then they are lost. And that is why those who are trying to understand themselves - not to find, because that is a wrong process, you cannot find - , must cease to search. All that you can do is understand yourself, understand the intricacies, the extraordinary subtlety of your thought and your being. And that can be understood only in relationship, which is action; and that action is denied when relationship is based on an idea; then relationship is mere activity, it is not action; and activity merely dulls the mind and the heart. It is only action that makes the mind alert and the heart subtle, so that it is capable of receiving, of being sensitive. That is why it is important that there be self-knowledge, before you seek. If you seek, you will find, but it will not be the truth.
Therefore, this craze, this fear, this anxiety to arrive, to search out, to find, must end; then, with self-knowledge, ever wide and deep, there comes that sense of reality which cannot be invited. It comes into being and only then is there creative happiness.
July 17, 1949.
Ojai 2nd Public Talk 17th July 1949
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