Ojai 5th Public Talk 30th July 1949
During the last four talks or discussions we have been considering the question of self-knowledge. Because, as we said, without being aware of one's own process of thought and feeling, it is obviously not possible to act rightly or think rightly. So, the essential purpose of these gatherings or discussions or meetings, is really to see if one can, for oneself, directly experience the process of one's own thinking and be aware of it integrally. Most of us are aware of it superficially, on the upper or superficial level of the mind, but not as a total process. It is this total process that gives freedom, that gives comprehension, that gives understanding; and not the partial process. Some of us may know ourselves partially, at least we think we know ourselves a little; but that little is not sufficient, because, if one knows oneself slightly, it acts as a hindrance rather than a help. And it is only in knowing oneself as a total process - physiologically and psychologically: the hidden, unconscious, deeper layers as well as the superficial layers - it is only when we know the total process, that we are able to deal with the problems that inevitably arise, not partially but as a whole.
Now, this ability to deal with the total process is what I would like to discuss this evening; also whether it is a question of the cultivation of a particular capacity, which implies a certain kind of specialization. Does understanding, happiness, the realization of something beyond the mere physical sensations, come through any specialization? Because, capacity implies specialization. In a world of everincreasing specialization, we depend on the specialists. If anything goes wrong with a car, we turn to the mechanic; if anything goes wrong physically, we go to a doctor. If there is a psychological maladjustment, we run, if we have the money and the means, to a psychologist, or to a priest, and so on. That is, we look to the specialist for help in our failures and miseries. Now, does the understanding of ourselves demand specialization? The specialist knows only his specialty at whatever level. And does the knowledge of ourselves demand specialization? I do not think so; on the contrary. Specialization implies, does it not?, a narrowing-down of the whole, total process of our being to a particular point, and specializing on that point. Since we have to understand ourselves as a total process, we cannot specialize. Because specialization implies exclusion, obviously; whereas, to know ourselves does not demand any kind of exclusion. On the contrary, it demands a complete awareness of ourselves as an integral process, and for that, specialization is a hindrance.
After all, what is it that we have to do? Know ourselves, which means to know our relationship with the world, surely - not only with the world of ideas and people, but also with nature, with the things we possess. That is our life - life being relationship to the whole. And does the understanding of that relationship demand specialization; obviously not. What it demands is awareness to meet life as a whole. How is one to be aware? That is our problem. How is one to have that awareness - if I may use this word without making it mean specialization? How is one to be capable of meeting life as a whole? - which means not only personal relationship with your neighbour, but also with nature, with the things that you possess, with ideas, and with the things that the mind manufactures as illusion, desire, and so on. How is one to be aware of this whole process of relationship? Surely, that is our life, is it not? There is no life without relationship; and to understand this relationship does not mean isolation, as I have been insisting, constantly explaining. On the contrary, it demands a full recognition or awareness of the total process of relationship.
Now, how is one to be aware? How are we aware of anything? How are you aware of your relationship with a person? How are you aware of these trees, the calling of that cow? How are you aware of your reactions when you read a newspaper, if you read a newspaper? And, are we aware of the superficial responses of the mind, as well as the inner responses? How are we aware of anything? Surely, first we are aware, are we not?, of a response to a stimulus, which is an obvious fact; I see the trees, and there is a response, then sensation, contact, identification, and desire. That is the ordinary process, isn't it? We can observe what actually takes place, without studying any books.
So, through identification you have pleasure and pain. And our `capacity' is this concern with pleasure and the avoidance of pain, is it not? If you are interested in something, if it gives you pleasure, there is `capacity' immediately; there is an awareness of that fact immediately; and if it is painful, the `capacity' is developed to avoid it. So, as long as we are looking to `capacity' to understand ourselves, I think we shall fail; because the understanding of ourselves does not depend on capacity. It is not a technique that you develop, cultivate and increase through time, through constantly sharpening. This awareness of oneself can be tested, surely, in the action of relationship, it can be tested in the way we talk, the way we behave. Watch yourself after the meeting is over, watch yourself at table - just observe, without any identification, without any comparison, without any condemnation; just watch, and you will see an extraordinary thing taking place. You not only put an end to an activity which is unconscious - because most of our activities are unconscious - you not only bring that to end, but, further, you are aware of the motives of that action, without inquiry, without digging into it.
Now, when you are aware, you see the whole process of your thinking and action; but it can happen only when there is no condemnation. That is, when I condemn something, I do not understand it, and it is one way of avoiding any kind of understanding. I think most of us do that purposely; we condemn immediately, and we think we have understood. If we do not condemn, but regard it, are aware of it, then the content, the significance of that action begins to open up. Experiment with this and you will see for yourself. Just be aware - without any sense of justification - which may appear rather negative, but is not negative. On the contrary, it has the quality of passivity which is direct action; and you will discover this, if you experiment with it.
After all, if you want to understand something, you have to be in a passive mood, do you not? You cannot keep on thinking about it, speculating about it, or questioning it. You have to be sensitive enough to receive the content of it. It is like being a sensitive photographic plate. If I want to understand you, I have to be passively aware; then you begin to tell me all of your story. Surely, that is not a question of capacity or specialization. In that process, we begin to understand ourselves - not only the superficial layers of our consciousness, but the deeper, which is much more important; because there are all of our motives or intentions, our hidden, confused demands, anxieties, fears, appetites. Outwardly we may have them all under control, but inwardly they are boiling. Until those have been completely understood through awareness, obviously there cannot be freedom, there cannot be happiness, there is no intelligence.
So, is intelligence a matter of specialization? - intelligence being the total awareness of our process. And is that intelligence to be cultivated through any form of specialization? Because, that is what is happening, is it not? You are listening to me, probably thinking that I am a specialist - I hope not. The priest, the doctor, the engineer, the industrialist, the businessman, the professor - we have the mentality of all that specialization. And we think that to realize the highest form of intelligence - which is truth, which is God, which cannot be described - , to realize that, we have to make ourselves specialists. We study, we grope, we search out; and with the mentality of the specialist, or looking to the specialist, we study ourselves, in order to develop a capacity which will help to unravel our conflicts, our miseries.
So, our problem is, if we are at all aware, whether the conflicts and the miseries and the sorrows of our daily existence can be solved by another; and if they cannot, how is it possible for us to tackle them? To understand a problem, obviously requires a certain intelligence; and that intelligence cannot be derived from, or cultivated through, specialization. It comes into being only when we are passively aware of the whole process of our consciousness, which is to be aware of ourselves without choice, without choosing what is right and what is wrong. Because, when you are passively aware, you will see that out of that passivity - which is not idleness, which is not sleep, but extreme alertness - , the problem has quite a different significance; which means, there is no longer identification with the problem, and therefore there is no judgment, and hence the problem begins to reveal its content. If you are able to do that constantly, continuously, then every problem can be solved fundamentally, not superficially. And that is the difficulty, because most of us are incapable of being passively aware, letting the problem tell the story without our interpreting it. We do not know how to look at a problem dispassionately - if you like to use that word. Unfortunately, we are not capable of doing that, because we want a result from the problem, we want an answer, we are looking to an end; or we try to translate the problem according to our pleasure or pain; or we have an answer already, how to deal with the problem. Therefore, we approach a problem, which is always new, with the old pattern. The challenge is always the new, but our response is always the old; and our difficulty is to meet the challenge adequately, that is, fully. The problem is always a problem of relationship, there is no other problem; and to meet the problem of relationship, with its constantly varying demands - to meet it rightly, to meet it adequately - one has to be aware passively; and this passivity is not a question of determination, of will, of discipline; to be aware that we are not passive, is the beginning. To be aware that we want a particular answer to a particular problem - surely, that is the beginning: to know ourselves in relationship to the problem, and how we deal with the problem. Then, as we begin to know ourselves in relationship to the problem, - how we respond, what are our various prejudices, demands, pursuits, in meeting that problem - , this awareness will reveal the process of our own thinking, of our own inward nature; and in that there is a release.
So, life is a matter of relationship; and to understand that relationship, which is not static, there must be an awareness which is pliable, an awareness which is alertly passive, not aggressively active. And as I said, this passive awareness does not come through any form of discipline, through any practice. It is to be just aware, from moment to moment, of our thinking and feeling, not only when we are awake; for we will see, as we go into it deeper, that we begin to dream, that we begin to throw up all kinds of symbols which we translate as dreams. So, we open the door into the hidden, which becomes the known; but to find the unknown, we must go beyond the door - surely, that is our difficulty. Reality is not a thing that is knowable by the mind, because the mind is the result of the known, of the past; therefore, the mind must understand itself and its functioning, its truth, and only then is it possible for the unknown to be.
Question: All religions have insisted on some kind of self-discipline to moderate the instincts of the brute in man. Through self-discipline the saints and mystics have asserted that they have attained Godhood. Now, you seem to imply that such disciplines are a hindrance to the realization of God. I am confused. Who is right in this matter?
Krishnamurti: Surely, it is not a question of who is right in this matter. What is important is to find out the truth of the matter for ourselves - not according to a particular saint, or to a person who comes from India, or from some other place, the more exotic the better. So let us examine it together.
Now, you are caught between these two: someone says discipline, another says no discipline. Generally what happens is, you choose what is more convenient, what is more satisfying: you like the man, his looks, his personal idiosyncrasies, his personal favoritism, and all the rest of it. So, putting all that aside, let us examine this question directly and find out the truth of the matter for ourselves. Because, in this question a great deal is implied, and we have to approach it very cautiously and tentatively.
Most of us want someone in authority to tell us what to do. We look for a direction in conduct, because our instinct is to be safe, not to suffer more. Someone is said to have realized happiness, bliss, or what you will, and we hope that he will tell us what to do to arrive there. That is what we want: we want that same happiness, that same inward quietness, joy; and in this mad world of confusion, we want someone to tell us what to do. That is really the basic instinct with most of us; and, according to that instinct, we pattern our action. Is God, is that highest thing unnameable and not to be measured by words - is that come by through discipline, through following a particular pattern of action? Please, we are thinking it out together, - don't bother about the rain for the time being. If you are interested, let us go into it. We want to arrive at a particular goal, particular end, and we think that by practice, by discipline, by suppressing or releasing, sublimating or substituting, we shall be able to find that which we are seeking.
What is implied in discipline? Why do we discipline ourselves, if we do? I doubt if we do - but why do we do it? No, seriously, why do we do it? Can discipline and intelligence go together? Let us inquire into it fully and see how far - if the rain allows us - we can go into this matter. Because, most people feel that we must, through some kind of discipline, subjugate, or control the brute, the ugly thing in us. And is that brute, that ugly thing, controllable through discipline? What do we mean by discipline? A course of action which promises a reward; a course of action which, if pursued, will give us what we want - it may be positive or negative. A pattern of conduct which, if practised diligently, sedulously, very, very ardently, will give me in the end what I want. It may be painful, but I am willing to go through it to get that. That is, the self, which is aggressive, selfish, hypocritical, anxious, fearful - you know, all of it; that self, which is the cause of the brute in us, we want to transform, subjugate, destroy. And how is this to be done? Is it to be done through discipline, or through an intelligent understanding of the past of the self, what the self is, how it comes into being, and so on? That is, shall we destroy the brute in man through compulsion, or through intelligence? And is intelligence a matter of discipline? Let us for the time being forget what the saints and all the rest of the people have said - and I do not know if they have said it; not that I am an expert on saints. But let us go into the matter for ourselves, as though we were for the first time looking at this problem; then we may have something creative at the end of it, not just quotations of what other people have said, which is all so vain and useless.
We first say that in us there is conflict, the black against the white, greed against non-greed, and so on. I am greedy, which creates pain; and to be rid of that greed, I must discipline myself. That is, I must resist any form of conflict which gives me pain, which in this case I call greed. I then say it is antisocial, it is unethical, it is not saintly, and so on, and so on - the various social-religious reasons we give for resisting it. Is greed destroyed or put away from us through compulsion? First, let us examine the process involved in suppression, in compulsion, in putting it away, resisting. What happens when you do that, when you resist greed? What is the thing that is resisting greed? That is the first question, isn't it? Why do you resist greed, and who is the entity that says, "I must be free of greed"? The entity that says, "I must be free" is also greed, is he not?
Because, up to now, greed has paid him; but now it is painful, therefore he says, "I must get rid of it." The motive to get rid of it, is still a process of greed, because he is wanting to be something which he is not. Non-greed is now profitable, so I am pursuing non-greed; but the motive, the intention, is still to be something, to be non-greedy - which is still greed, surely; which is again a negative form of the emphasis on the me.
So, we find that being greedy is painful, for various reasons which are obvious. As long as we enjoy it, as long as it pays us to be greedy, there is no problem. Society encourages us in different ways to be greedy; so do religions encourage us in different ways. As long as it is profitable, as long as it is not painful, we pursue it. But the moment it becomes painful, we want to resist it. That resistance is what we call discipline against greed; but are we free from greed through resistance, through sublimation, through suppression? Any act on the part of the me who wants to be free from greed, is still greed. Therefore, any action, any response on my part with regard to greed, is obviously not the solution.
First of all, there must be a quiet mind, an undisturbed mind, to understand anything, especially something which I do not know, something which my mind cannot fathom - which, this questioner says, is God. To understand anything, any intricate problem - of life or relationship, in fact any problem - , there must be a certain quiet depth to the mind. And is that quiet depth come by through any form of compulsion? The superficial mind may compel itself, make itself quiet; but surely, such quietness is the quietness of decay, death. It is not capable of adaptability, pliability, sensitivity. So, resistance is not the way.
Now, to see that, requires intelligence, doesn't it? To see that the mind is made dull by compulsion, is already the beginning of intelligence, isn't it? - to see that discipline is merely conformity to a pattern of action through fear. Because, that is what is implied in disciplining ourselves: we are afraid of not getting what we want. And what happens when you discipline the mind, when you discipline your being? Surely, it becomes very hard, doesn't it; unpliable, not quick, not adjustable. Don't you know people who have disciplined themselves - if there are such people? The result is obviously a process of decay. There is an inward conflict which is put away, hidden away; but it is there, burning.
So, we see that discipline, which is resistance, merely creates a habit, and habit obviously cannot be productive of intelligence: habit never is, practice never is. You may become very clever with your fingers by practising the piano all day, making something with your hands; but intelligence is demanded to direct the hands, and we are now inquiring into that intelligence.
You see somebody whom you consider happy or as having realized, and he does certain things; and you, wanting that happiness, imitate him. This imitation is called discipline, isn't it? We imitate in order to receive what another has; we copy in order to be happy, which you think he is. Is happiness found through discipline? And, by practising a certain rule, by practising a certain discipline, a mode of conduct, are you ever free? Surely, there must be freedom for discovery, must there not? If you would discover anything, you must be free inwardly, which is obvious. Are you free by shaping your mind in a particular way, which you call discipline? Obviously, you are not. You are merely a repetitive machine, resisting according to a certain conclusion, according to a certain mode of conduct. So, freedom cannot come through discipline. Freedom can only come into being with intelligence; and that intelligence is awakened, or you have that intelligence, the moment you see that any form of compulsion denies freedom, inwardly or outwardly.
So, the first requirement, not as a discipline, is obviously freedom; and only virtue gives that freedom. Greed is confusion; anger is confusion; bitterness is confusion. When you see that, obviously you are free of them - not that you are going to resist them, but you see that only in freedom can you discover; and that any form of compulsion is not freedom, and therefore there is no discovery. Surely, what virtue does, is to give you freedom. The unvirtuous person is a confused person; and in confusion, how can you discover anything? How can you? So, virtue is not the end product of a discipline, but virtue is freedom, and freedom cannot come through any action which is not virtuous, which is not true in itself. Our difficulty is that most of us have read so much, most of us have superficially followed so many disciplines - getting up every morning at a certain hour, sitting in a certain posture, trying to hold our minds in a certain way - you know, practise, practise, discipline. Because, you have been told that if you do these things you will get there; if you do these things for a number of years, you will have God at the end of it. I may put it crudely, but that is the basis of our thinking. Surely, God doesn't come so easily as all that. God is not a mere marketable thing: I do this, and you give me that.
Most of us are so conditioned by external influences, by religious doctrines, beliefs, and by our own inward demand to arrive at something, to gain something, that it is very difficult for us to think of this problem anew, without thinking in terms of discipline. So, first we must see very clearly the implications of discipline, how it narrows down the mind, limits the mind, compels the mind to a particular action, through our desire, through influence, and all the rest of it; and a conditioned mind, however `virtuous' that conditioning, cannot possibly be free, and therefore cannot understand reality. And, God, reality, or what you will - the name doesn't matter - , can come into being only when there is freedom; and there is no freedom where there is compulsion, positive or negative, through fear. There is no freedom if you are seeking an end, for you are tied to that end. You may be free from the past, but the future holds you, and that is not freedom. And it is only in freedom that one can discover anything: a new idea, a new feeling, a new perception. And surely, any form of dis- cipline which is based on compulsion denies that freedom, whether political or religious. And since discipline, which is conformity to an action with an end in view, is binding, the mind can never be free. It can function only within that groove, like a gramophone record.
So, through practice, through habit, through cultivation of a pattern, the mind only achieves what it has in view. Therefore, it is not free; therefore, it cannot realize that which is immeasurable. To be aware of that whole process - why you are constantly disciplining yourself to public opinion, to certain saints, you know, the whole business of conforming to opinion, whether of a saint or of the neighbour, it is all the same - to be aware of this whole conformity through practice, through subtle ways of submitting yourself, of denying, asserting, suppressing, sublimating, all implying conformity to a pattern: to be aware of that, is already the beginning of freedom, from which there is virtue. Virtue, surely, is not the cultivation of a particular idea. Non-greed, for instance, if pursued as an end is no longer virtue, is it? That is, if you are conscious that you are non-greedy, are you virtuous? And yet that is what we are doing through discipline.
So, discipline, conformity, practice, only gives emphasis to self-consciousness as being something. The mind practises non-greed, and therefore it is not free from its own consciousness as being non-greedy; therefore, it is not really non-greedy. It has merely taken on a new cloak which it calls non-greed. We can see the total process of all this: the motivation, the desire for an end, the conformity to a pattern, the desire to be secure in pursuing a pattern - all this is merely the moving from the known to the known, always within the limits of the mind's own self-enclosing process. To see all this, to be aware of it, is the beginning of intelligence; and intelligence is neither virtuous nor non-virtuous, it cannot be fitted into a pattern as virtue or non-virtue. Intelligence brings freedom, which is not licentiousness, not disorder. Without this intelligence there can be no virtue; and virtue gives freedom, and in freedom there comes into being, reality. If you see the whole process totally, in its entirety, then you will find there is no conflict. It is because we are in conflict, and because we want to escape from that conflict, that we resort to various forms of disciplines, denials and adjustments. But, when we see what is the process of conflict, then there is no question of discipline, because then we understand from moment to moment the ways of conflict. That requires great alertness, watching yourself all the time: and the curious part of it is that, although you may not be watchful all the time, there is a recording process going on inwardly, once the intention is there - the sensitivity, the inner sensitivity, is taking the picture all the time, so that the inner will project that picture the moment you are quiet.
So, again, it is not a question of discipline. Sensitivity can never come into being through compulsion. You may compel a child to do something, put him in a corner, and he may be quiet; but inwardly he is probably seething looking out of the window, doing something to get away. That is what we are still doing. So, the question of discipline, and who is right and who is wrong, can be solved only by yourself. Because, there is much more involved in this than what I have just said.
Also, you see, we are afraid to go wrong, because we want to be a success. Fear is at the bottom of the desire to be disciplined; but the unknown cannot be caught in the net of discipline. On the contrary, the unknown must have freedom and not the pattern of your mind. That is why the tranquillity of the mind is essential. When the mind is conscious that it is tranquil, it is no longer tranquil; when the mind is conscious that it is non-greedy, free from greed it recognizes itself in the new robe of non-greed, but that is not tranquillity. That is why one must also understand the problem in this question of the person who controls, and that which is controlled. Surely, they are not separate phenomena, but a joint phenomenon: the controller and the controlled are one. It is a deception to think that they are two different processes; but we will discuss this at another time.
Question: How on earth can we tame the tiger in us, and in our children, without a pattern of clear purpose and cause, sustained by vigorous practice?
Krishnamurti: This implies that you know your purpose, and you know the cause too; doesn't it? Do you know the purpose? Do you know the purpose of life, the end of life, and the way to achieve it? Is that why you must have a vigorous course of action through discipline, through practice, to attain what you want? Isn't it very difficult to find out what you want, the purpose you have in view? Political parties may have a purpose, but even then they are finding it extremely difficult. But can you say, "I know the purpose"? And is there such a thing as a purpose? Please, one has to go into this very carefully - not that I am casting doubt on your purposes. We must understand it. At a certain period of our life we have a purpose: to be an engine driver, to be a streetcar driver, to be a fireman, this or that; and later on we come to have a different purpose. As we grow much older, again we have a different purpose. The purpose varies all the time, doesn't it?, according to our pains and pleasures. You may have a purpose to be a very rich man, a very powerful man; but surely, that is not what we are discussing here for the time being. The ambitious man may have a purpose, but he is antisocial; he can never find reality. An ambitious man is merely one who is projecting himself into the future and wanting to be something, spiritually or secularly. Such a man, obviously, is not capable of finding reality, because his mind is only concerned with success, with achieving, with becoming something. He is concerned about himself in relation to what he wants. But most of us, though we are somewhat ambitious - wanting a little more money, a little more friendship, a little more love, a little more beauty, a little more this and that, and so on, many things - , do we know what we want ultimately, not just through passing moods? Most religious people say yes, they do; they want reality, they want God, they want the highest. But to desire the highest, you must know what it is; it may be quite different from what you think, and probably it is. Therefore, you cannot want that. If you want it, it is another form of ambition, another form of security. Therefore, it is not reality that you want. So, when you ask, "How can we tame the tiger in us and in our children, without a pattern of clear purpose and cause, sustained by practice?", you mean, do you not?, how can we live in relationship with others and not be antisocial, selfish, bound by our own prejudices, and so on. To tame the tiger, we must first know what kind of an animal it is, not just give it a name and try to tame it. You must know what it is made up of. So, if you call it a tiger, it is already a tiger, because you have the image, the picture of what the tiger is, or what greed is; but if you do not name it, but look at it, then surely, it has quite a different significance. I don't know if you are following all this. We will discuss the same problem at various times, because there is only one problem put in different ways.
So, without calling it a tiger, without saying, "I have a purpose, and to fulfil it there must be discipline", let us inquire into the whole process. Don't approach it with a conclusion; because, as I said, the problem is always new, and it requires a new mind to look at it, a mind that is not verbalizing, which is extremely difficult. Because we can only think in terms of words; our thought is word. Try to think without words, and see how difficult it is.
So, our point is, how to tame the tiger without discipline, whether in ourselves or in our children, if we are parents. To tame something, you must understand it, know it. The moment you do not know something, you are frightened of it. You say, "I feel there is a conflict in me, an opposing desire, which I call the tiger; and how is that to be tamed, to be calmed down?" Only by understanding it; and I can understand it only when I look at it. I cannot look at it if I condemn it, or give it a name, or justify it, or identify myself with it. I can understand it only when I am passively aware of what it is; and there is no passive awareness as long as I am condemning it. So, my problem is to understand it, not to call the thing by a name. I must understand why I condemn. Because it is so much easier, isn't it?, to condemn something first. It is one of the ways to get rid of it, push it away - call it a German, a Japanese, a Hindu, a Christian, a Communist, or God knows what else, and push it away. And we think we have understood it by giving it a name. So the name, the naming, prevents understanding. That is one fact.
Also, what prevents understanding, is judging; because we look at a thing already with a bias, with a prejudice, with a want, with a demand. We look at a thing because we want a result from it. We have a purpose, we want to tame it, we want to control it in order that it may be something else. The moment you see that, surely, your mind is passively quiet, watching the thing. It is no longer naming the tiger as the tiger; it has no name, and therefore your relationship to it is direct, not through words. It is because we have no relationship to it directly, that there is fear. The moment you are related to something, experience something directly, immediately, fully, there is no fear, is there? So, you have removed the cause of fear, and therefore you are able to understand it, and hence you are able to resolve it. That which you have understood, is resolved: that which is not understood, continues to be a problem. This is a fact. And our difficulty is to see always what is, without interpretation; because the function of the mind is to communicate, to store up, to translate, according to its fancies and desires - not to understand. To understand, none of these things must take place. To understand, there must be quiet; and a mind that is occupied with judging, with condemning, with translating, is not a quiet mind.
Question: I cannot control my thoughts. Must I control them? Does this not imply choice, and how can I trust my judgment, unless I have a standard based on the teachings of the Great Ones?
Krishnamurti: Now, to understand how to control your thoughts, you must first know what your thoughts are, must you not? That is the problem, isn't it? You say, "I cannot control my thoughts." To find out why you cannot control thoughts, you must be aware of what thinking is, must you not? What is thinking? And who is the thinker? Surely, that is the question, isn't it? Who is the thinker, and are the thoughts different from the thinker? Then the problem arises for the thinker to control his thoughts. If the thinker and the thought are one, and not separate processes, then the question of the thinker controlling thought does not arise. So, you have to find out first, if the thinker is separate from his thought. Is there a thinker without thought? If you have no thought, is there a thinker? So, the thinker is non-existent apart from thought; we have only thought. The thoughts have created the thinker; and the thinker, to make himself permanent, secure, and all the rest of it, then says, "I am apart from the thoughts which must be controlled." So, until you solve this problem, until you have a direct experience of this problem - whether the thinker is separate from thought - the question of control will exist; but the moment you see, experience directly, that the thinker is the thought, then you have quite a different problem.
Then, the next question is: When you control thoughts, one set of thoughts as opposed to another, there is choice. You choose certain thoughts and wish to concentrate on those, and not on others; why? We are concerned with thinking, not with a particular set of thoughts. If you say, "I prefer this thought to that", then choice arises; but why do you prefer? And what is the thing that prefers? Sirs, this is not very complicated, this is not metaphysics or big words; just look at it, and you will see the difficulty. First, we must see the difficulty, before we can solve it. When you choose, who is it that chooses? And, if the chooser has a standard according to the teachings of the Great Ones, as stated in the question, then the chooser becomes very important, doesn't he? Because, if he chooses according to the standards of the Teachers, then he is cultivating, emphasizing the chooser, is he not?
Sir, let us put the problem a little more simply. My thoughts wander all over the place. I want to think quietly upon a particular subject, but my thoughts go off in different directions. Now, why do they go off? Because my thoughts.are also interested in other things, not only in that particular thing. That is a fact, isn't it?, otherwise they would not wander off. My mind isn't wandering off now, because I am interested in what I am talking about. There is no question of effort, there is no question of discipline, there is no question of controlling; nothing else interests me.
So, we must find out the significance of each interest, and not exclude other interests for the sake of one. If I can find out the significance of each interest, and its value, then my mind won't wander, will it? But it will wander if I resist the various interests and try to concentrate on the one. So, I say, "All right, let it wander." I look at all the interests that arise, one after the other, so that my mind is made pliable by the whole sweep of interest, and not narrowed down by one specific interest. Then what happens? I see that my mind is merely a bundle of interests, opposing other interests; it chooses to emphasize one interest, and exclude all other interests.
When the mind recognizes that it is a bundle of interests, then every interest has significance; therefore, there is no excluding; therefore, there is no question of choosing; therefore, the mind begins to understand the whole, total process of itself. But if you have a standard of choice in accordance with the Great Ones by which you are trying to live - then what happens? You emphasize the thinker, the chooser, don't you? Obviously. Now, who is the chooser, apart from the choice? As I said, there is no thinker apart from the thought; and it is a trick of the mind to separate itself into the thinker and the thought. When we really understand it, see the real significance of it, experience it, - not verbally assert it, for then it has no meaning - , then we will see that there is complete transformation in us. Then, we will never put this question. The standard of the Great Teachers, the teachings of the Great Ones, or whatever else - you are the result of all that, aren't you? You are the result of the whole, total process of man - not just of America but of the world. And you are not separate from the standard. You are the standard, and it is a trick of the mind ever to separate itself.
Because you see that everything is transient, impermanent, you want to feel that at least there is the permanency of the me. You say, "I am different." In that separate action of the mind, there is conflict; it creates for itself an isolation, and then says, "I am different from my thought. I must control my thought. How am I to control it?" Such a question is not a valid question. If you think it out, you will see that you are a bundle of interests, a bundle of thoughts; and to choose one thought and discard the others, to choose one interest and resist another, is still to play the trick of separating yourself from the thought. Whereas, if you recognize that the mind is interest, the mind is thought - that there is not a thinker and a thought - , then you will approach this problem entirely anew. Then you will see that there is no conflict between the thinker and the thought; then every interest has significance and is worked out, thought out, fully, completely. Then there is no question of a central interest from which there is distraction.
July 30, 1949
Ojai 5th Public Talk 30th July 1949
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