London 3rd Public Talk 15th April 1952
It seems to me that our problems are not so much concerned with the illusions that the mind creates, but rather in the fact that we avoid coming face to face with our own inadequacy. We do not see that we are really escaping from ourselves constantly. It is these escapes, these illusions, that create the conflict, and not, the discovery of ourselves as we are; and I think that is the real crux of our problem. We have got so many illusions, so many beliefs, so many certainties and prejudices; and these create the problem. We are trying constantly, are we not?, to adjust our inward urges, our inward experiences, our inward difficulties, - to adjust them to the beliefs, the knowledge, to the superficial conditions of our lives. And so we are for ever avoiding facing the real issue, which is ourselves. We are extremely bored with ourselves, with what we are, - and so we seek superficial knowledge, or, acquire beliefs, that will act as security, as permanency; and constantly we are running away from what we are. And perhaps this evening we can see what these escapes are, and actually cut ourselves off from them, - not theoretically, not verbally or intellectually, but actually face them, realize their full significance, and thereby let them drop away, so that without the suggestions or persuasions of others we can directly experience for ourselves, directly face, that which we are.
I think it is important not to discuss what our beliefs are, and how to get rid of them, - what our superstitions are, whether rituals, ceremonies, Masters, are necessary or not; those are all childish things. Because, our central problem is not those illusions, but what is actual, - and from that we are running away. And if we can experience, come into contact with what actually is, not from a distance, but come very close and examine it, look at it, observe it, go into it deeply, then we shall see that though we are in despair, though there is war, though there is anxiety, a sense of eternal loneliness from which we are continually running away, we can deal with it, we can deal with the direct issue. That is where our difficulty lies; because, we have surrounded ourselves, have we not?, with so many fancies, so many illusions, so many myths, and all these are utterly valueless if we would discover what we actually are, and go beyond. As religious people, so-called religious, - which presumably most of us here are, - we have created many systems of philosophy, disciplines, beliefs, and we have formed many societies, organizations, which actually take us away from the central issue, - which is, what we actually are.
So, until we face that, - not intellectually, not verbally, - we cannot proceed to bring about an integration between what verbally we understand, and action. Intellectually we see that we are actually running away, taking flight from ourselves. We are conscious of it intellectually; verbally we accept it. Which again creates another problem, does it not? For the problem then arises, how am I to act, in order to come near, to understand, what actually I am? So, we make the "how" into another problem. And so, we increase one problem by another, - what to believe and what not to believe, what kind of meditations, disciplines we shall follow, how to still the mind, how to reject, what to acquire and what not to acquire, and so on and on; which only brings further confusion, further problems, ever multiplying and increasing.
Can we not see all this as illusion? - not theoretically, but really see that the mind is projecting these things and escaping through them in order to avoid the central issue of what we actually are? We can never find out what is actually the present state of the mind, and what lies beyond, unless we put aside or understand these illusions, - like beliefs in reincarnation, in Masters, - dozens of beliefs, - with which we have crippled the mind, and which have made it so enclosed that it can never be free. It is only when we have relinquished these, actually set them aside, - then only, when the mind is free, can we approach our central difficulty, which is ourselves.
Surely that is the problem, is it not? You may have wonderful philosophies, theories, of economic relationship, - how to bring about brotherhood, unity, and so on. But they will all be worthless, will they not?, unless we have solved the problem of the centre, of the motive, of the drive which makes us what we are. Surely that is the problem, is it not? And what is the difficulty that makes us incapable of meeting our problem fully? Why is it that we cannot, by understanding the escapes, come to the central point? - which is, our own anxiety, our own fear, that sense of utter loneliness, despair, which we are everlastingly trying to fill, to cover up. Is not our difficulty primarily the fear of uncertainty? The mind obviously dislikes a state in which it is uncertain, in which it cannot rely on something, - on a belief, on a person, on an idea. So, is not our difficulty the fact that most of us are seeking a permanency? - a permanent explanation, a permanent answer, a permanent relationship, an idea that cannot be shattered under any circumstances, - the idea of God, or what you will, - to which the mind clings. And so, the mind projects the permanent, and holds on to it.
Now, can we not, seeing all this, - how the mind acts, its process, - can we not put aside those escapes? Not as a separate entity putting these things aside and thereby again dividing the mind in itself and producing another problem, of how to bring about integration of the mind. But can we not see the full significance of these escapes, and be in direct relationship then with that central issue, instead of going round in circles about things that really do not matter? - what nationality you belong to, what belief you have, what gods you worship, - which are all really the result of immature thinking. Can we not put those aside? Can the mind not see their actual value, their significance, and thereby be free from them and so come to the central point?
Can we not experiment with this problem as I am talking, so that you actually experience the freedom from these self-created illusions of the mind? And being free of them, then you can look directly at that thing which we call fear, anxiety, loneliness. It is only when the mind is free from anxiety, from fear, from loneliness, that it can then understand that which is not measurable by the mind; only then is it possible for that to take place, - not by seeking an explanation for that infinite anxiety, not by trying to reason it out, not by trying to escape from it, but by going through it. And it can only be gone through when the mind is not agitated with finding an answer, when it is not trying to look at what lies beyond it, when it is not measuring its own experiences in relation to the future to the thing that it hopes to discover. Only then, surely, can we find out what is reality, what God is, or whatever name you may give to it. But merely to speculate from this side, to have theories, to have dogmas, is surely immature, and only creates further confusion and misery.
Surely the earnest, the thoughtful, must have gone through all this. But perhaps we have not gone further, - that is, to know the process of our own minds. And, when we understand the full significance of our own minds, then the division between the thinker and the thought, the observer who is looking at that anxiety or fear and trying to overcome it, surely disappears. There is only then that state of being which is fear, or anxiety, or loneliness, - not the observer of fear.
That integration between the thinker and the thought takes place only when the mind has completely put aside all escapes, and is not trying to find an answer. Because, whatever movement the mind makes in trying to understand the central issue must be based on time, on the past. And time comes into being only when there is fear and desire.
So, realizing all that, is it not possible for the mind, being free from those escapes, to look at itself, not as the thinker looking at his thoughts, as the experiencer experiencing, but merely observing the state of the mind, being aware without this division? That integrated state comes only when there is no desire to experience something more, the greater than what is.
And, if we can understand what is and go beyond it, then we shall find out what love is. And love is the only remedy and the only revolution that can bring about order. But unfortunately most of us are not very serious or earnest. Earnestness, surely, means discovering the process of one's own thinking, - not multiplying beliefs or rituals or all that nonsense, but understanding the ways of our own thinking, the motives, the pursuits, the activities, the chatterings of the mind, from which all mischief arises. Having understood them, they will naturally come to an end; and thereby the mind, being free from its own pettiness, can penetrate without effort, without that constant battle, and discover what is beyond itself.
Question: I have tried writing down my thoughts with a view, to bringing thought to an end, as you once suggested. Do you still suggest this? I have not found it very helpful myself, as it seems to become a sort of diary.
Krishnamurti: Without understanding the process of thought, how thought comes into being, the ways of your own individual thinking, how your thought is driven by motives, by desires, by anxieties, - without knowing the whole content of thought you cannot possibly bring about tranquillity. I suggested once that by writing down, being acquainted with your own thinking, with your own thought, perhaps self-knowledge would come out of it. For without self-knowledge there is no understanding. Without knowing the intricacies of your own thought, at both the conscious and the unconscious levels, without knowing the depths of it, then, do what you will, all superficial activities of control, of domination, of adjustment, of what to believe and what not to believe, are utterly useless. So, perhaps you can get to know yourself more deeply, not only by observing superficially your daily thoughts, but also by writing them down; and perhaps thereby you will release the unconscious motives, the unconscious pursuits, desires and fears.
But, if you have a motive, - that by writing down your thoughts you will put an end to thinking, - then obviously the thing becomes a diary. Because you want a result; and it's very easy to produce a result. You can have an end and achieve a goal, - but that does not mean you understand the whole process of yourself, the total process of yourself. The intention is, surely, not how to achieve a result, but to understand yourself, and also to understand why the mind craves for a result. In achieving a result the mind feels secure, there is a satisfaction, a sense of permanency, a vanity, a conceit.
So, after all, what is important is, is it not?, to understand yourself. Not, what your values are, - your nationality, belief, religion, church, and all the rest of it; those are all immature activities of the mind. But, what is important is, is it not?, to understand the ways of your thinking, to know yourself. And you can only do that by observing your own thinking, your own reactions being aware of your dreams, of your words, of your gestures of your whole being. And that you can observe in the bus, in relationship, all the time if you wish. But for most of us that becomes very strenuous; and so, without actually experiencing, we repeat phrases, and thereby prevent the actual discovery of the process of own thinking.
After all, as long as the mind is active, or merely concentrated on a particular idea or a particular desire, it is not free. Thought can project, and worship that which it has projected. With us, that is almost always the case. So, one has to be aware of the activities of the mind, its reactions. And, only then can thought come to an end. Not, as a result, as a thing to be willed, towards which the mind disciplines itself, suppressing, rejecting, sublimating itself, and so on. But the ending of the thought is an indication that the mind is actually tranquil, still. But if it is merely a result, then the mind is in a state of stagnation. Because, the mind again wants to go further; so every result, everything that has been conquered, has to be reconquered, broken again.
So the mind, through understanding itself at all its different levels, comes to a state when it is still. And this is not a long, tedious, tiresome, boring process. You know very well what you think and what you feel, if you are at all aware, sensitive to yourself. You do not have to be analysed, dissected, - that is a lazy man's game. But we know, actually inwardly, our own conflicts, and the cause of those conflicts, their significance, what lies behind them. But we don't want to look at it, we don't want to face it. And so, we play around in circles, never coming to the centre.
So, the ending of thought is essential; because the mind must be utterly tranquil, without any movement backwards or forwards, - for movement indicates time, in which there is fear and desire. So, when the mind is utterly tranquil, then only is it possible for that which is not nameable to come into being.
Question: My wife and I quarrel. We seem to like each other, but yet this wrangling goes on. We have tried several ways of putting an end to this ugliness, but we seem unable to be psychologically free of each other. What do you suggest?
Krishnamurti: As long as there is dependency, there must be tension. If I depend on you as an audience in order to fulfil myself, in order to feel that I am somebody talking to a vast number of people, then I depend on you, I exploit you, you are necessary to me psychologically. This dependence is called love, and all our relationship is based on it. Psychologically I need you, and psychologically you need me. Psychologically you become important in my relationship with you, because you fill my needs, - not only physically, but also inwardly. Without you, I am lost, I am uncertain. I depend upon you; I love you. Whenever that dependence is questioned, there is uncertainty, - and then I am afraid. And to cover up that fear I resort to all kinds of subterfuges which will help me to get away from that fear. We know all this, - we use property, knowledge, gods, illusions, relationship, as a means to cover our own emptiness, our own loneliness, and so these things become very important. The things which have become our escapes become extraordinarily valuable.
So, as long as there is dependence, there must be fear. It is not love. You may call it love; you may cover it up with any pleasant-sounding word. But actually, beneath it there is a void, there is the wound which cannot be healed by any method, which can only come to an end when you are conscious of it, aware of it, understand it. And there can be understanding only when you are not seeking an explanation. You see, the questioner demands an explanation; he wants words from me. And we are satisfied by words. The new explanation, if it is new, you will repeat. But the problem is still there; there will still be wrangling.
But when once we understand this process of dependence, - the outward as well as the inward, the hidden dependencies, the psychological urgencies, the demand for the more, - when we understand those things, only then, surely, is there a possibility of love. Love is neither personal nor impersonal; it is a state of being. It is not of the mind; the mind cannot acquire it. You cannot practise love, or through meditation acquire it. It comes into being only when there is no fear, when this sense of anxiety, loneliness, has ceased, when there is no dependence or acquisition. And that comes only when we understand ourselves, when we are fully cognizant of our hidden motives, when the mind can delve into the depths of itself without seeking an answer, an explanation, when it is no longer naming.
Surely one of our difficulties is, is it not?, that most of us are satisfied with the superficialities of life, - with explanations, chiefly. And we think we have solved all things by explaining them, - which is the activity of the mind. As long as we can name, recognize, we think we have achieved something, and the moment there is the idea of no recognition no naming, no explanation, then the mind gets confused. But only when there are no explanations, when the mind is not caught in words, is it possible for love to come into being.
Question: Does not what you are talking about require time and leisure? - whereas most of us are occupied with earning a livelihood, which takes most of our time. Are you speaking for those who are old and retired, or for the ordinary man who has to work?
Krishnamurti: What do you think? You have leisure, you have time, even though you have to earn a livelihood. It may take most of your time; but you have at least an hour to yourself during the day, have you not; there is some time when you have leisure. We use that leisure for various activities, to relax from the things which we have been doing all day, which are boring, routine. But even after you have relaxed, surely you still have more leisure, have you not? And even while you are working you can be aware of your own thoughts. Even while working at things that do not please you, a routine, a job which is not your vocation, but which modern civilization forces you into, - even while you are turning over a machine, surely you have time, you can observe your own thinking! Most of your work is automatic, because you are highly trained. But there is a part of you that is observing, that is looking out of the window, that is seeking an answer to this confusion, that goes and joins societies, that goes in for meditation, rituals, churches.
So, you have enough leisure which, if rightly employed, will break your routine, will bring about action, a revolution, in your life, - which the respectable do not want, of which those well-established with name, with property, with position, have a dread. We want to alter the outward things without inward revolution. But there must be the inward revolution first, which will bring about outward order. This is not just a phrase. But that inward revolution is not possible, either collectively or individually, if each one of us does not go into this whole problem of ourselves. You see, it is you and I who are tackling the problem; the problem is not outside you and me. The problems of war, peace, competition, ruthlessness, cruelty, - we are creating these, you and I. And without understanding the total process of ourselves, mere change of occupation, or having leisure, will have little significance. This is not, surely, for the old or for the young. For anyone who thinks at all, who wants to find out, surely age is not of importance. But we put wrong values on these things, and thereby create more problems.
Question: I have read a great deal, and have studied the religions of both East and West, and my knowledge of these things is fairly extensive. I have listened to you now for several years, but what eludes me is this thing which you call the creative being or state. Could you go a little further into the matter?
Krishnamurti: Perhaps you and I can experiment for the next ten minutes, and see if we cannot go further, more deeply, - not theoretically but actually, - into what it means to be creative. The difficulty with most of us is that we know too much about these matters. We have read a great deal about Eastern philosophy, or Western theories, - which actually becomes a barrier to discovery, does it not? So our knowledge becomes an impediment. Because, our knowledge has already tasted what the creative state is, what God is; because, we have read the descriptions of the experiences of others. So, when we are full of that, we can only compare; and comparison is not experiencing, comparison is not discovery.
So, the thing which we have acquired through centuries as knowledge, that which is measurable by memory, - that has to come to an end, has it not? Which means, that our mind, with all its experience, its knowledge of what we have experienced yesterday, or what we have read of the descriptions by others of that state, - all that must be set aside, must it not? Because this thing must be completely original. God must be something never experienced before. It must be something unrecognizable by the mind. If it is recognized, it is not the new, it is not the timeless.
So, seeing the truth of that, - not theoretically but actually, - cannot the mind be free of the old? Not, free through suggestion, but through seeing the truth of it, - that as long as the mind, which is the result of time, is capable of measuring, recognizing, projecting, desiring, then it cannot possibly be in a state which is creative. The new cannot be in the old. The old can recognize nothing but its own projections. So, the activity of the mind must completely cease. And it ceases when we understand all these things, when we see the truth of them.
So, let us just listen, - not exercise our minds, but listen, - to find out, to discover, how the mind, by its own activities, which are based on time, of the past, of memories of what we have learned, and of the things we have forgotten, is preventing the creative state. When that is seen, understood, then there is a freedom from it. So, knowledge must be completely set aside for the mind to be still. And then only is it possible for that state, which cannot be described, to come into being. That state is not a permanent state, a thing of time, continuous. It is not a state to be cultivated, to be acquired and held. It exists from moment to moment, without any invitation from the mind. And no amount of reading about it, no amount of your practice, discipline, theories, will ever actually bring that state into being. Only when the mind is completely free from its own activities, from its own demands, is it possible for that creative state to come into being.
April 15, 1952
London 3rd Public Talk 15th April 1952
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