Ojai 2nd Public Talk 3rd August 1952
Perhaps we can continue with what we were considering yesterday afternoon: the problem of change, of fundamental or radical transformation, and how it is to be brought about. I think it is very important to go into this question fully, not only this morning, but in the subsequent talks that are going to take place. I do not know if you have further considered the matter; but the more one regards the problem, the more one takes it into consideration, the vaster and more complicated one discovers it to be. We see the importance and the absolute necessity of changing - changing ourselves in our relationships, in our activities, in the process of our thinking, which includes the mere accumulation of knowledge. Yet when one considers the implications of change, one sees how, though we attempt to change ourselves, there is no radical transformation. I am using the word "transformation" in its simple meaning, not in any grandiose sense, the super-physical, and all the rest of it.
We see the necessity of change, not only in world politics, but in our own religious attitude, in our social relationships,in our individual, everyday contacts with the familiar, with each other; but the more we attempt to change on the small scale, the more superficial our thinking becomes and the greater the mischief in action. The closer we look at the problem, the more we are aware of this. Seeing the necessity of change, we project ideals, and according to that pattern we hope to transform ourselves. I am narrow, petty, superstitious, shallow, and I project the ideal of something vast, significant, deep; and I am continually struggling, adjusting, moulding myself according to that pattern. Now, is that change? Let us look at it a little closely. When I project an ideal and try to live up to that ideal, constantly adapting myself to a particular pattern of thought, does that process bring about the fundamental change which you and I recognize as essential? But first of all, do we in fact recognize that it is essential to bring about a fundamental change in our orientation, in our outlook, in our values, in our contacts, in the manner of our behaviour in the way of our thinking? Do we see the importance of that? Or do we merely accept it as an ideal and try to do something about it?
Surely, it is obvious to any person who is at all thoughtful that there must be a revolution in our thinking and in our action; because every where there is chaos, misery. In our selves and outwardly there is confusion, there is an incessant striving without any release, any hope; and perhaps, being aware of it, we think that by creating an ideal, a projection outside of us of something which we are not, or by following an example, a leader, a saviour, or a particular religious teaching, we can bring about a fundamental change. Of course, in following a pattern, certain superficial modifications take place, but obviously that does not bring about a radical transformation. And yet most of our existence is spent in that way; trying to live up to something, trying to bring about a change in our attitude, to change according to the pattern which we have projected as an ideal, as a belief.
Now, let us find out if the pursuit of an ideal really does bring about a change in us, or only a modified continuity of what has been. I do not know if this is a problem to you. If you are satisfied with merely trying to live up to an ideal, then there is no problem - though that has its own problem of constant conflict between what you are and what you should be. This struggle, this ceaseless effort to adjust to a pattern, is still within the field of the mind, is it not? Surely, there is a radical transformation only when we can jump, as it were, from the process of time into something which is not of time. We will go into that as we discuss.
For most of us, change implies the continuation of ourselves in a modified form. If we are dissatisfied with a particular pattern of ideas, of rituals, of conditioning, we throw it aside and pick up the same pattern in a different milieu, a different colour, with different rituals, different words. Instead of Latin it is Sanskrit, or some other language, but it is still the old pattern repeated over and over and over again; and within this pattern we think we are moving, changing. Because we are dissatisfied with what we are, we go from one teacher to another. Seeing confusion about us and in ourselves, seeing perpetual wars, everincreasing destruction, devastation and misery, we want some haven, some peace; and if we can find a refuge that gives us a sense of security, a sense of permanency, with that we are satisfied.
So, when the mind projects an idea and clings to it, struggles towards it, surely that is not change, that is not transformation, that is not revolution, because it is still within the field of the mind, the field of time. To clear away all that, we must be conscious of what we are doing, we must be aware of it. And it must be cleared away, must it not? Because, with all that burden, with all that impetus of the mind, obviously we cannot find the other; and without experiencing the other, do what we will, there will be no change. But what generally happens? We say that individually we can do nothing, we are helpless, therefore let us do something politically to bring about peace in the world; let us have faith in the vision of one world, of a classless society, and so on and so on. The intellect worships that vision, and to carry out that vision we sacrifice ourselves and others. Politically, that is what is happening. We say that, in order to end wars, we must have one society, and to create that society we are willing to destroy everything - which is using wrong means to a right end. All this is still within the field of the mind.
Also, are not all our religions man made, that is, mind-made? Our rituals, our symbols, our disciplines, though they may temporarily alleviate, bring about an uplift, a feeling of well being, are they not all within the field of time? When we regard the political and religious ideals by means of which we hope to bring a change, to educate and discipline ourselves to be less selfish, to be less ambitious, to be more considerate, more virtuous, to renounce, not to acquire so much and so on - when we look at this whole pattern, do we not see that it is a process of the mind? The mind, which is also the will, is the source of effort, of intentions, of conscious and unconscious motives, it is the centre of the "me" and the "mine; and, whatever it may do, however far it may endeavour to go, can that centre ever bring about a fundamental change within itself?
I want to change, but not superficially, because I see that in the process of superficial change there is mischievous action taking place. So, what am I to do? Isn't that your problem also, if you are really serious about all this? One may be a communist, one may be a socialist, one may be a reformer or a religious person, but that is the core of our problem, is it not? Though we may have a hundred explanations of man, of his responses and activities, or of the universe, until we change fundamentally, no explanation has any value. I see that, not just casually, I see the importance of a radical change in myself. And how is that to be brought about? There is revolution only when the mind has ceased to function within the field of time, for only then is there a new element which is not of time. It is that new element which brings about a deep, lasting revolution. You can call that element God, truth, or what you will - the name you give to it is of no importance. But until I touch it, until I have a sense of that which will cleanse me completely, until I have faith in that which is not self induced, not of the mind, obviously every change is a mere modification, every reformation has to be further reformed, and so on - infinite mischief.
So, what is one to do? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Not that I am asking you or you are asking me; but if we are at all intelligent, if we are at all aware of our own problems and those of the world, isn't this the first question to put to ourselves? Not what kind of beliefs, religions, sects, new teachers we should have - they are all so utterly empty and futile. But surely, this is the fundamental question that one ought to put to oneself: how to bring about a change which is not of time, which is not a matter of evolution, which is not a matter of slow growth. I can see that, if I exercise will, control, if I discipline myself, there are certain modifications; I am better or worse, I am changed a little bit. Instead of being bad tempered, or angry, or vicious, or jealous, I am quiet; I have repressed all that, I have held it down. Every day I practise a certain virtue, repeat certain words, go to a shrine and repeat certain chants, and so on and so on. They all have a pacifying effect they produce certain changes; but these changes are still of the mind, they are still within the field of time, are they not? My memory says, "I am this, and I must become that". Surely, such activity is still self-centred; though I deny greed, in seeking non-greed I am still within the self-enclosing process of the "me". And I what I will; though there my be change, as long as my thinking is held within the process of the "me", there is no freedom from struggle, pain.
I do not know if you have inquired into this. The problem of change is very important, is it not? And can this change be brought about through a process of thinking, through disciplines, through rituals, through various forms of sacrifice, immolation, denial, suppression? - which, if you observe, are all tactics, designs of the mind. However much the self, the "me", struggles to be free, can it ever be free? Whatever effort it makes, can it ever absolve itself from its own activities? If it cannot, then what is it to do? I hope you see the problem as I see it. You may translate it differently in words, but that is the core of our problem.
Now, since we do not see any out let, any way of release from the process of the "me", we begin to worship reason, the intellect. We reject everything else and say that the mind is the only important thing, the more intellectual, the more cunning, the more erudite, the better. That is why knowledge has become so important to us. Even though we may be worshippers of God, essentially we have denied God, because our gods are the images of our own minds; our rituals, our churches - the whole business is still within the field of the mind. We say, "Since there is only the mind, let us make man according to the mind, according to reason". Our society, our relation ships, everything we do conforms to the pattern of the mind; and whoever does not conform is either liquidated or otherwise denied.
Seeing all this, are we not concerned to find out how we can jump over that intangible barrier between the process of time and the timeless, between the projections of the mind and that which is not of the mind? If that is really an earnest question which we have put to ourselves, if it has become an urgent problem, then surely we will lay aside the obvious activities of the mind: the ideals, the rituals, the churches, the accumulation of knowledge - we will completely wash them out of our system. It is through negation that we will find the other thing, not through direct approach; and I can negate only when I begin to understand the ways of my own mind and see that I seek refuge, that I am acquisitive, that there is not a single moment when the mind is really quiet. The incessant chattering, the images, the things that I have acquired and hold on to, the words, the names, the memories, the escapes - of all that I have to be aware, have I not? Because, with that burden, which is of time, how can I experience something which is timeless? So, I must purge myself completely of all that, which means I must be alone - not alone in an ivory tower, but there must be that aloneness in which I see all the processes, the eddies of the mind. Then, as I observe, as I become more and more aware and begin to put aside with out effort the things of the mind, I find that the mind becomes quiet; it is no longer curious, searching, groping struggling, creating and pursuing images. All those things have dropped away, and the mind becomes very quiet, it is as nothing. This is the thing that cannot be taught. By listening a hundred times to this statement, you are not going to get it; if you do, then you are mesmerized by words. It is a thing that must be experienced, that must be directly tasted; but it's no good hovering at the edge of it.
So, when the mind is still, not made still by self-discipline, by control, by greed to experience something which is not of the mind, when the mind is really still, then you will find that there comes a state which brings a revolution in our outlook, in our attitude. This revolution is not brought about by the mind, but by something else. For this revolution to take place, the mind must be quiet, it must be literally as nothing, stripped, empty; and I assure you, it is not an easy job. That emptiness is not a state of day-dreaming; you can not get it by merely sitting still for ten hours or twenty-four hours of the day and trying to hold on to some thing. It can come only when the mind has understood its own processes, the conscious as well as the unconscious - which means one must be everlastingly aware. And the difficulty for most of us is inertia. That is another problem which we will not go into now. But the moment we begin to inquire and see the importance of change, we must go into all this. That means we must be willing to strip ourselves of everything to find the other; and when once we have even a slight glimmering of the other, which is not of the mind, then that will operate. That is the only revolution, that is the only thing that can give us hope, that can put an end to wars, to this destructive relation ship.
Question: How is one who is superficial to become serious?
Krishnamurti: Let us find out together. First of all, we must be aware that we are superficial, must we not? And are we? What does it mean to be superficial? Essentially, to be dependent, does it not? To depend on stimulation, to depend on challenge, to depend on another, to depend psychologically on certain values, certain experiences, certain memories - does not all that make for superficiality? When I depend on going to church every morning, or every week, in order to be uplifted, in order to be helped, does that not make me superficial? If I have to perform certain rituals to maintain my sense of integrity, or to regain a feeling which I may once have had, does that not make me superficial? And does it not make me superficial when I give myself over to a country, to a plan, or to a particular political group? Surely, this whole process of dependence is an evasion of myself; this identification with the greater is the denial of what I am. But I can not deny what I am; I must under stand what I am, and not try to identify myself with the universe, with God, with a particular political party, or what you will. All this leads to shallow thinking, and from shallow thinking there is activity which is everlastingly mischievous, whether on a worldwide scale, or on the individual scale.
So, first of all, do we recognize that we are doing these things? We don't; we justify them. We say, "What shall I do if I don't do these things? I'll be worse off; my mind will go to pieces. Now, at least, I am struggling towards something better". And the more we struggle, the more superficial we are. So, I have to see that first, have I not? And that is one of the most difficult things; to see what I am, to acknowledge that I am stupid, that I am shallow, that I am narrow, that I am jealous. If I see what I am, if I recognize it, then with that I can start. Surely, a shallow mind is a mind that escapes from what it is; and not to escape requires arduous investigation, the denial of inertia. The moment I know I am shallow, there is already a process of deepening - if I don't do any thing about the shallowness. If the mind says, "I am petty, and I am going to go into it, I am going to understand the whole of this pettiness, this narrowing influence", then there is a possibility of transformation; but a petty mind, acknowledging that it is petty and trying to be non-petty by reading, by meeting people, by travelling, by being incessantly active like a monkey, is still a petty mind.
Again, you see, there is a real revolution only if we approach this problem rightly. The right approach to the problem gives an extraordinary confidence which I assure you moves mountains - the mountains of one's own prejudices, conditioning's. So, being aware of a shallow mind, do not try to become deep. A shallow mind can never know great depths. It can have plenty of knowledge, information, it can repeat words - you know, the whole paraphernalia of a superficial mind that is active. But if you know that you are superficial, shallow, if you are aware of the shallowness and observe all its activities without judging, without condemning, then you will soon see that the shallow thing has disappeared entirely without your action upon it. But that requires patience, watchfulness, not an eager desire for a result, for a reward, for achievement. It is only a shallow mind that wants an achievement, a result. The more you are aware of this whole process, the more you will discover the activities of the mind; but you must observe them without trying to put an end to them, because the moment you seek an end, you are again caught in the duality of the "me" and the "not-me" - which is another problem.
Question: I read the Buddha because it helps me to think clearly about my own problems, and I read you and some others in the same way. You seem to suggest that such help is superficial and does not bring about a radical transformation. Is this a casual suggestion on your part, or do you mean to indicate that there is something very much deeper which cannot be discovered through reading?
Krishnamurti: Do you read in order to be helped? Do you read in order to confirm your own experience? Do you read in order to amuse yourself, to relax, to give your mind, this constantly active mind, a rest? The questioner says he reads be cause it helps him to solve his problems. Are you really helped by reading? - it does not matter who it is. When I go out seeking help, am I helped? I may find temporary relief, a momentary crack through which I can see the way; but surely, to find help, I must go within myself, must I not? Books can give you in formation about how to move to wards the door which will solve your problems; but you must walk, must you not? You see, that is one of our difficulties: we want to be helped. We have innumerable problems, devastating, destructive problems in which we are caught, and we want help from somebody: the psychologist, the doctor, the Buddha, whoever it is. The very desire to be helped creates the image to which we be come a slave; so, the Buddha, or Krishnamurti, or X becomes the authority. We say, "He helped me once, and my goodness, I am going back to him again" - which indicates the shallow mind, the mind that is seeking help. Such a mind created its own problems and then wants somebody else to solve them, or it goes to somebody to help it to uncover the process of its own thinking. So, unconsciously, the one who seeks help creates the authority: the autho- rity of the book, the authority of the State, the authority of the dictator, the authority of the teacher, of the priest, you know, the whole business of it. And can I be helped, can you be helped? I know we would like to be. Fundamentally, can you and I be helped? Surely, it is only by understanding ourselves patiently, quietly, unobtrusively, that we begin to discover, experience something which is not of our own creation; and it is that which brings about help, which begins to clear the field of our vision. But you cannot ask for that help; it must come to you darkly, uninvited. But when we are suffering, when we are in real psychological pain, we want somebody to give us a hand; and so the church, the particular friend, the teacher, or the State, becomes all important. For that help, we are willing to become slaves.
So, we have to go into this problem of how we are caught in our own sorrows, we have to understand and clear it up for ourselves; for reality, God, or what you will, is not to be experienced through another. It must be experienced directly, it must come to you without any intermediary; but a mind that is seeking help, that is petitioning, that is asking, begging - such a mind can never find the other, because it has not understood its own problems, it has not studied the process of its own activities. It is only when the mind is quiet that there is light. That light is not to be worshipped by the mind; the mind must be utterly silent, not asking, not hoping for experience. It must be completely still. Only then is there a possibility of that light which will dispel our darkness.
August 3, 1952
Ojai 2nd Public Talk 3rd August 1952
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