Ojai 1st Public Talk 20th June, 1953
I think it is very important to know how to listen; but most of us have innumerable opinions, ideas, experiences and foregone conclusions through which we filter everything that we hear, and so we never listen to any thing anew; we always translate what we hear according to a particular bias. So perhaps it is important to know how to listen without translating, without interpreting; but this is really quite a difficult problem. Most of us do not want to listen to anything completely, fully, because in that process we may discover what we are; therefore we are always throwing up screens between ourselves and what is being said. So it would obviously be a good thing if we could simply listen, because we have a great many problems - not only personal, but also social, political, economic - to all of which we have to find the right answer; and I do not think we will find the right answer through any opinion, through any book knowledge, or through listening to any talks, including my own. Surely, to find the right answer we must know how to listen to the issue, to the problem itself; and we are not listening when we merely interpret the problem to suit our particular idiosyncrasies or opinions. There must be a right answer to all our problems; but the right answer does not lie through analysis through judgment, comparison, or through any amount of learning. The right answer comes into being only when the mind listens quietly, almost indifferently, so that it is capable of considering the problem without any special motive or intention, without an end in view - which is a very difficult thing to do, for most of us want a particular result, a satisfactory answer. To find the right answer to our human problems we must have a great deal of patience, especially those of us who are used to living in a mechanistic world where the answer to so many technical problems is very quickly discovered. If we have a problem we want an immediate answer; so we turn to a book, to a doctor, to an analyst, a specialist; or we battle within ourselves to find a solution. We are impatient for results and therefore in constant conflict.
So, even though we may have heard before everything that is going to be said during these talks, it may be profitable if we can listen with a great deal of patience. What is important, surely, is that each one of us shall find lasting freedom from all the conflicts, from the innumerable responses which create such chaos in the mind, and through that freedom perhaps we shall discover something which is beyond the mind; but before we can be free we must obviously understand what is the self, the "me".
Can you and I ever be free from our problems, from our suffering, from our innumerable wants? To be free implies a complete aloneness, which is freedom from fear. It is only then that we are individuals, is it not? We are individuals only when there is a complete cessation of fear: the fear of death, the fear of what our neighbours say, the fear arising from our own desires and ambitions, the fear of not fulfilling, of not being. To be alone is entirely different, surely, from being lonely. It is our very loneliness that creates fear; and as a defensive measure we have a great many blockages, a great many ideas, shelters, securities. Most of us are not true individuals, are we? We are the result of the various influences of society, of the impressions we have gathered, of the inner problems that crush our minds and our hearts. We are not individuals in the sense that we are not free from fear; and it seems to me that without being free from fear we can never find a true answer to any of our human problems.
Now is it possible for us to be completely free from fear? And of what are we afraid? Of being insecure, of not having everything one wants physically, of not complying with a particular political or religious system, and so on. The desire for security implies fear in our relationship with each other. To be capable of expressing the truth which we see, independently of all the threats around us, requires a great revolution in our thinking, does it not? And is it possible for each one of us to be completely free from the desire to be secure, which engenders fear? If we can understand this matter fundamentally, deeply, I think many of our problems will be solved. Freedom from fear, surely, is the only revolution for when we are free from fear we are neither American nor Hindu, we do not belong to any organized religion, there is no longer the sense of ambition, the desire for success, for achievement, and therefore we are not putting our strength against another. Freedom from fear is not an idea, nor is it an ideal to,be striven after; but when one puts oneself that question, "Can one be free from fear?", what is the inward response? Fear is a basic impediment, a fundamental blockage in all our relationships, in our search for reality; and can you and I, without a series of efforts, without analysis, be free from that contagion which brings about so many problems? Can one be totally free from fear? It is a difficult question to answer to oneself, is it not? To be free from fear is really to be free from any desire to be secure economically or socially, or to find security in one's experience. Surely, this is a very important question, because our whole outlook is biased through fear; our education our religion, our social structure, our efforts in every field are essentially based on fear. And can one be free from fear through any practice, through any form of discipline, through self forgetfulness, through self-immolation, through the pursuit of any belief or dogma, or through identification with any country? Obviously, none of these things can give us freedom from fear, because the very process of imitation of conformity, of self-immolation, is rooted in fear; and when one recognizes the futility of these things and sees how the mind in its various activities is constantly projecting defence, taking shelter in belief, in knowledge - in all of which lurks fear - what is one to do? How then is one to be free from this state we call fear? If we are at all serious, is that not a fundamental question which we have to ask ourselves? From childhood we have been brought up to think in terms of fear; all our defence, psychological as well as physical, are based on fear; and how can a mind which is so educated, so conditioned, free itself from fear? Can the mind free itself from fear? Can any activity of the mind bring freedom to the mind? Is not the mind, is not thought itself, the very process of fear? And can thought ever negate fear?
Please, this is a problem not easily to be answered; but what one can do is to be aware of fear without fighting it, without analyzing it and thereby throwing up other defence; and when the mind is really very quiet, passively aware of all the various forms of fear as they arise without acting against them, then in that quietness there is a possibility of the resolution of fear, which is the only real, fundamental revolution; and then there is individuality. As long as there is fear, there is no uniqueness, there is not an individual. At present most of us are merely the result of various influences: social economic, political, climatic and so on; we are not true individuals therefore we are not creative. Creativeness is not the expression of a talent, a gift; it arises only when there is no fear, that is, when the individual is completely alone.
Surely, this question of how to be free from fear is one of our major problems, is it not? Perhaps it is the only problem; because it is fear, lurking in the innermost recesses of our minds and hearts, which cripples our thinking, our being, our living. So it seems to me that what we need it seems to me that what we need now is not more philosophy, better systems, or greater knowledge and information, but true individuals who are utterly free from fear; because it is only when there is no fear that there is love.
Now, can you and I set about freeing ourselves from fear? Can we put aside all opinions, all dogmas, all beliefs, which are merely expressions of fear, and come to the source, the fundamental issue, which is fear itself? Surely, as I said, creativeness is not a mere talent, a gift, a capacity - it is far beyond all that; and can come into being only when the mind is utterly quiet, no longer hedged about by fear, by judgment. by comparison, when it is not burdened with knowledge and information. But with most of us the mind is constantly agitated, it has many problems, it is everlastingly seeking its own security; and how can such a mind be alone, uninfluenced, unafraid? How can it comprehend that creativeness, that reality, whatever it be, or find out whether or not that creative state exists? It is only when the mind is utterly free from fear that there is a possibility of bringing about a fundamental revolution - which has nothing to do with economic or political revolution; and to be free from fear requires, not quick judgment, but constant watchfulness, a great deal of patient and persistent awareness of the whole process of thought, which can be observed only in relationship, in everyday activity. Self-discovery lies through the understanding of what is, and what is is the actual process of thought at any given moment. Surely, that is meditation, and it requires a quietness of spirit in which there is no demand. It is only when you and I begin to know ourselves that the mind can be free from fear, and then there is a possibility, not only of inward peace; but of outward happiness for man.
Question: How can we know what is right and what is wrong without commandments or books?
Krishnamurti: Why do you want to know what is right and what is wrong? Can anyone tell you? Can any book, can any teacher impart to you the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong? If you follow the authority of a book or of a teacher, you are merely imitating a pattern of thought, are you not? And do you discover anything through imitation, through conformity? You follow in order to achieve a certain result; and is that process not based on fear? Is that which is right to be discovered through fear, or only through direct experience? As long as the mind is caught in the dual process of right and wrong, there must obviously be incessant conflict. But is it not possible to discover what is true all the time without being caught in the conflict of right and wrong? That is our problem, is it not? What is right and what is wrong will vary according to the conditioning and experience of each person, and therefore it has very little significance; but to know what is true all the time - surely, that is important.
Please listen to this very carefully. As long as we are caught in the conflict of duality, which is the choice between what is right and what is wrong, we shall never know what is true all the time. What is right and what is wrong may be an opinion, what we have been brought up on from childhood, the imprint of a particular culture, of a particular society; and as long as we are imitating, conforming to a pattern, how ever noble, there must be this endless choice between right and wrong, the desire always to do the right thing and therefore the fear of mak- ing a mistake, which only leads to respectability. But to know what is true all the time, inwardly, deeply - that is not an opinion, a judgment, a dogma. What is true does not depend on any belief. To find out what is true is to understand what is from moment to moment, and that requires a great deal of alertness in which there is no judgment or comparison, an openness of mind to observe, to feel out, to be sensitive. What is true does not create conflict; but when the mind chooses between what is true and what is false, that very choice produces conflict. Most of us have been brought up to think rightly and to eschew certain things which are said to be wrong, and therefore our minds are always seeking the one and avoiding the other; and that process of thinking is in itself a conflict, is it not? The "right" may be what the priest says, what your neighbours or your political leaders say, so the pattern of conformity is set going; and the mind that conforms can never be in revolt, and therefore it can never find that which is everlastingly creative.
So is it possible to discover what is true all the time? Surely, there can not be discovery as long as there is the conflict of choice. To discover, the mind must be basically quiet, free from the fear of making mistakes. But we want success, do we not? From childhood we are brought up to think in terms of success, and every book, every magazine exemplifies it: the poor boy becoming the president, and so on. Seeking security in success, the mind must conform to what is right, and so the battle is set going between what is right and what is wrong, the everlasting conflict of duality. In that conflict one never finds out what is true. What is true is what is, and the release that comes from the understanding of what is. Do please listen rightly to this, think it over; and if you can understand that which is actually taking place from moment to moment, you will see what a release there is from the conflict of right and wrong. That understanding cannot come about if you are judging or condemning what is, or comparing it with past experience; and when there is no understanding of what is, there is no release. To understand what is, the mind must be free from all condemnation and judgment; but that requires infinite patience, and it may produce an extraordinary revolution in your life, of which the mind is afraid; so you never look at what is, you merely give opinions about it. As long as the mind is caught in the choice between what is right and what is wrong, it remains immature; and that is one of our difficulties, is it not? Our minds are immature; we have been told what is right and what is wrong, and we want to conform. Conformity is the very nature of an immature mind, whereas the understanding of what is is the revolutionary factor in creativeness.
Question: Although I am aware that I am flattered by admiration and resentful of criticism, my mind continues to be swayed by these influences; it is drawn or repelled like the compass needle in the presence of a magnet. What is the next step to be really free?
Krishnamurti: The difficulty is that you want to be free, you do not want to understand the problem. You are antagonistic to both flattery and criticism. You resent being criticized; and while you want to be attractive you want to be admired, yet you despise yourself for being so childish; and you want to be free from both. So you have three problems, have you not? And that is what we always do: having one problem which we do not know how to resolve, we introduce other problems, and so multiply problem after problem. Now what is the question? Not how to be influenced by admiration and criticism, but why do you want to be admired, why do you mind so much when you are criticized? That is the problem, is it not? Why do you want admiration? Because when you are admired you feel happy, it gives you encouragement, it makes you work better. You want to be encouraged because in yourself you are uncertain, and so you look to others for support; and you are sensitive to criticism because it uncovers what you are. That is why you are always running away from criticism and longing for admiration, encouragement, flattery; so again you are caught in this battle of wanting and not wanting. Surely, all this indicates an inward poverty of being, does it not? There is no deep sense of confidence. I don't mean the aggressive confidence of experience, which is only a strengthening of the "me", and therefore without much significance. I am talking of that confidence which arises when you begin to understand yourself, when you begin to see all the implications of admiration, of encouragement, of criticism. The understanding of yourself does not depend upon anyone; it comes if you are aware, alert, meeting what is from moment to moment without judgment. Self knowledge gives a confidence in which the self does not become important. It is not the confidence of the "me" who has gathered innumerable experiences, or the "me" who possesses a large bank account, or the "me" who has a vast store of knowledge. In that there is no confidence, there is always fear. But when the mind begins to be aware of itself and its responses, when it sees all its own activities from moment to moment without any sense of comparison or judgment, then out of that knowledge there is a confidence free of the self. Such a mind does not seek admiration or avoid criticism; it is no longer concerned with either, because it is finding release from moment to moment in the understanding of what is.
What is is the reaction, the response, the urge, the desire of the mind at any given moment; and if you really observe what is, become fully aware of all its implications, you will find that there is an extraordinary freedom which comes into being without the mind seeking it. When the mind seeks freedom, it is freedom from something, which is not freedom at all: it is only a reaction, like the political revolution, which is a reaction against the existing regime. The freedom which comes with the understanding of what is, is not a reaction against something; it is a creative release, and therefore it is complete in itself. But to understand what is, requires great insight, quietness of mind. Freedom does not come about through any form of compulsion, through any attraction, through any desire; it comes only when the mind is aware without judgment, without choice, so that at every moment it is seeing itself as it is. The mind that seeks freedom will never find it, because to seek freedom is to block, to push aside what is; but when the mind begins to understand what is, without choice, that very understanding brings about a creative release, which is freedom. Freedom is alone, it is true individuality, and in that there is bliss.
June 20, 1953
Ojai 1st Public Talk 20th June, 1953
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