London 1st Public Talk 17th June 1955
Though we have many problems, and each problem seems to produce so many other problems, perhaps we can consider together whether the wisest thing to do is, not to seek the solution of any problem at all. It seems to me that our minds are incapable of dealing with life as a whole; we deal, apparently, with all problems fragmentarily, separately, not with an integrated outlook. Perhaps the first thing, if we have problems, is not to seek an immediate solution for them, but to have the patience to inquire deeply into them, and discover whether these problems can ever be solved by the exercise of will. What is important, I think, is to find out, not how to solve the problem, but how to approach it. Because, without freedom, every approach must be restricted; without freedom every solution, - economic, political, personal, or whatever it be, - can only bring more misery, more confusion. So I feel it is important to find out what is true freedom: to discover for oneself what freedom is.
There is only one freedom, - religious freedom; there is no other freedom. The freedom that the so-called Welfare State brings, the economic, national, political, and various other forms of freedom that one is given. surely are not freedom at all, but only lead to further chaos and further misery, - which is obvious to anyone who observes. So I think we should spend all our time, energy and thought, in inquiring as to what is religious freedom, - whether there is such a thing. That inquiry requires a great deal of insight, energy, and perseverance if we are to carry the investigation right through to the end and not be turned aside by any attraction. I think it would be worthwhile if we could all of us concentrate on this problem, - what it is to be religiously free. Is it possible to free the mind, - that is, our own minds, the individual mind, - from the tyranny of all churches, from all organized beliefs, all dogmas, all systems of philosophy, all the various practices of Yoga, all preconceptions of what reality or God is, and, by putting these aside, thereby discover for oneself if there is a religious freedom? For surely, religious freedom alone can offer, ultimately and fundamentally, the solution to all our problems, individual as well as collective.
This means, really, can the mind uncondition itself? Because the mind, our own mind, is, after all, the result of time, of growth, of tradition, of vast experience, - not only experience in the present, but the collective experience of the past. So the question is not how to ennoble our conditioning, how to better it, - which most of us are attempting to do, - but rather, to free the mind entirely from all conditioning. It seems to me that the real issue is not what religion to belong to, what system or philosophy to accept, or what discipline to practise in order to realize something which is beyond the mind, - if there is something beyond the mind, - but, rather, to find out, to discover for oneself by our own individual understanding, investigation and self-knowledge, whether the mind can be free. That is the greatest, the only revolution, - to free the mind from all conditioning.
After all, to find something which is eternal, - if there is such a thing, - the mind must not think in terms of time; there must be no accumulation of the past, for that breeds time. The very experiences that one gathers must be shed, because they manufacture, they build up, time. Surely, our mind is the result of time, it is conditioned by the past, by the innumerable experiences, memories, which we have gathered and which give to us a continuity. So, can one be really free, religiously, - in the deepest sense of that word `religion'? Because religion obviously is not the rituals, the dogmas, the social morality, going to church every Sunday, practising virtue, the good behaviour which leads to respectability, - surely all that is not religion. Religion is something much more, something utterly different from all that.
If one would find what it is to be religiously free, I think the whole problem of will, desire, with its intentions, its pursuits, its purposes, its innumerable projections, - in all of which the mind is caught, - must be understood. So it seems to me that our problems, whatever they are, can be dissolved totally only by burning away the process of will, - which may sound completely foreign to a Western mind, and even to the Eastern mind. Because, after all, the so-called religion that we generally accept is essentially based on the process of becoming, is it not? - of ultimately reaching a certain state, which is either projected or invented. We may experience a new state at rare moments, but then we pursue those rare moments, - which also implies, does it not?, the cultivation of the will to be, to become something, - in which is the process of time. If the mind would seek something which is beyond time, beyond the limitations of our own experience which is essentially based on the conditioning of action, thought, feeling, - if we would find something beyond all that, surely our mind, which is made up of so many pursuits and desires, must come to an end. Which means really, does it not?, the understanding of the whole process of the mind as being conditioned. After all, a mind that is conditioned, shaped, moulded in the particular culture of any form of society, obviously cannot find that which is beyond all thinking. And the discovery of finding that which is beyond, is the revolution, the true religion.
So what is significant is not, whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, whether you are a follower, changing from one religion to another to satisfy your particular vanity, accepting certain forms of rituals and discarding the old ones, - you know the sensations that one gets from attending religious ceremonies, - all this, it seems to me, is detrimental, completely useless for a mind that would find out what is true. But to relinquish this pursuit through the action of will surely only breeds further conditioning, and I think it is important to understand this. Because we are used to exerting effort to achieve a result. That is why we practise; we practise certain virtues, pursue a certain form of morality; and all this indicates, does it not?, an effort on our part to arrive somewhere.
I wish we could really think about this, discuss it, investigate it together, - how to really free the mind from all conditioning, and whether it is possible to uncondition the mind either through the action of will, or through analysis of the various processes of thought and their reactions, or whether there is a totally different way of looking at this, whereby there is merely an awareness which burns away all the processes of thought at the very root. All thinking obviously is conditioned; there is no such thing as free thinking. Thinking can never be free, it is the outcome of our conditioning, of our background, of our culture, of our climate, of our social, economic, political background. The very books that you read and the very practices that you do are all established in the background; and any thinking must be the result of that background. So, if we can be aware, - and we can go presently into what it signifies, what it means, to be aware, - perhaps we shall be able to uncondition the mind without the process of will, without the determination to uncondition the mind. Because the moment you determine, there is an entity who wishes, an entity who says "I must uncondition my mind". That entity itself is the outcome of our desire to achieve a certain result; so a conflict is already there. So, is it possible to be aware of our conditioning, just to be aware? - in which there is no conflict at all. That very awareness, if allowed, may perhaps burn away the problems.
After all, we all feel there is something beyond our own thinking, our own petty problems, our sorrows. There are moments, perhaps, when we experience that state. But unfortunately that very experiencing becomes a hindrance to the further discovery of greater things; because our minds hold on to something that we have experienced. We think that it is the real, and so we cling to it; but that very clinging obviously prevents the experiencing of something much greater.
So, the question is, can the mind which is conditioned, look at itself, be aware of its own conditioning, without any choice, be aware without any comparison, without any condemnation, and see whether in that awareness the particular problem, the particular thought, is not burned away totally at the root? Surely any form of accumulation, either of knowledge or experience, any form of ideal, any projection of the mind, any determined practice to shape the mind, - what it should be and should not be, - all this is obviously crippling the process of investigation and discovery. If one really goes into it and deeply thinks about it, one will see that the mind must be totally free from all conditioning, for religious freedom. And it is only in that religious freedom that all our problems, whatever they be, are solved.
So I think our inquiry must be, not for the solution of our immediate problems, but rather to find out whether the mind, - the conscious as well as the deep unconscious mind in which is stored all the tradition, the memories, the inheritance of racial knowledge, - whether all of it can be put aside. I think it can be done only if the mind is capable of being aware without any sense of demand, without any pressure, - just to be aware. I think it is one of the most difficult things to be so aware; because we are caught in the immediate problem and in its immediate solution, and so our lives are very superficial. Though one may go to all the analysts, read all the books, acquire much knowledge, attend churches, pray, meditate, practise various disciplines, nevertheless our lives are obviously very superficial, because we do not know how to penetrate deeply. I think the understanding, the way of penetration, how to go very, very deeply, lies through awareness, - just to be aware of our thoughts and feelings, without condemnation, without comparison: just to observe. You will see, if you will experiment, how extraordinarily difficult it is; because our whole training is to condemn, to approve, to compare.
So it seems to me that our problem, - which is really timeless, - is to find out for ourselves, to directly experience what it means to free the mind from all conditioning. It is comparatively easy to be free of nationality, to be free of the inherited racial qualities, to be free of certain beliefs, dogmas, and not to belong to any particular church or religion, - those are comparatively easy things for anyone who has thought about these matters and who is at all earnest and serious. But it is much more difficult to go further, to go beyond. We think we have done a great deal if we throw off some of the superficial layers of culture, whether Western or Eastern, But to penetrate beyond, without illusion, without deceiving oneself, is extremely difficult. Most of us have not the energy. I am not talking of the energy which comes through abstinence, through denial, through asceticism, through control, - those bring a wrong kind of energy, which distorts observation; but I'm talking of that energy which comes when the mind is no longer seeking anything at all, is no longer in need of search, in need of discovery, in need of experiencing, and is therefore a really still mind. Only such a mind can find out, for it is only such a still mind that can receive something which is not of its own projection, A still mind is the free mind; and such a mind is the religious mind.
So can we really consider this, - not as a collective group experiencing something, which is comparatively easy, - but as individuals can we really inquire and find out for ourselves to what degree and depth we are conditioned? And can we not be aware of that conditioning without any reaction to it, without condemning it, without trying to alter it, without substituting a new conditioning for the old, but be aware so easily and deeply that the very process of conditioning, - which is after all the desire to be secure, the desire to have permanency, - is burned away at the root? Can we discover that for ourselves, - not because someone else has talked about it, - and be aware of it directly, so that the very root, the very desire to be secure, to have permanency, is burned away? It is this desire to have permanency, either in the future or in the past, to hold on to the accumulation of experience, that gives one the sense of security, - and cannot that be burned away? Because it is that which creates conditioning. This desire, which most of us have, to know and in that very knowing to find security, to have experience which gives us strength, - can we wipe away all that? not by volition, but burn it all away in awareness, - so that the mind is free from all its desires and that which is eternal can come into being.
I think that is the only revolution, - not the communist or any other form of revolution. They do not solve our problems; on the contrary, they increase them, they multiply our sorrows, - which again is very obvious. Surely the only true revolution is the freeing of the mind from its own conditioning, and therefore from society, - not the mere reformation of society. The man who reforms society is still caught in society; but the man who is free of society, being free from conditioning he will act in his own way, which will act again upon society. So our problem is not reformation, how to improve society, how to have a better Welfare State, whether communist or socialist or what you will. It is not an economic or political revolution, or peace through terror. For a serious man these are not the problems. His real problem is to find out whether the mind can be totally free from all conditioning, and thereby perhaps discover in that extraordinary silence, that which is beyond all measurement.
There are several questions. and before I answer them I think it is important to find out what we mean by a problem. A problem exists, does it not?, only when the mind is occupied. Please listen, and, if I may suggest it, do not jump to conclusions, because we are trying to investigate the whole thing together. When the mind is occupied, whether it is with God, with the kitchen, with a person or with an idea, a virtue, - all such occupation surely creates problems. If I am occupied with the discovery of God, or of truth, then it becomes a problem, because then I go round asking, begging, trying to find out which method is the best, and so on. So the real question is not about the problem itself, but rather, why is the mind occupied? Why does the mind seek occupation? I am not talking of the daily occupation of business and all the rest of it, but of this psychological occupation of the mind, - which has relation to our daily life. Because whether we are occupied with God, with truth, with love, with sex, or with the affairs of the kitchen or of the nation, all occupations are the same, there are no `noble' occupations. The mind seeks occupation, does it not? - it wants to be occupied with something, it is frightened not to be occupied. Try, some time, to see how busily you are occupied with your own problems, and find out what would happen if you were not so occupied. You will soon discover how frightened the mind is not to have any occupation! All our culture, all our training, tells us that the mind must be occupied; and yet it seems to me the very occupation creates the problem. Not that there are no problems, - there are problems; but I think it is the occupation with the problem which prevents the understanding of it. It is really very interesting to watch the mind, to watch one's own mind, and discover how incessantly it is occupied with something or other, - there is never a moment when it is quiet, unoccupied, empty, never a space which has no limit.
Being so occupied, our problems ever increase; and the mere solution of one particular problem, without understanding the whole process of the occupation of the mind, merely creates other problems. So can we understand this peculiar insistence of the mind, on its part, to be occupied, - whether with ideas, with speculations, with knowledge, with delusions, with study, or with its own virtue and its own fears? To be free of all that, to have an unoccupied mind is quite arduous, because it means, really, the cessation of all this reaction of memory, which is called thinking.
Question: I am very attached, and I feel it is very important to cultivate detachment. How am I to have this sense of freedom from attachment?
Krishnamurti: Is our problem detachment? Or, is it attachment? - being attached brings pain, therefore we desire to be unattached. If we can look at the whole process of attachment, not just superficially but go into the whole significance of it, the depth of it, then perhaps there will be something entirely different from that which we call detachment.
Why are we attached to anything to property, to people, to ideas, to beliefs? - you know the innumerable forms of attachment to so many things. Why are we attached? Is there not a sense of fear, if we are not attached to something, - to my friend, to an idea, to an experience that is over, to a son, to a brother, to a mother, to a wife who is dead? Do we not feel that we are disloyal, that we have no love, if we are not attached? And also, is there not that extraordinary fear of not being something through attachment? That is the problem, not how to cultivate detachment. If you cultivate detachment, the cultivation itself becomes a problem.
Please see this. I am attached. That attachment is the outcome of fear, of various forms of loneliness, emptiness. and so on. I am aware of that and I know this pain of attachment; so I try to cultivate detachment. My mind is occupied with detachment, and how to arrive at that detachment; and that very process becomes a problem, does it not? I want to achieve detachment, and so the mind, being occupied with the result, with an idea called detachment, makes the achievement of it into a problem; then there is the conflict, - "I am attached, I must be detached", - there is pain; and so there is a constant striving to arrive at a particular state in which there is no pain, no fear. But if I can look at attachment, be aware of it, not ask how to get rid of the pain, or struggle to understand the whole implication of attachment, but just be aware of it, as one is aware of the sky, - that it's cloudy, dark with rain, or blue, - then there is no problem, then the mind is not occupied with attachment or its opposite, detachment. When the mind is so aware, it sees the whole significance of attachment. But you cannot see the whole inward significance of attachment if there is any form of condemnation, any form of comparison, judgment, evaluation.
If you will experiment with this you will see. Merely to cultivate detachment becomes so very superficial. If you are detached, then what? But when there is awareness, you will see that where there is attachment there is no love; where there is attachment there is the desire for permanency, for security, for self-continuance, - which doesn't mean we should pursue self-destruction. And seeing that, then the problem of attachment becomes extraordinarily significant and wide. Merely to run away from attachment because so much pain is involved can only lead to superficial love, superficial thinking. And most of us who are practising virtue, - the virtue of detachment, of non-greed, of non-violence, - do lead superficial lives, - the life of idea, the life of words.
If one is aware of the whole problem of attachment, one will begin to find out the extraordinary depths of it, how the mind is attached to the experience of yesterday with its pain or with its pleasure, how the mind clings to it. One cannot be free of the experience of both the pleasure and the pain until one is really aware. In that awareness in which there is no choice, no reaction, the mind can go very deeply. The mere practice of any virtue can only lead to respectability, - which is what most people desire; for respectability identifies us with society. We all desire to be recognized as being something, - great or little, this or that, - and to that idea we are attached. We may want to detach ourselves from people because it causes pain, while the idea to which we are attached does not. But to really understand this whole problem of attachment, - to tradition, to nationality, to custom, to a habit, to knowledge, to opinion, to a Saviour, to all the innumerable beliefs and non-beliefs, - we must not be satisfied merely to scratch the surface, and think we have understood the problem of attachment when we are cultivating detachment. Whereas if we do not try to cultivate detachment, - which only becomes another problem, - if we can just look clearly at attachment, then perhaps we shall be able to go very deeply and discover something entirely different, something which is neither attachment nor detachment.
Question: I have studied many systems of philosophy, and the teachings of the great religious leaders. Have you anything better to offer than what we know of already?
Krishnamurti: I wonder why you study, why you read philosophy, why you read the sayings of religious leaders. Do you think the knowledge which you have learned, read of, will get you anywhere? Perhaps in a discussion, to show off your cleverness or erudition, it might be useful. But will accumulated knowledge, - except in the scientific world, - lead man, you or me, to find out what is real, what is truth, what is God. the eternal? - without which life has very little meaning. Surely, to find that which is the eternal, all knowledge must go, must it not? All the sayings of the Buddha, the Christ, of everyone, - must not all that be put aside? If it is not, then you are merely seeking, are you not?, your own projections or the projection of your church; it is really your own conditioning to which you are responding.
Surely you must cease to be a Christian, a Hindu. a Buddhist, or a practicer of Yoga, - you must totally cease all that, must you not?, for something which is beyond to come into being, - if there is something beyond. Just to say there is something beyond and accept it and hope to achieve it, thereby making a problem of it, is obviously very superficial. But can we take a journey `not knowing', not having any encouragement, not having any support, being neither a Christian, a Buddhist, nor a Hindu, which are only labels. indicating a conditioned mind? To set aside all `knowing' is the only problem, - not, "Have I anything better to offer?" For surely one must be alone, - not isolated, not alone in knowledge, alone in experience, because all knowledge, all experience, is a hindrance to the discovery of that which is real. The mind must be free from all conditioning, alone, to find out. The more you practise, the more you accumulate, the more you discipline, shape, twist, struggle, the less the understanding of that which is.
I am not talking of some Indian philosophy of negation, of doing nothing, whereas you all have the Western idea of doing something; I am not talking of that. What we are talking of is entirely different. Mind must be made innocent, fresh. It cannot be fresh and innocent if there is accumulation of knowledge, or the mere repetition of the words of a teacher, or the end result of some practice. Cannot the mind be aware of its own conditioning? - not only the superficial conditioning, but all the symbols, the ideologies, the philosophies, images, all those things deep down which condition the mind. To be aware of all that and to be free of it, - such freedom is religious freedom. It is that freedom which brings about revolution, - the only revolution that can transform the world.
June 17, 1955.
London 1st Public Talk 17th June 1955
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