Saanen 3rd Public Talk 30th July 1961
As I said at the beginning of these discussions I think it is very important to be serious. We are not talking here about ideas; and unfortunately most of us seem to be in communion with ideas and not with `what is'. It seems to me very important to pursue `what is', the fact, the actual state of one's own being. To pursue the factual to the very end and discover the essence of things is, after all, seriousness. We like to discuss, to argue and to be in contact with ideas, but it seems to me that ideas do not lead anywhere, they are very superficial, they are only symbols; and to be attached to symbols leads to a very shallow existence. It is quite an arduous task to put aside or go through the ideas and be in contact with what is, with the actual state of our own mind, our own heart; and for me, to penetrate into that very deeply, completely and thoroughly, constitutes seriousness. Through the process of going to the very end there is the discovery of the essence so that one experiences the totality; and then our problems have quite a different meaning altogether.
I would like this morning to go into the question of conflict, and to go to the very end of it if we can, not merely as an idea but to actually experience for ourselves whether the mind is capable of being completely and totally free of all conflicts. To really discover that for oneself, one cannot possibly remain at the level of ideas.
Obviously one cannot do anything about the conflict in the outside world; it is generated by a few uncontrolled people throughout the world, and we may be destroyed by them, or we may live on. Russia, America or someone else may plunge us all into a war and we can't do very much about it. But I think one can do something very radical about our own inward conflicts, and that is what I would like to discuss. Why within us, inside our skins, psychologically, are we in such conflicts? Is it-necessary? And is it possible to live a life in which there is no conflict at all, without vegetating, going to sleep? I do not know if you have thought about it and whether it is a problem to you. For me, conflict destroys every form of sensitivity, it distorts all thought; and where there is conflict there is no love. Conflict is essentially ambition, the worship of success. And we are in a state of conflict inwardly, not only at the superficial level but also very deep down in our consciousness. I wonder if we are aware of it; and if we are, what do we do about it? Do we escape from it through churches, books, the radio, through amusements, entertainments, sex and all the rest of it, including the gods we worship? Or do we know how to tackle it, how to grapple with this conflict, how to go to the very end of it and find out if the mind can be totally free from all conflict?
Conflict implies, surely, contradiction: contradiction in feeling, in thought, in behaviour. Contradiction exists when one wants to do something but is forced to do the opposite. With most of us where there is love there is also jealousy, hate; and that also is a contradiction. In attachment there is sorrow and pain, with its contradiction, conflict. It seems to me that whatever we touch brings conflict, and that is our life from morning to night; and even when we go to sleep our dreams are the disturbing symbols of our daily lives.
So when we consider the total state of our consciousness, we find we are in the conflict of self-contradiction, the everlasting attempt to be good, to be noble, to be this and not to be that. I wonder why it is? Is it at all necessary, and is it possible to live without this conflict?
As I said, we are going into this, not ideologically but actually, which is to be aware of our state of conflict, to understand its implications, and to be in actual contact with it - not through ideas, words, but actually in touch. Is that possible? You know, one can be in contact with conflict through the idea; and actually we are more in contact with the idea of conflict than with the fact itself And the question is whether the mind can put away the word and be in contact with the feeling. And can one discover why this conflict exists if we are not aware of the whole process of thinking - not somebody else's process of thinking, but our own?
Surely, there is a division between the thinker and the thought, with the thinker everlastingly trying to control, to shape thought. We know this is happening, and as long as this division exists there must be conflict. So long as there is an experiencer and the experience, as two different states, there must be conflict. And conflict destroys sensitivity, it destroys passion, intensity; and without passion, intensity, you cannot go to the very end of any feeling, any thought, any action.
To go to the very end and discover the essence of things you need passion, intensity, a highly sensitive mind - not an informed mind, a mind crammed with knowledge. You cannot be sensitive without passion; and passion, this drive to find out, is made dull by the constant battle within ourselves. Unfortunately we accept struggle and conflict as inevitable and grow daily more insensitive and dull. The extreme form of it leads to mental illness; but usually we find an escape in churches, ideas, and all kinds of superficial things. So, is it possible to live without conflict? Or, are we so, deeply conditioned by society, by our own ambitions, greed, envy and the search for success that we accept conflict as being good, as a noble thing with a purpose? It would be profitable, I think, if each one of us could find out what we actually think about conflict. Do we accept it, or are we caught in it and do not know how to get away from it, or are we satisfied with our many escapes?
It means, really, going into the whole question of self-fulfilment and the conflict of the opposites, and to see if there is any reality for the thinker, the experiencer who is everlastingly craving for more experience, more sensation, wider horizons.
Is there only thinking, and no thinker; only a state of experiencing and no experiencer? The moment the experiencer comes into being through memory, there must be conflict. I think that is fairly simple if you have thought about it. It is the very root of self-contradiction. With most of us the thinker has become all-important but not the thought, the experiencer but not the state of experiencing.
This really involves the question we were discussing the other day of what we mean by seeing. Do we see life, another person, a tree through ideas, opinions, memories? Or are we directly in communion with life, the person or the tree? I think we see through ideas, memories and judgments, and that therefore we never see. In the same way, do I see myself as I `actually am', or do I see myself as what I `should be', or what I `have been'? In other words, is consciousness divisible? We talk very easily about the unconscious and the conscious mind and the many different layers in them both. There are such layers, such divisions, and they are in opposition with each other. Have we to go through all these layers one by one and discard them or try to understand them - which is a very tiresome and ineffectual way of dealing with the problem - , or is it possible to brush all the divisions, the whole thing aside, and be aware of the total consciousness?
As I was saying the other day, to be aware of something totally there must be a perception, a seeing which is not tinged by an idea. To see something entirely, wholly, is not possible if there is a motive, a purpose. If we are concerned with alteration, we are not seeing what actually is. If we are concerned with the idea that we must be different, that we must change what we see into something better, more beautiful and all the rest of it, then we are not capable of seeing the totality of `what is'. Then the mind is merely concerned with change, alteration, betterment, improvement.
So can I see myself as I am as a total consciousness, without being caught in the divisions, the layers, the opposing ideas within consciousness? I do not know if you have ever done any meditation - and I am not going to discuss it just now. But if you have, you must have observed the conflict within meditation, the will trying to control thought and the thought wandering off. That is a part of our consciousness - that urge to control, to shape, to be satisfied, to be successful, to find security; and at the same time the seeing of the absurdity, the uselessness, the futility of it all. Most of us try to develop an action, an idea, a will of resistance to act as a wall around ourselves within which we hope to remain in a state of non-conflict.
Now, is it possible to see the totality of all this conflict and to be in contact with that totality? This does not mean being in contact with the idea of the totality of conflict, or identifying yourselves with the words I am using; but it means being in contact with the fact of the totality of human existence, with all its conflicts of sorrow, misery, aspiration and struggle. It means to face the fact, to live with it.
You know, to live with something is extraordinarily difficult. To live with these surrounding mountains, with the beauty of the trees, with the shadows, the morning light and the snow, to really live with it is quite arduous. We all accept it, do we not? Seeing it day after day we get dull to it, as the peasants do, and never really look at it again. But to live with it, to see it every day with freshness, clarity, with sensitivity, with appreciation, with love - that requires a great deal of energy. And to live with an ugly thing without the ugly thing perverting, corroding the mind - that equally requires a great deal of energy. To live with both the beautiful and the ugly - as one has to in life - needs enormous energy; and this energy is denied, destroyed when we are in a perpetual state of conflict.
So, can the mind look at the totality of conflict, live with it, without accepting or denying it, without allowing the conflict to twist our minds, but actually observing all the inward movements of our own desires which create the conflict? I think it is possible - not only possible, but when we have gone very deeply into it, when the mind is merely observing and not resisting, not denying, not choosing, it is so. Then, if on gone as far as that, not in terms of time and space but in actual experience of the totality of conflict, then you will discover for yourself that the mind can live much more intensely, passionately, vitally; and such a mind is essential for that immeasurable something to come into being. A mind in conflict can never find out what is true. It may everlastingly jabber about God, goodness, spirituality and all the rest of it, but it is only the mind that has completely understood the nature of conflict and is therefore out of it, which can receive the unnameable, that which cannot be measured.
Perhaps we can discuss or ask questions about all this. To ask a right question is very difficult, and in the very asking of a right question I think we shall find the answer for ourselves. To ask the right question implies that one must be in contact with the fact, with what is, and not with ideas and opinions.
Question: What is the nature of creation?
Krishnamurti: Sir, what is the nature of beauty? What is the nature of love? What is the nature of a mind which is not in conflict? Do you want a description of it? And if the description satisfies you, and you accept it, then you are only accepting the words, you are not actually experiencing for yourself. You see, we are so easily satisfied by explanations, by intellectual ideas; but all that process is just playing with words; and out of that arises the wrong question. Sir, don't you want to find out for yourself if it is possible to live in this world without conflict?
Question: One feels one must take a stand against the outer world, and in the very act of opposing the world there is conflict.
Krishnamurti: I wonder if we really do anything just because we like to do it. Do you know what I mean? I love to do what I am doing - not that I get any kick out of sitting on a platform and talking to a lot of people; that is not the reason I am doing it. I am doing it because I like it, even if there was only one person or no one at all. And if it does create conflict, what of it? After all, none of us wants to be disturbed. We like to create a backwater of our own and live in it comfortably with our ideas, our husbands, our wives, our children and our gods. And somebody or something - life, a storm, an earthquake, a war - comes along and shakes us up. And we react, we try to build stronger walls, we create a further resistance in order not to be disturbed; and God is our last refuge, in which we hope there will be no more disturbance. If we are disturbed, and out of that disturbance there is turmoil, what is wrong with that? I am not forcing you to listen; the door is there, open. What we are trying to do in here is to understand conflict. And what is wrong with standing up against the world? After all, the world we are standing up against is the world of respectability, of innumerable false gods, churches and ideas; we are standing up against hate, envy, greed and all such things we have invented in order to protect ourselves. If you do that, and it creates disturbance, what is wrong about it?
Question: I think there is no conflict if we live from moment to moment.
Krishnamurti: Now, just a minute. You see how we go off into ideas? The `if we live from moment to moment' is conditional, it is an idea - which means we have never died to anything, died to pleasure, to pain, to our demands and ambitions. Can you actually die to it all?
Question: How do we know if we are facing the real fact or the idea about the fact? Krishnamurti: Now, this is a problem of yours, is it not? So how will you set about to find out? Have you ever looked at something, or had a feeling without an idea? Suppose I have a feeling of anger, do I know that feeling only through the word? Do we feel through ideas? By saying I am an Indian, which is an idea, I get a certain emotion of nationality; so it is the idea that creates the emotion, is it not? Because I have been educated to think of myself as an Indian and have identified myself with a particular piece of earth, a particular colour, that gives me certain sensations; and with those sensations I am satisfied. But if I were educated differently, to be just a human being, not identified with a particular race or group, my feeling would be entirely different, would it not? So for us words have certain connotations - a Communist, a believer, a non-believer, a Christian - and through those words we have certain feelings, certain sensations. For most of us words are very important. I am trying to find out whether the mind can ever be free of the word, and when it is free, what is the state of the mind which feels? Am I making myself clear?
Look, sir, we have been talking about conflict this morning, and I want to find out, without playing with words, if the mind is capable of being free from conflict. I want to find out, to go to the very end of it, which means I must actually be in contact, not with ideas but with conflict itself. Right? So I must not be sidetracked by ideas, I must feel my way into the whole of it, be in contact with the pain, the suffering, the frustration, the whole conflict, not finding excuses or justifications but go deeply, profoundly into it. Do I do that verbally, with words? Are you meeting my point? That is why I asked this morning how we see something - through the screen of words or by actual contact? Is it possible to feel without the word? After all, a hungry man wants food; he is not satisfied with the description of food. And do you, in the same way, want to find out about conflict and go right to the end of it? Or are you satisfied with a verbal description of the state of the mind which is not in conflict? If you want to go to the very end of it you must experience conflict, know all about it. One conflict, if you can live with it, study it, sleep with it, dream with it, eat it up, will reveal the totality of all conflicts. But that requires passion, intensity. To live on the surface and discuss leads nowhere and dissipates what little energy one has.
Question: If you go to the end of conflict for yourself, must you then just accept the conflict which is in the world?
Krishnamurti: Can you divide the world so very neatly and definitely from yourself? Is the world so very different from yourself? You see, sirs, I think, if I may say so, that there is something which has not been understood by us. For me, conflict is a very destructive thing, inwardly as well as outwardly; and I want to find out if there is a way of living without being in conflict. So I do not say to myself that it is inevitable, and I do not explain to myself that as long as I am acquisitive there must be conflict. I want to understand it, to go through it, to see if I can shatter it, to see if it is possible to live without it. I am hungry to do that; and no amount of description, explanation is going to satisfy me - which means that I have to understand this whole process of consciousness, which is the `me', and in understanding that, I am understanding the world. The two things are not separate. My hate is the hate of the world; my jealousy, acquisitiveness, my urge for success - all this belongs also to the world. So can my mind shatter all this? If I say, `Tell me the way to shatter it', then I am merely using a method to conquer conflict; and that is not the understanding of conflict.
So I see that I must keep awake to conflict, be aware of it, watch every movement of it in my ambitions, my greed, my compulsive urges, and so on. And if I just watch them, perhaps I shall find out; but there is no guarantee. I feel I know very well what is essential if I would find out - namely, a passion, an intensity, a disregard for words and explanations, so that the mind becomes very sharp, alert, observant of every form of conflict. That is the only way, surely, to go to the very end of conflict.
July 30, 1961
Saanen 3rd Public Talk 30th July 1961
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