Bombay 5th Public Talk 4th March 1962
I would like to talk this evening, if I may, about laziness, sorrow and action and, if there is time, about beauty.
Ideas or theories do not actually change the mind or the heart. No amount of persuasion, no punishment or reward, prevents the cunningness of the mind and the cruelty of the heart. No belief or dogma can dissuade the mind from its course to achieve what it desires. And it would be a pity if each one of us were to go away from these meetings with a cupful of ashes which are merely ideas and words - they don't change. And mutation can only take place when one deeply perceives or sees the actual fact.
We have often discussed, analysed, quoted, had innumerable arguments for and against; but we still remain as we were - dull, insufficient, insensitive, completely absorbed in one's own commitments and problems. And no amount of thought, anxiety, or fear will dissolve the pain. I am going to talk about these problems, as we have already talked about fear, power, position and authority. We are not dealing with ideas; propaganda does not reveal the fact, and you have to understand the fact. Neither the temple, nor the book, nor the guru will show you how to look; but you have to look yourself, you have to be a light to yourself. And to be a light to yourself, you must not follow anybody; you have no authority when you are a light to yourself - you have no guru, you are not a follower. When you are a light to yourself, you are a creative entity; and creation cannot take place if there is any form of laziness. Laziness is the essence of self-pity. We are lazy, indolent, given to slipshod thought, with no precision. Our minds are as confused as our hearts, and equally dull. And to understand laziness - not how to get rid of laziness - one has to learn about it.
As we pointed out at the last meeting, learning is far more important than merely to resolve a problem. If you can learn about a problem, you have already resolved it. We are going to learn about laziness, this extraordinary indolence of the mind - not accumulate knowledge about laziness, which becomes merely verbal. Learning implies investigation. And to investigate, the mind must be free to find out; and there is no freedom if you merely acquiesce, agree, or deny, or defend yourself behind the barrier of words and conclusions. These are distractions which prevent the clarity in which learning can take place. So, please, we are going to learn together about laziness, especially with people who live in this climate, who have lived under various forms of tyranny and authority and who easily slip into mental lethargy, into indolence, into an easily accepted attitude and value. So, one has to be aware that to learn there must be freedom to enquire.
We are going to learn about this quality, this thing called laziness. As I said, the essence of laziness is self-pity. I am going to go into that statement, because if we do not understand this problem, this question of self-pity, we shall not understand what is to follow - which is sorrow. It is right to be lazy, it is good to be lazy - lazy in the sense of not being incessantly active like an ant, or like a monkey everlastingly doing something. Most of our minds are everlastingly occupied with something - words, problems, ideas, issues; it is always chattering to itself, it is never lazy, it is never quiet; it is always under a tension. And a mind that is not indolent, not lazy, but has that quietude, in its very gentleness, perceives in a flash what is true. That laziness, that indolence, that sense of infinite leisure is not to be confused with comfort. A mind that has leisure is an extraordinary mind, Because then it is not caught up in the net of action, it is not everlastingly chattering with itself or about something.
So there is a quality of leisure, of quietude, a sense of indifference, which is necessary. But that sense of quietness, that sense of indefinite emptiness in which a flash of the real can take place, is only possible if we understand the laziness not only of the body, but also the laziness of accepting ideas, thoughts, assertions and conclusions, along which, like a tram car, we run along the same grooves. And we do not know, we are not even conscious, that we are running in grooves. That is laziness - not to know, not to be aware that your thought, your feeling, and your activities are perpetually along the same lines, along the same grooves, What you thought about a thing when you were twenty or thirty, you are still thinking the same about it; there is no change, there is no breaking away, there is nothing new, there is no freshness.
And the laziness of the body, the indolence which most people have - they feel they can arouse it to activity by disciplining the body, forcing it, driving it, compelling it. Every form of compulsion creates conflict; and a mind in conflict with the body does not give energy to the body, to the organism, but creates conflict; and that conflict is not the energizing quality which makes the body active.
So discipline, control, forcing the organism to conform, to get up from bed, to do various things to assert its activity, only creates resistance. And where there is resistance there is contradiction; and it is this contradiction which is not understood, that breeds laziness. If you have studied your own body, watched it, observed it, then you will know when it should rest and when it should not rest. Then you will know that you need no compulsion, no enforcement, no driving the body to do something; the body will do it naturally, spontaneously, easily. For that, you must understand the whole process of your own mental indolence. When a man overeats, indulges himself in various forms, all those indicate an extraordinary sense of lassitude, because his mind is asleep; he merely follows an appetite which has become a habit, and that habit is merely a thoughtless continuity of what has been.
So, it is important to understand the process of the mind that has become lazy. There is laziness as long as there is conformity, settling down in the little corner that you have carved out for yourself and your family feeling safe emotionally and mentally; feeling that you have achieved a certain result; patting yourself on the back, which indicates that you have come to a point where you feel pretty secure, that nothing can disturb you - then begins laziness. And it is that laziness which is the essence of self-pity.
You know what I mean by self-pity? Self-pity means: to feel for oneself that one has no one to rely on; to feel for oneself that one is left out, neglected; that one is not loved though one may love; that one is a failure; that one must make a success, that one is this, or that one is that; the everlasting assertion of oneself. In your tears, in your happiness, in your frustration, in your misery, there is this thread, an unbreakable thread, of self-pity running right through life; and that is laziness. There, you have begun to conform, to settle down, to go fat mentally. And every one seeks security in that laziness. And having established that sense of security psychologically, from that centre one acts, one is, one's life is.
Please, as I said, don't merely listen to the words, but observe your own mind, your own state of consciousness; see how closely the words represent your own state; watch your own mind in operation. Then what is being said will have significance; but if you are merely relying on words, then you are empty; and your cups will never be full, though you may search everlastingly. So, listening is really the observation of your own mind; seeing is really watching the movement of your own thought. For it is thought, it is the word, that prevents you from listening, from seeing. And if you would understand the whole problem of sorrow, the problem of action, you have to understand this self-pity.
Sorrow is both the action and the interaction of self-pity and memory. You are in sorrow because you have lost somebody; you are in sorrow because somebody does not love you; you are in sorrow because you cannot get a better job; you are in sorrow because somebody else is more beautiful, clever, alive, sensitive; and you are jealous, you are envious, greedy. Those are all the signs of conflict and sorrow. Sorrow is not a tremendous crisis of something uncontrollable, or of something which cannot be understood. You can change your mind completely, you can be completely free of sorrow, so that it will never touch you again.
If you listen this evening - I mean, really listen without effort, without wanting to be free of sorrow - if you can listen with an enchantment, with ease, with pleasure, as you see the sunset, the flutter of a bird or a leaf, as though it was not related to you, then you will see that this burden of sorrow is taken away from you - not for a moment, not for the day; but you are free from sorrow.
If you could understand sorrow, the actual fact of it - not the ideation, not the idea about sorrow, but the actual fact of sorrow - then you will have the clue to the ending of sorrow. There is the idea of sorrow, and there is the actual fact of sorrow; these are two different things. Most of us have the idea of sorrow. If my son dies, if I lose my wife, if somebody does not love me, if I am not so intelligent as you are, the idea is more important than the fact. We do not know how to face the fact that there is sorrow - not the idea about sorrow.
Please do understand the difference between the two. Because we look at sorrow with the idea, with ideation, we do not look at sorrow. The ideation about sorrow is self-pity. The ideation about sorrow is the response of memory, and therefore is not sorrow. The idea about food is not food. But most of us live on ideas, inherited or acquired; and that is our mental food, with that we are satisfied. So, our minds become dull, insensitive, unaware, empty.
To see the fact of sorrow is to be out of self-pity, to be free of self-pity. Self-pity is an idea about oneself. Why should it happen to me and not to you, why should I not be as powerful, big, noisy, vulgar as you are; why should I be deprived of my son, of my wife; why should my wife turn away from me; why am I not loved? - these are all the ideas of self-pity, the response of memory. And with that self-pity, with that response of memory, one looks at what one considers to be sorrow. Therefore it is not sorrow; it is self-pity in motion. It may sound very harsh; but that is the fact, the psychological fact. If you say to a person who has lost his father, his wife, his brother, whoever it may be, `Look at the fact, don't get lost in your self-pity', he will think that you are very cruel, that you have no heart, no sympathy, no love.
The fact is that no man is out of sorrow. When you observe yourself in sorrow, you will see that, only when you understand the whole process of sorrow, you are out of sorrow. When you observe your own sorrow, you will see how extraordinarily closely it is related to self-pity and to all the remembrances of the things that have been. It is the things that have been and the remembrance of those things, that breed self-pity and the sense of loneliness. So sorrow continues day after day, month after month, till you die. You have built around yourself a wall of self-pity, a wall of frustrated remembrances. You are living in a house of death which has lost its meaning. From there you investigate sorrow, from there you read books, you try to find out how to run away from sorrow.
So you have your gods, your books, your cinemas, your drinks, your women, your men, your amusements; they are all on the same level. Whether you take to a drink or go to the temple, it is the same thing. They are all escapes born of a lazy mind which is the very essence of self-pity. You can't get rid of self-pity; don't say, ` How am I to be free from self-pity?' That is another form of self-concern, which is self-pity. All that you can do is to learn about what prevents you from looking at the fact of sorrow - the fact, the anguish, the agony, the confusion, the misery in which one is caught.
How do you look at the fact of sorrow? When you do look at that fact without self-pity, without remembrance of the things that have been, then is there sorrow? If there was no remembrance of my son, how nice he was, how playful, what he would have been; if I am not immolating myself in him; if I have not, through him, immortalized myself; if I have not put everything into him, myself, my ideas, my hopes, my fears, my frustrations - which are all remembrances the things that have been - and if self-pity - the very essence of this self-pity is sorrow - and the remembrance of things that have been, do not exist, is there sorrow then? Can I not look then at an event with a totally different mind? That mind is not lazy; that mind is free of those causes that bring it indolence, laziness, slothfulness. That is, self-pity and remembrance are the causes that make the mind dull; these are the things that prevent the complete seeing of the fact instantly. So, a mind that would understand sorrow must understand this whole process of self-centred thought, self-centred expansive action and the mechanism of habit, the mechanism of memory. You are what you are, a battlefield of memory and nothing else. Remove those memories of infancy, of youth, of all the things that you have acquired, of all the things that you have experienced, suffered, the things that you think you are; then, what are you? It is the sense of loneliness, emptiness, insufficiency that causes self-pity; and it is that thought that breeds infinite sorrow and travail. You are listening to me, so that you understand yourself. And when you understand this, you can instantly wipe away this process of self-pity.
You do not want time. Time is not the way of mutation; time never brings about change; time brings acceptance, time brings habit. You get accustomed, grow weary, dull, stupid. But to break from the continuity of self-pity which engenders sorrow, you have to see it instantly. And you can see it instantly. You may add more details to it - the details do not matter, reasons do not matter, conclusions about it do not matter. But the fact is you are incapable of facing the fact - the fact that I have lost my son, the fact that I cannot be as intelligent, as vital as you are; when I do face that fact, without self-pity, without consolation, without escapes, then I am free of you, then I am not in a state of comparison.
So a mind is concerned with itself, as most people are. You have to be concerned with yourselves at one level, physiologically - earning a job. But the self-concern at a deeper level, at the deep psychological level, breeds inaction which is laziness. Psychologically, inwardly, if you have observed yourself and the world about you, you see that your action is merely a reaction, all your activities are a reaction, are a response to likes or dislikes.
Please follow this a little bit, because I want to show that there is an activity which is not the result of reaction or the result of an idea. I want to show that there is an action which is the outcome of total negation of reaction, and therefore such action is creative action. To understand that, to go into that question - which is really not complex, but is an extraordinary state of mind - you have to understand your reactions from which your daily action springs. We react, we revolt, we accumulate, we defend, we resist, we acquire, we submit - all these are reactions.
I say something to you; you don't like it, and you do something in response to that which you don't like to accept. At that level we are acting all the time. You have been brought up, conditioned to a particular pattern of life; that is your daily life, pattern of life, inwardly and outwardly. And when that is questioned, you revolt, you react according to your conditioning, according to your habits; from that reaction there is another action. So we move from reaction to reaction all the time, and therefore we never are free. That is one of the origins of sorrow. Please understand this.
There must be reaction. When you see something ugly, it must react; when you see something beautiful, it must react; when you see a poisonous snake, it must react; otherwise you are dead, you are insensitive, you are not alive, you are dull. But that reaction is different from the reaction which society and yourself through experiences have built up, which has become your conditioning. When you see a tree, when you see a sunset, if you do not react, you are paralysed. But when you react according to self-pity, according to your conclusions, according to your habits, according to your failures, successes, hopes, despairs, such reaction leads to incomplete action and therefore to the continuity of more conflict, more misery. I hope you see the difference between the two kinds of reaction. The reaction which sees and does not translate what it sees in terms of its own conditioning - that is one kind of reaction; that is the real action. And the other kind of reaction is that which sees and says, `That is beautiful, I must have it', that reaction is the response of its own conditioning, memory, of its own self-pity, of its own desires and all the rest of it. So, please see the difference between these two. The response born of idea is one thing, and the response without idea is another. Response born of ideation, of conclusions, of habits, of traditions leads to bondage, to misery. And the response without idea, merely observing, leads to freedom; that is freedom - it does not lead; freedom does not lead you anywhere.
It is only a free mind which is in a state of negation, negation of the positive reactions of a conditioned mind. And only a mind that is in negation, in that state of negation, can see, in a flash, what is true. Please, I am not saying something which is very complex, it is not complex, it is very simple. But because of its very simplicity you are going to miss it; your minds are so complicated - you want to find various things - and what is being said is very simple. Your reactions are the outcome of your conditioning as a Hindu, a rich man, a poor man, a woman, a man, or whatever you are, with all your experiences, with your hopes, with your gods, with your anxieties, with your attachments - the conditioning is there, and from that you react; and the more you react, the more those reactions take you deeply into yourself; and you are still within the bondage of your own reactions, your own limitations. That is very simple. It does not need great psychological investigation. But what does demand energy and attention is to deny totally this positive reaction of a conditioned mind. When you deny, then, you observe without any ideation, without any thought; then, you look.
Surely, sirs, when you want to understand your unfortunate child - the child is unfortunate because you don't know how to educate him - you hand him over to a school, and that is the end of it; the child becomes a machine. This is not a discussion on education. If you have a child, you have to observe him, to watch him. When you want to learn about him, you don't say that he must be this or that, you don't compel him to do this or that; you observe, you learn, because your heart has to respond - not your ugly little mind of possession.
So you have to learn about your child. And you can't learn if you respond, if you react, as a parent, with your authority, with your extraordinary sense of importance, as though you have produced a marvellous world. So, if you want to understand a child, you look at him without thought, to find out what he feels, what he thinks. Now if you look at him that way, your mind at that moment is empty, because you are concerned about him. You don't clothe him with your ideas and your hopes and your fears; but you want to see what he is.
So if I can look at sorrow - the incident, the death of my son; if I can look at it - look at that fact, then I look without reaction; self-pity and remembrances have been put aside. But most of us indulge in self-pity. We have nothing else to live on; therefore, self-pity becomes our nourishment. The older we grow, the more important are the remembrances of the things that have been.
So, action which is born of reaction breeds sorrow. Most of our thoughts are the result of the past, of time. A mind that is not built on the past, that has totally understood this whole process of reaction, can act every minute totally, completely, wholly.
Please do listen. What I am going to say will probably be rather difficult. So, listen as though you are far away. I am going to talk about something which you will come to, if you have gone through all this sweetly, with pleasure. When you have gone through the whole process of action born of reaction, and denied it with enchantment, with joy - not with pain, then you will see that you will come naturally, easily to a state of mind that is the very essence of beauty.
You must understand beauty. A mind that is not beautiful, that is not enchanted by a tree, by a flower, by a lovely face, by a smile; which does not stand by the sea and watch the restless waves; which has no sense of beauty - such a mind can never find love or truth. And you have been denied that beauty, because that beauty demands passion, that beauty demands all your energy, a complete, undivided attention; and that complete undivided attention is negation, is a state of negation.
It is only out of nothingness that creation takes place; out of that emptiness there is that creation which is the summation of all energy. And you cannot come to it. You must leave yourself far away, you must lose yourself far away, forget yourself; you must come to it unspotted, without a remembrance, without thought, without a memory. Because, there is nothing you can experience, there is no experiencing; if you are seeking experience, then you are still caught in the known, in the things of yesterday.
I am talking of a mind that is not lazy, that has no self-pity, that has no memory except the mechanical memory of living - where it lives, going to the office and doing the mechanical things of life. Such a mind has no psychological memory, and therefore no experiencing; therefore there is no challenge. And it is only that mind which is itself the reality, which is itself creation; and that is beauty.
Beauty is not in the face, however refined it is. Beauty is something which is not put together ha man. Beauty is not the result of thought, of feeling. Beauty is that communion with everything without reaction, communion with the ugly and with the so-called beautiful. And that communion is out of nothingness; and in that state there is that beauty which is love.
March 4, 1962
Bombay 5th Public Talk 4th March 1962
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