Saanen 4th Public Talk 29th July 1962
We were talking the other day about the vitality and the virility of virtue, and I would like to go much more into this question of energy - the necessity of an energy that is not brought about through conflict or resistance. Such energy is of the highest importance, because one needs such energy to penetrate very deeply into that state which is beyond all experience and which is not a matter of faith.
But first of all I think one ought to clarify once more what it is we are trying to do in these meetings. The speaker is not indulging in any form of propaganda; he is not trying to convert you to a particular manner of thinking or course of action, nor is he attempting to create a special atmosphere or environment in which the individual can bring about this total energy. But there is beyond all question of doubt, beyond reason and intellection, an energy which comes into being when conflict of every kind is removed. Conflict itself creates a certain form of energy, which is the energy born of reaction, resistance, suppression, contradiction; but conflict must totally and utterly disappear for this other energy to come into being.
Now, before we go into the question of emptying the mind of all conflict, of all ideas, of all concepts, I think we must be very clear what is the function - .if I may so use that word - of you who are listening. Are you listening merely in order to adjust yourself to what is being said? Are you listening to find the flaws and contradictions in the words of the speaker? Are you trying to create from what is being said a pattern of your own from which action can take place? What is it that is actually going on in your mind as you listen? I would like to talk about something which is desperately serious and which, if understood, can totally and immediately bring about a revolution in the mind. I would like to go into it rather extensively and deeply, if it is not presumptuous of me to say so, and that is why it is important to find out for yourself what is the state of your own mind as you are listening.
Are you merely listening to the words and trying to correlate or adjust what you already know to what is being said? Are you lazily listening on this rather pleasant morning to pass the time of day, hoping to be entertained in the so-called spiritual or religious sense? Or are you observing your own mind and becoming aware of all its hidden corners, its dark recesses and untrodden space? If you are really observing your own mind, then you and I, as two individuals, can work out together this thing of which I am going to speak. But to do that one has to be in a state of complete awareness, attention.
You know, there is no attention if there is any form of resistance. There is no attention if there is any grasping or struggling to understand. If you would understand something you must give to it your complete attention. To be aware of all that is implied in what is going to be said, your body, your mind, your emotions, your whole being must be given to it. And then you will discover for yourself that, in emptying the mind totally of its content, there comes an extraordinary energy. This may sound absurd, or impossible, or it may seem to be just a fanciful idea; but we are not dealing with ideas. We are dealing with facts - the facts of what exactly is taking place in one's own mind. To perceive the significance of these facts, one has to be aware of them; one has to be conscious of every movement of thought without trying to correct or to alter it in any way. And if we are so aware, then we can proceed to investigate the conflict which exists within each one of us. Conflict in any form, outward or inward, destroys clarity; and it is only out of clarity that there can be this energy of which I am speaking.
There are two types of energy. There is the energy that is brought about through resistance, contradiction, conflict in our daily relationships, and this energy produces certain activities with which we are all familiar. Then there is another type of energy which is not at all the outcome of resistance, contradiction, conflict; but you cannot jump from one to the other without understanding conflict, because as long as conflict exists in any form, however subtle, this other type of energy cannot be. This other type of energy can come into being only when there is a total cessation of conflict; and you cannot bring conflict to an end with a motive, in order to arrive at the other.
Obviously, we all have both physical and mental energy in varying degrees. As most people in the West are physically comfortable and well fed, with a certain amount of leisure, they generally have much more physical energy than people in the East, where there is less food and more discomfort, and where the land is overpopulated. Physical energy is of course necessary; but we are now talking of mental energy, without which you cannot have a sharp, clear mind, a mind capable of thinking sanely, without bias or equivocation, without any fanciful, romantic or illusory ideas. And there can be this energy, this clarity of mind only when there is no conflict of any kind.
As you know, conflict wears out the mind. Conflict implies a human problem, and any human problem, at whatever level - whether it be a sexual problem, an economic problem, a problem of relationship, a problem of virtue, the problem of death, or what you will - wastes mental energy and blocks clarity of perception. And is it possible to live in this world without a problem We can find that out for ourselves only if we understand the essence of conflict.
Let me say here that you are not listening in order to realize a particular state of mind or to capture a certain vitality with which to approach your daily living. You are listening in order to discover your own problems, which means being aware of your own activities, your own contradictions.
Now, what do we mean by contradiction? There is inward contradiction, conflict, as long as we have an idea, a concept, a pattern of action, a goal, or an ideal, because that is unreal, it is not factual. The fact is one thing and the idea about the fact is another, and this division creates conflict. Without understanding the fact of what we actually are, we create an idea, a pattern of how to be good, of what our inward state should be; we create the prototype, the hero, the example, the perfect state, and we struggle to approximate our living to that ideal. And I feel quite sure that you are now going to create the idea of `no conflict', which will again become the pattern.
So, why do we create the pattern? We create the pattern because we want to escape from the fact, whatever that fact may be. Being dissatisfied with and not understanding the fact of what we are, we create the idea of what we should be, and so there is a division, a contradiction. Throughout the world this process is going on, this escape from what is through the ideational pursuit of what should be. And surely, as long as we struggle to bring about an approximation between the fact and the idea, conflict is inevitable.
Most of our actions are based on ideas, are they not? We are motivated by the thought `I should' or `I should not', which means that our action is rooted in an idea, and we are always trying to approximate the two. What I am going to talk about is the total elimination of idea, and therefore the complete cessation of conflict - which does not mean going to sleep in your own comfortable, non-ideational world. On the contrary, it demands complete awareness.
I hope I am making myself clear.
To me, any form of conflict - in relationship, in study, in love, in thought - is detrimental, it dulls and makes the mind insensitive; and to have this astonishing energy which enables the mind to meet and resolve every problem, there must be the highest sensitivity. All the senses, every part of your being must be totally alive, and that can happen only when you understand the whole process of conflict - that is, when conflict has come to an end.
When I stop from time to time, it is because I do not know how far you have gone with me - not that you are following me, not that I am your authority, but I wonder how far you have understood, because this is a very complicated issue. To live without idea is something entirely different from what most of us are accustomed to. We live habitually with ideas, we live with our thoughts, our concepts, our formulations; but to me that is not the way to live, because it only creates conflict, misery, confusion. To live totally, completely, the mind must be empty of all ideation so that it is capable of facing the fact of what is from moment to moment without interpreting that fact. But We are heavily and deeply conditioned to this concept of struggle. We live in the world ideologically, we live with ideas, with heroes, with examples, with patterns, we pursue the what should be.
Now, I am proposing the wiping away of all that. And what I am talking about is factual, it is riot just a fanciful idea. One can see for oneself if one observes, that where there is conflict there is confusion, there is a lack of clarity, there is suffering, misery, every form of travail. And is it possible to live and act without conflict? One has to act, not only in the outer world, but inwardly. One has to go to the office, one has to do so many things; and is it possible to live in this world without idea and therefore without conflict? Can there be an activity in which the mind is riot approximating itself to an idea? You don't know whether that is possible or not. I say it is possible, and that it is the only way to live; but it requires a great deal of understanding and to understand you must have tremendous energy, not just vague aspirational hope.
The idea, the concept, the pattern is born of our thinking, which in turn is based upon our conditioning. All our thinking, however noble, refined or subtle, is the outcome of our experience, of our knowledge. There is no thinking without the past. Our thought is merely the reaction of memory. And what I am talking about is action without reaction, which means living without thought as the reaction of memory.
In this world there is war, there is the atom bomb, and there are the so-called pacifists, the people who do not want war and who talk about banning the bomb; to them that is the ideal. The bomb is only a result, it is the outcome of an historical process shaped by our nationalism, our greed, our ambition, our prejudices, our class distinctions, our conflicting religious inclinations. All these things have produced the bomb, and its no good fiddling with bombs - we have to change totally our way of life, our way of thinking. But nobody wants to do that. Nobody wants a total revolution, and that is what I am talking about: a total revolution, which is not a reaction. Communism is merely a reaction to capitalism, therefore it is not a revolution at all. As long as there is nationalism, as long as there are class distinctions, as long as there is patriotism, the identification of oneself with a particular group or sect, whether political, economic or religious, there is bound to be war. To end war, one must uproot all this conditioned thinking.
So, what I am talking about is not a reaction. Do you understand what I mean by a reaction? You insult me, you say something which I don't like, and I react; or I like what you say, and again I react. But is it not possible to listen to what another says without reacting? Surely, if I listen to find out truth or the falseness of what you are saying, then from that listening, from that perception there is an action which is not reaction.
All reaction is based on an idea, on a pattern of thought; so, if one is to be totally free from conflict, one must go into this question of thought. Thought is really quite mechanical, and it can never be free. Thought can aspire, it can create, it can imagine, but it can never be free because it is the outcome of our conditioning, of our memory of our knowledge of the past. To look at facts without reaction, inwardly as well as outwardly, implies looking at them without a thought.
You may say, "What nonsense are you talking?" It is nonsense only if you have not followed from the beginning what we have been considering together. If you just pick up a phrase like 'to live without thought', it obviously sounds moronic, absurd. But if you have observed in yourself every movement of thought and feeling, whether pleasant or unpleasant, if you have watched without reaction the complexities of your own mind and have understood the implications of thought, then you will have discovered for yourself what it means to live, to function, to do things without thought. But this requires an enormous awareness.
Do you know what I mean by being aware? To be aware is to see the fluttering of those leaves in the mind and hear that stream rushing by; it is to observe the lighting of clouds and the deepening of shadows; it is to be conscious of all these people sitting here dressed in different colours and holding different opinions, with different expressions on their faces. You are aware of all that, and also of your own reactions to all that - reactions of prejudice, of like and dislike. You observe and listen to everything without choosing, without interpreting, without comparing, without condemning or justifying; and to do this implies that you have understood your own background, your own conditioning.
After all, we are educated to condemn, to agree or disagree, to compare, to justify, to resist. That is all we know, it is our background - the background created by our education both at school and at the hands of society. We look upon ourselves as German, English, French, as Catholic, protestant, Hindu. We believe or don't believe. That is our background, and when our background reacts we say we are thinking Now, to be aware is to perceive and to understand the whole process of that background, nor only the conscious background but the unconscious as well. Because it is our background that becomes the authority and creates the conflict.
A person who is concerned with the understanding of conflict has no goal and therefore no frustration. Most of us are in a state of frustration. We want to be a famous musician, a great politician, we want to be this or that, but we are not sufficiently capable, cunning, or whatever it is. We want to fulfil ourselves but we are prevented by circumstances, by ideas, by our own lack of capacity, by our desire to be secure, so we are frustrated. And even if we do fulfil ourselves, there is always in fulfilment the shadow of frustration.
I hope you are not merely following my words, but are watching yourself.
To live without a goal, to live without wanting to fulfil oneself, demands a great deal of understanding. It means dealing with facts, with what is actually taking place in the mind. And when the mind knows itself, when it has observed and understood itself, then you will find that all conflict has been emptied from the mind. And out of that emptiness there comes the energy which is absolutely necessary if one is to proceed further.
Most of us, being torn by conflict, are in misery, confusion, and therefore we have very little mental energy. But when the mind has emptied itself of all conflict because it has understood the whole process of thinking, of ideation, of pursuing concepts, ideals, prototypes and all the rest of it, then out of that emptiness there comes an energy which lives from moment to moment, from day to day, and then the mind does everything without frustration, without fear. It is only then that there is real peace within oneself. It is not an induced peace. Peace that is induced, a disciplined peace, is a lifeless thing, and that is why most so-called religious people are inwardly dead.
When there is no conflict of any kind in the mind because it has understood itself, then you will find that there comes this energy which is no longer seeking experience; it is beyond all experience. Being totally empty, the mind is completely aware, it has no dark corners, no untrodden space; it is wholly alive, awake. If you have gone that far you will discover for yourself that time has lost its meaning; and only such a mind can understand that which is beyond words, beyond names, beyond symbols, beyond all thought.
Shall we discuss what has been said this morning?
Questioner:I find that I have left behind all forms of preference. I have no likes or dislikes any more. Is that surprising?
Krishnamurti: Not at all, sir. But isn't there a great danger - I am not saying this with regard to you personally - of withdrawing from life and therefore becoming utterly insensitive? Do you understand what I mean by sensitivity? Most of us want to be sensitive to the beautiful - to lovely music, to fine pictures - but we don't want to be sensitive to the ugly, to the noisy, to the ] dirty, to the foul things in the streets. To be sensitive in one direction, you must be sensitive in both directions. There is no real sensitivity if you are sensitive in one direction and callous with regard to the other. If one is callous towards anything in life, one is not totally sensitive, and it seems to me there is a danger of this in saying, "I have no preferences any more, I am rather indifferent to what is taking place, indifferent to my own quarrels and anxieties, to my guilts and conflicts".
Questioner: My wish to understand what you are saying - is that not in itself a contradiction?
Krishnamurti: Surely you are understanding yourself, not the speaker, and therefore there cannot he a contradiction. But if in listening you are trying to shape your thoughts, your feelings, your aspirations in accordance with what the speaker is saying, then there is bound to be a contradiction. Sir I thought I had made it clear from the very beginning that I am not marketing ideas. I am not propagating a new system of thought or a new way of activity. I am only pointing out how essential it is to be totally aware of yourself, and I am explaining what it means to be aware. That explanation is reasonable, logical, sane, healthy, as you will find out for yourself if you are at all aware of your own ways and activities. You are not following anyone, because here there is no authority. The moment there is an authority whom you are trying to understand, you are in a state of contradiction, conflict, and all the wretchedness begins.
Questioner: Will you please repeat what you have just said?
Krishnamurti: I am afraid I cannot repeat, but I will put it in different words.
You see, sir, we are accustomed to having somebody tell us what to do. We are used to following somebody. it is our habit to approximate ourselves to what is being said by the preacher, the teacher, the saviour, who is supposed to know what he is talking about. We say, "I must look up to him, I must follow him; so we set up an authority, an ideal, and inevitably there is a contradiction between that ideal and what we actually are. But here there is no ideal and no authority. On the contrary, we are concerned with the understanding of ourselves. And we are complex entities; we are the totality of life, the result of centuries of human endeavour, the repository of all thought, of all conflict. You are not here to understand the speaker, but to use the speaker as a mirror in which to watch yourself.
One moment, sir, I haven't finished. I know you have questions; but you see the difficulty is that you are already so concerned with your own question that you are not listening to the previous question. Do please pay a little attention. The world is bound by authority - by the authority of the priest, of the politician, of the specialist. But authorities do not help you to understand yourself, and without understanding yourself there can be no freedom from conflict, though you may go to the temple, meditate, or stand on your head for the rest of your life. You are society, you are the world, you are the result of centuries of the historical process, and you are also the result of your immediate environment; and without understanding and breaking through all that, shattering it completely, you cannot go very far. To go very far you must begin very near, which is to understand yourself. To take this far journey there must be a total ending of all conflict.
Questioner: When I observe a particular feeling, that feeling comes to an end, and then there is a state of attention which brings with it a new hind of energy. Is this what you mean?
Krishnamurti: When you observe a particular feeling, what is important is to find out how you observe it. Please follow this. Do you see the feeling as something separate from yourself? Obviously you do.
I do not know if you have experimented and have found out that when you observe a feeling, that feeling comes to an end. But even though the feeling comes to an end, if there is an observer, a spectator, a censor, a thinker who remains apart from the feeling, then there is still a contradiction. So it is very important to understand how we look at a feeling.
Take, for instance, a very common feeling: jealousy. We all know what it is to be jealous. Now, how do you look at your jealousy? When you look at that feeling, you are the observer of jealousy as something apart from yourself. You try to change jealousy, to modify it, or you try to explain why you are justified in being jealous, and so on and so forth. So there is a being, a censor, an entity apart from jealousy who observes it. For the moment jealousy may disappear, but it comes back again; and it comes back because you do not really see that jealousy is part of you. You are jealousy, that feeling is not something outside of you. When you are jealous, your whole being is jealous, as your whole being is envious, acquisitive, or what you will. Don't say, "Is there not a part of me which is heavenly, spiritual, and therefore not jealous?" When you are actually in a state of jealousy, there is nothing else but that.
So it is very important to find out how to look, how to listen. I will go into it a little bit more.
When one is jealous, observe what is taking place. My wife or my husband looks at somebody else, and I have a certain feeling which goes with all that nonsense we call love. Or perhaps somebody else is cleverer than I, or has a more beautiful figure, and again that feeling arises. The moment that feeling arises, I give it a label, a name. Please see what is taking place, just following it step by step. It is a fairly simple psychological process, as you will know if you have observed it in yourself.
I have a certain feeling and I give it a name. I give it a name because I want to know what it is I call it jealousy, and that word is the outcome of my memory of the past. The feeling itself is something new, it has come into being suddenly, spontaneously, but I have identified it by giving it a name. In giving it a name I think I have understood it, but I have only strengthened it. So what has happened? The word has interfered with my looking at the fact.
I think I have understood the feeling by calling it jealousy, whereas I have only put it in the framework of words, of memory, with all the old impressions, explanations, condemnations, justifications. But that feeling itself is new, it is not something of yesterday. It becomes something of yesterday only when I give it a name. If I look at it without naming it, there is no centre from which I am looking.
Please see this. Are you working as hard as I am?
What I am saying is that the moment you give a name, a label to that feeling, you have brought it into the framework of the old; and the old is the observer, the separate entity who is made up of words, of ideas, of opinions about what is right and what is wrong. Therefore it is very important to understand the process of naming, and to see how instantaneously the word `jealousy' comes into being. But if you don't name that feeling - which demands tremendous awareness, a great deal of immediate understanding - , then you will find that there is no observer, no thinker, no centre from which you are judging, and that you are not different from the feeling. There is no `you' who feels it.
Jealousy has become a habit with most of us, and like any other habit it continues. To break the habit is merely to be aware of the habit. Please listen to this. Do not say, "It is terrible to have this habit, I must change it, I must be free of it", and so on, but just be aware of it. To be aware of a habit is not to condemn it, but simply to look at it. You know, when you love a thing you look at it. It is only when you don't love it that the problem of how to get rid of it begins. When I use the word `love' with regard to the feeling which we call jealousy, I hope you see what I mean. To `love' jealousy is not to deny or condemn that feeling; then there is no separation between the feeling and the observer. In this state of total awareness, if you go into it very deeply without words, you will find you have completely wiped away that feeling which is habitually identified with the word `jealousy'.
It is time to stop. This morning we have talked about something very serious. We live in a world that is lull of ambition, of competition and the worship of success, in a world crowded with people who want to be famous, who want to be known as writers, as painters, as scientists, as great people. They live in a state of conflict, of contradiction, which is a state of great tension. That tension produces certain activities, and if one has capacity one may become a successful writer, or painter, or scientist, or politician. But that tension of contradiction does not brine about clarity, it only brings more misery. Driven by that tension, one may go to church, worship God, but it has no meaning whatsoever. God is not found through tension, through contradiction, but only when the mind is totally empty of every form of ideation, imagination, contradiction, conflict. And in that emptiness there is great beauty, an astonishing vitality.
July 29, 1962
Saanen 4th Public Talk 29th July 1962
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