Saanen 5th Public Talk 16th July 1963
I would like this morning to talk about several things; but before I go into them, I think it is important to understand how to listen. I have often talked about listening, and those of you who are hearing it for the tenth time may think that I am merely repeating myself. You know, for me there is no repetition in these matters. If I found myself repeating, it would be dreadfully boring to myself. For me, what is being said is never a repetition. It is something that one discovers anew each time. It is like the spring. One has seen many, many springs, but each time it is different. Each time the new leaf has somehow a different colour, a different tenderness, a different movement. In the same way, when I talk about all these things, it is not repetitive at all. Each time one discovers something fresh, totally new.
So, I would like to talk about listening; because it seems to me that in listening there is no effort at all. There is effort only if you don't understand the language, the words that are being used. When you try to listen, try to follow what the speaker is saying; when you try to concentrate, to put your whole mind on it, it prevents you from listening. Listening implies no inward contradiction; there is no attempt to do something, no endeavour to capture or to realize something; you just listen, easily, with an attention that doesn't demand concentration. And what I am going to talk about needs very deep listening - not just hearing through the ears, but listening with an extraordinary profundity. If you can listen in this way, you will find that you have understood for yourself a great many things; and in the very act of listening, the nature of action is changed. Because listening is an action. It isn't something apart from daily activity. It includes listening to your wife or husband, to your children, to your neighbour, to noises, to all the ugly things that go on in life, to all the brutalities, the words of cruelty, to the words of pleasure and pain. And you will find that in this act of listening a mutation is taking place in the very nature of action itself.
This morning I want to talk about fear and love, and whether it is at all possible to be totally free of fear. If deep down in the unconscious, at the very root of consciousness, there is any element, shadow, or darkness of fear, all our thinking, all our activity becomes perverted, leading to various forms of self-contradiction, a neurotic state of mind.
Now, most of us are seeking fulfilment, whether in the family, in relationship, or in some form of action or self-expression. To fulfil ourselves in something has become extraordinarily important. If there were no fear at all, there would be no demand for fulfilment. It is our constant self-centred activity that separates us and brings about fear, anxiety, an extraordinary loneliness, a sense of isolation, and therefore we demand fulfilment, some form of self-expression. A mind that has no fear of any kind, has no need to fulfil. If one understands this fact, basically, there is then not only no demand for self-fulfilment - there is also no frustration. But for most of us life is frustrating; and to understand this whole process of frustration, one must not only be aware of but tear open every activity, every thought, every feeling through which we are seeking fulfilment, trying to express ourselves - tear it open, not in the sense of reacting to it, but unfolding it so completely that we understand it.
You know, knowing is different from knowledge. Knowledge is of the past, it is a thing that one has stored up: scientific knowledge, knowledge of how to read and write, the knowledge that you must have to put a radio together, and so on. That knowledge is constantly being added to through experience, and it is entirely different from knowing. I don't think I am splitting hairs, and I do think one has to understand this. Knowing implies no accumulation. You are attentive all the time, learning from the thing that is actually taking place; you do not know about it from previous knowledge. I think one should understand the difference between the two. To be aware of the self-centred activity of the mind, is just to see it, to look at it; but one looks at it with previous knowledge, that is, in terms of what one has already learned, and this knowledge interprets what one is looking at or listening to.
Please follow this, observing yourselves. Observe every movement of your own thought, just watch it, and you will discover how you are watching it: whether you are watching it from the background of what you have already learnt about it, or watching it in a state of discovery. To discover is to look at something anew, as though for the first time, and you can't do that if you recognize what you see. I hope I am making myself clear. The moment there is recognition in the process of observing or knowing yourself, you have brought into your observation the background of knowledge - which means that you have already interpreted, you have translated, condemned, or justified what you see; therefore you are not watching, you are not observing, you are not listening to the whole process of it. The thing that you are observing, which is thought and the whole background of thought, is not static, it is moving, living; and if you observe it with previous knowledge, you are merely interpreting it, you are not discovering it as something new. Therefore you think there is nothing new in all this, there is nothing more to learn. You say, "I know I am jealous", or, "I know I am afraid", which means that you have given the emotion a name; you have recognized it, so it becomes part of that which you already know. But to look at it as though you were seeing it for the first time - with a mind that doesn't interpret, that doesn't translate, that doesn't want to alter what it sees - is to be in a state of discovery.
Am I conveying what I want to say?
You see, there is mutation only when the mind, the brain is no longer seeking experience; and when you begin to translate what you see in terms of what you already know, you are only continuing the cycle of experience.
I see I am puzzling you.
There is this complex entity called the `me', with all its travail, its suffering, its anxieties, its desire to fulfil, to become, to dominate, to have a position, to have security, to be somebody, to express itself in different ways. This `me' has been put together through centuries by the psychological structure of society; it is the outcome of pressures, influences, propaganda, tradition. With this `me' I go about looking at everything I meet and translating it accordingly, so naturally I think there is nothing new, because everything is always being contaminated by the past.
Now, innocency is something uncontaminated, something totally new, fresh; it is a state of discovery in which the mind is always young. To find that out for yourself, you can't go on carrying with you this burden of the past. The past must somehow come to an end if the mind is to discover that new thing. and it must come to an end without effort, without discipline, without control or suppression. The old cannot find the new, because whatever the old experiences is a continuation of the old. The old may undergo a variety of changes, but such changes are a modified continuity of the same thing.
Do you understand the problem? This entity, the `me', is the product of time, the product of a thousand experiences, a thousand contradictions, battles, anxieties, the outcome of guilt, sorrow, misery, pleasure. It is the residue of the past with all its fears, and therefore it cannot possibly discover the new. The new cannot possibly be put into words; it is something immeasurable, an energy which has no cause, no end, no beginning; and for the mind to be in that state of creation, the old, the `me', must come to an end. Now, how is it to be done?
The organized religions say that you must control, discipline, train yourself, and wait for the grace of God. In India, in Asia, in Europe, this is expressed in different ways, but it comes to the same thing: that you must train yourself, control yourself, be good - you know all the moral things we are told to do, with their various sanctions. We are told to wait, expect, contemplate, pray, and all the rest of it.
Now, to me, all that is utterly illogical, unreasonable, it has no meaning; because, first of all, a mind that disciplines itself is conforming to a pattern, it is imitating, restricting its own activity in order to be or become something; like a soldier drilling, it obeys implicitly, immediately, and therefore there is no freedom. Also, discipline implies fear. Please, if you follow all this very, very carefully, really observe it, you will see that when there is freedom from fear, this freedom brings its own discipline which is not mere conformity and which has nothing to do with the discipline of enforcement, compliance, imitation. And when we talk about waiting for the grace of God to come to us, there is a deep down expectation, which means that the brain is already caught in a certain belief, in a certain hope. So all this discipline and prayer, this waiting for something to happen from outside of the mind's own activity, seems to me illogical, irrational, it has no meaning; therefore I put it all aside. Having a belief in God, in something superior, implies that one has not become a light unto oneself; and a mind that is without conflict, without anxiety, without travail, is a light unto itself. Therefore it is no longer seeking. So, the problem is: there is this `me', the result of time, the result of experience, of knowledge. This `me' is a thing of the past - the past that is always moving through the present and shaping the future, which is psychological time. With this time-bound entity I try to find something which is not within the field of time and cannot be understood in terms of the past. Now, can this be done? Do you understand the question?
Please don't wait for an answer from me - you and I are working together. You are not merely listening to a lot of words from me, and then trying to put what you understand from those words into action. We are going on a journey together.
First, I say that any form of effort to capture the new or to change what has been, only gives vitality to the old and brings about a contradiction. That is fairly obvious, is it not? No? I will go along, and if you don't understand, you can ask me afterwards. As I pointed out the other day, there is no effort involved in understanding, there is no analysis, because there is no division between the observer and the thing observed. There is no trying to suppress the thing observed, or to change it. You are that thing. Do you follow?
Now, wait a moment. There is a hum going on in this tent. That electric fan is working, making a noise. How do you listen to it? If that noise is irritating you, if it is something apart from you, then you are consciously or unconsciously resisting it because you are trying to listen. But if that noise, the hum of that electric fan, is part of your attention, there is no resistance. You are that noise. With that same state of mind you can look at the whole process of your own consciousness, with all its contradictions, its desires, ambitions, drives, compulsions, fulfilments. You are all that. You are not an observer looking at something separate from himself; therefore there is no resistance, no conflict between you and that something.
I don't know if you are getting what I am talking about.
Take fear, for example. Fear is you who are observing it; therefore there is no question of getting rid of fear. The moment you try to get rid of fear you develop courage, or a resistance which is called courage; there is an effort to be or to become something, and therefore you are again caught in fear.
So consciousness, which includes both the conscious and the unconscious, is like a vortex which you are observing, but not as something apart from yourself. You are that vortex. You are the thinker and the thought, the observer and the observed; there are not two different states. Therefore all effort, all analysis has stopped; all struggling to improve yourself, to change, has come to an end. Do you understand what has happened? You are watching yourself, not just listening to me. Your mind, your brain which has been trained to condemn, to justify, to resist, to make an effort to bring about a mutation, to develop courage, and so on; your brain which has been conditioned to think of itself as the observer apart from the thing observed, is no longer making an effort to be or to do something. Your thought is not trying to conquer or to change itself into something else. So you have removed all resistance; therefore there is no longer the desire to fulfil, and therefore there is no fear. I am talking of psychological, and not organic, fear. The two things are different, are they not? If I am not attentive, I will be run over by a car, drop over a precipice, and so on. For that reason I need to be watchful, extraordinarily alert; there must be a certain sense of organic self-protection. But I am talking of psychological fear - the many psychological fears that we have developed. As long as there is this thing called the `me' - with all its trivialities, aspirations, `intuitions', with all its drives, its compulsions, its wanting to fulfil - , there is bound to be fear; and in that state there can obviously be no love. For most of us, love is a tortured thing. We are caught in jealousy, envy, attachment, sorrow. We are afraid of being left alone, of losing someone, of not being loved - you know what we go through. That is what we call love, but it is all part of fear.
So, when you observe this whole consciousness, not in terms of time; when thought is no longer a slave to time, no longer a reaction, and there is complete quietness of thought; then you will find that, because the brain is completely quiet, no longer experiencing, you can go to the very root of all consciousness; and only then is there real mutation, transformation. Every activity is then entirely free from fear, and therefore there is no demand for self-expression or fulfilment.
Shall we discuss what I have been talking about?
Questioner: How does the division between thought and the thinker arise?
Krishnamurti: You know there is this division, don't you? Are you aware of it? And how does it arise? We have accepted this division as normal, as inevitable; we have accepted it as naturally as we accept the sun and the clouds, but we have never asked ourselves how it arises. There are those who say that first there is the thinker, who then creates thought, and that the division between them follows. A whole philosophy is built on that. But you and I have not read all the philosophical books on this subject, so we can try to find out for ourselves the truth of the matter. How does this division arise? Please, you work along with me. How does it arise?
Questioner: Does not the consciousness of time create the division?
Krishnamurti: What do we mean by the consciousness of time? The memory of yesterday, the knowledge, the experiences we have gathered, the things that we have known; and that gentleman suggests it is this consciousness of time that creates the division between the thinker and the thought.
Now, why are we questioning this division? Because as long as there is a division between the thought and the thinker, there must be conflict. Please see that this is the root of it. Do you understand? As long as there is a division between the observer and the observed, between the experiencer and the thing experienced, there must be conflict. And any form of conflict dulls the mind, wears out the brain; it cripples and makes the brain insensitive. So, to bring about freedom from conflict, you have to understand this division.
How does this division arise? Is there any division if there is no thinking at all? Not to think at all is extremely difficult, so don't say, "That's easy, one is just blank". I am not talking of that idiotic state of blankness, nor of taking a drug and numbing the brain. But if there is no thinking there is no division, obviously. If you were so completely insensitive, paralysed, that you were incapable of thinking, then there would be no self-contradiction. So it is thinking that produces this division between the thought and the thinker. And how does thinking bring it about? Thinking is a transitory process, is it not? It is all the time changing, moving, it is not what it was, it is in a constant state of flux; and this very process of thinking wants stability, security, it wants to feel itself safe. Thinking is painful, it creates so many problems, and because thinking does not solve the problems it has created, we hope that God, or something, will somehow give us security, peace.
If you are following you can see for yourself that this is obviously not a theory. Contradictory thoughts, contradictory desires, wants, create conflict, pain, suffering; so the mind says, "There must be something secure, something permanent - God, an idea, or a divine part of me that is untouched by conflict". To the Hindu it is the Atman, the Supreme, to the Christian it is something else, and to the communist it is again something else. So thinking demands security, and that is why we have built up a society which is psychologically seeking security all the time. Thought creates the division because it demands security, permanency; and having created the division, thought says, "How am I to reach that permanency?" From this you have all the various systems for reaching that extraordinary state of permanency in which the brain will never be disturbed.
To put it differently, thought projects from itself that which it calls the permanent - heaven, nirvana, God, peace, the perfect state. Then having established the goal, the ideal, thought tries to conform to it. That is what you are all doing. You want perfect peace, an ideal relationship with yourself, with your husband or wife, with society, and so on, and so on. You have an idea, and you are approximating yourself to that idea. So there is the `you', and the thing apart.
Now, is there anything permanent? Not just verbally, but actually, deep down, is there anything permanent - permanent in the sense of being fixed? Is there anything permanent between you and your wife or husband, between you and your children? Is there permanency in an idea? But you want permanency; therefore, when the existence of permanency is questioned, you get upset or become angry.
So, observing and understanding this whole process, the mind lives not seeking permanency, either in name, in activity, or in relationship. And surely that is love, is it not? If you demand permanency in your relationship with yourself, with your friend, with your wife and children, just see what happens - the tortures you go through, the jealousies, the misery, the confusion and sorrow. Yet that is what we call love.
So we begin to see that thought - which is the response of memory, the result of time, the result of many, many thousands of yesterdays - is constantly seeking to establish for itself a state of certainty. But the mind that is certain can never be free - nor can the mind that is uncertain.
Questioner: Consciously we are in harmony, in complete agreement with what you are saying, but unconsciously, when we leave here and are again caught up in our daily activities, we act quite contrary to what we have listened to and understood. Why does this happen?
Krishnamurti: It is fairly simple, isn't it? How do you listen? Do you listen only to words? Is what you hear merely a statement with which you intellectually agree or disagree? Or do you listen with your whole being, not only consciously but also unconsciously? When you so listen, there is neither agreement nor disagreement. You see the fact itself, not the fact as someone else presents it. And you cannot be in harmony with a fact. Do you follow? If you attempt to be in harmony with a fact, you are inevitably brought into conflict. But if you are that fact, there is no conflict; therefore, when you leave this tent, there is no contradiction between what you have heard and what you do. You hear and do - it is a complete, unitary process. That is why it is very important that you listen - listen with your whole being and not just intellectually or verbally, with your conscious thought alone. Have you ever listened to anything with your whole being? I question it.
Question: Even if one does listen with one's whole being, I wonder if that in itself is sufficient to affect the unconscious? Krishnamurti: Sir, when you give your attention totally to what is being said, you are listening, not just to the words and the meaning of words, but to the whole content that lies behind the words; and the very giving of your total attention is an act in which the nature of your action is changing. Therefore, when you leave here, there is a total action, and not just an intellectual action contradicting your unconscious.
Now, you will say, "How am I to listen with total attention? I don't know how to listen in that way, I don't really listen to anything, so please give me a method, a way, a system that will help me to listen with my whole being". And what would happen if I gave you a system? Your trying to listen would create a contradiction with your habit of not listening, and therefore you would be caught again in the same old business.
Sir, when suddenly you have a great sorrow, what do you do? At that moment you are completely in a state of shock, are you not? The crisis has forced you to be silent; you are absolutely confronted with something which you don't understand, and you are momentarily paralysed, you have no words. In that state of shock - if you don't try to find a way out of it, or explain it away - you are looking observing, listening with total attention. Now, can you listen in the same way to yourself? Your whole being is in a constant state of flux, always active, never still - wanting this, not wanting that, contradicting itself, fulfilling itself, in endless turmoil. And can you listen to that turmoil without becoming neurotic? To become neurotic, slightly off the beam, is very easy. That is what most people do. But if you can listen to yourself without running off, and without trying to change what you hear - just listen to the silent noise that is going on within yourself, that act of listening brings about a vital change in the very nature of action; and then in action there is no contradiction.
July 16, 1963
Saanen 5th Public Talk 16th July 1963
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