Saanen 3rd Public Talk 16th July 1964
There is, I think, a great deal of difference between communication and communion. In communication there is a sharing of ideas through words, pleasant or unpleasant, through symbols, through gestures; and ideas can be translated ideologically, or interpreted according to one's own peculiarities, idiosyncrasies and background. But in communion I think there is something quite different taking place. In communion there is no sharing or interpretation of ideas. You may or may not be communicating through words, but you are directly in relationship with that which you are observing; and you are communing with your own mind, with your own heart. One may commune with a tree, for example, or with a mountain, or a river. I do not know if you have ever sat beneath a tree and really tried to commune with it. It is not sentimentality, it is not emotionalism: you are directly in contact with the tree. There is an extraordinary intimacy of relationship. In such communion there must be silence, there must be a deep sense of quietness; your nerves, your body are at rest; the heart itself almost comes to a stop. There is no interpretation, there is no communication, no sharing. The tree is not you, nor are you identified with the tree: there is only this sense of intimacy in a great depth of silence. I do not know if you have ever tried it. Try it sometime - when your mind is not chattering, not wandering all over the place, when you are not soliloquizing, when you are not remembering the things that have been done or that must be done. Forgetting all that, just try communing with a mountain, with a stream, with a person, with a tree, with the very movement of life. That demands an astonishing sense of stillness, and a peculiar attention - not concentration, but an attention which comes with ease, with pleasure.
Now, I would like to commune with you this morning about what we were discussing the other day. We were talking about freedom, and the quality of it. Freedom is not an ideal, something far away; it is not the ideation of a mind held in a prison, which is only a theory. Freedom can exist only when the mind is no longer crippled by any problem whatsoever. A mind that has problems can never commune with freedom, or be aware of the extraordinary quality of freedom.
Most people have problems and just put up with them; they get used to their problems and accept them as part of their life. But those problems are not resolved by accepting or getting used to them, and if you scratch the surface, there they are, still festering away. And most people live in that state - perpetually accepting one problem after another, one pain after another; there is a sense of disillusionment, of anxiety, despair, and they accept it.
Now, if we merely accept problems and live with them, we have obviously not resolved those problems at all. We may say they are forgotten, or that they do not matter any more; but they do matter, infinitely, because they pervert the mind, distort perception, and destroy clarity. If we have a problem, with most of us that problem takes up the whole field of our life. It may be a problem of money, of sex, of illiteracy, or of the desire to fulfil oneself, to become famous; whatever it is, we are so concerned with that one problem that it consumes our being, and we think that by resolving it we shall be free of all our misery. But as long as a narrow little mind is trying to resolve its own particular problem, unrelated to the whole movement of life, it can never be free of problems. Every problem is related to another problem, and if you merely take one problem and try to resolve it fragmentarily, what you are doing is utterly useless. It is like cultivating one corner of a field and thinking that you have cultivated the whole field. You have to cultivate the whole field, you have to look at every problem.
As I was saying the other day, what is important is not the resolution of a problem, but the understanding of it - however painful, however demanding however imminent and pressing that problem may be. I am not being dogmatic or assertive, but it seems to me that to be concerned with only one particular problem indicates a very petty little mind; and a petty little mind which is everlastingly trying to solve its own particular problem can never find the way out of problems. It can escape in various ways, it can become bitter, cynical, or give itself up to despair; but it can never understand the whole problem of existence.
So, if we are to deal with problems, we must deal with the whole field from which problems arise, and not just with one particular problem. Any one problem, however intricate, however demanding or pressing it may be, is related to all other problems; therefore it is important not to think of that problem fragmentarily - which is one of the most difficult things to do. When we have a problem which is urgent, painful, insistent, most of us think that we must solve it isolatedly, without taking into consideration the whole network of problems. We think of that problem fragmentarily; and a fragmentary mind is really a petty mind; it is - if I may use the word - a bourgeois mind. Please, I am not being insulting, I am not using that word derrogatively, but simply as an indication of what the mind actually is. It is a mediocre mind that wants a particular problem solved isolatedly. A person who is consumed by jealousy wants to act on the spot, to do something about it, either to suppress his jealousy, or to take revenge. But that particular problem is related very deeply to other problems; so we have to consider the whole issue, and not just one part of it.
When we are discussing problems it must be understood that we are not trying to find an answer to any problem. As I have pointed out, inquiry merely in order to find an answer to a problem, is an escape from the problem. That escape may be comfortable or painful, it may demand a certain intellectual capacity, and so on; but whatever it is, it is still an escape. If we are to resolve our problems, if we are to be free of them, released from all the pressures which they entail so that the mind is completely quiet and can perceive - because it can perceive only in freedom - then our first concern must not be how to resolve any problem, but to understand it. To understand is far more important than to resolve a problem. Understanding is not the capacity or the cleverness of a mind that has acquired various forms of analytical knowledge and is capable of analyzing a particular problem; but a mind that understands is in communion with the problem. To be in communion is not to be identified with the problem. As I said, to be in communion with a tree, with a human being, with a river, with the extraordinary beauty of nature, there must be a certain quietness, a certain sense of aloofness, of being far away from things.
So, what we are trying to do here is to learn how to be in communion with the problem. But do you understand the difficulty in this statement? When there is communion with another, the thought of the `me' is absent. When you are in communion with your loved one, with your wife, with your child, when you hold the hand of a friend, in that moment - if it is not merely the phony sentimentality, sensation, and all the rest of it, which is called love, but something quite different, something vital, dynamic, real - there is a total absence of the whole mechanism of the `me' with its thought process. Similarly, to be in communion with a problem implies complete, non-identifying observation, does it not? Your nerves, your brain, your body - the whole entity is quiet. In that state you can observe the problem without identification, and that is the only state in which there can be an understanding of the problem.
You know, the so-called artist may paint a tree, or write a poem about it, but I wonder if he is really in communion with the tree? In the state of communion there is no interpretation, there is no sense of communication, there is no searching for a way of expression. Whether or not you express that communion in words, on a canvas, or in stone, is of very little importance; but the moment you want to express it, to show it, to sell it, to become famous, and so on, self-importance comes in.
To understand a problem completely is to be in communion with it. Then you will find that the problem is not at all important, and that what is important is the state of the mind which is in communion with the problem. Such a mind does not create problems. But a mind that is not capable of communion with the problem, that is self-centred, egotistic, that wants to express itself, and all the rest of those immature things - it is that petty mind which creates the problems.
So, as I was saying the other day, to understand the problem - any problem - you have to understand the whole process of desire. We are self-contradictory psychologically, and therefore in our action. We think one thing, and do another. We live in a state of self-contradiction, otherwise there would be no problems; and self-contradiction arises when there is no understanding of desire. To live without conflict of any kind whatsoever, one has to understand the structure and the nature of desire - not suppress it, control it, try to destroy it, or merely indulge in it, as most people do. This does not mean going to sleep, vegetating, and just accepting life with all its degeneracy. What it means is seeing for oneself that conflict in any form - whether it is quarrelling with one's wife or husband, with the community, with society, whatever it is - deteriorates the mind, makes the mind dull, insensitive.
As I said the other day, desire by itself is not in a state of contradiction - it is the objects of desire, and the reaction of desire to those objects, that create the contradiction. Desire has continuity only when there is the identification of thought with that desire. To observe there must be sensitivity; one's nerves, one's eyes and ears, one's whole being must be alive, yet the mind must be quiet. Then one can look at a fine car, a beautiful woman, a splendid house, or a face which is extraordinarily alive, intelligent - one can observe these things, see them as they are, and there the matter ends. But what generally happens? There is desire; and thought, identifying itself with that desire, gives it continuity.
I do not know if I am making myself clear. We will discuss this point a little later.
What is important is to observe without bringing in thought. Now, do not make a problem out of that statement. Do not say, "How am I to observe, how am I to see and feel without allowing thought to interfere?" If you perceive for yourself the whole process of desire, and the contradiction brought about by its objects, and the continuity which thought gives to desire - if you see this whole machinery in operation, then you will not ask that question.
You know, to learn how to drive a car, it is not enough just to be told about it. You have to sit at the wheel, start the car, put on the brakes, learn the whole movement of driving. In the same way, you have to know the extraordinarily delicate mechanism of thought and desire, and not just be instructed about it. You have to look at it, learn about it for yourself - and that requires a sensitivity of approach.
So, what is important is not the resolution of a problem, but the understanding of the problem. A problem arises only when there is a contradiction, conflict; and conflict implies effort, does it not? - the effort to achieve, the effort to become, the effort to change this into that, the effort to bring-one thing nearer and push something else away. This effort has its origin in desire - the desire to which thought has given continuity. So you have to learn about this whole process - learn, and not just be instructed by the speaker, which has no value at all. What you hear through the telephone may be nice, or it may be unpleasant; it may be real, or it may be stupid, completely false; but it is what you hear that is important, and not the instrument itself. Most of us attach importance to the instrument. We think the instrument is going to teach us something, and I have constantly warned against that particular form of stupidity.
You are here to learn; and you are listening, not just to the speaker, but to yourselves. You are in communion with your own mind; you are observing the operation of desire, and how problems arise. You are becoming intimate with yourself, and that intimacy can be deeply felt only when you approach the problem very quietly, without saying, "I must solve the beastly thing" and getting agitated or excited about it. You are finding out how a problem arises, and how thought perpetuates it by giving continuity to a particular desire. So we are going to learn about the arising of a problem, and the ending of the problem - not through taking time to think it over, but the ending of it immediately.
Whatever the problem, thought gives it continuity. If you say something pleasing to me, thought identifies itself with that pleasure and wants to continue living in it; therefore I regard you as my friend, and I see you often. But if you say something which insults me, what happens? Again I give continuity to that particular feeling by thinking about it. What you have said may be true, but I don't like it, therefore I avoid you, or I want to hit you back. This is the mechanism that creates problems and keeps them going.
I think this is now fairly clear. By constantly thinking about something, one gives it continuity. You know the messy stuff you think about yourself and your family, all the pleasurable memories, and the illusions you have about yourself - you constantly think about all that, and therefore it has a continuity. Now, if you begin to understand that whole process and learn for yourself the ways of continuity, then when a problem arises you can be in complete communion with it, because thought doesn't interfere; and therefore there is the immediate ending of that problem. Do you follow?
Look, sirs, let us take a very common problem: the desire for security. Most of us want to be secure - that is one of the animalistic demands of human beings. Obviously you must have a certain security in the physical sense. You must have a place to live, and you must know where you are going to get your next meal - unless you live in the East, where you can play around with physical insecurity, wandering from village to village and all that kind of thing. Fortunately or unfortunately, you can't do that here; if you did, you would be put in prison for vagrancy, and all the rest of it.
In the animal, in the baby, in the child, the urge to be physically secure is very strong. And most of us demand to be secure psychologically; in everything we do, think and feel, we want to be secure, certain. That is why we are so competitive; that is why we are jealous, greedy, envious, brutal; that is why we are so terribly concerned about things that don't matter at all. This insistent demand for psychological security has existed for millions of years, and we have never inquired into the truth of it. We have taken it for granted that we must have psychological security in our relationship with our family, with our wife or husband, with our children, with our property, with what we call God. At all costs we must feel secure.
Now, I want to be in communion with this demand for psychological security, because it is a real problem. Do you understand? Not to feel psychologically secure, for most of us, means going off the deep end, or becoming neurotic, peculiar. You can see this peculiar look in the faces of many people. I want to find out the truth of the matter, I want to understand this whole demand for security; because it is the desire to be secure in relationship that breeds jealousy, anxiety, that gives rise to the hate and misery in which most of us live. And having demanded to be secure for so many millions of years, how is the mind, being so conditioned, to find out the truth of security? To find the truth of it, surely, I have to be in complete communion with it. I cannot be told about it by another - that would be too silly. I have to learn about it for myself. I have to investigate it, find out; I have to be in complete intimacy with this demand for security, otherwise I will never know whether there is such a thing as security or not. This is probably the major problem with most of us. If I discover that there is no security at all, then there is no problem, is there? Then I am out of this battle for security, and therefore my action in relationship is entirely different. If my wife wants to run away, she runs away, and I don't make an issue of it, I don't hate anyone, I don't become jealous, envious, furious, and all the rest of it.
I see you are now paying close attention, all right! You are much more familiar with this sort of thing than I am. Personally, I don't want to make a problem of security; I don't want to create a problem in my life of any kind - economic, social, psychological, or so-called religious. I see very clearly that a mind that has problems is made dull, insensitive, and that only a highly sensitive mind is intelligent. And because this cry to be secure goes on so deeply and everlastingly in each one of us, I want to find out the truth of security. But this is a very difficult matter to inquire into; because, not only from childhood, but from the very beginning of time, we have always wanted to be secure - secure in our work, in our thoughts and feelings, in our beliefs and our gods, in our nation, in our family and our property. That is why memory, tradition, the whole background of the past, plays such an extraordinarily important role in our life. Now, every experience adds to my sense of security. Do you understand? Every experience is being recorded in memory, added to the storehouse of things that have happened. This accumulated experience becomes my permanent background as long as I live, and with that background I experience further; therefore every further experience is added to and strengthens that background of memory in which I feel safe, secure. Do you follow? So I have to be aware of this whole extraordinary process of my conditioning. It is not a question of how to be free of my conditioning, but of being in communion with it from moment to moment. Then I can look at the desire for security and not make it into a problem.
Is this clear so far? Would you like to ask questions at this point?
Questioner: There is no communion because the mind is burdened with the `I'.
Krishnamurti: Sir, I am asking you something. I am asking you: what is communion? Now, what happens when you hear that question? The whole mechanism of your conditioned mind comes into operation, and you answer it; but you haven't really listened to the question. You may or may not have thought about it before. You may have thought about it casually; or perhaps you have read about it in some book or other, and you repeat what you have read. But you are not listening. When the speaker says to you, "Try being in communion with a tree", surely - if you are at all interested - you first have to find out what it means. Go and sit beneath a tree, or by the river, or in the shadow of a mountain, or just look at your wife, at your child. What does it mean to be in communion? It means that there is no barrier of thought between the observer and that which is observed. The observer is not identifying himself with the tree, with the person, with the river, with the mountain, with the sky. There is simply no barrier. If there is a `you', with its complex thoughts and anxieties, that is observing the tree, then there is no communion with the tree. To be in communion with someone or something, demands space, silence; your body, your nerves, your mind, your heart, your whole being must be quiet, completely still. Don't say, "How am I to be still?" Don't make stillness another problem. Just see that there is no communion if the mechanism of thought is in operation - which doesn't mean you go to sleep!
Probably you have never done this; you have never been in communion with your wife or husband, with whom you sleep, breathe, eat, have children, and all the rest of it. Probably you have never been in communion even with yourself. If you are a Catholic, you go to church and receive what is called communion; but that is not it. All such things are immature.
When we talk like this about communion with nature, with the mountains, with each other, most of us don't know what it means, so we try to imagine it. Do you follow? We speculate about it, and we say it is the `I' that is preventing this communion. For God's sake, don't make another problem of communion! You have enough problems already, so just listen. You are in communion with me, and I am in communion with you. I am telling you something, and to understand it you have to listen. But listening means effortless attention, giving your nerves a rest; it does not mean saying, "I must listen", and therefore screwing yourself up, tightening your nerves. It means that you listen pleasantly, easily, in silence, so that you find out what it is the speaker wants to convey. What he is talking about may be utter nonsense, or it may be something real, and you have to listen to find out - but that seems to be one of your greatest difficulties. You are not really listening; in your mind you are arguing with me, putting up a barrier of words.
I am saying that what is important in all this is to learn to be in communion with yourself in a pleasant, happy way, so that you follow all the little movements of your own thought and feeling as you would follow that stream. See every movement of thought, every movement of feeling, without trying to correct it, without saying it is good or bad, without all those silly, bourgeois judgments of petty little minds. just observe; and in observing, without identifying yourself with any thought or feeling, pleasant or unpleasant, you will find that you can have communion with yourself.
Most of us want to be psychologically secure, we insist on it, and that is why the family becomes a nightmare; it becomes a dreadful thing because we use it as a means of our own security. Then it is the nation that becomes our security, and we go through all this stupid nationalistic stuff. The family is all right, but when it is used as a means of security, it becomes a deadly poison.
To find out the truth of security, you have to be in communion with the deep-rooted desire to be secure, which is constantly repeating itself in different forms. You seek security, not only in the family, but also in memories, and in the domination or the influence of another. You return to the memory of some experience or relationship which gratified you, which gave you hope, assurance, and in that memory you take shelter. There is the security of cleverness, of knowledge; there is the security of name and position. And there is the security of capacity - you can paint, or play the fiddle, or do something else that gives you a sense of security.
Now, when once you are in communion with the desire that drives you to seek security, and you perceive that it is this desire that creates contradiction, because nothing on earth is ever secure, including yourself - when you have found that out and have not merely been told about it, and have resolved the problem completely, then you are out of this whole field of contradiction and are therefore free of fear.
Is that enough for this morning?
I do not know if you are ever silent within yourself. When you are walking down the street, the mind is completely still, observing and listening without thought. When you are driving, you look at the road, at the trees, at the cars passing by - you just observe without recognition, without all the mechanism of thought coming into operation. The more the mechanism of thought operates, the more it wears out the mind; it leaves no space for innocency, and it is only the innocent mind that can see reality.
July 16, 1964
Saanen 3rd Public Talk 16th July 1964
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