Saanen 6th Public Talk 23rd July 1964
It seems to me rather important to find out for oneself what one is seeking. The word `seeking' has extraordinary significance, has it not? Apart from the dictionary meaning, the act of seeking implies that one is moving from the periphery to the centre. And this seeking, this searching depends upon one's temperament, upon environmental pressures and strains, upon the calamities of experience, the distresses of life, the innumerable travails of one's existence. All these factors force one to seek. If there were no pressure, no challenge, no calamity, no misery, I wonder how many of us would seek anything at all?
Searching implies going around looking in the hope of finding something, does it not? I looked up that word `searching' this morning in the dictionary. It comes from a Latin word, the implication of which is to go seeking, asking, demanding, inquiring, probing. And I wonder what we are probing for, what it is we are seeking! Can we ever find out? Or is it something vague, fleeting, constantly changing according to circumstances, according to one's temperament, one's peculiar pleasures and pains?
We are everlastingly talking about seeking, searching. What does that word imply? It implies that from the outside you gradually move to the centre according to your own particular idiosyncrasies, tastes and environmental pressures. It is like going from shop to shop trying on various suits till something fits you which you like, and you accept it. When you say you are seeking, what you really mean is that you are experimenting with different ideas, concepts, formulas, going from one religion to another, from one teacher to another, until eventually you find something you like, something that suits your own particular temperament and idiosyncrasies. If you don't like what you find in the Occident, you turn to the Orient, with its ancient and complex philosophy, where there are innumerable teachers and gurus to choose from; and there you get caught up in a little pool of thought, imagining it to be the everlasting reality. Or, if you don't do that, you become a yet more ardent Catholic, or join the existentialists - oh, goodness, there are so many of these things in the world! To me there is neither the East nor the West; the human mind is neither oriental nor occidental. Whatever their origin, all theologies are immature, as all philosophies are. They are the inventions of man, who, being caught in a prison of his own making, believes in something and around that belief creates a theology, or projects some extraordinary philosophy; and the more clever the philosopher or the theologian, the more acceptable he becomes to the public, to the reader, to the follower.
Now, is that what we are all doing here? You come and spend two or three weeks here, listening to what is being said. If you feel that it isn't quite satisfactory, that it doesn't give you everything you want, you turn to some other teacher, or take up some other philosophy, from which you get a little more satisfaction. So, unless you are permanently caught up in a little backwater of thought, you keep going until one year, perhaps, you come back here; and then you start all over again.
So I think we ought to understand this extraordinary phenomenon, whether in the West or in the East, of going from one thing to another, endlessly seeking, asking, demanding, probing. That is, I think we ought to be very clear in ourselves what it is we are seeking, and why - and whether there is any necessity to seek at all. Surely, all search implies a movement from the periphery to the centre, from the circumstances to the cause, from the boundaries to the very origin of existence. That is, we move from the outer to the inner, hoping to find something real, deep, vital, something extraordinarily significant. In the course of this movement we struggle to practice different methods, systems, we torture ourselves with various forms of discipline, so that at the end of one's life one is bruised, one's mind is almost crippled.
I am afraid this is the case with most of us. We move in from the periphery to the centre because we want to find out how to be happy, what is truth, whether there is God, something everlasting; and therefore we are always struggling, conforming, imitating, following, brutalizing our minds and hearts with discipline, until we have nothing left of ourselves that is original, true, real. That is our life; and the greater the pressure, the pain, the fury of life on the periphery, the more we want to move towards the centre.
Now, is there a coming to the centre immediately - without this endless struggle to reach the centre - and from the centre, flowering? Do you understand my question? For millions of years we have struggled to go from the outer to the inner in order to find out what is real - and we have just seen what is involved in that process. So I say to myself, how absurd all that is. Why should I torture myself? Why should I copy, imitate, follow? Is there not a possibility of discovering or being at the very centre, and flowering from there, instead of going the other way around? Because, to me at least, the other way around has no meaning; it has no significance whatsoever, therefore I reject it completely. I don't want to torture myself, or follow anyone. I don't want to read a single book about philosophy, or sharpen my mind with subtle argument-my mind has been made sufficiently sharp as it is through ambition, through anxiety and despair, through all the brutalities of life. And I don't want to practice another method, another system, or follow another guru, teacher, or saviour - I don't want to do anything of that kind.
Please, I am thinking aloud, not just for myself, but to clarify certain things so that you and I can commune with each other about what is real, and not everlastingly struggle through reaction to move from the outer to the inner. I am putting into words what perhaps you may feel at rare moments, when you are fed up with everything - with your churches, with your politicians, with your banks, with the pettiness of your relationships at home, with the boredom of the office, with all the stupidities of life which are an insult to human dignity. Having spent twenty years or more going to the office day after day, or cooking food and bearing children one after another - having experienced the pleasure as well as the boredom, the pettiness, the despair of all that, you must sometimes have asked yourself if there is not a possibility of coming suddenly, unexpectedly, to the original source, to the very essence of things, and from there living, functioning, flowering, so that you never need read a single book, study any philosophy, worship any image or saviour, because wherever you look there is that centre from which all action, all love, everything takes place.
The obvious fact is that - with our greed, jealousy, possessiveness, fear, with our sentimentality, our fleeting pleasures, our purr of self-satisfaction - we are animals, highly evolved animals. If you watch an animal you will see it has the same conflicts that we have. The anthropoid apes are jealous and have their matrimonial difficulties. They unite in groups - first the family, then the tribe, and all that business - just as we do; and someone was saying the other day that these apes could sit in the United Nations quite as well as any human being! It is an obvious fact that our character, our devotion, our courage, our fear, our wars, our so-called peace, our struggles, all spring from this animal background. You don't have to dispute this with me. The biologists, the anthropologists are saying it is so - if you want authorities.
Now, is it possible to be free of all that, not eventually, by slow degrees, but can one cut it away at one blow so that it is over, and one has a morality, an ethic, a sense of beauty totally apart, something completely different from the animal background? Obviously, to live together in the world we need a morality of social behaviour; but at present our morality, our concepts of behaviour - which are the formulas for our daily existence - are still of the animal, and we don't want to acknowledge that. We like to think, because we are a little more capable, more efficient, more inventive than the apes, that we are also more human; but even the apes use instruments to catch things, they invent as they go along, so there is very little difference between them and us.
So, there is this extraordinary activity of the animals, and the equally extraordinary activity of the human mind that wants to be secure, not only in the physical world, but also inwardly - which is still a result of the animal instinct. And there is at the same time the desire to find something real, original, a state that is uncontaminated, innocent. Now, is it possible to come upon that state suddenly, so that it is not cultivated, not sought after? Because beauty cannot be cultivated, any more than love can. You must come upon it suddenly, as you would come upon a view which you had never seen before. All at once it is there in front of you, rich, full, vital, and you are part of it; and from there you live, you act, you are. Without making an effort, without disciplining, controlling, compelling the outer, without imitating, and all that, you suddenly come upon the well of life, the original spring of all existence; and when once the mind has drunk at that fountain, it has lived and it lives from there forever. Is such a thing possible?
Do you understand my question? This is not something sentimental or mystical, it is not something to get excited or inspired over, nor is it something that you intuitively feel. It is none of those things. As long as we are animalistic, with our envies, jealousies, despairs, this thing is not possible - the two can't go together. To cut away totally, at one stroke, the animal background, and then begin anew - is that possible?
I will show you how important, how necessary it is that it be made possible. If you admit time - yesterday, today and tomorrow - then you are inevitably caught in the process of degeneration, because you will always be looking to tomorrow, and there will always be a yesterday which conditions the present. So the mind, which is the result of centuries of time, has to forget time. Do you follow? It has to put away time altogether. Otherwise it is caught in the net of time, in the struggle to achieve, to become, to arrive - it goes through all that, which only leads to sorrow, misery, decay. So what is one to do?
I want to find out immediately what is true, and not wait a few seconds, or until the day-after tomorrow; I want to be there. I am too impatient to wait. I have no use for time, for the idea of achieving something at the end of my life, or after ten thousand lives. That to me is utterly juvenile, immature. It is all an invention of the mind in its laziness, in its confusion, in its despair. I want to be so awake that when I open my eyes, my heart, my mind, the truth is there; and from there to function, to act, to live, to enjoy the beauties of the earth.
Now, we are going to talk about something which cannot possibly be copied, imitated. I am going to explore, and I hope you are going to explore with me. But if you merely follow me, then you are lost.
However different the varieties of temperament, all movement from the border to the centre is a positive movement. It is a deliberate search, a reaction away from the border towards the centre, a movement arising from the desire to find, and therefore involving discipline, imitation, following, obeying the practice of a system. All this is a positive process - at least it is what you call positive.
Just follow this, don't inwardly argue with me. You will see how true it is as we go along. I am not mesmerizing or trying to put something over on you, nor am I doing any kind of propaganda - that is all too silly.
So one is aware of this positive movement, and one sees the whole significance of it. One sees it immediately, and not in a leisurely, inattentive manner, with the idea, "I will think about it tomorrow". There is no thought of tomorrow, there is no idea of `in the meantime'. One sees it immediately, and therefore the positive movement ceases completely. One hasn't done anything; there has been no volitional act, no cause, no deliberate searching and coming to a result. One sees the immaturity of this positive movement, with its priests - one sees the utter futility of the whole of it. The priests, the churches, the theologies, the inventors of ideas - they all drop away, because one perceives the truth that this positive movement from the periphery to the centre, can never reach the centre. It is the movement of the outer trying to come within - and therefore always remaining the outer. One sees that fact with sharpness, with an extraordinary clarity; and then one begins to understand the beauty of negative movement - the negative movement of the mind which is not the opposite of the positive, but which comes into being when the mind has understood the significance of all positive movement. So one's mind is no longer caught in the positive movement, and therefore it is in a state of negation. That is, having seen - not fragmentarily, but completely - the significance of this positive movement, the mind is no longer moving, no longer acting, doing, therefore it is in a state which may be called negative. Do you understand? Let me put it differently.
Personally, I never read a book about all this. I don't want to, it doesn't interest me, because I see in myself the whole of mankind - not mystically, metaphorically, or symbolically, but actually. I am you and the world. In me is the whole treasure of the world, and to discover it I have only to understand and go beyond myself. If I don't understand my,self, I have no raison d'etre, no substance; I am just a confused entity, and the more I seek, study, follow,` the more confused I become. I depend on teachers, on my temperament, on my desires, and therefore my confusion grows.
So I see how important it is to understand myself totally, without effort - that is, without making the understanding of myself into a problem. To understand myself, I must have a mind that is not making; any positive movement to correct, or not to correct, what it sees. As I said the other day, both the conscious and the unconscious mind are trivial, and I have to understand that triviality; I have to understand it immediately, so that the unconscious doesn't play tricks, doesn`t project some vision, some image, some secret desire, when I am not giving it complete attention - and which again becomes a problem.
Are you following all this?
I see that to understand myself completely requires a mind that is totally uninfluenced, without a motive, without a movement, a mind that is completely empty of positive action. And when with that clarity of mind I can look at myself, that very looking dissolves the triviality, which is the `me'.
Please, I am not inventing a philosophy. And for God's sake, don't translate this as something peculiar to the Orient, and all that nonsense. It isn't an idiosyncrasy of the speaker, who happens to have been born in a country where the sun is hot and makes the skin brown. Because of that heat and the sluggishness it induces, and out of poverty, there are those who go within, and from that going within they write philosophies, invent religions, gods, and all the rest of it. Leave that to them. I am not talking about that. I am talking about something which is neither of the East nor of the West, which is neither personal nor impersonal - it is what is true. One has suddenly come upon a state in which the mind is no longer driven by the desire to be gratified, no longer demanding or seeking experience. One has to come upon it, for there is nobody to teach it, and this requires energy. By energy I mean the focussing of all one's attention without any sense of distraction. Actually there is no such thing as distraction, there is only inattention. No? I am glad somebody doesn't agree.
Is there such a thing as distraction? As I am walking, moving, I look. My mind goes here and there, to different points, and if they move me, if they take me away from the main road, from the self-centre, I call them distractions. But when there is no self-centre, no straight path along which I am walking there is no distraction.
This is very important to understand. If you understand this one thing very clearly, you will find that all effort to concentrate, with the conflict it creates, completely disappears; and then there is no distraction. Looking at the sky, seeing the face of a lovely child, hearing the stream rushing by, and the terrific noise of a jet passing overhead; observing people, the politicians, the priests, listening to your own mind and heart, being aware of your own demands, your own despairs - in none of these, from the looking at the sky to the looking at yourself, is there distraction. It is all part of one whole, and that one whole can be seen only when there is complete attention; and complete attention is denied when you admit distraction. Oh, do see this!
When there is complete attention, you never regard anything as a distraction. Your sex, your jealousy, your anxiety, your fear, your love, your passion - nothing you look at is any distraction at all. Everything is within the flame of attention, and therefore there is nothing fragmentary. The politician, the priest, the ritual - they are all part of the whole. In the positive movement of the mind there is distraction, there is fragmentation; but when the mind has no movement and is therefore - if I may use the word - negative, there is no fragmentation of life. Then the cloud in the sky, the dust on the road, the flower by the wayside, and the whisper of your own thought, are all part of the whole. But that wholeness can be understood only when the positive movement of the mind has completely ceased.
So you see for yourself that to come upon that centre, that original source of things, which is the supreme, all movement of the mind must come to an end - but not through torturing the mind with discipline, or through posing so extraordinarily difficult or fantastic a question, as they do in certain sects, that the mind is shocked into silence. That is all utterly immature. From the beginning you must see the truth of every movement of your own thought and feeling; and you can do that only when the mind is completely `negative', silent, quiet. And it can be done immediately. It is like stepping off the road - the road of positive action which man has habitually followed for thousands upon thousands of years. You can just step off that road without any expectation, without any demanding or seeking. But you can do it only when you see the whole movement of man, and not just the movement of a particular man; that is, when you see in yourself the movement of the whole. When you Perceive all this at one glance - and that is all you have to do, nothing else - then you are already walking in freedom; and out of that freedom there is action which does not cripple the mind.
Will you please ask some questions about all this? Or is there nothing to ask?
Questioner: What is maturity?
Krishnamurti; Are we talking about maturity? All right, sir, what is maturity? Has maturity got anything to do with age? Has maturity got anything to do with experience with knowledge, with capacity? Has it anything to do with competition and the accumulation of money? If it is not any of these things, then what is maturity? Has it anything to do with time? Don't say `no' so easily. If you were really free of time, if time had no importance to you whatsoever, what would be the state of your mind? I am not talking about chronological time; that obviously has importance. But if time meant nothing to you in the psychological sense - time to achieve, time to succeed, time to overcome, to conquer, time to become clever, time to grasp, to compare - then wouldn't you be mature? So it is only the innocent mind that is mature, not the mind that has accumulated knowledge for a thousand years. Knowledge is needed and has significance at a certain level; but knowledge does not make for clarity, for innocence. There is innocence only when all conflict has come to an end. When the mind is no longer moving in any particular direction, because all directions have been understood, it is then in that state of originality which is innocence, and from there it can go into the measureless distance where the supreme may be; and only such a mind is mature.
July 23, 1964
Saanen 6th Public Talk 23rd July 1964
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