New Delhi 1964
New Delhi 2nd Public Talk 25th October 1964
We said that we would talk this evening about fear. But before we go into that, I think we have to understand several things. I am using the word "understand" not verbally or intellectually. It is one of the most difficult things to understand something. Most of us, when we use that word "understand", generally mean that we understand the meaning of the word, as we understand intellectually, verbally; or we do not understand, because we oppose what we hear with our own opinions, with our own knowledge, with our own judgment. So, understanding becomes a very difficult problem because one is never in contact directly with any issue, with any problem. We approach the problem either verbally, intellectually, or according to a formula; therefore we are never directly in contact with the problem; therefore, we never understand the issue at all.
So, when we use the word "understand", we must be very clear what we mean by that word. It is not a verbal or intellectual understanding. We mean by "understanding" a total comprehension, a total sensitivity to the issue - not a fragmentary approach, not an intellectual, a verbal or an emotional approach, but a total, comprehensive, complete approach, a complete contact with the problem. That is what we mean when we use the word "understand". We have many problems, many issues; and to understand them, we must be directly in contact with them; and we cannot be in contact with them if we approach them intellectually, verbally, or with a prejudice, or with a preconceived idea or a formula - then, there is no contact with the problem, and therefore there is no understanding. So, it has to be clear that we are not playing with words, we are not indulging in ideation, in theories, but are actually trying to understand that which actually is, that with which we can come directly into contact.
As I said, we were going to talk this evening about fear. But before we go into that, we have to understand action and the complex problem of effort. Otherwise, we shall not be able to comprehend or understand, or be in total contact with what we call fear, which distorts all our thinking. Fear prevents comprehension, fear brings. about various forms of contradiction. So, before we go into fear - whether it is possible at all to be totally free from fear - we have to understand what we mean by action and effort.
As we were saying the other day, life is a movement in relationship, which is action. But, for us, action is the outcome of an idea; we translate what we hear into an idea and then carry out that idea in action. That is all we know as action - an urge either of pleasure or displeasure, which is a reaction, which is translated as an idea, that idea being an organized thought. Idea is an organized thought which is carried out in action. That is all we know of action: that is, we have a formula, a pattern, a concept; and then we try to put that concept, that pattern as closely as possible in action - that is what we call action. We see starvation, soaring prices, exploding population, disintegration; and we want to change all this, we want to put a stop to it; and we conceive a formula, an idea, how to do it, and gather a few people who will agree upon that idea, and then collectively act according to the plan, according to the idea - that is what we consider action.
I think we must be very clear about it; because what we are going into presently, will be so contradictory to what we hold as the norm, as the pattern of action. So first we must understand what we call action. That is, I see that colour and I do not like that colour - the idea. And then I act upon that idea. I never look at that colour without an idea. When I look, not through the idea of like and dislike, I am immediately in contact with that colour. This is important to understand. Idea is the outcome of memory, experience, judgment; and therefore it is either personal or collective, racial, family, as memory. And that idea is carried out in action. Now, is there an action without idea? Otherwise, you are not in contact with action at all; you are acting, approximating that activity to an idea and therefore it is never an action, it is never a complete, direct intimate contact with action. It is always through the screen of ideas, and therefore there is a contradiction between action and idea. And we are always trying to bridge the division, this contradiction between idea - which is reasoned, organized thought as an idea - and action which is so separate from the idea, we are trying to bring these two together as closely as possible. Trying to bring together these two - that is, the idea or the formula or the concept and action - is effort. That is all our life. All our life revolves round this.
If you have observed yourself, if you and have watched yourself, if you have watched the activities of the politicians, of the gurus, of the saints, of any human being, you will notice that this is going on all the time - the idea, noble or ignoble, well-planned, or well-reasoned, or unbalanced: how to carry that out in daily life. And to carry out the idea as completely, as totally, as possible in action involves effort. So, all our life is one continuous form of activity. Please, it is really important to understand this circle of the human mind, which is all the time perpetuating contradictions. And having perpetuated contradiction, brought it about, the mind tries to overcome that contradiction; and in trying to overcome that contradiction, a great deal of energy, as effort, is involved. And that way man has lived a million years: the idea, carrying out the idea in action, and therefore living constantly in contradiction. And in being in contradiction, effort is involved.
Please do not translate what we are saying into an idea with which you agree or disagree; but just listen and observe. Because if you, by listening, create another pattern of idea and try to carry out that idea in action, you are back again in the same circle, with different sets of patterns, of ideas and ideologies. We have to understand this process. I am using the word "understand" to mean to be intimately in contact with the process of our thinking, not as an idea, not as a somebody observing the fact from outside, but actually being in contact with the thought process which creates the idea - that again creates the action which contradicts the idea; so the problem arises. Perhaps many of you have not thought about this, and so perhaps it is not a problem, not an issue. But if you have gone into it, it will become an issue - not imposed by the speaker, but it is a problem for yourself. So, if you have gone into it, or if you are listening actually without an opinion - because we are not dealing with opinions, but we are dealing with actual facts, psychological facts - you will see that the idea predominates and action then follows and therefore there is contradiction. That is a fact with which you neither agree nor disagree; it is so.
So, one asks oneself: is it possible to live without effort, at every level of our being, not at fragmentary levels? Is it possible to live our daily life of routine - going to the office, the boredom, the insults, the dirt, the squalor, the beauty of a sunset - to live with all this, our modern life, so completely that there is no effort involved at all? Because when there is an effort of any kind, it is a distortion. You make effort because of an idea, of a memory, of a previous experience, which says, "You must" or "You must not". And is it possible to live, without effort, our daily life, because that is the only life we have and that is the only thing that matters - not your ideas about God and nirvana, heaven and the future; they have no value at all. What has value, what has significance, what has vitality and energy is your daily life - the ugliness, the squalor, the bitterness, the disappointments, the anxiety, the poverty, the starvation, the things that are going on in the world, the disintegration in this country with which we have to deal every day.
Unless we have a totally different operational approach to this daily existence - not a future Utopia, not the lovely communist world or the lovely religious world - unless we understand this present life, with all its complexities, we cannot possibly under any circumstances change what is taking place in the world, in the family and about you.
We need a complete revolution, a complete mutation - not of ideas, not of a formula however intelligent, however clever, however erudite. We need a complete change of mind, a complete revolution, a mutation of the mind. And it is only such a mind that can stop the disintegration that is going on, that can bring about a new sense of living, a sense of creativeness. Therefore one has to find out whether it is possible to live without effort. Because all effort implies resistance, all effort implies contradiction, all effort involves idea as separate from action; and hence our life, daily living, is a contradiction. Unless that contradiction totally disappears - not in little things; I am not talking about little things, but of the contradiction deeply seated in our consciousness, whether conscious or unconscious - we shall disintegrate, we shall be in a state of corruption, and we shall not bring about a different state of mind which can alone solve the immense problems that exist in the world.
So, is it possible to live without effort? Don't say "Yes" or "No", don't agree or disagree or say, "Well, all that I know is a life of effort, I do not know anything else; and what you talk about a life without effort is silly. We see actually that through opposites, through contradictions, through thesis and antithesis, a synthesis is brought about - which is a constant battle of effort - that is all we know". If you go a little deeper behind this pattern of effort, you see that effort comes about only when there is resistance. I mean by the words "to resist", "I like, I do not like" - which is merely an opinion according to a memory, according to an idea, according to an experience; and therefore you are not facing facts. When I see that colour, I immediately say, "I like it" or "I do not like it; therefore, I have created a contradiction. Can I look at that colour without any judgment? When I merely look at it without any judgment, in that look I am immediately in contact with that colour, and therefore there is no contradiction. Please, this is really very subtle but important to understand - as it is to listen to something.
You are listening to me now. I am saying something which you do not know anything about. Your instinctive response is: we cannot do it, or it is nonsense, or he is talking about some stupid, ideological stunt. Therefore, you push it aside - which is resistance. And from that resistance there is a contradiction; and contradiction implies effort, a waste of energy. Whereas, there is no contradiction if you listen to what is being said, not agreeing or disagreeing, not opposing your opinion against the fact, because what I am talking about is a fact, and the issue is whether the pattern of action which we know of can be broken down, not whether you agree or disagree with it. So, you have to listen without creating the pattern of an idea, without agreeing or disagreeing with that idea. Agreeing or disagreeing becomes merely an opinion, and such opinion has no value at all. What has value is that you listen to the fact without agreeing or disagreeing, that you look at it as you would look at the sunset, at a colour, at the sky, at the beauty of a person or the loveliness of a tree - just look. Then you are directly in contact, and that contact with something is complete action. A hungry man is not bothered about the idea: how hunger is brought about, how hunger comes. He is concerned about food - food not as an idea but food as a fact - and,therefore there is no opinion. You may like a certain food or may not like it, but there is no opinion.
So, you have to listen. And that is very difficult because you are not educated to listen. You never listen. You listen with a mind that is full of opinions, ideas and contradiction, to something which is being said and with which you agree or disagree; and therefore, in that state of mind, you are not listening. But to listen is one of the most difficult things, actually as difficult as seeing. I do not know if you have ever considered what it is to see. Probably most of you are married. Have you ever seen, looked at your wives, or your children, or your neighbours, or your politicians, or your leaders, or your gurus? Have you looked, seen with your eyes - not seeing with the ideas behind the eye? You look at your wife with the ideas which you have collected about her, with the insults, with the hurts, with the pleasures, sex, dozens of things and you look at her with them in your minds. Therefore, you do not see the things that are being said here; nor do you listen to the things that are being said by the politicians or by the gurus or by anybody. Because you have ideas, because you belong to the party - you are a Communist, a Socialist, or God knows what else - and because you listen with these ideas to what the other fellow is saying, you are not listening at all. And you never listen to a bird - I do not know whether you have listened to a bird.
To listen to something demands that your mind be quiet - not a mystical quietness, but just quietness. I am telling you something: and to listen to me you have to be quiet, not have all kinds of ideas buzzing in your mind. When you look at a flower, you look at it, not naming it, not classifying it, not saying that it belongs to a certain species - when you do these, you cease to look at it. Therefore I am saying that it is one of the most difficult things to listen - to listen to the Communist, to the socialist, to the congressman, to the capitalist, to anybody, to your wife, to your children, to your neighbour, to the bus conductor, to the bird - just to listen. It is only when you listen without the idea, without thought, that you are directly in contact; and being in contact, you will understand whether what he is saying is true or false; you do not have to discuss. So, in the same way, if you can listen this evening - perhaps you will listen not only this evening but every evening, in your life, in your office, in the bus - then you will understand not only yourself which is a complex entity, but also the whole process of existence.
So, for this evening, please listen without resistance - which does not mean that you are going to follow what is being said - which will be terrible, because we are not an authority. Authority is the most destructive thing in life - a leader, a guru, a man who says, "I know and you do not know". That is what has happened in this country. You have ceased to be human beings, because you have been led, driven, you have followed the authority of Sankara, the authority of the book, Gita, Upanishads - they have destroyed the mind, because you have not thought out for yourself. You are capable of quoting a dozen books, but you do not know for yourself. You are secondhand human beings, and the problems demand a firsthand mind that is directly in contact with the problem, not a secondhand dull-witted mind. So, if you can listen to what is being said, without forming an idea, a formula of what you hear, then you will see what is implied in action-without-effort.
Why does the mind create the idea? Instinctively, we have the idea; why? Now to understand that, we have to go a little bit into the question of memory, experience. What is memory? They, in Europe and America, have been experimenting, investigating into the whole process of memory, how memory is created. You can see it for yourself without being told by the super-expert on Neurology and all the rest of it, you can watch it yourself very clearly. If you think about something continuously, that continuity gives the pattern of memory. I like you, I think about you; thinking about you creates the continuity of memory about you, surely. Or I do not like you, I do not think about you; I push it away from me, and that very act of pushing away gives a continuity of dislike. That is psychologically very simple. I see a certain colour; in that seeing, the neurological process, the electricity and the nerves are set going. That is blue, this is red, and I keep on looking at red and blue - which becomes the memory, the idea that it is blue and that this is red. On that all our experiences are based. That is, experience is the action between challenge and response. Am I being too abstract? I hope not. But I cannot help it; and if you do not like it, there it is. What we are trying to say is very simple really.
One sees very clearly that a new mind - a mind which is not fragmented, which is not Indian, which is not European, which is not American, which is not Russian; a mind really without contradiction, without fragmentation; a mind that is not caught in illusion, that is not under any pressure, strain - acts, not indirectly but directly. Such a mind is necessary, because it is only such a mind that can understand love. It is only such a mind that can be in a state of creation. And it is only such a mind that can alter completely the present world and its misery, confusion. Such a mind is necessary, and how to bring it about is the problem. Is it at all possible to bring about such a mind? To bring it about, you must understand these things: what is effort, what is fear, what is ambition, what is authority - understand, not ideologically, not theoretically, but actually; put your teeth into it so that your mind as an individual mind becomes ardent, passionate, clear, so that it is in a state of constant action and therefore it is never in a state of deterioration.
Now, the question is: our brain is the result of three million years, from the animal to wherever we are now, because we are still the animal; is it possible to free the mind from the animal, without effort? You have to free the mind from the animal - which is greed, envy, fear, ambition, all utter, stupid trivialities which we indulge in and which are all at the animal-instinct level. Is it possible to be free of all that, and to live completely, totally as a human being, not fragmentarily but so completely that all your energy is there? it is-only such a mind that can go beyond itself and find out whether there is a Reality, whether there is God, whether there is something timeless. And to find that out, you have to begin with the simple things like "what is action?" and "what is effort?"
Is it possible to be totally, completely free of fear - not only consciously, but also unconsciously, biologically? One has to go into it - not be taught, not be told. You, as a human being, have got to go into it, for yourself, so completely that you become an individual. It is only the individual that is alone, not a slave to environment. It is only the individual who has this mind - it is only the individual that can have it - that can bring about a different world - not the politicians, not the communists, not the theorists. When the individual has understood the whole psychological structure of his being, in that very understanding there is freedom; and it is that freedom that brings about the flowering of the individual.
Why is it that human beings so quickly accept ideas or create ideas? Why do we do it? Have you noticed why ideas have become important in your lives? Ideas as a nationalist, as the family, as God - why? Now, I am going to show it to you, to point it out, not that you must agree or disagree, but just listen. Ideas come into our being because they are not related to action, to immediate action. Ideas are escapes. I will show you something: there is starvation, poverty, misery in this world. You know what is happening in this country - the lack of food, the poverty, the disgrace, the soaring prices and all the rest of it. Now, science can stop all these, science can give food, clothes, shelter to everybody. But why does it not happen? it is because we are predominated by ideas. That is, you are a Hindu, you are a Muslim, you belong to India and I belong to Pakistan or to America or Russia, and our nationalism - which is again an idea - predominates; and so we sustain the division through ideas and therefore prevent people from living happily with food, shelter and clothes. So, ideas are a means of escape from actuality.
I do not know if you have gone into it. I am pointing it out, now don't agree; when you agree with it, you go back again and fall into ideas. If you do not agree or disagree but look, you will see how your nationalism, your racial prejudices, your religious dogmas, all the stupidities are preventing co-operation with human beings. You can co-operate round an idea, and therefore again the same problems arise: you co-operate with certain ideas and I co-operate with other ideas, and therefore there is a contradiction; you are a communist, I am a capitalist, and therefore we battle; and in the meantime the poor chap is suffering.
So, for most of us, the idea is much stronger than action, because action demands immediacy. Action is always in the living present, act is an active verb. The idea need not be active. It is there, therefore I do not want to act immediately. But action demands all the time change, breaking down, flowing, living, running - that demands energy, watching, clarity. Whereas, with ideas you can play around everlastingly. Therefore the more idealistic you are, the less active you are, and therefore the more is the contradiction. Therefore, ideas, as most of us know, are a means of escape from total action - we are afraid of total action. If you are really listening, you really cease to be a nationalist, you forget your religion, your prejudices, that you are a Hindu, this and that. Then you are a human being; then you come directly into contact with another human being and in that direct contact there is action. And that action may create more revolution, more trouble. Therefore we say, "No. Let us deal with ideas, theories, concepts, and we can play with them everlastingly. "This is one of the major difficulties.
And also we live fragmentarily. We live at the intellectual level at one time, at an emotional level at another time, at a purely physical level at another time. And most of us worship intellect, because knowledge is tremendously important. The more you have read, the more you can quote, the more you can spout out a lot of words about the Gita, this and that, you are respected as an extraordinary human being. It does not matter what kind of a life you lead, what goes on inside you; but as long as you can quote, indulge in intellectual ideas, concepts, you are regarded as a great man - which is again a way of life which is fragmentary. Whereas, a man who lives totally, non-fragmentarily, is not intellectual, emotional, physical, but is all the time a total being. So, that is one of the reasons why we indulge in ideas and why ideas become so dominating.
Is it possible to act without an idea? I hope I am explaining myself clearly. If not, perhaps you will ask questions another day; and we can go more fully in detail with regard to it. One sees that the idea predominates and then action follows; whereas it should be the other way round. There should be only action, not idea; then you are actively living in the present. This demands watchfulness, non-fragmentary action and therefore non-contradiction. Where there is contradiction, there must be effort - which is obvious. So, our whole life goes round and round these three things - idea, action and contradiction: contradiction being conscious, deliberate, or unconscious, unthought, unknown.
So, when we have to understand fear - which we are going into, perhaps not this evening but another evening - we can then go into it, not as an idea which we have to get rid of, but as a fact which we have to understand and therefore not resist.
What is action without idea? You ask yourself this question: what is action without concept, and is it at all possible? First, don't accept it. Find out, if it is possible, what it means. Because our life is action. You are sleeping, walking, dreaming, going to the office, taking up the pen, signing this or that. The whole of life is action, it is a movement in relationship. And that movement in relationship becomes a contradiction when it is a movement born of idea and therefore unrelated to action. When you discover how ideas are born which I have tried to explain briefly and when you understand this process of ideation, then you will see for yourself - nobody can teach you, you have to do it for yourself - you will not create any idea when you look, when you listen; then you are in contact immediately with everything, that immediacy of contact is real action in which there is no contradiction, and therefore does not involve effort of any kind. It is effort that perverts, makes the mind old; contradiction makes the mind old. Most of us have a mind that is already very old and dying; because though we may be very young, we live in a state of contradiction, conscious or unconscious.
So, to understand this whole problem of living is the first primary duty of every human being; and after understanding that, one can proceed further, because there are things which the mind can never understand if it has not settled these simple problems. To understand that, you need tremendous energy; and that energy can only come when there is no contradiction, when one's whole being - physically, emotionally, intellectually - is completely one. Then, with that total energy, the mind can go very deeply and very far. But a mind that is in fragments, that is in contradiction, that is in pain - do what it will; it can go to the temples, to the gurus - such a mind will never go beyond itself; and it must go beyond itself to solve the immense problems that confront every human being.
October 25, 1964
New Delhi 1964
New Delhi 2nd Public Talk 25th October 1964
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