Saanen 2nd Public Talk 13th July 1965
Shall we continue with what we were talking about the other day? I was saying that individual problems have no meaning in themselves except in relationship to the total process of life; and it is only when we understand the whole structure and meaning, the whole picture of life, that individual problems have significance and can be resolved. That is what I was saying the other day when we met here.
It is one of the most arduous and difficult things to perceive the total picture of life. Life is a continuous movement in relationship, and it is only when we understand that relationship as a whole - not in fragments, but as a whole - that we shall perhaps be able to resolve our individual problems. By problems I mean the difficulties that arise in one's life - the lack of understanding, the innumerable doubts and questions, the imbalance, the constant struggle to adjust oneself to a pattern of belief, or to an experience, or to a particular social norm. All these struggles create problems, difficulties, do they not? We know life only as a series of emotional, psychological, factual difficulties, and we are never able totally to resolve them. If we are at all aware of' ourselves we know that, on the contrary, we would rather run away from them. We are never capable of looking at oui difficulties with clear-eyed insight; we are never able to examine the pattern of` our existence totally. When our innumerable hidden problems become acute and there is a crisis, we do become aware of them; but even then we do not know how to resolve these problems; we do not seem to have the intensity, or the clarity, or the knowledge to resolve them.
So what I am going to talk about this morning, if I may, is whether it is at all possible to be free of these problems in our daily life. When the mind is caught in any problem, whether one is conscious of it or not, it does affect the clarity of thought,it does affect one's daily activity. So it seems to me very important to understand these problems and be free of them, rather than to escape from them, or try to find a definite answer. One has to be aware of them first, one has to know what one's problems are - and even that requires a certain attention, an awareness. To resolve one,s own problems, one must know what they are. It is no good going to an analyst, to a confessor, to this person or to that, all of which indicates an escape from the fact, from one's own actual problems.
So, as we are going into it, I hope you are listening to what is being said, not just as an objective, verbal statement, but in order to become aware of your own problems.
Do you know what I mean by a problem? It is something you have not understood, something that gnaws at the heart and mind, some torture that goes on repeating, repeating, repeating, and of which you are afraid. You have a dream that is repeating night after night, a dream which influences your activities during the day and from which you are trying to escape, or for which you are seeking an answer, an interpretation. Or you are afraid of death, of poverty, afraid of not being loved, of relationship. Or, driven by ambition, by vanity, there is the feeling that you are never fulfilled. One has so many problems, some of which one is not conscious or aware of, and one does not even know the limits of those problems. And one has to understand, surely, that a mind that is ridden by problems - however small, however petty, or however intense, vital, significant - cannot go far. Whatever the problems, they inevitably influence our thought, our activity, they shape our life; and unless one is extraordinarily free from problems one cannot go very far.
Our problems are concerned with daily living: everyday activity, sex, love, the job, the fear of not being loved, loneliness, the sense of utter despair, the boredom of a life which has no meaning at all. Surely one has to be aware of all this, because these things do influence the course of our action. We cannot possibly escape from them, and we cannot have worldly problems, daily problems, and yet try to find a deep inner life, a spiritual life, or whatever you wish to call it. The worldly life and he so-called inner life are not two separate strata, they are intimately related to each other. Without understanding and being free from the daily problems of life, however petty, however small, tyrannical, ugly - without this freedom, your search for a spiritual inner life has no meaning whatsoever.
You can see the rationality of this. It is logical. It is not just my statement, which you can accept or deny, but it is so. Unless one's mind is free from worrying about money, about whether one is loved or not loved, about whether one will make a name in the world or not, with ali the accomPanying temptations, ugliness and brutality; and unless one understands all the superficial problems of daily living, one's mind is utterly incapable of penetrating deeply into something that demands complete energy, something that is not to be sought after, that has no cause, no motive.
So one has to be aware of one's daily problems, of one's daily activities. And I hope you are becoming aware of them with me, because unless you are, we can't go very far this morning, or even during these talks. I would like to go very deeply, but you cannot go very deeply when your problems are choking you, blinding you. If you do, it is a mere escape, a verbal pursuit of some myth which has no reality whatsoever.
So, if one is aware of these problems, what is one to do? First of all, what do we mean by awareness - being aware of our problems? Please take your own particular problem, by which you are tortured. When you say, "I know I have a problem", what do you mean by that? You mean that you have a difficulty, a pain, or a pleasure you are afraid won't continue, don't you? In avoiding that pain, or in seeking the continuity of that pleasure, you say, "I am aware of my problem". Well, what do we mean by being aware of it? Are you aware of it as you are aware of that microphone? Is it something outside of you which you are looking at, or are you aware of it without any space between you and the thing which you are observing, without the division the observer and the observed? If you are the observer, then you are trying to do something about the thing which you observe; you want to alter it, you want to bring about a situation in which that thing will not give you any more pain, or will give you a continuity of pleasure.
So a great deal depends on how you look at your problem, how you are aware of it, how you know it. Usually you know it as an outsider looking in, which means that what you look at is different from the image which you have of yourself. Each one of us has an image of himself, generally a rather pleasurable image, and from that image we look at the thing which gives us pain or pleasure.
Please do this as I am talking, because it will then become very interesting if we go further into it afterwards, as I hope we shall do this morning.
So you have an image of yourself as you are, or as you should be, or must be, and from that image you look at the thing which you call a problem. So there is the image, and the problem; and then you try to approximate the problem to that image, or you interpret the problem according to the pattern which the image has established. Is that not so? You, who have a particular image of yourself, look at the problem, which is not you; so there is a division, a contradiction between the problem and what you think you are, or what you think you should be; there is a constant conflict between what your image represents, and the problem which contradicts that image.
May I proceed? Is it clear so far?
Now, the problem can never be resolved as long as the image exists - the image of what you should be, or the image which the mind has created of itself through knowledge, through history, through family tradition, through every form of experience. You are aware, not of the image, but of the problem. Whereas, what we are trying to do here is not to resolve the problem, but to understand the structure of the image; because, if you have no image of yourself, then you can deal with the problem.
One generally has an image of oneself as an extraordinary human being, or as a man who has failed, a man who is miserable, who must fulfil, who is vain, ambitious - you know the image which most people have of themselves. They think that they are God, or not God, that they are merely environment, that they are this or they are that. They have a dozen images of themselves, or one predominant image. Now, if I have an image of myself, then that image will contradict the facts of daily existence, and I am incapable of looking at the daily facts except through the eyes of that image. Therefore the problem is created by the image, and not by the fact itself.
Listen to what I am saying; don't deny it, don't accept it, take it in, but just look at it.
So then, why do I build an image of myself? I see that as long as I have a concept, an image, a conclusion about myself, problems will exist. So I am no longer concerned with the problem, with the difficulty; I am concerned now with understanding why I have these images, these concepts, these conclusions. about myself. In the East people have the idea that they are God, they have innumerable concepts; and here in the West you also have your concepts, your images. Go to the communist world, and they have their images too. Now, why do we build these images, these concepts?
Please, I am putting the question, and do try to find out. We are asking a fundamental, not a superficial question. Most of us never ask ourselves a fundamental question; but this is a fundamental question we are asking ourselves now.
Why have I, who have lived forty, fifty, sixty, or whatever number of years it is that one has lived - why have I gathered this storehouseful of what I think, what I feel, what I am, what I should be, this accumulation of experience, knowledge? And if I had not done that, what would happen? Do you understand? If I had no concept about myself, what would happen to me? I would be lost, wouldn't I? I would be uncertain, terribly frightened of life. So I build an image, a myth, a concept, a conclusion about myself, because without this framework life would become for me utterly meaningless, uncertain, fearful. There would be no security. I may be secure outwardly, I may have a job, a house, and all the rest of it, but inwardly also I want to be completely secure; and it is the desire to be secure that compels me to build this image of myself - which is verbal. Do you understand ? It has no reality at all, it is merely a concept, a memory, an idea, a conclusion.
Now, I see that to be a fact. That is, I am aware of it. Please proceed with me, let us do this together. I know why I have built up an image of myself, whether through conscious effort, or unconsciously, through the innumerable influences of society, of organized religion, of books. I know all that. I have built it up, and I see why I have built it up. Society demands it; and also, apart from society, I want to be completely sure of myself. Society helps me, and I help myself, to be that image, that idea, that conclusion, and I am aware of this whole process.
Now, I want to know what we mean by being aware of something. You are aware that you are hungry, nobody need tell you; it is not a secondhand experience. It is not something you have learned from a book. No teacher has taught you that you are hungry; no philosophy, no method, nothing has intervened. There is a reaction inside you which you call hunger - it is a firsthand experience. And are you aware of the structure, the meaning and the nature of this image, as you are aware of your hunger? Do you understand what I mean? Is it something which you have realized, discovered for yourself, and nobody need tell you because it is your own perception, and not my description of it which you have accepted? You know, when you have a toothache, or any other kind of pain, it is yours. Similarly, if you are aware of that image as something you have discovered for yourself, then nobody can take it away, dissipate or add to it. It is so. They may describe it, they may add more detail, but for you the fact is there. So, can we proceed?
Now, what happens when I am aware of the fact that I have built an image of myself - as aware of it as I am aware of hunger? You know, we are so used to making effort. From childhood we are encouraged to make effort, struggle, because we must be better than somebody else, do better than our uncle - you know, all the rest of that stupid stuff. We worship success, so we make effort. But here there is no effort needed at all, because there is nothing to make effort about. Are you following? So I am just observing the fact that I have an image of myself. Any effort to change, to encourage or to dissipate that image is to conform to another image which I have of myself. Is that clear? If I make an effort to dissipate or destroy the present image, that effort springs from still another image which I have made of myself, and which says that this present image must not be.
Am I mesmerizing you all, or are we actually doing this?
As I said at the beginning, there must be freedom - not just freedom from some stupid little anxieties, and all the rest of it, but complete freedom. And freedom is not a reaction. A reaction is merely a revolt within the prison, it is not freedom. A mind that is crippled with problems can never be free. Whether it is the problem of death, the problem of your dreams - whatever the problem may be, as long as it exists there is no freedom. The problem is not important at all, but what is important is the image which you have of yourself. If you have no image at all, if the mind is completely free of all images, then you can deal with any issue that arises, and it is no problem at all. Are you following?
So the mind is aware that it has created an image of itself, and that to try to dissipate, or to resolve, or to do anything about that image, springs from still another image which is much deeper and which says, "I must not create an image". Any effort to alter the present image is the outcome of a deeper image, a deeper conclusion. I see that to be a fact, therefore the mind is not making any effort to dispel the image. Are you following? So the mind is completely aware of the image without any desire, without any effort, without any alteration; it is just aware of it, just looking at it. I look at that microphone, and I can't do anything about it. It is there, it has been put together. Similarly, the mind looks at the image, at the conclusion it has about itself, without any form of effort; and that is real attention. In that observation you will discover there is tremendous discipline - not the silly discipline of conformity. Because there is no effort to alter it, the mind itself is that image. It is not the mind and the image, but the mind is the image. Any movement on the part of the mind to identify itself with that image or to destroy it, is the creation or the urge of another image. Therefore the mind is completely aware that it is itself the creator of the image.
If you really see this fact, then the image loses its significance altogether. Then the mind is capable of dealing with any issue, any crisis that arises, without a previous conclusion of the image from which it tries to answer. The mind is now clear of all images, and therefore it has no static position, no platform from which it observes, no belief, no dogma, no experience as knowledge from which it is approaching the issue. So the mind can now be completely with any issue that arises, and doesn't treat it as a problem. Problems exist only when there is a contradiction. But here there is no contradiction. I have no image, no centre, no conclusions from which I look; hence there is no contradiction, and therefore no problem.
As I said at the beginning, life is a movement in relationship, not only with people, but relationship with everything - with nature, with money, with ideas. Life is a movement, and when you are moving with life, it has no problem. It is only when there is a static state from which you are trying to understand, that life becomes a problem. The worldly life is the only life which you have to understand, not the spiritual life. When you are no longer driven by ambition, greed, envy, no longer seeking fame, and when all the things that go to make up what we call the worldly life are completely in order - and they must be in order - then there is a totally different movement which the mind cannot previously imagine, believe in, or come to a conclusion about. There is only the movement of life, but we have divided it as the worldly movement and the spiritual movement, the outer life and the inner life. We have made the inner life something apart. Because we are tired of this worldly life, with its ugliness, its brutality - you know what is going on - we try to escape from it, try to establish within ourselves a spiritual life - which is so silly. You can't establish a spiritual life for yourself without first having complete order; and order means freedom. Then you will find that there is a totally different kind of life, not created by the mind - a life that has no cause, no end, no beginning; it is a movement. But do what you will - sit in any posture, do all the tricks that you like - you cannot possibly come to or understand that movement unless there is complete order, which means freedom from the outward everyday struggle, pain, sorrow, greed, ambition.
Questioner: There are many problems - social, economic, national - which I am not responsible for.
Krishnamurti: There is starvation in Asia; there is misery, poverty, disease, terrible things of which you know nothing here. But who is responsible for it? You know, through automation, through the perfection of the computer, through cybernetics, and so on, science is now able to free man from the drudgery of certain kinds of work. Science can give food, clothing and shelter to the whole world; but why isn't it being done? Don't agree with me, for God's sake. Just look. It is because we are nationalistic. The glory of France, the way of life of the Americans, the Indian nationalism, the African nationalism, the imperialism of the communists as well as of the capitalists - all these things are separating man economically. And religiously man is separated by his beliefs. Here in the West you believe in Catholicism, or in a particular Saviour, and in the whole of Asia they don't believe in any of that. They have their own beliefs. So man is divided by nationalism, by racialism, by economic pressures, by so-called religion. And we are all responsible for it, aren't we? You are a nationalist, you are very proud of being English, proud of your tradition as a Frenchman, or God know's what else. It is this that is separating people, isn't it? So you and I will cease to be responsible for the misery in the world only when we are free from nationalism, from racialism, only when there is order in ourselves.
To put it differently, we are human beings, not individuals. Individuality is an old-fashioned idea, a stupid idea We are human beings, burdened with all the problems of every other human being, whether he is in Asia, in Europe, or America. But if as a human being I understand the whole structure of my society, of my way of life, with its problems and everything else, then there. is freedom from that image. Therefore order is brought about, and then I am no longer responsible for the world's misery. I am outside society, and therefore I can help society. I don't want to reform society. Do you understand? I am not a social reformer. One must extricate oneself, be free from society, so that a new group of human beings will arise, and therefore a new structure of society can be formed. You can't reform the old society; that is merely retrogression.
Questioner: You have built up an image of yourself and you are jolly well satisfied with it.
Krishnamurti: Then there is nothing, more to be said. That is what moat of us have done, sir. Most of us are happy with the images that we have, and therefore we are happy with the problems that we have. Therefore our minds are dull, heavy, stupid, and when we revolt we become `Beatniks', or the other kind. That's all.
Questioner: Is the gentleman speaking for himself?
Krishnamurti: I don't know. He may be speaking for himself, or for others. It is all part of our daily life; we are all satisfied with our own images.
Questioner: If I have no image of myself, then I am nothing.
Krishnamurti: But are you anything anyhow? (Laughter). Please don't laugh, this is much too serious. Are you anything in yourself? Strip yourself of your name, title, money, position, your little capacity to write a book and be flattered - and what are you? So why not realize and be that? You see, we have an image of what it is to be nothing, and we don't like that image; but the actual fact of being nothing, when you have no image, may be entirely different - and it is entirely different. It is not a state that can be realized in terms of being nothing or of being something. It is entirely different when there is no image of yourself. And to have no image of yourself demands tremendous attention, tremendous seriousness. It is only the attentive, the serious, that live, not the people who have images of themselves.
July 13, 1965
Saanen 2nd Public Talk 13th July 1965
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