Saanen 1st Public Dialogue 4th August 1965
Before we begin to ask questions, I think we should find out what these meetings are for. One can examine argumentatively or dialectically, that is, discover the truth of opinion; or we can talk things over, not to be instructed, not to be taught, but to learn. I wonder what is the state of the mind that learns? If we could go into that a little, and then talk things over, then perhaps we shall be able to find out for ourselves about the act of learning. During these seven morning discussions we are going to investigate - not theoretically, not in any abstract sense, but actually - the mind that is in a state of constant learning. The active present of the verb "to learn" is "learning; "learned" is the past; and I will learn" is the future. We are trying to find out what is the actual state of the mind that is learning. What I have learned from the experiences of yesterday, from the opinions I have gathered, selected - all that becomes the past, the storehouse of knowledge. Will that help me to bring about a mind that is actually learning? I think we should be rather advisedly watchful about this thing; because most of us function or think or act from a mind which has learned, which has accumulated; and that may be a hindrance to the active present of learning.
When one is learning a technique or a language, one must accumulate as one is learning. If I don't know a certain job and start, in doing it I begin to learn. I have to be very much alive to do a job I don't know; and in the doing I'm learning. So the doing is the learning. That's what we are going to do. We are going to be doing, and in the doing, learning. That becomes extraordinarily interesting and vitalizing. But before we do that, the doing and the learning, shouldn't we find out what is the state of the mind that is doing and in the doing, learning?
Please don't wait for me to tell you. We are going to discover it together.
You have come here this morning in haste, and have met in the tent, talking and saying good morning to each other. You may sit quietly and listen quietly, but your minds are still agitated. When the mind is agitated, when the brain is reacting very quickly and very sharply, critically, is the mind in a state of doing and learning? Or is a totally different state necessary to do and to learn?
Questioner: Sir, I have gathered from your talks that you advocate becoming aware of all conditions, all things, all actions and feelings. Can you say something on the apparent fact that, once we have heard what you say and have become aware of it, it all passes into the realm of knowledge? From there we act and try to become aware of all that is going on. Is there any conflict between what I have learned, which has become knowledge, and my acting in the present?
Krishnamurti: That's right, sir, we are going to find that out. We have been talking about awareness; the accumulation of what I have learned, which becomes knowledge, and is stored up; and the fact that from that knowledge, or with that knowledge, I act. Between the acting, which is the present, and the accumulated awareness, accumulated knowledge, is there a conflict? Before we enter into that, we must find out what learning is.
To me this act of learning is one of the most important things in life. One wakes up on a morning like this and sees the sky, the beauty of the hills and the trees, the river and the flowers. One looks at it all, not with a freshness, not with elan, not with a fury, or with passion, but one compares it with something that happened yesterday, judging, evaluating. When one does that, all learning has stopped. So, one asks oneself, "What is the actual fact of learning, and what is the actual state of the mind that learns, not accumulates?".
As I said, you come here rather agitated, sit and try to listen to the speaker. Before you listen, mustn't you find out for yourself what is actually taking place in the mind which is listening, or which is going to listen? If you are going to listen with an agitated mind, full of chatter, then you have no space in which to learn. Say all your good mornings outside the tent. Leave the "How are you?", "You look very nice this morning", "That's a nice dress", "That's a nice hat", "Oh, I love that dress", and all that stuff outside. Come in and sit very quietly, not with a forced quietness, not saying, "I must". If you do it naturally, your mind becomes extraordinarily silent and quiet.
You discover the state of the mind that learns; you find that there must be a great silence, a great quietness which is not forced, not premeditated, but really quiet. Then when you listen, that very listening is learning and doing. If we can, every morning, come and sit with that alert silence, not a blank silence, then perhaps our talking things over will be an extraordinary event. I won't talk very long; we'll ask questions and talk things over. If one listens with this complete quietness and stillness, then one begins to find out the nature and the quality of silence. That silence, that quality of a still mind, is a positive activity, in a negative sense of not letting anything pour into it.
Sir, I know you have a question to ask me, but the moment you get up and ask, your mind is not quiet, you are not doing what we are talking about.
Coming here this morning you must have seen those trees, very still, with a light on them, against the blue sky, against the river. Did you look at all, and if you did look, how did you look at them? Our minds are so heavy, so dull, so petty, so narrow and limited that how the mind looks is far more important than what it looks at. During this hour, we are going to learn how the mind works rather than what the question is, or what the answer to that question is.
Have you ever experimented with having a few seconds of silence, a few minutes of inward quiet, before doing anything, no matter what - cooking, washing dishes, making the beds, or talking to someone? When there is that natural, spontaneous, energetic silence, efficiency has a totally different meaning; it is not mechanical, it is a movement.
Now, sir, what were you going to ask?
Questioner: Is it possible for me to live every moment in this other dimension, with this openness, this newness?
Krishnamurti: I'm sure many are going to ask questions. How shall we approach this problem? Shall we answer each question separately, or shall we take one subject, one question, and go through with it to the very end? We have seven mornings and if we could put several questions together, make one question out of them all, and go right to the end of it, it might be more worthwhile than asking, answering, and asking and answering, or talking things over one question after another.
If you all agree, then what question shall we take up and go right through with to the end? One question is, as that gentleman asked: "How can I, having experienced, having known, having tasted, having smelt that dimension, how can I live in it all the time in spite of my daily difficulties?" Let many ask questions; we'll put them all together into one question, and then go into it.
Questioner: Is there a difference between being aware of the object of thought, and being aware of thinking? Questioner: All day long we are busy knowing our environment, and we know it in ways that involve the thinker. So perhaps it would help if we could find out how we can know our environment in ways that do not involve the thinker.
Questioner: When I have no purpose, I feel a certain silence; but the moment I start to act, to have a purpose, there comes a tenseness in the middle of my brain, and I cannot relax that, and the silence is gone.
Questioner: Is searching only an accumulative process, or is it life itself?
Krishnamurti: Now, that's enough. (Laughter). After hearing these questions, what would be the central question which would contain them all? Please, we are working together; you are not just listening. I am not the only speaker. What question would elicit an answer to all of them together? We want to find a central issue that will include all those questions. I may be mistaken, but I think the central issue in all that is the division between the thinker and the thought - the thinker who is trying to be aware, and the thought which wanders off, or is shaped by circumstances, by influence, by environment. I am just inquiring; I am not stating yet. If we could discuss the question of why this division exists between the thinker and the thought, then perhaps awareness, the effort to be aware, and trying to maintain that awareness will have a different meaning.
Krishnamurti: Several issues have been raised, apart from the neurotic. One wants to live, as that gentleman pointed out, in a different dimension. One has perhaps felt a certain quality during these talks, or when walking by oneself in the woods, or when in relationship with some person, and one says, "If I could only maintain that, and not slip back". There is a contradiction between the experience, that feeling of a different dimension, and the actuality. If we can wipe away the contradiction, then we shall not have a moment during which there is a feeling of a different dimension, and an attempt to reach it all the time. If we approach these questions and try to find out whether it is possible to eliminate this contradiction altogether, both at the conscious and at the unconscious level, then perhaps we shall be living and not comparing. Shall we go into that one question this morning?
How is one conscious of this contradiction, if one is at all aware and sensitive? What tells you that you are in a state of contradiction? Do you become aware because someone tells you, or because it brings pain? Do you want to pursue a pleasure, and in the very pursuit of that pleasure you become aware that there is a contradiction? Do you want to pursue one thing, yet your activity, your daily life pulls you away from it? One must find out how one becomes aware.
We are going into this step by step. We are not going to come to any conclusion. We are going to learn as we are watching, as we are examining, and therefore there is no conclusion at the end. Because if someone tells me that I'm in a state of contradiction, that has a totally different effect.
I have an idea of peace, an image of peace, and I am violent; I get angry, irritable, furious. I am in a state of contradiction. There is the established ideal, and I do something which contradicts that ideal. How do I become aware of my contradiction? Do I see that I am in a state of contradiction, or does someone point it out to me? This is of very little importance, but it too has significance.
I have an ideal of non-violence, of peace, and I am violent, so there is a contradiction; or two desires pull in opposite directions, and there is a conflict. Life points out to me, or someone tells me, that I'm in a state of contradiction. I may become aware of this contradiction through an effort, through a pain, through making an adjustment between the fact and the ideal, through something. An incident or an experience tells me that I am in a state of contradiction. That's one state. Or there may be an awareness of this contradiction without any stimulus. Now which is it for most of us? Does an incident awaken the mind to its contradictoriness, or is the mind, without incident, aware of its own contradiction? Let's deal with the first now, and come to the second afterwards.
We know contradiction through an incident, either pleasant or painful. I have an image, an ideal, a settled pattern of conduct; and some incident takes place which contradicts all that. Then I'm in pain. I say, "I am in a state of contradiction", and nervously try to get over that contradiction, either by making the fact, which is my violence, adjust itself to the ideal, or by wiping away the ideal, leaving only the fact.
Through the established formula of conduct, or my own habits, there is an image of what I should do, what I must be; and then an incident outside that image takes place, which contradicts the image. Because the contradictoriness creates pain, I want to get rid of it. I either adjust the fact, the incident, to the image, or I remove the image altogether and leave no centre at all.
Who is the entity that says, "I must adjust the fact to the ideal", or says, "I must wipe away the ideal"? I have three things involved: the fact, the ideal, and the entity who says, "I must get rid of the contradiction, either by wiping away the ideal, or by merely accepting the fact. Now I must find out who that entity is. As long as the entity exists, there will be contradiction.
Questioner: Contradiction is not connected with anything. Contradiction exists in itself.
Krishnamurti: We are coming to that presently. First, let's be clear, sir, on this point. There is the image, the "what I should be", the ideal, and there is the fact that I am violent. I will wipe away that ideal which I have created, and therefore deal only with the fact. Who is the entity that says, "I must wipe away, and deal only with the fact"? If I don't understand the entity, the centre which dictates, that centre will always be in a state of contradiction, or create contradiction. Now, who is that centre? What is that centre?
Questioner: Isn't that part of yourself,?
Krishnamurti: Yes, madame, but what is yourself, what is that?
Questioner: Something which stands in the way, which must be overcome.
Krishnamurti: Look, madame, we are asking ourselves what that centre is which says, "I must not be in a state of contradiction; "I will wipe away the ideal, in order not to be". Yet the centre is still there, and we are asking what is its structure, its nature.
We are going to find out, learn about it afresh. That's the only way to learn. You may have thought about it, you may have come to conclusions about it; but if you have, you have stopped learning. We are now going to learn about the centre which creates contradiction, whether you wipe away the ideal or neglect the fact. The state of the mind that is going to learn about it must be that it really does not know what that centre is. We may have known it yesterday, but if we come with that knowledge of yesterday, we shan't be able to discover what it actually is today. It might have moved, it might have changed, it might have transformed itself, it might not exist at all. So, to find out, to learn about that centre today, we must be free of yesterday, free of the conclusions of yesterday. Therefore our minds must be silent, completely silent, still, with that question. Then we shall be able to learn about it; then we're learning about it.
What is that centre which is always creating contradiction, the censor, who says, "This is right", "This is wrong", "This I must do", "This should be", "I am not loved", "I must love", "I am unhappy", "I must live in a different dimension", "I have listened, but I have not got"? What is that movement?
Questioner: It is the movement of knowing.
Krishnamurti: It is a very difficult question we are asking. The ancients have said it is the soul, it is the Atman, it is God, it is goodness, it is the original sin. And do you mean to say that you are going to quickly brush all that aside, and say it is this? First you must know what others have said about it, and discover whether there is any truth in that. If you merely repeat what the theologians say, the people who believe in God, in truth, in the soul, in the Atman, in the permanent atom, then you'll get nowhere. You are not interested in the repetition of some authority. If it is merely tradition, you throw it out. You investigate and come to a certain point; you come to it completely not knowing, silent. You want to learn about it; and to learn you see that a complete quietness is necessary before you can look. Can you be silent, without being forced and driven to be silent, but spontaneously silent, to find out what that movement is?
Questioner: I think that knowledge becomes the centre.
Questioner: Why have discussions at all? It becomes useless.
Questioner: It is in accordance with the principle of harmony.
Krishnamurti: I am afraid, sirs, you're not going into this question. You are merely stating what you feel, what you think.
Questioner: The mind is the centre of contradiction - the mind which has accumulated knowledge, the mind which has created images, the mind which has established a Saviour and the world, the mind which thinks that there is the permanent and the impermanent - the mind itself is in a state of contradiction.
Krishnamurti: Now, wait a minute. You have stated that. What have you learned about it? You have analysed it, felt your way to it, and said it is the mind. You have verbalized and made a statement. What have you learned? Have you learned anything? You say that it is the mind that is in a state of contradiction - the mind which has acquired knowledge, the mind which believes, the mind which is the Catholic, which is the Protestant, which is the Communist, which is the non-believer, the believer, which creates the image - the mind, the mind. Is that an actual fact, or an idea?
Questioner: Is it the unconscious desire for freedom?
Krishnamurti: No, madame. There is a statement made that it is the mind, mind including knowledge. What makes you say it is the mind?
Questioner: I have investigated.
Krishnamurti: I am asking you. One mind is asking another mind. How do you know that it is the mind? What makes you say it is the mind?
Questioner: We have been told. Krishnamurti: You have been told? I have also been told that there is a marvellous world when I die; but I have to live in this world. When you say "the mind", either you have realized the fact, realized it, as you realize hunger, and therefore the realization has validity, or you are merely speculating and saying that it is the mind. In that case you're not learning. So, before any of us answer that it is the mind, the image, the conditioning, the pattern which has been established as a Catholic, as a Protestant, as a Communist, we must learn about it, learn, not merely make a statement. Before we understand this particular issue, we must first find out what the mind is that is going to learn about it.
Look, sir: my son, my sister, mother, my grandmother, whoever it is, is not well, is unhappy, is not acting properly, and I am disturbed; from that disturbance, I want to do something - help her, hold her hand. But if I am disturbed, I cannot deal with the fact as a fact, unemotionally, unsentimentally, unstupidly. So it matters very much, when this question is put to you, how you are listening. Either you listen with a conclusion, with an idea which you already have about what that centre is, or you say, "I really don't know; let's go into it". If you really don't know, you come to the question with a fresh mind, not with a jaded mind which has already speculated, which is already conditioned.
So, what is much more interesting than the issue, which in this case is contradiction, is the state of the mind that looks at it. If I look at a tree, what is much more important than the tree itself is how I look at it. What is the state of the mind when confronted with this question of contradiction?
Questioner: That is where the difficulty is, because it seems very plain that the mind has to be silent.
Krishnamurti: Be silent! Be silent! Be, be, don't talk! You see, you all talk, you don't do. Be silent!
Questioner: It's ignorance.
Questioner: When you say "Be silent", you are trying to impress upon us the importance of being silent.
Krishnamurti: I am not impressing it on you. Look, I don't know Chinese. What do I do? My mind is empty; I don't know. I begin to learn as I go along. But you are not doing that.
Questioner: I think that if you watch your mind, in that same moment you get silent.
Krishnamurti: Madame, be silent, not get silent. Look, the issue is contradiction, why human beings live in contradiction. We said there is a permanent image established, a formula, and the daily fact contradicts that formula. If the mind wants to learn how to live without contradiction - actually live without contradiction - then it must approach with hesitancy, with silence, with quietness. And when it does, as I am doing now, there is the problem and there is the mind that's completely quiet, not knowing about the problem. I ask what this strange quietness is, this strange stillness which is looking at the problem. Is it induced? Has the mind induced that silence in order to get rid of the problem and live in a state of harmony without contradiction, or is that silence natural? If it is natural, not induced, not made to be natural, then is there a centre? Is there a centre which is in a state of contradiction? The centre inherently is contradiction. And if there is only silence which looks at that contradiction, at that problem, is that silence a natural state or is it induced because the mind wants to live in a state of harmony? If it is not natural, the contradiction begins again. So, can the mind approach any problem - life, the tree, the wife, the husband - completely with silence? This is one of the most difficult things to do yet one sees that any other approach must breed contradiction. We have always approached the issue through positiveness: it is knowledge, it is the image, it is the mind, it is this, it is that, and so on and so on. But this time we have gone a little further. We have said silence. Is silence the negation of noise, the negation of rumour, the rejection of this and that, in order to be silent? I must find out what this sense of negation is which is not positive, directive, but which must exist in life.
A really good mind is both positive and negative; it is both the woman and the man - not just the man, or just the woman. The Greeks had a word, and so had the Hindus. They symbolized it in their images, and therefore have lost it. The moment you put it into words, into an image, it's gone. But if you begin to learn - and keep on learning, learning, learning, you may then put it into words but it will never die.
So, we are going to understand a silence which is not the opposite of noise, not the opposite of this perpetual battle; and to understand that, one must understand the whole structure of negation.
August 4, 1965
Saanen 1st Public Dialogue 4th August 1965
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.