Saanen 3rd Public Talk 14th July 1966
I think we should be clear that we are not playing an intellectual game. What we are talking about is a very serious affair. I mean by that word " serious" the intention to go through to the very end of what we are talking about. Most of us lead rather superficial lives, lives of immediate concern, immediate pleasures and immediate profits. When these are satisfied we look further afield. We begin to investigate, enquire, search out something much more satisfying. I do not consider such a mind a serious mind. A serious mind is concerned not only with the immediacy of all the demands of life but also with the resolution of all human problems, not at some future date, but immediately. It does not allow time to distract; it does not allow any influence to push aside the mind that wants to investigate and live completely and totally. I am afraid that most of us, though we take so much trouble to come here, are not too serious. We are not serious because, first, we do not know what to do, how to set about to resolve the many pressure; strains, problems and anxieties of life. We are uncertain. Also we are not serious because deep down there is fear. No one can make us certain; no one can give us assurance of a right direction, because unfortunately there is no direction. It is like a river that is constantly on the move, passing over rocks, going over precipices, always in motion. The moment we demand to be assured, to be certain, that very demand breeds fear.
If we have gone into it sufficiently to know all this, we want to be assured. We want some authority who has gone a little deeper into the matter to tell us what to do and show us on the map the roads, the bridges, the waterfalls and where the dangers lie. We think that we do not have the intelligence or the capacity to really find out for ourselves, to uncover, not only the conscious problems but also the unconscious, deep down issues that torture our lives. We are always looking to some one, wanting to improve, wanting to find out the right thing to do. That very desire breeds authority. You and I do not know, and therefore we are willing to follow some one who knows, who can direct, who can guide. Authority, which is bred from uncertainty, breeds further fear. In this vicious circle we are caught. We don't know what to do; we look to some one and that very look engenders fear. In this way of life we live. A priest, a dogma, or a belief gives us a certain assurance. Therefore we look to certain authorities; the authority of an idea, of a person, of a dogma, or of an organization. In that very process fear is engendered. Is it possible for us to understand the whole process of existence without looking to another, no matter who it is, including the speaker? Is it possible for each one of us as human beings not to look to any one, to any book, to any philosophy, to any guru, to any teacher, and discover for ourselves as we go along? I say that it is possible. That is the only way to live; otherwise we will always be followers, afraid, neurotic, uncertain, unclear.
How is one first to be clear? How is one to see and to act, so that there is no confusion, and action doesn't breed further misery, further conflict, further darkness? Is it possible for each one of us to look at ourselves and at our problems so clearly that there is no shadow of a doubt cast over the problem, and therefore the problem is resolved totally? If one can do that, then one can go into the question of fear; but one must first understand the demand that each one has, the demand to be certain, to be assured, to be encouraged, to be patted on the back and be told, You are doing very well; that is the right path; follow it". Is it possible? It is only possible if each human being is totally free and doesn't depend on any one, because he sees the problem very clearly. Problems will always arise, a problem being a challenge and a response. Life is always challenging, and when the response to the challenge is inadequate, not complete, in that inadequate response problems arise. A problem implies something thrown at one, some issue with which one is suddenly faced. If one cannot reply to that challenge totally, completely, with all one's being, with one's nerves, one's brain, one's mind, one's heart, then out of that inadequate, insufficient response a problem arises. All our lives we are trained and educated not to respond totally. We respond fragmentarily. Occasionally when we are not thinking we respond so easily and naturally that no problem exists. But for most of us problems arise all the time. Can we see what the challenge is and reply to it easily, effortlessly, totally, so that no issue arises from it, whether it be with regard to health, relationship, intellectual problems or anything else?
First, let us consider whether it is possible for each human being to respond so freely, without any defence; so completely, without any motive that no problem tortures the mind. We are going to go into that, because if we can do it, then the heavens are opened. Then - there are no words for it! Then we are not tortured, distorted human beings. Why is it that we do not respond completely, totally? We have asked the question, " Why?". Are you searching for an explanation, for the causes, or without asking why or looking for explanations, are you completely with the question? Here is a question: why is it that I as a human being do not respond to every challenge in life so completely That there is no friction? I am with the challenge all the time; there is no defence; there is no running away from it. Why? When I ask myself that question, the instinctive response is to find the cause. I say to myself, " I have been educated wrongly; I have too many pressures, too many responsibilities; I have so many worries; I'm so conditioned; all my background prevents my responding completely". Whatever the challenge is, whether it is an unconscious challenge or a conscious challenge, a challenge of which I am not aware or a challenge of which I am aware, I have explanations; I know the causes. Then I say, " How am I going to get rid of those causes in order to respond totally?". What have I done? In trying to understand the causes that prevent me from responding totally to the challenge, in trying to rid myself of them, I have already stopped acting completely to the challenge. There is the challenge, whatever it may be. I know I cannot respond to it totally, and I am investigating why. This lack of response to the challenge immediately creates another problem. If there is any interval of time between the challenge and the response, that interval creates a problem. Whether I am investigating the cause or trying to resolve the cause, that interval has already created a problem.
Questioner: If I get rid of the cause the problem will disappear.
Krishnamurti: If you merely try to rid yourself of all the causes that keep you from responding to the challenge immediately and adequately, you are not facing the challenge completely. You have allowed an interval of time in which you are examining the cause and trying to get rid of the cause. So the challenge goes by and there is a new challenge. Challenges are not going to wait for you, for your convenience. Your examination or analysis of the inadequacy is unnecessary, has no importance. What is important is that you respond immediately, whether rightly or wrongly, and that immediate response will show you where you are wrong.
Let us realize that life is a movement, an enormous river, with tremendous force, energy, drive, moving, moving, moving. I, the " me", the human being, am part of that movement. I, as a human being, have been conditioned, as a Hindu, a Catholic, a communist, what you will. I respond to every movement of life according to my conditioning. My conditioning is small, petty, narrow, shallow, stupid, and from that conditioning I respond. My response will always be inadequate; therefore I'll always have problems. I realize that. So I say, " By jove, I must get rid of my conditioning; I must free myself from all my conscious inhibitions, the traditions, the weight of the past". While I am doing that - analysing, dissecting, examining - challenges are pouring in on me. I am creating problems because I am not responding. While I am looking to free myself from conditioning, I am creating problems, because challenges are always taking place and I am not responding to them. I see this; I understand completely the waste, the futility of this useless examination.
I am no longer wasting my energy, my thought, my emotion, by saying, " How am I to get rid of it; how stupid to have these conditionings; what am I to do?". All the thoughts which go into this examination become such utter waste of energy. I see that. Therefore I have tremendous energy; and whatever the challenge is, I meet it. I learn as I meet the challenge, not from the background of my conditioning, but I learn as I go along. What has taken place? I am no longer concerned with my conditioning. I am no longer wasting my energy saying, " This is right; this is wrong; this is good; this is bad; this I must keep; this I must put away". Instead of wasting my energy on all that, now I have my total energy to meet the challenge. It is a waste of energy to examine my background, to condemn it or to encourage it. Now I have the energy which has been previously wasted on examination, on analysis. I have that energy, and with it I meet the challenge. That energy is going to see the depth of the challenge, of challenge as it arises. That energy is always new. As it meets the challenge it is not creating a background and therefore creating a new problem. The challenge is being met with clarity, because I have the energy to meet it, energy that is no longer afraid of not being able to meet it. That energy now is no longer being dissipated. That energy is freeing the mind from its conditioning, whether it is nationalistic conditioning, communist conditioning, ideological conditioning or the conditioning of the family, the name. It is breaking through all that. A mind that can meet a challenge with total energy is not creating a problem. It is only a mind that is responding to a challenge with a background, with its conditioning, which is always inadequate, that creates a problem.
If that is very clear, not intellectually but actually, if we do this completely, with all our being, with our total attention, then we can go a little further. Why are we dependent on any challenge? Most of us are asleep; we have taken shelter, refuge, in our ideologies. We have defences. We want to be safe, secure. We want to be safe in our religions, in our beliefs, in our dogmas, in our relationships, in our activities, and this breeds gradual, sleepy, mechanical conditioning. A challenge comes to wake us up. The importance of the challenge is that it does wake us up, but when we wake up we respond from a background and therefore create more problems. Being unable to solve the problems, we go back to sleep again. Again a problem, a challenge comes; we wake up momentarily but are again put to sleep. This is the way we live. If we see this whole process of meeting the challenge completely, with complete attention, then the question arises, need there be any challenge at all? Is there any challenge at all? A man who is completely awake has no need for challenge; he has no problems; he meets every challenge anew. A mind that is completely awake has no problems and therefore doesn't depend on challenge to keep itself awake. That can only be understood when we have met the problem, the challenge, with complete energy, not from our background. A mind that has no challenge is completely free, and from that freedom it can go further. We won't go into that because it demands a completely different state of mind.
It is only an inadequate response to a challenge that breeds fear. There is the fear of death; the fear of losing a job; the fear of loneliness; the fear of being nobody; the fear and the frustration of trying to be somebody, becoming famous, through various means; and the fear of not being famous. Such fears breed neurosis, a neurotic state of mind. When there is fear, there is no affection; there is no love; there is no communication. When there is fear there is a greater defence. When there is fear the mind invents all the gods, the ceremonies, the rituals, the divisions of people: European, American, Chinese, Hindu. Then the fear begins to invent a peace, a coming together of all the nations. It is fear that is dictating. Fear cannot possibly resolve all these problems. It is possible not to have fear. We are not discussing this or talking about it at the intellectual level. It has no meaning whatsoever if we consider it as an idea. We can't live on ideas. We can't live on a fragmentary thing called the intellect; on emotion, which again is another fragment; or on sentiment. We are not enquiring intellectually into the ways of fear. We are trying to find it and put an end to it, completely, whether it is with regard to death with regard to your wife running away from you, your husband neglecting you, or anything else.
Is it possible to be free from fear, not only consciously, but deep down in the unconscious, deep down in our hearts so that there isn't a shadow of fear at any time? If we have no fear, then the gods which the mind has invented, the Utopias, the priests, all the doctrines, theologies and beliefs, all that idiotic, childish nonsense disappears. Is it possible to be free from fear, not at some future date, not by cultivating resistance to fear, which is another form of fear, not by inventing some theory or belief to hide the fear? Fear cannot be undone through analysis. It is a waste of time when we are dealing with fear. When I am afraid, and the shock of fear comes into being, if I say, " Well, I'll go and find out how to get rid of it", I have not solved the problem. By going to an analyst, examining our dreams or doing any of the enormously complex things that man has invented to get rid of fear, we have not been able to get rid of it. Now we are asking ourselves if it is possible to be free of fear without all this stuff.
This is a challenge, a challenge to each one of us. It is very important to find out for yourselves how you are responding to it. If you say that you can't get rid of it or don't know how to get rid of it you have already created a problem. If you say, " Tell us how to get rid of it", then you depend on the speaker and fear is further encouraged. Or if you say that you had a fear once and got rid of it, but you don't know how, then the memory of that freedom remains in your mind, and with that memory you try to resolve the present fear. How do you meet this challenge of fear, not when you go home, not tomorrow, but now? You are afraid; each one of you has fear, conscious or unconscious. If it is unconscious, revive it, bring it out into the open and expose it. When you have exposed it, how do you meet it? It is really quite difficult to answer that question, how you meet the fear that has been exposed, if you really want to expose it to yourself.
Most of us do not want to expose it because we are so scared, so frightened that we do not know what to do with it. We are so used to running away from it through words, through the many networks of escape that we have, that most of us are probably incapable of exposing the fears that we have, not to someone else but to ourselves. When we have exposed it to ourselves it has already become very simple. At least we know that we are afraid. There is no escape from it. If we are afraid of death and do not try to escape from it through theories, beliefs, the idea of reincarnation, hope of any kind, through any of the dozens of ways by which the mind tries to escape from the actual fact, then we know that we are afraid. We have no escape. That becomes a simple fact. It is only when we escape that the complexity begins. I am afraid of my wife, my husband; I have defences; those defences are pleasure and all the rest which we will go into at another time. I have avoided the fact. I have never said, " Look, I am afraid of my husband, my wife". When I realize that, it becomes an extraordinary fact, a simple fact. I do not know how to deal with it, but it is there.
Can you expose these fears to yourselves - old age, ill health, the innumerable fears that you have? You probably cannot expose all of them - you can if you have the intention - but at least you can expose one, the nearest and the dearest fear, and you are with it. How do you deal with it? How do you come into contact with it? What do you do with it? First of all, can you look at it without any turning away from it, without trying to avoid it, to overcome it, to condemn it, but just look at it? You know what the avoidance of a fact is, what it means to avoid a fact. You know how cunning the mind is when it is avoiding a fact. Either it is justifying it, saying, " How can I live in this world if I am not afraid; condemning it; or trying to escape from it. The very word " fear" creates the fear, gives depth to the fear.
Most of you know what it is to be lonely, to find yourselves suddenly cut off from everything, from every relationship, from every contact - complete isolation. I am sure you have all felt this. You may be in the midst of your family or you may be travelling in a bus or in the tube, the underground railway, and suddenly feel completely lonely. That breeds fear. I am going to go through that, examine it, intellectually first, and then see what happens. I am lonely; I do not like the feeling of it; it is a terrible feeling because I do not know what to do with it. It has suddenly come upon me; I am caught in it; I run away from it. I begin to talk, to look at a newspaper; I turn on the radio, go to church, amuse myself in ten different ways. This escape from it creates conflict. The fact is there and I am running away from it, and the flight from it is the fear, the flight from it. There is no fear when I look at it! It is only when I move away from it that there is fear, and I am used to that.
I do not know what it means to look at this emptiness, this loneliness. All I have known all my life is to run away from anything which I do not like, whether it is some one whom I don't like or some idea, some purpose, some thought. I push it away, run away, build a defence. That is all I know. Now I say to myself, " I won't do that because it does not solve anything; the thing is still there; it is like a wound, festering; it is no good putting a covering over it; I must heal it, understand it, go through with it, finish with it". It is not determination to say that I won't escape, because if I say that I won't escape, it is a resistance against escape and that breeds another conflict. If I don't do anything of that sort, then I can look at that emptiness, that loneliness. I am not condemning it; I am not justifying it; it is there, like the rain that is falling on the tent. Whether I like it or not, it is there. Then I can look at it, but how I look at it is the most important thing, not how to escape from it. That we all know; that is too infantile; that has been done for thousands and thousands of years; that I brush aside because it has no value at all, because I am a serious person and I want to go through with it. I want to understand it and go beyond it. I am not a trivial person, a frivolous person. It is only the frivolous, not the serious person that runs away and thereby creates more and more problems. What is important now is how I look at it. If I know how to look at it, I have resolved it.
How do I look at it? First I see it as something outside of myself. That is what we all do; we see it as something away from the "me", an object outside of the " me". The "me" is different, and there it is, this loneliness, this isolation. When I look at it that way, the observer then tries to do something about it, tries to condemn it, tries to alter it, tries to overcome it, tries to identify himself with it. Please follow this; it is very simple if you know about it. Be very simple, because life is a tremendously complex problem, tremendously complex, and we can only understand it if we are very, very, very simple, but not childish. If we are very simple, taking facts as they are, then we can go with it, beyond it and above it; we can transcend it and we are out of it. The observer says, " I am afraid". He is outside of it and therefore he begins to operate on it, consciously or unconsciously. But is the observer different from the thing observed? If the observer is different he would not be able to recognize it. I must be familiar with you in order to recognize you. Then I can say, " You are so and so", but if I do not know you I have no contact, no relationship; I don't know you.
The observer knows, recognizes this feeling of emptiness, loneliness and because he recognizes it, he is part of it. The observer who recognizes it as fear already knows what fear is; otherwise he could not recognize it. Therefore the observer is that emptiness, that loneliness. Then what can the observer do, who observes, who is that emptiness, that loneliness? Please do not answer intellectually. Up to now he has been active in doing something about it, but suddenly he realizes that that loneliness is himself. What can he do? Obviously he cannot do anything. Total inaction takes place, because he cannot do anything, and out of that total inaction the thing that was is not, which is the most positive action. The positive action has been escape from what is. The " what is" is the observer, the seer. The observer can do nothing about it because it is himself.
I do not think we see the beauty of this, the beauty of total inaction with respect to what is, the beauty of the total action which comes into being when there is total inaction. For most of us beauty is something outside. An object is beautiful - the mountain, the tree, the house, a face, the river, the sky of a night, the moon with the stars. This appreciation of the object as beauty or not beauty is what is called positive action. To me that is not beauty at all. It is only a very small part, on the periphery. Beauty is this total inaction, and out of the total inaction there is an action which is tremendously positive, but not in the sense of the positive and the negative. That beauty does not depend on any outward object. Only a mind that knows total inaction can see what freedom is and therefore is free.
Questioner: From childhood there has been a certain sense of fear, a certain sense of enclosure, a stifling feeling that has remained with me from the beginning and somehow I cannot come out of it. What am I to do?
Krishnamurti: First of all, sir, don't analyse. That is a thing we have done sufficiently, and it is a waste of time. You know why you are afraid. If you do not analyse, question, ask, then you have energy, as I was explaining just now. Then you are full of energy to meet this thing as it arises. The thing that has been there so long, from childhood, is still there and it will arise when you go out of the tent, or when you are walking in your house. Meet it! Meet it as though you were meeting it for the first time. You will not be able to meet it as for the first time if you are all the time analysing, looking and saying, " Why this?" or " Why that?". Only out of innocence can you solve problems, and innocence is a mind that is meeting everything anew.
July 14, 1966
Saanen 3rd Public Talk 14th July 1966
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