Saanen 10th Public Talk 31st July 1966
During the last nine talks we have more or less covered the various problems with which we as human beings have been burdened for many centuries. We have never been able to resolve either the wars or the sufferings that we go through physically and psychologically, nor have we resolved the many complex issues that confront each of us daily. We live on the surface, hoping that somehow, some time, these problems will be solved. Unfortunately problems cannot be solved unless we face them, unless we know how to come to grips with them, unless we see what they actually are. We have been trained through many, many centuries as human beings to avoid all problems, to escape from them, to suppress them, to run away from them, or to defend ourselves against them; but unfortunately, though we try to escape, to run away, to build a defence against them, they still exist. We have very cunningly built a network of escapes. Apparently we cannot look directly at anything. Our minds have opinions which prevent us from looking at things as they are, from facing what is. Our minds and our hearts are never empty to observe, to look.
We either have problems which we cannot resolve or we have committed ourselves to various activities political, social, religious and so on or we have our own particular neurotic problems with all their complexities. A mind that is committed must always be confused; and we are confused, though we do not acknowledge it directly to ourselves. We are confused about politics, about religion, about what we should do, what we should think, what right thinking and wrong thinking are, what right behaviour is. We are completely confused, and the more clever we are the more incapable we are of acknowledging to ourselves that we are totally confused, not partially. We think we are partially confused and that there are moments when we are not confused. The moments we spend when we are not confused have their own action, and there is another type of action when we are confused. The action born of non-confusion is always in conflict with the action born of confusion. Each reacts upon the other, and we never realize in ourselves that we actually are completely confused. If we acknowledge this, we can then proceed to find out how to be free from confusion, but we can never find out if we have formulations, ideologies, commitments, psychological assertions. We usually go on through life confused, miserable, not accounting to ourselves, in a weary state until we die. That is our lot. We have built a network of escapes. We have constantly invented various traps into which we fall. One of the greatest traps is the idea that we must seek and find. We do not actually know what we are seeking. We say we are seeking truth, love, God all the many, many things that each person, according to his temperament, is seeking. We never question why it is that we seek at all, what it is that we are seeking, and if there is such a thing as that which we seek through asking and questioning.
If we do not search we will find that the most important thing in life is not to search at all, because then we are confronted with life, then we are faced with what we actually have to do. It is extremely difficult for most of us not to try to find, not to seek something. Most of us are here because we are seeking something. Generally we seek because we are utterly confused. A clear mind, a mind that is alive, vital, full of energy, that sees life at every instant as new, is never seeking. The idea of " seek and you will find" is, to me, utterly absurd. How can a confused, petty, self-centred, little mind ever find anything beyond its own projections? A wise man, a man who is aware, never seeks. When you do not seek at all, you do not invite experience. Then you are beginning to clear your confusion. Most of us want more new experiences, a greater variety of experiences, more thrills, more visions, more clarity, but a mind that is demanding " the more" is avoiding what actually is. Having cultivated these escapes we inevitably and most naturally run away into them; but if a man is serious, earnest in his intentions, not intellectually and verbally but actually, then his main concern is to dissipate all confusion and all escapes. There is no seeking, asking or inviting more and more experiences. Why do we seek " the more; why do we seek something new? It is because our minds are small, shallow, empty, dull, boring, and we want to escape from all that at any price. That is our chief concern. We have our gods, or we say we are seeking a new direction, or that all religions lead to the same something or other. We are collecting from various leaders, so-called spiritual beings. All this indicates a petty, narrow, limited mind. Such a mind has no space within itself, and there is more and more confusion, not less. We say, " This is the right path and I'm going to follow it". Only the neurotic, the uncertain now assert that. All the organized business affairs called " religions" have utterly failed; they have no meaning any more. If we do not seek, and no longer have any faith in any of the infantile organizations, then we are confronted with what actually is, with ourselves. If we are not able to resolve that centre, that little corner of the vast field of life, we are everlastingly in battle with life.
After one has given up all the psychological, religious, spiritual organizations, the so-called " paths leading to truth", the problem arises of freeing this little entity, this little corner which one has cultivated, looked after, struggled with, and with which one has fought against the vast movement of life. How can one free it, so that there is not this silly little thing called the " me", the "mine"? Can one resolve it? We are not talking about whether one should go to the office, whether one should do this or that, whether one should have more money or less money, more clothes or less clothes and all that kind of stuff. That will all be answered very clearly, without any contradiction, without any confusion, when the psychological state has been cleared, when the little corner of this vast, complex existence, which is the individual, which is the family, which is the " me" and the " mine", which recognizes and identifies itself with nationality, with a particular group, with a particular idea - all will be answered when that little corner, with all its beauty, its glory and its extreme delicacy has come to an end.
It is only possible to resolve, to understand that centre when there is no escape whatsoever, when we are capable of looking at ourselves very clearly, without condemnation, justification or denial. To look very clearly we must have space. To look at a tree very, very clearly, to look at our wives, our husbands, our neighbours, or to look clearly at the stars of an evening, or the mountains, there must be space, but what we call " space" is the space which we have created; the space we know is between the observer and the observed. There is not only a space as time, but also a space as distance. We maintain this space in all our existence, in all our activity. The observer is always keeping at a distance from the observed. In this little space we are experiencing, judging, evaluating, condemning, seeking.
Please do not merely listen and hear words. If you are merely hearing words and intellectually saying, " It is obvious", then you are not actually facing facts. The intellect is a most deceptive thing. Intellect is absolutely necessary in order to reason sanely, rationally, healthily, but the whole of life is not intellect, any more than it is emotion or sentiment. If you are listening to what is being said by the speaker you will not only see the actual fact, the actual reality of space, but, if you push it further, also see that as long as this space exists there must be conflict. This space is contradictory, and where there is contradiction there must be conflict. It is like the man who is empty, lonely, insufficient, for whom life has no meaning. He projects a future through which he will fulfil, through literature, through painting, through music, through some kind of experience or relationship. The fulfilment is the object, and the fulfiller is the observer. The observer and the observed always have a space between them and therefore there is always that sense of conflict.
If one realizes that, not intellectually but actually, what is one to do? Space is necessary. Without space there is no freedom. We are talking psychologically. Freedom is not a reaction against society, becoming a beatnik or a beatle, or growing long hair - all that is not freedom. Freedom is something entirely different, and that freedom can only come about when there is immense space, not the space which one knows exists between the observer and the observed. That is only a very small space, and when there is only that small space there is no contact. It is only when one is in contact, when there is no space between the observer and the observed that one is in total relationship - with a tree for instance. One is not identified with the tree, the flower, a woman, a man or whatever it is, but when there is this complete absence of space as the observer and the observed, then there is vast space. In that space there is no conflict; in that space there is freedom.
Freedom is not a reaction. You cannot say, " Well, I am free". The moment you say you are free you are not free, because you are conscious of yourself as being free from something, and therefore you have the same situation as an observer observing a tree. He has created a space, and in that space he breeds conflict. To understand this requires not intellectual agreement or disagreement, or saying, "I don't understand", but rather it requires coming directly into contact with what is. It means seeing that all your actions, every moment of action is of the observer and the observed, and within that space there is pleasure, pain and suffering the desire to fulfil, to become famous. Within that space there is no contact with anything. Contact, relationship has a quite different meaning when the observer is no longer apart from the observed. There is this extraordinary space, and there is freedom.
To understand this space is meditation. To understand it deeply, to feel it, to be of it, to live and let it function as a part of us, to be in that space is quite a different thing. We begin to understand when, how and what to do. We only know space because of an object. There is space created by this tent; the space inside the tent and the space outside the tent; the space between us and the mountain. The space we know is that between the observer and the star which he sees of an evening, the distance, the miles, the time it will take to go there. We accept that space, live in that space, have all our relationships in that space, and we never ask ourselves if there is a different dimension of space. We are not talking about the space of the astronauts, of the people who walk in a weightless state. That is not at all the space we are talking about; that is still of time, of the observer and the observed. We are talking of a space in which there is not the object as the observed. It is very important to find out about it, not through words, because they would be symbols. The word and the symbol are not the reality. The word " space" is not the actual space. We must find out, uncover that extraordinary space and feel it.
Meditation is of importance, not how you meditate, not the practice of meditation, not the way you maintain certain visions, not that childish, infantile business, which unfortunately has been brought to the West from the East. You must have a great deal of scepticism and I hope you have plenty of it, when you are listening to what is being said, here or at any other place, for then you will find out for yourselves. It is a rather childish business if you come to these gatherings to experience some new, fantastic, mystical state. That you can easily achieve through some drug. If you have a serious intention to find out for yourself, not to seek, but to see something totally new, to find out about a new flower, a blade of grass which you have never seen before although you may have walked along the path where it grows, hundreds and thousands of times. You discover something which is a rebirth, which is not related to the past; your mind is made young, fresh, innocent. Meditation is important because it is only the meditative mind, the mind that is looking, hearing, listening, observing, being aware of all its reactions, its subtleties, never condemning, never justifying, never trying to become famous, but just watching - it is only such a mind that has significance. There is no one to answer your question for you. If you ask a right question, in that right question itself is the answer, but if you ask another person and accept what that other person say; you become a foolish person. Then you live on faith and hope and you are inviting despair, anxiety and fear. But if you observe as you are walking, moving, acting, you discover for yourself the whole meaning of existence. It can be discovered only when there is this state of observing, listening. That means never resisting, never suppressing, never defending. When the mind is vulnerable, when the brain is no longer functioning as the animal with its greed, envy, ambition, aggressiveness, then it is capable of listening totally, and therefore it is discovering, seeing for itself.
What you discover is not what you want to discover. Throughout the centuries, for thousands upon thousands of years, before Sumeria, before Egypt, before India, before Greece and Rome, human beings have always been groping after this extraordinary state. Man has given it many different names according to his fancy, his culture: God, creation, Brahman. Man has always hungered after it because he has realized that life itself is so short. His life, not life itself, but his particular little corner, which has very little meaning but to which he clings, is so short. Knowing that there is death, he is hoping to find something far beyond time, space and knowledge. There is such a thing only when the mind and the heart are free from the known and therefore there is vast space. Only in that space can there be peace and freedom, and only in that state can man realize and listen to a dimension which he cannot otherwise find, no matter what he does. He can only come to it naturally, darkly, without the "wanting". He may find it, and when he comes upon it, that is enough. It may last a lifetime or a second, but that second is of the vast, timeless space.
What is important to realize, not intellectually or verbally but actually, is that one is totally confused, which is an obvious fact. Reading any newspaper, any magazine, going to any church, listening to any political talk, one is really quite in despair to see how terribly confused one is. If one realizes that one can never escape from that actual fact, one will begin to discover how one looks at the fact of what one actually is, not what one thinks one should be. That again is an escape. Then one will discover for oneself that one is looking at it as the observer and the observed, creating space and inviting in that space infinite conflict and contradiction. When one realizes all that, one's mind is in a state of meditation. The individual mind is the local mind, the Gstaad mind, the Switzerland mind, the English mind, the Russian mind and so on, but the human mind is not the individual mind. The individual mind has its place; one must go to the office; one must have one's bank account; one has his own little family; but the individual mind can never become the human mind. The human mind is an immense entity which has lived ten thousand years and more and it is that human mind in its travail which can understand a dimension which is totally new, untouched by the known.
Questioner: I would like to understand the significance of a space in which the observer and the observed are not. Krishnamurti: We only know one space, the space as the observer and the observed. I look at this microphone as an observer, and there is the object which is the microphone. There is a space between the observer and the observed. This space is distance, distance being time. There is the observer and the distance between him and a star, between him and a mountain. To cover that distance we need time. The faster we go, the quicker we cover that space, but it is still the observer travelling towards the observed.
You are asking what the other space is which is not this. I can't tell you. I can only tell you that as long as this space as the observer and the observed exists, the other is not. The speaker has also stated that there is a way of freeing the observer who is always creating the space as the observer and the observed. However much you may extend that little space it will always exist. There is an airplane overhead. You, as an observer, as a listener, are listening to that sound. You are the listener and the sound is there. There is a gap. The gap is a time interval. It is getting further and further and further away, expanding into the universe. There is always the observer, and there is always the observed: you - your wife; you - your house; you - the river; you - your country; you - the government; me as a communist or a Muslim or whatever it is - and the non-communist, the atheist, the barbarian. As long as this space exists, as long as there is contradiction, there must be conflict. To free the mind of the observer, no escape is possible. Don't escape; don't seek. Face the fact of what you are; don't translate in terms of what you think you are, of what you should be. When you face the fact of what you actually are, without escaping, without naming it, without the word, then the fact becomes totally different. When you do that with every reaction, with every movement of thought, then there is a freedom from the observer; then there is a totally different dimension of space.
Questioner: How can one experience this different dimension of space?
Krishnamurti: You are standing there; I am sitting here; that's all. All you know is the space between you, standing there, and me; between you and the mountain; you and your wife; you and a tree; you and your country. When you know that space, you know you are never in contact with anything. You are in isolation. When there is no contact between you, as the observer, and me as the observed, all life becomes contact. That's all.
Questioner: Do you believe that freedom comes when you are mature?
Krishnamurti: First of all, I don't believe in anything. (Laughter.) Don't laugh, please; what I am saying is very serious. Why should one believe in anything, even in flying saucers? Why should one believe there is God or no God? Either there is or there is not. Why should one believe? If one has seen that, one acquires an extraordinary mind. Does freedom come at the right moment? Freedom comes for anyone who is really in earnest to find out. There is no time, no maturity; it is not a question of ripening through old age, achieving it through righteous action. Maturity does not come through age, through the body growing. It comes when one is really serious and has understood that one cannot possibly escape. When one sees life as it is, when one sees oneself as one is, from there one can move.
July 31, 1966
Saanen 10th Public Talk 31st July 1966
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.