Public Dialogues in Saanen 1974
Saanen 2nd Public Dialogue 1st August 1974.
K: What shall we talk over this morning together?
Q: Would you talk about celibacy with regard to the mind?
Q: What is the quality of the mind that is able to look?
Q: The relationship between thought and feeling.
Q: If there is no marriage as legally accepted, would there be attachment between the two, and what is the relationship of the parents to the children?
K: Shall we go into all this? Or do you have some other questions?
Q: If thought is matter, as we have said, is intelligence different from thought?
Q: How can the mind observe itself without the desire for security?
K: Now that's enough questions. Why is it so difficult to be free of attachment? And what is the relationship between celibacy and mind? What is it that observes apart from the mind? And is intelligence different from thought? Shall we take up some of those questions?
Q: I would like to know whether or not celibacy is necessary psychologically?
K: So which do you want to discuss, or can we include in one question all these other questions?
Q: How is it possible to observe without fear all the things that one has built throughout life, and face annihilation?
Q: You have said that in observing there is a pleasure.
K: I didn't say that.
Now wait a minute, that's enough questions if you don't mind. Now which question will include all the others?
Q: Is psychological celibacy, or physical celibacy, necessary for psychological health, well being, freedom and so on?
K: Why is so difficult to be free from attachment? Can we take that question of attachment and through that answer the other questions? May we? Shall we do it?
Why is the mind so attached to things, to ideas, to ideals, symbols, family, name and so on? What is attachment, what is the meaning of that word, to be attached? Please, as we said yesterday, this is not a talk by the speaker. We are together, as friends who are serious, considering human problems. And it is not an intellectual entertainment, a discussion, an argument of opinions. We are trying to find out the truth of the matter, and to find that out you have to share in it, you can't just listen to the speaker. So we are together taking a journey in understanding these problems. When we use the word 'understanding' we mean not intellectual or verbal, but an understanding that takes place when we are serious and examining and from that action. This whole process is understanding. Right?
Now we are asking, why is the mind so attached - to ideas, opinions, values, people, houses, furniture? I used to know a friend in the old days who was very fond of a particular table. It was a very, very old table and he used to polish it every day. And you could only touch it with kid gloves. And all his activity was round that table - he was that table! And aren't we also like that, it may not be a table, it may be house, it may be an ideal, a symbol, an experience, a person, why is the mind attached? The meaning of that word, 'attached' is to hold on, to cling to, to totally rely on somebody. Why?
K: I understand. Now please, when we are examining, don't immediately, if I may suggest most respectfully, answer. We have got to look into this problem, we have got to look into ourselves if you are attached. Aren't you attached to your symbols, to an experience, to a particular desire, what you think and attached to your ideas, ideals, aren't you? To your nation, to your background, you know, all the rest of it, tradition. Now we are asking, how does it happen that the mind is so caught up in this? You see this is a very difficult problem, very complex, so don't just say, "Yes, it is this". Man has tried not to be attached, and therefore he has cultivated detachment. That is one of the demands of any orthodox religion - be detached from the world, from sex, from women, from drink, detached so that you can give your energy to the service of god, or whoever it is. This is a very complex problem. And if you are serious, if you really are interested in it, one has to go very deeply to find out why the human mind throughout the ages has lived these two principles: attachment and the cultivation of detachment? All the monks throughout the world try to be detached, have taken vows of poverty, vows of celibacy. Why this extraordinary phenomenon of attachment and detachment has not been solved by people? You understand? We are still talking about after ten thousand millions years. Why is the mind so incapable of freedom from either? That's what our enquiry is.
When we ask, 'why', we are not, as we explained yesterday, trying to find out the cause. Please let's understand this carefully. May I go into it? The analytical process is to find the cause and eradicate the cause. And in the process of trying to find out the cause of attachment the mind is still caught in another motive. Isn't it? I want to find out what is the cause of attachment, the motive of that examination is to be detached in order not to have pain. I am attached to you, and you turn to somebody else, and I feel hurt, angry, jealous, hatred, bitter, and I try to find the cause of that, and in trying to find the cause I still have a motive. So the motive is much more important than the cause. You have understood? Not the cause, but the motive that seeks the cause. All right, is this clear?
So when we ask, why it seems so difficult for the mind to be free of attachment - now in examining, have we a motive? The motive being, we want to be free of it, we want to go beyond it, because we have suffered a great deal through attachment. We know all the pains of attachment, the loneliness of attachment. So in enquiring into it my motive is to go beyond it. So a mind that has a motive has a direction. Right? And that direction distorts examination. Right? Have you understood, sir? No? If not, I will go at it ten different ways because I feel responsible to put this clearly.
So in enquiring, any motive is a distorting factor and therefore one never sees the truth of attachment, and therefore freedom from it. Is this clear?
Q: What is one to do if there is a motive there?
K: If the motive exists, what am I to do with it? You can't do anything about it, but if you are really seeking to understand this whole business of attachment, the imperative necessity to understand attachment pushes away motive. I want to understand completely what is the structure and nature and the drive of attachment, and if a motive prevents that understanding I put it away naturally, because my intention, my responsibility, my drive is to understand attachment, and if anything comes in the way of that understanding and action, I naturally put it aside.
Q: Where does the drive come to understand?
K: Do you want me to answer that question?
K: Sir, look, don't you want to understand attachment?
Q: I want to get rid of fear.
K: So your motive is to do away with fear, not the understanding of attachment. So when you have a motive will you understand attachment?
Q: The motive doesn't exist.
K: All right, the motive doesn't exist, so you are concerned with attachment.
Q: Why is it so difficult to be free of attachment?
K: Sir, I am showing it to you, sir. This person asked, why is it so difficult to be free of attachment, and we are trying to find out whether the mind can be free of attachment. And we are saying, if there is a motive in any action, in any investigation, that action and that examination is distorted. Right? If I have a motive to be friendly with you, I am not friendly with you. If I say, "I love you", and I have a motive for that love, I don't love.
So motive, or the examination of a cause are the same. So - please listen - can the mind be free of motive in examination, in investigation into the problem of attachment? Say for instance, I am greatly interested in the ending of sorrow, if it is at all possible. And I have no motive, I just want to understand it, because I see human beings suffer and I want to find out, and therefore I have energy. You understand, sir? A motive initiates energy. The energy that I need to understand, to investigate, is wasted when there is a motive.
Q: But wanting to understand is saying, why.
K: I don't. I have no 'why'. You are holding on to words. We will go into this in a minute, later.
Now we are asking, can the mind be free of attachment? Now to go into that you need energy. Right? All your energy you need, and if you have a motive that is a wasting of energy. I need complete energy to understand attachment, and therefore I mustn't waste that energy in finding out the cause or the motive. Now I have got that energy because I have no motive, nor the analysis of a cause. Right?
Q: There is a motive in finding out what lies beyond attachment.
K: I don't want to find out, I am observing. I don't know what comes beyond, what lies beyond. You follow, sir. I am just observing the map of attachment, as we did yesterday the map of fear. I just observe this map, there is no motive in it. Are you like that, that you have no motive in looking at this map of attachment? Sirs, first see if you understand the meaning of these words verbally, then see it intellectually, then see if you can go beyond the verbal, intellectual comprehension because the problem is that you are attached - to your wife, to ideals and all the rest of it. Now being attached, what happens? I am attached to my ideals - one is - then what takes place? I am attached to that. Then what takes place?
Q: Without attachment there is no sense of direction.
K: And your attachment gives you a direction, and what is the result of that direction?
K: No, sir, the gentleman asked, attachment gives you direction, if there is no direction there is confusion, therefore you are attached. Attachment gives direction, and without direction there is confusion, so I am attached. I am attached. Does attachment give direction to avoid confusion; or you are confused therefore you are attached? Not the other way round. Please don't accept anything but let's look at it. The gentleman says, "I am attached and that gives a direction to my activity, to my responsibility, to my action, and without that direction I am lost, I am confused". So does direction give you order? Does direction free you from confusion? Let's put it that way.
Q: Confusion exists between two directions.
K: You are making it all so complicated. Be a little bit simple.
Q: Confusion brings division.
K: Obviously, sir. You have a direction and another has a direction, the Arabs have a direction and the Jews have a direction, and so on and so on. What are all these directions bringing about in the world? Confusion. No? So, please, one wants to understand what is the nature and structure and function of attachment? And we are saying very simply, if you want to examine anything if you have a motive you blind yourself, you don't look clearly. That's simple, isn't it. The intention is to understand attachment, not my motive. May I go on? Sir, don't you want to understand attachment?
Q: I have a motive in being here.
K: Yes, you have a motive, of course. You are all here because you have a motive. That's understood. But what is your motive, why are you all here? All right. Why are you all here? What is the motive for your being here? Look, I come here to understand what the speaker is saying, and the speaker says, don't understand what he is talking about but what he is talking about is yourself, so understand yourself. Understand yourself. And to understand yourself don't have a motive. That's all he is saying all the time, in different ways. In the understanding of yourself you come upon this problem of attachment, and you see what attachment does - pain, suffering, a sense of loss if somebody goes away, and so on. So you are trying to understand attachment in the understanding of yourself. Now why - I am using the 'why' not for cause, I am asking that as a process of investigation - why is the mind attached? Why is your mind attached - attached to an ideal, attached to a nationality, attached to a person, attached to your experience, attached to your gods, to your opinion, and so on - why does the mind cripple itself with all these attachments?
Q: There isn't an answer, I don't know.
K: We are going to find an answer. I can't just, I don't know, and just leave it. I must find an answer.
Q: In words.
K: In reality, not in words, don't go back to all that, because just verbal explanation is nothing. So I want to understand whether the mind can be free from attachment. And I ask then, why is the mind attached, what is behind this attachment?
Q: You need security, therefore you are attached.
Q: I am attached because I'm lonely.
K: So you are attached because you are lonely, is that it? That is one of the reasons, isn't it? Please, let's go into this. Are you tired this morning?
Q: Psychological conditioning by the society.
K: That is one of the reasons. The society is what we have made of it, what human beings have made of it. And we are part of that mankind that has made the society, we are part of it, therefore that society is me. I am not separate from that society; or the culture, the education, the religion, is me. I have created that. So I see one of the reasons of attachment is this sense of desperate loneliness. Right? Loneliness. Don't just brush it aside. You people are too clever.
K: We have to use our minds, we have got to use our reason and go beyond reason. We can't just say, reason doesn't count.
Q: Is life worth living if you are not attached to worthwhile things?
K: You see you are really not interested to investigate, or understand and see if the mind can be free from attachment. Look, my son is dead. I have been attached to him. I have put all my energies, my hopes, my intentions, the desire for immortality in that son, and he is dead, and I go through suffering. I don't talk about reasons, worthwhile this and worthwhile that, I want to find out. And I see where there is attachment there is suffering. Right? - whether to furniture or god, or to worthwhile values. Right? Then I ask myself, is it possible for the mind to be free from suffering and therefore not attached? You understand? May I go on? I can go on but you have got to live it, you have got to see it. My son is dead and I have been terribly attached to him. And when he is gone I feel very lonely, and I escape from that loneliness in order not to suffer - I go off climbing the mountains, reading books, and churches and drugs, and sex, and everything in order to escape from that suffering. And that's what mankind has done - spread a vast net of escapes and in that net we are caught - intellectual, emotional, sentimental, romantic, illusory net.
Now I see that net has no value at all because it hasn't solved the problem that my son is dead and I am suffering. Escape festers that suffering. Right? Right, sir? And also I see in attachment there is fear, in attachment there is jealousy, there is bitterness, there is anger, hatred. Haven't you noticed all this? No? And I also see that mankind has made an opposite, that is, be detached. Now please follow this - is there an opposite at all to attachment? There is an opposite with man and woman, darkness and light, I am not talking of that, for the moment. But is there an opposite to attachment?
Q: There has to be an opposite otherwise it wouldn't exist.
K: He is caught in Aristotle. Aristotle apparently, according to him, has said, opposite must exist, otherwise 'what is' is non-existent. Listen to it carefully, please. The opposite must exist otherwise 'what is' is non-existent. I am attached, and the opposite is detachment, and if there is no opposite there is no attachment. I am afraid even Aristotle can be mistaken!
K: We are going into it. We are examining it, please have some patience. I am asking, is there an opposite to attachment, or has the mind invented the opposite because it does not know what to do with 'what is'? I am attached, I don't know what to do with it, I am caught in it, I am in despair with it, and I say to myself, "I will be detached from this", that is the opposite. Right? And I am questioning, why does the opposite exist at all? Because I have only 'what is', why should I have an opposite? Why should I have a duality in this? It may be because I do not know how to resolve this problem, therefore the opposite, by going for that, struggling to be detached, may help me to be detached from attachment. Therefore I say to myself, I'll forget the detachment, it is not a fact. The fact is I am attached. Right? That is the only fact. The detachment is a verbal non-fact. So I have to deal with 'what is', not with 'what should be'.
K: No, sir. First please, I am saying something very simple, sir. The fact is attachment, that is what is going on. Detachment is a non-fact, it is something I have invented in order to get away from the fact.
Let me put it another way. Man is violent, human beings are violent, and we have non-violence, the opposite. The opposite is not a reality, what is reality is violence. Now if I know how to deal with the actual then I won't go to fiction. I will deal with 'what is'. Because I have an opposite there is conflict between the two. Oh sirs, come on!
Q: I am not always violent.
K: Sir man is not constantly violent, of course he is not constantly violent. There are occasions when he is quiet.
Q: Why isn't there peace?
K: I never talked about peace, I am talking about attachment. That's the only thing I have to face, attachment. And in that observing attachment, in being aware of attachment, I find that there is sorrow, bitterness, anger, jealousy, annoyance, hatred, violence, all that. That is the only thing I have, not the opposite. That we must be very clear about. If I say there is the opposite of attachment, then that opposite creates a division between attachment and detachment, and therefore there is a conflict where there is division.
I find that my son is dead, and in that there is sorrow, that sorrow is the outcome of my loneliness, my loss, my lack of companionship, and so on. And from that suffering I try to escape, and if there is no escape I become bitter, angry, furious, cynical. Right? That is the problem. Now what is the mind to do? It has no opposites.
Q: It is the action of thought.
K: Don't go after thought, sir. Let's look at it differently. To say to myself that is the action of thought, doesn't help me to overcome my suffering. That's mere rationalization. I suffer. Now just a minute. Can the mind not suffer - not become brutal, I don't mean build a wall round itself so that it doesn't suffer. Attachment, loss, suffering, and that suffering arises when I have felt lonely, and I have filled that loneliness with my son. Right? And when that son goes I am at a loss, and the sense of loss makes me suffer. Don't give me reasons, I know all the reasons.
Then I say to myself, attachment has brought this about, I know nothing about detachment. You all may do, but I know nothing about detachment, and I say to myself, what am I to do? I won't escape because that's futile. What is the mind to do? Go on sirs.
Q: Adopt another child.
K: Sir, you people are not serious. To adopt another child, who also may die, or get crippled, or become insane, or a crooked politician, or become a guru - the same thing! If you are serious sir, please give some attention to this. So the mind says, what is it to do? No escape, no opposite - you see what has happened. Escape is a wastage of energy. Right? The opposite is a wastage of energy because it creates a conflict. And the mind needs all its energy to understand and go beyond suffering. Right? So no escape. Can the mind remain with that suffering without any movement of escape or duality or trying to find the rational of it? You understand my question? I suffer. My son is dead, I suffer. Can I remain with that suffering without any movement of escape? Because any form of escape - the worship of a god, going to church, reading a novel, trying to say, "Yes, my son will live next life, and I'll meet him next life", or "He will be resurrected and I will be also resurrected and shall meet in the clouds" - all those are escapes and wastage of energy. Right? And what am I to do?
I'll show you, right? I have no escapes. Can the mind, please listen - remain with the fact? Now what is the fact? Please listen carefully. The fact of suffering - is it the word has created the feeling, or is it an actual suffering? You have understood? Is the mind facing suffering? Or does it face what it calls suffering because of a word called 'suffering'? You understand? The word is not the thing, the description is not the described. And is suffering a word or a reality? So I must find out whether the mind is caught in words. The words may be an escape.
So I have to find out whether the mind is capable of being free from the word and therefore capable of looking at 'what is' without the word. This is not an intellectual game. Because words play an extraordinarily important part in our life - Christian, immediately you have an image; German, communism, a black man - you follow, these are words. We think by using these words we have understood. So can your mind be free of the word? Free of the word 'suffering' as well as violence? Right? That requires attention. You understand sir, it isn't just a plaything.
Then if it is accurate, not the word that is stimulating the feeling, then can the mind remain with that fact of that feeling and not move away from it? When it remains with that feeling you have a tremendous energy, haven't you? - which has been dissipated. And when you have that energy then what is suffering? Is there suffering? You know the word 'suffering' has its root in passion. If you look into a dictionary you will find it comes from the word 'passion', not the passion which Christians have made, but the actual word, the semantic meaning. Now when you remain with suffering, when the mind remains totally, completely without a movement, when the mind remains with the fact and not with the word, with the fact of that feeling of great sorrow without any escapes, out of that comes passion. And without that passion you can't do a thing.
Sirs, let's look at it differently. We have all been hurt - haven't you, hurt, from childhood. Our education is a series of hurts, and can the mind look at those hurts, because one hurt is as many other hurts, therefore there is only one hurt, not the multiplication of hurts, that one hurt is good enough. Can the mind look at that hurt without a single saying. "I want to hit back, I want to build a wall round myself to isolate myself in order to be never hurt" - remain with that fact, not with the word. Then you will see that you have great energy to go beyond it. It doesn't then exist at all. Do do it please.
Q: Is there a passion which is not suffering?
K: Is there a passion which is not the outcome of suffering? There is lust, there is the intensification of pleasure, which you may call passion, but that is not passion. Suppose one takes great pleasure in doing somethingclimbing a mountain, achieving, fulfilling your talent, great pleasure - that's not passion, is it? Because passion goes with compassion - compassion means, passion for all. You understand sirs? Compassion is that. That compassion is different from taking a great intense pleasure in doing something, or fulfilling your particular little talent.
Now is your mind free from attachment? You understand? - attachment to an ideal, to a person, to an experience however great that experience is, attached. Now just a minute. Is attachment in the present, or in the past? I am attached to you, is that an active present, or is it a past anchorage in you, and a remembrance?
Q: Is attachment a link between the past and the present?
K: We will find out. I am asking first a question: you are attached to your ideals, or to an image, or to a symbol, or to something, is that attachment an active movement in the present, or is it a remembrance of something of the past? Is it a remembrance or active present? You understand my question? Like action is active present, it is in the present, action. And if your action has a motive it is not in the present. If your action has an ideal and you are conforming to that ideal, action doesn't take place, because action is always active present. To act. The verb, to act is the present.
Now I am asking, we are asking: attachment, is it a remembrance, therefore out of the past, or is it a living thing that is going on, alive?
Q: It is obviously in the past.
K: Obviously, the gentleman says, it is in the past. What do you say? If you examine this, please, you will find lots of things. If attachment is a remembrance, that means in the memory, stored up in the brain cells, then that attachment is from the past in the present. Right? Therefore the present is a movement of the past, therefore it is not present. I wonder if you get this.
Look sir, I am attached. I am attached to you, you are nice looking, you give me pleasure, sex or companionship, or whatever it is, and I am greatly attached to you. That attachment is the past, isn't it? Because I have walked with you in the woods, and it has given me great pleasure, a delight, to point out the beauty of the mountains, the shadows, the wide open fields, the birds singing, and I tell this to you and it gives a great pleasure. And I am attached to you through that pleasure, and that attachment is a remembrance because when I walk the next time you are not there, and I say, "Oh, I wish you were here". So attachment is a remembrance. And I am asking myself, what is the relationship of the past, remembrance of an attachment, to the present? Or is the present a continuation of the past? Is this all becoming too difficult? So if it is a continuation of the past, what is the relationship between the two people? You understand? The brain is living in the past. Of course. Memory is in the past, knowledge is the past, knowledge in the present can be modified, or added to, but still knowledge is always in the past. Right? Oh come on sirs, somebody.
So my life is being lived in the past. Right? I live in the past so I don't know what is the present. I don't know what is the fact because I am living in the past, and facts are always in the present. Right? So I look at the fact always with the past. So I have coloured the facts. That means can the mind live wholly in the present? This is not a speculative silly question, but it requires tremendous understanding of the past. You know the philosophy - 'Forget the past, live for the present' - enjoy yourself for the present. You can't live in the present if you don't know what the past is, and whether the past can end in the present.
Therefore you have to find out in the enquiry of attachment, whether attachment is a strengthening remembrance, or a fading remembrance which is always strengthened by the present, or there is no attachment when there is the living present? You see something? I am just discovering something. That is, when the mind is wholly living in the present there is no attachment. Right? See it? Come on sirs, move! It is only the remembrance of things past - the remembrance of my attachment, the remembrance of my son, and my attachment to him, the remembrance of that loneliness, the remembrance of being left alone, no companion, somebody to whom I can give all my things, and so on. So the moment when the mind sees that, is there attachment in the living present, in the active verb of that word, living? I have lived in the past, and I will live in the future, but I do not live now because all my mind, my brain in the product of the past. The brain holds memory in the cells and the tissues, and that memory dictates my life, the living. And the living, if it is dictated by the past, is not living. Right? Am I going on by myself, or are you following this?
As we said, this is a dialogue, two serious friends who have known each other for some time, talking about their difficulties, their problems, and trying to go beyond them, not verbally, not intellectually, but actually to transcend, to go beyond this problem of attachment, with all its sorrows, with all its aching, anxious, fearful loneliness. And in the understanding of that the mind sees that it is always living in the past. And tradition is the past and therefore a betrayal of the present. So can the mind live wholly in the present, in which there is no attachment? You understand sir, this is psychologically a very important question because psychologically there is no future. You know when you realize psychologically there is no future, what a shock it gives you. You understand. I know I will meet you tomorrow and I have pleasure of meeting you tomorrow - sexually or otherwise, all the images of sexual pleasures. There is no tomorrow. You follow what takes place? Either you go into a despair that there is no tomorrow psychologically, or you realize something which is immense, which is, every action ends today. There is no, "I will do something tomorrow", or "I must be that tomorrow". I wonder if you understand this? Just see what is implied. Psychologically there is no future. The saying, "I am today and I will be tomorrow", or "I will become great tomorrow", when the psyche realizes 'the tomorrow' is the movement of the past, through the present, to the future - you understand? The past, through the present modified is the future. If the mind lives in that time period, it lives in the past, however much modified it is, it is always the past. When the mind realizes that, not verbally but deeply, inwardly, with all its fulness, then tomorrow has no meaning. It has the meaning that I have to go tomorrow to London, but we are not talking of that. But the psychological effort to be something tomorrow ends: you are or you are not. And it is a very hard thing to realize. Goodness is not tomorrow, it is now. It is not, "I will be good", then when you say, 'I will be good' you are never good.
So the mind has been educated, conditioned through education, through society, through culture, through religions that there is god in heaven and you will achieve - you follow - and when you realize that tomorrow is what has been yesterday and modified, then you see that your whole existence is in the past. And when you are living in the past there is the conflict with the present. That conflict never ends, but when you see the truth that there is no tomorrow.
Physiologically when you are doing something like learning to ride a bicycle, there is a tomorrow. Right? Of course. If you are doing yoga postures you need tomorrow to make your muscles supple. Learning a language, how to drive a car, learning a function, there is a tomorrow, but psychologically when one lives in tomorrow you are really actually living in the past. And the present is in conflict with the past. Of course. And to end conflict, really, deeply, at the very roots of your being, to realize that there is no tomorrow, then our whole action changes. Therefore everyday there is an ending of everything that you have done, and begin anew tomorrow. You understand?
Public Dialogues in Saanen 1974
Saanen 2nd Public Dialogue 1st August 1974.
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