Saanen 4th Public Dialogue 2nd August 1975.
K: What shall we talk over together this morning?
Q: What happens to thought when it realizes it can't grasp the whole?
Q: The act or the passion of learning.
Q: You have never talked about apparitions, ghosts, and all that business after death.
Q: What happens to your own mind when you are not talking, when you are not with people, when you are not reading, what is the state of your mind?
Q: The problem of violence.
Q: What is boredom?
K: Perhaps you are bored here.
Q: What is the relationship of the mind to thought?
Q: What worries me is, our relationship to children, our responsibility to children, to older people and so on.
Q: Could we talk over meditation in relation to a total perception which transforms, or changes, the structure or the cells in the brain?
Q: What is it to be sensitive, and what is right education?
K: Now just a minute: which shall we take of these - what is the state of your own mind when you are not talking, reading, being with people? Then: what is right education? And what is our responsibility to our children, to the older people, to the people about us? Could you talk over meditation and total perception; perception of something whole, you said, transforms the very cells of the brain? The act of learning. Now which shall we take of these which will cover all the questions that have been raised?
Q: Your state of mind.
K: Perhaps we can come to that - if you are still interested in it at the end of it - by talking over together the problem of responsibility, not only with regard to our children, but to society, to the politician, to this world that is in chaos, and perhaps, if we could, go into this question of meditation we might cover all the questions that have been asked.
So could we take - I am asking, I am not saying you should - responsibility? What is our responsibility to our children, to our neighbour, to all the things that are happening in the world - dictatorship, violence, suppressing free speech, all that - what is our responsibility and what is the action of that responsibility, and could we learn what that action is? That includes, I think, most of the questions that have been asked, and perhaps we can also go into the question of meditation after, or we will come upon it.
Do we feel responsible: what is happening in India, suppression, you know what is happening there: you know what is happening in Russia, if you have read Solzhenitsyn and Zharkov and the others, and talked to some people, diplomats or friends who have been there: and in China, and in America and in Europe, and the starving people throughout the world including Africa and India: what is one's responsibility, what should one do? This is a dialogue. What should one do? Do you feel strong enough, or passionate enough, that things can't go on as they are? Or do you say, 'That's not my responsibility' - what happens in Russian, in India, or Africa and so on? Do you feel responsible - the word responsibility means to respond adequately to the challenge that is going on around us. The word 'responsibility' means that, to respond inadequately or adequately or fully. Does one feel responsible? Go on sirs. And if you do feel responsible, at what level - casual responsibility, casual response, convenient response, responding according to your political theories, or according to your convictions, beliefs and so on. How do you respond?
Q: Is guilt involved in responsibility?
K: You understand, all these questions are involved in this. What is one to do? I feel terribly responsible - suppose one does - I do personally feel terribly responsible that something must be done to stem the tide of tyranny, and all the political chicanery, the secretiveness of politicians and their conclusions and their documents behind the door, all that is happening. And looking at it as a human being I feel utterly responsible. Do you? Or do you say, 'That is not my business, I can't do anything about it. What can I do about things that are happening in India or Russia, where there is no freedom of speech, the new class, people are treated like lumps of flesh, and that's happening also slowly in India and in Africa? How do you feel responsible and what can you do about it? Sir, face it, let's talk about it.
Q: I don't know what you mean by adequate.
K: I am coming to that, sir. Does one feel responsible to one's children? Let's begin with that. I don't know why you beget children, but do you feel responsible - that they have the right kind of environment, right kind of education - we will discuss what is the right kind of education - right kind of parents, and not indifferent parents, parents who are occupied with their own problems, with their own ambitions, with their own greed, with their own status, the maladjustment between the wife and the husband, and therefore they feel very little responsibility to the children because they are occupied with themselves - the parents. And then talk about responsibility to children. You understand? And if you do not feel responsible, why not? When the house is burning, which it is, we sit back and meditate, take drugs, form little communes and go to Japan or India to find little gurus? What do you do?
Q: I see all this state of affairs in the world comes about through divisions, nationalities, families and so on.
K: So what shall I do? Face the problem. Who is responsible for creating this? You understand?
K: We are going into that, sir, go slowly.
Q: It is very difficult to be totally responsible for the whole because one is so occupied with one's own problems, with one's own livelihood, with one's own passions, appetites and all that. Therefore how can you talk about being responsible for the whole?
K: So if we could approach this problem, who is responsible for making this mess in the world - the Catholic mess, the Hindus, you understand, the mess, the violence, the brutality, who is responsible? The politicians, the priests?
Q: We are.
K: You are. Don't be casual about it, don't be hesitant. Either you are, or you are not. Don't let's pretend and say, 'Well I am not responsible really, somebody else is responsible'. Who is responsible?
Q: How does it help for me to be, I have no power.
K: How do you know you have no power? You haven't even looked at it, sir. Please look at it first before you answer it. If you attribute this chaos in the world, and violence and all the rest of it, to environment, to a society, to the priest, to the politicians, then you have to say, who brought this politician into being, the priest into being? We have, haven't we? Through our fear, we have created the church, the temples, the mosques - right? No? Come on sirs, move. And we have elected these politicians, whether in this country, or in so-called democratic countries - which is really not democracy at all, but that doesn't matter. We certainly have not created the communists, they have usurped power in the name of the people and all the rest of it. So we are responsible, aren't we? Oh, face it, sirs, don't be shy about it. We are Englishmen, or Frenchmen, or Italians, or Russians, we have demanded that we be nationalistic, divisive, no?
K: Sir, if you feel that, if you feel that you are utterly responsible for everything that is going on in the world, not to get depressed by it, but feel utterly responsible..
Q: We have no money.
K: Does responsibility depend on money?
Q: No, but money dictates..
K: Wait sir. I know that, money dictates, power dictates, sex dictates. But first we are responsible for this, not the moneyed people, or the poor people, we, you and I. It was already existent, this confusion, this misery, this suffering, and the chaos, violence, before I was born. Obviously.
Q: I don't know what to do.
K: We are going to learn what to do. So if one feels utterly, totally, wholly responsible for this, because in oneself one is violent, in oneself one is ambitious and therefore we have created this.
Q: I feel part of the mess.
K: All right, you feel part of the mess, but that part has created this. You are in it, we are all in it, and what shall we do? Just be carried along? So we have to find out, we have to learn - please, don't be definite, don't come to any conclusion.
Q: I see it intellectually but I don't feel it.
K: Oh, I see. You don't really feel it, you intellectually agree we are responsible but you don't feel that thing.
Q: This is the nature of existence, I accept it.
K: I don't accept that this is the nature of this world. That means I am doomed for ever. Now please let's go slowly, let's learn about it, don't jump from state to state to state. Let's learn about it.
What am I to do? I feel totally responsible as a human being, who is the world, and the world is him, that is the basic thing first. If you don't accept it let's talk it over together: that you are the world and the world is you. You have been brought up in a particular culture, western culture, culture including all the social, economic, ethical, moral, religious, structure, you have been brought up in that, but in essence you are like everybody else - greedy, envious, arrogant, violent, all that, right through the world this is what is going on.
Q: Intellectually I see that but I still don't feel it.
K: I wonder if you see it intellectually at all. Why do you divide the intellect and the feeling. What you mean by the intellect is hearing the words, and the understanding of the words, and then you say, 'I understand it intellectually'. Do you understand intellectually when somebody beats you, when you are hungry, when your house is burning, when your wife or girl runs away from you, do you intellectually say, 'Yes'? Or do you feel it? This is a false division - the intellectual comprehension and having no feeling.
K: We have been through that, sir. I am talking about, what shall we do, or you do, if you feel utterly responsible. I am personally totally against killing human beings and animals. To me to kill or to hurt somebody is something totally incorrect. And if I have money, a bank account - thank god I haven't got it! - if I have money, a bank account, whatever I do, buy, goes towards maintaining war, by paying taxes. Face all this, sir. So I know through tax, war, the things of war, the materials for war, for killing, is maintained; so what shall I do? Not pay tax and go to prison?
Q: Don't get attached to it.
K: No, sir, this is just ideas, theories, we are talking of reality, what is going on. What shall I do? You are in that position.
K: I am telling you, madam, this is what we are doing, we are going into it. What shall I do, not pay tax and end up in prison? Which is of greater importance - end up in prison, or grasp the whole problem and attack it at a deeper level? You understand my question? I buy stamps, and buying stamps is also a form of sustaining the military spirit in the world, so shall I not buy stamps, not write letters? And I can go on frittering my energy about details like that, not buying stamps, don't pay tax, no telegrams, you follow, gradually close myself in. Don't use aeroplanes, trains - everything is maintaining war. So what shall I do? Wouldn't it be wiser, saner, to approach this problem, not with 'don't buy stamps', this or that, but approach the problem at a deeper level? No? What is the deeper level? I see as long as I am a Hindu, with all the superstitions, with my beliefs, I maintain division. As long as I am a Christian I maintain that division. No? As long as I am nationalistic I maintain that division. So I feel utterly responsible at the greatest depth not to be any of these things. And from that I act totally differently.
So my responsibility is not to belong to any of this. I have an Indian passport, that's merely for convenience, and when I am in India they say, 'You are really Indian, you have got the real Indian mind, the ancient Indian mind, therefore you belong to us'. I say, 'Nonsense, skip it'.
So do you attack this problem superficially or deeply? If you approach this problem deeply then it is your responsibility not to be any of these things - neither communist, socialist, none of these things. They are just labels. Which means you see the false and therefore you see what is real and act.
K: Madam, I have just explained that. I have just explained in English your question and I have answered it. You say, I am responsible, if you do, and if you are responsible then at what level and depth are you responsible? If that responsibility is that you cannot belong to anything which is divisive and therefore lacks co-operation, then you act from that. Then you have your education, how do you educate your children, who will not have this mentality, this tradition of being a communist, Catholic, Protestant, the whole works, how will you educate him, knowing that when he goes with other boys and girls he is going to be conditioned? You follow all this? You may not want him to be conditioned - conditioning being the tradition of being an Englishman, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, communist and so on. But when he goes to school the other boys and the teachers are going to condition him. So what will you do? It's your responsibility.
Q: Not send him to school.
K: Have you time to educate him at home? Oh, sir, don't play around with words. So what will you do? So if you feel responsible you will want to find a school where they are going to see both the teacher and the student are helping themselves to be unconditioned. For that you are responsible. Right?
Q: Is there a school where the teachers are unconditioned and how can they face the world when they leave?
K: How can they face the world when they go out of that school when they are not conditioned? Conditioning means unintelligence. When you are conditioned you are unintelligent. And when you are unconditioned, if that is possible, then you are intelligent, and that intelligent will act when he goes out into the world. These are all simple things.
Q: Can you do this in a school which is conditioned itself?
K: Therefore find out. Find out if the teacher and the school and the student and the parents, altogether want, desire, feel responsible that these children should be brought up without any conditioning. As the teachers are conditioned, discuss with the children. 'I am conditioned, old boy, you are conditioned, let us investigate it, go into it, make it disappear'. That's part of education, not just memorizing facts.
Q: It is usual to go as a teacher to a school which is itself conditioned.
K: I have explained to you, sir. I have a child.
Q: I talk about myself as a teacher.
K: You are conditioned, yes? Do you acknowledge that you are conditioned?
Q: No, I don't allow that.
K: It is not a question of allowing yourself: you are conditioned. And the child comes to you, the student, who is already conditioned by the parents, by the society, so there you are. The student and the teacher in a school are conditioned. And it is the responsibility of the teacher, and the school, to see that these children are unconditioned. It is their responsibility. I send my child to you because you say you are going to learn and help him to uncondition himself, therefore it is your responsibility. So the teacher talks it over with the student, says, 'Look I am conditioned, and you are conditioned, see all the implications of that conditioning - divisive, destructive, violent, separative' - you know the whole thing. The boy will learn, the girl will learn from you. So there is the responsibility of action. That is, the responsibility of intelligence which acts wisely. A conditioned mind is an ignorant mind, it cannot act wisely.
So let's proceed from there. Therefore my action, not as a parent, as an ordinary human being, is the outcome of understanding my conditioning, my greed, my whole structure, not intellectually but deeply, and from that intelligence, from that awakened state I act. That action doesn't depend on a pattern. Intelligence is not put into a framework. It is the neurotics that live in frameworks. Right?
Is that clear? I am passionate about it, you understand? Because I think a teacher has the greatest responsibility because he deals with the new generation, and society despises the teacher, pays him very little, he is looked down upon. Haven't you heard when they say, 'Oh, he is a teacher', he is down there somewhere. But a guru is right on top. The real guru is the teacher who is willing to learn and help others to learn. Oh, for heaven's sake!
So we have answered that question. You are responsible as a human being because you are the world, and the world is you, basically, whether you like it or not. And if you realize that, not verbally, I won't use the word 'intellectually' - that is a stupid thing to say, 'Intellectually I understand', verbally you understand. So if you feel that to be utterly true, and you feel responsible to that truth, then you will act, and not talk everlastingly about responsibility to children, and violence and all the rest of it.
Now let's go on to the next thing, which is, meditation and the perception of the whole, which we said transforms the cells themselves, which have been traditional, which have followed tradition. Have you understood the question, sirs? One's human brain - I am not a professional expert but I have watched it - the human brain functions in the field of knowledge because that is the safest field - right? And that knowledge is tradition - I am a Christian, I am a Buddhist, I am a Communist. To become, or be, or belong to, attached to a group gives the brain security. People who believe the same thing, however idiotic, however stupid, however nonsensical, to belong to that gives to the brain great security - right? That's the essence of neuroticism.
So the brain is accustomed to function in a groove, tradition, conceptual, superstitious, or believing in something, there the brain is safe. This is so, one can see it in everybody. And is it possible to transform the brain which functions traditionally into non-traditional functioning, non-repetitive functioning? Repetitive functioning is mechanical - right? Belonging to the same thing, repeating the same thing, going to the mass every morning, or every Sunday, repeat rituals, it is mechanical, you may get a little stimulation out of it but it is mechanical. We are asking whether this mechanical brain which has its own volition, it has its own independence, it has its own inventiveness, not creativeness, we are asking whether such a brain is capable of transforming itself? You have understood the question?
Q: You talk about security but the problem is not that for me. It is the lack of energy always.
K: The gentleman says, it is the lack of energy. Why do you lack energy? Don't say, no, why - wrong food, over sexed, habits, worries, thinking about something that is dead, you follow? Sir, I am not analysing it. You have got plenty of energy when you want something.
Please this is a very serious question, you can't just throw words into it and expect something true to come out, it isn't a jigsaw puzzle, you have got to pay attention, you have got to find out, you have got to learn about it, not that I am teaching you, you have got find out, through investigation we are learning. If you have observed your own activities, your attitudes, your desires, your anxieties and so on are constantly being repeated. Right? There is never an ending to them, there is always something new to be worried about, something new to get excited about, something new that will give you a new appetite, and so on. The whole process of thinking is mechanical. And that mechanical can be invented, obviously. Shall we go on from there? Do we understand, realize, see it, that your own life is utterly mechanical? You get into the habit of smoking and for the rest of your life you smoke, you drink or whatever you do, you keep on repeating, repeating, repeating, though the doctors tell you, you know it is bad for you yet you keep on because it has become the habit - which is mechanical.
Now we are asking: a mind that is mechanical, your mind which is mechanical, can the brain, which is computerized, which is mechanical, following tradition, can that brain change itself, and how is this to be done? - not 'how' - how does this change come about? You have understood, can we go on?
Are you aware that your habits, your attitudes are mechanical? Just be aware, can't you, of course, you know it. I won't complicate it. Then how is that mechanical habit to end, not gradually, take ten years, end it? You understand? If you smoke, as many of you do, which has become a habit, the nicotine dulls the system, the nervous system, and so on, you know all about it, can you end that habit instantly? Can you? Have you done it?
K: Listen, listen. We will go into it, please. I am taking the most obvious thing first. The body demands the nicotine poisoning, that poisoning that has been going for years and years; and you realize it is mechanical, and can you end it instantly now, never smoke again? That is intelligence. But to carry on day after day, saying, 'It is bad for me', this and that, and carry on, it is the most stupid, unintelligent way of living. Sorry if I drive something home!
So now move to a different level. Psychologically the brain has created a centre, thought has created a centre - please follow, I have explained all this a dozen times before - thought has created the centre, the centre is its hopes, the unifying factor that brings together the family, the nation, the group and so on. Now that centre functions and reacts mechanically - my country, my god, my saviour, my belief, my ambition - you follow? 'I'd like to have more, but I haven't got it. I'd like to be clever but I am not clever, by Jove, how clever you are', and so on. That is the response of a mind that functions in tradition - tradition being the repetition of what has been and continuing in that field. Of course, this is simple. Now can psychologically that mechanical, traditional attitude and activity stop? And what will make it stop? Now this is the beginning of meditation, not sitting cross-legged and breathing and doing all that kind of stuff, or looking at a candle or a picture, or repeating some mantra - you have done it haven't you, some of you? Oh, you are so gullible you people. You can repeat 'Coco cola' for the rest of your life. But if you understand the whole significance of sound then you will put aside all these outward tricks. Sound has tremendous significance. I don't want to go into it now, that is not the point.
You know the mantras that people are giving to you for thirty five dollars, or twenty dollars, or a hundred dollars, the origin of that is - there was a teacher, a guru, and he had with him several disciples for a number of years. And the teacher studied each disciple very, very carefully for a number of years, watched his characteristics, his tendencies, his appetites, his way of looking at things, his fears, his pleasures. At the end of this deep long study the teacher said to the pupil, 'I'll give you the word, don't repeat it anybody else, its yours' Right? That is the origin of it. Now you pay a hundred and fifty dollars and some idiocy comes along.
So we are asking whether the brain, which is the repository of tradition, of knowledge, experience and therefore the past, therefore it is the past, and that functions and operates and moves always in the lines, in the reactions set out, because that is the safest way of living - it thinks. So we are asking whether that brain can transform itself? You have understood my question, is it clear? The question, not what comes out of it. And this is beginning of meditation. And meditation implies, if you are at all serious, the total transformation of conduct, the total transformation of the energy which has been dissipated. It is the salvation of total comprehension. That is what we are going into to.
Q: If there is no centre what is the focus of this energy?
K: When you have a centre, that energy is limited isn't it? No? I am focussing my energy on myself - which you are doing most of the time - my quarrels, my appetites, my hopes, my ambitions, my fears, my activities - my energy is self-centred. Right? And that self-centred energy is very limited. Right? Now we are saying, when there is no centre as the 'me', what happens to that energy? What need is there for focussing it? It is there. You want to play with words.
So meditation is a movement, an understanding, of the whole of the structure and the nature of thought. Right? Unless there is understanding totally - I am using the word 'understanding', an awareness, an apprehension to hold what is the truth of this reality - unless there is complete uncovering of the total works of thought, what it manufactures, what is false, what is true, in thought, the whole of it, unless that is very clear, meditation then will become a projection of thought which then becomes visions, images, one sees Christ, or Krishna, you know all the circus of visionary people.
So one has to understand very, very deeply the nature and the structure of thought. If you have not understood it you can't meditate. You can fiddle around with it.
Q: What do you mean by the structure of thought?
K: The tent is the structure of thought - right? - depending on the stress, strain, the proportions, and the necessity, the structure. The tent is independent of thought. I mean by structure also the movement of thought which imagines, which builds, which foresees, which lays down a structural path to follow. Unless one understands this, the reality of thought, and its activity in the world of reality, business, and all the rest of it, meditation then becomes merely an escape, or it breeds illusion, false ideas - not false ideas, all ideas are false, sorry. And it invites experiences in which you will be held. You will say, 'I have had a marvellous experience', and that holds you for the rest of your life.
K: I am going into it. So in meditation there is no experience. Right? I wonder if you see that. This is very important to understand. Experience implies, the word experience means to go through, not to hold to something back, to go through and finish. The meaning of that word. And also in experience several things are implied. When you have an experience inevitably you must have the recognizing movement with experience. Right? When you experience something you must know what it is, no? To know what it is you have already had it, no? You understand what I am saying, it is so simple. I met you yesterday, and I recognize you today. That is, there is the memory of meeting you yesterday, and that memory responds and recognizes. In the same way when I have an experience, if I don't recognize it, there is no experience. Right? When I recognize it, then it is already known.
Q: If you suddenly see something new.
K: You see you are not following this. You are following your own thoughts. You are not learning. I am not teaching you, you are not learning by investigating. You go so far and bring in something new. The lady asks, if you see suddenly something new. When you say, it is new - finished. When you say, it is the new, it is already the old. So you have to understand the whole nature of thought, its nature and structure, and all the things that are involved in experience - which all of you want, new experiences, sexual, otherwise, new experiences. And in that is implied memory, the past, recognition, and attachment to that memory, to that experience. And then you are lost.
So the first movement in meditation is the total awareness of the movement of thought as time and measure. If you have not grasped that deeply you won't know what meditation is. You may do what you will. Then we can proceed to find out, is it possible for the brain, which is fashioned, shaped, moulded, by knowledge, experience and memory, whether that moulding, that shaping of the brain, that conditioning, can be broken, not slowly but instantly? You understand the question?
Q: I see I am conditioned but thought is independent of that conditioning.
K: The question is, I see I am conditioned and yet thought is independent of that conditioning. We have been through that. We said thought has created the conditioning, and the conditioning says, 'I am independent of thought'. Thought has created the tent, and the tent is independent of thought. The mountain is independent of thought, but thought has not created it. Thought has put together our conditioning, the centre. The centre is the essence of that conditioning, and that centre feels it is independent. Therefore feeling independent, it says, 'I will control, shape, adjust thought.' And the conditioning goes on. But thought is the conditioning, not the division between conditioning and thought, the observer is the observed, and all that.
So let's go on. Is this possible, first of all, is it possible for a mind that has lived for centuries upon centuries, a brain that has evolved upon centuries of time, for that brain to radically transform itself instantly? You understand the question?
So we have to go into the question: is there an observation which is totally different from the usual observation? Sensory perception, sensory seeing of objective things through belief, through a conclusion, through an image, that is illusion. I wonder if you see this. I see through my conclusion that communism, or socialism, or capitalism, or Hinduism, or Buddhism, is limited - or I become Catholic now, instead of all that. So my brain is attached to something, and can that brain see without illusion? Do you understand what I am saying? Look: I am attached to a particular belief - if I am - and that belief, in observing objective things, distorts observation. Right? That's fairly simple, isn't it? I believe in god - if I do - and because of that belief I look at life from a peculiar, distorted point of view, which is the tradition - the politicians talk about god, and the Generals talk about god, poor Hitler talked about god, everybody. So illusion comes about through sensual observation involving belief, which means attachment. Now the brain is accustomed to that, functions that way, lives that way. Right? Watch in yourself. Now to see totally the implication of this belief, and the illusion, to see totally, is to break the pattern of the brain. You understand? All right, sirs. I'll show you something.
That is, the brain can only function in security because then it is efficient, whether it is neurotic or rational, it is the same. A neurotic belief - all beliefs are neurotic - a neurotic belief gives to the brain complete security as a rational belief. Now is it possible to see the whole nature of belief, fear, attachment, and hold it. Can you see the whole of that? Not just parts of it, but the totality of it. If you see the totality of it then it is a shock to the brain, and that shock changes the structure of the cells - got it? No, do it!
Suppose one lives in the neurotic belief of nationalism - that I am a Hindu. And it has lived in that because it is secure. And it functions, operates, moves in that field all the time. You come along and say, 'Look, that way of looking at life distorts action, that action which should be comprehensive, whole, becomes limited, therefore breeds conflict'. You point out all that to me. I listen to you, I listen, that means I pay attention, that means care, respect to what you say. And because I listen it is a great shock to the brain, and that very shock, that challenge, brings about a totally different movement in the brain. Do it, you will see. That's only part of meditation. There is much more involved in meditation. Perhaps we will go into it tomorrow.
Q: Does it mean the child must wait until it grows up to see this?
K: It is the responsibility of the parent, the teacher, to see that this takes place in the child. That is education, not the cultivation of memory, the everlastingly mechanical memory. That is also part of education but fundamentally this is the basic thing.
Saanen 4th Public Dialogue 2nd August 1975.
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