Ojai 6th Public Talk 18th April 1976
This is the last talk for this year at Ojai. But unfortunately, or fortunately, there will be talks in Europe, and in India, if I go, and in England. One has been talking for the last fifty years and more. Seeing a lot of people, talking over, not only their personal problems, but the global problems of human beings, the vast confusion, the misery, the extraordinary lack of clarity. And through all these days and time and years it becomes more and more clear that unless human beings radically transform themselves we may destroy not only ourselves but the earth, the air, pollution, overpopulation and so on. So it seems to us that there must be a group of people who are utterly serious, who are deeply concerned, not superficially, not adjusting themselves to environment and circumstances, but rather live a life that is whole, complete, noble, full of intensity and clarity. Otherwise we waste our life, the short years we have, we seem to disregard, fall into various traps of non-essential or useless things - and being caught, we extricate ourselves and fall into another trap.
So we have talked about various things, like relationship between human beings, or the utter lack of that relationship; we have talked about the process of thought as a material movement in time; and thought, we said, is inadequate, totally inadequate to solve our human problems because thought has created them, and thought cannot solve them because thought is a fragment, a material process and a movement of measure. We also talked about fear, the ending of it, the ending of sorrow, and the understanding of the whole complex problem of pleasure. Yesterday morning we talked about love and death. I do not know if one actually lives these things, or merely verbally accepts them, or denies them, and let the things go by.
As we are concerned with the very deep problem of existence, we must not put aside the whole question of what is religion, if there is anything sacred, holy. And the question of meditation, with which we are going to deal this morning. That is, religion, the understanding or coming upon that which is sacred, if there is such a thing, and what are the implications of meditation. So these are very serious matters, not something for a Sunday morning, lovely, listening to some pious remarks, enjoying the sunshine and looking at the mountains, but it is wholly a very serious matter with which we are concerned. So please give, if one may ask, your attention. To hear correctly is an art, to see things as they are is also an art. And to learn, not from others, which is according to technological things, but to learn the whole of human content of one's consciousness, because one is the result of millennia of human endeavour, human sorrow, human agony, anxiety. It is all there in us. And to learn to look at it, to listen to all the content of that consciousness, and in the observation of that consciousness is action. So we are this morning, if we may, going to talk over together, seriously, the question of what is religion, because religion is the creative factor of a new culture. If there is no religion then the culture dies, civilization goes to pieces. So we must, considering what the world is like, with all its brutality, violence, wars, divisions, class hatreds and so on, which all indicate degeneration of the human mind, it beholds us to discover for ourselves what is religion. Is it a gathering of beliefs? Is it performing rituals? Repeating endless words which have really no meaning at all? Is it going on Sunday morning to a church, or to a temple, or to a mosque, and repeating some chant, words and think one is terribly religions? If one asks oneself seriously what is the necessity of any belief, of any conclusion, because belief, conclusions divide people: you have it in this little village, five or six divisions of Christianity. And throughout the world there is so much division brought about by so-called religions, - the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Muslim, the Christian and their innumerable sects. So what is the importance of any belief at all? Or does belief prevent the understanding of what truth is? And is religion divorced from daily life? Is religion a movement which brings order in our life? You understand my questions? We are sharing this thing together. We are not asserting anything. On the contrary, we are together sharing the investigation that we are doing now, exploring. And you cannot possibly explore scientifically into the realm of psychological demands that put together various forms of beliefs.
And if religion is divorced from our daily life it can only create further confusion, further conflict. So we are asking: what is religion, what is the nature, the depth of that word? Each one will think, he will answer the meaning of that word according to his particular fancy, imagination, or his conditioning. If he is a Hindu he will say, 'Religion is my belief in something' and so on. So if there is no belief, which doesn't mean one is an atheist - I am not at all sure those who believe are not really atheists because their belief is merely a traditional acceptance. So we are asking: what is the nature of religion? If it is none of these things, and it is none of these things, beliefs, rituals, authoritarian attitudes, division between yourself and your highest god, or no god, if there are interpreters between you and truth, all that is surely not religion. The worship of things made by thought, put together by thought as a symbol, or made by the hand, an image, and the worshipping of that symbol or that image surely is not religion. So what is religion?
And to find that out one must discard completely and be free to enquire. You cannot enquire if you are anchored in a belief. So if you are really earnest to go into this question, and you must go into this question, every human being must enquire, not accept, but explore into the nature of that word, the meaning of that word and the depth of that word, because the word is merely a sound. The sound can produce a meaning, but it is much more than that. So in order to find out what is a religious life - and not surely the monk who is dedicated to a certain form of worship, certain form of acceptance of beliefs and dogmas, and dedicated, given himself over to some idea - an idea is not a truth - such a monk, such a sannyasi is not really a religious man at all.
So what we are asking is much more complex. To find that out you must have order in one's life. Right? Our life is confused, contradictory, disorderly, fragmented, broken up, and how can such a life have order? You are following all this I hope, Order is not the acceptance of a blueprint. Order comes only when one realizes, is aware fully, without any choice, of one's own confusion, one's own daily disordered life - to be aware of that. From disorder comes order. That is, from the understanding, from the awareness without any choice the observation of our daily life which is disorderly, the observation not based on condemnation, rationalization, judgement, to be aware of that disorder, out of that awareness comes order.
And this order is a living thing, therefore it is constantly moving. So virtue - you may spit on that word, the modern generation does, morality means nothing, morality in essence is order. And without order how can there be clarity? Right? Because part of this is the question of meditation. Without order in one's life, without being totally moral in one's daily activity, how can you even think of meditating? You understand? You may sit cross-legged for the rest of your life, breathe in a certain way which you have learned from that country, India, you can sit like that for the next ten incarnations or a million incarnations, you will never come upon that which is truth because your life is disorderly. Therefore you must bring order into that life before you even think of meditating. If you do, without having order, it is a marvellous escape and therefore without any significance, without any meaning. Please do realize this. Meditation is the most marvellous thing but not your kind of meditation. There must be order in our relationship, there must be order and that can only exist when there is no fear, and order is not put together by thought. If it is put together by thought then it will create further disorder. Please understand all this. It is your life.
So to find out, or come upon that which is most sacred, most holy, there must be a life which is based solidly on order. And the importance of all meditations is to come upon that silence. Because biologically, physiologically, to see anything clearly, to look at these trees, the light on the leaves, the green grass, and the hills, to see it clearly your mind must be quiet, mustn't it. It is so simple, we make it so complex. To see anything clearly, to observe clearly, you must have a quiet mind, mustn't you? If you are chattering, chattering, you won't see the tree. You won't see the depth of the shadow, the beauty of a trunk or a limb. So you can only see it when your mind is quiet. Right? See the fact of it, the reason of it, the logic of it, first: that you can see something clearly only when your mind is silent. You cannot hear what somebody else is saying if you are talking to yourself all the time. So if you want to hear somebody clearly you must be quiet. So silence is absolutely necessary to perceive outwardly and inwardly. Right? And the outward and the inward are the same movement, they are not different. Right? It is one unitary movement, but we have divided it as the inward and the outer. So by observing clearly the outer you then discover the inner, and then see that it is one movement. And to see this clearly you must look, observe silently.
There are different forms of silence. We are investigating together the meaning of the word and the depth of that thing called religion. Which is, to find out if there is anything incorruptible, untouched by thought, which is not an illusion, which is not the projection of one's own desire, or an experience; but something that has never been touched by thought, something totally original. And to come upon that we said there must be order in daily life, which is the essence of virtue. Right? There are different kinds of silence. Aren't there? The silence between two noises. Right? And is that silence? There is silence between two thoughts - is that silence? There is so-called peace between two wars - is that peace? You are following all this? So what is silence? Is it put together by thought? Is it contrived? Is it something that is manufactured because you understand if one wants to see heaven, in quotes, you must be silent, therefore you say, 'How am I to be silent? Teach me how to be silent' So out of that desire to find out what is silence people then begin to invent systems, methods, ways to come upon that. Now if once you understand this you will never touch any system. Because what is implied in a system and a practice? Repetition, practise, practise, practise, control, make an effort, which is, become mechanical. Our minds, as we went into the other day, part of our brain has become mechanical. We said thought in its essence is mechanical, because thought is the repetition, or the reaction of memory. And when you already live a life which is mechanical and try to go beyond that mechanical life by introducing another mechanical process, which is systems, methods, practices, you are still mechanical. So when once you see the truth of this, the logic, the reason of this, you will never touch systems, methods, practices.
So anything that is contrived, put together by thought, however beautiful, however logic, however ancient, traditional, makes the mind more mechanical and eventually dull. So can one see the truth of it and reject - or rather, the very seeing of the truth of it ends the demand for systems, methods, 'how am I to achieve'. I hope you are following all this.
So we are asking: what is silence? If it is not put together by thought, then what is silence? You understand my question? Because we said only when there is silence, when there is no noise you can hear properly. In observation silences is necessary. When you are looking under a microphone you must look silently, discover what there is. In the same way, to see clearly you must be silent, to hear clearly the mind mustn't be chattering. If you see the truth of it, them it happens. You haven't to make an effort to be silent.
So we said order. And the mind, part of the mind being mechanical by following any method, system, practice, furthers the mechanical process of the brain. Right? So what is that which is silent? We will look at it by examining what is awareness. You are following? To be aware. When you are sitting there you are aware of the trees, the shadows, the light on the leaves, the movement of the leaves. Aren't you? If you are looking at the tree you are aware of it. Can you look at it without verbalization? You understand? Just to look without naming it, without giving it a quality, or description, just to observe. First that is, we never observe, we look at it and say, how beautiful, how ugly, how useful - depending on our conditioning. So we never observe things as they are. Right? Now can you observe, see this whole beauty of this land, all the hills, their quietness, their shadows, just to observe without any reaction of thought, without any reaction of like and dislike. Just to observe. That is awareness. Right? Aware of the universe around you, then be aware of the universe inside. The universe inside is much more complex. The universe inside is our whole consciousness. And the consciousness is its content. Right? Please come with me. You are not going to sleep are you?
As I said, the universe inside is much more complex, much more subtle, and if one knows, or has the energy, the capacity, the intensity and the clarity, there is a great tremendous depth in that. So we are saying: to be aware first of the outer, to look at it, and to be aware of all your reactions to it, and then go beyond your reactions and observe. Now in the same way go into the universe of yourself, which is your consciousness with all its content, with its experiences, with its knowledge, with its likes, with its fears, anxieties, sorrow, pain. You follow? That enormous content which man has added thousands of years, to be conscious of that, to be aware of that. Can one be aware - please listen to it - can one be aware totally? Or take one segment after another, one layer after another, one fragment after another? Will you understand the content of consciousness - the content makes up consciousness, if there is no content there is no consciousness, as we know it - will you look at it, understand it bit by bit? Or is there an understanding of it totally? You are getting my point? Are you following all this? Are we talking Greek? Your content of your consciousness is your conditioning, as a Christian, as a socialist, conditioned by the climate, by the food, by all the things that man has done to himself and to others: his identifications, his beliefs, all that is consciousness. To understand that consciousness will you examine it portion by portion? Or is there a way of looking at it wholly, so that you don't have to take time? You understand my question? Now we said there is a way of looking at it wholly, not fragment by fragment. And that is only possible if you understand what is awareness - awareness of the world outside you, watching your reactions to the world outside you and to observe without reactions the world outside you, and to move from the outer to the inner with all the content, which is your consciousness - to observe it. First you will react to it, naturally. I don't like, I like, how beautiful this is, how pleasurable that was, I wish I could keep a little bit of this, and so on and so on and so on. To watch that reaction and then to go beyond it. If you go beyond it then you see the whole content instantly.
So this is part of meditation: to see the outer actually as it is, not what you wish it to be, the wars, the antagonisms, the hatreds, the innumerable insults and hurts that human beings receive, the sorrow, the pain, the anxiety, the loneliness, lack of love, all that to observe. Then what takes place? Then you will see that energy is being gathered, because there is order and therefore there is no wastage of energy. Right? When there is mathematical order in your life, daily life there is no wastage of energy. It is only when there is order there is wastage of energy. When there is order there is the accumulation of energy. And with that energy to observe the world and yourself, and to realize the world out there and here are the same movement. So again you are adding to that quantity further energy. Right? And you are adding, not 'you are adding' - there is the accumulation of energy when there is an observation without the observer. The observer is the past, isn't it? The past being all your prejudices, your opinions, your conclusions, your traditional responses, tradition may be two days old or ten thousand years old. So the observer is the past and the observer meets the present, the 'what is', and tries to translate according to his past conclusions, the present. Right? And therefore gives to the past further movement in time, as the future. I wonder if you capture all this.
Look sir: you are the result of the past. That is a fact. Your brain, part of your brain is the result of series of adventures, happenings, incidents, experiences, as knowledge, and knowledge is always the past. That movement of the past meets the present and translates the present, or modifies the present according to the past and so gives a further movement into the future. Right? Now the question is - this becomes difficult, I am going to make it difficult - the question is, the past meeting the present, the past is a movement, the present is also a movement, the past meeting the present ends there, which means no movement, and therefore time has a stop.
So meditation then is bringing about order in life, and thereby gathering great energy, and ending conflict between the observer and the observed, which adds further energy. You understand? When there is a division between the observer and the observed there must be conflict. Take a very simple example: when you are angry, at the moment of anger, at the second of anger there is no division, is there. But a second later a division takes place: I must not be angry; or, why shouldn't I be angry. Where there is a division there must be conflict. And we live in conflict. Therefore the conflict with all its violence and so on is a wastage of energy. So this gathering of energy, psychological energy, not only biological, the gathering of this total energy is the beginning of - oh, I mustn't - is the beginning of a silence. Not quite.
As we said, we live a confused life, which is our consciousness is in turmoil. I do not know if you have noticed your own consciousness: constantly in battle, constantly choosing, denying, asserting, domination, attached, it is in constant struggle, boiling all the time. And therefore in that boiling there is a wastage of energy. For that turmoil to come to an end is part of meditation. Not by control, the moment you control, who is the controller? Please, go into this yourself. You understand? Who is the controller? The controller is part of thought. So the controller then tries to control thought which is a wastage of energy. But if you see the truth that the controller is the controlled, the truth of it, then the conflict comes to an end. That means you have further energy. Right? There is further energy. And this energy is necessary, this complete energy, which is not put together by friction. Friction has its own energy, and this energy which we are talking about, is not put together by thought, and therefore it is not the result of friction. Right? This energy is necessary to come upon that which is sacred, which is the religious mind. Got it? Some of you?
So meditation is - I'll go on whether you understand or not after this, it's up to you - meditation then is the emptying of the content of consciousness, its content. Which means the fears, the anxieties, the conflict in relationship, the ending of sorrow, and therefore compassion. The ending of the content of consciousness is complete silence. Because then that silence is full of energy. You understand? It is not vacant silence. It is not a silence that wants something more. I wonder if you understand all this. You have never done all this. That is why it has all become so difficult. I hope it isn't difficult.
So meditation is not the repetition of mantras, not merely sitting down breathing carefully. Meditation must be totally uninvited. You understand? Not contrived, not put together. Which means there is no measurement. If one has gone that far - no, it is not far or near if one has done this - then there is that emptiness. Do you understand? Now wait a minute. Scientists say, in this emptiness there is energy. You understand? We are saying when there is this meditative process, movement, there is a totally different kind of consciousness of a dimension in which there is all this energy which has been gathered through meditation, order in life and so on and so on. You have total energy. There is total energy. And in that emptiness there is not a thing. There is nothing. Nothing means not-a-thing. Thing mean thought. We said thought is a material process. So thought in that emptiness doesn't exist at all and therefore there is no experiencer who is experiencing this total nothingness. You understand what I am saying? Oh, gosh, you people!
So we also have to enquire what is beauty. What is beauty? Because that is also part of our life. What is beauty? Is it the line? Is it the shadow? The line of an architectural building? The painting? The marvellous cultures that exist in the world? The mountains? The running waters? The beautiful face? What is beauty? Does not beauty exist when there is not a centre of conflict? I wonder if you understand this? When you say, 'How beautiful it is' - what is the feeling behind that? What is the nature, the quality of emotion, the feeling, the surging of something? Is that beauty? Or is beauty the total absence of the observer? There is only complete observation, in which there is no choice, no division. So there must be this sense of beauty, because that may be that which is sacred. Not the beauty of a form of a woman, or a man - there is the beauty of woman and a man, the beauty of a tree, the beauty of a line, the sheet of water, the running sea but to find out, or come upon that sense of total absence of anything that is contradictory, that is, anything that is whole, complete, sane, rational, such a mind is a beautiful mind - you understand? - which is the religious mind. Because there you have got the total energy embodied there.
So there is such a thing as something sacred, which is not touched by thought, which is not touched or made corrupt by human beings with their desires and frights and quarrels and mischief. And to come upon that is not only part of meditation, but the ending of sorrow is the beginning of wisdom. You understand? So wisdom, which is not learning from books, or going to a school to learn wisdom, but when there is an ending of sorrow in yourself as a human being, then out of that comes wisdom. And when a human being transforms himself, you transforms yourself radically you are affecting the whole consciousness of mankind. You understand, sirs, because you are the mankind, you are the movement of mankind - which is a fact, which is actual. If you change you affect the world. So it is your tremendous responsibility - not run off into some fanciful meditative experience, which is illusion. So we must be very sceptical of all psychological experiences, subjective experiences, because they are the most destructive.
So meditation implies a life of great order, and therefore great virtue, moral. And it implies the understanding and the depth of beauty. And it implies the emptying of that consciousness which is you, with all your attachments, fears, hopes, despairs. Emptying all that by observing. Then you have this energy which alone can discover that which is eternal, which has no beginning and no ending.
Ojai 6th Public Talk 18th April 1976
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