Ojai 3rd Public Talk 9th April 1977
We were saying how important it is in a world that is becoming so utterly chaotic, that there should be, and there must be, human transformation, a great, deep psychological revolution. A revolution is not the bloody kind, the physical kind, which man has experimented with centuries upon centuries, trying to change the environment through conflict, bloodshed, violence of every kind. And apparently he has not succeeded at all, though he has environmentally brought about certain destructive change, he has not radically, psychologically brought about deep transformation of man. And we are concerned in these Gatherings with that, whether man can radically transform himself, psychologically. Because if he does not bring about that transformation, that revolution, psychologically, inevitably we will have more and more conflict, more and more wars and conflict in all relationship, whether intimate or superficial.
And also we were saying - I hope you don't mind, those of you who have heard it before - that wherever you go in the world, whether in the East or in Europe or here, one finds man, which includes the woman, and I hope you don't mind if I don't say each time, woman - man or woman is about the same throughout the world, psychologically; they suffer, they are in great turmoil, uncertainty, anxious, great deal of sorrow and great many tears, loneliness, despair. And eventually facing death. And so, as one observes this fact, one sees that man, you or the woman, is the whole world, he is the world, and the world is him. If one realizes that, very deeply, not intellectually or merely verbally, then that brings about an extraordinary quality of vitality, to face things, to face the world as it is.
And that is what we have been saying during the last two talks here. Now this morning, if we may, we'll go into the question of what is consciousness, the content of consciousness. And whether that consciousness can be radically transformed.
One often wonders whether human beings, you and I and others, are aware of themselves. Most people are aware rather superficially, their petty desires, superficial conflicts, their physical demands, sexual appetites and all the rest of it. They're superficially cognizant, know what they are going through. But there is also far deeper layers of one's being, which is consciousness, to be conscious of oneself. That is, to know or to be aware of the whole nature and the structure of consciousness, of what one is - that is consciousness. To be aware implies watchfulness, to observe, to observe what is going on within oneself, not biologically but psychologically - the thoughts, the motives, the conflicts, the desires, the opposing purposes, ideals and facts, saying one thing, doing another, thinking one thing, and contradicting in daily life.
The whole process of this is consciousness, which is fairly obvious. We are using the word 'consciousness' which means to be conscious of oneself, and all the turmoil that is going on within oneself. To observe it implies, or to be aware of it, if there is any choice in that observation that the factor of the choice distorts observation. I think that's fairly clear. That is, if one is to observe one's own deep layers of consciousness with all the struggles, the pains, the anxieties, the laughter, the tears and the ambition, and the mischief that's going on within oneself, to observe it, to be aware of it, and if one chooses, then the observation becomes, is distorted. That's fairly simple. Right? Can we proceed from there?
So observation implies no choice. And when you observe this whole process of oneself, the whole content of oneself, the various factors, influences that bring about this consciousness, is that consciousness - please listen, give a little attention to this - is that consciousness different from the observer? You understand my question? One observes the mountain, the shadows, the movement of the clouds and so on, one observes. When you observe, there is a you, the observer and the thing observed. The observer, as we said, is the past, all the memories, experiences, knowledge, stored up in the brain as memory, which is the past. And when you observe through memory there is a division between the observer and the observed. Right? So to observe without the observer is a real problem, which we'll go into presently, if we've not done it already in the previous talks, because it's really quite important because it is the factor of conflict. Where there is division there must be conflict, as in nations, when you have various types of beliefs, in religious beliefs, there is always division, always conflict.
So to live in complete, deep peace, the observer is the observed, and therefore no conflict. So we are going to examine together, go into this question of consciousness, together. Please, if I may point out again, this is a very serious talk. One has to give considerable attention, in which is implied care, affection, and we're taking a journey together, I'm not taking a journey and you're following me, we are together exploring this. Therefore it is your responsibility, if you are at all serious, to go into this.
And, as we said the other day too, the speaker in exploring together with you, has no authority. Though he sits on a platform, which is for convenience only, don't make him into an authority - then you're not capable of exploring. Because your consciousness is the consciousness of mankind. I think that is the basic thing one has to understand: what you are, the world is. Your consciousness is in conflict, disarray, confused, disordered, and in your relationship, in all the things you do, there is disorder. And in the world there is disorder. So what you are, the world is.
So we are together going to explore this question of what is consciousness, and what are its contents. And are the contents different from consciousness. And is the content consciousness, and whether it is possible to go beyond this small, little, conditioned consciousness. That's what we're going to explore during the next three, four talks. So please be a little serious. I'm afraid most Americans - forgive me for saying so - are not very serious people. They'd rather be amused, entertained, acquire a lot of superficial knowledge from books, or go to classes, be told about psychology and other matters. And they think they are terribly learned, they know all the facts in the world. But they know very little about themselves, actually. They know about themselves according to Freud, Jung and all the rest of it, but when you put all those authorities out, and when you look at yourself, you hardly know yourself. So if you don't mind my pointing out, be a little serious, if you can, don't hold to your particular theory or to your particular conclusion, or add what we're saying to that which you already know. Or what we're saying adapt it to your particular guru or, you know, all that business.
So just, we are, as friends, look into this, we are not doing propaganda for you, or trying to convince you of anything. So, if you're a little serious and are willing to pay a little attention for some time, a duration, because you cannot give half a minute attention and then think about something else. This requires very considerable, deep enquiry which demands your care, your affection, your sense of responsibility.
So we said, we're going to observe, be aware of our consciousness. And we said also where there is a choice in observation, saying, 'I prefer this, I don't like this, or this is what I, this is right and that is wrong', so choice psychologically distorts clarity, observation. So please observe without choice.
In our consciousness there are certain factors, which are the desire for power, position. And there are many hurts that we have received from childhood, wounds, deep psychological hurts. And also in that consciousness there is the everlasting search for pleasure. Please, we are looking together, I am not saying it is, we are enquiring, learning together the whole content of our consciousness.
And there is the pursuit of pleasure, and there is this enormous sense of fear. Right? Then also there is suffering, not only personal suffering, but the suffering of mankind, man, and woman have been through a million thousand years with wars every other year, destruction, enormous sense of sorrow.
And in that consciousness also there is that thing which is called love, with all its jealousies, hurts, wounds, anger, violence, and so on. And also in that consciousness there are innumerable beliefs, dogmas, ideas, conclusions. And also there is death, the fear of the unknown, fear of dying, coming to an end.
So this is the content of our consciousness, the knowledge that we have acquired from books, the knowledge that we have acquired from experience, stored up, in memory, in the brain as memory, which is the whole movement of thought. Right?
So the whole content of our consciousness are these things. So we're going to examine the major factors, not all the details, because that's endless. The major factors, like power, demand for power, which most of us want, a position. Power implies success, domination, power over others, or power over oneself, and so on. And also there is in that hurt, being hurt, from childhood we are hurt. And being hurt we have become violent. We'll go into that slowly, step by step. So we're going to examine, first the desire for power. Right? The desire to dominate, the desire to assert, aggressiveness, all that is a sense of power. The dictators throughout the world are, they are representatives of that power. And as long as they've not solved the problem of power, there's going to be conflict, not only in the world of dictatorship, totalitarianism, but also in the world of so-called democracy, individual voting and all that, there is also the desire for power, possession, domination. And this is an important factor to understand, and if it is at all possible to be free of it.
And is it possible to be free of it, this desire for power, which is to possess another, to dominate another, to carry out your particular ideals, and assert those ideals, you follow - all that, which is the expression of will. You understand this? Are you following all this? I hope you are, because it's your life, not my life. And if one observes, how you waste your life. You understand? So in talking over together amicably, with friendship, with affection, with compassion, together, don't waste your life, and not to waste it implies the understanding of one's consciousness and going beyond it. So it is a very, very serious matter.
So in one's life, in one's daily life, is it possible to be free of the desire for power - power includes domination, possession, assertion, aggressiveness, all that. So to understand power, one must understand the whole movement of desire. Right? You're following all this, some of you at least? Because most of us want to fulfil our desires and when these desires are not fulfilled we feel frustrated. And from that frustration there comes all kinds of neurotic activity. So it's very important, it seems to me, to understand the nature and the structure of desire, which eventually is will, and will is the essence of power.
So you must go into this question of desire. We're not saying that you must not have desire, but to understand it, to go into it, see the results of desire, how desire arises, what is its nature, not as the monks throughout the world, religious monks have said, suppress desire. We are not saying that, on the contrary. When you suppress desire it must explode in other directions, but to understand, to go into it, to see the whole nature of it, then it becomes something else. So we're going to go together into the understanding of desire. You know what desire is, don't you, most of you, don't you? Desire for clothes, desire for cars, desire for man or woman, desire for position, knowledge, desire saying, 'I wish I was as clever as that man,' and so on.
So what is this desire, and how does it arise? Please, if I may ask you, suggest, don't repeat something that you don't know, that you have not directly seen, because we are all secondhand human beings, we repeat slogans, what people have said, what you have learnt from books - you have never discovered anything for yourself, and that's what we're going to do, find out for yourself, and then it is irrevocable, it cannot be destroyed, it is inviolable, it can never be damaged, if it is something that you find for yourself.
So we're asking, what is desire, how does it come, because it is one of the major factors in our life - the want, the want of so many things, not because you're lonely you want something, or that you are in bad health, therefore you want something, to be in health. We are not talking, we are asking, what is desire itself? It is really very simple, if you look at it. If you observe it very closely. Desire arises, doesn't it, through perception, through contact, through sensation, and thought, and thought then creates the image. Seeing, contact, sensation, then desire, and the creation of the image out of that desire, and wanting that. Do you get this? No, see it in yourself, please, not because I point it out. You look at a car, you look at a woman, you look at a house, there the visual perception, sensation, then there's the contact and the desire, desire then creates the image of having that car or that house or that woman or that man. Right? Do you see this? Actually, not because I tell you.
And thought then pursues the fulfilment of that desire. And out of that comes conflict, not being able to fulfil and being able to fulfil. So desire with its will, is the search for power. That is, to dominate people, in the name of god, in the name of peace, in the name of ideal revolution, and so on. So is it possible to live - please listen to it - is it possible to live without will. That means, to live without direction, which doesn't mean living chaotically. We'll leave it like that for the moment. We'll come back to it later.
And also one of the factors in our consciousness is the many hurts that one has received. The wounds. The wounds, the psychological wounds that one has received from childhood, in the schools, colleges, universities, and as we grow up, in business, in family, the hurts that one has accumulated. And the result of those hurts, what takes place when you're hurt? Either you resist, build a wall around yourself, and not to be hurt any more, and therefore withdraw from life - right? And the more you withdraw, the more neurotic you become. And isolate yourself, not to be hurt. And then one asks, is it possible not to be hurt at all in life. We are aware that we are hurt, that is, when in school an educator compares one boy with another boy, that boy is hurt. When the parents say you're not as clever as your brother, that's a hurt. And when somebody calls you an idiot, that's a hurt. And so on, there are a great many psychological deep wounds.
And when there are wounds of a such kind, the action from those wounds is to protect oneself, withdraw oneself, to resist. And out of that resistance there is violence. Now we are asking, is it possible not to be hurt at all, and to totally wipe out the past hurts. The past hurts to be wiped away and never again to be hurt. And it's very important to understand this because if we don't understand this, we've no proper relationship with another. Now we're going to go into this question, whether it's possible never to be hurt again, and to wipe out the hurts that one has received from childhood. Are you following this carefully? I hope you're interested because it is your life.
What is hurt? When you say, 'I am hurt,' what is it that is hurt? Is it not, we're asking the question so that we two enquire into this - I am not, the speaker is not asserting, but we're enquiring - is it not that you have an image about yourself, and it is that image that is hurt. You have an image about being clever or not clever, being beautiful or not beautiful, you have an image or a picture or an idea about yourself. And it is that image, that picture, is hurt. It's fairly simple, isn't it? So we're asking, seeing the consequences of being hurt, which is violence, withdrawal, resistance, isolation and all the neurotic behaviour that comes from that isolation, seeing all that, it becomes very important to find out, and urgently, whether such hurts can be wiped away, altogether, and therefore never in life to be hurt. You understand what it means to have an innocent mind, a mind that is untouched, which has never been hurt. The word 'innocence' comes from the word, the root of it is, a mind that has never been hurt. Right? See the beauty of it first.
So the image which you call the 'I', I am hurt, as long as that image exists, there must be hurt. As long as I have an image about myself that I'm clever, that I'm this, that I'm that, or that I have a certain reputation, that I'm a great man, that I am this, a dozen images about oneself - as long as you have an image about yourself, you're going to be hurt. So is it possible not to have an image? Which doesn't mean that you become vacuous, live in a dreamy world, or become a vegetable. We are asking a question, as long as you're hurt, the consequences of being hurt are great, ugly. And when there is no hurt, your actions are extraordinarily clear. So is it possible not to have an image about yourself, both professionally, you understand, like a man who is capable, expert, specialist. And when you question them, they'll get hurt also, like an ordinary man, he gets hurt when you say he's a fool, because he's got an image of himself, and so on.
So is it possible not to have an image. If you say, 'How am I to get rid of the image?', the 'how', which is the method, the system, when you say 'how' that is implied, then that system, that method brings about another image, and that image will also be hurt. But to see the fact, the actual, that as long as you have an image, you're going to be hurt terribly. And if you want to live a sane life, which means no hurt, and you see the importance of living a sane, clear, life without any hurt, naturally the image disappears. If you see the necessity, the importance and the urgency that as long as you have an image you're going to be hurt, and the consequences of hurt are enormous - if you see that, then you never create an image.
Is that clear? Are you doing it now? Or will you say, 'I'll think about it when I go home, when I've a little time'. You have the time, the leisure, the peace, now. If you don't do it now, because you've been forced to see it - forced in the sense, together we are investigating, therefore together we are seeing the fact. And because you see the fact of being hurt and the consequences, the image-making stops.
So one asks - please go into this carefully - the image is built by thought. Thought has put together the image that I should be something, that I am something. And what is thought, which we went into the other day. We'll go into it again. What is thought? What is thinking? Upon which all our social, moral, ethical, religious structure is based - thinking. All the gods and all the churches, all the symbols, the saviours, the, you know, Christ, Buddha, all that, the whole religious structure, the popes, the priests and the bishops, the arch bishops, you know, it's all based, brought about by thought, thought of centuries.
So we have to enquire together what is thinking, because it's very important, because we're going to talk over together, fear, after we've gone into this question of what is thinking, we're going to go together into this whole nature of fear, which holds us so strongly.
Thought is the response of memory. Thought, memory is the accumulated facts, knowledge, experience. If you are an engineer, you have learnt a great deal about engineering, pressures, structure, mathematics, from childhood, and that is stored up in your brain as knowledge, and according to that knowledge you act skilfully or not skilfully. Right? Professionals, and the amateurs.
So thinking is the response of memory, memory being experience, not only your experience but man's total experience and the accumulated knowledge of centuries of which you are the representative as man or woman. So thinking is the response of memory. Memory is the past. You know, one must doubt a great deal. You understand? Have doubt. But if you begin with certainties, you end up in doubt. Right? Do you see this? But if you begin with doubt, doubting everything, not accepting, doubt, then you end up with certainties. But we unfortunately begin with certainties and end up with uncertainty and die.
So we are saying, thought is a response of memory, stored up in the brain cells, and we are not experts in the brain, but it is a fact, you can observe it in yourself, every day. So there is the image of yourself that gets hurt. And is it possible to be free of that image? That image has been created by thought, successive incidents, accidents, assertions, all that has brought about the hurt to the image.
And thought in relationship, in human relationship, is a distorting factor. May we go into that? We're going to discuss together human relationship, the wife and the husband, the boy and the girl. We are saying that thought in relationship - right?-destroys relationship. We're going to go into that, because is thought love? Is thought compassion? And in relationship, between two human beings, intimate or otherwise, the movement is a separating factor. So we're going to talk over together the problem of relationship. And it is one of the most important things in life. If you're not related properly to nature, the trees, birds, to nature, then you are not properly related to man or woman. And life is relationship. And it becomes very, very important to find out what is right relationship.
We'll start with facts, and we're only dealing with facts, not with ideas for what relations should be, should not be, what it must be - those are all not facts. What actually is the relationship between you and your wife or your girl or your boy, actually. Is there any relationship at all? And what does the word 'relationship' mean? To be related, to be in contact, to be in touch, both physically as well as psychologically. Not to be separate. The word means that. I am related to you. That word implies tremendous significance. And we're going to look at it factually, what is actually in daily life taking place. Whether you're married or not married, every incident, every word, every assertion in that relationship, which is very delicate, an image is formed, isn't it? You have an image about your wife or your girl, and the girl has an image about you. That's simple. As long as you have an image, there must be division. When you say, 'I know my wife,' or my girl friend, or the boy friend, when you say, 'I know' in that very assertion you find security. And that security is the factor that there is the image you have about her or him. And that image gives you a great sense of security. Doesn't it? Do you actually know your girl friend or wife or husband, actually? Of course not. You know all the reactions, all the superficial things, because you have an image about her, and she has an image about you. And these two images have a relationship which is words, memories, ideas. Because you have already settled in your own mind, you have a marvellous relationship.
Look, sirs, if you're a man, you go off to your office or the factory or some work, and there you're ambitious, greedy, envious, wanting success, position. And you come home and she also wants, goes out to work in America, she has her ambitions, desire for success, position. Where is your relationship? In bed? And is that all the relations you have? And what is your relationship to your children? None at all. See what we are producing in the world. For god's sake, it's your world. And thought is the factor in your relationship, not love. And thought is memory. You understand? Remembrance. So is it possible to live a life with another intimately or otherwise without any sense of image? That requires great attention, care. But you're not willing to give that care and attention, because you're concerned about yourself. And she is concerned about herself. The concerns are both the same, both are ambitious.
So one asks at the end of it, what is love? Is love desire? Is love sex? Is love attachment? Is love being concerned about oneself eternally? Is love jealousy? Can there be love when there is fear? Can there be love when there is only the search for pleasure? You understand all this? So we're going to go into this question of what is pleasure. Let's first deal with what is fear.
You know as long as you have fear one lives in darkness. All our actions are distorted. Fear is like a terrible disease, and we put up with it, we live with it, we accept it, because we don't know what to do with it, how to be free of it. So we're going to enquire into the whole problem of fear. And first of all to go into it, we are not analyzing, because an analyzer is the analyzed. We are saying, the analyzer is the analyzed. The analyzer is not different from the thing analyzing, he is part of that analysis. Analysis implies division. Analysis implies time. You go to a psychologist, the money and the time and the trouble, all that business, he will analyze you. That means you are different from the analyzer. Right? And the analyzer is his own analysis. Because we are saying, analysis does not solve any problem. On the contrary, it perpetuates the problem, prolongs it, because you see, I analyze myself. If I don't go to a professional, I analyze myself. What is implied in that? I analyze myself: I am different from the thing which I am going to analyze. Right? But is that a fact? That which I analyze is me, who is analyzing.
So analysis implies time, division, it is like, analysis is analyzing itself all the time, it has no meaning. So we're not analyzing, but we're only observing. To look at that tree without analysis, you understand - just to look at the mountain or your friend, sitting beside you, or the girl. Just to look, not to analyze. So we're going to do the same with regard to fear. We're not analyzing, we are merely observing fear, the nature of fear, the cause of fear, the structure of fear.
You know what you are, you know your fears, fear of loneliness, fear of old age, fear of not fulfilling, fear of losing, fear of being attached, and you might lose that which you are attached to, fear of not having success in life - dozens of fears. Will you examine, observe the many branches of fear, or fear itself. You understand? One may be afraid of loneliness, one may be afraid of one's wife or husband, girl or boy friend, one may be afraid of losing what you have, one may be afraid of a job, losing a job and not having a job and so on. And psychologically one may be afraid of this extraordinary sense of loneliness. One may be afraid of being attached and losing. Or one may be afraid of death, of a disease, of pain that you have had, and you don't want that pain tomorrow and therefore - there are many, many fears. Do we - please listen, please carefully listen - do you take one fear after the other or do you observe the central fact of fear? You understand my question? Do you look at the fragments of fear, fragments of fear or the whole, total fear? Which is it that you want to do? Will you take one fear at a time, fear of loneliness, fear of death, fear of not having a job, fear of, that your wife or girl friend may turn away from you, one by one. Or the root of fear - you understand my question? Which is it that you want to do? The whole fear or the varying expressions of fear?
Well, sirs? If you tackled the root of fear - right? - then the whole, the tree of fear disappears. You understand my question? If you tackle the root of it, the various fragments lose their meaning. Understood? So we're going to do that - either you want to tackle, to grasp, to understand the fragmentary fears, or the very root of it. If you understand, go into the very root of it, the fragmentary fears disappear.
So we're going to go into this question of fear, radically, at the very root of it, whether it's possible to be free of the total fear, of all fear, both superficial fears and the deep-rooted fears, the unconscious unknown fears. We are now going to observe fear, fear at the very root, the root of it. And we are saying it is not analysis, because analysis will not eradicate fear. Analysis implies, as we pointed out, takes time, the analyzer thinking different from that which is analyzed, when they are both essentially the same.
So we're going to look into fear. What is the root of fear? The root of fear is time. Do look at it carefully, don't accept what I'm saying. The root of fear, we are saying, is time. Look, one has had pain last week, physical pain, and you don't want it to occur again, and you are afraid it might happen. Right? So the remembrance of pain which you had a week ago and not wanting it again. So there is time. You understand? Fear is essentially, basically, fundamentally, a question of time. Go into it, I'm going to go slowly into it.
What is time? Time is movement, from here to there, it's a movement by the clock as well as psychologically. Moving from 'what is' to 'what should be', that demands time. And you might not achieve what you want to be, and therefore there is fear. So time is the factor of fear. Look, I am afraid of death, suppose one is afraid of death. That is, in the future. If death happened instantly, there is no fear. So time is the factor of fear. And what is time, apart from the chronological fact, by the watch, when you have to take a bus, car and all that, what is the factor of time? What is time? I will see you tomorrow. That is a fact of time. And I hope to change from what I am to what I should be. That requires time.
Time ceases when there is only 'what is'. When one is violent, time is necessary to become non-violent. But when there is only violence, and not it's opposite, there is no time. So time is a movement. Movement implies not only time but thought. Going from here to there. All movement of thought is time. All movement of thought is measure and time. So time is the factor of fear. Time is brought about by thought, that I will die in two years time, therefore I'm frightened, and I think about it. So thought and time, which are both the same, is the basic factor of fear. And there is no fear when there is only the absolute fact, instantly. That is, can you observe the movement of time as thought which breeds fear? I am afraid of tomorrow, the fear comes into being when I think what might happen tomorrow. Or I've had pain yesterday and I don't want it to happen again, I don't want to have that pain again, and it might happen and there is fear. Right? So fear is the movement of time and thought.
Ojai 3rd Public Talk 9th April 1977
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