Ojai 3rd Public Talk 8th April 1978
I am very glad that you have got a lovely view of the mountains with snow. I hope you are looking at it.
We have had the last Saturday and Sunday two talks, and some of you may not have been there so I am afraid one has to go over what we talked about, and I hope those who heard it will not be bored by my going over what we talked over together.
If one may point out, we are considering rather complex problems of life, our daily life, and we are not in any way concerned with theories, hypotheses, speculations and ideas. We are going over together, and I mean together, the whole problem of the weight, the pressure, that exists all around us - socially, religiously, ethically and politically and economically and so on. This pressure, if one goes into it as we shall, affects our whole conduct. It brings about a different kind of reaction, not natural, but rather abnormal. I do not know if you have gone into this question: whether it is possible to live in this world without any kind of pressure, and therefore with complete freedom. And that's what we are going to talk over together again this morning. And if I may again point out, you are not listening to a talk, you are not gathering some ideas, or be told how to act, how to behave, how to live properly, but rather we are going together to examine this problem, which is very, very complex, and needs a great deal of attention, and reason, logic, into this question that human beings right throughout the world, it doesn't matter what nationality they are, what religious group they belong to, what institutions they accept, they are always acting under different kinds of pressure. I do not know if one is aware of this. And if you are aware of it, why is it that human beings support, or hold on to these pressures.
As we were saying the other day, there is the pressure of language. I hope you don't mind if I go over it again. There is the pressure of language. Language uses us but we don't use language. The instrument uses us rather than we use the instrument. A word, like communism, socialism, in America has a tremendous significance and a great antagonism to it. And so the word, if you will kindly listen, the word shapes our thinking, shapes our reactions, controls our attitudes. The word drives us. But we don't use language, language uses us. I do not know if you are aware of this. And if we use language correctly, without all the emotional content which is attributed to words, then if we do that, you and the speaker use words without reactions, without prejudice, without any kind of emotional content attributed or given to that word, then communication between you and the speaker becomes very simple, very clear, and can be understood very easily. That means we partake, share together in the examination, in the exploration, together into this whole question why human beings right throughout the world live under a great deal of pressure, strain, weight.
First of all we also said there is the pressure of institutions - the democratic, the republican, the labour, the socialist, the communists, and the Mao and so on, various forms of religious, economic, social, political institutions. The word 'institution' means to stand, not move, to accept direction, to obey certain rules, which gradually become, however lightly accepted at the beginning, become routine; and a mind which belongs to institutions becomes mechanical. If you will consider that and go into it, which we did last Saturday and Sunday, perhaps you will then see how it important it is for human beings not to belong to any kind of institutions. Which implies that to solve our problems a different kind of mind is necessary, not a mind that is mechanical, not a mind that has accepted rules, regulations - which doesn't mean that you disobey laws - but psychologically accept the implications of institutions, the hierarchy, status, position, rules and so on.
And also we talked about, together, the pressure of ideologies, ideals. Most human beings throughout the world have unfortunately accepted ideals. Perhaps you also have many, many ideals. And to have ideals is considered highly respectable, highly noble, gives one great character and so on, this phrase right throughout the world - a man of ideals. I wonder is the function of ideals at all, if you have any. The speaker hasn't any because ideals imply, if you go into it very carefully, the avoidance of 'what is', what actually is going on. You are translating what is going on according to 'what should be'. The 'what should be' is not the actual. The 'what should be', the ideal, brings about a conflict between 'what is' and 'what should be'. And we live within this field of conflict which exists between ideals and what is actually going on. Most of us are concerned with the transformation of 'what is' in terms of ideals, in the context of ideals. These ideals are projected by thought - thought being the response of memory, response of experience, knowledge, stored up in the brain, recorded, and according to that record thought projects the ideals. And thereby thought thinks it can deal with 'what is'. I hope we are communicating with each other. The speaker hopes that he is making the thing clear.
Please bear in mind, if I may again point out, this is not a lecture, we are trying together, I mean together, you and the speaker, together explore, go into, investigate into this question of pressure, why human beings, you who represent all humanity, live from birth to death under pressure. And one finds that the ideals act as a great pressure on human beings, and so they are always living in constant conflict, in trying to change 'what is' according to 'what should be'. If one is angry, the ideal is not to be angry. So using the ideal as a means to change anger there is always a conflict, a battle, a strife. One hopes this is made perfectly clear. And also I hope you are not cold. If you are you can lean against each other and look at the mountains, or if you want to listen, listen.
You know there is the art of listening, the art of seeing and the art of learning. The art of listening implies, to listen not to your own thoughts, not to your own reactions to what is being said, not to conform to a conclusion, but rather knowing what you think, what you feel, what your ideals are, putting those aside, listen to the speaker, if you can do that, then we are in communication. But if you go on with your thoughts, with your reactions, with your memories, then there is no communication, then there is misunderstanding, then there is mere repetition of what the speaker said, either accepting or denying, agreeing or not agreeing. So there is the art of listening. The word 'art' means according to an excellent dictionary, to put everything in its right place. When you have put everything in its right place there is no confusion, there is no disorder. It's only when you have not put everything in its right place there is disorder. The speaker means by 'putting everything in its right place', to learn for oneself what is right, what is correct, what is actual. And that's why it is very important to learn the art of seeing. We have talked about the art of listening, we are now talking about the art of seeing.
Most of us actually do not see. We see through the image which we have projected. Please do consider what the speaker is saying. You look at that mountain, the beauty of those lines, that snow, and the trees, and the valleys, with the image that thought has created about them. That is, the word interferes with your observation. And you look at another, your friend or your wife, or your husband, girl, or boy, through the image that thought has projected about them. Don't you do that? If you have observed closely yourself, if you are married you observe your wife through the image that thought has created for ten days, or thirty years. So there is no actual observation, seeing the wife, or the girl, or the boy. You are always looking at each other with the images that thought has created about each other, so there is no actual seeing. Which again is an absolute fact. When you observe a fact there is no disagreement, it is so. You all agree to say, that grass is green. That is a fact. But if you like to say it is all a matter of illusion, if we both agree it is an illusion, then it is also a fact. So one learns the art of observation is to observe clearly without the image, so that image doesn't act as a pressure. Right? Are we going along together. I am sorry we are not closer together, and I hope the speaker is making things clear.
Then there is the art of learning, which is a little more difficult. Learning for most of us is memorizing. From school, to college, to university, if you are lucky enough to go through that conditioning, or unlucky enough, there you accumulate facts, cultivate memory, store that memory about those facts and act skilfully or unskilfully according to the knowledge that you have acquired. That's one kind of learning. And then there is the other; which is to go out, act, and from action learn. That is, both accumulating knowledge and then acting, the other, acting and accumulating knowledge from acting, both imply the accumulation of knowledge. The art of learning implies to put knowledge in its right place. And there is the other kind of knowledge, other kind of learning, which is non-mechanistic, non-accumulative, but learning constantly. Therefore learning becomes extraordinary, a movement of vitality, not merely routine. I won't go into this now because we have other things to deal with.
So there is the art of listening, there is the art of seeing, there is the art of learning. If we do not put everything in its right place then there is confusion, and that confusion acts as a great pressure on our life. If you don't put money in its right place and make money as though it was the most important thing in life, then inevitably you create, bring about confusion. If you do not put knowledge in its right place, knowledge, to act skilfully, to think clearly, in its right place, then knowledge becomes a tremendous burden, a pressure. And if you do not put sex in its right place, then all life, all our existence is based on pleasure. If you do not put politics, which is the government of people, and if the people are not able to govern themselves then there are these extraordinary people called politicians who rule our lives. And as one observes what is happening in the world they are creating more and more confusion, more and more wars, bitterness, anxiety, tears, division. So to learn that institutions have no place for a mind that can learn the whole of existence, not through any specialized groups or teachers and so on. Now that is what we discussed, more or less, last Saturday and Sunday.
Now if we may go on to another thing. We are talking about pressure. There is no good pressure and bad pressure, pressure that is necessary, pressure that is not necessary. We are talking about pressure, not the opposites of pressure. There is the pressure of relationship, pressure of family, pressure of children, the pressure of the husband over the wife, and the wife over the husband, the girl over the boy, and the boy over the girl. Where there is this pressure there must be conflict. Now, please don't accept what the speaker is saying at all. We are examining together the facts of our life, our daily constant life. We live in this pressure of families, of relationship with each other. Don't you? Or am I talking to myself? There is the sexual pressure, the demand over each other, the possessive, dependence, attachment, jealousy, anxiety, hatred and so on. This exists, these are actual facts in relationship. Why do we live like this? Why do we accept this way of living? I do not know if you have considered it, if you are serious enough to find out a way of living in which this conflict ends, completely, totally, not for a few days, not for a week, but entirely, absolutely the ending of conflict in relationship. We are going to examine that - rather you and the speaker are going to examine this thing together, why you, as a human being, live like this. When we use the word 'human being' we mean by that word you are the representative of all humanity because all humanity lives like this, in constant struggle, constant effort, jealousy, anxiety, fear, the pursuit of pleasure and so on. So you as a human being, please do listen to this, and don't translate it into an idea, but as an actual daily fact, that you are the representative of all human beings, which again is a fact of tremendous significance.
So why do human beings throughout the world live like this? Is it because they are lazy, indifferent, callous, they talk about relationship and they don't mean a thing by that word, is it habit, is it tradition, is it that we do not know how to break through this? And perhaps that may be one of the reasons why human beings do accept so easily to live in this conflict. Which again becomes a tremendous pressure on our brain, on our life.
What do we mean by that word 'relationship', to be related, to be in contact with. When you use the word 'contact with', not only physically, sexually, but psychologically much more, to be in contact, psychologically with another implies that you are actually in contact psychologically with another. Is that so? Or you are in contact with the image that you have projected about her, the image that thought has created during a thirty year or forty year relationship, intimate and so on, or a relationship that lasted for ten days, you create an image about that person; and that image is projected by memory, by experience, by the knowledge that you have accumulated about her, or him. That knowledge is stored in the brain, and that becomes memory, so you are looking - please listen - you are looking at the woman or the man from the knowledge that you have acquired about her. You project that knowledge upon her and you see the image that you have projected, and you think you are in contact with that person, but actually you are only in contact with the image that thought has projected about her or him. Right? This is not mere analysis. This comes when you observe. Observation is entirely different from analysis. Analysis implies a duality: the analyser and the analysed. The analyser is the analysed. Right? I wonder if you see that. This duality between the analyser and the analysed is encouraged by the psychologists, by the psychoanalysts. All right, sir? Forgive me if there are any psychologists and psychoanalysts and the rest of the specialized group, if there are some here, forgive me. The analyser thinks he is separate from that which he analyses. Is that so? Is anger different from you, or you are angry? You are angry, not you think you are angry, or you realize that you have been angry after that emotion is over. I hope you are following all this. Do follow it for your own sake because then you will live a totally different kind of life with absolute order, and therefore a mind that is not caught in any routine, in any ideologies, in any community, in any nation, in any group, in any sect, religious or otherwise.
That is, the thinker - please listen - the thinker thinks he is separate from thought. Right? Because the thinker says, 'I can control thought, I can shape thought, I can alter thought, or suppress, control, direct thought'. But is the thinker different from thought, or the thinker is the thought? You understand my question? If the thinker is the thought then there is no division. Wherever there is division there must be conflict - the Arab, the Jew, the Hindu, Muslim, the American against somebody else, and so on and so on, the black and white, and purple and blue. So when one sees the fact that the thinker is the thought, the thinker doesn't exist without the thought, so when you see that, when you realize that, as you realize danger, when you see this the whole movement of thought has a totally different meaning. May I go on? I hope you are following all this, or I am making myself clear.
So thought has made itself - no, sorry. Thought in itself is broken up because memory can never be complete, and thought is the response of memory. Right? And thought has created this extraordinary mess in the world, including the religious confusion, all the images that churches and the temples, and the mosques have. Thought, when it has created these images in temples and churches, is worshipping itself. I wonder if you see that. So thought in our relationship with each other has created this image about each other, and therefore there is no relationship at all. Relationship implies being completely in contact with each other. Not only as is generally translated sexually but much more deeply, more profoundly in contact. And that contact with each other implies no division. And perhaps then one can use the word 'love', though that word is so abominably misused.
So is it possible not to create images about the other? First of all one must realize that we do have images. Then to ask, how do these images come into being. We explained that, that thought in its very nature is a broken up thing, a fragment. It's like a vase which is a marvellous thing and is broken, and a little piece of that vase thinks that it can put together the totality of life.
So thought, which is born of memory, memory being knowledge, experience, thought is in its very essence the past, and so when you observe another through the eyes of the past you are not observing at all. Now is that possible not to observe through images, through your projection of another? It is possible only if you are interested, if you are serious, if you really want to find out a way of living that is entirely different, then this mechanism of bringing about images, one has to go into that very carefully. How does this mechanism come into being? You understand my question? How does the image-making come into being? Now you ask that question, if you ask it at all, and how do you approach that question, any question? Do you approach it with previous knowledge, with a conclusion, with fear, with asking somebody to tell you? How do you approach a question which is a human, deep, fundamental question, how do you come to it? Because how you come to it, what your motives are, dictates your answer. That's obviously a fact.
So how do you approach this question: why does the mechanism of making images come into being? And can that mechanism have its right place, and not interfere or project in relationship? Do you understand my question? Do you?
K: Thank god, somebody does! If you do, then you have to ask, what is the function of the brain. We don't have to be specialists of the brain, you don't have to read books about the brain. You can observe it yourself, how you talk, how you listen, how you see the whole operation of the movement of the brain, you can see it in yourself. The function of the brain is to register, like a tape recorder. The tape registers, so does the brain. It registers in order to acquire knowledge and to be safe, secure. The brain demands that it be completely secure from danger, so it registers. And in that registration it seeks security. The registration is a means of finding security. Then there is security in the past, because there is no security in the future, you don't know what's going to happen in your relationship. So the image is formed the moment you register any incident, any word, any insult, any flattery, that exists between man and woman, that is immediately registered, and that becomes the memory; and according to that memory projected, you observe the other. Now we are asking - please listen to this, if you care to - we are asking, is that registration, which is necessary in certain places like driving a car, technological knowledge, reading, writing and so on, is it necessary to register when your wife, when the girl or the boy insults, flatters, hurts, says something which is ugly, why should the brain register this? Do you understand my question? If it doesn't then there is no image made. Right? Right, sirs?
Now the question is: can that registration come to an end without effort, because you have put the necessity of registration in its right place? Which is, when you drive a car, you have learnt after several lessons how to drive a car. That is, you have registered, the brain has registered the knowledge of driving a car; the care, the brakes, and all the rest of it. That is its right place, to register what is necessary, technological knowledge, driving a car, learning a language and so on, in its right place. And we are asking, the registration of an insult or a hurt is not necessary, why should it be necessary? It becomes a necessity, or it is inevitable, when you, when you have an image about yourself. Are you following this? That image about yourself is hurt. If you think you are a marvellous speaker, or a marvellous person, highly evolved and terribly intelligent and all the rest of that blah, when you think all that and you create an image about yourself as an American - the American way of life, American freedom, American abundance and so on and so on - you have an image about that, about yourself. And that image is hurt. Can you live without an image? You understand my question? Can you? Don't say, no, yes, sir. It implies a great deal. Which means thought doesn't create, or build, the image that is me. The 'me' being all the ambitions, corruption, status, position, ambition, all that is the 'me'. The essence of the 'me' is conflict. Can one live without any of those attributes? Which means to be totally, completely free of self-created images.
Then in relationship there is no division, not you and I, I seeking my particular ambition, my particular position, my particular desires, and she also doing the same thing according to each other's images. So when there is no image there is actual relationship. Which may be called, if one can use that word without its ugly content, love. Love has no pressure. Everything else has pressure. That's one point.
And also we ought to consider the pressure of fear. Most human beings throughout the world are frightened, about their physical existence, about their, you know, outward fears. And also there are deeply rooted fears which are embedded in the psyche. You know most people in the world say, 'Why bother about all the investigations into something psychological, depth and all that, why don't you live with the things around you happily'. That's what America is trying to do: have more things, enjoy your life, more money, more cars, everything outward. You know you can't live just outwardly, there are all kinds of problems if you live outwardly, if you are totally, completely caught in the worldly things. Because one is caught in the worldly things there is going to be more and more confusion, more wars, more misery. Do you understand this question? You know Marxists, and the Mao's, and all the rest of those people, say, control the environment, the outward circumstances and you change man. It has never happened? You can't change man through control of the environment. They have tried it for centuries in different parts of the world; man has never been changed through compulsion, through dictatorship, or through what is called 'non-socialism'. So one has to go into this problem of fear, not only the outward insecurity of physical existence, but also the deep layers of fear, of which one may be conscious or not. But one has to investigate, go into it. Will you? Will you go with the speaker and investigate your fear? Your fear is not your own, it is the fear of mankind. Man wants physical security, so do you. That physical security is denied if you have wars, with all your talents, your industry is geared to war. Right? For god's sake, how can you live this way - I don't know.
So you seek physical security by accepting nationalities, accepting little groups, little communities, little groups together, little families together. And when you do you are separating yourself, and that very separation brings about conflict not only outwardly but inwardly, which ultimately projects itself in war. War is not only for economic reasons, political reasons, geographical reasons, but also essentially because man is violent. You know all this. So we are concerned with the examination, with the investigation, to see if man, you, can go beyond all fears. Right?
What is fear? One is most familiar with that sensation of fear, which we name as fear, what is that, how does thing come about in our relationship, however intimate we are with each other? What is the source of fear? What is the beginning of fear? You know man throughout the ages has never gone into this question of ending of fear, but always looked to some outward agency called god, or some means of escaping from that terrible burden, that burden that brings about darkness, paralysis, incapacity to think clearly, we run away from it, and we are very good at cultivating the net of escapes that we are caught in. So what is fear? Not a particular form of fear. If you understand the nature of fear, how fear arises, how fear dominates, consciously or unconsciously our life, then if you understand the nature of fear then you can deal with the particular. But by talking about the particular, the fragment of it, you can never understand the totality of fear. Am I making myself clear on this point? Yes? Good. So we are concerned not with the particular fear, which we will understand or be free of when we understand the whole tree of fear, with its roots, with its leaves, with its flowers, with its expressions, all that, the totality.
What is fear, how does it come about? Is it based on the past? Does it spring from the past? Or does it have its source in the future? Or is fear in the present, now? You understand my question? Does it come out of the past, or the future is so unknown therefore fear, or is the fear now? I don't know how to put it. Is the fear unrelated to the past or to the future? That's better. You understand my question? Yes?
K: That is, does the source - the beginning of fear is in the past - please listen - or the future and what is the future? Is the future different from the past, or is the past modified through the present, through the incidents and accidents, exigencies of the present, modifies itself, the past, and becomes the future. You understand? So the past is continually moving to what is called the future, modified. I wonder if you see all this. So we are asking, the past is the source of fear. Right?
Q: Not always.
K: Generally, sir. Don't say, not always. Look at it, consider it, don't reject or accept. Look at it, first observe it, not with your conclusions, your judgements, your evaluations, just to observe those mountains, you know, look at it. In the same way, look at fear. So when you look at fear, we are asking, does it come from the past, and not from the future, as we think of the future, because the future is the movement of the past through the present. One loses a job, the memory of that losing, unemployment, and all the rest of it, is cultivated by thought as memory: I have had the job, I have lost it, I hope to get another. And the fear comes when I have lost the job, and I hope to have the job tomorrow. I may not and there is fear. Right? So the source of thought is in the past - the past being the experience of having a job, losing it, the knowledge of it, the pain of it, the anxiety of it, and the fear of not having another job. So from the past the whole movement of fear takes place. One has had a toothache, been to the dentist, no pain, but the memory of that pain is stored up, and again you are afraid that pain may return. So there is this constant movement from the past, physical, physiological as well as psychological - psychologically one did something, one said a lie and one is frightened and so on, all from the past. The past is knowledge. Right? You are following all this?
So thought is the outcome of the past. Right? Thought which is the outcome of the past, thought engenders fear. Right? Fear of death, that is, fear of dying in the distant future, it may be tomorrow, or ten years later. Thought has projected the idea of coming to an end and afraid of coming to an end. It has lived in the outcome of the past, projected itself into the future as coming to an end and is frightened of it. So thought, which is the outcome of the past as fear, so thought is fear. I wonder if you understand all this. So can fear come to an end? Now, please I am asking you that question, the speaker is asking you that question, can fear come to an end? How do you listen to that question? Do you make an abstraction of it, that is, draw a conclusion from it, an idea of it, or do you actually listen to it without a conclusion? You understand my question? Which is it that you are doing: do you actually listen without conclusions, without ideas? If you do, then as you are listening, at the moment, there is no fear, naturally. But when fear arises from the past, can you look at it without any reaction, to observe it? Then you will find both consciously as well as unconsciously that thing which was born out of the past comes totally to an end, though it is deeply embedded in the recesses of one's mind.
Now how do you examine, or explore into the hidden parts of the brain where fear may exist. Do you understand my question? Do you? You think you understand fear - may be consciously. But there are unconscious fears, deep down, how do you examine those, how do you look at those? Can you bring them all out, expose them, not through analysis, not through going to a professional and lying down on a couch and saying all - I don't mean that, that's all too childish. Forgive me. But to open the content of your consciousness and see where the fear lies. Now this becomes very difficult perhaps and subtle, so please listen.
Can consciousness - you know what consciousness is? To be conscious of the mountains, to be conscious of the green grass, to be conscious of the person sitting next to you, to be conscious of the colour, the beauty of the hills and so on, to be aware, to be cognizant, to know. All that is implied in the word 'consciousness'. Consciousness is made up of its content. Right? Without its content there is no consciousness. Its content is fear, jealousy, anxiety, saying, I am an American, not an American, I am a Russian, Jew - part of that also, all the ambitions, greed, envy, hurts, fears, pleasures, so-called love, sorrow, death, all that is the content of that consciousness. Now we are asking - please listen - can that consciousness become aware of itself? Can it look at itself, as it were, in a mirror? You see yourself, your face, your figure, in a mirror. You may say, I like, I don't like it, I must be thinner, I must be fatter, I must have longer hair, shorter, whatever it is, you can look at yourself in a mirror. In the same way - please listen, I'll show you something - in the same way, can this consciousness, which is made up of you, you are that consciousness, you are not separate from that consciousness, you are that, can that consciousness see itself - not partially, not in little bits, as anger, jealousy, this, or that, but see.
We are saying, can that consciousness, yours, that consciousness is the consciousness is the consciousness of mankind, your consciousness is not different from mine or somebody else's, consciousness with its content is like every other human being. One may call oneself an American, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist,or a Catholic, but it is still part of that consciousness, conditioned according to climate, culture, position and so on and so on, but it is still within that area, within that field. So can consciousness see itself as you see yourself in a mirror, your face? I don't know if you ever put that question to yourself.
Then we would like to ask the question, who is the observer who is looking at that consciousness? Is the observer different from that consciousness? I hope you are following all this. Is the observer the higher state of consciousness which is looking at the lower state of consciousness? Is the higher state of consciousness projected by thought, which thinks there is a different state of consciousness, but thought has put the content of its consciousness, which makes up consciousness. It may invent a super consciousness but it is still the product of thought. Right? I wonder if you follow all this.
So we are asking can consciousness observe itself totally? That is, is consciousness alive, active, and can you observe anything active, moving, changing, reforming, reforming and forming itself again, this constant movement is going on. Therefore it is extraordinarily alive. And can that consciousness watch itself in action, in movement? Am I making the question clear? How do you answer it? How do you answer it, not me answer it, not the speaker answer it, how do you answer a question of that kind? Because that's your life. Your life, your daily life is composed of this, fear, pleasure, sorrow, pain, hurt, jealousy, ambition, greed, envy, all that. Can all that observe itself? Or is there an observer who is totally different from the thing which we call consciousness? So man has said, yes, which is god. And god becomes one of the greatest pressures in life. You understand? Because again that is an invention of thought.
Now the thing is, it is only possible to observe the totality of consciousness - or rather when the mind is totally, completely silent, without any movement, then any movement can be watched. I wonder if you understand this. We are going into something which is called meditation, not all the silly nonsense that has been spread around by the industrialized gurus, that's not meditation, that's just some form of mental tricks and habits, and the cultivation of new habits. Meditation is nothing whatsoever to do with all that. We are saying, a mind that is completely quiet, totally quiet, can watch any movement. And it's only in that state, in that quality of silence consciousness can be watched completely. Then the problem is, is it possible to bring about a mind that is totally quiet?
I am afraid it is time to stop. You must be frozen and if you want to go into this further we will do it tomorrow morning. Perhaps it won't rain and there will be more sun. May I get up and go?
Ojai 3rd Public Talk 8th April 1978
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