Saanen 4th Public Talk 16th July 1978
Probably this morning there are some new people who have come for Sunday and I hope they won't treat this as an entertainment, or some intellectual, oriental, romantic nonsense. At least for some of us this is a serious meeting, those of us who are committed, involved in trying to find out a new way of living, not based on some ideological belief, on some authority, on some speculative conclusion and so on. We are concerned, as we were saying the other day, about freedom. And also we were pointing out that we were influenced, shaped, controlled by the environment, by institutions, ideas, beliefs, and conclusions. And also, as we were saying the last three meetings here, we are driven by language, and this is very important for us to understand how language, the words control us, shape us and drive us - which we went into sufficiently deeply and I'm sorry we are not going to go into it again this morning.
And also we said where there is identification, not only with the family, with a belief, with a nation, with a group, or identifying oneself with a particular object, whether it is handmade or created by the mind, to be attached, to be identified with any of these things prevents complete freedom. And that freedom is necessary, as we pointed out in our investigation together, which doesn't mean doing what one likes, fulfilling one's own desires but freedom from all the things which are binding us, like jealousy, fear, pleasure, beliefs, identifying oneself with a particular group or idea, guru and ideology, practices and so on. That is more or less what we have been talking about the last three times that we have met here.
I think this morning we should go into something which is part of what we have been talking about. Most of us are afraid to use reason, to think clearly, objectively, non-emotionally, not from a particular centre, either the centre outwardly or inwardly. And to think clearly implies that there is no centre from which you are operating in your thinking. I think we should go into this problem fairly deeply.
Most of us think along a particular line: if you are specialized you think along those grooves; if you are committed to a particular religion, an ideological structure, again your thinking is conditioned by that. So we begin to lose the capacity to reason. Reason implies a certain quality of scepticism, doubt, not accepting anything, either from the psychologists, professors, or from the sacred books - there are no sacred books, they are only printed books, like other books, but we give them importance because they happen to be old, people have said they have been uttered by saints or by some teacher, and so we give to a printed word tremendous importance, which is to be driven by a language. So where language drives us we cannot reason properly, sanely. Or we cannot possibly reason logically if you are committed to a particular belief, or to a particular ideology because then, if you are committed or identified, you go round and round that circle, round that particular ideology or belief. You don't think wholly, completely, deeply. So reason we thought is something intellectual and anything intellectual we throw out - that is the latest fashion! Whereas we need this capacity to reason, which I said implies doubt, scepticism, the freedom from every form of authority, including that of the speaker, specially so, because the speaker is rather intense about these matters therefore you may be influenced by that. So don't. Think clearly for yourselves, and to think clearly you must have no motive, or goal, a direction. If we have a motive that controls your thinking, if you have a goal, a purpose, a direction that controls your thinking. And you may logically, reasonably think along those lines, but they are conditioned thinking, narrowing thinking - right? Is this clear?
So as we said,the other day, there is no speaker here. We are looking at ourselves and our activities, our beliefs, our fears, pleasures and the whole problem of life in a mirror. The mirror is objective - if your face is clear, it reflects exactly, if it is a good mirror, your face. Similarly, we are together exploring, together going into - as we have done in the previous talks - our human ordinary daily problems. Because if those are not very clear, if those are not established deeply we cannot go any further. It is like building a house on sand.
So as we said, we are talking to ourselves. We are questioning ourselves, whether we think logically, reasonably, and therefore sanely; or our thinking is illusory, based on some belief, based on some ideals, or on some past experience. Then if it is so you can't discover anything new.
And also we were saying the other day, all our activities are based on thought - whether you build a marvellous building, the technological extraordinary advancement, and thinking in your relationship with each other, every action is based on thought. And we said thought is always, under all circumstances, limited. We went into that very carefully, why it is limited. Because thought is the outcome of knowledge, which is the past. So thought is time binding - right? We are using ordinary, daily English. This is not a special jargon. So thought is time binding, time being the past and thought is the outcome, response of knowledge, memory stored up in the brain. This is obvious. Think for yourself, observe for yourself, it becomes very clear. We are not brain specialists. But we can see that the brain is an enormously ancient instrument, very, very old, conditioned by recording danger, pleasure, fear and so on. So thought is the movement of time, and thought is measure: "I will be better. I think I am this but tomorrow I will change to something else" - all this is a matter of measurement. The more, the less, depth and height, horizontal and vertical, is all this movement of measurement - right? Measurement implies comparison. Most of us compare ourselves with somebody else, always something much greater, not with the poor people, but higher, more intellectual and so on. So thought is limited under all circumstances, therefore thought is never free, thought is a movement in measurement.
And we asked ourselves the other day the question: as all our action is based on measurement, the past, the present and the future, and therefore limited, and any action that is limited is bound to bring about great sorrow, great conflict, travail, anxiety, fear and so on; and we asked ourselves: is there an action which is not based on thought? Probably none of you have asked this question. Some may have asked it casually when you yourself perceive that thought has brought about certain troubles, certain fear, then you begin to question it. But you don't go very deeply into it. You say, "Yes, is there a movement, is there a state of mind in which thought as measure, as time, in action doesn't operate?" - right? We went into that very carefully. We said that there is an action which is not based on memory, which is not based on knowledge, which is not the result of some wish fulfilling, but when one understands the nature, the structure of the whole movement of thought, not intellectually but factually, that thought has its right place - when you want to go to your home, when you want to drive a car, when you are involved in technological business, there thought is necessary. But is thought necessary in human relationships? You understand my question?
We are going to ask this now: is thought in our relationship with each other, man, woman, intimate, not intimate and so on, in that relationship what place has thought? Or, thought has no place whatsoever. We are going to enquire into this together and find out, not speculatively, but factually, actually in daily life.
So we are enquiring into relationship, to be related to another. Is relationship a movement of identification - you understand? I am asking these questions for you. You have to answer it for yourselves. You are related to somebody, no one can exist without relationship. In your relationship with your wife, or with your girl friend, with your boy friend, or whatever it is, is it based on thought? Or you say, "No, it is not based on thought, it is based on love". That is the most phoney word ever used because through that loaded word 'love' we escape. We never face the fact. The fact being whether in our relationship with each other, intimate or otherwise, is thought bringing about this relationship? If it is not thought is it senses? Sexual sense, sense of the feeling, the sensation of being together, companionship and so on and so on, all based on thought. The senses become the instrument of thought. Thought then identifies itself with the senses - right?
Please don't go to sleep, don't meditate. You don't know what that word means, we will go into it. You are investigating, you are exploring, you are searching to find an answer to this. You can't just go off into some kind of dreamy state. Because all our life is based on relationship, whether that relationship is very near or very far. And also may I request you - I am not forbidding it, I am just asking you - if you take notes you can't pay attention to what is being said. That is obvious. What matters is that you listen, ardently, passionately to find out, listen. Then if you want to find out, no guru, no system, you have to throw all that out to find out. Which means, you have to find out on what basis your relationship is. If your relationship is based on thought, which actually it is if you investigate deeply, then thought being limited your relationship with another must be limited. And hence two limited relationships bring about conflict. Don't you know in all our relationships we are in conflict with the other - no? The wife, the husband, the girl and the boy and so on.
Therefore to find out what relationship is, not only must we enquire into what it actually is, which is based on thought, conflict, quarrels, jealousies, fears, domination, possessiveness, identification, and all the rest of it, we have not only to find that out, be aware of all that, but also one must enquire: is it possible to be free of all that in relationship? You understand my question? Right? Please, I am not talking to myself. We are together, and we mean together. It is your life. Together we are trying to find out - no, not trying - we are finding out, there is no trying. That is another lazy word. "I am trying to do my best" - which means nothing! But we must find out if there is a relationship which is not based on thought, thought being remembrance. You have hurt me, I remember that. And you have given me pleasure, sexually or otherwise, I remember that. And also you have hurt me, you have praised me, you have given me comfort, all that is stored up as memory, and on that memory thought is born and I say I am related to you. This is normal daily life.
And we are asking - or rather you are asking: is there a way of living where thought, which has its place, naturally, even in relationship - but in actual relationship is there the absence of thought altogether? That is what we are going to find out. You understand? I hope we are making the question clear to each other. That is: one is related as in most cases, which is a relationship of pain, anxiety, identifying oneself with that person, quarrels, nagging, jealousy, annoyance - you follow? Those are the daily, common, routine facts. If one is aware of that very, very clearly, not escape from that, then we can ask the question: is there a relationship with another which is not based on thought, that is on remembrance - right? Are you also working? Not casually. You are working so that you are perspiring? To answer that question you must investigate why the brain records. That is, you have said something to your boy or girl, or husband or wife, some ugly words you have used in annoyance, or you have used a pleasant word to each other - all these words are registered. You follow? That is the process of the brain to record in order to protect itself, because the brain can only function in perfect security. It is only when it is insecure that it acts neurotically. Right? Or being insecure you find somebody, a guru or some priest, or some psychologist, and accept him as your authority, and the brain says, "Yes, that is quite safe" - do you follow?
So we are asking - please listen to this - is it possible in your relationship with each other, in one's daily activities of relationship, is it possible not to register either the insult or the flattery? Not to register at all. Find out. If you don't register your relationship is entirely different. Right? Now is that possible? It sounds a marvellous theory, an extraordinary idea, a way of saying "By Jove, if one could live this way it would be very simple". Now please don't translate what is being said into an idea, into some kind of visionary, hopeful, happy theory. We are actually trying to find out if it is possible not to register either the sexual remembrances, which makes one further sexual, the pictures and all the rest of that business that goes on with regard to sex, and that is remembered, stored up, encouraged through the cinema, films, pictures, the whole western world which is spreading all over the world, encouraging this memory. Can you as a human being find out for yourself why a hurt, a pleasurable incident, is registered? From that registration thought begins - you understand? Is that possible? It is only possible when there is attention, non-identification is relationship. Am I making something clear?
One takes one's wife, or one's girl, or one's husband for granted. Right? No? You get used to it, it is part of you and you have got used to so many things, and so you add another addition to this. Now to be attentive, and that is only possible when you don't identify yourself with that woman's or boy's mind. Right? Can you do this? Non-identifying oneself with another, and therefore being free to be attentive. Not attentive and then free, non- identification. But non-identifying first and then out of that comes attention. You understand?
Now can one, as a human being, non-identify yourself with another? Not only with another but with ideas, with a group, with a sect, with a guru, with the whole business of it, which means you are free? Out of that freedom there is attention. How can one be attentive if I have identified myself with you? You may be most affectionate, most kind, I may want your kindness because I am lonely, I feel desperate, so I identify, you encourage me, you say, 'That is nothing, you will get over it tomorrow old boy, get on with it' - you give me comfort, you give me sex, so instinctively I identify myself with you. The moment you identify yourself with another you bring about a separation. Right? Obviously. So when there is separation there must be conflict - right? So can you find out now sitting here, not tomorrow, not when you go home, actually now, find out if you have identified yourself with her or him. And extend that identification extensively - ideas, beliefs, dogmas, with Jesus, or with Buddha, this or that, or ideologically, nationally and so on. Begin with the nearest and expand - you follow? We are apt to begin extensively but not near.
So can you find out if you are identifying yourself with another? The moment you use 'My girl' or 'My boy', you are caught. So the 'My wife, my girl, my husband' - the words are driving you, because those words are emotionally explosive. So you are being driven by words, whereas if you are free from identification and therefore from the emotional content of 'My wife, my husband, my girl or boy', then you can use words normally, unemotionally, sanely. I wonder if you get all this?
So can one not identify? And why do you identify? You understand my question? Why? Is it that through identification with another you are escaping from yourself? Go into it, please. Are you? Or you may identify yourself with another because you are lonely, or you are frightened to be nothing. You understand? To be absolutely empty, psychologically, I don't mean biologically, food, I don't mean that. Are these the reasons that you have never asked this question and if you ask this question is it that you are frightened to face yourself as you actually are? Therefore identification with another becomes a means of escape from what you are. So then you ask: what are you? Of course you are your name, your form, the body, the organism, the face, but that is a biological or physiological nature. But what are you? Are you not the result of all the structure and the movement of thought? Don't say, "I am the higher self" - if you do say that, that is part of thinking. Or if you say, "I am divine inside, covered up with a lot of muck," that is also thinking. So are you, apart from your face and curly hair, or dark brown, black or purple or whatever it is, apart from that, stripping yourself of words, are you not the result of words? "I am British" - or French, "I am a Russian", "I am a Catholic", "I am following this guru" - so are you not the result of thought? And we said thought is limited. So what you are is very limited. That limited entity says "I am this, I am that, I have got millions of dollars, or I have a jolly good life, or I have a miserable life, or I am this or that" - but it is still in the narrow, limited area of thought. The Hindus, the ancient Hindus invented a very good thing. They called it the Atman, the Higher Self, the Supreme thing. And that supreme thing is still born out of thought. But people are so gullible, so unreasonable, like to live in illusions and make-belief, they accept all this.
So we are saying: when you strip yourself of your conclusions, of your words, of your experience, what are you? You are nothing. You are empty. So consciously, or unconsciously, the feeling that you are nothing, you get frightened of it and then you begin to identify. Then you fill that emptiness, at least you think you can fill that emptiness with lots of ideas, with lots of relationship, with lots of knowledge, etc. etc. Right?
Now, just a minute: can thought, can the mind observe that emptiness and not move away from it? You understand my question? That is, one must understand something here. Are you getting tired? If you are, it is all right. We must go into something else here. which is: most of us are accustomed according to tradition and conditioning to be active, to do something - right? So we are accustomed to what is called positive action. Anything that is not positive action is called negative action - right? You are following this? Our brains, our minds, our habits act according to this positive action, to do something: I am afraid, I must control it; I am greedy, I either act to fulfil it or control it. So most of us are trained to act, which is called positive. And in that positive action there is also negative action which is not to do anything about it, go off to sleep, or cover it up, run away from it. But there is another action, which has nothing to do with the positive - I wonder if you understand all this? - which is no action at all. You understand? The one is to act: I am lazy I must get up, force myself. I must do yoga, I don't want to do it this morning but I must do it, it's good for you. You know the word yoga - I won't go into it now, sorry, we will go into that another time. That is an exploiting, moneymaking concern, that word.
All right. So we are trained, our habit, our tradition, our conditioning is to do something about what we feel. And in that positive action there is negative action, not to do anything about it, just to run away from it. Now there is, we are suggesting, enquire into it, please don't accept it, we are saying there is another kind of action unrelated to the positive, which is non-action. We will go into that in a minute. You understand? The non-action is not the opposite of action. That action is very limited because it is based on thought. Whereas non-action, not being related to the opposite, is entirely different, which we will enquire into presently.
So our question is this now: one has heard, if you have paid attention to it, one has heard that identification with another brings about separation, because that identification with another is based on your own emptiness, on your own loneliness, on your own desire to escape from yourself, but the escaping from yourself, your loneliness, is always there. You understand? It is always there, you may identify yourself with another but it is there. Therefore that creates separation - you understand? And hence quarrels and all the rest of it follows, divorce and everlasting struggle in relationship. Now can you observe this identifying process and the cause of identifying without any positive action? Without doing something about it? You have understood what I am saying? I will go into it, if I may.
One becomes aware if you have listened to it very carefully, that you are identifying, that is an actual fact. And the actual fact is that you are identifying because you are frightened, you are lonely, you are empty, you feel anxious, therefore you identify. Now can you observe that without any action? Just to observe it, as you observe the majesty of the mountains, the running waters, just to observe. Then if you so observe, which is non-action, then the thing that you are observing undergoes a fundamental change. It is only when we are positively acting about it, then we are acting as a separate entity and therefore conflict. I wonder if you get all this? Right?
Now, let's go into something else, which is: most of us, probably all of us in some measure or other, are frightened. Our life is so uncertain, specially now. There is uncertainty of livelihood, uncertainty of wars, uncertainty of these pressures of the world, the enormity of two powers, what is all going to come out of it, and so on and so on, politically, we are anxious. That means we are frightened. You may lose your job. Physiologically as well as biologically one may get ill - again there is fear. And psychologically, inwardly there is the fear of loneliness, fear of not succeeding, fear of not being loved whatever that may mean, fear of dark - you know, fear, with all its many, many branches. Right? If you are not afraid - good Lord! There is no guru, there is no authority, there is no search, you are a marvellous human being.
So we are going to find out, enquiring together, not me alone, find out whether it is possible to have no fear whatsoever, both physically as well as psychologically. Are you interested in this? I am not asking for encouragement. Because to live under fear is the most appalling thing, it is living in darkness, it brings a sense of shrinking, isolation, you cannot solve this thing, therefore you withdraw. And from that withdrawal, fear, all kinds of neurotic actions, ill health, psychosomatically it reacts - right? So you must, if you are at all serious, go into it very deeply, you must find out for yourself if fear can end.
If one may ask, are you aware of your fear? This is not group therapy - you understand? We are just enquiring for each one, not a group of us enquiring, that is too meaningless. I am asking you: are you aware of your fears? If you are, do you see the consequences of it? The running away from it, rationalizing it, suppressing it, or avoiding it and the identification becomes greater and greater and so on? Now what is the root of fear? You understand? Not, I am afraid about something, or because of something, or I am afraid that you might do something, but apart from that, the very root of it? Do you want to find out the root of it, or are you waiting for an answer? I can answer it. But then what happens you either say, "Yes, that is so", you accept it and it becomes an idea and you have gone away from the fact. So you have to ask this question for yourself. What is the root of all this enormous sense of fear, in our relationships, in our activities, in our jobs, in our future life - you know, the whole business? Do you ask it, ask the question to totally cut the root, or you are asking intellectually? You follow? I wonder if you understand? Look, I will explain it.
I want to find out why I am afraid. I can find out the various causes of it, that is fairly simple. I am afraid because I have done something I shouldn't have done, and you might discover it, therefore I am frightened. Or I am afraid I might lose my job, I want a better job, and so on and so on. Or I am so attached to my wife, I feel at any moment she might leave me and I am frightened - you follow? The whole business of fear. Am I actually in contact with fear? Or am I in contact with the idea of fear? You understand? Which is it? The idea of fear? Or, actual fear? Come on somebody. Please, madam, don't take notes for the love of Pete. If you take notes, you can't listen. It is your problem. The writing down is not at issue now. But to find out.
Now I can investigate, analyse the cause - right? The cause and the sequence. I can analyse it. But analysis doesn't solve the problem. You must know that. Because the analyser thinks he is different from the analysed - right? You may have heard this before so don't get bored with this, or smile and say "He is going back to the old stuff" - but you have to understand this. If you understand it, if you see the truth of it, then you will do something. We are not analysing but observing. Analysis is entirely different from observation - right? Observation implies without the observer, to look. Whereas if you analyse the cause why, and the reasons and go on analysing, analysing, there is implied several things. Which is: that the analyser is thinking that he is different from the analysed, and that involves time, an endless process of analysing, analysing, analysing, and at the end of your life you are still analysing, without bringing about a fundamental transformation. Whereas if you observe, just to observe, that is, without any analysis, just to look, which is negative action. The positive action is to look, analyse, do something about it. Whereas the negative action, which is totally different from the positive action, is to observe - right? Then that observation not only tells the story of what is being observed, it tell you the story of what is being observed, and also that observation itself brings about a movement of change in that which is being observed. Right? Do get this. Even the so-called scientists are agreeing with what we are talking about, so we are quite safe! That is, if you watch through a microscope some cell, if you come to it with a conclusion, with wanting to use it for further purposes and making money, or whatever it is, then you don't see the movement of the cell itself changing. You understand this? So to observe without any movement of thought, any movement of trying to change it, any movement to go beyond it, just to watch. When you watch so closely, without any sense of direction, motive, the thing that you are watching itself undergoes a fundamental change. Full stop. Are you doing it? Not agreeing with it. Can you watch your fear in this manner? It doesn't need practice. That is one of our pet theories. If you are interested, if you are concerned in the freedom of fear, you observe. And that observation is passionate. It is not just casual, intellectual observation.
So can you observe the fear, the root of it, which we will go into in a minute, without any analysis? Now what is the root of fear? All fear? What do you think it is? Is it not time? Right? I might be ill. I might lose my job. I might be discovered in the wrong things which I have done. I am afraid of death, which is in the distance. I am afraid my wife might get angry - might. Just look at it. I am not asking you to accept it. Just observe it. First reason, logic, non-personal and therefore look. Is not fear the movement of time? Movement means time, from here to there, from the past to the present, from the present to the future. All that is movement, which is called time. Now, is that movement of time not thought? I think I might lose my job. I think my wife may be angry, or my wife may discover that I have looked at another woman, and so on and so on. So can you observe the movement of time, which is thought, which is the root of fear, observe it without trying to do something about it? It is like a scientist looking through a microscope, and if he projects what it should be, or what it might be, that remains as is, because he is dictating what it should be. Whereas if he is not dictating, if he is just looking, that very thing at which he is looking through a microscope begins to change, begins to move. You understand?
Are you doing this? Which means: observation implies the absence of the observer, who is the past, who has got theories, conclusions, hopes, fears, directions and so on and so on and so on. To look without the observer. That does not need discipline, that does not need practice, just to look without you wanting something out of it. Then you will see, if you so look, the very root of fear is beginning to completely change. That means the root, observing so carefully, alertly, with passion, the root begins to dissolve, which is the action of negation. Have you got something of this? You know this is part of meditation. Meditation is not repeating some words, sitting quietly cross-legged for 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the evening, all that nonsense. How can a mind meditate if it is full of fears? Or is attached to something? The understanding and the freedom from fear is part of meditation, it is totally, entirely related to daily life.
Saanen 4th Public Talk 16th July 1978
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