Saanen 7th Public Talk 22nd July 1979
I believe this is the last talk. On Wednesday we will have some dialogues for five days. Why are you all sitting so quietly?
I wonder if you have ever noticed our minds are very rarely quiet, silent, having no problems, or having problems putting them aside for a while, and having a free mind, a mind that is not cluttered, a mind that is not stretching out, not seeking anything; but absolutely quiet, silent, and perhaps observing, not only what is happening in the world but also what is happening in the inner world, in the world of one's own existence, one's own attitudes, travails, just to observe. I wonder if one has ever done this kind of thing. Or, are we always seeking, searching, asking, analysing, demanding, trying to fulfil, trying to follow somebody, some ideal and so on, or trying to establish a good relationship with another? I wonder why there is this constant struggle and strife and seeking? One goes to India, I don't know why, seeking something extraordinary that is going to happen when you go to that country, follow somebody who tells you to dance, to sing, to do whatever you want. And there are those who try to force you to meditate in a certain fashion, accept authority, do certain rituals, shout when you like and so on. Why are we all doing this? What is our everlasting thirst? What is it that we are seeking? If we could go into that a little bit, try to find out for ourselves what it is that we are longing, searching, seeking, trying to fulfil, trying to become something.
Apart from the religious beliefs and dogmas and rituals, which fairly intelligent people have put aside, and not going to Tibet or to Japan, or trying to do Zen Buddhism, you know the whole business of it, but remaining quietly at one's own home, or taking a solitary walk, can one ask why there is this everlasting thirst? Could we go into that a little? Because we have talked about most things during the last six talks. We have talked about fear, thinking together; we have talked about sorrow, pleasure; and we have also talked about intelligence and love and compassion. As we pointed out, without intelligence, which we carefully went into, there cannot be love, or compassion. They go together. Not the intelligence of books and cunning contrivance of thought, nor the intelligence of the very clever, subtle mind; but the intelligence that perceives directly what is not true and what is false, what is dangerous and immediately lets it go, such a quality of mind is intelligent. And if we could go into that this morning, not only into what is it that we are all seeking, longing, but also perhaps as we go along find out for ourselves what is the quality of a mind - mind being all our senses, all our reactions, all our emotions and the capacity to think very clearly, all that is the mind, the essence of which is thought. And perhaps we could talk over together what is the nature of meditation, and if there is anything in life, in our daily existence, not only material activities and material possessions, money, sex, sensations, but also beyond all that, if there is something really sacred, not put together by thought, not the images that thought has created in various forms, in various cathedrals, temples and so on, but actually, for ourselves, find out, perhaps through meditation, being free of all illusion, deceit and thinking very honestly, if there is something that is really sacred, which is the movement of meditation.
So first let us enquire, if we may, think together, what is it that we are hungering after? Most people have had various types and varieties of experiences, not only sensual experiences but incidents that have brought about various emotional, sensational and romantic movements, but also these experiences that one has had are rather trivial; and perhaps all experiences are rather trivial. And when we begin to enquire what it is that we are all seeking, wanting, longing, is it a superficial, mere sensory experience, or something which desire seeks, which must obviously be rather superficial? And can we in thinking over together move from the superficiality to a deeper, wider enquiry? Right? That is, we are, you and the speaker, are thinking out together if all our longings are merely superficial, sensory demands, or is the longing, the searching, the thirst for something far beyond all that? You understand my question?
How do you enquire into this? When you have put this question, whether your enquiry, your longing is merely superficial, such as wanting more money, better relationship, trying to fulfil, trying to become happy, you know, superficially, on the surface - how do you enquire into that? Through analysis? Analysis is still the same movement of thought, looking back. And analytically thought examining itself with it accidents, its experiences, its examination will still be limited because thought is limited. That is clear. But that is the only instrument we have, and so we keep on repeating, using the same instrument, knowing that it is limited, and knowing that it cannot solve the problem, or have the capacity to enquire very deeply, and yet we keep on doing this - right? We never realize, I think, that this instrument however blunt, however used up, cannot solve the problem and therefore put it aside. We don't seem to be capable of doing that - why? Please enquire with me. You understand my question?
Thought has created the technological world - right? Thought has created all the divisions in the world. Thought has created not only national divisions, but religious divisions, ideological divisions, every form of division between two people, however much they may think they love each other, there is still this division, and thought is responsible for that, which is obvious. Would we accept that - that thought in its activity will inevitably, being limited, being the result of the past, must inevitably bring about a division and therefore limited. Thought can never see the whole - right?
Now can we ask is such activity superficial? Or can thought with its limitation enquire more deeply? You follow what I am saying? Have we understood each other? Can we go on? Please it is not verbal explanation, it is not that verbally we are clear, but rather together find out for ourselves what is the root of this hunger, great desire to search, to find, you know this constant movement out and in. This is obvious, right?
Is observation, to observe, the instrument of thought? You follow? Please go into this a little bit with me. To observe: does that involve the movement of thought? You may observe, then conclude, conceive, create through that observation. The creation, the activity through that observation is the movement of thought. That is what we generally do. I see that colour, one sees that colour, there is the observation of it, then like and dislike, prejudices, all those are the movement of thought. Right? Can one observe without any of the movement of thought? Does that require a kind of discipline? Discipline, the root of it, is to learn. To learn, not to conform, not to imitate, not to make the mind dull, routine - all that. But to learn. Now can one learn that the activity of observation, without the thought creating the image out of that observation, and acting according to that image - right? Can one merely observe? Which is to learn, to observe and to learn or to be aware of the movement of thought interfering with that observation? To learn about it. Which is, actual discipline, to learn. I wonder if you have got this? Are we following each other? Are we doing it as we are talking, or you are going to think it over? Please we are all doing it together, thinking it out together.
So we are saying: when there is observation into say, our longing, our thirst for something, can you observe without any motive - motive being the past, which may be the desire, the conclusion of thought - without the past interfering with the actual observation? Can you do that? That is to learn. This whole movement, the observation, the interference of thought, and what the result and the effect of all this movement is, just to observe. One wants to learn. Learning is the accumulation of knowledge, generally - right? School, college, university - or learning about relationship and so on, learning. Having accumulated knowledge then act - right? The purpose of learning is to accumulate knowledge, and from that act skilfully, or unskillfully, it depends. Or you act and then learn, which is from action accumulate knowledge. You have understood? You are following all this? So our action is always based on the accumulation of knowledge - right? Acting and learning from acting, and accumulating. Accumulating knowledge and acting - right? So our actions are always based upon the past, or the past projecting the future, and acting according to the future. It is the same movement, modified but it is still the same movement - right? I wonder if you are following all this? You are doing it sirs?
We are pointing out something entirely different - you understand? Accumulating knowledge and then acting. Accumulating knowledge and projecting from that knowledge the future and acting from the future. So our actions are invariably the result of the past or the future; that is, action based on time, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yesterday meeting the present, which is today, modifying itself and proceeding - right? Our action is based on that. So our actions are always incomplete, obviously. Because in that there are regrets, a sense of frustration, they are never complete, obviously - right?
Now we are pointing out something else, totally different. Which is, an observation in which the past and the future doesn't exist. Just to observe. As one observes if one is a good scientist through a microscope, observing what is actually going on. Right? When he observes what is actually going on, the thing which he is observing undergoes a change, undergoes a movement - right? Please listen to this. Can one observe the longing, the seeking, the urge, the intense energy that is demanded, just to observe that without the movement of the past? You have got it? Are you following all this? It is not terribly intellectual, please. It is merely logical, merely reasonable, and therefore rather sane. Sane, which means healthy. So can one do that? To observe our longing, what it is we want out of life, what it is we are seeking, hunting - most of us are, otherwise you all wouldn't be here. That is - please go into it a little more - you read books, philosophy, psychology, doctorate in this and that, or so-called religious books. In those they are always pointing out that there is something beyond, parapsychology - you understand? - more, something more and more, deeper and deeper and deeper. And having read those one would say, "Perhaps there is, I am going after that". And then one gets caught by the priests, by the gurus, by the latest fashion and so on, till you think you have found something which is satisfying and you say "I am perfectly happy, I don't have to seek any more". Which may perhaps be an illusion. And most people like to live in illusions.
And all your search and your demands, your hunger has not solved or brought about a good society - you understand - a good society, a society that is based on peace, there is no violence, there is no each one trying to fulfil his own ambitions and all the rest of the violence. The purpose of our enquiry into all this is to bring about a good society in which we human beings can live happily without fear, without conflict, without all this striving, struggling, all the brutality and all the rest of it, because that is the intention of enquiry, because a society is built out of the relationship of people. If our relationship is not correct, precise, actual, then we create a society which is as it is now, which is what is happening in the world - right?
So our enquiry into this: which is, why human beings separate, you are seeking something, another is seeking totally different, each one is asking something different - right? And therefore there is always this self-centred movement. And the society which we have created is based on these self-centred problems, self-centred ambitions, fulfilment and self-centred discipline which says, 'I must', which brings about violence. We are enquiring into all that, which we have, and also we are enquiring into a mind - your mind - mind - you understand? When we use the word 'mind', it is not your mind, or my mind, but mind. Because your mind is like the mind of thousands and millions of people - right? Striving, struggling, demanding, following, accepting, obeying, idealizing, belonging to some religion, sorrow, pain, anxiety, your mind is that and the other minds are like that - right? So your mind is not yours. It is the mind. I don't know if you see this? You may not see this because your vanity, your sense of individual importance may prevent this observation, which is actual. Right? I wonder if you see this? That is why, until we really understand this, that we human beings are so similar psychologically, we human beings right throughout the world are so unhappy. They all pray, but prayer doesn't answer this problem. They are still unhappy, still striving still despairing. This is the common mind. And so when we are enquiring we are enquiring into the human being, not me and you. We are human beings. I wonder if you see all this?
And enquiring into that, can one observe the outward world, the divisions and all the rest of it, the terror, the danger, the politicians with their criminalities - can we observe all that, just to observe, not draw a conclusion? If we observe what is happening out there, and equally observe what is happening inwardly, then our actions are not your action and my action. I don't know if you follow all this. We are then acting together - do you understand? - because we have observed the same thing together.
Now we are asking what it is that we are seeking? You understand? If you ask yourself what is it you are seeking, is it money, is it security, is it to be free from fear so that you can have everlasting pleasure, is it that you are seeking to be free from the burden of sorrow - not only your burden but the world's burden of sorrow? Or are you seeking - apart from all the religious nonsense - or are you seeking something which is timeless, something that thought has not touched at all? You understand? Something essentially original? Something that is absolutely incorruptible? So find out for yourself, as a human being, like the rest of the other human beings in the world, what is it one is longing, seeking, hungering after.
If one is wanting experience because one has had sensory experiences, sexual experiences, the experiences of various kinds, and one has said, "That is enough, I have had all those but I want some other kind" - you follow? Some more. Is that what you are seeking? Some experience which will give you great delight, great understanding, an illumination, a transformation. How will you find out?
First of all to find out one must be free of all illusions - right? Which means terrible honesty so that your mind doesn't deceive itself - right? Not to deceive itself one must understand the whole nature of desire - right? Because it is desire that creates illusion, through desire one wants fulfilment, one hopes for something more. So unless you comprehend the whole nature and the structure of desire it will inevitably create illusion. And we went into the question of desire. So can your mind, having understood the activity of desire, know its relative value and therefore be free to observe? Which means you observe without any kind of illusion. Nationalism is an illusion - right? Obviously. That is very easy. The illusions that thought has created - right? Is one aware of illusions? Come on sirs. And when the mind is free of illusions, and so being absolutely without any hypocrisy, being clear, honest, then you can begin to enquire: enquire into something, asking whether there is a timeless existence. You understand? A timeless truth. That is, this is where meditation comes into being - right? You are following all this?
Have any of you done meditation? Probably not, or probably have - transcendental meditation, Tibetan meditation, the Hindu meditation, the Buddhist meditation, the Zen meditation. Probably you have played with all those. Seriously or flippantly. All those, as far as one can understand, and the speaker has discussed this question with all the scholars of all the various circuses, and their whole concept is: that thought must be controlled, that one must have discipline, one must subjugate one's own feeling to something other than 'what is', through awareness, through control, through constant alertness - you know all this, don't you ? And repeat certain mantras, slogans: you can repeat 'amen' or 'coca-cola' or what you like (Laughter) - don't laugh, they are all similar. So what we are saying is: meditation has been accepted to be all this.
Now if you want to find out what is meditation, not just accept what somebody says, if you want to find out certain obvious things are necessary. There must be no authority, because then you depend on that - right? Obviously. Therefore you are struggling, you are imitating, conforming. And one must understand the nature of control. Who is the controller? You understand? Do you understand this? I wonder if you understand all this? No? Are you interested in all this? Because it is your life, not my life. It is your everyday life we are talking about. What is involved in it, whether one can be free of all this chaos, confusion and misery. And this is the enquiry, you are enquiring, not me enquiring and you accepting; we are together enquiring, we are together taking the journey.
So first, as we said, no authority, which means cease to be secondhand. You understand? We are all secondhand people, because secondhand is tradition. We never say, "Look, I have put away all that, let me look."
The next question is control: from childhood we are trained, educated to control, to suppress; or the other extreme, which is what is happening now, do what you like, do your own thing! Which is the opposite of the other. So one must understand the whole movement of control. Is there a way of living - please listen to this - is there a way of living without any form of control? Which doesn't mean doing what you like, either permissiveness or the other, indulgence. Is there a way of living - please enquire into this, perhaps this is something new to you - in which there is not a shadow of control? So to find that out one has to ask: who is the controller? Right? We are enquiring into what is meditation, because perhaps if one can understand the nature of meditation, not the meaning of the word, the meaning of the word is very simple - to ponder, to think over, to enquire and so on and so on - but apart from the word, to find out what is meditation. It may, in this enquiry, resolve, bring about a life which is extraordinarily sane, extraordinarily rational, and you may be able to find out something that is nameless, timeless. We are leading to that.
So who is the controller who says, "I must control my feelings," or "I must allow my feelings to flow" and so on, who is that entity that says, "I must control"? You understand? Control and the controlled. The controller and the thing to be controlled. Therefore there is a division. Who is this controller? Is it not still the movement of thought? Thought has said - please follow this - thought has said, "I have experienced this, I have learned this" and all the rest of it, which is the past, so the past is the controller - right? And that which is happening now has to be controlled by the controller - right? You understand? Are you following all this? Or are you just going to sleep?
K: Actually doing it sir. I am not talking for my benefit - right? I have talked for fifty two years - 'basta' for me. I am not interested in talking. But I am interested to find out if you can also discover the same thing so that your own life will be totally different, transformed, so that you have no problems, no complexities, no strife, longings, and all the rest of it. That is the reason the speaker is talking, not for his own gratification, not for his own enjoyment, not for his own fulfilment - all that nonsense.
So the controller is the result of thought, thought based upon knowledge, which is the past. And that thought says, "I must control that which is happening now" - right? The actual. The actual is being, say for example, envy or jealousy, which you all know. And thought says, "I must control. I must analyse. I must suppress it, or fulfil it". So there is a division - right? The division created by thought. Are you following? So in this there is deception - right? The deception lies in the idea that the controller is different from that which is to be controlled. Both are created by thought - right? So the controller is the controlled. I wonder if you see this? Right? So if you really understand this, go into this very seriously for yourself, you will see that the controller is unnecessary, only observation is necessary. You understand? When you observe, there is no controller or the controlled, just observing. Observing your envy, say for example, envy, observe it, without naming it, without denying it or accepting it, just see the sensation, this reaction, which arises, which has been called envy, and to look at it without the word. You are following all this?
Then when there is no word, because the word represents the past - you are following all this? - and when you use the word 'envy' it strengthens the past. Right? So there is a possibility of living without any sense of control. I am saying this not as a theory but actually. The speaker says what he has done, not what he invents, that there is a life without any sense of control and therefore no sense of conflict, no sense of division. That can only come into being when there is only pure observation. Got it? Do it and you will see. Do it. Test it out.
When there is no conflict whatsoever what takes place in the mind? You understand? Conflict implies movement - right? Movement is time - right? Time being from here to there, both physically and psychologically. That is, the movement from the centre to another centre, or the movement from the periphery to another - you follow? There is this constant movement in our lives. Now if you observe this movement very carefully, and as you observe what takes place in the mind? You are following all this?
First you have understood no authority, the nature of thought, thought being limited, and knowledge which is stored up in the brain as memory, and that memory acting as thought in action. So knowledge is always part of ignorance - right? We went into that. So what takes place in the mind? You understand? The mind as we have gone into it is not only the capacity to think clearly, objectively, impersonally, and the things that thought has created, technologically and all the rest of it in the world, and thought has also created all the inward problems - right? When one observes all this, the mind has the capacity to act not from thought but from pure observation. Do you get this? I wonder if you understand? Please sirs, all this is logical, there is nothing sectarian, nothing of Eastern philosophy - none of that. Though the speaker is born in that country called India, he is not an Indian. He has got a passport, that is all. So he is not involved in exotic, romantic, nonsense, or some strange philosophy. We are only examining what is actually taking place. And to observe what is actually taking place one must look, without the response of the past shaping it. From that pure observation there is action. That is intelligence. And that is also the extraordinary thing called love and compassion.
So the mind has this quality of intelligence and naturally with that intelligence goes compassion, love. Love is not mere sex, for god's sake brush all that aside. Love is something other than mere sensation, totally unrelated to our demands and fulfilments and all the rest of it. So the mind now has this quality, this stability. It is like a rock in the midst of a stream, in the midst of a river, immovable - you follow? So such a mind, because it has understood relationship with each other, we went into that - relationship is not based on image, you have an image about me and I have an image about her, and our relationship is that, from image to image. You know all this, don't you? And therefore there is no actual relationship. There may be the relationship of touch, of the senses, but that is not actual deep, profound relationship with another. If there is not that profound relationship there is conflict, and out of that conflict we create this society which is utterly immoral, violent, murderous.
So the mind now has this quality of great stability. And that which is stable is silent - right? Are you following all this? Have you gone into this? Do you understand? To be absolutely clear, to have clarity which can then examine any problem. That clarity is stability. You understand? It is only the mind that is confused, contradictory, broken up that is unstable, neurotic, seeking, striving, struggling. So we come to a point where the mind is totally clear and therefore completely immovable. You understand? Immovable not in the sense of a mountain, but immovable in the sense that it has no problem, all that, therefore it is extraordinarily stable and therefore pliable. Right?
Now: such a mind is quiet. And you need to have a mind that is absolutely silent, absolutely, not relatively - there is the silence when you go of an evening in the woods, there is great silence, all the birds have gone to bed, the wind, the whisper of the leaves has ended, there is great stillness, there is the outward stillness. And people observe that stillness and say, "I must have that stillness", and therefore depend on the stillness of being alone - you understand? - being in solitude. That is not stillness. And there is the stillness created by thought. Which is, thought says, "I must be still, I must be quiet, I mustn't chatter," and gradually it produces a stillness. But that is not it, because it is the result of thought operating on noise - right? So we are talking of a stillness which is not dependent on anything. And it is only that quality of stillness, that absolute silence of the mind that can see that which is eternal, timeless, nameless. This is meditation - right? Right sirs. Finished.
Saanen 7th Public Talk 22nd July 1979
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