Saanen 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 30th July 1981
Again there are many questions. Every day they are piling up and we cannot possibly answer all those questions. It would probably take a couple of months, but I am sure you wouldn't like to sit here, nor I, for a couple of months answering these questions.
As we said yesterday, the answers are not important, but the questions are. Whether we put those questions seriously or flippantly or casually - if the questions are put seriously, a problem that is really disturbing one's mind and one's heart then those questions are worthwhile answering, or enquiring into those questions. So please we have chosen some of the questions, not according to what we like or dislike but which may be worthwhile discussing, going into generally. And in reading these questions we are together examining, not only the questions but the outcome of those questions and whether it affects our daily life, which is what matters.
1st QUESTION: I have a son whom I dearly love. Can I prevent the world from corrupting him? How can I give him a right education?
I hope the question interests you.
They are discovering, the scientists, and those who are concerned with babies and children, that babies are very alert, learn, watchful. And they can know, or realize or sense when the mother is liked or disliked by others. They are testing all this out especially in America. And from the moment he is born, or she is born, the parents are already conditioning him. The parents, their relatives, the people around him, are already shaping his mind, his brain. And so from the moment he is born conditioning takes place. And as he grows older this conditioning is strengthened by the society he lives in, by the parents, by other boys and girls and so on. And in schools, colleges, university - if they are lucky enough to go to universities - the conditioning academically goes on. Knowledge has become extraordinarily important, to act skilfully, to earn a good livelihood in daily life. And most of the parents, educators are concerned that their children, the students, the college graduates and so on, pass academically with high marks. They neglect, both the parents, the educators, totally the whole psychological world of the student. So when we ask, what is right education, is it not, not only academically, to have a good brain, to know the world in which we live, the whole technological development, learn all about it skilfully so that he can have a good job and so on. The parents are concerned that he should quickly marry and settle down. Get a job, with a wife, and screwed down for the rest of his life. That is what the parents are concerned with.
And society is concerned that he should be a good citizen, accept more or less things as they are, both religiously, politically, economically and status quo should remain. The Conservatists politically on the right only want to conserve, and the Liberals and Labour, left, want to change things. So the battle goes on between the political parties and the poor child who has grown in this chaotic world doesn't quite know what to do, what to think, and slips into something quite easy, which is to have a family, job, and for the rest of one's life for fifty, sixty years go to the office and back and forth. Right? This is what we call education. This is what is happening actually in the world, whether in America, or here or in India or Asia. And apparently the vast majority of human beings throughout the world seem satisfied with things as they are. Or dissatisfied because they have no money, want a better position, more power, money - and when you get money, power, position, the world is quite safe, though there are terrorists whose function is to terrorize.
Now what is right education? Knowing all this is going on around the child, around the student as he grows up, that the mother and the father are concerned with themselves, with their careers, with their ambitions, with their separate successes, and so where does the child come into all this? Obviously as in Asia, as one has watched, the babies are cuddled, held by the mother closely. They have no nursing homes, nor batteries of children in a hospital. There, being very, very poor, the children have to remain with the mother, there is no Social Security, therefore they must have more children, more children are necessary to earn a livelihood when they are old because there is no Social Security in the East. So the pattern is repeated over and over and over again.
Now the questioner asks: the parent loves his child and what is right education? You cannot possibly keep the child at home and educate him because he will meet other children and the group instinct is so strong they will condition him in spite of you. You may talk, urge, point out all the conditioning, the absurdities, the cruelties but the spirit of the gang, the group, the other children have far greater influence as one observes on your particular child. Right? These are all facts. If one is aware of all this, wars, brutality, the emphasis on acquiring knowledge academically and each one wanting to find out a job in which he will be comfortable, give him some assurance, and the whole process of all that is modern education.
One is quite sure that you know all about this. If you have looked at the world, if you have looked at your own children, at what is happening, this is the pattern, the mode of modern society. Is that right education? Which is: to emphasize and cultivate academic knowledge, technological knowledge, how to be an engineer, psychologist, doctor and so on, and there end. Or the cultivation of the whole of the human being, not only the academic side but also understanding the depth of the psychological world. Is this possible to do in a school - both? Not only attend to the academics but also help the student to understand his whole psychological nature, the conflicts, the confusion, the fears, the anxieties. And if it is a boy, he enters the army, specially in Europe, not in America or England, for two years, trained to kill, prepare for war and the parents say, "I dearly love my child". That is, you are preparing for the child to be ready to kill and be killed. This is modern civilization. They talk about beauty, love, god, and the hierarchical structure of society, all preparing for war. And this has been going on for five, ten thousand years, and we, ordinary citizens, accept all this. And we say, "What can we do?" What can one, or a group of people do when the whole monstrous structure is geared to war? Probably you cannot do anything; but to be aware of this, to be aware that wars are caused by national divisions, racial divisions, economic divisions, communal divisions, divisions brought about by ideals, beliefs and so on, to be aware of all this. And if one is aware, that very awareness is bringing about its own action. It isn't that you have to do something - join a political party, or this or that, but if one is really, deeply concerned, if one really loves one's children. But I am afraid that is not possible because most parents in the world are very selfish. They want to fulfil themselves. You know all that is happening. The woman has to go out and earn money because she wants a better carpet, better refrigerator, or whatever it is, and the husband wants to climb the ladder of success, so they are absorbed in themselves and the child has very little part in their lives. So the educators take them over and condition them to the desired pattern.
But being aware of all this, not intellectually, but deep in one's heart, in one's feeling, if one really loves one's child, is it possible to educate him, or have a school where he is educated not only academically but much more psychologically, to understand his whole being, to be free of his own problems, to face the problems and end them, not carry on day after day, day after day. So that demands educators who understand all this, who understand what the world is, what society has become, what the culture of which we are all so very proud, which has become so utterly destructive and an educator who realizes his utter total responsibility to bring about a good human being. We are using the word 'good' in the sense of holistic, or whole human being, not a divided, broken up human being, fragmented and therefore perpetually in conflict with himself. That demands a teacher who understands all this. But unfortunately throughout the world the teachers are the least respected, the least paid. The teachers are the most important people in the world because they are bringing about a new generation of people, therefore they must be respected, paid well, looked after as in the old Asiatic world where the teacher was the most important person in society. Such teachers perhaps do exist in some of the schools in which we are connected, but it is a tremendous task because the parents don't want something whole. Society doesn't want it. So if those who are really concerned with education and the right kind of education, if they can come together, put all their resources into this.
One of the parents in a group discussion said, "Why should I sacrifice myself, give up my drinking, smoking, pot, drugging, for my child?", you understand? So they are not concerned, and so we perpetuate this terrible society in which we live.
So right education is the cultivation of the whole of the brain, not part of it. When that cultivation of the whole of the brain comes about there is holistic action in which there is no conflict. And such a human being is a good, compassionate human being. And it is up to you, if you want such a school.
2nd QUESTION: If there are no individuals how can individual effort be made to be serious, attentive, alert? And where in this is the individual's responsibility for his actions?
I hope you have understood the question. Let's be very clear what is an individual, if there is such an individual. And if there is no such thing as individuality then what is that so-called individual to do? That is the question. Which is, right action, seriousness, deeply concerned and responsible. That is the question. We all accept that we are all separate individuals, both in the West and in the East. This is the tradition, this is what we have been educated to accept, from childhood. And also it is very, very, very carefully cultivated by religions, maybe unconscious, but it is cultivated by religions, by the educators, by the woman and the man and the child. This is the pattern that we have accepted. Now we are asking: is that pattern in which the so-called individual functions, is that individual actual? Or he thinks he is an individual: actuality and the thought that says, "I am an individual" - you see the difference? Are we clear on this? The actuality and thought that creates an actuality which it thinks is real. You have understood these two points? Right?
Now, are we individuals? Let's be objective, not emotional, not romantic, sentimental, are we individuals? Or we are the result of thousands and thousands and thousands of years of collective, of a brain that has evolved through time, which has gathered innumerable experiences, has faced many wars, suffered, anxious, uncertain. If you say you are an individual and that is happening to you that has happened to every individual throughout the world - right? To every human being, whether he lives in Russia under tyranny, whether he lives in the so-called democratic world, or in the rather disordered world of the East. Fortunately it is somewhat disordered and inefficient - fortunately because the moment you get very efficient, very orderly, you fall into the groove and there you stay, which doesn't mean we are advocating inefficiency.
Are we individuals? Or our whole consciousness, which says, "I am an individual", our whole consciousness which we think is the individual, is that consciousness separate from you or from another? You understand? You say as an individual that your consciousness is separate from the other - is that so? We are questioning it, we are not saying it is, it is not, is that so? Or your consciousness is similar, modified but similar to the consciousness of every human being in the world - right? He suffers, goes through a terrible time, tortured, poverty, penury and so on and so on, just like you - right? Are we aware of this? That is a fact. You might not like it, you might say, "Well I prefer my own individuality. I have a different character from somebody else, character is shaped by your conditioning", and so on and so on. They say exactly the same thing in India, "Oh, I am different because my name is different, my form is different, my characteristics are different. I have certain tendencies" or this, that and the other. "I belong to a certain class of people" - you know the whole rational explanation for maintaining individuality. But when you look at it very carefully, patiently, observing what is actually going on, human consciousness is similar, modified by their different cultures, outwardly, on the skin of the consciousness as it were, but inwardly the same current, it is the same ground on which every human being stands. This is logical, objective, sane.
So you are not an individual. That is very difficult to accept. It is like being brought up as a Catholic or a Protestant, or a Buddhist and so on, it is very difficult for them to see that religions have been invented, put together by thought, you have been programmed like a computer and you repeat. And it is very difficult to point out and deeply accept that all religions are put together by thought, and thought is never sacred. Whatever the symbols, the pictures, the images, thought has created, those symbols are never sacred because thought itself is a very small affair. Right? So similarly it is very difficult for us to accept that we are not individuals.
And if you are not an individual is it not possible to be much more serious, much more concerned with the whole of humanity, of which you are? From that feeling of wholeness of mankind, right action comes. When you feel utterly, totally responsible for your action as a human being who is the rest of humanity, out of that feeling comes right behaviour. It is not individual behaviour. When there is this feeling that you are the whole of humanity, not intellectually but the feeling in your heart, in the depth of your being, then how can you kill another? How can you then be self-centred? And if you are an individual, which is an illusion as far as the speaker is concerned, then you act as a human being, separate, fragmented, broken up. And out of that fragmentation you act and therefore breed more conflict. This is what is happening. Look what they are doing politically in the world, for god's sake, see all this. Each country concerned with itself, competing with other countries. And it is the job of the politicians to sustain this because otherwise they would lose their jobs.
So it is only when you feel utterly, totally responsible for the whole of mankind, in that feeling is love, and when there is love you will not do a thing to destroy another human being. And that is right action, right behaviour, right thinking.
3rd QUESTION: We know that asking how to maintain awareness is a wrong question, since awareness is moment to moment, but does the capacity of awareness develop, getting stronger and stronger in endurance? And is this what you mean by the awakening of intelligence? If so does this not imply process?
It's hot! First of all let's understand what we mean by awareness. Don't let's complicate it, for god's sake let's keep it simple. What does awareness mean: to be aware where you are at the moment where you are, sitting there, aware of the tent, the shape of the tent, the various divisions that hold the tent up, to see the proportions of the tent, and generally the environment that is around the tent - the mountains, the hills, the green pastures, the running waters and the blue sky, if there is a blue sky. To be aware of all that outwardly. And also to be aware of the person you are sitting next to, the dress, the colour, the look on his face and so on. All this can be observed at a glance - right? To be aware of all this. And the questioner says: awareness is from moment to moment. Is that so? The speaker is supposed to have said it. Is that so? Why should one be aware all the time? You understand - that is what is implied, endurance, to last. Why should it last? Is it because you feel that state of attention, which is part of awareness, is a state that brings you a certain quality of energy, a sense of joy, a sense of feeling without a border. You understand? Is that why you want to maintain, sustain, cultivate awareness?
Then if that is your motive, that is, you want to maintain your awareness, sustain it, enhance it, make it as long as possible, there is a motive behind that and therefore awareness becomes then a matter of choice. You understand? If I have a motive to be aware then I choose the right moments to be aware. Or I desire to have this awareness endure. But is that awareness? If I look at the tent because I like the shape of it, I don't like the shape of it, I wish it were cooler, I wish this or that, I am not then aware, observing the actual fact. So awareness is something that is not cultivable. Either you observe, or you don't observe.
Once the speaker was standing waiting for a bus in a long queue in London. A man with a bowler hat walked past the long queue, got in front. And the man next to him took his hat off his head and passed it down. (Laughter) And the man had to go back! But if the man was aware he wouldn't have done it. But most of us are so concerned with our own problems, with our own - you know, all the muck that we have collected for generations, with that we are concerned. And intelligence is something entirely different. It is a title of a book - The Awakening of Intelligence, but is intelligence to be slowly awakened? Is it a process? Now process implies time - right? I must sleep, I gradually wake up. It may be a waking up immediately which may have a split second interval, which is time, or it may take a long time. Process implies time. That is one thing.
What is intelligence? When you say he is an intelligent man, what do you mean by that? Intelligence according to a dictionary meaning is to have the capacity - please listen - to read between the lines, to read between the words and also it means gathering information by observing, by learning, by information around you and acting according to that information, reading between the lines - all that is implied by intelligence in the sense that thought is operating. That is, thought is reading between the lines, between the words, the hidden meaning. And also thought is gathering information by watching, seeing, hearing, optically reading and so on, it is gathering it. Out of that gathering, reading between the lines, acting, is so-called intelligence - right? That is to be very clever, to be sharp, to discuss opinions, holding on to your opinions because you etc. etc. All that is generally called intelligence - right? We, the speaker, is questioning that, whether that is intelligence. Or intelligence is something entirely different. Are we together in this? The speaker is not laying down anything. He is not being dogmatic but together we are enquiring. We have accepted intelligence as we have just now described. And also we say it is intelligence to go off to Asia and meditate from somebody or other. You follow? All these patterns have been repeated over and over again and we call that intelligence.
Now we are asking what is the depth of intelligence? The depth. That is very superficial - you understand? Gathering information, reading between the lines, watching, learning and cultivating that intelligence of thought, which is common to all mankind, we say that intelligence is really destroying humanity because it is competitive, because it has been reduced to individual intelligence, it has been reduced Einstein this or that. So that intelligence, which is the product of thought, that has become competitive, aggressive and so it is gradually destroying human beings. And we are saying that is not intelligence. There must be another quality of intelligence - right?
Now we are going to enquire together into that quality of intelligence. Not by listening, enquiring you are going to get that intelligence but if one has the capacity to patiently enquire into it, the very enquiry is that intelligence. You understand? Have you understood this? I see you haven't. Oh I am so tired of all this blasted explanation!
We say humanity has accepted that as intelligence. We are not discussing that. We are pointing out its dangerous nature. Now we are beginning to enquire into what is the very root of intelligence, the depth of it, the extraordinary vitality of it, the tremendous energy that is involved in that intelligence. And in that intelligence there is love, compassion. We are enquiring into that. Now to enquire the mind, the brain must be free from its tether, from its prejudices, from its conclusions, from its limited, narrow tradition - all tradition is narrow. So the brain that begins to enquire into what is the depth and the quality of a mind, a brain that is compassionate, love - to enquire, to penetrate that, penetrate rather than enquire, penetrate is to have a brain that is completely free otherwise it cannot penetrate. Obviously. If I am tethered to my belief, tied to my family, tied to a conclusion, the brain is limited, it functions in a very narrow, limited way. Whereas if the brain is free from its anchorage, from its attachment, then it can penetrate, because a mind that is free can only penetrate - right? Obviously. That brain that is free is already intelligent. That intelligence cannot be cultivated. You understand? The very truth of freedom is intelligence, because love is not jealousy, love has no hate, love doesn't belong to one group or one family - love and compassion is not individual compassion for somebody. It is love and compassion and intelligence go together. And from that comes right action.
Now if one has really understood, not intellectually but in your heart of hearts then you are intelligent.
4th QUESTION: I have studied, been to Asia, discussed with people there, I have tried to penetrate beyond the superficiality of religions into something I feel in my bones although I am a logical man, something profoundly mysterious and sacred. And yet I don't seem to apprehend it. Can you help me?
It depends with whom you have tried to discuss. Shall we go on with this question? You are not tired?
One wonders why you go to Asia at all, except for trade. Perhaps people who go there for religious purposes are also trading - you give me something, I will give you something. One questions why go to the East at all. Is truth there and not here? Is truth to be found through people, through a guru, through a path, through a system, through a prophet, through a saviour? Or truth has no path? There is a marvellous story in India of a boy who leaves home in search of truth. He goes to various teachers, to various parts of that country, walking endlessly, every teacher asserting something or other. And after many years as an old man he comes back to his house after searching, searching, searching, asking, meditating, taking certain postures, breathing rightly, fasting, no sex, and all that. At the end of the time he comes home to his old house. As he opens the door there it is! The truth is just there. You understand? You might say, "It wouldn't have been there if he hadn't wandered all over the place." That's a cunning remark but you miss the beauty of that story if you don't see that truth is not to be sought after. Truth is not something to be attained, to be experienced, to be held. It is there for those who can see it, but as most of us are everlastingly seeking, moving from one fad to another fad, from one excitement to another excitement, sacrificing - you know all the absurdities that go on, we think that time will help us to come to this. Time will not.
So the question is: I am a logical man, something profoundly mysterious, sacred I feel exists. I cannot apprehend it. I can understand it, I can logically see it, but I cannot have it in my heart, in my mind, in my eyes, in my smile. The questioner says, "Help me". If one may point out something, don't ask for help from anybody, because the whole history of man is in you, the whole travail, the mystery - if there is a mystery. Everything man has struggled, sought, found, denied, illusion, all that is part of your consciousness. When you ask for help, forgive me if I point this out, most respectfully, not cynically, if you ask for help you are asking something from outside, from another. How do you know the other has that quality of truth? Unless you have it you will never know whether he has it or not.
So the first thing is, please, I am saying this with great affection, care, please don't ask for help. Then if you do the priests, the gurus, the interpreters, all of them pour on you and you are smothered. Whereas if you look at the problem, the problem is this: man throughout the ages has sought something sacred, something that is not corrupted by time, by slow time, by all the travails of thought. He has sought it, longed for it, sacrificed, tortured himself physically, fasted for weeks, and he has not found it. So somebody comes along and says, "I'll show it to you, I'll help you." Then you are lost. Whereas if you say: is there something sacred? The mystery only exists because it is mysterious, but if you uncover it, it is no longer a mystery. Truth isn't a mystery, it is something far beyond all concept of mystery.
So is it possible for a man - listen to the question first - for a man who has studied a great deal, various aspects of religion, of the East and the West, accumulated a great deal of knowledge both in the scientific world, the Left and the Right, the Marx, etc. etc. read all that. There are lots of people who have read that and their brains are crowded. We used to know an author and he used to say to me that, "I know all the Asiatic religious thought, the Christian thought, 'The Cloud of the Unknown', the various mystics of Europe, and so my brain is full of other people's knowledge. And can I ever experience something totally original?" - you understand? The cry of such a human being who is desperately wanting something - not wanting - seeing something, this is not enough. Then what do they do? They take to drugs hoping to experience that something original. It is not a chemical product that is going to produce that originality.
So, what is one to do? What am I to do - I am asking as though an outsider - I am asking, what am I to do, knowing I am a serious man, I am human, I can laugh, I can shed tears, but I am a serious man. And I have superficially enquired into all the aspects of religion, and I recognise their superficiality, therefore I have discarded them, whether the superficiality of the gurus, the churches, the temples, the mosques, all the preachers in the world, because if I see one actual state of religious aspect of superficiality I have seen the whole lot of them. I don't have to go through them all. So what am I to do? Is there anything to be done? Who is the doer? And what is it that is being done? Are you following all this? Please follow all this, step my step, if you are interested in it. If you can discard all your superficiality with your garlands, pictures, you know, all that nonsense, if you can discard all that and stand alone, because one has to be alone. The word 'alone' means all one. Solitude is one thing, all alone is one. Solitude has in it the quality of loneliness, you can walk alone in the forest and be alone, or you can walk in the forest feeling that you are in solitude. That feeling is totally different from the feeling you are alone. Now what am I to do? I have meditated. I have followed different systems, slightly and I recognize their superficiality. I must tell you another story, if you don't mind.
We were speaking in Bombay, enormous crowd and so on. And the next day a man came to see the speaker. He was an old man, white haired, white beard. He told me the following story: he was one of the important judges in India, an advocat, a judge, highly placed, family, children, respected and all that stuff. And one morning he said to himself: "I pass judgement over others, criminals, swindlers, robbers, business robbers, political robbers and so on. I pass judgement, but I don't know what truth is so how can I pass judgement if I don't know what truth is?" This man who came to see me was telling me. And so he withdrew. That is one of the old traditions in India, highly regarded, respected, he withdrew from his family, went into the forest to meditate. This is the tradition in India still that when a man renounces the world he must be clothed, respected, fed, wherever he wanders in India. It is not an organized society of monks. He is alone. So he withdraws into a forest and he said that for twenty five years he meditated. And after hearing the speaker the other evening he said, "I have come to see you. I have come to say how deeply I have hypnotized myself, how in this hypnosis I have deceived myself." For a man who has meditated for twenty five years, to acknowledge that he has deceived himself - you understand the nature of a human being that says that. Not just these monks.
So what am I, who have a certain amount of leisure, serious, not following anybody - because if you follow anybody that is the end of it. Please see all this that I am saying. It is the end of your penetration into that which is eternal. You have to be completely a light to yourself, not depend on anybody. Their initiations, their garlands, nobody. Otherwise you cannot be a light to yourself. So I realize I must be a light to myself. I don't follow. I don't do any worship, any ritual, and yet that which is eternal is eluding me. It is not in my breath, in my eyes, in my heart. So what am I to do?
First of all can the brain be free of the centre which is me? You understand my question? Can my brain be free of myself, the self, whether that self is super self, ultra, ultra, ultra super, it is still the self. Is there total dissipation of selfishness, to put it very simply? Selfishness, the self-centre is very cunning - it can think it is escape from all selfishness, from all concern about its own entity, its own becoming, and yet very subtly, deeply it is putting out a tentacle - you understand all this? So one has to discover for oneself whether there can be complete and total freedom from all selfishness, which is all self-centred activity - right? That is meditation. To find out a way of living in this world, without being selfish, self-centred, egotistic activity, egocentric movement. If there is a shadow of that, a movement of that, then you are lost. So one has to be tremendously aware of every movement of thought. That is very easy, don't complicate it. When you are angry, for the moment you do not know even that feeling. But when you examine it you can observe the arising of it - right? The arising of greed, the arising of envy, the arising of ambition, aggression, as it arises to watch it, not at the end of it, as it is arising, as you watch it, it withers away. You understand? So the brain can be aware of the arising of a thought. The awareness of the arising of thought is attention, not to smother it, destroy it, put it away, but just the feeling that - don't you know the feeling of hunger when it arises? Obviously you do. Or your sexual feeling, as it arises to be completely aware of it. So the awareness, the attention of the movement of the 'me', my desire, my ambition, my egotistic pursuit, when one is aware as it arises, it withers away. That is absolutely necessary so that there is not a particle, a shadow of this 'me', because the 'me' is separate. I went into all that. So that is the first thing I have to understand. Not control my body, special breathing, yoga - you know all those - you wash your hands of all those.
Then to have a brain that is not partial - right? You understand? That is not acting partially but whole. I do not know if you have gone into this. I am talking so long. I must be brief.
We pointed out the other day that we are functioning not with all our senses, but only partially. The partiality, the narrowness, emphasizes the self - of course. I am not going to go into it in detail, you can see it for yourself. But when you observe the mountain, the trees, the rivers, the blue sky, the person whom you love or whatever it is, with all your senses there is no self. There is no me that is feeling all of it. So that means a brain that is not functioning as a dentist, as a scholar, or a labourer, as a super astronomer, but functioning in the whole of your brain. That can only take place when the brain is completely quiet. So no shadow of self and absolute silence of the mind, quietness, not emptiness - that gives a wrong meaning. Most people's brains are empty anyhow! But to have a brain that is not occupied with anything, including god, meditation, with nothing. Only then the brain is silent, full of vitality and that brain has a great sense of love, compassion, which is intelligence. Right?
Saanen 2nd Question & Answer Meeting 30th July 1981
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