Saanen 3rd Public Question & Answer Meeting 26th July 1983
We have had marvellous weather but a bit hot, except for yesterday's rain it has been marvellous weather. We have been here for twenty two years and this is the first four or three weeks it hasn't pelted with rain. I hope you have all had a nice holiday. This is the last talk. Perhaps we shall meet again next year.
There are several questions here and one wonders, one asks, how you approach a problem. Life has many problems, economic, social, religious and so on, technological. How do you approach a problem? The word approach means draw near, come close to. And the word problem means something thrown at you, the root meaning of the word, something thrown at you, a challenge. And how do you receive that challenge? If we approach a problem with a trance of tradition - that is a good phrase, a trance of tradition - then you will never solve the problem. On the contrary the problem remains and you introduce into it more problems, which is what is happening in the political world and so on. Or if you approach a problem, come near, draw near, with a conclusion already made, then obviously one doesn't answer the challenge, or the problem. Or if one has some ideological conclusion, belief, then if you approach a problem with that, again the same thing continues - right? Are we clear on this? That any problem, whether it be a technological problem, or social problem or personal problem and so on, religious, unless one approaches it without any motive, if that is possible, then the problem has very little significance: what matters is how one approaches it, because the approach is going to dictate the issue. Right? Are we together in this? We are not telling you what to do. We are not your guru and don't you follow the speaker. The speaker is not important, but what he says is important and for you to find out whether it is false or true. So one must have a great capacity to be sceptical, doubt, to question - right? - so that your mind is sharp, clear.
And we are going to answer some of these questions. There are problems and we are going to approach it without any motive, personal, without the deadening weight of tradition, or having a particular bias, prejudice - right? So that your mind, your brain is free to look at the problem. I hope it is clear. That to understand the problem the brain must be free to look at it afresh, otherwise you just repeat, repeat, repeat and that becomes rather tiresome, boring and useless. With that, when that is clear, let's examine these questions together. It is not that the speaker is going to examine them, it is not a problem for him, but as it is a problem for the questioner and for most people, we are going together, so there is no leader and the lead - right? Clear? There is no guru sitting on a platform. Fortunately I have no beard, or strange robes and all that kind of nonsense. So we are together going to examine without any bias, without any tradition, prejudice, to enquire into this problem. It is so hot already.
1st QUESTION: What is desire? And is desire awakened by external objects?
This is a very good question. It requires a great deal of enquiry into this. Are you prepared? I hope you are not going off in a trance in the heat, and all that. I hope your minds are fresh and you are capable of listening not only to the speaker but also to your own reactions, to your own attitudes.
The questioner asks: what is desire? And is desire awakened by an external object? So first let's look together: what is desire. Desire in our life has become extraordinarily potent. We desire so many things. We desire heaven and if you are a Hindu you desire Moksha, another kind of heaven, liberation; or you desire a car, a woman or a man, or you desire a lovely garden, you have plenty of money and so and so on and so on. What is desire? How does it awaken? What is the purpose, the intent, the drive behind desire - right? You understand what desire is, the word, desirer and so on. Please this is going to be a very complex question and we are going to go into it together and if you will listen to it all, the whole of it, not just little bits of it.
First of all you see an object which attracts you, a car, one of the latest models, beautifully polished, with large tyres, good lines, powerful. And if you have the money to run the car you look at it. You understand? You look at the object and then the object awakens the desire to have it-right? You are following so far? That is, you see something beautiful, a picture, a house, a garden, a car, man or woman, and you are attracted. And the people who manufacture the car want you to buy it, and your own desire is to own it. So the object which is outside, awakens the desire to possess it - right? And if you have the money and so on, borrow, you know. So we are asking the question: is there desire without the object? You understand my question? If there was no car, no woman, no man, no house, attractive position as a saint, or a guru - I hope you haven't any of that - or the desire for power - it is all the outside which then awakens the desire and then you fulfil that desire and you are satisfied, until the next desire, which is another object, not a car but something else. So we are asking, please find out carefully if you are willing to listen, the object creates, awakens the desire - right? Is there desire without the external object? That is one question.
Second is: you may create for yourself an image which is externalized and you want that image to fulfil that image, therefore there is a desire to achieve that which the thought has created - right? You are violent and you create non-violence which is non-fact, and then you desire to become non-violent. So there is not only an outside object which awakens desire but also inward ideologies, inward symbols, psychological pictures, images; having created it then you desire. So external objects or internal objects are both the same because they both awaken desire.
Now we are asking a very serious question, seeing this, is there a desire which is so extraordinarily strong, without an external object or an object created by the psychological process of thought? Right? We are going to find out. And is there desire without either of these? Clear?
So we are going to enquire together, not me enquire and you just listen, together because it is your life: what is desire? Why has it become such an extraordinary potent power in our life? We desire so many things, from the most trivial to the sublime - right? That is our life. So one has to enquire, explore together, what is desire? How does it come into being and whether it can be controlled? Then if you are controlling it, who is the controller? You follow? If you are controlling your desire - right? - the controller is another form of desire - right? We are together there? I desire to achieve some kind of so-called spiritual experience - I don't know why, I must be cuckoo! And the controller, who says, "I must control my desire", the controller wants to achieve that, that kind of funny, romantic nonsense. And then the controller is another form of desire. You see this? So the controller and the controlled are the activities of desire. Clear? Is this clear? We are together in this, are we? Because this is a serious question. One has to go into it very, very carefully.
And we are not advocating or stating you must control, suppress, etc, desire. We are trying to understand the extraordinary movement of desire, look into it. When one understands the whole movement of desire then you will see something else take place, if you are going to go into it step by step, untraditionally - right? If you say, "I must control my desires" then you are off. Then you haven't examined who is the controller and then you are back into your traditional chants, which obviously does nothing. You can say your country is the most marvellous country and keep on repeating it and you mesmerize yourself - right?
So what is desire? How does it come into being? There must be a cause. And we are going to discover for ourselves what the cause is. There is, you see, and if I may go on with this simile, you see a car, the latest Mercedes, and the seeing, the sensation, contact, sensation - right? That is the process: seeing, contact, sensation. Right? That is clear? This is what takes place. Then thought creates the image of you sitting in the car and driving it. You understand? Thought creates the image of you owning it, driving it. Seeing, contact, sensation, then thought takes over, you, the image created of you sitting in the car and then driving it. So there is an interval, or a gap, a hiatus, between sensation - right? - contact, seeing, contact, sensation, instantly thought creates the image, you in the car and driving it. The instant that thought creates the image, that is the beginning of desire. Have you understood this? Please exercise your brains, don't just accept or reject what the speaker is saying, look at it carefully. Right? You see there is perception of a car, then touch it, contact, from that touching, contact, there is sensation which is natural, healthy because you are not paralysed. Then thought creates the image, at that second desire is born. Is this clear? Right? Are we clear on this? Oh, for goodness sake. May we explore more into it? Yes, you want to explore more into it. What is the matter with your brains? You have something put forward to you, very simple, and you...
I see this blue shirt in the window of a shop. I go inside, touch it, see if it is a good material, and if it suits me. I have a sensation, it is a nice blue shirt. Then I say how would it look on me? So I go to the mirror - I don't do all these things, but it doesn't matter - I go to the mirror, put it on and look at myself. Then the image is created at that moment desire to own it. Bien? This is what you all do. Only the thing is so rapid, so quick, but if you slowed it down and watched it, watched the movement, the movement of contact, sensation, slowing down. Then the image created by thought, at that second desire is born. Right?
So the question is not of control, but watching the process slow down. The process of seeing, contact, sensation, thought creating the image, at that moment desire and so on, fulfilling it or being frustrated - right? Now to watch all this process slowly, carefully, step by step - right? So then the question arises, not of control, not of suppression, not of escaping from desire as monks have done throughout the world, they have controlled it, they have suppressed it, but they are burning with it. Therefore they pick up the bible or the Gita, or some other book and keep on reading it, never looking at marvellous heaven. Right, you are following all this?
So can you, can we, slow down this whole process so to watch every step very carefully? When you so watch it, then you find there can be a gap between sensation and the moment when thought takes it over - right? An interval. You are following all this? Is this clear? No? Isn't this clear? At last some young person agrees. So to extend that gap. That is, I see the blue shirt in the window, go inside, touch it, see the quality of it and wait, so that the thought doesn't immediately enter and take over. You understand? That requires very careful attention, watching, all your reactions so that there is an interval between sensation and the activity of thought with its image. Extend that gap then you will see desire has very little potency. You have understood? Right? So that desire then becomes not the master but the slowing down of the sensation and the thought. Got it? So that you are extraordinarily alert. It is the inattentive that are a slave to desire - right? Is the question clear now? The object, the car, seeing, contact, sensation, awakens the desire to own it and then the battle - shall I have it, shall I not have it, have I the money, etc., the desire to fulfil and the frustration not to have it and so on. But when you understand desire is not only for the object outside but also from the psychological projection of an image, Bada, Nirvana, Heaven, reaching some height of some ridiculous nonsense, that is also from the inside but it is projected outside. So if we can observe this whole process totally, that requires your attention, your care, your watching, then desire, you can look at a car and you will have no reaction, unless you want it - you understand? Right?
The speaker is allowed an hour, an hour and a half to go on this morning and I hope you can stand it.
2nd QUESTION: You said it is necessary to have no opinion (you see again you are referring to me, you say - right? Why haven't you found out for yourself? I will read the question) You said it is necessary to have no opinions about anything. I feel it is necessary to have opinions about such serious things as Nazism, Communism, the spread of armaments, the use of torture by governments. One can't just sit and observe these things taking place. Mustn't one say something, or perhaps do something?
You are not going to catch me! I am not going to catch you either! This is not a game we are playing. Why do we have opinions - I am not saying it is necessary or not necessary. Why do we have opinions? Opinions are something that has not been proved - prejudice is another form of opinion - right? So why do we have them? Not that they are not the spreading of Nazism, the spreading of armaments and the use of torture by governments. That is going on, every government is indulging in all this in the name of peace, in the name of law, in the name of patriotism, in the name of god - right? Every religion has tortured people, except Buddhism and Hinduism. Now these are facts. Britain is selling armaments to Argentina. See the ridiculousness of it. It is a fact. France and other countries. And you may have strong opinions that this should not happen. And what are you going to do? Join a group, demonstrate, shout, be beaten up by the police, tear gas? You have seen all that happening on the television, or if you are part of the circus, part of the show. Now what has your opinion brought about, a change? The armaments thing has been going on for centuries - right? They all say we must not and yet big business, great industry says we can't exist if we don't sell armaments. So will you stop paying taxes? If you do you are sent to prison - right? First of all see the logic of all this. What will you do about all these things? They are all wrong, cruel, they bring about a great deal of violence - right? That is a fact. Chile is now torturing people, in Belfast and so on and so on, and so on. No government is free of it, whether it is more subtly, more obviously, but it is going on. Now what is one to do? You may be strongly opposed to Nazism. They have done terrible things in the world - Hitler and company. Watch it all sir. Germany was a most civilized country in Europe, studied philosophy, you know, inventions, they were great at one time. Those very great cultured people were taken over by a lunatic. You know all this.
Now what is an opinion? An opinion that I am against all this. And what value has that opinion? What can I do with my opinion? Will it affect selling up armaments, will it prevent Nazism, will it prevent torture? Or the whole thing is much more deep than mere having opinions? You understand? Are we meeting each other? I am not laying down a law, or I am not offering any opinions about this. But the problem is much deeper than opinions. A more serious, deeper question: why is man against another man? right? Ask that question, not whether my opinion is justified or not. But why, after all these centuries of civilization and so-called culture, man is against man? Why? If we could go into that, which requires much more serious enquiry than holding on to opinions or no opinions, then we will enter into an area where we might do something.
Why are you, as a human being, against another man? Against another ideology? You have your own ideology but you are against another ideology. Democratic ideology and the totalitarian ideology, they are at war. Why do men live by ideologies? Ideologies are not real, are something which thought has invented, or thought, after a great deal of study, historical materialistic philosophy, comes to a certain conclusion and that becomes a law for them and they want all the others to accept that. And the opposite side does exactly the same thing in a different way - right? There, in the democratic world, so-called free world doesn't put you in prison because we can sit and talk, in a totalitarian state probably it would not be possible - right? This is happening sir.
So we are asking a much more fundamental question, deeper issue: why is man against man? Go on sirs. Aren't you against somebody? Aren't you violent? And you are the whole of humanity. I know we like to think we are separate individuals, separate private souls - which we have gone into previously, I won't go into all that - because you are not. You are the rest of mankind because you suffer, you are in agony, you are lonely, you are depressed like all the rest. So you are basically, fundamentally the rest of mankind. You are humanity - right? And if you are humanity, and you are whether you like it or not, in the global sense and if you are antagonistic, violent, aggressive, patriotic, my country is better than your country, my culture is the highest culture and all that nonsense, then you are selling armaments, you are torturing people because they are doing it there of which you are, you have helped to torture people because you are a Catholic, you are a Protestant, you are a Hindu - right? So where there is division there must be conflict and all the rest of it. So are you acting wholely - you understand? - or small little me acting? You understand? Then you are against - man against man. Is that understood that question?
3rd QUESTION: From what we read you have had strange and mysterious experiences? Is this Kundalini or something greater? And we read that you consider the so-called process that you have undergone to be some sort of expansion of consciousness. Could it be instead self-induced, psychosomatic thing, caused by tension? Is not K's consciousness put together by thought and words?
Somebody is interested in this so I must answer it. (Laughter)
You are interested in this? Of course. This is much more exciting than desire. (Laughter) I wish you would be simple about all this. K apparently has had various experiences. They may be psychosomatic, induced by tension, or pleasurable projection of his own desires, and so on. In India the word Kundalini has a great meaning. They have written books about it and several claim they have awakened it. I won't go into it all. Don't be mesmerized by this word. A kind of release of energy so that that energy is inexhaustible, that is the meaning of that word. It has other meanings and different types. The fact is to awaken the energy and to let it function completely. And so-called process may also be imagination and so on. Do all these things matter? One is able to read other people's thoughts. They are experimenting with that in Russia - you understand? Andropov can read Mr Reagan's thought, or Mr Reagan can read Mr Andropov's thought, then the game is over! And if you can read my thoughts and I can read your thoughts then life becomes terribly complex and rather tiresome. They have experimented with this in Duke University in America, they have proved telepathy exists, that thought can control matter and so on. This is the old Indian tradition. Perhaps K has done some of these things but is this all important? It is like having a good bath - right? After a hot day having a good clean healthy bath with clean towel and good soap, but at the end of it you are clean. What matters is that you are clean - right? Put all this at that level. You understand? Don't give this all importance, it is not important. K has been through all this. He knows a great deal about all this. Don't wake up suddenly! (Laughter) But he treats all this as not necessary. There is the energy which has been misused by us, in fights, in quarrels, in pretensions, trying to say mine is better than yours, I have reached this platform and so on. It is far more important to enquire why human beings behave as they do now, not all this triviality. This is triviality. We have discussed this matter with some of the people who claim all this awakening. You know you have a little experience and then you set up shop. You understand? You know what that means, setting up shop? I have a little experience of this kind and then I become a guru, I am in business then. I have disciples, I tell them what to do, I have money, I sit in a posture, and I am very... you follow? All that tommy rot!
So one has to be terribly careful of one's own little experiences. Right? But what is important, really important, is to find out sanely, rationally, logically, how you waste your energy by conflict, by quarrels - you follow? - fear and pretension. When all that energy which is being wasted is not wasted, you have all the energy in the world. As long as your brain is not deteriorating through conflict, through ambition, through strife, fighting, loneliness, depression and all the rest of it, which we have gone into, when the brain is free of all that, you have abundance of energy. But if you release some kind of little energy then you do an infinite harm to others - right? Is this question answered? Can we go on to the next?
So please don't fall into the trap of those gurus who say, "I know. You don't know, I will tell you," There are various centres in America and probably in Europe and India, where one or two people are saying, "I have awakened this peculiar stuff, and I will tell you all about it. I will teach you." You know, the good old game! It all becomes so trivial when man is fighting man, the world is degenerating, disintegrating, you are talking about fooling little experiences.
And also the questioner says: is not K's consciousness put together by thought? As every consciousness with its content is the result of the movement of thought - right? Your consciousness with its content of fear, belief, loneliness, anxieties, sorrow, following somebody, having faith, saying my country is more, the highest culture and all that business, it is part of your consciousness. It is what you are - right? If you are free of that then you are in a totally different dimension. It is not expansion of consciousness. It is the denying of the content of consciousness - right? Not expanding, becoming more and more self-centred - right? Let's go to the next question.
4th QUESTION: What does death mean to you?
Why to me? What does it mean to you? Much more important. You understand? What does life, the living and coming to the end of it, what does it mean to you? If you believe in reincarnation - you know what that means? - if you believe in reincarnation, that is you are born next life, and if you have lived rightly, correctly, happily, your next life you will have a better chance to reach the higher ladder - right? You understand? But those people who believe in reincarnation live like ordinary other people, fighting, quarrelling, aggressive, mean, right? Vicious, violent. But that belief in reincarnation has very little meaning. But it is very comforting. Now enquire into it. What is it that is going to be reborn? You understand? Suppose you believe in reincarnation, as some of you may do, I don't know why. It may be comforting but when you begin to examine that which is to be reborn, what is that? Is it permanent soul? Permanent something that is beyond time? If it is of time that is not permanent - right? So what is it that is going to be reborn? Your tendencies, your idiosyncrasies, your experiences? That K dies and next life he is born again, poor chap. And what is that K? What is it, who are you, what are you? (Noise of dog barking) - could we ask that dog to be quiet for a while? Who are you? Actually, not theoretically play around with a lot of ideas that you are Atman, that there is god in you, that is all the activity of thought - right? So what are you? You are your experiences - right? You are what you have acquired as knowledge, you are the whole movement of memories, aren't you? Or you don't like that. You like to think that there is something marvellous in you. All that is absurd. I won't go into it, even discuss it. The fact is you are nothing but - I mustn't use 'nothing but' that's wrong - you are a whole series of movements of memories - right? Examine it, please don't agree, look at it. You are not if you have no memories - right? If a certain operation takes place in the brain and then you lose your memories then you become a vegetable. You know - right? The speaker has been in a hospital in California, in America, where they have done all this, I have watched it. It is horrible.
So you are the tradition, the connected memories, the communal family tradition, the tradition of the country, all the memories - right? You are all that. And if you die you want all those memories to go on? What are memories? Things that have gone, remembered something that has been happy, pleasurable, or something you are longing for - right? It is all a movement of the past as memory, modified and going on - right? So what does death mean? You, as an individual, coming to an end - right? Physically coming to an end, but psychologically you say, "No, that is not quite so. I am more than my body. I am more than my thoughts, I am more than any reaction." - right? Are you? I know tradition says you are and you like the idea that also you are more than all this business, so you cling to that and you hope the 'more' will be born next life in a better house, greater power, greater position, nearer god. You understand? All this is a matter of belief and thought - right? Thought has also invented belief because in believing in something it gives you great comfort - right? So if you like that kind of stuff, carry on. And millions do - right? And those others say, "Well, life has been jolly good", if you are successful, or "Life has been terrible, miserable, unhappy and I am glad to die." Right? And before dying all the agony of illness - right? Long, prolonged years of illness, sustained by the doctors to keep the thing going - right? This is our life. This is the way we all live. And we are frightened of death, coming to an end. Though you believe in reincarnation but you are jolly well frightened of death. You can't carry everything with you but you like to have it at the last minute. You understand? If you have a lot of money you like to have it until the last minute, though you know you can't carry it with you.
So this is what we call living and dying - right? Why do we give so much importance to the after? What happens after death? Why? Is it not far more important what is happening before death? You understand? You understand what I am saying? Not what happens after but what is happening during the long years of living, struggling, pain, anxiety, depression, suffering, loneliness, that you all go through - right? Isn't that more important to consider, whether all that can be changed, all that can be ended rather than go on talking about what happens after death? You understand?
Suppose I am attached to my family - suppose, I have no family, thank god - but suppose I am attached to my family, my wife, my children, my house, my furniture, death comes along through accident, disease, or natural weariness, death comes along and says you can't take it with you - right? You have understood? I am attached to an idea, to a belief, to a concept, to an ideal, or I am attached to furniture, to a house to a family and so on. Death means the ending of all that, though I may believe all that I will have next life with my brother, with my sister - you follow? Is it possible to end all that while living? You have understood? While I am living is it possible not to be attached to a single thing? To my furniture, to my house, to my experience, to my books, to my reputation, to my nonsense - you follow? All that? End all that instantly. That is death. Right? Comment?
Audience: That is wonderful.
K: What is wonderful? It is wonderful if you do it. If you don't do it, it is just a lot of words.
So what we are saying is this: death of the body, with all the accumulated memories, brings to an end; unless you believe of course in the other, reincarnation, you are something which is permanent that is going to reincarnate and so on, all that is an invention of thought. So is it possible to end while I am living, while one is living, to be free entirely of all attachment? Attachment to your guru, attachment to your idea, experience - right? Because that is what death is going to do. So while living, the ending means living with death. You understand what I am saying? No, no you don't, don't nod your head, no sir you don't. Ending, if you end smoking - right? - if you have a habit of smoking, suppose, and you end it, though the body demands nicotine and all that kind of stuff, end it. Because that is what is going to happen when you die. End your clinging to some experience, to some memory so that your brain is new, fresh, clear, not burdened with all this rubbish, garbage. Memories are garbage. I know. So to live is to live with death all the time. You understand? Do it sir. Do one thing that you hold most precious, end that. Not I must end it, how an I to end it, tell me the way to end it, or take a drug to end it, end it because you see death means that. So it is possible to live a life which means a life of freedom, and therefore a life of love, because love is not attachment. Love is not jealousy. A mind that is burdened with all kinds of stuff, a brain that has all kind of problems is not capable of affection, love.
So understand sir the beauty of it: living and the things you are attached to, end it, so that you really understand the depth of freedom.
5th QUESTION: After listening to you and thinking about these matters on my own, how am I to really not just solve my problems but radically bring about a change in my life?
The question, to put it very simply, the question is: what am I to do or not do to bring about a radical mutation in my whole existence? That is the question - right?
Now how do you approach that question? How do you draw near to it so that you are in contact with the question, with the problem? First of all, is one aware how our brains are conditioned - right? Are you aware? Oh, for god's sake. Are we aware, are you aware that you are conditioned? After two thousand years of steady propaganda - baptism, mass, constant repetition, repetition, repetition, you have become a Catholic. Or the other constant repetition is becoming a Hindu, or a Muslim. It is the same process. Are you aware that your brain is conditioned? Right? Sir, that is not difficult to be aware. When you say, "I am a British" - British, British you are conditioned - German, Russian, Hindu. The Hindu may think "I have the greatest culture" but that culture has gone. In India they are completely at a loss, disorder - I won't go into that.
So if one is aware that you are conditioned - right? - is that awareness an idea or actuality? You understand? Are you actually aware of your reactions? Don't be puzzled. It is nothing to be puzzled about. Are you aware that when you meet somebody that you dislike him, or like him, are you aware of your prejudices - you follow? Are you aware of your own laziness? Your own incapacity to think clearly? All your pretensions that you are, oh something extraordinary you have reached? Are you aware of all this? If you are and if you say, "I like this kind of thing", then live it, nobody is going to pay much attention, at least not the intelligent people. You may collect a lot of neurotics, thoughtless people, that is all right too if you want that kind of stuff. But the moment you become aware, watching, all your reactions, but to correct your reaction implies an entity who is also reacting. Have you understood? You react. I hit you and you hit me - right? I hit you because you have said something earlier, to that I react by hitting you. And you react because you don't like to be hit, so both reactions are similar - right? I won't go into it, it is clear.
So when one is aware that one is conditioned and look at it, not as an outsider looking in, the very entity that is observing, or being aware that it is conditioned, that entity is part of that conditioning. Right? Oh don't go to sleep. Right?
Put it another way: the observer who experiences, the observer is not different from the observed. The thinker is not different from his thoughts - right? The analyser is not different from the thing he analyses. Only he has separated himself. I examine myself. I is separated by thought as being a little more knowledgeable, a little more accumulative, past memories, that entity is observing. That entity is part of that which is observing. I won't go into it. If you haven't understood it, read, struggle, go to sleep, whatever you like to do, be lazy with it. Probably you will.
So apparently nothing external or internal changes man - right? Religions have tried to control him, tortured him, forced him, go through all the baptism, and all the circus - and also they do it in their own way in India and in different parts of the world - they have tried everything. And you yourself have tried to bring about a change - right? Haven't you? If you have and the result is negligent, then what do you do? You have tried leaders, you have tried gurus, you have tried various philosophers, you have tried various religions, and yet we remain as we are, lazy, indolent, indifferent, callous, without any spark of love, violence and all the rest of it. What will make us change? Nothing! Nothing from outside, or your own desire to change. So start with nothing, no agency inward or outside, is going to change you. Start with that fact. Right? Don't go to sleep please.
Then you start with something actual, something that is real, you can put your teeth into it then, as nobody outside is going to help you. The Buddha hasn't helped you, all the Christian religions haven't helped you. You are what you are now - right? Start from there. Nothing from outside, or your own desire is going to change you. So you start then and say, look, do I really want to change, basically? Most of us don't. So you carry on. But if you really want to change, it is simple. Change your fears, end your fears completely. Don't say how, we went through all that. Unless you deny totally every form of outside agency to help you or your own volition, your own desire, your own will, that hasn't functioned either, so put aside all that, then you start from what you are and see if that thing cannot be changed radically. It is up to you.
I have got another seven minutes more. The last question.
6th QUESTION: What is a spiritual life?
A religious life, not all the religions, not the monks and all that. They are not religious. I know they would abhor me when I say that. I will show it to you logically why it is not. It is all put together by thought. The invention of god is put there by thought. It is simple. All this is clear when you understand the activity of thought.
So what is a spiritual life? I am asking you. You have strange robes, you attend churches, mass, or do some kind of puja in India, or go to temples and mosques, what is a spiritual life? The word spiritual is not pleasant but we will use it for the moment. What is a spiritual life? Would you say a spiritual life is a life of total freedom? Freedom from sorrow, freedom from fear, freedom from all the conditioning - right? To be free. Most of us are in prison - prison of our own making of ideas, or other people's concepts, their own prejudices, their own experiences, they are like bars that hold us in prison. Most of us are slaves to tradition, slaves to some kind of belief, faith, or to experience. To be totally, completely free of all that. Freedom as we said before, that very word implies love. If there is no freedom there is no love. You cannot possibly achieve that freedom through some figure, symbol, person, idea. Freedom means the ending, the ending of the self, the me, the images I have about myself. Then when the brain is free, only then is there that supreme intelligence. Not all the rituals, all you know, all the trivialities, for god's sake, sitting in a posture, meditating, breathing, you follow? That is not - if one can use that word - spiritual. That is all the movement of memory and thought. And thought is limited, which we have gone into, I won't now. So we have reduced our life into a very small petty little affair. To be free of that entirely. And it is possible. Don't accept my word for it. I say it is possible. Find out. Do it. So that a religious, a so-called spiritual life, then there is no division between you and another. You won't kill another. Your country is the country of the world. The world is your country. The world is your religion. But when you say you belong to no religion, living a spiritual life, a life that is holy, it is not something for the elite, for the few, but if that is what is necessary work at it, not pretend and all that nonsense.
So a religious mind, a religious human being, one that doesn't belong to any religion, but a brain that is functioning with truth and therefore with great intelligence and compassion.
Right sirs. May I get up please?
Saanen 3rd Public Question & Answer Meeting 26th July 1983
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