Exploration Into Insight
Exploration Into Insight 'The Chattering Mind'
M: I want to discuss the problem of the chattering mind. What makes our minds chatter? Where does the mind get the energy and what is the purpose of that chattering? It is a constant operation. Every moment it is murmuring.
P: Isn't it the very nature of the mind?
M: That does not explain it, does not offer any remedy.
P: It must operate in order to exist.
M: It is not a `must'. There is no `must'. The mind chatters all the time and the energy devoted to that purpose fills a major part of our life.
K: Why does the mind chatter, what is its purpose?
M: There is no purpose. As I watch the brain, I see that the chattering happens only in the brain, it is a brain activity; a current flows up and down, but it is chaotic, meaningless and purposeless. The brain wears itself out by its own activity. One can see that it is tiring to the brain, but it does not stop.
K: Is this worth pursuing?
P: If you take the process of thought continuous, without beginning and without end, then why should one differentiate between the chattering and the thought process itself?
M: Our awareness or attention is absolutely wasted on it. We are aware of something that has absolutely no meaning. It is the neurotic function of the brain and our time, our awareness, attention, our best efforts are wasted.
P: Would you say there is meaningful thought activity and chattering? K: Your mind chatters, why?
M: Because I cannot stop it.
K: Is it habit? Is it a fear of not being occupied with something?
A: It is an extra-volitional act.
M: It looks like a simple automatic activity. It just is there, there is no feeling, there is nothing.
K: You have not understood what I mean. The mind apparently needs to be occupied with something.
M: The mind is occupied all the time.
K: The mind is occupied with something and if it is not occupied, it feels vacant, it feels empty and therefore it resorts to chattering. I am just asking, is it habit or is it the fear of not being occupied?
M: It is a habit, an ingrained habit.
K: I wonder if it is a habit?
P: There is what we call meaningful thinking, directed thinking, thinking which is logical, which is analytical, which is concerned with the solution of problems. Chattering is not a conscious thing. In a non-aware state there is a continual movement of the mind throwing up reflexes, coming out with the accumulation of the rubbish the mind has acquired over the years and it keeps on throwing out and suddenly you awaken and say your mind is chattering. We give weight to what we call meaningful activity as against what we call chattering. Is this weight valid?
K: Why is it chattering?
P: It chatters; there is no `why' to it.
K: He wants to find out why it chatters. Is it just like water flowing, like water running out of the tap?
M: It is a mental leakage.
P: It indicates to me, that my mind is not alive. K: Why do you object to a chattering mind?
M: Loss of energy, loss of time; common sense says that what is going on is useless.
P: We are back in the intermediate stage - we are neither here nor there. And it is not only the mind chattering, but also the awareness of the chattering, which is an indication of inadequacy.
K: Drop attention, awareness, for the moment. I am just asking you why does the mind chatter? Is it a habit or does the mind need to be occupied with something? And when it is not occupied with what it thinks it should be occupied, we call it chattering. Why should not the occupation be chattering also? I am occupied with my house. You are occupied with your God, with your work, with your business, with your wife, with your sex, with your children, with your property. The mind needs to be occupied with something and therefore when it is not occupied, it may feel a sense of emptiness and therefore chatters. I don't see any problem in this. I don't see the great issue in this, unless you want to stop it chattering.
M: If chattering were not oppressive, there would be no problem.
K: You want to stop it, you want to put an end to it. So the question is not `why' but what for?
M: Can a chattering mind be put an end to?
K: Can a chattering mind come to an end? I don't know what you call chattering. I am questioning. When you are occupied with your business, that is also chattering. I want to find out what you call chattering. I say that any occupation, with myself, with my God, with my wife, with my husband, with my children, money, property or position, the whole of that is chattering. Why exclude all that and say the other is chattering?
M: I am only talking about what I observe.
P: Because the chattering we speak of has no rationality.
K: It has no relationship to your daily activity. There is no rationality. It is not related to daily life. It has nothing to do with your everyday demands and so it chatters and that is what you call chattering. We all know that.
P: Do you do that?
K: That does not matter. Don't bother about me.
A: Sir, our normal thinking has coherence to a context. Chattering is that activity of the mind which has no coherence to any context. Therefore we call it unmeaningful because we can break through the context, but when the activity of the mind is unconnected then it has no coherence.
K: Is chattering a rest to the mind?
A: No, sir.
K: Wait, sir, not so quick. Listen Achyutji, I want to ask you; you are occupied with your daily work, conscious, rational, irrational, and chattering may be a release from all that.
B: Would chattering bear the same relationship as the dream to the waking state?
K: No. I wouldn't put it that way. My muscles have been exercised all day and I relax, and chattering may be a form of relaxation.
A: It may be totally irrelevant. But it dissipates energy.
K: Does it?
A: Relaxation should not dissipate energy. Relaxation is an activity which comes into being after you have exhausted your energy and then are resting.
K: Chattering, you say, is a wastage of energy and you want to stop it.
A: It is not a question of wanting to stop it. The problem is that the mind that is wasting its energy in chattering should be put to something worthwhile. One can do some kind of japa, but that will again be a mechanical thing, it will solve no problem. We come back to understanding how this chattering process is going on. We don't understand it at all. It is extra-volitional.
K: Would your mind stop chattering if it was fully occupied? Just listen, sir; if there is no empty space, if there is no space or if the whole mind is full of space, will it chatter? It is not a matter of what word you use, - space, full, totally empty, or completely without any occupation. Does the mind then chatter? Or does chattering take place only when there is some little space which is not covered? Do you know what I mean? When the room is completely full, would there be any movement at all? When the mind is completely full and there is no space, would there be any movement at all which you call chattering? I don't know if I am conveying something.
M: It is hypothetical.
K: In the sense that our minds are partly full, partly occupied and the unoccupied part is chattering.
M: You are identifying with the unoccupied mind.
K: I am not saying that. I am asking, I want to find out why the mind chatters. Is it a habit?
M: It looks like habit.
K: Why has the habit arisen?
M: There is no reason as far as we know.
K: I don't mind it chattering, but you object to its chattering. I am not sure it is a wastage of energy. Is it a habit? If it is a habit, then how does that habit come to an end? That is the only thing that you are concerned with. How does a habit come to an end - any habit, smoking, drinking, overeating?
M: Unless you know something from your own experience, it is like talking to a child. It usually comes to an end by intensely looking at it.
K: Will chattering stop when you intensely look at it? M: That is the wonder, it does not.
K: I am not sure it does not. If I intensely observe smoking paying attention to all the movement of smoking, it withers away. So, why can't chattering wither away?
M: Because it is automatic, smoking is not automatic.
K: It is not automatic? It has become automatic.
M: Let us not refer to the beginnings. There are no beginnings. I cannot trace any beginning to chattering. It is peculiarly automatic. It is an automatic shivering of the brain. I see only the brain shivering, murmuring and I cannot do anything.
P: All other systems that deal with this peripheral movement of chattering say that it must end before one can get down to doing anything else.
M: To end it, you repeat mantras, bring some uniformity, some monotony to the mind. But chattering is not monotonous, the content changes.
K: That is interesting: the content changes.
P: It is completely disjointed. The basic problem is that so long as the thinking process fills the major portion of consciousness, there will be both directed thinking and chattering. I don't think it is possible to get rid of one and keep the other.
A: I would say that there is another approach to this, that our mind functions at different levels and chattering is that movement in which all these levels get jumbled.
P: I don't think it is so, Achyutji. I don't think the levels get jumbled. The conscious movement of thinking is when the thinker draws on thought to build a premise and moves from there logically. In the field of the irrational, the chattering, many, many things take place which the rational mind does not understand. But I was wondering whether the two are not counterparts of each other and whether one can exist without the other. B: We object to chattering apparently, but we don't object to directed occupation.
P: That is what I am saying. I say, as long as this is there, the other will also be.
A: I question that.
P: Let us discuss it. I wonder whether this is not a reflex of the other.
B: The mind knows directed occupation, the mind also knows chattering, a non-directional chattering. Does the mind know space or emptiness?
P: Where does space come in?
B: Because Krishnaji brought in space.
P: Don't put it that way. If one exists, the other will exist. That is what I would like to go into.
A: No. It is possible for a person to be efficient in the doing of any single job to which he is directed. That is directed activity. You say that any person who is capable of directed activity must also have the lunatic fringe of chattering all the time.
P: Directed activity does not mean a purely technological function; there is also the psychological activity which is directed. As long as the psychological, emotional activity is directed, the other remains.
A: You see, sir, the directed activity can be understood as either a projection of the centre or that which strengthens the centre. So directed activity can be traced to a source, that source is a centre or it creates the source.
K: How do you stop chattering? That is what he is interested in.
P: If I may pursue it with Achyutji, he says that it is possible that there can be a state of directed thinking both at the functional level and at the psychological level within the mind; and there is also chattering. A: That is directed activity. I know its source, I know its intent.
P: Directed activity - do I really know the source?
A: That is how the centre sustains itself. This is the centre.
P: When I want to explore and find the root of that, I find neither the root, nor do I find the source.
A: I don't find it either. I say this is a self-sustaining activity out of which the centre gets strengthened, fed. Here is a channel of movement which seems to be even unrelated to that.
M: So you divide the flow of the mind into chattering and nonchattering.
P: How do you know that?
K: He says chattering is a wastage of energy.
D: Why do you say that? How does he know?
K: Oh, yes. It is so irrational, so illogical, sloppy, it is all over the place.
D: Don't we know that all rational effort ends in nothing?
K: Wait, wait.
M: Right or wrong, why choose? There are three movements of the mind - intended, non-intended and the mixed. I am not quarrelling with the intended. My quarrel is with the non-intended. Can I do away with the non-intended movement?
K: That is all that we are concerned with. My mind chatters. I want to turn to any thing to stop it chattering, I want to stop it, because I see it is irrational, tawdry. How is it to come to an end?
M: All I can do is to look at it. As long as I can look at it,it stops.
K: But it will return later. I want to stop it for good. Now, how am I to do it? Instead of being occupied with a directed, intended movement, now I have occupied myself with stopping chattering. I want to get at this. B: I don't object to being occupied with money, with a hundred different kinds of things. I think that is all right. Why does the wretched mind chatter? I want to stop that. A: Looking at directed activity helps me to understand the ego process, the centre, how it all gets tied up. The exploration always leads to a little more clarity.
K: Achyutji, I want to stop chattering and I see it is a wastage of energy. What am I to do? How am I to stop it for good?
P: I feel that as long as you are looking at any process of the mind, whether it is directed action or non-directed action, you are trapped.
K: Why do I object to chattering? You say you are wasting energy, but you are wasting energy in ten different directions. Sir, I don't object to my mind chattering. I don't mind wasting a little bit of energy because I am wasting energy in so many directions. Why do I object to chattering?
M: Because I waste energy.
K: So you are against wasting energy on a particular kind of work. I object to wasting energy on any account.
M: It is a questionable point: what is waste of energy and what is not?
A: I would also like to make sure that we are not shirking a very difficult problem.
P: There are two ways of looking at this: the one way is of saying, how can I solve the problem? The other, why does one differentiate between the directed and non-directed?
A: I don't object to that.
K: Frydman objects to that.
M: In any case, whenever my mind is in a state of chattering, there is anguish, there is despair. K: Sir, let us stick to one thing at a time. You say it is a wastage of energy. We waste energy in so many ways.
M: It is a most unpleasant way.
K: You don't want the unpleasant waste of energy, but you would rather have the pleasant.
M: Of course.
K: So, you are objecting to the waste of energy which is unpleasant. I will approach it differently. I am not concerned with whether my mind chatters or not. What is important is not whether there is movement, not-directed, directed, intended or not-intended, but that the mind is very steady, rock-steady and then the problem does not exist; the mind does not chatter. Let it chatter.
P: I have to ask you a question. Are you first aware and then you speak? Are you aware of the word formations in the mind?
K: What is this? Wait, wait, hold on to that. I would approach the question quite differently. If the mind is completely rock-steady, then a word passing over it, somebody spilling water on it or a bird making a mess on it, it brushes it off. That is the only way I would approach it. Find out if the mind is rock-steady and then a little wave, a little rain, a little movement does not matter. But you are approaching it from the point of trying to stop wastage of energy, irrational wastage, unintended wastage, and I say unintended or intended wastage is taking place all around you, all the time. Sir, to me the problem is very simple. Is the mind totally steady?
I know the mind chatters, I know there is wastage of energy in so many directions, intended or unintended, conscious or unconscious. I say leave it alone, don't be so terribly concerned about it, look at it in a different way.
P: Does your mind operate in thought at all, in thought and word formation moving across the mind?
K: No. P: Do your brain cells ever spill out words which indicate a chattering mind?
M: He does not know what he is going to say next but he says something and it makes sense. Here is a man who is completely empty.
P: So your consciousness is really empty?
K: This does not lead us very far. Let us drop that.
B: Sir, you approach the issue from two different positions: one, you say look at fragmentation, look what happens; then you suddenly take a jump, and you say leave it and you ask is there a mind that is imperturbable?
K: I don't think the problem of chattering will be stopped the other way.
B: What is the relationship of the two approaches?
K: I don't think there is any. Look, the mind is chattering and we have discussed it for half an hour, talked about it from different points of view. The mind still goes on fragmentarily, wanting to resolve the problem by looking at it and by various means. I listen to it all and I say this does not seem to be the answer. It does not seem to complete the picture and I see it is so because our minds are so unsteady. The mind has not got deep roots of in-depth steadiness and therefore it chatters. So that may be it. From the observation of `what is', I have not jumped away, I have watched it.
B: You have not jumped away, we have dealt with the parts in ourselves, whereas you have collected the whole thing together.
K: That is how I would operate, if my mind were chattering. I know it is wastage of energy. I look at it and some other factor comes into it - the fact that my mind is not steady at all. So I would pursue that rather than the chattering.
P: When you say that if my mind chatters, I would pursue the fact that it is not stable, how would you tackle it? Pursue what? K: That would be my concern, not my chattering. I see as long as the mind is not steady, there must be chattering. So I am not concerned about chattering. So I am going to find out what is the feeling and the quality of a mind that is completely steady? That is all. I have moved away from chattering.
M: You have moved away from `what is' to `what is not'.
K: No. I have not moved away to `what is not'. I know my mind chatters. That's a fact. I know it is irrational, involuntary, unintended, a wastage of energy; I also know I am wasting energy in ten different ways. To gather all the wastage of energy is impossible. You spill mercury and there are hundreds of little droplets all over the place. To collect them is also wastage of energy. So I see, there must be a different way. The mind, not being steady, chatters. My enquiry now is: What is the nature and structure of steadiness?
M: The steadiness is not there with me.
K: I don't know it. I am going to enquire. I am going to come to it, I am going to find out. You say steadiness is the opposite of restlessness. I say steadiness is not the opposite of restlessness, because the opposite always contains the opposite of itself. Therefore it is not the opposite. I started with chattering and I see the wastage of energy and I also see the mind wastes energy in so many ways and I cannot collect all these wastages and make it whole. So I leave that problem. I understand it, it may be that the chattering will go on, all the wastage will go on in different directions as long as the mind is not rock-steady. That is not a verbal statement. It is an understanding of a state that has come into being by discarding the enquiry how to gather the wastage. I am not concerned about the wastage of energy.
M: I understand that when there is the rock-steady state of mind, then there will be no wastage.
K: No, no.
B: There has always been this problem that with us, the negative is transformed into the positive by the mind. The negative does not naturally transform itself, you will say. But what would you do about it?
K: I don't know. I am not bothered about it
P: But you also say that it will be your concern.
B: When he says that the negative is the positive, the negative observation is instantly the positive. The negative goes through this process.
K: Attention is applied in a different direction. Instead of how to stop the wastage, it is now directed to the understanding of what it means to be steady.
B: But it is not a mental direction.
K: No, obviously not. It is not a verbal direction. I think that is really quite important. What is the nature of a steady mind? Can we discuss that, not the verbal description of a steady mind?
P: What is the nature of a steady mind?
M: Are you talking about being momentarily steady?
P: I don't understand a state of mind which is momentarily steady.
K: He said: `Is it temporary or permanent?' I don't like the word `permanent'.
P: But what is the nature of a steady mind?
K: Don't you know it?
M: By your grace we all know it.
P: I would say that, but that still would not stop either the chattering or the thinking process.
K: He said the sea is very deep, it is very steady, a few waves come and go, and you don't care, but if you care then you remain there. P: When you find yourself remaining there, the only thing is to see that you are there.
K: And you see that and discard it. Don't let us make a lot of fuss about it. As Balasundaram pointed out, the negative instantly becomes positive when I see. The false becomes the true instantly. The seeing is the rock; the hearing or listening is the rock.
Exploration Into Insight
Exploration Into Insight 'The Chattering Mind'
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