Flight of The Eagle
Flight of The Eagle Chapter 8 Paris 5th Public Talk 24th April 1969 'The Transcendental'
We have been talking about the chaos in the world, the great violence, the confusion, not only outwardly but inwardly. Violence is the result of fear and we went into the question of fear. I think we ought now to go into something that may be a little foreign to most of you: but it must be considered and not merely rejected, saying that it is an illusion, a fancy and so on.
Throughout history, man - realizing his life is very short, full of accidents, sorrow and inevitable death - has always formulated an idea which is called God. He realized, as we do now also, that life is transient and he wanted to experience something vastly great, supreme, to experience something not put together by the mind or by emotion; he wanted to experience, or feel his way into, a world that is entirely different, a world that transcends this, that lies beyond all misery and torture. And he hoped to find this transcendental world by seeking, searching it out. We ought to go into this question as to whether there is, or there is not, a reality - it doesn't matter what name one gives it - that is of an altogether different dimension. To penetrate into its depth one must naturally realize that it is not enough to merely understand at the verbal level - for the description is never the described, the word is never the thing. Can we penetrate into the mystery - if it is a mystery that man has always been trying to enter or capture, inviting it, holding it, worshipping it, becoming its devotee?
Life being what it is - rather shallow, empty, a tortuous affair without much meaning - one tries to invent a significance, give it a meaning. If one has a certain cleverness, the significance and the purpose of the invention become rather complex. And not finding the beauty, the love or the sense of immensity, one may become cynical, not believing in anything. One sees it is rather absurd and illusory and without much meaning to merely invent an ideology, a formula, affirming that there is God or that there is not, when life has no meaning whatsoever - which is true the way we live, it has no meaning. So do not let us invent a meaning.
If we could go together and discover for ourselves if there is, or if there is not, a reality, which is not merely an intellectual or emotional invention, an escape. Man throughout history has said that there is a reality. for which you must prepare, for which you must do certain things, discipline yourself, resist every form of temptation, control yourself, control sex, conform to a pattern established by religious authority, the saints and so on; or you must deny the world, withdraw into a monastery, to some cave where you can meditate, to be alone and not be tempted. One sees the absurdity of such striving one sees that one cannot possibly escape from the world, from `what is', from the suffering, from the distraction, and from all that man has put together in science. And the theologies: one must obviously discard all theologies and all beliefs. If one does completely put aside every form of belief, then there is no fear whatsoever.
Knowing that social morality is no morality, that it is immoral, one sees that one must be extraordinarily moral, for after all, morality is only the bringing of order both within oneself and also without oneself; but that morality must be in action, not merely an ideational or conceptual morality, but actual moral behaviour.
Is it possible to discipline oneself without suppression, control, escape? The root meaning of the word `discipline' is `to learn,' not to conform or become a disciple of somebody, not to imitate or suppress, but to learn. The very act of learning demands discipline - a discipline which is not imposed nor accommodating itself to some ideology - not the harsh austerity of the monk. Yet without a deep austerity our behaviour in daily life only leads to disorder. One can see how essential it is to have complete order in oneself, like mathematical order, not relative, not comparative, not brought about by environmental influence. Behaviour, which is righteousness, must be established so that the mind is in complete order. A mind that is tortured, frustrated, shaped by environment, conforming to the social morality, must in itself be confused; and a confused mind cannot discover what is true.
If the mind is to come upon that strange mystery - if there is such a thing - it must lay the foundation of a behaviour, a morality, which is not that of society, a morality in which there is no fear whatsoever and which is therefore free. It is only then - after laying this deep foundation - that the mind can proceed to find out what meditation is, that quality of silence, of observation, in which the `observer' is not. If this basis of righteous behaviour does not take place in one's life, in one's action, then meditation has very little meaning.
In the Orient there are many schools, systems and methods of meditation - including Zen and Yoga - which have been brought over to the West. One must be very clear in understanding this suggestion that through a method, through a system, though conforming to a certain pattern or tradition, the mind can come upon that reality. One can see how absurd the thing is, whether it is brought from the East or whether it is invented here. Method implies conformity, repetition; method implies someone who has reached a certain enlightenment, who says, do this and do not do that. And we, who are so eager to have that reality, follow, conform, obey, practice what we have been told, day after day, like a lot of machines. A dull insensitive mind, a mind that is not highly intelligent, can practice a method endlessly; it will become more and more dull, more and more stupid. It will have its own `experience' within the field of its own conditioning. Some of you perhaps have been to the East and have studied meditation there. A whole tradition exists behind it. In India, throughout the whole of Asia, it exploded in the ancient days. That tradition even now still holds the mind, endless volumes are written on it. But any form of tradition - a carry-over from the past - which is used to find out if there is great reality, is obviously a waste of endeavour. The mind must be free of every form of spiritual tradition and sanction; otherwise one becomes utterly lacking in the highest form of intelligence.
Then what is meditation, if it is not traditional? - and it cannot be traditional, no one can teach you, you cannot follow a particular path, and say, `along that path I will learn what meditation is.' The whole meaning of meditation is in the mind becoming completely quiet; quiet, not only at the conscious level but also at the deep, secret, hidden levels of consciousness; so completely and utterly quiet so that thought is silent and does not wander all over the place. One of the teachings of the tradition of meditation, the traditional approach we are talking about, is that thought must be controlled; but that must be totally set aside and to set it aside one must look at it very closely, objectively, non-emotionally.
Tradition says you must have a guru, a teacher, to help you to meditate, he will tell you what to do. The West has its own form of tradition, of prayer, contemplation and confession. But in the whole principle that someone else knows and you do not know, that the one who knows is going to teach you, give you enlightenment, in that is implied authority, the master, the guru, the saviour, the Son of God and so on. They know and you do not know; they say, follow this method, this system, do it day after day, practice and you will eventually get there - if you are lucky. Which means you are fighting with yourself all day long, trying to conform to a pattern, to a system, trying to suppress your own desires, your own appetites, your own envy, jealousies, ambitions. And so there is the conflict between what you are and what should be according to the system; this means there is effort; and a mind that is making an effort can never be quiet; through effort mind can never become completely still.
Tradition also says concentrate in order to control your thought. To concentrate is merely to resist, to build a wall round yourself, to protect an exclusive focusing on one idea, on a principle, a picture or what you will. Tradition says you must go through that in order to find whatever you want to find. Tradition also says you must have no sex, you must not look at this world, as all the saints, who are more or less neurotic, have always said. And when you see - not merely verbally and intellectually, but actually - what is involved in all this - and you can see it only if you are not committed to it and can look at it objectively - then you discard it completely. One must discard it completely, for then the mind, in the very discarding, becomes free and therefore intelligent, aware, and not liable to be caught in illusions.
To meditate in the deepest sense of the word one must be virtuous, moral; not the morality of a pattern, of a practice, or of the social order, but the morality that comes naturally, inevitably, sweetly when you begin to understand yourself, when you are aware of your thoughts, your feelings, your activities, your appetites, your ambitions and so on - aware without any choice, merely observing. Out of that observation comes right action, which has nothing to do with conformity, or action according to an ideal. Then when that exists deeply in oneself, with its beauty and austerity in which there is not a particle of harshness - for harshness exists only when there is effort - when one has observed all the systems, all the methods, all the promises and looked at them objectively without like or dislike, then you can discard them altogether so that your mind is free from the past; then you can proceed to find out what meditation is.
If you have not actually laid the foundation, you can play with meditation but that has no meaning - it is like those people who go out to the East, go to some master who will tell them how to sit, how to breathe, what to do, this or that, and who come back and write a book, which is all sheer nonsense. One has to be a teacher to oneself and a disciple of oneself, there is no authority, there is only understanding.
Understanding is possible only when there is observation without the centre as the observer. Have you ever observed, watched, tried to find out, what understanding is? Understanding is not an intellectual process; understanding is not an intuition or a feeling. When one says `I understand something very clearly,' there is an observation out of complete silence - it is only then there is understanding. When you say `I understand something,' you mean that the mind listens very quietly, neither agreeing nor disagreeing; that state listens completely - it is only then there is understanding and that understanding is action. It is not that there is understanding first and then action follows afterward, it is simultaneous, one movement.
So meditation - that word which is so heavily loaded by tradition - is to bring, without effort, without any form of compulsion, the mind and the brain to their highest capacity, which is intelligence, which is to be highly sensitive. The brain is quiet; that repository of the past, evolved through a million years, which is continuously and incessantly active - that brain is quiet.
Is it at all possible for the brain, which is reacting all the time, responding to the least stimulus, according to its conditioning, to be still? The traditionalists say, it can be made still by proper breathing, by practicing awareness. This again involves the question, `who' is the entity that controls, that practices, that shapes the brain? Is it not thought, which says, 'I am the observer and I am going to control the brain, put an end to thought'? Thought breeds the thinker.
Is it possible for the brain to be completely quiet? It is part of meditation to find out, not to be told how to do it; nobody can tell us how to do it. Your brain - which is so heavily conditioned through culture, through every form of experience, the brain which is the result of vast evolution - can it be so still? - because without that, whatever it sees or experiences will be distorted, will be translated according to its conditioning.
What part does sleep play in meditation, in living? It is quite an interesting question; if you have gone into it yourself you will have discovered a great deal. As we said the other day: dreams are unnecessary. We said: the mind, the brain, must be completely aware during the day - attentive to what is happening both outwardly and inwardly, aware of the inward reactions to the outer with its strains evoking reactions, attentive to the intimation of the unconscious - and then at the end of the day it must take all that into account. If you do not take all that has happened into account at the end of the day, the brain has to work at night, when you are asleep, to bring order into itself - which is obvious. If you have done all this, then when you sleep you are learning quite a different thing altogether, you are learning at a different dimension altogether; and that is part of meditation.
There is the laying of the foundation of behaviour, in which action is love. There is the discarding of all traditions, so that the mind is completely free; and the brain is completely quiet. If you have gone into it you will see that the brain can be quiet, not through any trick, not through taking a drug, but through that active and also passive awareness throughout the day. And if you have taken stock at the end of the day, of what has happened, and therefore brought order, then when there is sleep, the brain is quiet, learning with a different movement.
So this whole body, the brain, everything, is quiet, without any form of distortion; it is only then if there is any reality that such a mind can receive it. It cannot be invited, that immensity - if there is such an immensity, if there is the nameless, the transcendental, if there is such a thing - it is only such a mind that can see the false or the truth of that reality.
You might say, `What has all this to do with living?' I have to live this everyday life, go to the office, wash dishes, travel in a crowded bus with all the noise - what has meditation to do with all this?' Yet after all, meditation is the understanding of life, the life every day with all its complexity, misery, sorrow, loneliness, despair, the drive to become famous, successful, the fear, envy - to understand all that is meditation. Without understanding it, the mere attempt to find the mystery is utterly empty, it has no value. It is like a disordered life, a disordered mind, trying to find mathematical order. Meditation has everything to do with life; it isn't going off into some emotional, ecstatic state. There is ecstasy which is not pleasure; that ecstasy comes only when there is this mathematical order in oneself, which is absolute. Meditation is the way of life, every day - only then, that which is imperishable, which has no time, can come into being.
Questioner: Who is the observer that is aware of his own reactions? What is the energy that is used?
Krishnamurti: Have you looked at anything without reaction? Have you looked at a tree, at the face of a woman, at the mountain, or the cloud, or the light on the water, just to observe it, without translating it into like or dislike, pleasure or pain - just to observe it? In such observation, when you are completely attentive, is there an observer? Do it, Sir, do not ask me - if you do it you will find out. Observe reactions, without judging, evaluating, distorting, be so completely attentive to every reaction and in that attention you will see that there is no observer or thinker or experiencer at all.
Then the second question: to change anything in oneself, to bring about a transformation, a revolution in the psyche, what energy is used? How is that energy to be had? We have energy now, but in tension, in contradiction, in conflict; there is energy in the battle between two desires, between what I must do and what I should do - that consumes a great deal of energy. But if there is no contradiction whatsoever then you have abundance of energy. Look at one's own life, actually do look at it: it is a contradiction; you want to be peaceful and you hate somebody; you want to love and you are ambitious. This contradiction breeds conflict, struggle; that struggle wastes energy. If there is no contradiction whatsoever you have the supreme energy to transform yourself. One asks: how is it possible to have no contradiction between the `observer' and the `observed,' between the `experiencer, and the `experience,' between love and hate? - these dualities, how is it possible to live without them? It is possible when there is only the fact and nothing else - the fact that you hate, that you are violent, and not its opposite as idea. When you are afraid you develop the opposite, courage, which is resistance, contradiction, effort and strain. But when you understand completely what fear is and do not escape into the opposite, when you give your whole attention to fear, then there is not only its cessation, psychologically, but also you have the energy that is needed to confront it. The traditionalists say, `You must have this energy, therefore do not be sexual, do not be worldly, concentrate, put your mind on God, leave the world, do not be tempted' - all in order to have this energy. But one is still a human being with appetites, fuming inside with sexual, biological urges, wanting to do this, controlling, forcing and all the rest of it - therefore wasting energy. But if you live with the fact and nothing else - if you are angry, understand it and not `how to be not angry,' go into it, be with it, live with it, give complete attention to it - you will see that you have this energy in abundance. It is this energy that keeps the mind clear, your heart open, so that there is abundance of love - not ideas, not sentiment. Questioner: What do you mean by ecstasy, can you describe it? You said ecstasy is not pleasure, love is not pleasure?
Krishnamurti: What is ecstasy? When you look at a cloud, at the light in that cloud, there is beauty. Beauty is passion. To see the beauty of a cloud or the beauty of light on a tree, there must be passion, there must be intensity. In this intensity, this passion, there is no sentiment whatsoever, no feeling of like or dislike. Ecstasy is not personal; ecstasy is not yours or mine, just as love is not yours or mine. When there is pleasure it is yours or mine. When there is that meditative mind it has its own ecstasy - which is not to be described, not to be put into words.
Questioner: Are you saying that there is no good and bad, that all reactions are good - are you saying that?
Krishnamurti: No, Sir, I did not say that. I said, observe your reaction, do not call it good or bad. When you call it good or bad you bring about contradiction. Have you ever looked at your wife - I am sorry to keep at it - without the image that you have about her, the image that you have put together over thirty or so years? You have an image about her and she has an image about you; these images have relationship; you and she do not have relationship. These images come into being when you are not attentive in your relationship - it is inattention that breeds images. Can you look at your wife without condemning, evaluating, saying she is right, she is wrong, just observe without bringing in your prejudices? Then you will see there is a totally different kind of action that comes from that observation.
Paris, April 24, 1969
Flight of The Eagle
Flight of The Eagle Chapter 8 Paris 5th Public Talk 24th April 1969 'The Transcendental'
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