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The Impossible Question

Part 2, Public Dialogues Saanen 1970

Impossible Question Part II Chapter 7 8th Public Dialogue Saanen 9th August 1970

Krishnamurti: During the last five weeks that we have met here, we have been discussing and talking over together the many problems which touch our lives, the problems we create for ourselves and the society that creates them for us. We also saw that we and the society are not two different entities - they are a interrelated movement. If any person seriously concerned with and actively involved in social change - its pattern, its values, its morality is not aware of his own conditioning, then this conditioning makes for fragmentation in action; and therefore there will be more conflict, more misery, more confusion. We went into that pretty thoroughly.

We were also discussing what fear is, and whether the mind can ever be completely and utterly free of this burden, both superficially and deeply. And we discussed the nature of pleasure, which is entirely and wholly different from joy, from delight. We also went into the question of the many fragmentations which make up our structure, our being. We saw in our discussion that these fragmentations divide and keep separate all human relationship, that one fragment assumes the authority and becomes the analyser, the censor of the other fragments.

Yesterday in talking over together the nature of consciousness we went into the question of what is attention. We said, this quality of attention is a state of mind in which all energy is highly concentrated; and in that attention there is no observer, there is no centre as the `me' who is aware.

Now we are going to find out, learn together, what happens to the mind, to the brain, to the whole psychosomatic being, when the mind is tremendously attentive. To understand that very clearly, or find out about it for oneself, one must first see that the description is not the described. One can describe this tent, everything that is involved, but the description is not the tent. The word is not the thing, and we must be absolutely clear from the beginning that the explanation is not the explained. To be caught in description, in explanation is the most childish form of living, and I'm afraid most of us are. We are satisfied with the description, with the explanation, with saying, `that is the cause' and just float along. Whereas what we are going to do this morning, is to find out for ourselves what has happened to the mind the mind being the brain, as well as the whole psychosomatic structure when there is this extraordinary attention, when there is no centre as the observer or as the censor.

To understand that, to really learn about it, not merely to be satisfied with the speaker's explanation of it, to find out, one has to begin with the understanding of `what is'. Not what `should be', or what `has been', but `what is'.

Please go with me, let's travel together, it is great fun if we move together in learning. Obviously there must be tremendous changes in the world and in ourselves. The ways of our thought and our action have become utterly immature, so contradictory, so diabolical - if one can say so. You invent a machine to kill and then there is an anti-machine to kill that machine. That's what they are doing in the world; not only socially but also mechanically. And a mind that is really concerned, involved in the seriousness of psychological as well as outward change, must go into this problem of the human being with his consciousness, with his despairs, with his appalling fears, with his ambitions, with his anxieties, with his desire to fulfil in some form or another. So to understand all this we must begin with seeing `what is'. `What is' is not only what is in front of you, but what is beyond. To see what is in front of you, you must have a very clear perception, uncontaminated, not prejudiced, not involved in the desire to go beyond it, but just to observe it. Not only to observe `what is', but what has been - which is also what is. The `what is' is the past, is the present, and is the future. Do see this! So the `what is' is not static, it is a movement. And to keep with the movement of `what is', you need to have a very clear mind, you need to have an unprejudiced, not a distorted mind. That means, there is distortion the moment there is an effort. The mind can't see `what is', and go beyond it, if the mind is in any way concerned with the changing of `what is', or trying to go beyond it, or trying to suppress it.

To observe `what is', you need energy. To observe anything attentively you need energy. To listen to what you are saying I need energy, that is, I need energy when I really, desperately want to understand what you are saying. But if I am not interested, but just listen casually, then one only needs a very slight energy that soon dissipates. So to understand `what is' you need energy. Now, these fragmentations, of which we are, are the division of these energies. `I' and the `not I', `anger' and `not anger', `violence' and `not violence' they are all fragmentations of energy. And when one fragment assumes authority over the other fragments, it is an energy that functions in fragments. Are we communicating? Communicating means learning together, working together, creating together, seeing together, understanding together; not just that I speak and you listen, and saying `intellectually I grasp it; that is not understanding. The whole thing is a movement in learning and therefore in action.

So the mind sees that all fragmentations, as my God, your God, my belief and your belief, are fragmentations of energy. There is only energy and fragmentation. This energy is fragmented by thought and thought is the way of conditioning - which we won't go into again now, because we must move further.

So consciousness is the totality of these fragmentations of energy. And we said, one of those fragments is the observer, is the `me', is the monkey who is incessantly active. Bear in mind that the description is not the described, that you are watching yourself through the words of the speaker. But the words are not the thing, therefore the speaker is of very little importance. What becomes important is your observation of yourself, of how this energy has been fragmented. Can you see that - which is `what is' without the fragment of the observer? Can the mind see these many fragmentations which make up the whole of consciousness? These fragments are the fragmentations of energy. Can the mind see this, without an observer who is part of the many fragments? It is important to understand this. If the mind cannot see the many fragments without looking through the eyes of another fragment, then you will never understand what attention is. Are we meeting each other?

The mind sees what fragmentation does outwardly and inwardly. Outwardly the sovereign governments, with their arms race and all the rest of it, the division of nationalities, beliefs, religious dogmas. The division in social and political action the Labour party, the Conservatives, the Communists, the Capitalists - is all created by the desire of thought which says, `I must be secure'. Thought thinks it will be secure through fragmentation and so creates more fragmentation. Do you see this? Not verbally, but actually as a fact. The young and the old, the rich and the poor, death and living - do you see this constant division, this movement of fragmentation by thought, which is caught in the conditioning of these fragments? Does the mind see this whole movement without a centre that says, `I see it'. Because the moment you have a centre, that centre becomes the factor of division. `Me' and `not me' which is you. Thought has put together this `me' through the desire, or through the impulse, to find security, safety. And in its desire to find safety it has divided the energy as `the me' and the `not me', therefore bringing to itself insecurity. Can the mind see this as a whole? It cannot, if there is a fragment which observes.

We are asking: what is the quality of the mind that is highly attentive, in which there is no fragmentation? That is where we left off yesterday. I don't know if you have enquired, or learned from yesterday; the speaker is not a professor teaching you or giving you information. To find that out, there must be no fragmentation - -obviously - which means, no effort. Effort means distortion, and as most of our minds are distorted, you cannot possibly understand what it is to be completely attentive and find out what has happened to a mind that is so utterly aware, utterly attentive.

There is a difference between security and stability. We said it is the monkey which is the everlasting `me' with its thoughts, with its problems, with its anxieties, fears and so on. This restless thought - the monkey - is always seeking security, because it is afraid to be uncertain in its activity, in its thoughts, in its relationships. It wants everything mechanical, which is secure. So it translates security in terms of mechanical certainty. Is stability different not opposite - but in a different dimension from security? We have to understand this. A mind that is restless and seeking security, in that restlessness it can never find stability. To be stable - firm is not the word to be unshakeable, immoveable, and yet to have the quality of great mobility! The mind that is seeking security cannot be stable in the sense of being mobile, swift, and yet immensely immovable.

Do you see the difference? Which is it you are doing in your life, in your everyday life? Is thought the monkey, seeking in its restlessness to find security, and not finding it in one direction, going off in another direction, which is the movement of restlessness? In this restlessness, it wants to find security; therefore it can never find it. It can say, `There is God', which is still the invention of thought, the image brought about through centuries of conditioning. Or it is conditioned in the Communist world which says: `there is no such thing', which is equally conditioning.

So what is it that you are doing - seeking security in your restlessness? The desire to be secure is one of the most curious things. And that security must be recognised by the world; I don't know whether you see this. I write a book and in the book I find my security. But that book must be recognised by the world, otherwise there is no security. So look what I've done - my security lies in the opinion of the world! `My books sell by the thousand', and I have created the value of the world. In seeking security through a book - through whatever it is I am depending on the world which I have created. So it means I am deceiving myself constantly. If you saw this! So the desire for thought to be secure is the way of uncertainty, is the way of insecurity. When there is complete attention in which there is no centre, what has happened to the mind that is so intensely aware? Is there security in it? Is there any sense of restlessness in it? Please don't agree - it is a tremendous thing to find this out.

You see, Sirs, most of us are seeking a solution for the misery of the world, a solution for the social morality - which is immoral. We are trying to find out a way of organizing a society in which there will be no social injustice. Man has sought God, truth, whatever it is, throughout centuries, never coming upon it, but believing in it. But when you believe in it, you naturally have experiences according to your belief, which are false. So man in his restlessness, in his desire for safety, for security, to feel at ease, has invented all these imaginary securities projected by thought. When you become aware of all this fragmentation of energy - and energy is therefore no more fragmented what has taken place in the mind that has sought security? Because it was restless, it was moving from one fear to another? Then what do you do, what is your answer?

Questioner: One is not isolated, there is no fear. Krishnamurti: We've been through all this, Sir. Unless it really is so with you, don't say anything, because it has no meaning. You can invent, you can say, `I feel this' - but if you are really serious, if you want to learn about this, then you have to go into it, it is your vocation, it is your life - not just for this morning.

You know, as we were going through the village, all the people were going to church - weekend religion. This is not a weekend religion. This is a way of life, a way of living in which this energy is not broken up. If you once understood this thing, you would have an extraordinary sense of action.

Questioner: Sir, the moment you say, `what do you do with this', the monkey within us starts up. It triggers off the question and the question triggers off the monkey.

Krishnamurti: I am only putting that question to see where you are.

Questioner: Only one fragment acts.

Krishnamurti: Yes. So there is one of the fragments of this broken up energy restlessly seeking security - that is actually `what is'. That is what we are all doing. That restlessness, and that constant search and enquiry, joining one society, then taking up another society - the monkey goes on endlessly - all that indicates a mind that is pursuing a way of life in which it is only concerned with security.

Now when that is seen very clearly, what has happened to the mind that is no longer concerned with security? Obviously it has no fear. That becomes very trivial when you see how thought has fragmented the energy, or fragmented itself, and because of this fragmentation there is fear. And when you see the activity of thought in its fragmentation, then you meet fear, you act. So we are asking, what has happened to the mind that has become extraordinarily attentive? Is there any movement of search at all? Please, find out. Questioner: The mechanical activity stops completely.

Krishnamurti: Do you understand my question? When you are so attentive, is the mind still seeking? Seeking experience, seeking to understand itself, seeking to go beyond itself, seeking to find out right action, wrong action, seeking a permanency on which it can depend permanency in relationship, or in belief, or in some conclusion? Is that still going on, when you are so completely aware?

Questioner: The mind does not seek anything any longer.

Krishnamurti: Do you know what that means, when you make a statement of that kind so easily? Not to seek anything - which means what?

Questioner: It is already to receive something new that it cannot imagine.

Krishnamurti: No, madam, you really have not understood. My question is, the mind has seen the activity of the monkey in its restlessness. This activity - which is still energy thought has broken up in its desire to find a permanent security, a certainty, safety. And so it has divided the world as the `me' and the `not me', `we' and `they', and is seeking truth as a way of security. When one has observed all this, is the mind seeking anything at all any more? Seeking implies restlessness I haven't found security here, and I go there, and I haven't found it there so I go elsewhere.

Questioner: The mind then is not concerned with search.

Krishnamurti: A mind which is without a centre is not concerned with search. But is it taking place with you?

Questioner: At the moment you are attentive it is taking place. Krishnamurti: No, Sir.

Questioner: All sorts of things happen to the mind when it stops striving.

Krishnamurti: Have you ever known, walking or sitting quietly, what it means to be completely empty? Not isolated, not withdrawn, not building a wall around yourself and finding you have no relationship with anything - I don't mean that. When the mind is completely empty, it does not mean that it has no memory, the memories are there, because you are walking to your house, or are going to your office. But I mean the emptiness of a mind that has finished with all the movement of search.

Questioner: All is and I am. What is `I am'? Who is `I am'? Who is this `I` that says `am'? The monkey?

Krishnamurti: Don't repeat what the propagandists have said, what the religions have said, what the psychologists have said. Who says, `I am'? - the Italian, the Frenchman, the Russian, the believer, the dogma, the fears, the past, the seeker, and the one who seeks and finds? Or the one who is identified with the house, with the husband, with the money, with the name, with the family - which are all words! No, you don't see this. But it is so! If you see that you are a bundle of memories and words, the restless monkey comes to an end.

Questioner: If your mind is completely empty when you are walking to the office, why are you walking to the office? Why are you still doing this?

Krishnamurti: You have to earn a livelihood, you have to go to your home, you will be going out of this tent.

Questioner: Surely the question is, how can I be empty if memory is operating. Krishnamurti: Now look, Sir, I want to tell you a very simple thing: there is no such thing as security. This restless demand for security is the part of the observer, the centre, the monkey. And this restless monkey - which is thought has broken up this world and has made a frightful mess of it, it has brought such misery, such agony! And thought cannot solve this, however intelligent, however clever, erudite, capable of efficient thinking, thought cannot possibly bring order out of this chaos. There must be a way out of it which is not thought. I want to convey to you that in that state of attention, in that movement of attention, all sense of security has gone, because there is stability. That stability has nothing whatsoever to do with security when thought seeks security it makes it into something permanent, immovable, and therefore it becomes mechanical. Thought seeks security in relationship. In that relationship thought creates an image. That image becomes the permanent and breaks up the relationship - you have your image and I have mine. In that image thought has established and identified itself as the permanent thing.

Outwardly this is what we have done: your country, my country, and so on. When the mind has left all that, left it in the sense that it has seen the utter futility, the mischief of it, it has finished with it. Then what takes place in the mind which has completely finished with the whole concept of security? What happens to that mind which is so attentive that it is completely stable, so that thought is no longer seeking security in any form and sees that there is no such thing as the permanent? I'm pointing it out to you; the description is not the described.

See the importance of this; the brain has evolved with the idea of being completely secure. The mind, the brain wants security, otherwise it can't function. Without order it will function illogically, neurotically, inefficiently, therefore the brain is always wanting order and it has translated having order in terms of security. If that brain is still functioning, it is still seeking order through security. So when there is attention, is the brain still seeking security?

Questioner: Sir, there is only the present.

Krishnamurti: Sir, I am trying to convey something to you. I may be totally wrong. I may be talking complete nonsense, but you have to find out for yourself if I am talking nonsense.

Questioner: I get the sensation that at the moment I am attentive, I am not seeking. But that attention may cease; then I am seeking again.

Krishnamurti: Never! That's the whole point. If thought sees that there is no such thing as permanency, thought will never seek it again. That is, the brain, with its memories of security, its cultivation in a society depending on security, with all its ideas and its morality based on security, that brain has become completely empty of all movements towards security.

Have you ever gone into this question of meditation, any of you? Meditation is not concerned with meditation but with the meditator - do you see the difference? Most of you are concerned with meditation, what to do about it, how to meditate step by step and so on - that is not the question at all. The meditator is the meditation. To understand the meditator is meditation.

Now if you have gone into this question of meditation, the meditator must come to an end, by understanding, not by suppressing, not by killing thought. That is, to understand oneself is to understand the movement of thought; thought being the movement of the brain with all its memories - the movement of thought seeking security, and all the rest of it.

Now the meditator is asking, can this brain become completely quiet? Which is, can thought be completely still, and yet operate out of this stillness not as an end in itself. Probably all this is too complicated for you it's really quite simple. So the mind that is highly attentive has no fragmentation of energy. Please see that; there is no fragmentation of energy, it is complete energy. And that energy operates without fragmentation when you go to the office.

Questioner: Maybe a real understanding could be arrived at without the help of the word; it's a kind of direct contact with the thing you are trying to understand. And consequently there is no need for words, which are an escape.

Krishnamurti: That's it. Can you communicate without words? Because words hinder.

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: Look, Sir, can I communicate with you without words about the quality of the mind that is so extraordinarily attentive, and yet functions in the world without breaking the energy into fragments? You've understood my question?

Questioner: Yes.

Krishnamurti: Now, can I communicate that to you without the word? How do you know I can? What are you all talking about!

Questioner: I think you can.

Krishnamurti: Look, one has talked for nearly five weeks, explained everything, gone into it in detail, poured one's heart into it. Have you understood it verbally even? And you want to understand something non-verbally! It can be done if your mind is in contact with the speaker with the same intensity, with the same passion, at the same time, at the same level, then you will communicate. Are you? Now listen to that train! Without the word communication has been established, because we are both of us listening to the rattle of that train, at the same moment, with the same intensity, with the same passion. Only then is there direct communion. Are you intense about this at the same time as the speaker? Of course not. Sir, when you hold the hand of another, you can hold it out of habit or custom. Or you can hold it and communication can take place without a word, because both are at the given moment intense. But we are not intense, not passionate and concerned.

Questioner: Not all the time.

Krishnamurti: Don't say that, not even for a minute!

Questioner: How do you know?

Krishnamurti: I don't know. If you are, then you will know what it means to be aware, to be attentive, and therefore no longer seeking security; therefore you are no longer acting or thinking in terms of fragmentation. Look what has happened to a mind that has gone through all the things which we have been talking about, all the discussions and exchange of words. What has happened to the mind that has really listened to this?

First of all, it has become sensitive, not only mentally but physically, It has given up smoking, drinking, drugs. And when we have talked over this question of attention, you'll see that the mind is no longer seeking anything at all, or asserting anything. And such a mind is completely mobile and yet wholly stable. Out of that stability and sensitivity it can act without breaking life or energy up into fragments. What does such a mind find, apart from action, apart from stability? Man has always sought what he considered to be God, truth; he has always striven after it out of fear, out of his hopelessness, out of his despair and disorder. He sought it and he thought he found it. And the discovery of that he began to organize. So that which is stable, highly mobile, sensitive, is not seeking; it sees something which has never been found, which means, time for such a mind does not exist at all - which does not mean one is going to miss a train. So there is a state which is timeless and therefore incredibly vast.

This is something most marvellous if you come upon it. I can go into it, but the description is not the described. It's for you to learn all this by looking at yourself - no book, no teacher can teach you about this don't depend on anyone, don't join spiritual organizations, one has to learn all this out of oneself. And there the mind will discover things that are incredible. But for that, there must be no fragmentation and therefore immense stability, swiftness, mobility. To such a mind there is no time and therefore this whole concept of death and living has quite a different meaning.

9th August 1970.

The Impossible Question

Part 2, Public Dialogues Saanen 1970

Impossible Question Part II Chapter 7 8th Public Dialogue Saanen 9th August 1970

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