Truth and Actuality
Part 2, Public Talks Brockwood Park 1975
Truth and Actuality Part II Chapter 5 2nd Public Talk Brockwood Park 7th September 1975 'The Problem of Fear'
WE MUST BE serious in facing what we have to do in life, with all the problems, miseries, confusion, violence and suffering. Only those live who are really ernest, but the others fritter their life away and waste their existence. We were going to consider this morning the whole complex problem of fear.
The human mind has lived so long, so many centuries upon centuries, putting up with fear, escaping from it, trying to rationalize it, trying to forget it, or completely identifying with something that is not fear - we have tried all these methods. And one asks if it is at all possible to be free totally, completely of fear, psychologically and from that physiologically. We are going to discuss this, talk it over together, and find out for ourselves if it is at all possible.
First, we must consider energy, the quality of energy, the types of energy, and the question of desire; and whether we have sufficient energy to delve deeply into this question. We know the energy and friction of thought; it has created most extraordinary things in the world technologically. But psychologically we don't seem to have that deep energy, drive, interest to penetrate profoundly into this question of fear.
We have to understand this question of thought bringing about its own energy and therefore a fragmentary energy, an energy through friction, through conflict. That is all we know: the energy of thought, the energy that comes through contradiction, through opposition in duality, the energy of friction. All that is in the world of reality, reality being the things with which we live daily, both psychologically and intellectually and so on.
I hope we can communicate with each other. Communication implies not only verbal understanding, but actually sharing what is being said, otherwise there is no communion. There is not only a verbal communication but a communion which is non-verbal. But to come to that non-verbal communion, one must understand very deeply whether it is possible to communicate with each other at a verbal level, which means that both of us share the meaning of the words, have the same interest, the same intensity, at the same level, so that we can proceed step by step. That requires energy. And that energy can come into being only when we understand the energy of thought and its friction, in which we are caught. If you investigate into yourself you will see that what we know, or experience, is the friction of thought in its achievement, in its desires, in its purposes - the striving, the struggle, the com. petition. All that is involved in the energy of thought.
Now we are asking if there is any other kind of energy, which is not mechanistic, not traditional, non-contradictory, and therefore without the tension that creates energy. To find that out, whether there is another kind of energy, not imagined, not fantastic, not superstitious, we have to go into the question of desire.
Desire is the want of something, isn't it? That is one fragment of desire. Then there is the longing for something, whether it be sexual longing or psychological longing, or so-called spiritual longing. And how does this desire arise? Desire is the want of something, the lack of something, missing something; then the longing for it, either imaginatively, or actual want, like hunger; and there is the problem of how desire arises in one. Because, in coming face to face with fear, we have to understand desire - not the denial of desire, but insight into desire. Desire may be the root of fear. The religious monks throughout the world have denied desire, they have resisted desire, they have identified that desire with their gods, with their saviours, with their jesus, and so on. But it is still desire. And without the full penetration into that desire, without having an insight into it, one's mind cannot possibly be free from fear.
We need a different kind of energy, not the mechanistic energy of thought, because that has not solved any of our problems; on the contrary, it has made them much more complex, more vast, impossible to solve. So we must find a different kind of energy, whether that energy is related to thought or is independent of thought, and in enquiring into that one must go into the question of desire. You are following this? - not somebody else's desire, but your own desire. Now how does desire arise? One can see that this movement of desire takes place through perception, then sensation, contact and so desire. One sees something beautiful, the contact of it, visual and physical, sensory, then sensation, then from that the feeling of the lack of it. And from that desire. That is fairly clear.
Why does the mind, the whole sensory organism, lack? Why is there this feeling of lacking something, of wanting something? I hope you are giving sufficient attention to what is being said, because it is your life. You are not merely listening to words, or ideas, or formulas, but actually sharing in the investigating process so that we are together walking in the same direction, at the same speed, with the same intensity, at the same level. Otherwise we shan't meet each other. That is part of love also. Love is that communication with each other, at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity.
So why is there the sense of lacking or wanting in oneself? I do not know if you have ever gone into this question at all? Why the human mind, or human beings, are always after something - apart from technological knowledge, apart from learning languages and so on and so on, why is there this sense of wanting, lacking, pursuing something all the time? - which is the movement of desire, which is also the movement of thought in time, as time and measure. All that is involved.
We are asking, why there is this sense of want. Why there is not a sense of complete self-sufficiency? Why is there this longing for something in order to fulfil or to cover up something? Is it because for most of us there is a sense of emptiness, loneliness, a sense of void? Physiologically we need food, clothes and shelter, that one must have. But that is denied when there is political, religious, economic division, nationalistic division, which is the curse of this world, which has been invented by the Western world, it did not exist in the Eastern world, this spirit of nationality; it has come recently into being there too, this poison. And when there is division between peoples, between nationalities and between beliefs, dogmas, security for everybody becomes almost impossible. The tyrannical world of dictatorship is trying to provide that, food for everybody, but it cannot achieve it. We know all that, we can move from that. So what is it that we lack? Knowledge? - knowledge being the accumulation of experience, psychological, scientific and in other directions, which is knowledge in the past. Knowledge is the past. Is this what we want? Is this what we miss? Is this what we are educated for, to gather all the knowledge we can possibly have, to act skilfully in the technological world? Or is there a sense of lack, want, psychologically, inwardly? Which means you will try to fill that inward emptiness, that lack, through or with experience, which is the accumulated knowledge. So you are trying to fill that emptiness, that void, that sense of immense loneliness, with something which thought has created. Therefore desire arises from this urge to fill that emptiness. After all, when you are seeking enlightenment, or self-realization as the Hindus call it, it is a form of desire. This sense of ignorance will be wiped away, or put aside, or dissipated by acquiring tremendous knowledge, enlightenment. It is never the process of investigating "what is", but rather of acquiring; not actually looking at "what is", but inviting something which might be, or hopeful of a greater experience, greater knowledge. So we are always avoiding "what is". And the "what is" is created by thought. My loneliness, emptiness, sorrow, pain, suffering, anxiety, fear, that is actually "what is". And thought is incapable of facing it and tries to move away from it.
So in the understanding of desire - that is perception, seeing, contact, sensation, and the want of that which you have not, and so desire, the longing for it - that involves the whole process of time. I have not, but I will have. And when I do have it is measured by what you have. So desire is the movement of thought in time as measure. Please don't just agree with me. I am not interested in doing propaganda. I don't care if you are here or not here, if you listen or don't listen. But as it is your life, as it is so urgently important that we be deadly serious - the world is disintegrating - you have to understand this question of desire, energy, and the enquiry into a different kind of non-mechanical energy. And to come to that you must understand fear. That is, does desire create fear? We are going to enquire together into this question of fear, what is fear? You may say, "Well let's forget about energy and desire and please help me to get rid of my fear" - that is too silly, they are all related. You can't take one thing and approach it that way. You must take the whole packet.
So what is fear, how does it arise? Is there a fear at one level and not at another level? Is there fear at the conscious level or at the unconscious level? Or is there a fear totally? Now how does fear arise? Why does it exist in human beings? And human beings have put up with it for generations upon generations, they live with it. Fear distorts action, distorts clear perceptive thinking, objective efficient thinking, which is necessary, logical sane healthy thinking. Fear darkens our lives. I do not know if you have noticed it? If there is the slightest fear there is a contraction of all our senses. And most of us live, in whatever relationship we have, in that peculiar form of fear.
Our question is, whether the mind and our whole being can ever be free completely of fear. Education, society, governments, religions have encouraged this fear; religions are based on fear. And fear also is cultivated through the worship of authority - the authority of a book, the authority of the priest, the authority of those who know and so on. We are carefully nurtured in fear. And we are asking whether it is at all possible to be totally free of it. So we have to find out what is fear. Is it the want of something? - which is desire, longing. Is it the uncertainty of tomorrow? Or the pain and the suffering of yesterday? Is it this division between you and me, in which there is no relationship at all? Is it that centre which thought has created as the "me" - the me being the form, the name, the attributes - fear of loosing that "me"? Is that one of the causes of fear? Or is it the remembrance of something past, pleasant, happy, and the fear of losing it? Or the fear of suffering, physiologically and psychologically? Is there a centre from which all fear springs? - like a tree, though it has got a hundred branches it has a solid trunk and roots, and it is no good merely pruning the branches. So we have to go to the very root of fear. Because if you can be totally free of fear, then heaven is with you.
What is the root of it? Is it time? Please we are investigating, questioning, we are not theorizing, we are not coming to any conclusion, because there is nothing to conclude. The moment you see the root of it, actually, with your eyes, with your feeling, with your heart, with your mind - actually see it - then you can deal with it; that is if you are serious. We are asking: is it time? - time being not only chronological time by the watch, as yesterday, today and tomorrow, but also psychological time, the remembrance of yesterday, the pleasures of yesterday, and the pains, the grief, the anxieties of yesterday. We are asking whether the root of fear is time. Time to fulfil, time to become, time to achieve, time to realize God, or whatever you like to call it. Psychologically, what is time? Is there such a thing - please listen - as psychological time at all? Or have we invented psychological time? Psychologically is there tomorrow? If one says there is no time psychologically as tomorrow, it will be a great shock to you, won't it? Because you say, "Tomorrow I shall be happy; tomorrow I will achieve something; tomorrow I will become the executive of some business; tomorrow I will become the enlightened one; tomorrow the guru promises something and I'll achieve it". To us tomorrow is tremendously important. And is there a tomorrow psychologically? We have accepted it: that is our whole traditional education, that there is a tomorrow. And when you look psychologically, investigate into yourself, is there a tomorrow? Or has thought, being fragmentary in itself, projected the tomorrow? Please, we will go into this, it is very important to understand.
One suffers physically, there is a great deal of pain. And the remembrance of that pain is marked, is an experience which the brain contains and therefore there is the remembrance of that pain. And thought says, "I hope I never have that pain again: that is tomorrow. There has been great pleasure yesterday, sexual or whatever kind of pleasure one has, and thought says, "Tomorrow I must have that pleasure again". You have a great experience - at least you think it is a great experience - and it has become a memory; and you realize it is a memory yet you pursue it tomorrow. So thought is movement in time. Is the root of fear time? - time as comcomparison with you, "me" more important than you, "me" that is going to achieve something, become something, get rid of something.
So thought as time, thought as becoming, is the root of fear. We have said that time is necessary to learn a language, time is necessary to learn any technique. And we think we can apply the same process to psychological existence. I need several weeks to learn a language, and I say in order to learn about myself, what I am, what I have to achieve, I need time. We are questioning the whole of that. Whether there is time at all psychologically, actually; or is it an invention of thought and therefore fear arises? That is our problem; and consciously we have divided consciousness into the conscious and the hidden. Again division by thought. And we say, "I may be able to get rid of conscious fears, but it is almost impossible to be free of the unconscious fears with their deep roots in the unconscious". We say that it is much more difficult to be free of unconscious fears, that is the racial fears, the family fears, the tribal fears, the fears that are deeply rooted, instinctive. We have divided consciousness into two levels and then we ask: how can a human being delve into the unconscious? Having divided it then we ask this question.
It is said it can be done through careful analysis of the various hidden fears, through dreams. That is the fashion. We never look into the whole process of analysis, whether it be self-introspective, or professional. In analysis is implied the analyser and the analysed. Who is the analyser? Is he different from the analysed, or is the analyser the analysed? And therefore it is utterly futile to analyse. I wonder if you see that? If the analyser is the analysed, then there is only observation, not analysis. But the analyser as different from the analysed - that is what you all accept, all the professionals, all the people who are trying to improve themselves - God forbid! - they all accept that there is a division between the analysed and the analyser. But the analyser is a fragment of thought which has created that thing to be analysed. I wonder if you follow this? So in analysis is implied a division and that division implies time. And you have to keep on analysing until you die.
So where analysis is totally false - I am using the word "false" in the sense of incorrect, having no value - then you are only concerned with observation. To observe! - we have to understand what is observation. You are following all this? We started out by enquiring if there is a different kind of energy. I am sorry we must go back so that it is in your mind - not in your memory, then you could read a book and repeat it to yourself, which is nothing. So we are concerned with, or enquiring into energy. We know the energy of thought which is mechanical, a process of friction, because thought in its very nature is fragmentary, thought is never the whole. And we have asked if there is a different kind of energy altogether and we-are investigating that. And in enquiring into that we see the whole movement of desire. Desire is the state of wanting something, longing for something. And that desire is a movement of thought as time and measure: "I have had this, and I must have more". And we said in the understanding of fear, the root of fear may be time as movement. If you go into it you will see that it is the root of it: that is the actual fact. Then, is it possible for the mind to be totally free of fear? For the brain, which has accumulated knowledge, can only function effectively when there is complete security - but that security may be in some neurotic activity, in some belief, in the belief that you are the great nation; and all belief is neurotic, obviously, because it is not actual. So the brain can only function effectively, sanely, rationally, when it feels completely secure, and fear does not give it security. To be free of that fear, we asked whether analysis is necessary. And we see that analysis does not solve fear. So when you have an insight into the process of analysis, you stop analysing. And then there is only the question of observation, seeing. If you don't analyse, what are you to do? You can only look. And it is very important to And out how to look.
What does it mean to look? What does it mean to look at this question of desire as movement in time and measure?
How do you see it? Do you see it as an idea, as a formula, because you have heard the speaker talking about it? Therefore you abstract what you hear into an idea and pursue that idea - which is still looking away from fear. So when you observe, it is very important to find out how you observe.
Can you observe your fear without the movement of escaping, suppressing, rationalizing, or giving it a name? That is, can you look at fear, your fear or not having a job tomorrow, of not being loved, a dozen forms of fear, can you look at it without naming, without the observer? - because the observer is the observed. I don't know if you follow this? So the observer is fear, not "he" is observing "fear".
Can you observe without the observer? - the observer being the past. Then is there fear? You follow? We have the energy to look at something as an observer. I look at you and say, "You are a Christian, a Hindu, Buddhist", whatever you are, or I look at you saying, "I don't like you", or "I like you". If you believe in the same thing as I believe in you are my friend; if I don't believe the same thing as you do, you are my enemy. So can you look at another without all those movements of thought, of remembrance, of hope, all that, just look? Look at that fear which is the root of time. Then is there fear at all? You understand? You will And this out only if you test it, if you work at it, not just play with it.
Then there is the other form of desire, which not only creates fear but also pleasure. Desire is a form of pleasure. Pleasure is different from joy. Pleasure you can cultivate, which the modem world is doing, sexually and in every form of cultural encouragement - pleasure, tremendous pleasure and the pursuit of pleasure. And in the very pursuit of pleasure there must be fear also, because they are the two sides of the same coin. joy you cannot invite; if it happens then thought takes charge of it and remembers it and pursues that joy which you had a year ago, or yesterday, and which becomes pleasure. And when there is enjoyment - seeing a beautiful sunset, a lovely tree, or the deep shadow of a lake - then that enjoyment is registered in the brain as memory and the pursuit of that memory is pleasure. There is fear, pleasure, joy. Is it possible - this is a much more complex problem - is it possible to observe a sunset, the beauty of a person, the lovely shape of an ancient tree in a solitary field, the enjoyment of it, the beauty of it - observe it without registering it in the brain, which then becomes memory, and the pursuit of that tomorrow? That is, to see something beautiful and end it, not carry it on.
There is another principle in man. Besides fear and pleasure, there is the principle of suffering. Is there an end to suffering? We want suffering to end physically, therefore we take drugs and do all kinds of yoga tricks and all that. But we have never been able to solve this question of suffering, human suffering, not only of a particular human being but the suffering of the whole of humanity. There is your suffering, and millions and millions of people in the world are suffering, through war, through starvation, through brutality, through violence, through bombs. And can that suffering in you as a human being end? Can it come to an end in you, because your consciousness is the consciousness of the world, is the consciousness of every other human being? You may have a different peripheral behaviour but basically, deeply, your consciousness is the consciousness of every other human being in the world. Suffering, pleasure, fear, ambition, all that is your consciousness. So you are the world. And if you are completely free of fear you affect the consciousness of the world. Do you understand how extraordinarily important it is that we human beings change, fundamentally, because that will affect the consciousness of every other human being? Hitler, Stalin affected all the consciousness of the world, what the priests have achieved in the name of somebody has affected the world. So if you as human beings radically transform, are free of fear, you will naturally affect the consciousness of the world.
Similarly, when there is freedom from suffering there is compassion, not before. You can talk about it, write books about it, discuss what compassion is, but the ending of sorrow is the beginning of compassion. The human mind has put up with suffering, endless suffering, having your children killed in wars, and willingness to accept further suffering by future wars. Suffering through education-modern education to achieve a certain technological knowledge and nothing else - that brings great sorrow. So compassion, which is love, can only come when you understand fully the depth of suffering and the ending of suffering. Can that suffering end, not in somebody else, but in you? The Christians have made a parody of suffering - sorry to use that word - but it is actually so. The Hindus have made it into an intellectual affair: what you have done in a past life you are paying for it the present life, and in the future there will be happiness if you behave properly now. But they never behave properly now; so they carry on with this belief which is utterly meaningless. But a man who is serious is concerned with compassion and with what it means to love; because without that you can do what you like, build all the skyscrapers in the world, have marvellous economic conditions and social behaviour, but without it life becomes a desert.
So to understand what it means to live with compassion, you must understand what suffering is. There is suffering from physical pain, physical disease, physical accident, which generally affects the mind, distorts the mind - if you have had physical pain for some time it twists your mind; and to be so aware that the physical pain cannot touch the mind requires tremendous inward awareness. And apart from the physical, there is suffering of every kind, suffering in loneliness, suffering when you are not loved, the longing to be loved and never finding it satisfactory; because we make love into something to be satisfied, we want love to be gratified. There is suffering because of death; suffering because there is never a moment of complete wholeness, a complete sense of totality, but always living in fragmentation, which is contradiction, strife, confusion, misery. And to escape from that we go to temples, and to various forms of entertainment, religious and non-religious, take drugs, group therapy, and individual therapy. You know all those tricks we play upon ourselves and upon others - if you are clever enough to play tricks upon others. So there is this immense suffering brought by man against man. We bring suffering to the animals, we kill them, we eat them, we have destroyed species after species because our love is fragmented. We love God and kill human beings.
Can that end? Can suffering totally end so that there is complete and whole compassion? Because suffering means, the root meaning of that word is to have passion - not the Christian passion, not lust, that is too cheap, easy, but to have compassion, which means passion for all, for all things, and that can only come when there is total freedom from suffering.
You know it is a very complex problem, like fear and pleasure, they are all interrelated. Can one go into it and see whether the mind and the brain can ever be free completely of all psychological suffering, inward suffering. If we don't understand that and are not free of it we will bring suffering to others, as we have done, though you believe in God, in Christ, in Buddha, in all kinds of beliefs - and you have killed men generation after generation. You understand what we do, what our politicians do in India and here. Why is it that human beings who think of themselves as extraordinarily alive and intelligent, why have they allowed themselves to suffer? There is suffering when there is jealousy; jealousy is a form of hate. And envy is part of our structure, part of our nature, which is to compare ourselves with somebody else; and can you live without comparison? We think that without comparison we shall not evolve, we shall not grow, we shall not be somebody. But have you ever tried - really, actually tried - to live without comparing yourself with anybody? You have read the lives of saints and if you are inclined that way, as you get older you want to become like that; not when you are young, you spit on all that. But as you are approaching the grave you wake up.
There are different forms of suffering. Can you look at it, observe it without trying to escape from it? - just remain solidly with that thing. When my wife - I am not married - runs away from me, or looks at another man - by law she belongs to me and I hold her - and when she runs away from me I am jealous; because I possess, and in possession I feel satisfied, I feel safe; and also it is good to be possessed, that also gives satisfaction. And that jealousy, that envy, that hatred, can you look at it without any movement of thought and remain with it? You understand what I am saying? Jealousy is a reaction, a reaction which has been named through memory as jealousy, and I have been educated to run away from it, to rationalize it, or to indulge in it, and hate with anger and all the rest of it. But without doing any of that, can my mind solidly remain with it without any movement? You understand what I am saying? Do it and you will see what happens.
In the same way when you suffer, psychologically, remain with it completely without a single movement of thought. Then you will see out of that suffering comes that strange thing called passion. And if you have no passion of that kind you cannot be creative. Out of that suffering comes compassion. And that energy differs totally from the mechanistic energy of thought.
Truth and Actuality
Part 2, Public Talks Brockwood Park 1975
Truth and Actuality Part II Chapter 5 2nd Public Talk Brockwood Park 7th September 1975 'The Problem of Fear'
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