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Wholeness of Life

Public Talks And Dialogue

The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 16 2nd Public Talk Ojai California 3rd April 1977 'The Division Between the Observer and The Observed Is the Source of Conflict'

There are two types of learning: one, memorizing what is being taught and then observing through memory - which is what most of us call learning - the other, learning through observation and not storing it as memory. Put another way: one is to learn something by heart, so that it is stored up in the brain as knowledge and subsequently acting according to that knowledge, skilfully or unskilfully; when one goes to school and university, one stores up a great deal of information as knowledge and according to that knowledge one acts, beneficially for oneself or for society; but incapable of acting simply, directly. The other kind of learning - to which one is not quite so accustomed because one is such a slave to habits, to tradition, to every form of conformity - is to observe without the accompaniment of previous knowledge, to look at something as though for the first time, afresh. If one observes things afresh, then there is not the cultivation of memory; it is not as when one observes and through that observation stores up memory so that the next time one observes it is through that pattern of memory, therefore not anymore observing afresh.

It is important to have a mind that is not constantly occupied, constantly chattering. To an unoccupied mind a new seed of learning can germinate - something entirely different from the cultivation of knowledge and acting from that knowledge.

Observe the skies, the beauty of the mountains, the trees, the light among the leaves. That observation, if stored up as memory, will prevent the next observation being fresh. When one observes one's wife or friend, can one observe without the interference of the recording of previous incidents in that particular relationship? If one can observe or watch the other without the interference of previous knowledge, one learns much more.

The most important thing is to observe; to observe and not to have a division between the observer and the observed. Mostly there is a division as between the observer who is the total summation of past experience as memory and the observed, that which is - so the past observes. The division between the observer and the observed is the source of conflict.

Is it possible for there to be no conflict at all, right through one's life? Traditionally, one accepts that there must be this conflict, this struggle, this everlasting fight, not only physiologically in order to survive, but psychologically in desire and fear, like and dislike, and so on. To live without conflict is to live a life without any effort, a life in which there is peace. Man has lived, centuries upon centuries, a life of battle, conflict, both outwardly and inwardly; a constant struggle to achieve and fear of losing, dropping back. One may talk endlessly about peace, but there will be no peace as long as one is conditioned to the acceptance of conflict. If one says it is possible to live in peace, then it is just an idea and therefore valueless. And if one says it is not possible, then one blocks any investigation.

Go into it psychologically first; it is more important than physiologically. If one understands very deeply the nature and the structure of conflict psychologically and perhaps ends it there, then one may be able to deal with the physiological factor. But if one is only concerned with the physiological, biological factor, to survive, then one probably will not be able to do it at all.

Why is there this conflict, psychologically? From ancient times, both socially and religiously, there has been a division between the good and the bad. Is there really this division at all - or is there only "what is", without its opposite? Suppose there is anger; that is the fact, that is "what is", but "I will not be angry" is an idea, not a fact.

One never questions this division, one accepts it because one is traditional by habit, not wanting anything new. But there is a further factor; there is a division between the observer and the observed. When one looks at a mountain, one looks at it as an observer and one calls it a mountain. The word is not the thing. The word "mountain" is not the mountain, but to oneself the word is very important; when one looks, instantly there is the response, "that is a mountain". Now, can one look at the thing called "mountain", without the word, because the word is a factor of division? When one says "My wife," the word "my" creates division. The word, the name, is part of thought. When one looks at a man or a woman, a mountain or a tree, whatever it is, division takes place when thought, the name, the memory, comes into being.

Can one observe without the observer, who is the essence of all the memories, experiences, reactions and so on, which are from the past? If one looks at something without the word and the past memories, then one looks without the observer. When one does that, there is only the observed and there is no division and no conflict, psychologically. Can one look at one's wife or one's nearest intimate friend without the name, the word and all the experiences that one has gathered in that relationship? When one so looks one is looking at her or him for the first time.

Is it possible to live a life that is completely free from all psychological conflict? One has observed the fact, it will do everything if one lets the fact alone. As long as there is division between the image-making observer, and the fact - which is no image but only fact - there must be everlasting conflict. That is a law. That conflict can be ended.

When there is an ending of psychological conflict - which is part of suffering - then how does that apply to one's livelihood, how does that apply in one's relationship with others? How does that ending of psychological struggle, with all its conflicts, pain, anxiety, fear, how does that apply to one's daily living - one's daily going to the office etc. etc? If it is a fact that one has ended psychological conflict, then how will one live a life without conflict outwardly? When there is no conflict inside, there is no conflict outside, because there is no division between the inner and the outer. It is like the ebb and flow of the sea. It is an absolute, irrevocable fact, which nobody can touch, it is inviolate. So, if that is so, then what shall one do to earn a livelihood? Because there is no conflict, therefore there is no ambition. Because there is no conflict, there is no desire to be something. Because inwardly there is something absolute which is inviolate, which cannot be touched, which cannot be damaged, then one does not depend psychologically on another; therefore there is no conformity, no imitation. So, not having all that, one is no longer heavily conditioned to success and failure in the world of money, position, prestige, which implies the denial of "what is" and the acceptance of "what should be".

Because one denies "what is" and creates the ideal of "what should be" there is conflict. But to observe what actually is, means one has no opposite, only "what is". If you observe violence and use the word "violence" there is already conflict, the very word is already warped: there are people who approve of violence and people who do not. The whole philosophy of non-violence is warped, both politically and religiously. There is violence and its opposite, non-violence. The opposite exists because you know violence. The opposite has its root in violence. One thinks that by having an opposite, by some extraordinary method or means, one will get rid of "what is".

Now, can one put away the opposite and just look at violence, the fact? The non-violence is not a fact. Non-violence is an idea, a concept, a conclusion. The fact is violence - that one is angry; that one hates somebody; that one wants to hurt people; that one is jealous; all that is the implication of violence, that is the fact. Now, can one observe that fact without introducing its opposite? For then one has the energy - which was being wasted in trying to achieve the opposite - to observe "what is". In that observation there is no conflict.

So, what will a man do who has understood this extraordinary complex existence based on violence, conflict, struggle, a man who is actually free of it, not theoretically, but actually free? Which means, no conflict. What shall he do in the world? Will one ask this question if one is inwardly, psychologically, completely free from conflict? Obviously not. It is only the man in conflict who says: "If there is no conflict, I will be at an end, I will be destroyed by society because society is based on conflict."

If one is aware of one's consciousness, what is one? If one is aware, one will see that one's consciousness is - in its absolute sense - in total disorder. It is contradictory, saying one thing, doing something else, always wanting something. The total movement is within an area which is confined and without space and in that little space there is disorder.

Is one different from one's consciousness? Or is one that consciousness? One is that consciousness. Then is one aware that one is in total disorder? Ultimately that disorder leads to neurosis, obviously - and all the specialists in modern society such as psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and so on. But inwardly, is one in order? Or is there disorder? Can one observe this fact? And what takes place when one observes choicelessly - which means without any distortion? Where there is disorder, there must be conflict. Where there is absolute order there is no conflict. And there is an absolute order, not relative order. That can only come about naturally, easily, without any conflict, when one is aware of oneself as a consciousness, aware of the confusion, the turmoil, the contradiction, outwardly and inwardly observing without any distortion. Then out of that comes naturally, sweetly, easily, an order which is irrevocable.

Wholeness of Life

Public Talks And Dialogue

The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 16 2nd Public Talk Ojai California 3rd April 1977 'The Division Between the Observer and The Observed Is the Source of Conflict'

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