Wholeness of Life
Longer, Unedited Versions
Ojai 5th Public Talk 16th April 1977
So we're going to go together, if we may, into the question of what is love. You understand? Because part of our consciousness, one of the fragments of consciousness, is fear, and the pursuit of pleasure. So is love a fragment of our consciousness, in which there is fear and pleasure, the pursuit of pleasure? So we're asking, and I hope we are sharing in this, though the speaker is putting the question, when there is fear, is there love? And when there is the mere pursuit of pleasure, is there love? Is love pleasure, and desire, or has it nothing whatsoever to do with fear, pleasure and desire? We are going together to explore this very complex problem. Our minds, the brain, if you've observed it for yourself, brain in the sense, though the speaker is not an expert or a specialist in the brain structure and so on, but one can observe, read this whole history of mankind in oneself, if one has the capacity, the energy, the drive, the passion, to find out. Because you are the whole history, the story of mankind. And so you are the world and the world is you.
Our brains through constant habit in which it has found security has become mechanical. I do not know if you have not observed it. Mechanical in the sense habitual, following certain definite patterns, repeating that pattern over and over again in a different field, but it's still a pattern. And the routine of daily life. The brain has become, if you observe, mechanical. The repetition of it, pleasure, the burden of fear, and not being able to resolve it. So gradually the brain, or part of the brain, has become mechanical, mechanical in the sense we are using the word, repetitive, both biologically as well as psychologically, repetitive, caught in certain patterns of belief, dogma, ideologies - the American ideology, the Russian ideology, the ideologies of India and so on. Where there is the pursuit and a direction, which becomes mechanical, the mind and the brain deteriorate. Please follow this, if you will, kindly.
When we live a life that is repetitive, however pleasant, however desirable, however complex, a repetitive life, which is the same belief from childhood to death, the same rituals, whether it is church or the temple or wherever it is, the rituals, the tradition of it, over and over again. The repetition of pleasure, sexual, or the pleasure of achievement, the pleasure of possession, the pleasure of attachment, all these make the brain deteriorate, because they are repetitive. I hope we are meeting each other in this question.
So long as there is the pursuit of pleasure as a repetitive process, and the burden of fear which man has not resolved but has run away from it, escaped from it, rationalized it, but it still remains. We are saying that the brain or part of the brain deteriorates. And this is very important, it seems to me, to understand. Because here is a country that's very young, historically speaking. And is it already deteriorating? Or is there a new life being born, regenerated, creative, not in the technological sense, not in the inventive sense, not in writing new books, and new ideas, but a mind, a brain that is incapable of a repetitive way of life. That repetitive pursuing pleasure everlastingly does bring about the deterioration of the brain. If you have observed that, and I hope in talking over together, you are observing your own mind.
The words that the speaker is using and the speaker himself, please use the words and the speaker as a mirror, in which you see actually, factually, not theoretically, not as an idea, but actually use him as a mirror in which you see without distortion. And then when you see without distortion you can destroy the mirror. So the mirror doesn't become the authority. You're following all this?
So we're not exercising any authority whatsoever, because in spiritual matters, in matters of that which we are going to go into, any kind of authority, any kind of following, any kind of acceptance, as a guide, does destroy the total perception, and therefore the perception of what is true.
So if that is clearly understood, that the speaker is not your guru, under any circumstances. And gurus in this country are becoming a nuisance - to put it mildly. And there are gurus in India by the thousand, and so they are destroying that country, because they accept followers, they assume the authority, as though they knew everything, but they are traditional, following a certain pattern, rituals and all the rest of it.
What we are saying, is something entirely different. So together we are going to question, explore, investigate and find out for yourself, not through the speaker, find out for yourself so that you are free human beings.
So we're asking, what is love? Is it pleasure? Pleasure in the sense sexual, repetitive sexual act, which generally we call love. And the love of your neighbour, the love of your wife or boyfriend, in which there is a great deal of pleasure, possession, comfort, based on desire. Is that love? Where there is possessive attachment to another, there must be jealousy, there must be fear, and basic antagonism. Right? These are obvious facts, we're not saying anything extraordinary or ideological, but we are moving together from fact to fact, from the actual to the actual, from 'what is' to 'what is'.
So we are asking, what is love? Do you love your wife or your girl friend or boy friend - when I use husband or wife, you know, it implies both so I won't repeat it over and over again - man and woman. Is that love, actually, not theoretically? In that love is there attachment? And is attachment love? And what is the basis of attachment? Why is one attached to something, to a property, to an idea, to an ideology, to a person, to a symbol, to a concept which you call God?
Why is there attachment? Because if we do not fully understand the significance of attachment, then we will never be able to find out the truth of love. Is not the basis of attachment the fear of being alone, the fear of being isolated, the fear of loneliness, the emptiness, the sense of insufficiency in oneself? Please examine all that we are saying. Don't accept a thing that the speaker is saying, but look at it. But to look at it, to observe it, put away your personal prejudices, what you believe in, your experiences, what you think about it, because you're all here after all, taken the trouble to come, wherever you come from, to find out what the speaker has to say. But if you are full of ideas and conclusions about what you think love is, or don't think what love is, then there is no possibility of communicating with each other.
So we are attached to people or ideas, to symbols, or to a concept, because in that we think there is security. Is there security in any relationship? You understand my question? Is there security, which is really the essence of attachment, in your wife or husband? And if you want security in the wife or the husband or the girl and so on, then what takes place? You must possess, legally or not legally. And where there is possession, there must be fear of losing, and therefore jealousy, hatred, divorce and all the rest of it.
So we're asking, is love attachment? Can there be love when there is attachment, with all the implications of that word, in which there is fear, jealousy, guilt, irritation, leading to hatred - all that, when we use the word 'attachment' is implied. So where there is attachment can there be love? We're asking factual questions, not theoretical questions, we are dealing with daily life, not an extraordinary life, because we can only go very deeply and very far if you begin with very near, which is you. If you don't understand yourself, you can't move far. And we're going to delve into problems which are tremendously important in our daily life.
So one has to go into this question logically, rationally, sanely, and then go beyond it, because logic is not love, reason isn't love, and the desire to be loved and to love is not love. So we're asking what is love? And we're saying that the negation of what is not love in daily life, every moment of your life, the negation, to put aside what is not love, then out of that negation comes the positive thing called love. You understand? We're understanding each other, not theory, not verbal understanding, but actually in our daily life, otherwise if you do not know how to love, if there is no love, then our society, the structure of our society becomes immoral, as it is, and if you love your children they'll be totally different.
So one asks, if you are a parent, do you love your children, if you have children, or you are merely attached, attached to them while they are very young, and then push them away, let them lead their own life, and having no relationship with you as the parent. And so where there is no love, you'll have wars, your children will be killed and maimed, and the other people's children will be killed and maimed. This is what is actually happening in the world.
So what is the relationship of love to suffering? You understand my question, because we are going into this question of suffering, which mankind throughout the ages has carried with him like a shadow. We are not philosophizing - philosophy means the love of truth, the love of wisdom; not as it's turned out now in the modern world, a lot of theories put together, clever philosophers use their brain and their thought, always thinking.
So thought has become extraordinarily important. And as we discussed the other day, thought is a fragment, it's very limited, and thought cannot solve this problem of what love is, thought cannot make, cultivate love, because thought is a fragment, thought is the movement of time from here to there, both physiologically as well as psychologically. The man who says I am this and I must become that, psychologically, thought has brought about the space which is called time, and the measure.
So we are not philosophizing in the modern sense. We are saying, we are dealing with daily actual everyday facts, and if we cannot understand them or run away from them, you lead the most extraordinary, miserable conflicting life. So we're asking, what is the relationship of love to suffering? What is suffering? Why has man throughout the ages suffered? There is the suffering when animals, the earth is destroyed, when the earth is misused, there is suffering. When you kill animals and watch them suffering, there is that kind of suffering.
There is the suffering - if you have ever watched yourself - there is suffering when you see a man who is dishonest, who is crooked, who says one thing, does another - that's another kind of suffering. There is suffering when someone dies on whom you have relied, who you think you love. And so on. There is that kind of suffering. Then there is the suffering of physical pain. There is the suffering of not being able to achieve, to become something, which is not fulfilling, as you call it.
And there is the suffering of a human being, when he says, "I must achieve the greatest worldly possessions, power, money." There is that kind of suffering. And also there is the suffering which is not self-pity, a suffering when there is the perception of what human beings can be and are not. You're following all this?
So there is vast human suffering. Wars have brought enormous suffering to mankind. I do not know if you saw some time ago on the television the maimed soldiers returning home. Once I was taken to a hospital where there were the people who are wounded from the wars, in a state of appalling suffering. That is our inhumanity to man.
So there is this vast human suffering. When you think you love your wife or your husband and he or she turns away from you, there is suffering. So you as the human being suffers, and humanity suffers. Everything man has done brings about suffering. The technological advancement has brought great benefits to humanity but also it has brought great suffering. You have watched all this?
So what is suffering, why does man put up with it, why do you tolerate it? You understand my question? Why do you allow these things to happen? Which is, asking the question, why do you live this way? You understand, sirs?
One mustn't become emotional, one must observe these things factually, not escape from them, and then only we'll be able to do something about it. When you make an abstraction, that is, move away from 'what is', which is an abstraction, you understand? Move away, run away, escape from 'what is', which is a movement of abstraction, then that abstraction becomes an idea, and you live according to that idea, but not according to facts. You see the difference? This is what we have done, all our life. And now we are saying, please listen without abstraction, which is, man suffers, man doesn't know the enormous beauty, the depth and the significance of love. And if you make an abstraction of it, that is, make an idea of it, make a conclusion about it, then you are not facing fact. So together we're examining without making a concept of it, which is so easy, because we think having a concept, a conclusion, makes us much more capable of dealing with 'what is'. But whereas if you look at 'what is' without the idea, then you can get your teeth into it.
So why does man, woman, even the liberated woman, why do they put up with this suffering? Why worship suffering, which the Christians do, apparently? Why man, you, comprehend what is the meaning of suffering. You understand, sir? What is it that suffers? When you say, "I am suffering, I suffer because I see animals ill-treated, I suffer because my neighbour's son is killed." You follow? Who is it - please listen to this, give a little attention to what is being said, because nobody will tell you these things. - when you say, "I suffer," who is it that is suffering? What is the centre that says, "I am in agony of jealousy, of fear, of a loss." Now what is that centre, you follow, I'll use the word the 'essence' of man, you as a human being who says, "I suffer, I shed tears."? Please find out with me, though I have found out, but yet we are going together in it, is it the whole movement of time, time being the past, the present, and the future, both psychologically as well as chronologically, is it the movement of time, is it the movement of thought as time, which creates the centre?
So when you say, "I suffer," what is that 'I', how has that 'I' come into being? Having come into being, then you say, "I suffer, I am anxious, I am frightened, I am jealous, I am lonely." "I must be this." Is that 'I' which is never stationary, which is always moving, 'I desire this and I desire that, and then I desire something else,' it's a constant movement. That movement is time, isn't it, that movement is thought, isn't it?
So, sir, when you say, 'I', there is the whole philosophy or whole concept in the Asiatic world, the 'I' is something which is beyond time. Or the concept that there is a higher 'me' is still in the Asiatic world. In the Western world, the 'I' has never been thoroughly examined. You have attributed qualities to it, the Freuds and the Jungs and all the psychologists have given an attribute, given a description of it, given attributes. You follow? But never gone into this question of what is the nature and the structure of the 'I' which says, "I suffer."
And we're saying, is there, that 'I' is as you observe one day I say, "I must have that." And a few days later you want something else. There is the constant movement of desire. Constant movement of pleasure, constant movement of what you must be, what you want to be and so on. We are saying, this movement is time. This movement is the structure and the nature of thought. [The poor child is crying.]
So the 'I' who says, "I suffer", is put together by thought. Obviously. The thought says, "I am K., I am John, I am this, I am that," And thought identifies itself with the structure, with the name and with the form, which is the 'I', with all the content of consciousness, which is the 'I', fear, hurts, loneliness, despair, anxiety, guilt, the pursuit of pleasure, the sense of loneliness, all that, which is the content of your consciousness, which is the essence of your 'I'.
So when you say, "I suffer", what is that? Is the image that thought has built about itself, which is the form, the name and all that, is it that that suffers? You're following this question? Because, please, if you don't, I will go into it in ten different ways. Because one can be free totally from sorrow. And when sorrow ends, there is not only wisdom but also there is tremendous passion, not lust, passion, which has nothing whatsoever to do with desire, with enthusiasm.
So without escaping, when you say, "I suffer", when you shed tears, when there is somebody that you love is lost, is gone, without escaping, running away from this sense of anxiety, loneliness, despair, not to run away from it, but to remain with it totally. You understand? Because sorrow is the summation of energy.
You know, any challenge, any challenge, the deeper the challenge, the wider the challenge, the more intense the challenge is, the greater energy is demanded to meet it. Sorrow is this challenge. And it is the essence of that challenge to which you have to respond. But if you respond to it by escaping from it, by seeking comfort from it, then you are dissipating the energy that you need to meet this thing.
So when there is no escape, and there is no escape, because if you do escape, sorrow is always there, like your shadow, like your face, it's always with you, and without escaping, to remain with it without any movement of thought. You understand? Are you doing this? We are talking together, we are looking together into this. So are you doing it now, not tomorrow - do it now as we are talking.
We are saying, don't escape from suffering, whatever that suffering is. Naturally physical suffering, you need to alleviate it, you need to quieten it. But we are talking about psychological suffering, the deep inward pain of man. If you run away from it, you have not solved it, but if you remain with it, not identify yourself with it, because you are that suffering. But if you say, "I must identify with it, I must accept it, I must rationalize it.' you're moving away from the actuality of suffering.
So without escaping, remain with it. Which means, all energy, all your energy is present to meet this extraordinary thing that has happened. And out of that comes passion. The word 'suffering' has its root in passion, in the dictionary, if you go into it - I don't want go into all that.
So there is a solution, there is an ending to sorrow, as there is an ending to fear, completely. Then only there is a possibility to love, because a man who suffers does not know what love is. But we think that we will learn something from suffering, that suffering is a lesson to be learnt. But when you observe suffering in yourself, not escape from it, remain with it totally, completely, without any movement of thought, of alleviation, comfort, just completely hold it, then you will see some strange, psychological transformation takes place.
So love is passion, which is compassion. And compassion has its own intelligence. I wonder how much of this you understand, because without that passion and compassion, with its intelligence, we are acting in a very limited sense. All our action is limited. Where there is compassion that action is total, complete, irrevocable. I wanted to talk also in relation to this, the question of death.
You know, death is something, not only mysterious, but also it is a great act of purgation. You understand? You understand the word, to cleanse. You know that which has continuity, is degenerating. I wonder if you understand this. That which continues, which is repetitive, which is in the same movement, in the same pattern, whether the pattern may vary according to countries, according to climate, according to circumstances, but it's the same pattern, moving in any pattern brings about a continuity. Right? Do you see that?
And that continuity is part of the degenerating process of man. Whereas, when there is an ending to continuity, something new can take place. You understand - this is simple. You need a great deal of time to go into this question of what is death. Either you can understand it instantly, because you have understood, you have lived and understood the whole movement of thought, of fear, hate, love - you follow - all that, and you can then grasp the significance instantly, of what death is. But as most people don't do this kind of work, we'll have to work together to go into this, though I'm not your guru, so don't be a follower, of anybody.
What is death? When you ask that question, thought has many answers. Right? Thought says - I don't want to go into all the miserable explanations of thought. Haven't you noticed, when you ask that question, every human being has an answer to it, according to his conditioning, according to his desire, according to his hope, according to the demands of his comfort. You follow? He always has an answer.
So without having an answer, if you can, look at, let's find out, without answering it. You understand? The answer will invariably be intellectual, verbal, put together by thought. But we are examining something totally unknown, totally mysterious - death is a tremendous thing. I hope you can do this.
We are asking, what is death. Obviously the organism dies, the organism, please listen to it a little bit carefully if you really want to go into this very deeply, please give your attention, though you may be a little tired after an hour, and five minutes or ten minutes. When we ask that question, what is death, one realizes the organism, the body, with its brain, having been misused, in various forms of self-indulgence, contradictions, effort, constant struggle, wears itself out mechanically, it's a mechanism. And with it dies the brain. The brain is the residue, the holder of memory. Right? Memory as experience, as knowledge, and from that knowledge, experience, stored up in the cells of the brain, as memory, from which thought arises, when the organism comes to an end, the brain also comes to an end.
And so thought comes to an end, because we said, thought is a material process, thought has nothing etheric or spiritual, it is a material process based on memory. Memory is held in the cells of the brain. And its response is thought. And when the organism dies, thought dies. You understand? And thought has created the whole structure of the 'me'. No? I wonder if you understand all this. The 'me' that wants this, the 'me' that doesn't want that, the 'me' that is fearful, anxious, despairing, longing, lonely, fearful - you follow - the 'me'. That movement is brought about by thought which is also a movement, so that 'me' put together by thought, and when the organism dies, thought with its material process, also comes to an end. Wait, go into it very slowly.
And, you say, is that all? You understand? You follow? One has lived, struggled, acquired knowledge, suffered and so on, and you say, "Well is that the end of it? What is the value of it?"
What is the value of a human being who has lived, struggled, experienced, value in the sense, what is the significance of it? Just to acquire, live such an ugly, stupid, miserable wicked life, and then end? You follow? So thought says, "No, this is not the end." So thought says, "There is another world." That other world is still the movement of thought. You're following all this? So thought invents the other world. The world where you will be happy. (Laughter) The world where you will have all your desires fulfilled, where you will be most extraordinarily rewarded, sitting next to God. All that is the movement of thought also. You're following all this? See what thought does, see the danger of thought in the wrong place. Thought has a right place, which is to function where it is absolutely necessary, technology, language - you follow - all that. But when thought invents and says, "That is, it is there," it is still the movement of thought.
So when one asks, when the brain comes to an end through disease, through old age, through an accident, through misuse, the misuse of living in an illusion, living in a belief - all beliefs are illusory, all ideals are not based on fact. There is only fact, no ideals. So the brain comes to an end with the organism, and so thought comes to an end. Thought realizes this very deeply, because thought is fairly cunning. So thought realizes this is not the end, I must continue. So it continues in an idea, in an illusion, in a heaven. Or in hell everlastingly suffering, because you didn't obey the laws of some priest.
Please follow this. So we are saying, is that the whole meaning of living. You understand, sir? Do you understand my question? You bear children, you have pain, you struggle, you go through such misery, wars, hate each other, like each other. And suddenly end. So one says, then what is the meaning of living? You're following all this? One is always asking - again, please listen - one is always asking what happens after death. We are asking quite a different question - what is before death, not what is after death. You understand what I am saying? What is before death, which is your life. Right? What is your life? Go to school, to college, university, get a job, live, man and woman live together, sex, he goes off to the office, she goes off earning some more money, they have children, pain, anxiety, each man fighting. You're following it? Going to an office for the next fifty years, what a life you lead.
This is your life, before death. And you want to know, living such a miserable life, you want to know what is after death. See what you are doing, sirs. I want to weep for you. But it's no good weeping for you. So is that all? That is an apparent fact, isn't it? Right? Are you following? Without inventing another world, without saying, "Yes, there is life after death, there is this," you follow? - the things thought has produced, and they have written volumes about it - all based on thinking. Right? All saying, "I believe."
So if you put aside all that, literally, actually do it, put all that aside, then what are you faced with? The actual fact, the fact that you, who is put together by thought, comes to an end. Can you bear that? You follow what I'm saying? Can you see the fact of that? All your anxieties, all your longings - when you die the brain, which holds thought, comes to an end.
Now, if that is so, as it so, then we can go into something which is entirely different. So we are asking, when all this ends, what is there? You understand? I wonder if you do. Look, sir, actually, when you're living, as you're living now, with vigour, with energy, with all the travail of life, as now, can you live meeting death now? Please, do you understand my question? Which is, I'm living with my vigour, energy, capacity, pain and all the rest of it - I'm living. And death means an ending to that living. Right? Now can I bring the ending into my living? That is, to live with death all the time. That is, I'm attached to you, end that attachment, which is death, isn't it? I wonder if you see this. I'm greedy, and when you die, you can't carry greed with you. So end the greed, not in a week's time, or ten days time - end it, now. So you're living a life full of vigour, energy, capacity, observation, see the beauty of the world, beauty of the earth, and also the ending of that instantly, which is death.
So to live before is to live with death. Have you captured something? Which means that you are living in a timeless world. You understand? You're living a life of constant - everything that you acquire, you are ending, so that there is always a tremendous movement, not a certain place, you're fixed. I wonder if you see all this. Can you do all this? Will you do all this, or will you just listen and say, well, this is another idea, another concept. This is not a concept. When you invite death, which means the ending of everything that you hold, dying to it, each day, each minute, then you will find - not you, there is no 'you' finding it, because you have gone - then there is that state of a timeless dimension in which the movement as we know as time, is not. This is the depth of meditation. You understand? It means the emptying of the content of your consciousness, so that there is no time, time comes to an end, which is death. You understand? Not ten years later or fifty years later, but now.
Wholeness of Life
Longer, Unedited Versions
Ojai 5th Public Talk 16th April 1977
Texts and talks of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti quotes. Books about
J Krishnamurti. Philosophy.