1st Question & Answer Meeting 18
Facing a world in crisis
1st Public Questions, Brockwood Park
August 27, 1985
A lot of questions have been put. We can't possibly answer all of them. These questions have been chosen, not by the speaker, by others. I haven't seen them, and you haven't seen them either. Probably some of you wrote those questions.
If I may most respectfully ask you, I am putting a question to you, why are you here? This is a serious question as you have put to the speaker several other questions. Why each one of us is here in this not too nice a weather, windy, and one hopes that you are comfortably seated, but why? Not that you are not seated comfortably but why are we all here? Is it out of curiosity, nothing better to do? I am asking these questions most respectfully, not in any sense of impudence. Are we here to be stimulated, to be challenged, to have more energy, or release energy, or merely intellectual flirtation - that is a good word! - or romantically, sentimentally, or some kind of help, wanting to be helped by another? If one put all these questions to oneself what would be our answer? You might just as well ask the speaker why he is talking. Is it a habit? Is it he feels happy facing an audience, fulfilling, and that he needs an audience? All these questions must not only be put to oneself but also to the speaker. And if we explore into that: why we are doing what we are doing, with all this trouble, travail and the anxiety and fear of all life. And if one doesn't find an answer to why the speaker is going on the various continents talking for the last sixty, seventy years, is it a habit to him? He has tested it out, kept quiet for a year and more. And also at one time he talked behind a curtain (Laughter) to the audience and he felt rather silly (Laughter) and so he went before the audience. He has tested this out very carefully, whether he depends on another to fulfil, to be, to become, to feel famous, all that nonsense. Why in his return he is asking you, if he may respectfully, why we are all here. Is it old age because we have nothing else better to do? Is it that we really deeply want to understand ourselves. He is only acting as a mirror in which each one of us can see ourselves as we are, not be depressed or elated to discover what we are. Is that mirror clear, sharp, every feature of it is so - without any distortion. And if that mirror is clear and you see oneself exactly as one is then the mirror is not important. You can break the mirror without feeling any lack of luck! And if you can answer that question - it is rather serious - why we behave as we do, as each one of us does; why we think in a certain pattern; why we follow somebody - the crazier the better; why we store up all the things that one has said, that others have said; why there is nothing in ourselves that is ourselves. And to discover what we are, ourselves, that deep-rooted seed, not only the cultural seed, the traditional, the religious, all the outgrowth of all that but go very, very, very deeply in oneself to find out the origin of all things. Not the cells and all that, not the genes that one has inherited but much beyond all that.
Shall we go into that a little bit? What is the origin, not the biological and evolutionary process - the origin of all things. This demands, or asks, what is creation? What is creation? Who created all this, the marvellous universe, everything living in it and out of it? What is the origin of all that? Do you want to go into all that?
K: Sure? Why? (Laughter) As an amusement? As a form of entertainment, something new? I am afraid it is not anything like that.
Our brains have extraordinary capacity - extraordinary, not ordinary, but beyond all ordinary things. When one observes all the technological world, what they have done and what they are doing, and what they are going to do - tremendous advancement. The brain has this capacity. The computer is going to take over more and more all our activities, more or less, except sex, and probably it can't look at the stars of an evening. But it is going to take over all our activities - may bring about a new industry, new way of living, without electricity, it may depend on light. They are having great competition, America and Japan, tremendous competition. And we will all be slaves to that god - the computer. So we are saying the brain has an extraordinary capacity but that brain has been restricted, narrowed down by our education, by our self-interest. I know you will hear all this but you will do nothing about it. That's all right too. And that very brain which has evolved for centuries, millions of years, that brain has become what it is now - old, tired, with a lot of trouble, conflicts and misery. That brain, which is the centre of all our existence, all our being, which is the future and the past, we went into it the other day, and this brain wants to find out what is beyond all this, what is the origin, the source, the beginning. Can it ever find out? You understand my question? Can it ever find out what is the source, the life, the beginning of all creation, of all things, not only ourselves but the tiger, the marvellous trees. Have you ever been very close to a wild tiger? No. We have been very close, almost touching it - wild. And who brought all this about - inexhaustible nature and the rivers, the mountains, the trees, the lawns, the groves, the orchards and us? How will you find out? Please ask this question of ourselves. How will you, ordinary human beings like us, find out something which science, biology and bio - something or other, and the people who are digging into the earth finding new cities, how will you find out? By following somebody? By making some gurus inexhaustibly rich? How will you go into this? That is my question to you. Who will answer it? Are you waiting for the speaker to answer it? Or invent a new god who will say he created it. That invention, that imagination is still part of the brain.
So how will you find out? May I leave you with that question? What will you give to it, give in the sense, your energy, your capacity, your enthusiasm, your passion, your whole time to find out? Or will you treat it like something, 'Oh, I am too busy today, I will think about it tomorrow', or 'It is a question to put to the old not to the young generation, we are too young to think about all that'. How much energy will you give to it? Not seeking energy or releasing energy, that is all too childish.
May I go on with these questions?
FIRST QUESTION: At various times we have had mystical and spiritual experiences. How can we know if they are illusions unless we know reality?
At various times we have had mystical and spiritual experiences. How can we know if they are illusions unless we know reality?
How do you answer such a question? If it was put to you, how do you approach it, what is your reaction to it? How do you come so close to it that the question itself unfolds? You understand? The question itself begins to evolve. If you are merely seeking an answer it is already determined - right? Are we seeing this together? To find an answer is fairly easy, but to delve into the question, to see all the complications of that question, it is like having the map of the world in front of you, seeing all the countries, the capitals, the villages, the hamlets, the rivers, the ocean, the hills, the mountains, the whole of it. How do you look at this question? Not the answer. Perhaps the response to the question may lie in the question.
So at various times we have had mystical and spiritual experiences. What is an experience? I am just asking each other. What is an experience? And who experiences? Right? I may have had, or be having some kind of mystical experience. Before I use the word mystical or experience, what do I mean by experience? And does experience involve recognition? Right? Does it involve a sense of something happening to me from heaven or from some place, or something or other which I call mystical, which is not the daily experience but something totally outside, which happens to me? And I call that mystical or spiritual. I like, if one may, stick to those two words - spiritual and experience.
Is there an experience without an experiencer? You understand my question? Are we together exploring into the question or are you waiting for the speaker to explore it? So we are walking together, step in step, slowly or fast but we are together step by step - right? We agree to that? If we do - not agree - we are friends talking over this problem. I have had a spiritual experience, suppose, and what do I mean by those two words? Experience, something new, something that I have already had renewed, or something that is happening to the experiencer - you understand? And if the experiencer is experiencing and that experiencing is a form of recognition, that is the remembrance, identification and so on to that which I call experience, then there must be in that feeling that I have already known it, otherwise I couldn't recognise it. It is fairly simple, isn't it? I don't want to labour the point. It is fairly clear. As long as there is an experiencer experiencing then it is something that is happening to the experiencer, something separate, something which is not ordinary, which is not a daily, boring, habitual experience that one has - right? Are we playing the game together? So as long as the experiencer is there, every kind of experience, call it mundane, or spiritual, or holy, or sacred, or releasing energy, and all that stuff that goes on - mostly nonsense - then what is important in this process - experiencer, experiencing? What is most important is the experiencer - right? He is gathering. So when there is an experiencer it gets more and more subliminally egotistic, more and more 'I know a great deal which you don't know. I have had marvellous spiritual experience. I am illumined. Poor chap, you are not, come with me. Give me all your money then you will be quite safe.' (Laughter) They are playing this game, I assure you. 'Surrender yourself. Put on the beads which I give you.' - and all that rather silly game that is going on in the world.
And what is spiritual, religious? Something holy? Something unexpected? Something totally out of the ordinary? Why do we want something totally outside the daily life? Go on, please answer this question. Which means something totally different from our daily life. Then we are bored with our daily life: the habits, the loneliness, the despair, the attachments, you know, power and all the rest of it. We want to avoid all that and invite heaven, which is called spiritual. We can deceive ourselves so enormously - right? We have the capacity to deceive ourselves incredibly - right? Christianity is based on belief and faith. Sorry, I am not trying to hurt anybody, just pointing out. Two thousand years. And you go across the ocean to India and there, three thousand to five thousand years old. The same process of selling god. Why do we have to believe all this? Because we are frightened? We want to know the unknown and so on. We don't have to go into all that.
So what is illusion? And what is reality? You follow? Are we following this question? The questioner says: how can we know if they are illusions unless we know reality. Then we have to examine what is reality? What is reality? The real, the actual, is you are sitting there, the speaker is up here, unfortunately. And reality is nature, that tree, that animal, that dog, the marvellous earth, the blue sky about us. Reality. Right? Reality, I have feeling for my wife, husband, sister and so on, and so on, the whole movement of recognition. And the actual. Right? I wonder if We are together in this? The actual, you and the speaker are sitting now, twelve o'clock. That is actual. There is wind. I hope it won't rain. And the actual is the nature, the birds, the rivers, the water and so on. And the questioner says: I can't know what is an illusion unless I know reality - right? What is reality in ourselves? Is there anything real in us? Actual? Or is it all a movement, change? The other day in Switzerland when we closed Saanen Gathering altogether - no more - some people came up and said to us, to the speaker, 'We are so sad we have closed it.' And the speaker said, 'When you are sad it is about time we closed it.' (Laughter) You understand? We closed it. So nobody wants a change. Very few people want fundamental change.
And the questioner says, 'If I knew reality then I'd know what is illusion.' So we should look at illusion, the word. What is illusion? The word itself, in a dictionary, means something you play with - ludere. Something you invent, enjoy yourself: I am god, I am whatever it is, I am Napoleon, or I am such a great man. You play with something that is not actual. One has pain, a despair, a sense of tremendous, unaccountable loneliness. That is actual, precise. And we create an illusion that somebody is going to help us, somebody is going to fulfil our lives, make us feel not lonely. That is all illusions. The actual fact is one is desperately lonely.
So it is fairly simple to see for oneself, if one wants to, what is an illusion, what is reality and why this craze for experience. We have had sexual experience, thousands and thousands of experiences. Everything going from here across the field you see the birds, the house-martins and so on, that is an experience, but you don't call that spiritual. I see you sitting there, it is a challenge, it is moving. So what is important in all this is why the experiencer invents all this. You understand my question? Why the experiencer has become so important. Is there a period where the experiencer is not? That is the real question, not what is reality, what is illusion, what is experience and all the rest of it, but is there a period, a length of time, a space, where the experiencer, the observer and so on is not? Then you don't want experiences. You understand? There is nothing. You see that is the word. The word nothing - sorry, I am not a dictionary - means 'not a thing'. Not a thing of thought - you understand? Not a - nothing means there is the end of time and thought. That is where there is no experiencer at all. That is the real thing, not all this.
May we go on to the next question?
SECOND QUESTION: Is illness due to simply to degeneration or abuse of the body, or does it have some other significance?
Sorry, I am reading it badly. Is illness due simply to degeneration, or abuse of the body, or does it have any other significance? You understand?
The questioner is asking: has illness any significance at all? Right? You tell me! We have all been ill at some time or other in our life. Paralysed, accidents which break our body, every kind of illness we have known. Society, modern society is producing more disease than ever - right? You read the papers and so on. Has it any benefit? Does it make us understand deeply why we become ill, what is health, and why we cling to health and not to illness - you understand my questions? Am I talking to myself? Am I? Really I am surprised you are listening. Or you are sharing with it. You are sharing what we are talking about together. We are at the same table eating the same food. You may eat loudly and another may eat gently, but we are sharing the same food, at the same table, at the same time. So the speaker is not talking to himself.
We have all been ill. And we don't put up with it a little bit. Immediately doctor, pills, the whole circus begins. We never stay with it a little, see what is implied, how you meet pain. You understand what I am saying? How do you meet pain? I know how you meet pleasure, that is fairly simple. But pain, not only physical pain but the psychological pain, the getting wounded psychologically, hurt, how do you meet it? Psychological hurt is a form of illness - right? I wonder. If I get hurt because you are rude to me, or you say, 'You are a silly ass', I get hurt. That is a form of illness. But physically if I get hurt there is a doctor, there is somebody to do something about it. I want to avoid the psychological pain and also I want to avoid, run away from the physical pain, unless of course you have terminal cancer and all the cancerous agony. I hope none of you have it. So we never stay with something and see what it is like. Or put up with it. You understand my question? Are we together, sharing the same food?
Far more important in all this is psychological pain - right? The pain of being wounded, hurt, the feeling of deep agony inside. That's a great illness, to which we don't pay too much attention. If we paid great attention to that, to the inward pain, in different forms, and nobody can heal it. There is no pill, no guru, no book, no gods, no ritual, nothing will stop that pain. And if you don't run away from it, and if you really deeply stay with it, it has immense significance - right? It has - then you penetrate into something that goes beyond all self, self-interest. The outward then, the outward pain can be dealt with - go to a doctor, put up with it, that becomes secondary. When the speaker was ill some doctors gave to the speaker heavy doses of antibiotics. And after a while he was paralysed for a month, completely paralysed. You understand? Everybody had to carry the body, put it in a bath and all the rest of it, comb his hair, shave and all that, for a month. Don't sympathise, please. (laughter) I am not asking anything from you - I mean it. Neither your money, except to have this marquee and other things, he doesn't want a thing from you, neither your praise nor your criticism, nothing to do with your pocket. So this is not an invitation for sympathy, or, 'How could you put up with it?', and all that stuff. I am just saying there it was, for a whole month. 'That is the end,' I said to the person who was with me. All right. But slowly the antibiotic effect went away and he was all right, and he is still living. So if one stays with something, with pain, not too long of course, if it is really very, very, very painful then you are unconscious and all the rest of it.
So it has, if you will go into it for yourself, it has some significance, and that significance depends on each one. How you face life, how you look upon it, in what manner you receive it, in what way you react to it, how you respond to all the things that you are faced with in daily life, not on Sunday mornings. So if one observes as you observe a lovely tree, or a pigeon on the flight, observe yourself closely, it is an extraordinary thing what it reveals.
THIRD QUESTION: What is my responsibility toward the present world crisis?
What is my responsibility toward the present world crisis? Of whom are you asking this question? What is my responsibility, your responsibility? Why do we use the word responsibility? To be responsible. To be responsible to keep your body clean - if you have hot water, or not too cold a water. You are responsible for your children. The professors, the teachers, the educators are responsible for educating the children. Why do we use that word responsible? You understand my question? If you eliminated that word, what is your responsibility in a world crisis, my responsibility and your responsibility, if you cut out that word responsibility because that word implies you and responsibility - you understand? If you cut out that word then would you put that question? It is my duty to kill for my country. It is my duty as being a Russian, or an American, or a British citizen, to fight for my country and god and all the rest of it. If we could put away that word altogether from our brain, then how do you deal with it? Duty, responsibility, I must - all those words. If you put away those words, what happens? It is a very interesting question - right? What takes place when this duality, which is implied in responsibility - right? Are we together a little bit? The word responsibility implies I am responsible for you, for my children, for my wife, for my boss, for my job, etc., etc. I am responsible to represent God to you. And if I totally forget that word, not forget, put away that word entirely. (Drops the paper with the questions on.) Sorry! (Laughter) As that paper went down similarly banish that word from our whole being. Then what takes place? Go on sirs. Have you put away that word? No. We never - you see you hear something but you don't act about it. I am not responsible for Brockwood. I don't feel that way - the speaker doesn't feel that way. I am not responsible to tell you anything. But if that word is not, which means there is no I and responsibility to you, there is only you and I - right? Then what takes place? Come on sirs.
Has love a responsibility? Go on sirs, please shout, something about it.
Audience: It is unity.
K: If love has no responsibility then what takes place? If love is not attachment which is implied in responsibility, then what takes place?
(Responses from audience, inaudible)
K: Don't use - please don't say something, if I may most respectfully point out, don't say anything that you have not lived, worked, to find out. If I love you, if the speaker loves you and the word is not, the word responsibility, duty, attachment and so on, then what is our relationship? Go on, think it out. You are not waiting for my reply. I - the speaker is not going to reply to that question. It is really a very, very serious question.
So all this implies: do we love anything? Love, having something which is not dualistic -'I love you'. Well, I have answered the question. No, I have not answered, the question has been answered, has evolved.
FOURTH QUESTION: Does asking for guidance necessarily prevent understanding? Cannot seeking help be a means of discovery of ourselves? If not what is the sense of listening to you, K?
Does asking for guidance necessarily prevent understanding? Cannot seeking help be a means of discovery of oneself? If not, what is the sense of listening to you, K? There is no sense. (Laughter) You are not listening to K. If you are actually truthful, you are not listening to K. You are listening to see where you agree or disagree. You are listening, in the process of listening you are translating what he says to your convenience, to your conditioning. You are listening, not to K but to yourself. K is not talking about something extraordinary. There is something extraordinary far beyond all this but he is not talking about that now. You are listening to yourself - right? As we said earlier you are seeing yourself in the mirror. And you can distort the mirror. Or say, 'I don't like the mirror, I don't like what I see' and break the mirror but you are still what you are. So you are listening not to K. You are not trying to understand what K is saying. You are actually listening to yourself. If you are listening to yourself for the first time, that is the greatest thing that can happen. But if you are listening to K, X, Y, Z - no, sorry, not X, Y, Z - if you are listening to K then they are just a lot of words, a lot of reactions and so on. That is so utterly, if one may respectfully point out, utterly meaningless, unnecessary. You have listened to so many things, listened to the preachers, to the books, to poems, you have listened to the voice of your wife and husband and the girl and so on, or you are casually listening. But if you give all your attention to listening, hearing, not only with the ear but hearing much more, much deeper, then you will listen to everything. And you will listen to what K has to say, either you live with it, it is real, true, actual, or it is something verbal, intellectual and therefore very little meaning in our life.
And the questioner says, does seeking, asking for guidance necessarily prevent understanding? Understanding of what? Chemistry? Mathematics? Some philosophical concept? Understanding Gorbachev? What do we mean by understanding? Please, I am not, the speaker is not trying to be rude, or he is rude - sorry, he is not trying, he is not rude, just asking. What do we mean by that word understanding, first, and we can then relate that word to understanding - to bring about understanding through guidance, through seeking guidance. First, what do we mean by understanding? To understand. I understand French because I know some French and the speaker understands Italian because he knows that. So there is an intellectual, verbal communication - right? That is one form of understanding. We use common language, you speak English and the speaker speaks English, and the verbal communication, if we mean the same thing and not give to the word different meaning - like Alice says, Alice in Wonderland says, 'I give to the word what I want, the meaning what I want' - you can do that too but communication becomes rather difficult then. So what do we mean by understanding? A verbal communication? Intellectual comprehension of a concept, of an idea? Or understanding means actually listening to what another is saying, not try to interpret, not try to change it, not try to modify it, actually what he says, not only intellectually, with all your being, with great attention, then it is not merely intellectual, or emotional, or sentimental, all that kind of stuff, but entirely you are there. Then there is not only verbal communication but non-verbal communication.
And the questioner says, asks, does asking guidance prevent, necessarily prevent, understanding? Right? Why do I want guidance? About what? You answer me, those of you who follow these gurus and all the rest of it, churches and temples and mosques, what do you mean by guidance? Another fellow human being in different robes, with beard or non-beard, specially from Asia, India included, why does one want guidance? Are you being guided now? Be simple, sirs. Are you being guided now? Or are we together investigating, exploring, communicating, saying, 'I don't understand what you are saying', and I say, 'I'll explain it' and then you explain something to me and I say, 'Yes,'. We are moving together, there is no guidance. You understand? Are we.? We have had guidance galore: every newspaper, every magazine, every preacher, every priest throughout the world is guiding us, telling us what to do, what not to do, think this, don't think that, surrender yourself, oh, don't listen to him, he is a reactionary - you follow? We are being guided, shaped, moulded, all the time. Consciously or unconsciously. Here we are not guiding anybody, we are talking like two friends talking over things together. That is totally different. And guidance prevents understanding, in the deeper sense of that word, because I can't understand myself first, look at myself - you are guiding me all the time, do this, don't do that. I am not looking at myself, I am listening to what you have said. That means you become the authority, I become your slave, whether psychological slave, or slave to some other factor. These gurus with their ashramas, their places, become concentration camps. They tell you what to do, how to salute, all that Tommy rot. I am not condemning, it is so.
So if we don't seek guidance at all, which actually prevents understanding of ourselves, then cannot seeking help be a means, or discovery of ourselves - good God, need we go into all this again? Why can't we be simple? Not in clothes, I don't mean that. Simple. See things as they are. Look, face things actually as they are, instead of all this labyrinth of maze? Why do we have to go through all this? Except the doctor, that is a different matter. Psychologically we are talking about. Why can't we be very, very simple and look at things as they are. Is our brain so incapacitated, so cunning, so desperately devious, that it cannot see things, what is in front of their nose or eyes? If you are very, very simple psychologically, then that very simplicity has immense subtlety, much more subtle than all the cunningness of the brain. But we are never simple. If it is raining, it is raining. I am lonely - not the speaker - one is lonely, that is a fact. Why all the circus round it?
FIFTH QUESTION: Could you please explain what is total vision? Is it an extension of our normal brain function? Or does it imply something totally different?
Could you please explain what is total vision? Is it the extension of our normal brain function? Or does it imply something totally different? To be very simple: do we see anything entirely? Do we see, not trees and nature, all that, do we, each one of us, see your wife - see, actually see, not imagine, all the images, simply see? Do I see partially, because I have so much prejudice, so much fear, so much anxiety and all the rest of it, so I never see somebody entirely - right? To see something wholly, holistically, if I may use that word, completely, wholly, in that seeing there is no contradiction, it is so. Understand? Right? There is no contradiction in seeing what is actually going on. I am angry. I am impatient, exhausted. To see that simply. But the moment I bring in the fact, 'Oh, I shouldn't be. I am like this. I am exhausted. I am exasperated.' - excuses. Right? Can I see myself wholly as I am? Can I see the whole map? A map is put in front of each one of us, a map of the world, with various colours, with various flags, various prime minsters, various presidents - all the cuckoodom that is going on. There it is in front of me, in front of us. Can I look at that whole map as a whole? And it is not possible to look at that whole map if my attention is on Britain. Or if my attention is on Russia. So my attention then is directed to one point. You follow? So this sense of direction to one point, or self-interest prevents the holistic, the outlook - the seeing of the whole thing. It is simple. Right? But if I am stuck to, or my roots are in this one particular corner of the earth then I can't possibly see the whole thing. If I am always thinking about India - thank God I don't, I never do - if I am always thinking about India, what is happening, why I am an Indian, why am I poor, why am I this, you know all the rest of it, how can I diddle somebody, or believe in some particular god, or something or other, I am there, stuck, I can't see the whole of it. Right? It is as simple as that. So I won't be naturally when I see the truth of it I say, what nonsense.
Not only seeing holistically - we must stop - but also there is much more to seeing than that. Observing without any words, without any interference of thought, just seeing. First of all visually, then inwardly seeing everything as is. And from that seeing we can go much further, then you ask what is insight. Seeing something absolutely to be true and acting at that moment. I won't go into all that now. It is time to stop. But all this requires investigation or observing without analyser into what one is. And from there you can move infinitely, boundlessly. There is no beginning or end there.
May we get up?