Breaking the pattern of conditioning
When there is freedom
4th Public Talk, Saanen
July 13, 1980
May we continue with what we were talking about in the last three talks? Some of you may be, have come for the first time, or haven't been to the other talks, so we should, if you don't mind, we'll repeat a little bit what we have said before.
Apparently man has lived for over five or six million years and during all this evolutionary period man has not been able, both outwardly and inwardly, to solve the great problem of conflict, conflict not only within himself but conflict and wars, slaughter outside. And that is the pattern through all these millennia, that the brain has followed this course, this mould, this pattern. And we are still continuing constantly in the same stream of misery, confusion and great sorrow, both inwardly and outwardly. And if we are at all serious and are concerned with what is happening in the world, and also within ourselves, one must wonder, or discuss, or find out why the brain, the mind - because we are using 'the mind' as sensation, all the emotions, the reactions, and the responses of thought. All that is the brain, the mind and the heart, the whole psychological structure of human beings, both biologically as well as psychologically - why we human beings, who are supposed to be educated, evolved, sophisticated, cultured, why we live in this world killing each other, being divided by religions, by nationalities, by all the destructive division that thought has created between human beings. And is it possible to bring about a change in the very structure of the brain. That is what we have been talking about for the last three talks.
And also we said that this is not a talk by the man who is sitting on a platform talking about ideas. Any number of ideas have existed in the world, any number of ideologies, both the totalitarian, Marxist, Lenin, Mao, and the other type, ideologies of the Left, the Centre and the Right - the extremes of all these. And these ideologies have been very, very destructive, whether the religious ideologies or the political, economic ideologies. And the brain, the mind, the whole psychological structure of man has lived in this pattern, has lived in this mould. And, as we said, this is not a talk by the speaker. We are together thinking over this problem - together. You are not just listening and agreeing, or disagreeing, going home having perhaps been a little interested, intellectually entertained. But I am afraid that is not the purpose of this Gathering. We are together taking the journey, thinking together. And one must, if you are kindly give some attention to all this, because we are all human beings, whether we live in Russia, East, West, South, North. We all go through a great deal of torture, misery, anxiety, the burden of fears, and sorrow. This is the common lot of man, the common lot of humanity. And the common lot is the human being sitting here in the tent, whether we are from the East, West, North, South, we are humanity. Our brains and our minds are not individual brains and individual minds, it is the mind of humanity. I know, perhaps, many of you will disagree, but if you examine it impartially, objectively, scientifically you will find that the brain is not yours, nor mine, it is the brain of human beings which has evolved to the present condition in which we find ourselves.
And we have been asking, examining, observing - not analysing - why the human mind has lived with this despair, this depression. Why human beings have not, during all these millennia, changed radically. That is the problem. That is what we have been talking over together. Talking over together, not listening to the speaker and say 'Well, he is theoretical, nonsensical, oriental,' and all the rest of that nonsense. Thought is neither oriental nor occidental. I think this is the basic fact. You may in the West think along a particular line, scientific, industrial and so on; and in the East it may be different, but essentially it is thought, thinking, which is common to all of us. It is the lot of man to think. And thinking is not yours or mine, it is common. And this thought born of knowledge, experience, memory, this thought has created the industrial world, built extraordinary bridges, beautiful bridges, great scientific inventions, surgery, medicine; and also thought has created wars. Thought has created all the architecture, beautiful and ugly, all the great paintings, the statues, and music. Thought has also created all those things that are in the cathedrals, in the temples, in the mosques. And thought has divided the religious world into Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and so on. These are all facts. It is not the speaker's invention. These are obvious, observable facts.
And we have lived that way - tribally, which has become glorified nationality. And is it possible for this brain, which has been moulded in a particular pattern, and has existed in a particular way: suffering, demanding, obeying, not obeying, conforming and revolting against conformity - this has been the pattern. And any serious person must enquire whether it is possible to break down this pattern and live totally differently, without war, without antagonism, without anxiety, fear, sorrow. And if you are willing, and capable naturally, to think together we can find out for ourselves whether it is possible or not. That is, more or less, what we have been talking about during the last three talks. Right?
As one observes one's own mind, not the speaker's mind, not the speaker's words, which are ordinary non-technological words - he is using non-technical words, not jargons and so on, just ordinary, everyday English. And also, if one may point out, we are not trying to do any propaganda, we are not urging you to join any Community, or to follow any guru. All that is silly, grown up people don't do this kind of thing. Immature people do.
So our question is: why the brain, which has got such immense capacity, why it has not solved its own problems, why it lives in this way? And as we said the other day, and we will repeat it again if we may: thought is the core of this, is the centre of all this travail. Thought is born out of knowledge, experience, which becomes memory held in the brain cells. So thought is a material process. This we have discussed with several scientists who are brain specialists - some of them agree, some them don't, naturally! That is their game. Some agree, some don't, about everything. But thought has been the centre of all this human struggle, this human urge to go beyond itself, the urge to find god, if god exists, to find out what is illumination, if there is something beyond time, if there is something beyond man's thought which is eternal, and so on. And so thought has been exercised right from the very beginning. And thought has made the image that man must grow, evolve, become something. I hope you are following all this. Please you are not following the speaker, you are following yourself. There is no teacher, nor disciple. That is truth. There is no follower and the leader in the world of mind, and there is only learning, not learning what someone has to inform you, but learning in action. We will go into that presently.
So we are together examining, taking a journey into the very, very complex life of human beings, very complex. And to enter into this complexity the mind must be free from all attachments, from any tie to anything, to your guru, to your conclusion, to your concepts, ideas and so on, because when you are tied to something, when you are committed to a particular religion, to a particular system of thought, to a particular method of meditation, to a particular method or belief and so on and so on, that very commitment brings corruption. Therefore a mind that is committed, taking sides, believing, cannot possibly enter, discover whether this mind can itself transform. Right? I know it is very difficult to accept this, because every human being wants to be committed to something; he feels safe in that commitment. One feels safe if you have a leader, if you have a guru, if you have a particular system. And if you are attached to any person, obviously you can see corruption beginning because in that attachment there is fear, hate, anxiety. Similarly if you are attached to an idea or to a belief, to a concept, to a particular image or symbol of a religion, then corruption is inevitable. And one of the factors of this corruption is authority.
Are we coming, meeting together? Or are you sitting separate over there and the speaker over here? We are physically, but is there any kind of communication between us? Is there any kind of observation of the common factor together? Do we both see, not only intellectually, verbally but actually as a fact - the fact. This microphone is a fact. Can we see the fact in ourselves that as long as you are committed, attached tied to something, to a person, to a belief, to a concept, there must be corruption? Whether you are a Marxist, Leninist, Mao or some latest guru, or attached to any particular system, there must be corruption. Do we see that as a fact? If I am committed to the idea that I am a Hindu, see what takes place. Or if you are committed as a Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, or belonging to some sect, some theological or democratic concept, you are tied and therefore you are not free to examine. And there must be freedom. And authority, specially in the world of the mind, and the heart, and the brain, that is to follow somebody, to accept some theological or theoretical concepts given by Marx and so on, or by some Asiatic or Indian mind. If you accept that and follow it mentally, in your actions and so on, that is the very basis of authority and corruption. Do we see this together? Not just intellectually see it, because one has carefully explained it, verbally it is very clear, but to do it, to see the consequences of this attachment, how it has divided the world into such chaos. And is it possible to be a light to oneself, not the light of another? Because our brain has been trained and evolved, and accepted authority. Not only the outward authority of law, which is necessary, but the authority, the psychological authority, the so-called spiritual authority. We have become slaves to that authority. So we are controlled, shaped, connived at by those who say 'We know, we have attained, we will tell you what to do, follow us. We will lead you to heaven, save you from your sins' - and all that business that goes on in the world.
And such a mind - committed, can never be free. And without freedom you can never find out what truth is. So could we, in listening to this obvious fact, because we cannot, we feel stand by ourselves, we always want to lean on somebody, whether it is the husband or the wife, whether it is your girlfriend or boyfriend, or boyfriend and another boyfriend, we think by leaning, seeking comfort from another, our brains have depended on the authority of the spirit. Please do pay a little attention to this if you are serious. And so our brains have been conditioned to accept spiritual authority - the priest, the guru, the man who says, 'I am enlightened, so I will lead you to that'. A man who is enlightened, when he says he is enlightened he is not, because enlightenment is not a thing to be experienced; it is a state of mind, and has gone beyond all thought. We will go into that when we talk later on, about meditation and so on.
So can the mind, your brain which has been trained to accept authority, and therefore its own particular discipline, can that brain immediately free itself from that authority, not the authority of law, not the authority of the policeman. You may disagree with the policeman but there is the common, supposed to be a common protector and so on. The law that you must keep to the right in these countries and in England keep to the left, and so on. Now can you, in listening, see the consequences of accepting authority outside: the authority of god - you understand? - the god who has been invented by thought, and the authority of the worldwide priesthood which says, 'I will help you to attain, help you to reach.' You are following all this? Because when you accept such authority you must invariably bring about disorder, not only disorder in yourself but also the disorder that brings about different authorities: the Islamic authorities, the Buddhist authorities (laughs) and so on. They are all at each other. As one very famous guru told me, 'I began with two disciples, now I have got ten thousand disciples.' You understand sirs, all this?
So when there is the acceptance of psychological, so-called spiritual - the authority of the spirit, the inwardness - then there must be disorder because it brings conflict in yourself. You may say 'I accept that authority because it pleases me, it gives me help, it gives me a sense of protection.' So you are depending on another and when you depend on another the consequence is fear, division, and all the conflicts that go on between what you are and what you should be. Right? So the mind - including the brain - so the mind has lived in this pattern, which is in the pattern of disorder. Look at your own minds, I don't have to... look at your own mind, how disorderly it is. Disorder means conflict, conflict between what is going on, the reactions, the responses, the reflexes, and the authority, the sanctions, the so-called illuminatory dictatorship and the fact of what you are - the conflict, which is always the desire to become something. Right?
So the brain has lived in this disorder, going from one guru to another, if you can't find enlightenment here you go off to Japan or India and that is the latest racket. Sir, truth is where you are, not in India, not in any other country, or any other people. It is where you are and where you are with all your troubles, worries, depressions, and the miseries. You have to finish with them and go beyond. Nobody on earth can give you that freedom from sorrow, freedom from anxiety. It is only you that can do it. So it is vain and useless to go off to various countries seeking various spiritual authorities and living in their concentration camp, which is called ashramas - this is the game we have all played for millennia. This is not something new. For two thousand years the priests of the Western world played this game. And in India they have been much longer at this. So this is the cause of our conflict, because we are looking to another. And can you, as you are listening, as we are thinking together, taking the journey, walking over the same path, not my path, your path, the path of observation, can you see what your mind, your brain has become and end this sense of spiritual authority immediately, so that you, who are humanity - you are humanity, you are not an individual because you go through the same door of anxiety, misery, uncertainty, fear, pleasure, sorrow, as everybody in the world does, so you are humanity, you are the world and your brain is the world. And if you see immediately the truth of this fact, that conflict, in essence, comes when you are accepting authority, spiritual authority from another. And this conflict arises not only from that but from being incapable of observing actually what is going on within yourself, without any distortion, without any judgement, just to watch it. Because we must live in order. Order is absolutely essential. There is no relative order. There is only order, or disorder. You understand what we have been saying? Either there is complete order, totally; or there is only disorder. It isn't something in between the two. What is in between the two is disorder.
So we must find out what is order. First of all to find out what is absolute order. There is such a thing as absolute order because the cosmos means order. The universe is in order. But we human beings live in disorder. Nature is in order but when man interferes with nature he brings disorder because in himself he is in disorder. Right sirs?
So what is order? Is it the end of conflict? Go slowly. We will go into it very carefully, step by step. Please, you are not following me, the speaker. You are observing your own structure of yourself. The word 'structure' there means movement. Movement of yourself, because you are a living entity. You can see something dead, but if you are a living thing it is a movement. And this movement of life is disorder. We may have occasionally some kind of peace, quietness, but the quietness, the peace and the silence that is cultivated by thought through so-called meditation, or going off, doing all kinds of tricks, is not silence, peace.
So we are now thinking together - I mean thinking together. I am not telling you what order is, which means you must live this way, that way the other way. Thinking together to find out for ourselves whether there is an absolute order. Or must man everlastingly live in disorder? So disorder and order cannot go together. A disordered mind cannot find order. That is simple. So we must find out what brings about disorder in us. Right? Not try to find out what is order. It is like a blind, ignorant man trying to find out heaven. I mean blind man in the sense, an ignorant man. He must be free of ignorance first. So a disordered mind can never find what is absolute order. Now what causes disorder? As we said the other day, when there is a cause there must be an end to it. That is a law. Right? I don't know if you see that. Where there is a beginning there must be an ending. If there is cause for a physical pain - right? - it can be ended, either in death or there is a cure for it. If you have a bad toothache, the cause is infection and that infection which is causing pain can be ended. Right? So there must be a cause for disorder - you are following all this? Right? Are we together at least a little bit, for a little while? Right? Undiyama? Va bene.
We are saying there must be a cause for this disorder. What is the cause? Are there several causes for disorder in our life or there is only one factor that brings about disorder? You are understanding my question? - not my question, your question. First of all, are we aware that we live in disorder? I think that is fairly clear. We are. We may have patches of sunlight, but most of the day we live, as we are doing now, with rain and clouds. So we are not talking about patches of order which are really the forgetfulness of disorder. So what is the cause of it? Or are there several causes? There must be disorder when there is contradiction, not only in your action, which is not only in your thought - in your behaviour. Contradiction, saying one thing and doing another. Obviously. And there must be disorder as long as we are conforming. Right? Conforming to an idea, to an ideal, to an image which has been created by another. All right? Which is: as long as there is contradiction in ourselves between action and the fact, between what we think and what we do. Right? That is: as long as man, mind, is trying to change 'what is' into 'what should be', there must be disorder. The totalitarian Communist world have their theoreticians according to Marx and Engles and Lenin and Stalin, all that, and have created a concept, an ideological world and the people there in their authority, in their power are shaping man to conform to that. You are following? This is what all religions have done. There is not much difference - perhaps there is a certain difference - between the totalitarian world and the religious world and the fascists. They are all following the same path, perhaps mildly, gently, forcefully, aggressively, threatening, but it is the same direction.
So is that the root of this cause of disorder? Please go slowly, don't immediately say, 'That is.' Think it out. Or there must be disorder as long as thought dominates our actions. Because as we said, thought is the response of memory. That memory is the result of experience, knowledge, stored up in the brain, in the cells. So thought is always limited because knowledge is always limited. There can be no complete knowledge. Right? Are you following all this? See what man has done. He knows probably deeply unconsciously that there can be no complete knowledge about anything, so he says, 'God' - whatever that is - 'is omnipotent, omniscient' and so on, so on, so on. So look what he has done: knowing his limitation, his knowledge must always be limited, he creates something which is total knowledge - omniscient - and struggles to reach that. You follow the game? You see what man is doing all the time. So we are saying, asking: is thought responsible for disorder? Please this requires a great deal of thinking, don't just say, yes or no.
Thought has created the opposite, not the fact but the opposite. That is: I am unhappy but I have known happiness at some period and the remembrance of that is a contradiction to 'what is' - you are following this? Yes? I wonder. So thought has created the opposite which is non-fact. What is fact is what is going on, what is happening. The fact is human beings are violent. That is a fact. But thought has said I must achieve non-violence, which is the opposite of 'what is' - right? - so there is conflict. But if there is no opposite there is only this, then you can deal with this. You are following? You can always deal with facts but not with non-facts. I wonder if you see this. Am I making this too complex? Too abstract? No, it is too practical I am afraid! (Laughter).
So is that the basic cause of our disorder? You follow? The cause is to become something - always trying to become. I am ignorant, I must know more. I don't know enlightenment, I must achieve enlightenment. My mind is in conflict, chattering, I must make it quiet. It is the same principle as the clerk becoming the executive, the parish priest becoming the bishop, and the bishop becoming the cardinal, and the cardinal becoming the pope. You understand? The same principle. Is that the cause of our disorder? You see we live in disorder, and then thought says, 'I must live in order'. So it creates a pattern of order, a pattern of values which are order, a pattern of behaviour - you understand? Being in disorder thought then creates what it thinks is order and the conflict begins. So is that the cause of our daily existence in disorder? If that is the cause it can be ended. Now just a minute. Follow it carefully, it can be ended. Your next question is: how? You are back again into the old principle of, 'Tell me what to do.' You are following all this? Oh, for god's sake, come on sir! Right? One sees this fact that thought creates the opposite and the opposite then becomes important in order to relieve the fact, to go beyond the fact. That is, I am violent - suppose one is violent. It creates its opposite because it thinks by creating the opposite, through conflict it can be free of violence. But conflict itself is violence. I wonder if you understand all this! Right? Can we go on?
So: can the mind, which has lived in the pattern of opposites, which is the pattern of non-facts, that is, when there is violence that is a fact, the non-violence is non-fact, the ideal is non-fact. So can the mind live, look, observe only the fact, without moving away from the fact? I wonder if you have understood this. That is, to move away means to suppress, to try to go beyond, to evade it, to analyse it, is moving away from this, from the fact of violence. Right? Are you doing it as we are talking? Or you are just being carried away by the words? So the brain has lived in this pattern of fact and non-fact - right? - and so created the conflict. When one sees the futility, the absurdity of this, then you are only left with fact. Right? Then how do you observe the fact? You are not getting tired? Can we go on? How do you observe the fact? That is, the fact is violence. We said violence is a state of contradiction, a state of following somebody, spiritually, philosophically, ideationally, psychologically, following somebody and there is a division between you and that, the guru and you, and the clever guru says, 'We are all one.' You follow? That is the game they play! So we are saying: can you observe the fact without any movement away from it? Right? Can we go on? So we are saying: how do you observe the fact? Are you giving a direction to the fact? You understand what I mean? Are you looking at the fact with a motive, which is to direct it - right? Please, all this requires tremendous attention.
We are saying: how do you look at the fact? There is only fact. Right? Not its opposite. So the fact is all important: not how you translate the fact. Right? Because then the translator of the fact, he is translating according to his previous knowledge - right? - and therefore when he translates the fact he is moving away from the fact. Right? Are you all asleep? So is there an observation without the translator, without the interpreter, without the observer? If there is a division between the translator of the fact, obviously he creates conflict. You are following this? So to end conflict, the translator is absent. Then there is only pure observation. When there is pure observation the fact is not. I wonder if you see that. Vous avez compris? You understand? As long as the translator is doing something he is creating the fact. But if the translator, the interpreter, the thinker, the observer is not, the fact is non-existent. I'll show you why. Are you interested in all this? No, no - do it! Otherwise it has no value, then it becomes an intellectual game.
What is the fact? The fact is violence. I am taking that as an example. The fact is violence. What is violence? Imitation. Right? Conformity, comparison, anger, hate - right? - jealousy, fear, sorrow. Those are all facts. Depression, elation, sorrow, all that, is a fact. When you say it is a fact, what does that mean? Is it a fact because you have remembered that thing which is happening now, in the past - you follow what I am You are following this? No, you are not. I am greedy now. The word 'greed', the word, is not the fact - right? Right? But by using the word 'greed' I have identified it because I have used that word previously. Right? The previous recognition of the fact of what is happening is what we call fact. Are you also working with me? So by naming it you have recognised it. Right? And so you have placed it in the past. See what we have done.
Take a very simple example: one is angry. At the moment of anger there is no recognition as anger. There is only the reflex to it, to a hurt, to whatever it is. A reaction. At the moment of reaction there is no sense of 'By Jove, I am angry'. It only takes place a second or two later. Why? Because the mind, thought, has recognised the fact according to the past remembrance. Right? So it is dealing with 'what is' in terms of the past - right? - which then creates conflict. Are you following this? So is there an observation without the word, without remembering this is violence? You understand? Vous avez compris? The moment the process of recognition, thought, begins it becomes non-fact. Right? Is this too difficult? It is fairly simple isn't it? I am angry - I have never been, but I am angry and at the moment of anger there is only this adrenaline active. Then a few seconds later thought says, 'I have been angry', which is the recognition of that which has happened in terms of the past. Right? Now, therefore the past and the present are in conflict. So can you observe without the word, can you observe without the translator, the thinker who says, 'I remember that, it has happened again'? That which is happening has never happened again. I wonder if you see that. It is only the remembrance of that, from that you say it has happened again. This is too much for you! (Laughter).
So the pattern which the mind, the brain and so the thought, has set, has lived in this conflict from time immemorial. And we are saying, the cause of it is this. And where there is a cause it can be ended. The cause is the division between the actual happening and what it should not happen, the ideal. So the ideal is non-fact, always. Only what is actually happening. The actual happening is my anxiety, my fear, my desperate loneliness. And when there is observation of that loneliness, the word says, I know what it means to have been lonely because I have known it in the past. So the past is in conflict with the present. You understand this? So is there an observation without the past? Of course there can be. Then the fact is not. It is the translator, the thinker, the interpreter, the observer who is creating the fact. I wonder if you see this. You understand? The fact is I am angry. The moment I smother it with a lot of words and ideas, I give it importance, I strengthen it. The moment I cease to give the past history to it, it withers away - you understand? Go through it, try it. Do it sir!
So we are saying: the cause of disorder is this conflict between what is taking place, going on, and what should be. If there were no opposite, non-violence - you follow? - I then have to deal with it, the thing as is. I wonder if you are moving. You understand this? So we are saying: man has lived in disorder, and he has looked for somebody else, an outside agency, to clear up this disorder, both politically, economically and religiously, so-called spiritually. The moment he does that he has created the division. Right? Where there is division there must be conflict - the Jew and the Arab, the Muslim and the Hindu, the Christian and the not-Christian. So there is only fact and not non-fact. Quelle heure est il?
We have got three more talks - Tuesday, Thursday and next Sunday. And we have to deal with a great many more things still. We have to go together, think together, to find out if man can ever be free of fear, completely free of fear, both the fear of the world and fear of what is happening, fear, inside. And also one has to go into the question of this very complex problem of pleasure. And the still more complex problem of death, and the ending of sorrow. And also we have to go into, talk over together, the meaning of meditation. So we have three more talks and we will go into all this in as much detail as possible.