Can one live a totally integrated life?
When you observe ‘what is’, there is no conflict
5th Public Talk Madras
January 09, 1982
May we continue with what we were talking about last Sunday? We will briefly make a resume of what we talked over together.
We were talking about time: we said that we are the past, the present and the future; we are time-makers, time is in our hands, in our minds, in our heart, we are time-bound. All our capacities, our skills, learning languages, painting and poetry and so on are all based on time. And to us, as we said, the future is very important; what we are, what we hope to be; what we have been, meeting the present, transforming itself, or modifying itself and continuing in the future. This is the whole cycle in which we live. That is, experience of millennia, many, many millennia and acquiring knowledge from that experience, stored up as memory, and thought springing from that memory, and action. This is the cycle, we live perpetually from knowledge to thought, to action, and learning from that action more. So we are always moving within the field of knowledge, which is the result of time. And we said also that as long as we are living our daily life, our life becomes very limited, narrow, bound by time. We said time is also thought and desire. Desire, we went into the nature of desire, how it arose. And we also said time, thought, brought about fear, which is also a process of time. Our brains are conditioned that way. If one has observed oneself it is fairly obvious that one's whole outlook on life is limited, narrow, or expanded through knowledge, but it is still within the field of knowledge. And as knowledge is always limited, because there is no complete knowledge about anything, as knowledge is always limited, thought is limited. And whatever thought has created - the most wonderful pictures, the marvellous cathedrals, the great temples and the mosques, and the things therein, are all the product of thought; and so they are all limited, incomplete, insufficient.
And we also said, please, this is not a lecture. This is not something that you just listen to whether you like it or not - I hope you like it. It is not a lecture in the ordinary sense of that word. But here we are trying to think together, not about anything, but the capacity, the co-operation necessary to think together, to find out together, to investigate, to explore, as we have explored together the nature of fear, the corrupt society in which we live, the lack of aesthetic observation of the world, the immorality that exists, permissiveness, which is perhaps not too recent but probably it is very old. And also we said together - please we are not laying down any law, not asking you to believe anything, or to convince you of anything whatsoever. We are not persuading you to form a new ideal, a new appreciation of a concept or a theory. We are dealing with daily facts of life: our misery, our confusion, our lack of relationship with each other, however intimate it be. We talked about human beings that are deeply hurt from childhood, wounded psychologically, how it distorts our action, our point of view and so on.
We also talked together, amicably as two friends, about pain, suffering, whether there is a possibility of ending sorrow, not only one's own narrow sorrow but the sorrow of the world, the global sorrow. And we also said no politician, or scientist, or any leader or any guru has solved any of our problems. On the contrary they have increased them. So if one realises that, not intellectually but actually, then we are totally, utterly responsible for ourselves: for our behaviour, for our moral conduct, for our relationship with each other and so on.
Please let me repeat again, if you don't mind, that we are talking over together our problems like two friends having a dialogue. But we can't have a dialogue with so many, therefore it becomes necessary that we repeat this statement over and over again: that we are together, deeply investigating our problems; that you and the speaker are thinking together, exercising our brains, not some kind of romantic sentimental appreciation of the setting of this place: the trees, and the sunset and the beauty of the clouds.
So we are going to investigate together this evening not only the nature of human beings who do not love, who repeat that word without much significance or depth, but what is compassion, if such a thing exists at all. And also how to bring about - perhaps not how - what is the nature of a mind that demands, perceiving the confusion, the utter degeneracy of the world that is taking place now, what is the quality of a mind that demands a radical change. There have been many, many physical revolutions: the communist revolution, socialist, every type of revolution within the last five thousand years probably. Physical revolution has not solved anything; the upper class are destroyed and the lower class come up. It is a good old game and the pattern is repeated over and over again, as one perceives it in Russia, and the satellite countries of Russia. But we are talking about fundamental, psychological transformation necessary to bring about a new culture, a new religion, totally disconnected with all the present religious entertainment. Don't be offended please, just listen to it. We are investigating. When we are investigating there is no taking sides about anything; we are looking carefully at all the problems that we have to face in life. And one of the basic demands of a psychological change is integrity.
Most of us lead a double life: worship all the images that thought has created, be utterly thoughtless on one side, and an engineer, an electronic expert building neutron bombs and so on and so on. So there is a contradiction in most people's lives. Therefore there is dishonesty in it, utterly. And we are saying a life of real, deep integrity, that is, a life that has no contradiction in itself, a life that is not fragmented, broken up, saying one thing, doing another, promising one thing and never keeping that promise: the constant double talk that one indulges in. So integrity means innocence, a mind that has not been touched by corruption. Could we, as human beings, living in this world, where there is so much corruption, where there is so much disorder, a neurotic world, can we live a totally integrated life? Integration: the wholeness, not fragmented, a life that is whole, complete. Integrity means, basically, a mind that has not touched corruption, that has not had any kind of conflict. But most of our lives are a continuation of conflict.
And we talked about that too: whether it is possible to live a life in which there is not a shadow of conflict, living in the present world. You might say that is impossible, such a life cannot be - a life without conflict. But when one begins to investigate, enquire into the whole nature of existence, our lives, not other people's lives, not what other people have said about our lives, the psychologists, the philosophers, gurus and so on, it is what we are. And to investigate that, to go into it very, very deeply so that we become extraordinarily clear, unconfused. Clarity has its own extraordinary strength. And in investigating all this one comes to that point when one has tremendous integral strength, not depending on any leader, or any teacher, or any guru; including the speaker. So we are investigating together the nature of integrity, whether it is possible to live such a life.
Our life can be compared to the ebb and flow of a sea. The tide is going out, the tide is coming in; there is this constant movement of the sea going out and coming back. We have created this world, not the world of nature, not the world of the universe, but we have created the world in which we live: the society, the temples, the gods, we have created them. Having created this society then we react to that society, we are conditioned by that society: through education, through tradition, through every form of compulsion, conformity. So our life is going out and coming in, reacting to the world which we have created and reacting again to ourselves, to the world. It is an ebb and flow. That is our life. We are asking whether this ebb and flow of the outer and the inner, the outer society, the disorder of the society, the confusion, the immorality of this society and that tide coming back to us - you understand - this movement together. The world, the outward world and the inward world, this ebb and flow, we are that; we are asking whether that, the outer and the inner, which is not a fact - there is no outer and inner, there is only this movement, which is called the inner and the outer, whether that movement has ever a stop.
Are we meeting each other? Please, I don't want to talk to myself. I can do it if I have a room to myself, but we are together here to understand this extraordinary complex life with all its tragedies, its miseries, unhappiness, travail of life and we are caught in this. And we are asking whether this movement, the outer and the inner, can ever stop. And what takes place when it does stop? And that is integrity - to be so completely whole, so that there is no dependence on anything, except the postman, that is real freedom. And to live a life like that, having a mind that is never touched by corruption, never touched by this ebb and flow, the outer and the inner. And the investigating of the inner which becomes more and more selfish if one is not aware of this movement of the outer and the inner.
And also if one understands this not verbally, but has an insight into this; insight, if one may go into it. First before we go into that, there is an art of listening, how you listen, not only to what the speaker is saying but to listen to the birds, to the whisper of leaves, to the flight of birds, to listen completely. That is an art, because very few of us do listen completely. And if we do listen, not only with the sensual ear but listen deeply to ourselves, to our thoughts, to our feelings, to our sensual urges, that requires not only attention but a sensitiveness. But most of us are incapable of listening so completely because probably you are translating, translating what is being said to what you already know. When you are listening you have no other thought, but the act of listening. You understand? When somebody tells you they love you, you listen with all your heart and mind. That is an art, like the art of seeing, observing. We rarely observe; observe the dirt, the squalor, the misery around us. We put up with everything. So to observe a tree, a friend, observe your husband, or your wife, not with all the images you have built about her or about him, just to observe so that you see exactly 'what is', not what you think 'what is'.
And also there is an art of learning. There is a difference between memory, acquiring, assimilating, gathering information as memory, and also there is learning: learning as though you were seeing something for the first time, seeing yourself for the first time in a mirror so that you see yourself exactly as you are. When one observes so acutely, with a sense of deep awareness, there is only 'what is', not 'what should be'. 'What is' can be transformed, not if you are trying 'what should be', there can never be transformation of a mind but only when one understands exactly what is taking place in oneself, in one's thoughts, in one's behaviour, in one's attitude.
So there is the art of listening, the art of seeing and the art of learning. And here we are trying to learn together about this very, very complex life that we live; learn all about it as profoundly as possible, that is to know oneself. And that is a rather complex affair: to observe oneself as one is, not translate what one sees in oneself, deny it, or suppress it, or try to transform it, just to observe. If you have observed the moon, the full moon of yesterday, you were watching it completely, you cannot change it. So in the same way if one watched oneself, one's own nature, one's own fears, anxieties, the invention of the gods which we have put in a temple, or in a church or in a mosque; how one listens to one's wife or husband, to listen, so that one sees exactly what one is; and in that perception there is transformation, not changing from this to that. That is, if one is greedy our tradition says don't be greedy. It is this striving to be something which one is not. That is lack of integrity. But when there is the perception of 'what is', that is, actually greed, envy, then 'what is' can be transformed, not 'what should be'.
We also should talk over together the nature of compassion, love. And also we ought to talk over together this evening, if we have time, death: time, desire, thought, fear of the future, which is death. We ought to comprehend, understand, feel, have an insight into the nature of death; the dying, which is the ending. Shall we go into all that?
Apart from all this, how do we use our senses? What are our senses? Or we are only operating with one or two senses? You may appreciate music, delight in it, be enraptured with the lovely sound of a great song, but we are totally blind, have no sensitiveness to architecture, to the beauty of the earth; or if you appreciate the beauty of the earth, you are totally blind to something else. We don't seem to be capable of operating with all our senses completely alive at the same time. I am afraid one of the reasons for this is that all religions throughout the world have said destroy, suppress your senses, because you might see a woman, or a man, and of course that is the greatest danger, for a spiritual life. So tradition, religion, and your own education, has broken up the senses. There is no observation of the movement of the sea with all your senses. Then when there is such depth of perception with all your senses there is no centre as the 'I', the 'me', the 'ego'. And because we are only partially employing our senses, then sexuality becomes all important; and this sexuality is called love. So is love desire, pleasure, fear? Which is, jealousy, possessiveness, attachment, dependence, that whole structure of a relationship with man and woman, or the relationship of each other in a family, is based on this; and is that love? One often wonders if there is love in this country. Don't say, 'Does it exist in other countries?' - but we are talking together in this country, you and I. Does love exist in this country? If it does, you wouldn't have all this horror going on around you. So we have to ask: what is the nature of love? You cannot cultivate love as you can cultivate some stupid quality.
We are asking ourselves whether we have love in out heart at all or we have duty, responsibility, dependence, attachment. Surely, as we said, love is not desire. Or we can put it the other way: is love desire? Is love pleasure? Is love attachment? Please we are going to enquire into the whole nature of attachment; and whether any kind of attachment - can it end. Because that is part of death, that is death. You may have money, position, land, reputation, power, status, or you may be a most extraordinarily poor, uneducated man, he's attached to something; the more intellectual you are, you are attached to your theories, or you invent beliefs, ideals. As the ancient Greeks and the ancient Hindus were caught in their perception of theories, others are caught in their experiences or in their belief, in their conclusions, confirmed. And when death comes it is an ending. So we are asking, thinking together, investigating, feeling our way into this extraordinary depth of love and compassion, because without ending, say, attachment, there is not the other, the perfume of the other.
And death surely is an ending. You may believe in reincarnation, as most probably in this country they do, or probably some of you do. Probably you have read newspapers and there have been stories confirming that there is reincarnation. If you do believe in that, that you will live next life, which means that you will behave properly this life because you will be rewarded next life; if you actually believe that, as most of you do perhaps, then are you behaving correctly now? Or it is just a vague fanciful theory, so it doesn't much matter. What matters is not what happens after death, but what happens before death, how you live before death. That is far more important than what happens afterwards. We never go into this, but we are always concerned what happens in the future. We never investigate, look at our lives before death: which is, what is it psychologically, the 'I', the 'me', which, if you believe in reincarnation continues next life, life after life after life until you reach god knows what. So what is the 'I', the 'me', that I cling to? Is it my sorrow? Is it my anxiety, my confusion, my talent, my capacity, the sorrow, the pain, the wounds, the agony? That is all me. Please see all this. That is me, that is you, that is our consciousness, that is what we actually are, not some divine spark in us - that is just another theory.
So is it that we cling to all this and are frightened of death? So to understand the nature of death is to live with death. You understand that? That is, death says, when one dies, as we all must do, people are discovering how to live longer, I don't know why, but people want to live very long in this confusion, in this misery; if you want to understand what is the nature of death, the depth of it, not the word, not the fear of dying, but the depth of it, the greatness of it, the immensity of something unknown, which is death, the ending, can we end... (Short break in tape)
We are trying to understand together, to have an insight into this extraordinary thing called death. Most people are frightened of it; being frightened they seek comfort in theories, in suppositions, in various forms of escape from actuality. We are all going to die some day or other, I hope not with too much pain, not with some fatal disease but naturally die. We are going into the question of the depth of that word, what is its great strength, the beauty of it, the strength of it, the vitality of it. We are saying, or enquiring, learning about something, that if you are attached to whatever it be, and death is going to take it away from you, what you are attached to, can you end your attachment immediately, instantly? That is death. You can't argue with death, you can't say, 'Please, give me another day.' It is the ending of something you know, or you hold on to, you cling to. So if you are ending every day, you are living with that enormous thing called death. So there is incarnation, not reincarnation, there is incarnation each day when you are ending each day. You understand? You are following this? Suppose I am attached to my wife, or to my husband, to my family, attached, or attached to some fanciful image of my own thoughts; and that has given me great comfort, because life hasn't given me comfort, life hasn't given me pleasure, the immensity. I have lived a stupid life, a confused life, a miserable life. And I am attached to something; and to end without knowing the future, without understanding the cause of that attachment, end it, then there is a new beginning.
Do you understand? Are we meeting together? Even verbally, intellectually, are we together in this thing? Because we are saying where there is a cause there must be an end. If I understand the nature of fear, which is to understand desire, time and thought, which we explained very carefully last time, or the time before that we met here, if we understand the nature, the origin, the beginning of fear, and the causation of fear, there is an ending to fear. In the same way if we understand the whole complex life, psychologically, inwardly, and all the causation of that, there is an ending of it. And we are always afraid of the unknown and hold on to the known. I know my life, it is miserable, anxious, you know, all the rest of it, but I know it. As you know your life: the fears, the agonies, the utter vulgarity, the insensitiveness, the callousness, no sense of beauty, love, compassion. One knows one's life and we cling to that. We must understand all this because to understand all this means to put our house in order, not the physical house only, but much more, the order in oneself. And that is what we have been doing in talking over together all these problems, we are putting our house in order. Our house is burning now: nobody can put it out except ourselves and that's why it behoves us to begin to understand about ourselves. How little generosity we have! We never seem to give what little we have to others, both physically as well as inwardly. And as we said, we must understand the great meaning, the depth of life and death.
And then there is the question of immortality, because each one of us wants to live permanently. An author has made a name for himself, he becomes immortal in a book; or a great painter, or a great musician, they leave a mark on the world - immortal painters, ageless and so on. That is not immortal; it is like writing in sand. If one begins to enquire into this question of immortality, that is, to have no death - you understand my question? - to be free of death. Therefore it means dying each day to all that you have collected inwardly. You have collected a great deal, an enormous amount of knowledge, which is necessary at a certain level, but all the knowledge you have collected about meditation, about gods and books, you know, masses of information, so that the mind is never free to observe or receive something totally new. And death in its great meaning is to empty our consciousness of all its content. Our consciousness is fear, greed, envy, ambitions, you know, all that. We are that. And to end it; not by will, not by decision, or through some form of compulsion, but to understand, to observe minutely, correctly all that is taking place in oneself. And in that there is great beauty, and out of that comes great integrity, which is absolute, unshakeable at any time. And when one understands death, one is living, there is something totally new taking place each day. Right, sirs.