Can our minds being in disorder create order?
Truth demands a mind that is totally free
3rd Public Talk, Ojai, California
May 08, 1982
May we continue where we left off last Sunday? We were talking about right kind of relationship. Most of our relationship, in that relationship there is a great deal of conflict, struggle, lack of understanding each other and so on. We went into it very carefully. If you do not mind, we won't go into it again today. That's where we left off last Sunday when we met here. We pointed out how important it is to have right kind of relationship: man, woman, or with people who are far away from us. Because life is a relationship, is a movement in relationship; and apparently we have never been able to solve the problem of not having conflict in relationship. And we went carefully into that problem. And this morning we ought to talk about two things, order and fear.
What is order? That word has a great deal of significance: order from a general to his soldiers, order, ecclesiastic order, monastic order, order in one's house, order in the garden and so on. That word has extraordinary meaning. We have tried to establish order in society, by laws, by authority, by policemen and so on. Society, the thing in which we are caught, is created by each one of us, by our parents, past generations, and that society is in disorder, confused, that society has almost become immoral, that society is breeding wars; enormous sums are spent on armaments. In that society there is division, conflict. There is the totalitarian society, and the so-called democratic society; whether it is the totalitarian or democratic there is still disorder, confusion, each individual asserting himself aggressively against others, and so there is general disorder. That disorder is created by all of us because we live in disorder. Our house is in disorder - not the physical house, but the psychological house, which is our consciousness - is in disarray, disturbed, broken up, contradictory.
If one may point out, this is not an entertainment, intellectual or otherwise. We are talking about human problems. And this is - if I may again point out - this is not a lecture, a lecture being, giving certain information, having a discourse on a particular subject, with a view either to convince, or to do some kind of propaganda, and so on. This is not a lecture in that sense. But together we are investigating, we are exploring into the question of order and disorder. Our minds are in disorder - can such a mind create order, bring about order? That's the first problem we have to face. Most of us, in our daily life, are in confusion, uncertain, contradictory, psychologically deeply wounded, psychologically having no right relationship with another. And in that relationship there is contradiction, disorder, disharmony, and so our life, probably from the moment we are born till we die, we live in disorder. One wonders if one is aware of it.
We went into the question of what is 'aware', to be aware, to be conscious, to recognise the fact that one is in disorder. If one is at all aware of that fact, and if one is, do we escape from it, seeking a solution, or accept a pattern of order, a design of order and therefore conform to a particular norm? Are we aware of all these psychological movements born out of disorder? And how does this disorder come about? Why, after so many millennia upon millennia, we live psychologically in disorder, and therefore outwardly in disorder. Outwardly our disorder is expressed in multiple forms, as nationality, division among people, religious divisions, wars and so on.
So, we are asking: is it possible to be free of this disorder - the ending of disorder - and therefore the very ending is order. Order is virtue. You cannot possibly discipline the mind to become orderly. Because the entity who desires order, that entity himself is the result of confusion, and therefore whatever order it creates must bring about disorder. I hope we are all serious this morning, as we have pointed out over and over again, this is a serious affair. Life is becoming so terribly dangerous, uncertain; it's an actuality. And any serious person concerned with the whole problem of living must question all this: how does disorder come about, what is the root of it? When we ask a question of this kind, you are asking the question, not the speaker. You are asking the question of yourself and trying to find out the root of this disorder. Is it desire? Is it that the very nature and the structure of thought itself is disorder? That is, thought itself is disorder. We are asking that question. Does disorder arise out of desire? Does disorder arise out of the very act of thinking? That is, is thought the source of disorder? Probably most of us have not even asked such a question. We accept and live in disorder; we say that is our conditioning, and we must accept that conditioning. And so we become used to disorder, accept it and try to modify it. But we never ask of ourselves why we live in disorder psychologically, inwardly, within the skin, as it were, and what is the root of it, the very substance that brings about disorder. Is it desire? Desire in itself is contradictory: wanting one thing and resisting something else, desire for happiness and doing everything that brings about unhappiness. Pursuing pleasure, the desire for pleasure and that very desire creates disharmony.
So we are asking seriously: is desire itself the root, the origin, the beginning of disorder? And then, if it is, we are not saying it is, because we are enquiring; we are going deeply into this very, very complex problem of desire. Desire has great energy, drive - desire for so many things: for power, position, for wealth, for freedom, for heaven, desire to live happily, comfortably, and this desire accumulates itself into will. Will is the essence of desire. So we must enquire what is desire, which may bring about disorder. We desire to have food, that is quite natural. We desire to have a house, a shelter, that's also quite natural; to be clothed, that is quite natural. But are psychological desires, for power, position, to become something beyond what one actually is, to achieve some idealistic state. There are so many kinds of desire, contradicting each other, and sometimes working together. So we should very carefully go into the question of why and what is the origin of desire. And whether it brings about disorder.
Please, we are not telling you what desire is, and then with which you agree or disagree; we are having a conversation together, we are as two friends talking over together the very, very complex problem of desire. So you are enquiring, not the speaker. The speaker is only verbalising, putting into words the enquiry which you are making. And if your brain is not active, merely listening to what is being said, then, it's a verbal communication which has very little meaning. Explanations are not the actuality. The speaker may explain very carefully, as we go into it in detail, but those explanations are verbal, have no meaning. But the verbal explanations are a means of your own discovery which the speaker is putting into words. I hope this is perfectly clear, that the speaker is not conveying certain ideas, certain conclusions, but rather together we are observing the whole movement of desire, the nature of it, the inwardness of it, the origin of the beginning of desire.
In all religions throughout the world - organised religions, the accepted, authoritarian, orthodox religions - they have all said, suppress or transmute desire; identify your desire with that which is great, with that which is the saviour, with that which is something you want to achieve, identify yourself with it. And so gradually suppress any contradictory, any sensual desires. This has been the edict of all religions; monasteries are based on it; the monks pursue it; and the Asiatic monks, the sanyasis, do it in their own way. So desire has been condemned. We are not condemning it. We are not saying it must be suppressed or transmuted, or play around with it. We are together going into this very complex problem, observing, without motive - that is the whole point, without motive - just what is desire, which drives most of us, both commercially and psychologically. Please, don't wait for me to think it out, to explain, if you are serious, you are going to go into this. Because we have to find out, if we can, whether it is possible to live an orderly, sane, rational, a holy life; not this conflicting, destructive, warlike existence . So what is desire? Why has it such enormous power in our lives? As we said, order is virtue. To become virtuous is desire; to have values established is a form of desire. You may have values, patterns, ideas, and so on, but if we do not understand the very movement of desire, whether it's contradictory, whether it's the origin of disorder, we must enquire very, very deeply what is desire. Is not desire born out of sensation? Sensory responses are part of desire. Sensation, that is, through observation, through optical perception, seeing, then contact, then sensation. Right? One sees a beautiful house with a lovely garden, and that very seeing brings about a sensation, from that sensation, the desire to own that house. Right? That is, the seeing, then the contact, then from that physical contact, sensation. This is obvious. Right? Can we go on from there? You see a woman or a man who is nice, nice-looking, especially as it is advertised in this country; and there is the very seeing, then the contact, then the sensation. Then - please watch carefully yourself - then thought creates the image; then when thought creates the image, then desire arises. Right? That is, one sees a shirt, a robe in the window of a shop, goes inside, touches the material, then the very contact of it creates a sensation, then thought says, how nice that shirt or robe would look on me. At that moment desire begins. Have you understood this?
Have we understood this clearly, that thought with its image creates desire when there is sensation. Right, sir? Are we together in this? And, if this is clear - don't please accept what the speaker is saying, it may be totally wrong - but carefully look at this movement of desire, so that you yourself discover for yourself the whole nature of desire: how it begins, and whether disciplining desire is not the very act of confusion, disorder. Do you understand all this? Because in this there is the entity who controls desire, the entity who is separate from desire. Is desire itself not the observer, who wishes to change what he observes? I wonder if you see all this? May I go on with this? Please sirs, don't look at me. That's not important. Find out for yourself the actuality of the beginning of desire - not how to discipline desire, we'll come to that presently. But we are just observing the whole movement of desire - the seeing, the contact, then the sensation, then thought creating the image which is the beginning of desire. I see your beautiful shirt, good material, well-made, then, if you'll allow me to touch it, there is a certain sensation out of my sensory responses. Then I want that shirt. Thought says, how nice it would look on me, that shirt. That thought creating the image of me in that shirt is the beginning of desire. Clear?
Now, the question is, if that is so, which is logically so, there is no question of refuting that, that is a fact, not because the speaker says so, it is so. If you observe it, it's a movement. And then the question arises: why does thought interfere with sensation? You follow? I see you have got a marvellous car, that I think, I am quite sure will appeal to all of you: a highly polished car. You see it on the road as you pass by, look at it, go round it, touch it; there is that sensation out of it. Then you imagine you sitting in the car and driving it. Then the imagination is the action of desire. Right? Is this clear? Now the question is: is it possible for thought not to interfere with its imagination? See that car, the sensation, and not allow thought creating the image of you being in there. You understand? That requires intense alertness, watchfulness. So there is no discipline, to control desire, but on the contrary, the intelligent observation of desire is in itself an act which frees the mind from the urgency of desire.
I hope you understand all this, because we have got to talk about something much more complex. If this is understood, then we should go on to ask: what is fear? What is the origin of fear, whether the mind, psychological state, can ever be free totally, completely from fear. Not say, it is possible or it is not possible. If you say either one or the other, that conditions your own state of enquiry. But, if there is the intelligent demand whether the mind, whether a human being, his psyche, his consciousness, can ever be free, completely, not partially, not one day be free of fear, the next day full of fear, but the entire movement of fear, conscious as well as deeply-rooted fear: whether it is possible for the human mind to be utterly free of it. Because fear is one of the factors of disorder, not only desire, but also fear. Most human beings are afraid: either physical fears or psychological, complicated fears. Fears of not fulfilling, fears of not becoming, fears in their relationship, fears of not having jobs - especially now, in this country there are ten million people unemployed - fear of darkness, fear of death, fear of the very act of living. There are so many, many forms of fear. Naturally, as one observes fear, the state of fear as one goes into it, you can see how fear creates disorder: fear of being secure and not being secure; fear of the past, fear of the present, fear of the future, which we all know. Most of us have experienced some kind of fear, urgently, very deeply, or superficially. When one is afraid, the whole psychological state becomes tightened, strained, you know all that. And where there is fear there is darkness and escape from that darkness. Then the escape becomes far more important than the fear itself. But fear always remains.
So one asks, why human beings, who have lived on this earth for millions of years, who are technologically intelligent, why they have not applied their intelligence to be free from this very complex problem of fear. That may be one of the reasons for war, for killing each other. And religions throughout the world have not solved the problem; neither the gurus, nor the saviours, nor ideals. So if this is very clear: no outside agency, however elevated, however made popular by propaganda, no outside agency can ever possibly solve this problem of human fear.
So we must find out - again, if one may repeat, you are enquiring, you are investigating, you are delving into the whole problem of fear. The speaker may only explain, but the explanation has no value unless you yourself go deeply into this question. And perhaps we have so accepted the pattern of fear that we don't want even to move away from it. So, what is fear? What are the contributory factors that bring about fear? Like many small streams, rivulets that make the tremendous volume of a river, so what are the small streams that bring about fear, that have such tremendous vitality of fear? Is one of the causes of fear comparison? Comparing oneself with somebody else, psychologically. Obviously it is. So, can one live a life comparing yourself with nobody? You understand what I am saying? When you compare yourself with another, ideologically, psychologically or even physically, there is the striving to become that, and there is the fear that you may not. It is the desire to fulfil and you may not be able to fulfil. You understand? Where there is comparison there must be fear.
And so one enquires, asks whether it is possible to live without a single comparison, never comparing, whether you are beautiful or ugly, fair or not fair, physically, psychologically, approximating yourself to some ideal, to some pattern of values, there is this constant comparison going on. We are asking: is that one of the causes of fear? Obviously. And where there is comparison there must be conformity, there must be imitation, inwardly. So we are asking: comparison, conformity, imitation - are they contributory causes of fear? And can one live without comparing, imitating, conforming psychologically? Obviously, one can. If those are the contributory factors of fear, and you are concerned with the ending of fear, then inwardly there is no comparison, which means there is no becoming. Right? Comparison entails - the very meaning of the comparison is to become that which you think is better, or higher, nobler and so on. So, comparison, imitation, conformity, which is becoming, is that one of the factors, or the factor of fear? We are not saying it is. But you have to discover it for yourself. Then if those are the factors, then if the mind is seeing those factors as bringing about fear, the very perception of those ends the contributory causes. Where there is a cause, there is an end. I hope you understand this. If there is physically a cause which gives you a tummy-ache, there is an ending of that tummy ache by discovering what's the cause of the pain. Similarly, where here is a cause there is an ending of that cause.
And, is time a factor of fear? That is, time as of the things or incidents or happenings that have taken place in the past, or that might happen in the future, and the present. Time is a movement, physically from here to that place, from one point to another point, a movement from one point to another point requires time. To learn a language requires time. To learn any form of technique requires time. But when we think about the future, what might happen - I have a job, I might lose it; my wife might run away, leave me - future. So is time - we are talking of not physical time, sunrise, sunset, movement of the watch, clock, chronological time, but we are talking about psychological time. I am, I shall be and I might not be. So, is time a factor of fear? Not how to stop time, you can't stop time, but to observe it first - we will go into it - but first observe the fact that one of the factors of fear is time. Let's say I'm afraid of death. That's in the future; so is time a factor of fear? Obviously it is. Then is thought a factor of fear? Do you understand all this? We said there are various contributory causes of fear - comparison, imitation, identification and this act of becoming something else - I am this, I must be that, and I may not be that, ever. And is time a factor in the movement of fear? Obviously it is. There is a distance between now, the living, and the dying, a distance from this point to that point. To move from this point to that point is fear. Right? Time is fear.
So, next we are asking: is thought fear? It's very important to find out. Is thought the root of fear? Time is the root of fear, obviously, as comparison and so on. And is thought also the root of fear? So, time and thought, are they not together? Are you following all this? Is this getting too complicated? Are you getting tired? It's up to you. We are not trying to convince you of anything. We are not trying to ask you to follow the speaker. The speaker is you; the speaker is only pointing out the nature of fear. If you don't see it for yourself, either your mind is dull because you have drunk too much last night, smoked too much, indulged in various forms of entertainment, sexual or otherwise; so your mind, your capacity, your energy is lacking, and therefore you'll just listen, as a form of verbal entertainment, which will not affect your life. But if you are serious, if your brain is active, not just romantically watching the trees and you know, playing with words. If you are really demanding to find out then you have to apply. Application means looking at it actually, now. Probably sitting here quietly under the trees you may not be afraid. But fear is going on unconsciously, deeply, whether you are aware of it or not now.
So we have said time, becoming, comparison with all the implications of that, are the factors of fear. And we are asking now whether thought itself is not one of the factors or perhaps the very major factor of fear. What is then thought? Thought compares, thought imitates, thought says, I am this, I must be that. I must fulfil, I must identify myself, I must be something. It's all the movement of thought. And thought itself may be disorder. We are enquiring, please, go into it. We are not trying to point out that thought must be controlled. See that thought may be one of the, probably the major factor of fear. I was healthy last year, and I am not this year but I hope to be in perfect health next year. There is in that movement the thinking about the pain of last year, hoping not to be this in the future, is the movement of fear - thought. Right? So what is thought? Not, can thought ever not stop and let nature take its own course, but we are enquiring into what is thought, what is thinking. There are several factors in that too. Just look at it simply. When you are asked your name, you respond immediately. Why? Because you have repeated your name so often there is no thinking about it. You may have thought about it at one time, but the constant repetition of your name is without thinking. If you are asked a complicated question, then you are searching, thought is looking all over the place, enquiring till it finds an answer. And when you are asked a very, very complex question, or a question of which you have never even thought about, you say, I don't know. Right? Very few people say, I don't know. You understand? That requires a great sense of humility not to know, which we'll go into some other time, that's not important now.
So what is thinking? Thought has created the extraordinary beautiful pictures, paintings, out of stone created something exquisite - the Pieta of Michelangelo, the great cathedrals. And also it created the submarines, the missiles, the atom bomb; thought has created the war, the wars, nationalities; thought has created all the rituals, religious rituals; thought has invented the saviour; whether the Hindu saviour or the Christian saviour. So thought has done the most extraordinary things. The computer, which may take the place of human brain, and what's going to happen to your brain when the computer does it? Which is again a different matter.
So we must find out what is thinking. And whether that thought itself may be the origin of disorder and fear. We give such extraordinary importance to thought, to the intellectuals, to the scientists, to the people who create marvellous technological things. But those very people who have invented all this, the great scientists, they themselves live in disorder. They have never possibly enquired into why thought is given such an extraordinarily important place and why thought may be in itself the origin of disorder and fear. We are going to enquire. You are going to enquire, not the speaker. He may explain - I must repeat this over and over again; he may repeat but if you yourself don't apply, go into it, your sitting there listening to the speaker is utterly meaningless. It is a waste of time and your energy. From the ancient of days man has experienced an accident, a sensation, a danger, a pleasure, and this experience has left knowledge. He derives from that experience knowledge. Right? That knowledge is stored in the brain as memory. And from that memory thought arises. Right? So, thought is limited because experience is limited, knowledge is limited. So thought is limited. Thought is a material process because experience is a material process. There is an accident in a car, and that experience is remembered, which is knowledge, the remembrance of it is pain, which is thought. Right? So thought is a movement, from experience, knowledge, memory, thought. Again there is no question of anybody disputing that fact. If you have no experience, if you have no knowledge, no memory, then you are not thinking, you are just in a state of amnesia. But we are supposed to be thinking human beings.
So, knowledge is always limited about anything. That is so. Thought has created the things in the cathedral, in the church - the rituals, and then thought worships them. You follow all this? Thought has created all the things that you call religious activity: thought has invented it. And then thought says, you must worship it. So one asks, thought is never sacred. It can never be sacred. But we have made certain things of thought sacred. Like god is an invention of thought. I know you won't like this, but there it is.
And so, is thought the beginning, the origin of fear? Thinking about the future, thinking about some happiness which I have not, thinking about death, thinking I might become that - paralysed, all the rest of it. I might have cancer. So thought, time, are the same. Time and thought are the same. And the contributory causes of all this is thought. Now, the question then is, if thought is the origin of all fear, and therefore all disorder, if thought is the origin of disorder, fear, then what is one to do? You cannot stop thinking, thinking has its place. When you leave here you go to your house, that movement from here to there is an action of time and thought. Thought and knowledge are necessary when you are writing a letter, speaking a language, driving a car, any technological business and so on, thought and knowledge are absolutely necessary. But we are asking: the accumulation of knowledge about the psyche, about yourself, and thinking from that knowledge, is that necessary? You understand this question? Please give your thought a little bit, your attention a little bit. Is it necessary to record psychological events? The insult, the flattery, the hurts, the contents of your consciousness, which is nationality, fear, belief, faith, rituals, habits - you know, the content of your consciousness, which is the psyche, which is you.
Can there be no psychological recording? Please ask yourself this question. Perhaps you have never asked it, because we record. You record an insult, you record a flattery. You record the hurts that one has received from childhood; you record your pleasurable activities; you record your fears. So is it possible for a brain to record what is necessary, that is, learning a language, doing business, being a good carpenter and so on, engineer and so on, there you need to record everything very clearly, scientifically, and so on. But is it necessary to record psychological events; do you understand? That is, to carry psychological burdens all your life, psychological problems all your life: the conflicts, the misery, the confusion, the agony, the loneliness, the despair. Is it necessary to carry all that, which are the activity of thought? To find that out, whether it is possible not to record at all psychologically, that means to have no problem - you understand, sir? Fear is a problem to us. Order is a problem to us. Not to be something is a problem to us; our life is a bundle of problems, both psychosomatic, physical, psychological, the whole thing, living is a problem to us. Which is the recording of everything, pleasure, pain, the loneliness, the fears and so on. We are asking: can the brain not record the incidents of fear? That is, to be aware of the whole pattern of fear, which is very complex, as we pointed out, it is very complex and intricate and one has to observe it very subtly, tentatively, sensitively.
Then if you observe it carefully, is the observer different from that which he observes? What he observes is himself, the observer is the observed. Where there is a division between the observer and the observed, there is conflict. Now, is the observer which is the past accumulation of knowledge observing the present fear, there is a division, and then the past tries to overcome the present, control it. Whereas the thing that is observed is the observer. When that is absolutely clear conflict ceases. Therefore where there is the observation of fear as me, I am fear, obviously, there is no division between me and fear, I am totally fear, not that there is part of me which is not fear, I am that. And when there is total perception of that, which means giving all your energy to that, there is complete cessation of fear. There is the total ending of psychological fears completely - not for a day; but that which is ended has a new beginning.
Right, sir. May I get up now?