Can the fragmented mind be whole?
What relationship has the human mind to the timeless?
1st Public Talk, Brockwood Park
September 01, 1973
I think we should be rather clear that we are not doing any kind of propaganda, that we are not trying to convince you of anything, nor are we forming any kind of sect. Because to me sects, propaganda and trying to convince somebody of certain ideas, seems so utterly foolish and meaningless. So if we understand that from the very beginning, then we can go into this whole problem of our relationship to the world, and the relationship of the world to us, and whether human beings, as we are, can ever radically change. Or must we go on endlessly, caught in the trap of this so-called miserable, confusing, conflicting life?
I think it is very clear that our relationship to the world, that is, the world about us - the world of nature, science, politics, economy, education and all the corruption that is going on around us, the pollution, the over-population, the corruption of various kinds of governments - when we observe all that, one inevitably asks what is one's relationship to it. In what way can we, as individual human beings, bring about any kind of change in the social structure, in the Establishment, in the religious field? Can any human being bring about a radical change in all that? That is one of our problems.
And the other problem is: what relationship has our thought and action with regard to what man has sought throughout the ages as something beyond and above the daily monotonous, lonely, boring life? And the other, much more deeper, fundamental question is: what relationship has the human mind to that which man has called timeless, the nameless, the eternal and so on? And also we are going to consider during these talks and discussions whether the human mind, our mind, can ever, through meditation, through deep contemplation, come upon that reality.
So these are the things we are going to consider. And to go into them deeply one must have a very serious mind. I mean by that word, a mind that is logical, sane, healthy and is capable of thinking logically. And a serious mind perceives that which is true and acts instantly. Perception and action are together, and that is what one can call a serious mind, a mind that is committed, wholly given over to the enquiry, investigation into all these problems, objectively, sanely, without any neurotic pursuits, can think directly. That is what, if I may, I consider what is a serious mind. Because throughout the world now there are all kinds of degenerate gurus, philosophies, brought over from the Orient, and people being so very gullible, so willing to be entertained - let's rather put it that way - that they accept all this without real enquiry, without deep investigation. We accept too easily because it is rather comforting. We live a rather miserable life, a kind of bourgeois life, and anything that will give us a little excitement, entertainment, a new kind of ideas, we eagerly accept.
So if we can during these talks put aside all that; that we are not accepting any kind of authority, except in matters of science, mathematics, and so on. In so-called spiritual matters - if I may use that word without being misunderstood - there is no authority whatsoever. There can't be. If there is, then it is not a reality, it is just a form of acceptance of a guru and following him blindly, or willingly, or all that silly stuff that is going on in the world.
So we are, together this morning, and the following mornings, going to commit ourselves, if you are willing, to this enquiry, which is: whether the mind, the human mind, your mind, one's mind can radically undergo a revolution so that our whole life, the way we live is completely transformed. That is going to be our deep, fundamental enquiry. Right?
To enquire into any subject one must approach it with a mind that is willing to observe exactly 'what is'. You cannot possibly observe if you have any opinion, any conclusion, any thought that distorts the perception of 'what is'. Are we sharing this together? Or am I talking to myself? Because we are sharing this thing together. To share something really, you must be equally interested in what you are sharing. You must have the same intensity, the same attention in sharing, otherwise you can't share. You need a certain affection, care, otherwise there is no possibility of sharing. And as you have taken the trouble to come here on a windy morning, if you are willing to share these things together, you and I, then it is worth while. If we are merely looking at it as though from outside, not very deeply interested, rather curious, seeing what this man has to say, then the sharing becomes impossible.
So to enquire, which we are doing together, means not only sharing of the problems involved, but also investigating, that is, to trace out, that is what that word means, to trace out logically, sanely, objectively all these problems which we are confronted with every day of our life. So, to enquire demands a mind that has set aside its opinions, its judgements, its evaluations and is capable of observing exactly 'what is', both outwardly and inwardly. That is what is implied in enquiry and in sharing. Though the speaker is sitting on a platform a little higher than where you are sitting, he has no authority. The platform doesn't give him authority, or the name, or the reputation, all that tommyrot. So we are enquiring very seriously into these problems.
First of all one must, I think, realise, or rather feel also, that we are the world, and the world is us. There is no separation, division between you and the world, because we are the product of the environment, the culture, the economic structure, government, religious sanctions, images, authority, and all that, which is generally called culture. We are the result of that culture. If you are born in this island, in England, you are the result of this culture in which you have lived - the religious culture, with all its images, superstitions, propaganda, authority, fear, punishment, and also the culture of a comfortable, affluent life. The more you are affluent the more worldly. These are all facts. And you are also the result of technological development. The more technology develops, the more our life becomes superficial and mechanical. We pursue greater pleasures and that is what we want. We have created this society, this structure, this culture, religious as well as literary, artistic and scientific. And we are part of that culture. So there is no division between the world and oneself, whether you live in India, in Japan or in Russia or America or here. I think that is one of the most fundamental things to realise, feel, not as an idea, but actually, as strongly as you feel your pleasures or your sexual urges, to realise that we are the world and the world is us. You know when you feel that very strongly, not merely as an idea but in your heart, in your whole blood, then this division as 'me' and 'you' ceases. You understand this? Then, when you realise this, you become utterly responsible to whatever you are doing, whether in the area of science, politics, religion, what you will. Then your actions are totally committed to the transformation of oneself, not as an individual, as a human being improving himself, but an individual, a human being that has to transform himself completely so that there can be a different kind of human being in the world, and so a different kind of structure. Right?
I think that is fairly clear, that the human mind has divided the world, politically, economically, religiously, socially. It has divided the world in its desire to be secure for itself. It is much more pleasant, it's more secure both economically and psychologically to say, 'I am an Englishman held in this country', or an American, or an Indian or whatever you will. Please, don't listen to this merely as a series of ideas, but observe this about you and in yourself. And this division both outwardly and inwardly has brought about great calamities, great wars, great conflicts, racial, linguistic differences, the limitations of complete, total political action.
So where there is division - nationalistic, or economic or religious - where there is division outwardly or inwardly, there must be conflict. I think that is so absolutely true. The division in me and in you as a Christian, a Hindu, this or that, Communist, Socialist, you know what is going on in the world, black and white and purple and blue - all that - this division is creating immense conflict outwardly, and inwardly the division between the observer and the observed. So before we go into that, it is an absolute truth - the realisation of it is that any division both outwardly and inwardly must inevitably bring about conflict. And a mind that wants to live completely without conflict, because it is only a mind that is capable of living totally without any kind of conflict, only such a mind can observe what is truth, what is reality. And it is only such a mind that can have total peace. Are you all going to sleep?
So outwardly, that is outside of our skin, outside of our mind, the world is destroying itself - the world, which we have created, for which we are responsible - a world in which man is seeking more and more pleasure under the guise of religious pursuits or mere physical desire, over-population - you know all that. And inwardly if you observe, and if you are capable of observing yourself, without distortion, without desire, without the desire to change 'what is', to observe exactly 'what is' within oneself, you will see how extraordinarily contradictory a life we lead, how broken up we are, fragmented, pursuing various contradictory desires; and so our life inwardly and outwardly is a series of conflicts, contradictions, vast division between an idea and action, and enormous sense of loneliness, sorrow, despair, agony. And our pleasures are the continuations of the desire to find joy - and joy has nothing whatsoever to do with pleasure. So we are that.
Now can that structure of the human mind, this contradiction, this division, the division between the observer and the observed, the division between me and you, or we and they, the bigger guru and the lesser guru, the better meditation and - you know all that business, can all that be totally transformed so that the mind is entirely new, fresh? You know this has been a problem for the scientists throughout the world, and also for those people who are really religious, not the phoney religion of belonging to something, of following a leader, of being conditioned for two thousand years or five thousand years, to a certain series of beliefs, dogmas. The concern of religion is the total transformation of the human mind, and nothing else. Not what you believe in, whether you are a believer in Christ or Krishna, or some latest guru, but whether your mind, which has created this monstrous, ugly world, immoral world, whether that mind can be wholly transformed, so that it can live in peace, not only within oneself but also in all its relationships. That is the function of religion - not the religion of authority, of image-worship, of rituals, of dogmas, that is not religion at all. Because you have lived with that religion, and where are you? You have had wars and you are preparing for wars. In yourself there is no peace, no quietness, a sense of wholeness.
So our concern then is, if you are at all serious, if you have observed the world and observed yourself, our concern then is, can the mind, which is so fragmented, which is so broken up, can that mind become whole, sane, non-contradictory and therefore a mind which is whole is a sane mind, a mind which is whole - that word implies holy h-o-l-y. So our concern is that. Can the mind, which is so fragmented, which is so broken up, dividing itself as the observer and the observed, dividing itself as pursuing one pleasure and denying that pleasure through fear, contradiction, so can that mind be made whole? Right?
You know there have been so many methods, systems, philosophies to bring this about. The word 'philosophy' to me means the love of truth in daily life; not the philosophy of ideas, concepts, but the love of truth in daily life. And is this possible? I do not know if you have ever put that question to yourself. Realising for oneself how contradictory, neurotic, how fragmented our minds are, I do not know if you have ever put that question to yourself, and asked: can this mind be made whole, without splintering, without breaking up? If you have, then what is one to do? We are going to share in this question, and to see what we can do. I think the first thing to realise is the division between the observer and the observed. Is there a division between the observer and the observed? Because the observer is always controlling, shaping, trying to change 'what is'. He sees what he is and the observer says, 'I must change that'. He sees the social structure outside him - the Establishment, political, religious, all the rest of it - and the observer says, 'I must change this system', 'I must bring about a different system'. Right? Is the observer different from the thing he observes? Please this requires a great deal of enquiry, a great deal of attention to find out why this division exists and if that division is false, if it is false, then to see, actually feel, come upon this reality that the observer is the observed. When you realise the observer is the observed then the wastage of energy comes to an end, the energy that we dissipate when there is division between the observer and the observed. I wonder if I'm Are we meeting together in this? I am going to go into it much more.
Because this is one of the most important things to understand, not because the speaker says so, but when you observe yourself, your relationship to the world, the world that is outside you, the culture, is that culture different from you? And the religious, economic structure, is that structure different from the thing that you are? So we are going to go into that.
When you observe a mountain, a tree, the flowing of waters, surely the observer is not the observed. Right? Are you following this? When one observes a tree or a mountain, and you say, 'Yes, the observer is the observed' - that becomes too absurd, you are not the tree or the mountain - I hope not! So there is a division, which is natural, which is inevitable, it is obvious. May we go on? Are you following this? But the division as the observer and the observed, which is essentially psychological, inward, then that division brings about great conflict between the observer and the observed. You understand? All right? Have we understood each other? Look, sirs, I watch you, I observe you. Obviously you are different from me - taller, shorter, or bigger, better brains, or whatever it is, better position, more money, I observe. There the observer is different from the observed who is outwardly different. I am not you. I have got short hair, long hair, purple eyes or whatever it is, I am different from you; but psychologically, is the observer different from the thing he observes in you, or in himself? Psychologically, that is inwardly, go to India, the problems there are the same kind of problems as here - anger, jealousy, fear, pursuit of pleasure, wanting to find out more. The human problems all over the world are essentially the same. So my problem is your problem. My problem is not different from your problem, and to observe that problem without the observer becomes the most important thing.
You understand sir, when I observe a mountain, I am not the mountain, the observer is not the observed. But when I observe myself, the observer is the observed: the observer is not different from the observed because the observer has created the observed. That is, the observer perceives, observes, is aware that he is jealous - I am taking that one thing to look at it completely. He is aware that he is jealous, so there is a division between the observer and the observed. You are following this? When he says, 'I am jealous' the observer thinks he is different from the thing he observes. Right? But is the observer different from the thing he has observed? If that division can be totally eliminated then there is no conflict. You follow? But there will be conflict as long as there is the division between the observer and the observed. So we must investigate what the observer is. You are following all this? Come on, sirs.
Who is the observer? Or who is the thinker, the experiencer from the experience, from the thought, from that which he has observed - now who is the observer? Is not the observer the past? The observer who has accumulated experience, knowledge and has great memory, which is the past - right? - the past as the observer is memory, experience, knowledge. So all knowledge is the past and with that he observes. You understand? Right sir? I hope somebody is coming along with the speaker. So he observes, observes that which is. That which is, is the present. That which is, is what he has created - right? - that is, look, I'll go into it. He says, the observer says, 'I am jealous', and then he says, 'I must conquer it, I must overcome it', or justify it, or get bitter, angry, furious. So there is a conflict between the observer and the observed, which is jealousy. Now is there a division at all? Or the observer is the observed? Now just a minute. The observer, the thinker, says, 'I am jealous', the moment he uses that word 'jealousy' he has put it into a framework of words which are the result of past experience. Right? Are you following this a little bit? Please, give a little attention. When I say, 'I am jealous', I recognise that feeling. I recognise it because I have had that experience, that sensation, that feeling before. So I have used the word 'jealousy' in the past, and I apply that word to the present - right? - and the application of that word to the present feeling brings about a division between the observer and the observed. Are we sharing this together? Right?
So as long as there is a division between the observer and the observed there must be conflict, and that is a wastage of energy, the overcoming, the indulging in hatred, the justification of jealousy, all that is a wastage of energy because it is the outcome of conflict. Whereas when there is a realisation that the observer is the observed, then you have all that energy, which is not being wasted - are you following? Then what takes place? When the observer realises he is jealous, not jealousy as something apart from him, then what takes place? You understand? I, the thinker, the observer, is jealousy. Then what has transformed, what has taken place? Is there jealousy at all? Or to put it differently: when there is no division, what takes place? There is only then 'what is' - isn't there? There is no trying to overcome it, trying to destroy it, trying to change it, there is only 'what is'. Right? Can the mind - please follow this a little bit - can the mind remain with 'what is' without any movement of changing it or undermining it, or overcoming it, just be with it? You understand sir? I am ambitious - I am not, but I am taking that - I am ambitious, I want to be something enormous, you know. That is a fact, if I am. Before, I wanted to fulfil my ambition: I became brutal, ruthless, pursuit of self-fulfilment, bitterness, frustration - all wastage of energy. And ambition is cultivated in this culture, and I am ambitious, with all its conflicts, frustrations, bitterness, anger, you know that - you all know it very well. I realise I am ambition, there is no division between the observer and the observed. Right? There is only ambition. Can the mind remain with that? That is, can the mind not escape from it, try to transform it, try to deny it or suppress it, but see exactly as it is. Then what takes place?
As long as there is a way out, as long as there is the desire to overcome it, or to rationalise it, or to suppress it, there is conflict, but when all that ceases because the observer is the observed, then is there ambition at all? Or a total summation of energy, and no longer called ambition? You understand what I am talking about? No longer this pursuit of its fulfilment. Are we sharing this together? Not as an idea, that would be hopeless, but as an actuality: take your own ambition, take your own whatever it is, look at it, see all the implications involved in it - always wanting to be powerful, you know what ambition is. It is a self-centred activity, in the name of society, in the name of god, in the name of whatever it is, it is self-centred activity. And when it is frustrated there is anger, bitterness. And in seeing all that, which is a wastage of energy, the mind then says, then realises the observer is the observed, there is no division, therefore there is no conflict. And then is there ambition, or is there an energy that has come out of this observation? You understand? It is no longer ambition, it has tremendous energy, which you are wasting now in conflict. Right?
Then the problem arises how does that energy express itself? You are following all this? You understand? Being ambitious, competitive, seeking power, position, all that is self-centred activity. Right? One may write a marvellous book and you may write it through desire to fulfil your particular talent, or it may be desire to have more money - you know all that business. And you spend a great deal of energy on all that. And when that self-centred activity comes to an end you have an extraordinary sense of energy - right? How does that energy act? We know how ambition acts, we know how self-centred activity acts - jealousy, you know all that. Now when there is not that self-centred activity, and therefore a great, total summation of energy, without the 'me' - you understand all this? - then what is its activity? Will it go and join Communism, Socialism, become Capitalist - you are following all this? - go to church, temple, mosque, follow some guru? Come on sirs. What will you do with that energy? This is one of our problems, please, you understand? You realise how one wastes energy in conflict, in battles. It took tremendous energy to kill people, wars, now you have no war - actual, physical war - but you have economic war going on - right? - you have religious war. We know how all that energy is being wasted. Now you say, 'I have this energy', there is this tremendous sense of vital energy which is no longer wasted - what is its action? I wonder if you have asked these questions, have you? I am asking them for you.
Now how does this energy come about? You understand my question? It comes about only when it has observed 'what is' and remains with 'what is', and it can only do that when there is no division between the observer and the observed. Are you coming with me? The mind has examined what is implied in jealousy, examined what is implied in ambition, and various problems - one can examine them all - looked at them, observed them, felt them, investigated them, and through that investigation and observation comes a realisation that there is no division between the observer and the observed; and the summation of that is intelligence, isn't it? Are you following this? The summation of that energy is intelligence, it is not your intelligence or my intelligence, or the racial intelligence, it is something entirely different. And that intelligence will operate, not doing something silly, neurotic, selfish. And that is the real transformation of the mind. You are following all this? And that involves, all this involves, a mind that is capable of observing - observing without any distortion, without any neurotic illusions. Can you observe without any colouring, observe your life exactly as it is? How silly, absurd, or how beautiful, whatever it is, exactly as it is, narrow, petty, ambitious, greedy, frightened, competitive, wanting position, you know all that, caught in a network of fears. Can you obverse all that without the division as the observer and the observed? If you can, really, not as an idea, actually, if you have done it, if you do it, then you will see that out of this observation comes an extraordinary sense of great creative intelligence, and that operates in our relationship. Because all life is relationship. Right? You can't live by yourself, though we try to. We enclose ourselves with our ideas of how important we are, or how little we are, and we enclose ourselves. It is this part of self-centred activity which destroys relationship.
So, as our life is movement in relationship, movement, not just a static state of relationship, it is a movement, and as our relationship in our daily life is so terrible, so ugly, so contradictory, such a battle - probably you know this better than I do, what your relationships are: the fight between man and woman, the attachments, the dominance, you know what goes on, the sexual pleasures and you know all this, don't you, better than I? And if there is no right relationship, which can only be brought about when the observer is the observed - you understand? - when relationship isn't based on an image, the image which you have created about another, and what the other has created about you, and in that there is division and therefore there is conflict. So as life is all a movement in relationship, to understand that relationship is to understand the self-centred activity, which separates you and me and therefore conflict between you and me. And that conflict is essentially between the observer and the observed. The observer is the past and he tries to control the observed, tries to change the thing that is 'what is'. But when there is only 'what is' then there is complete change of 'what is', and therefore complete summation of energy, which is intelligence.
Would you like to ask questions about this - what we have talked about this morning? Just a minute. What time is it?
Questioner: Ten to one.
Q: Sir, how does one find the energy to follow these talks...
Krishnamurti: Look, sir, just a minute, just a minute. Before you ask questions, take a breath, will you, because you have listened to the speaker for an hour and ten minutes. So just take a breath.
Now to ask questions is very important, isn't it? - and to whom are you asking the question? To whom are you putting the question? To the speaker? Or are you putting the question as a means of enquiry? Which is different from putting the question to another from whom you expect an answer. You understand, sir? You understand what I'm saying? Are you putting the question as a means of enquiry and therefore your enquiry may lead to something totally different from what you expect. Or are you putting the question to the speaker to find an answer? You see the difference? So find out before you put the question whether you are putting it to find an answer from the speaker, or you are investigating by asking. In investigating by asking, we are both sharing the thing together - you understand? Otherwise you put a question and the speaker says, yes this is the answer, then that is too silly. Just a minute sir. You asked a question. So we are putting the question in order to enquire, and that enquiry may lead to something totally different from what you want, and you must be prepared in putting the question to see something which you totally detest, or don't want. So your mind then is free to enquire. Right? What do you want to say sir?
K: Are you asking sir, what is thinking - are you asking how to pursue one thought?
Q: To be aware of each thought and to...
K: How am I, the questioner says, to pursue each thought, to be aware of each thought? That is the question. Now why do you want to be aware of each thought? Do you know what is implied in that? - to be aware of each thought.
Q: Very difficult.
K: Very difficult - why? Why do I want to be aware of each thought?
Q: Self-knowledge, isn’t it?
K: Wait. Is that self-knowledge? He says that is self-knowledge, to be aware of each thought, that is self-knowledge, knowing oneself. Now, let us find out, may we?
I want to know about myself because that is very important, to know about myself. Because if I don't know about myself I know nothing. Right? I then only repeat what has been said. I just automatically act. In knowing myself: why there is suffering, why there is contradiction, why I am jealous, why I pursue that pleasure and avoid the other pleasure, why my mind is caught in a network of fears, I want to know all that. Right? Because without knowing myself I have no raison d'tre. I don't know what it means to live, I just react. So I see the importance of knowing myself. Now, shall I know myself by pursuing each thought, being aware of each thought? And therefore I must find out what it means to be aware. Right sir? And also I must understand what thought means. Right? I must not only know, understand what is awareness but also what is this thing called thought?
So what does it mean to be aware? I am aware, there is an awareness of this tent, of this marquee, with all its posts, people sitting in it, the wind, the movement on the canvas, the shadows and so on, I am aware of that. I am also aware of the people sitting there, their colour, their posture, their indifference, their yawning, their scratching (laughter), their lack of attention - I'm sitting here, I see all that. I am aware of it, outwardly. And also awareness means to observe what is going on inwardly, the reactions to what has been observed outwardly. Right? To observe, to be aware: to be aware implies to observe without any choice, doesn't it? Otherwise there is no awareness, is there? Are you getting tired? I see people yawning therefore I must stop.
K: Ben, ben.
If I have a choice in my awareness then it is not total awareness, is it? So why does the mind choose? You follow all this? This is part of awareness. Why does the mind choose? Is it part of its culture? It chooses between various materials, it chooses different cars, it chooses different kinds of hats and dresses and houses and this and that, but also it chooses its pleasures - I prefer to go to a guru and sit and listen to his tommyrot, or I go to church and listen to all the repetition, you know all that, or I go and sit in meditation which is a form of hypnosis - you follow? - and I play with all this. Why do I choose? What does choice mean? Are you following all this? What does choice mean? Because we choose, we think we are free. Right? I can go from this country or to another country, from this work to another work. I can write what I like. You can't do that in Russia or in China, wherever it is. So we think there is freedom when we can choose. Right? But why do we choose? Do you choose when you see something very clearly? Is there any choice when there is complete perception of something? So the lack of total perception makes you choose. And makes you choose when you are confused. If you are not confused then there is no choice. Right? I wonder if you get all this?
So awareness is attention in which there is no choice and no analysis. Analysis implies the observer and the observed. Right? Analysis implies time. The observer who is analysing needs time to analyse the various contents of his mind, his consciousness, his activities. And that is one of the things we accept very easily, that we must analyse, and that is the fashion. Awareness is total attention, a complete, whole thing in which there is no choice and no analysis, because analysis I see is a wastage of energy. And choice exists only when there is confusion. So I am beginning to have an inclination, a perception of what it means to be aware. Right? Not a practice for heaven's sake! That becomes mechanical, stupid, but see what takes place.
Then there is this whole question of what is thought because the gentleman said I must examine each thought. Do you want to go into all this? Isn't it your lunch time? (Laughter) If you examine, investigate what the whole movement of thinking is, you have to go into the question of what is memory, what is knowledge, what is the thing that accumulates, from which you act? You understand? What is the brain, where memory is stored up? I haven't read books about it, but I've observed. You can do all this yourself without reading books and going into all that. There is an experience, an incident, and that incident, that experience leaves a memory - pleasant or unpleasant - that is stored up in the brain-cells. Right? You can see this, it is so obvious. The very obvious thing becomes very simple - you understand? - then you can go along with it. So the brain stores memory. Memory is the result of experience, incidents as knowledge. So thought is the response of memory. If you had no memory there would be no thinking, would there be? Please, come on. Right? Your memory is your conditioning. You are a Christian, you're an Englishman, an Indian, whatever it is. And from that conditioning you react. To understand this conditioning is also to understand the 'me', which is the self. The knowing of 'me', is the freeing of the 'me'.
So thought - which we won't go into now, perhaps we'll do it tomorrow, or another day - thought is the response of the past. So thought is never new, thought is never free; it can talk about freedom - see how deceptive thought has become. Because it can choose, it thinks it is free. You see this? How illusory it is? But whereas, where there is clarity, where there is perception, total attention, there is no choice, and that is real freedom. So awareness of each thought means, awareness of the whole movement of life in action, in relationship. I think that is enough for today, don't you?