Desire, love and death
Thought can never change man
5th Public Talk, Ojai, California
April 17, 1976
The last four talks that we have had here we have talked about several things concerning our daily life. Because we are concerned, not with abstractive theories, nor beliefs, nor any kind of conclusion about our daily existence, but we have been talking over together, I hope sharing the question of relationship between human beings, which is the very basis of all existence. And if that relationship is not correct, right, accurate, then we produce a society which is confused, brutal, violent, wars and so on, which is the modern culture, modern society. We also talked over together the whole question of what is thinking, what is thought upon which all our psychological as well as technological world is based. Whether thought is adequate to meet all these problems, human problems. If it is not adequate then what is the activity which will produce correct action? We went into that very carefully, not only at the talk here but also through discussions that we have had here.
Then we talked about pleasure and the pursuit of it, what is involved in it, and also we went into the question whether man can ever end his sorrow, or must we accept sorrow as inevitable and go on with it. This has been one of the great problems of human beings, from the ancient of times, pre-history, man has suffered, both biologically and psychologically, inwardly, very deeply, through wars, through national divisions, through religious schisms and so on. Man hasn't apparently, human beings, have never been able to resolve this problem of sorrow, and whether it can be ended completely. So out of that ending of sorrow comes passion, which is totally different from lust. We went into that carefully.
We also talked about fear - whether man can completely free himself totally from fear. We pointed out that it is possible: as there is an ending to sorrow there is an ending to fear. And this morning, if we may, we would like to talk about love, and also a very deep problem which is death because we are concerned with living which includes dying also. And in going into all these problems, investigating them, sharing together, is part of this thing called meditation, which we shall go into tomorrow morning. But without understanding, or deeply concerned with the human relationship, fear, thought, sorrow, meditation becomes merely an escape and therefore utterly meaningless. And I think it's very important for us to understand if we are at all serious, and I hope we are serious at least for this morning, that we should face these problems, not in abstraction, not as an idea, but as a daily, everyday fact. And if we merely avoid these facts, as most of us do, as we have developed a whole series of networks of escapes, our daily life becomes not only a great travail, great conflict, struggle, pain, but we produce a society, a culture that must inevitably conform or follow our daily life of misery, confusion, anxiety, sorrow, uncertainty and all that. So we are talking over together, sharing these problems. We are not, though it is a lovely morning after rather dreary days of wind and rain and cloud, this is not a gathering to be entertained, to have one's intellect stimulated, or emotionally stirred. We are dealing with daily serious problems, and if we don't resolve them as human beings we contribute to future sorrow, misery, confusion, not only of your own children but of the whole humanity.
So please this is very serious what we are talking about. Either you listen completely, share it wholly, or you merely pay a passing attention and carry on with your daily confused, unhappy lives. So please bear in mind, if I may again point out, that we are sharing the thing together, sharing implies that one must be hungry to find out, hungry to taste the things that are real. So this is not a one-sided affair. The speaker may point out, paint a picture verbally, but that which is painted verbally is not the actual; the description is not the described, the word is not the thing. And unless we go beyond and see the fact, the described, we merely then play with words. After saying all this we are going to now go into this question of what is love.
Again this has been one of the great problems of human beings. Human beings whether they live in the Far East, in the Middle East, or here. It is a question that one must investigate, not accept what love is, or define it, or come to some abstract conclusion what it should be because those things have no value at all. But to find out actually in our daily life what is implied in that word, the content of that word, the full significance of that word, because we are using that word so slackly. We have loaded that word with so much meaning, mostly sensuous. So we must, if we may, use that word, knowing all the complications of that word, the meaning of that word, and explore together, share the structure and the nature of that thing called love.
So we are first asking whether love is desire, or love pleasure? When we use the word 'desire' what is the significance of that word, what is the meaning of that word 'desire'? How does it arise? How does it flower? What is the root of it? How does it come into being? So we must carefully go into that when we use desire in association with love. And apparently for most of us it is intimately connected with desire. Sexually, psychologically, biologically, spiritually, all that is involved in that word. So what is the root of desire, how does it come into being? When you have a desire for something, the objects of desire vary, but the root of desire is the same though the objects vary. So how does desire come into being in each one?
Please, as we said, we are investigating, sharing, we are not laying down the law, we have no authority in this matter, or any matter. The speaker is not your guru, nor are you his followers. That's an abomination, because when you follow somebody, except technologically, you are destroying truth. And through following another you can never come upon that which is truth. So one must, if we may point out, be free of all authority and be sceptical. It is good to be sceptical, doubtful psychologically about everything, including your pet gurus, specially your pet gurus! They are springing like mushrooms in this country. This a very serious matter. And if one wants to find out for oneself, one must stand alone. And most of us are afraid to be alone.
So what is the beginning of desire? Because most religions, that is the propagandist religions, religions based on belief which are no religions at all, religions of authority and all that, most organised religions have said that you must, to serve god, you must be free of desire. And so the monks, the Indian sanyasis try to suppress desire and in the process of repression identify themselves with an image, with a name and thereby they think they have solved the problem. They are burning inside with desire but they suppress it through rituals, through discipline, through every form of conformity, effort. So this has been a great problem for human beings who are very serious to find out if there is a reality - if there is truth. Because desire breeds illusion, desire breeds experiences, and when you cling to an experience that becomes an illusion. So one must go into this question: what is desire very carefully, deeply because we have identified love with desire.
Is not desire sensation? Sensation, that is the activity of the senses plus thought. You understand? Sensations plus thought is desire. No? Do we share this, communicate this actuality together? Though one states it, that is, sensation plus thought is desire - is that fact, or just a statement of an idea? Can you look at something with all your senses completely? And end that looking, end it and not let thought come into the activity of sensation? You understand? That is, when you look at something: the trees, the mountain, the human being, a face, anything, the endless movement of the sea, to look at it with all your senses, all your eyes and ears and nerves, to look at it completely and not allow thought to come, to interfere with it. Then your perception is whole. Whereas when thought interferes with that perception it becomes fragmentary. So desire is fragmentary. Right? And we have unfortunately, or fortunately - it's up to you - identified desire with that thing called love. So we are asking: is love desire? And also we are asking: is love pleasure, sexually, and in all its different manifestations? Pleasure as we went into the other day, is what most human beings pursue endlessly, psychologically, outwardly as well as inwardly. We are not saying that you must not have pleasure, but we are investigating the whole business of pleasure because love is associated with pleasure. Pleasure of an experience, sexually or otherwise, both biologically and psychologically. If there is a psychological pleasure, which you call experience, and retaining that experience as memory and pursuing that memory, then that experience becomes pleasure. You understand this? That is, you may have had a marvellous, pleasurable experience yesterday. It is registered in the brain as memory and thought comes in and says, 'I must have more of it tomorrow' - that becomes pleasure. But when you have an experience, whatever kind, pleasurable generally, or miserable, then to end it, not let thought take it over. So we have gone into that if you were here the other day when we went into this question of pleasure. I am afraid we won't go into it too deeply this morning.
So we are saying: is love pleasure? And is love attachment? Please do pay attention to all this because it's your life. Is love attachment? You are attached to somebody. What is the process, what is the meaning of this attachment? Because we are asking: is love attachment? You may be attached to your house, to an idea, to a belief, to a person - what is the meaning of that attachment? When you are attached to something you are that - aren't you? When you have totally identified with something, you are that. And why is this urge to identify? To be attached? Please this is not a group therapy, which is an ugly thing, but rather observing actually what is going on in yourself. Therefore you have to give attention to it. Why is a human being attached to another? And what happens if he is not attached? And is attachment love? Does not attachment breed fear - because you may lose it? Being attached you may become jealous, frightened, anxious, which are obvious phenomena. And you are attached because of your own insufficiency, loneliness. And so out of your own insufficiency, loneliness, a sense of lacking, you cling to another. So is attachment love? Where there is attachment there must be exploitation. Are you following all this? And we use that word 'love' to cover up all this. And is love jealousy? Do you follow all this? So when none of these things exist as attachment, because you have understood that emptiness in oneself can never be filled by something else. You have to look at it. You have to not escape from it, observe it totally. Then you will see that loneliness goes completely away. Then there is not that lonely attachment. Then perhaps one will know what love is. Because in that attachment there is fear, there is anxiety, there is hate, all the conflicts in relationship. Where there is conflict can there be love? And where there is ambition can there be love? Do you follow?
So when you strip yourself of ambition, anxiety, attachment, and understand deeply the meaning and the significance of pleasure, and desire, then you perhaps come upon that strange thing called love. And out of that comes compassion. Compassion is the highest form of intelligence. When you have compassion and therefore intelligence, you will do the right thing at the right moment. You understand all this? I hope you are following, not verbally but actually in your heart, in your mind, doing it.
And there is the question of what death is. It is rather strange to talk about it on a lovely morning like this, but it's part of life. Without going into the full meaning of that word, and knowing what is implied, to shut ourselves away from it, to escape from it, to avoid it, not to talk about it, is to divide life - a total movement. So we must go into this question. Not only for the aged, but also for the young, we are all involved in this thing. So what does living mean, and what does dying mean? You understand my question? What do we mean by living, our daily living? An effort, a struggle, a conflict, pleasure, anxiety, uncertainty, fear of losing a job, or having a job try to get a better job, and so on, constant struggle, constant effort, fear, anxiety, with occasional joy, which is totally different from pleasure? This is our life, isn't it, if you are honest about it, this is our daily, everyday existence. And that's what we call living. Right? Please don't accept what I am saying, we are only stating 'what is'. To that endless struggle we cling, and say that is living. And what is then dying? The ending of this so-called living? You are following all this? Is it a biological ending? Or the ending of this immense stream which man has created of conflict, sorrow, pain, anxiety? You are following all this? Please, it's your life we are talking about, not the description which the speaker is giving about his life, or somebody else's life. It's your life, your daily life with which we are concerned. Unless there is a radical transformation in that daily life we are going to create more and more misery for ourself and for other human beings - which is actually what's going on.
So what is dying? There is a biological death. Right? Through accident, through disease, through an incident, a bomb, an explosion, accident, and the body, the organism wearing itself out, and the organism coming to an end. I do not know if you have ever thought about this question of the intelligence of the body, the organism, biological intelligence of the body. The body, has its own intelligence, if you have observed it. But we have destroyed that intelligence through drink, through drugs, through constant effort, battle, trying various drugs and various chemicals, you know, medicines and all that kind of thing, we have destroyed that innate intelligence of the organism. And so the body dies by constant strain, usage. I do not know if you are interested - you should be - whether this organism, this biological instrument, can with its brain, never deteriorate. You understand my question? Our brain as it gets older deteriorates. You have noticed it, it's called gaga-ism, senility. Can the brain be young all the time? You understand? - and not deteriorate? When there is constant friction biologically as well as psychologically, the brain must deteriorate. Right? Constant friction, constant effort, constant struggle, and is there a way of living without effort and therefore have a brain that is always young, fresh, active, decisive. You are following my question? I'll go into it if you are interested because it is possible.
Is one aware daily of the constant battle in oneself, trying to be something, trying to imitate, trying to conform, becoming the ideal, which is the mechanical process. You follow? Is one aware of that, conscious, do you know you are doing this? Not how to stop it, not how to break the mechanical routine, but to be aware of it without any choice, just to look at it, because if you introduce an effort you have already destroyed. So can you observe without any choice the mechanical movement of the brain, or rather one part of the brain which has been so cultivated centuries upon centuries to act mechanically, just to be aware of it. Not to correct it, not to alter it, because then again, in that alteration comes conflict. As we said where there is duality, difference between the observer and the observed there must be conflict. When there is no observer but merely observation then there is no conflict.
And if one is aware during the day of all the movement, mechanical movement, the ways of your thinking, desire - you follow - to be totally aware of all this during the whole day, then you will find at night when you go to sleep, though in spite of all the scientists say that the brain is constantly in action, constantly in movement, constantly agitated, there are no dreams. The mind, the brain is quiet because all your problems, all your activities are being dissolved during the day, if you are attentive, you are watchful, aware. So when you go to sleep there is peace, the brain may be in movement but it is a quiet movement. It is not an agitated, anxious movement, therefore the brain in itself brings order. You are following all this? It doesn't matter.
So the brain becomes young, fresh and it cannot be young, and fresh and decisive if there is any form of hurt. Do you understand? Most human beings are hurt from childhood, in school, in college, in university, in offices, they are being hurt all the time. And to be free of this hurt, which we've gone into the other day, so that the brain has no resistance. You understand?
For after all innocence means a brain that is not capable of being hurt - not biologically - accidents can happen - but psychologically not to have any hurts and therefore an innocent mind. So what is death? What is the thing apart from the biological ending, what is death? What is it that we are so frightened of? Is it the ending of your experiences? The ending of your knowledge? The ending of all the things that you are attached to, psychologically? Biologically when death takes place whatever you are attached to, does end. You are not going to carry your house, your furniture, your books and even your gurus - the Catholic guru, or the Protestant guru, or the Indian guru. So what is it that human beings are so dreadfully frightened of? They are frightened of something ending. Right? Psychologically, inwardly ending. And knowing it is going to end then we want comfort. We say there must be a continuity. And the ancient Hindus said there is a continuity, which is called reincarnation. You are interested in all this because it is your life we are talking about, not somebody else's life. They said you will be reborn next life according to what you have done this life, if you have behaved properly, decently, humanly, not humanly in the civilised sense, morally, that which is called karma, we won't go into all that - next life you are going to be better. So through a series of incarnations depending on the present activity, present behaviour, present morality, through a constant series of lives you will ultimately come to the highest principle. That's a very comforting theory. And millions believe in that.
There is the whole Buddhistic attitude, that life is a constant flux. You understand? Constant movement and when that manifests there is an enclosure taking place which becomes the 'you', the 'me', which through time, through constant movement undergoes change, flux, that is their - you understand? The Hindus, the Buddhists, and of course the Christians have their own belief, the resurrection, because they believe that their own deity woke up from death physically. Right? As some group of priests in Europe said, 'I wish they took a photograph of it'!
So there are these things. Now we are saying something entirely different. Please listen because it's very important when you understand it. Because then you will see, if you really understand this thing, that there is a timeless movement, a timeless state which we are going to go into. First we said the world is you, and you are the world. Right? Whether you go to the Orient, Europe or come here human beings radically, basically are afraid, anxious, in sorrow, confused, unhappy, with occasional joy, psychologically it is a constant movement - it's the same movement whether you have got a brown skin, black skin, yellow skin or any kind of skin pigment, East, Europe or here, it's the same stream. You understand? The same stream, therefore you are the world and the world is you, that's a fact. You may have different temperament, different gifts, capacities, idiosyncrasies, those are the responses of the culture in which you have lived but the basic stream is the same. You follow? Therefore you are the world, and the world is you. Right? Therefore there is no individuality. Individuality implies a wholeness, indivisible entity and you are not that indivisible entity - you are divided, broken, fragmented, therefore you are not actually an individual, indivisible. That you become totally individual in the complete sense of that word when you are whole, in which there is no fragmentary action. The word 'whole' means healthy, sane, holy, and as you are the world and the world is you, and you are caught in this constant stream, and when sorrow can be ended, fear can be ended - you understand? - not tomorrow, actually now. And we went into that question. Then you are out of that stream - not you - there is a manifestation which is out of that stream, or freedom from that stream, because that stream is time. Right? Please get it. That stream is time.
So you have to find out whether time has a stop. Time has a stop when there is no longer that movement of that stream. That stream is fear, that stream is conflict, that stream is sorrow, and all the confusion man has built - built through thought. That is the stream of time. When there is an ending to that stream time has stopped, therefore there is a totally different dimension, which we will discuss tomorrow, the whole problem of meditation.
So the thing that we are afraid of losing, when death takes place, is the structure which thought has built as me, the form, the name, and the attachment to the form and to the name, which are pain, pleasure, anxiety, all that is the 'me', you. You can say, ' Well that's not me but there is a higher me' - which is still the product of thought. So when that movement in which human beings are caught, that stream is the movement of time, driven by thought. The greater the volume of that stream is the volume of thought. And when that stream, which is our consciousness, with all its content, when that stream comes to an end then time has a stop and therefore there is a totally different dimension. And when you understand this, not verbally, deeply, live it daily, and it can be done, then you will see death has a totally different significance.
What is the time?
Q: Five after twelve.
K: You have had an hour of it and I think that is enough.