In meditation there is no becoming nor being
When you observe ‘what is’, there is no conflict
6th Public Talk, Madras
January 10, 1982
(Please would you mind not taking photographs. If you must take photographs, take photographs of the trees. Much nicer!)
This is the last talk. We were going to talk over together the question of meditation. We ought to consider also how we meet our problems. We have problems: a problem is, the meaning of that word is, something thrown at you, like a challenge; how you respond to that challenge, how you respond to a particular problem. As we were saying yesterday, our life is ebb and flow, going out to the world and coming back inwardly. But as the waters go out and come in, they remain water. But we human beings have this problem going out, observing the world, and hardly observing ourselves and our reactions to the world. So we never meet completely the challenge or the problem. This evening we propose to challenge you and see how you meet that challenge, with what vigour, with what intensity, whether you respond fully, or very partially.
And we should also consider together meditation, which is really very complex and has great depth of meaning. It demands first that we put our house in order, our house, which is so disorderly. And one of the causes of this disorder is our brain is always chattering, there is never a moment of quietness, it is always going round and round and round, so it is perpetually in action, whether we are awake or asleep. When we are awake, if you are at all not mechanical, it is fairly simple to meet challenges and respond to them adequately; but when one is asleep there are no actual challenges, problems, but there are problems which have not been resolved and the brain tries to resolve them while you are asleep because it cannot function effectively, directly, with vitality, if during the day we are not resolving the problems, ending the problems. Therefore during sleep the problems are being sorted out, so the brain is always active: it is dreaming, and if you dream, it is the continuation of our daily life in a different form. And if we don't dream at all the brain has its own rhythm, its own movement, which requires a life of meditation. So the brain has been conditioned through millennia by a great deal of experience and knowledge. And knowledge, as we pointed out the other day, is limited. So knowledge always goes with ignorance; it is in the shadow of lack of knowledge, incomplete knowledge. So the brain, which they are discovering also, is never functioning as a whole. We are only functioning partially; the right side and the left side of the brain. I won't go into all that, it is not my point, our point for the moment.
What we are trying to talk over together is whether it is possible not to function partially; whether the brain can function totally, completely, harmoniously. And if it is possible, what action has it in our daily life, because we are concerned not with theories, not with beliefs, not with all kinds of superstitious nonsense but a life, our daily every day life. Is it possible to bring complete order without any compulsion, without any pressure, without these two principles acting: reward and punishment? For most of us these two principles are active: reward and punishment. And meditation is not a reward, there is not, at the end of it, some kind of mysterious excitement, mysterious enlightenment. We will go into that, what meditation means, not how to meditate - the 'how' to meditate is nonsense - but the quality of a mind that is meditative. We are going to enquire into that together.
And also we should enquire together: what is a religious mind? What is religion? Because as we have been talking during the last five talks together, about the problems of our daily life: economic, social, family and all the travail of life, the compulsions, the commitments, fears, anxieties, jealousies, ambition, aggressiveness, you know, the whole complex of our daily life; we have been talking about it together and trying to bring order in that disorder. And we ought to also talk over together what is intelligence. These are all necessary to understand before we begin to talk about meditation.
What is intelligence? There is the intelligence of thought: thought that has built the cathedrals, the churches, the temples, the mosques, that house, the ugliness of modern civilisation, the brutality, the total callousness, it is the product of intelligent thought. And is there an intelligence which is not born out of thought? We must enquire into this question together. We know intelligence which operates with knowledge, thought, experience and so on, action. Any action based on thought must be limited. That is obvious because, as we have said, knowledge is always limited. Therefore any action born out of knowledge must inevitably be limited, and therefore that limited activity of thought has its own intelligence. To build a bridge you must have extraordinary capacity of engineering, stress of metal, if you want to build a most beautiful bridge, as they are, across the Golden Gate in San Francisco and New York, most marvellous bridges; there you have to enquire, you have to exercise a great deal of intelligence which is born of thought.
And we exercise in our daily life intelligence, limited, and therefore there is always conflict because our thought is limited, our action is limited, our actions are contradictory and so on. So the intelligence of thought must inevitably bring about conflict. You can see it happening in the world. One does not have to go into it in more detail. But we are also asking - I hope you are also asking: is there an intelligence which is not born of thought? That is, if you say, 'Yes, it is the intelligence of god, it is the intelligence of some super consciousness', it is still born out of thought because all our gods, whether in the West, or in the East, or in the Far West, or Near East, all the gods are made up by us, our invention, they are for our convenience. This is clear. All of you, I am sure, believe in god; I don't know why but you do. But we never realise it is the invention of thought: all the rituals, the pujas, all the circus that goes on in the name of religion; it is really a vast entertainment. And is there a thought, is there intelligence which is not born of thought? Therefore is there an action which is not born out of thought?
You are following all this? Please, as we said, this is not a lecture where you are talked at, where you are being informed about something or other. Here we are together observing. And when we observe very clearly that very observation is action itself.
So we are asking: is there an intelligence which is not born out of knowledge, not born out of experience, not born out of tremendous analysis, because all those are limited? So is there an intelligence which is not born out of this? That is also part of meditation: to find out for oneself, not directed by another, not led by a guru by your hand to something, but to find out for yourself if there is an action which is not born out of thought, but is there an action which is totally intelligent, so that there are no regrets, no fears, it is a total complete activity of intelligence. We are going to go into that too.
And we are also asking, which is also part of meditation: what is a religious mind? All the people who go to all the churches and temples and mosques, are they religious at all? All that noise that goes on every evening here in the name of some invented god, are they religious? So we have to enquire into that seriously. And if we find the truth of it, you do not belong to any church, to any group, to any religion. That requires a mind that is totally free. Freedom, which is another complex subject, can only be when we have understood the nature of authority: why we obey, why we follow, why we go from one guru to another endlessly. Is there not the urge to be led, to have a leader, politically, religiously, a leader in the family and so on, which is authority? We have followed authority of various kinds through all the millennia, and at the end of this period of time we are exactly where we began, perhaps a little more sophisticated, a little more cunning, a little more avaricious, and if we are wealthy, god is our money. So what is a religious mind? Surely it is not that to believe in god is a religious mind. I hope we are meeting this clearly. If belief in god makes you religious, that is, the word 'religion', etymologically there has been no definite meaning, but we all understand when we use the word religion, it is either utter superstition, a lot of words spun together, repetition of some mantra, or some slogan, which is to quieten the mind; and does that make the human brain really profoundly religious? Beliefs, dogma, superstition, ideals, the rituals that thought has invented, all these are the product of thought: so is thought in itself religious? You are following all this, I hope. Obviously it is not, because thought is a material process. Right? Because it is based on experience, knowledge, memory, thought, action, contained in the brain cells, right and left, and so on. So thought in itself is not sacred. Whatever thought may invent - super consciousness, super ego, super self-realisation, super, super something - it is still part of thought. And thought is not sacred, whatever it creates. It has created the most marvellous things: we have seen some of the great temples, great sculpture, great music.
So, what is a religious mind? Obviously it is a mind that is totally free from all organised institutions called religions, organisations for prayer, monasteries. And the monk, whether in the West or in the East, taking a vow of celibacy so that he leads a pure life - while he is burning inside he has taken a vow. And as one has observed in the West and in the East, apparently celibacy - please I am not advocating celibacy, or against it, we are examining, we are looking, we are observing, we are thinking together about all this so that we ourselves find our own life which has integrity, nobility, honesty. Purity is not so great as innocency. That is, 'innocent' means a mind that is not capable of being hurt. You understand? That is an innocent mind. And if you put aside all the scriptures, it doesn't matter what they have said because if you merely repeat what they have said you are merely repeating a lot of words, it is not an original perception of what is truth. You may read all the commentaries of other people, and quote them and repeat them as an intellectual entertainment; that is all right on the one hand, but the words are not reality. So one has to be totally free from all that because truth has no path to it. It is a pathless land, like a ship that has no rudder. You have to walk out of darkness, out of your own chaos, out of your own confusion, out of the forest of ignorance and come to that by yourself, your own comprehension or perception. That demands great inward vitality, strength and clarity.
Now, if we have established order by understanding the nature of disorder, which is contradiction, dishonesty, hypocrisy, all the mischief that we have created in the world and in ourselves, and out of the understanding of that comes order, which is a living thing, which is not something put in a strait jacket. It is a living quality that is order, and order is the highest virtue. So there must be that before we start to enquire what is meditation. So that your brain is active without stimulation. I hope we are understanding each other, are we? You see most of us are asleep: you go to the office, come back home, eight hours work, but it is all routine, dull; gradually the brain, naturally, becomes dull. And such a brain meditating - it has no meaning whatever. But you are all doing that in one way or another.
So we are going to enquire not only into the depth and the profundity of what is truly a religious mind, but also what is meditation. You understand? We have established order in our life, otherwise it is utterly futile to meditate, obviously, because it will become an amusement, it will become a routine, you will be doing this and that: fantasy. Also the brain, which has got such immense capacity, immense, technologically it has done the most extraordinary things. And the astrophysicists are enquiring into the nature of the universe; which is, to find out what is Mars, Saturn; that is they want to enquire and learn, acquire knowledge about the universe. And the universe is also part of us. We are incapable apparently of delving so profoundly in ourselves so that there is total order, which is the order of the universe. I don't want to go into all that. It is too complicated.
So what is meditation? Is meditation something apart from daily living, spending twenty minutes or half an hour in the morning, afternoon and evening? Apart from our daily activity. Or our daily life itself is a meditation. You understand? Are we meeting each other somewhere, in some corner? I hope that corner isn't too dark. So why should we meditate, what is meditation? It is not obviously practice. Right? Following a particular system, a method. When you follow a system, a method, your brain which is already mechanical, you make it still further mechanical. It is so obvious.
So can we be free of all systems and practice? Because, we practise a system, a method in order to have a reward at the end of it, otherwise you wouldn't do it. Do we see the truth of that? Not systems are right or wrong but do we see that the so-called practice of a system of meditation is utterly meaningless because that makes the brain more and more dull, stupid: do we see that fact? It may bring about certain results: it may calm your body, give you a peaceful night and so on, you may have certain superficial benefits, but as an act of meditation it has no meaning. Are we clear on this? Or hearing the speaker saying all this you say, 'I will go on practising my method, it has benefitted me', and so you are going back to something which you have consciously or unconsciously understood to be the truth and practise something which is utterly meaningless. You are following all this? And why do we practise? That is one of the most horrible words. Why should we practise? It is like a pianist practising the wrong note. Right? I hope you see the amusement of it!
Sirs, you see throughout the ages man has sought something which is beyond time, which is beyond thought, beyond all experience, something totally the origin of all things. He wanted it, he wanted to enquire, find out. And there were those people who said, 'I have found out, I will tell you all about it.' They were caught in that trap. And that is what most human beings are doing now: they want something, they are so discontented with life, with all the travail, the meaninglessness of this existence which is pleasure, pain, anxiety and all the rest of it. So in that state, man enquires out of his deep discontent with life if there is something that is immeasurable - not the words, not the experience of it, the actuality of it. And somebody, perhaps, had such an experience, such a perception and wrote about it, and we, or some, most people read those books, repeat those books, try to practise what he is supposed to have done, how he lived, how he walked, what he ate for breakfast and so on; and we think we are becoming religious. That is, we are seeking reward through punishing ourselves. You are following all this?
And we have enquired, we are enquiring still into a religious mind: the mind that is not functioning, a mind that is functioning where thought is necessary and perceiving an intelligence which is not based on thought. What is that perception? Are we meeting each other? I want somebody to Sir, we talked the other day about love and compassion. We talked about it: the words are not the reality. Compassion has its own intelligence; it is passion born out of suffering, or rather the ending of suffering. When there is the ending of suffering totally then that ending brings this quality of compassion. And the intelligence of compassion is not born out of thought. Right? You are getting something of this?
So with that intelligence we are observing what is meditation: no systems, no practice, no sense of obeying somebody to lead you somewhere else. There must be complete freedom. Then there are various systems of meditation: the Zen from Japan, the meditation of the Hindus, the meditation of the Buddhists, the meditations of the Christians and perhaps the meditations of the Muslims. Why are there such divisions? Meditation is meditation: not the Buddhist meditation, Tibetan meditation, some other meditation. The very word 'meditation' means to ponder over, think over - the actual meaning. Now, apparently in all meditations there is the observer and the observed; there is the controller and the controlled. The controller is thought controlling his wandering thoughts. Right? That is, there is a division in thinking itself.
Another interesting question is: is thinking individual at all? Or is there only thinking: not Eastern thinking and Western thinking, Buddhist thinking and Hindu thinking, which is absurd obviously, because there is only thinking. But you in the East may put it into different words, and the West may put it into another series of words, but thinking is neither West, nor East, nor individual. I wonder if you understand the depth of this, if you see the beauty of it. You are free from this idea then of belonging to any particular group, community, to a people.
So there is this controller and the controlled. That is part of the ordinary meditation. The conflict that goes on when you are trying to think about something and other thoughts pass by one after the other, so there is this contradiction in thinking itself. Right? And this contradiction is part of our confusion, part of our disorder. So is there a difference between the controller and the controlled? Or there is no controller at all, only a movement of thought, which invents a controller, then he begins to control thought. You follow? This is clear, isn't it? I want to meditate, and I see my thoughts wandering all over the place. Then I say to myself, I must control my thoughts. Who is the controller? It is still thought, isn't it, who has separated himself, calling himself the controller, and thoughts which are wandering by. So in meditation there is no controller at all, only pure observation. Oh, you don't understand all this. Right? That is, to observe without any direction, without any motive, pure observation of the light of an evening on a river, or the light of the moon on the ocean, or the light in the face of a nice person. To observe, so that that pure observation has nothing personal, nothing individual, it is pure seeing. When there is such perception there is no need for controlling. I wonder if you see this. Because all our life there is always a controller: 'do this, don't do that'. Right? 'This is right, this is wrong. I must control my passions, I must control my lust, I must control my thoughts'. But this is a very dangerous thing if you do not understand what the speaker is saying. One can live a life without one effort of control because then when you perceive directly there is no need for control. When you perceive that your systems of meditation have no meaning, that very perception ends the system, you don't have to struggle against the systems. You understand? Are we meeting something together in this? Right.
So there is no concentration. Concentration is the controller trying to concentrate. So in meditation there is no controller. You understand the significance of this? Which means there is no conflict, because all our life is conflict. And we think by meditating we shall end conflict; or by meditating we shall bring about order in our life - which is the other way round. You understand? So concentration is a form of resistance. Right? I want to concentrate on a certain page, on a picture, on an idea, and other thoughts come seeping in, so I have to force myself to concentrate on one particular thing. So there must be resistance. Whereas attention has no resistance; which is to attend with total awareness of things about you. Where there is attention there is no centre as the 'me'; whereas in concentration there is always the centre as the 'me'. See it? Sir, are we together in this, or you are just looking at the speaker?
So meditation is a state of mind that demands absolute accuracy, absolute integrity, that when you say something you mean it. We went into that question of integrity yesterday. That is to have a mind that is not acting to further reactions, this ebb and flow of action and reaction. It is when that ebb and flow of action and reaction stops there is total integrity, and when there is this quality of attention in which there is no personal attempt to become something. I wonder if you understand this? In our daily life we are always becoming something: if I am a clerk I want to become the manager, if I am the manager I want to be the executive, top boss and so on and so on; in politics, in religion, if I am a disciple I will eventually become the guru, if I am the guru then I want to become the top guru: you know, this everlasting attempt to become something. In meditation there is no becoming, nor being. But when there is order, this intelligence of compassion, then the mind, the whole brain, becomes astonishingly quiet. That is, silence can only be when there is space. Space is not only the distance from here to your home, but the space that thought has created is not space. Space requires tremendous sense of the ending of the self, totally. We have very little space in our minds. We can invent space, we can think about space, but the actuality of having vast space, because silence of the mind is limitless space, because in that silence there is no centre which says, 'I am silent.' You are following all this?
And man has sought something beyond himself, something holy, something sacred, which is not the invention of thought, which is none of the things that have been created in the churches, in the temples, in the mosques - there is nothing sacred there. But when there is this quality of absolute silence and space there is that which is not measurable by words: and this is meditation. And in that meditation there is something totally, utterly sacred which can never be put into words. And that is not an experience because there is no experiencer to experience. I wonder if you understand all this. There is only that which is immeasurable, nameless, and which cannot be put into words at any time. And our life, our daily life, if one has comprehended all this, is totally transformed: this is meditation.