In meditation there is no direction
An energy that will transform the human mind
4th Public Talk, Madras
December 26, 1973
I believe this is the last talk.
What unhappy people we are. We never seem to live happily, letting things fall from us, totally detached, not indifferent, be kindly, generous, affectionate, and none of these things we seem to have, and we seem to live in a great deal of unhappiness, a great deal of travail, suffering, uncertainty, old age and death. We never seem to live totally, completely happy - not with things, not with ideas, not with some future hope, but never a mind that has never experienced despair. To live wholly all the days of our life, with ease, with grace and beauty and affection. And we are going to talk this evening about meditation, weren't we?
This is a very serious matter. And to go into this whole question of meditation, which is so important, which is the basis of our whole life, and to go into it one or two things must be very clear, must be made complete, so that we both of us are in a communication with each other. First of all, I would like to point out, in matters of the spirit one should never follow anybody. One must be wholly and completely a light to oneself. That is the fundamental state, fundamental reality, if one wants to go very, very deeply into meditation; that there is no authority, that one must be completely, totally selfreliant, which doesn't mean that one is vain, full of confidence. On the contrary, to find out what meditation is there must be a great sense of humility, a sense of not knowing. But unfortunately, both in this country and in other countries, this word 'meditation' has spread. Here, it is an accepted normal thing and in Europe and America, meditation has been imported, and the importers are rather mischievous people, they don't know what it means, but everybody is practicing meditation.
Once we were walking on the beach in California. There were a boy and a girl in the distance. As we passed they recognised us. They walked beside us and presently they said, 'Let's sit down and meditate, if you will'. And I said, what do you mean by that word. 'Oh, just think about things, concentrate, look at the wind and the beauty of the branch or the waves', and practice something which they had been told. For most of us meditation is really something we don't know. If we could, you and I, this evening, start with that. Don't let's be pretentious. Don't let's say, 'Yes, we do know, we have practiced, we have followed a system, we want to achieve some enlightenment, some glory, some happiness, something beyond and therefore we must sit quietly, close our eyes, breathe in a certain way', and so on and on and on and on. But if we could this evening, if we are at all serious, start with not knowing a thing about it. There is great beauty in not knowing. I do not know if you have ever gone into that question at all - not knowing. Not about biology and mathematics, history and archaeology and science and all that, but essentially, inwardly, not knowing. And that gives to the mind a quality of great humility, and it is only the mind that is totally humble, not in words but in actuality, it's only such a mind can understand very deeply what is involved in meditation.
So if we could this evening, at all serious, put aside everything that you have heard about it, if you can, and rather doubtful because it's become a habit - the puja room, the meditation room, the set time in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, to shut your eyes and repeat something or other, probably slogans which are called mantras. If we could abandon all that and start together to see, understand, have an insight into what meditation is, then we will see that it covers the whole of life, not a part of life but the whole of life, the whole days of our living.
To go into it one must exercise reason. You exercise reason when you are earning a livelihood, when you have to do some job, when you have to carry out a certain task. Reason is the capacity to think sanely and logically, to think clearly, coherently.
(Pause) At last.
It is very important that our minds observe rationally, otherwise we will go along the paths of illusion, caught up in some romantic, fanciful nonsense and then call that meditation. But if we could exercise sanity; sanity being a perception of the whole of life, everyday life, and live a life which is meditative all the days of our life. And not to be caught in illusions, fanciful visions, we must exercise the capacity, which we have when you do something or other in an office, when you want to earn a livelihood, we must exercise reason, logically, sanely, when we are considering spiritual matters. If I can use that word 'spiritual' without becoming rather gooey and sentimental.
So, what is meditation? Don't tell me, I am asking you. If I ask you, you will have ready answers, learnt from others, gathered from books or from some guru - you already know what meditation is. But if you don't know - and you don't know, because all that you know is what you have been told - that you must meditate, you must sit this way, you will practice, do this, that and the other, ten different things - you'll never find out. You will never know actually the extraordinary thing that actually takes place when there is real meditation. So you have to abandon, not verbally but actually, all that you have been told about it, all that you have practiced because there you have not exercised reason. You have only - you have been led by hope, by fear, by achieving something or other which you have read about or have been told about. So you actually, in reality, don't know a thing about it. I wish you and I could start that way.
Look, when you learn a language, you know nothing about it. You don't come to it pretentiously. You don't say, 'Well, I have practiced, I have studied', I have this, I have that. You come to it not knowing and you learn enormously. And if you could come to this question not knowing a thing about it, so that your mind is fresh, eager, curious, capable of reasoning, then we can go together very, very deeply into it. Because the word 'meditation' means to ponder over, ponder over something, think over something, give attention, care. The word means that. And to understand the beauty of meditation there must be space. Please listen, don't deny, accept, play with words, just listen.
We said there must be space. We have no space. The world is exploding with population. If you walk down any of the streets in Madras you will see that there is no space. People are living in small houses, huts, crowded. And that crowd, that lack of space makes people violent, irritated, angry. And equally we have no space in our minds, in our hearts. They are crowded, filled with ideas, conclusions, beliefs, hopes, despairs and ambitions and so on - filled with a traditional activity, with a lot of ceremonies that are so meaningless. And space is necessary. Space is necessary to reason. Space is necessary for freedom so that one can see something new. And having no space, the brain, if I may be a little concerned about this matter, the brain cells - you can observe it in yourself, if you will. I am not a the speaker is not a professional, he hasn't read a book about all these things. He doesn't want to read about them because you can find out the whole business of living and meditation, everything if you know yourself. The brain cells are the storehouse of knowledge. They can add to themselves more cells in learning, and that's the way the brain cells evolve. I won't go too deeply into the matter. And when the brain has no space, that is the conscious space, and also when we use the word 'conscious' there is also the unconscious - when the conscious brain has no space, then it seeks escapes, wanting space. It needs space. We need air, and if there is no air, no space, thought seeks out space in some belief, in some ideas, in some conclusion. You are following?
So space is necessary and space can only come about naturally when you use the mind logically, rationally, sanely and see the limits of reason. After all, rationality means the capacity to think objectively, not personally, not for personal profit, not according to a certain pattern of belief or ideas, conclusions, but to think clearly, objectively, sanely, which means healthily, such capacity gives a great deal of security, not only outwardly but inwardly. Then you have nothing to be afraid of, you can think logically. And when we are go into this matter of meditation, which is very complex, which needs a great sensitivity to understand, and to understand, to have an insight, the mind must be free and have space to look and not have it crowded. Right?
In meditation we are seeking something - the ordinary meditation that you all practice. I don't know why you practice it; that's what you do. You are seeking something. You want something, your desire, your will directs. So your meditation is a directive process. It has direction. Now, who has set the direction? You are following this? Please, give your mind to this a little bit. If when you sit down, close your eyes and meditate, you have set a course, you have set a direction, there is a purpose, an intention, a will operating. Have you noticed all this? So in meditation as you practice it - please, forgive me when I say 'you', this is what is generally happening; I am not separating myself but I am just pointing it out - when you meditate, you have set a course of action, set a direction.
Now who is the person who has set the direction? Your own desire, obviously. Your own hope, your own ambition to achieve - godhead, whatever it is, enlightenment, you know, all the things that are put before you as an enticement. So you have set a course, and when you set a course you must follow it. And to follow it you must keep on - repeat, repeat, repeat. You are following? That means there is a controller and the controlled. When you have a direction contrary to all your activities - you are following all this? - when in meditation you have set a course which is contrary to your daily living, your daily living being ambition, greed, corruption, lustful, competitive, cheating, lying, seeking power, vanity - that's your daily life - and in meditation you have set a course which is contrary to your daily life. Don't fool yourself. That's a fact, and this you call meditation. Which is so utterly irrational, has no meaning. So we have to examine very closely why the mind, why you have given a direction in meditation, when you have not given a when you have given direction, so many directions in daily life. You understand? Am I making myself clear?
And therefore, being contrary to your daily living, control becomes necessary: controlling your thoughts, controlling your desire in order to achieve what you think is reality. Control - control your body, control your breath, control your verbal slogans, control your mantrams, your slogans and so on - control, control, control. You control in daily life, your sexual appetites, you try to control them but you fail, you try to control your anger, you try to control - all through life we are educated to control. Have you noticed it - your life? And meditation has become a super-control in order to achieve a super-consciousness, and therefore where there is control, you lose energy - you understand? - and you need tremendous energy to go into this question of meditation. So the first thing is, no following of anybody, including that of the speaker. Don't follow him, don't repeat what he says or anybody says - your guru, your books or your tradition, because you have to be a light to yourself in a world that is going dark, that is disintegrating, that is becoming more and more corrupt. And you have to understand this question of control.
So you have to ask, is there a way of living, not in abstraction, but daily, whether you can live daily, every day of your life without a single control? You understand what I Your immediate response to that probably is, then we will do what we want. Our desires, we'll just get lost. But you are lost, aren't you? You are confused. You are living a messy, shoddy, shallow life anyhow. But we have to understand this question of control. The speaker has never controlled, about anything. Right? You don't have to accept, but I will show you the reason logically, sanely, healthily, objectively, how it is possible to live without a single control, if you are interested, because then you have tremendous energy. A motor, an engine, wears out through friction, and the mind, the brain wears itself out through friction, which is loss of energy, dissipation of energy. And control implies a controller and a thing controlled and therefore there is a conflict. You are following? And that conflict is a dissipation of energy.
So let us find out if it is possible to live without control, bearing in mind that you are conditioned to control - from childhood, through school, college, university, in your offices, throughout life control has been the tradition, the normal process of life. Here somebody comes along and says, how wasteful you are, how destructive you have become through your controls, and your reaction is, what nonsense are you talking about, how can we live without any control, then we will be sexual, we will do everything that we are doing now, only more consciously. So you are frightened. I will show you a way - not I - we will look together at this question. Can a life be led - in the office, in the factory, in the school, where the tragedy begins, whether a teacher can teach without ever using the word or feeling 'control', whether you can live a life, daily life, not an abstract life, but a daily routine, the daily business of life, whether you can live there without control. Please listen. See the importance that energy is wasted through control, through friction and there is friction when there is a controller and the controlled. If there is no division between the controller and the controlled then there is no friction. Are we following? This is probably a new language to you, a new way of looking at it. So please look at it with patience, look at it as though, you know, something that you are hearing which may be pleasant, and which you may reject, but look at it. Enjoy looking at it. Be happy looking at it, not raising a problem: how shall I live without control? The main thing in control is the dissipation of energy through friction. And life demands that you have every ounce of energy to live completely, wholly.
Now first of all, who is the controller who is all the time exercising his authority to control? Who is the controller? Is he different from the controlled? Think, look at it, carefully feel your way into it. The controller says, 'I must control thought in order to be silent'. That's one of your tricks. The controller is trying to hold his thoughts - right? - controlling, holding them, and thoughts wander off and you pull them back and that battle goes on. And you think by controlling you will achieve some god knows what. Now, who is the controller? Isn't he also the part of your thought that goes off, that wanders off? Look, sir, I sit down, meditate, close my eyes - I never do that kind of silly tricks - I close my eyes and I want to concentrate, and suddenly I see a thought wandering off. I say to myself, 'I ought to have cleaned my shoes'. No, no - just a minute. And a part of another thought says, 'No, don't bother, come back, don't think about your shoes, come back and be thoughtful now about thinking', about something you want to think about, and you control it for a few seconds, and then thought goes off and says, 'I ought not have said that to that person', and back again. You follow? Who is the controller? Is he not part of this wandering thought? Are you seeing this? Do you see this? I'll put it ten different ways. If you see it, I won't. Right? Is it clear that the controller is part of the thought that is wandering off? So the controller is the controlled. Do you see that? It's part of this movement of thought, and the controller says, 'I must control thought'. He himself is thought. That is, reason, sane, objective. So, if you observe if the mind observes this, controller is the controlled, then the division between the controller and the controlled disappears. Therefore you have energy to deal with the thought that goes off. I wonder if you follow all this.
Look sir, listen to this carefully. I am sitting quietly in my room, trying to be quiet, trying my mind the mind trying to be quiet. I want a peace of mind - that's what you all want, a piece of mind. You understand? (Laughter) I am glad you laugh. And sitting quietly, suddenly a thought arises, 'I hate that man, I dislike that man'. Immediately my reaction is, 'I am meditating, I must be kind, I mustn't think of disliking the poor chap and I must control'. Now, I dislike him - why? He said something to me which I don't like. He insulted me. The past - please listen to this - the past, which has not been resolved, comes at the moment of quietness and flowers. You have understood? At the moment of quietness, my dislike of that man or that woman takes shapes and becomes a reality. Now, that is, the past, in the present flowers and I control it, thought controls it, which means I have smothered it, therefore it will occur again. Now, so I say, thought wanting to be quiet, thought brought this out of the past and I try to smother it. I smother it and then another thought arises, and I go on like this, spend twenty minutes playing this game, and I have meditated.
Now, the dislike of that person took place in the past, and I am sitting quietly in the room - sitting quietly - under the tree, in the room, on the beach, and suddenly that dislike flowers in the present. Let it flower. You've understood? The moment you are aware that it is flowering, it withers away. But if you control it you are giving life to it. Have you understood this simple fact? Look, sir, do it. The mind for the moment is quiet. That quietness is the present. It may last two seconds but that's the present. In those two seconds, a thought flowers, comes into being from the past. We generally put a lid on it, suppress it, control it. Let it blossom, but be aware that it is blossoming. Give your care, attention to the flower of dislike (laughs) - you understand? - and you will see what takes place. In that there is no control whatsoever. Have you understood this simple fact? So, in the same way, every day of your life, every minute of your life, watch. If you are tired let go, but the next minute watch. Be quiet, let things come out and let them flower, and in the flowering of it is the ending of it, if you don't want to shape it, control it, justify it, just to observe it. Have you have you understood this? Not verbally but actually in your blood.
So, in meditation there is no control whatsoever, totally contrary to everything that you know. In meditation there is no direction. Please understand this. How do you know where you are going? You know where you are going in daily life. You take the road to go to your home - you know the direction. You know the direction in the office. In the office or in the factory you have to do certain things in order to get more money, climb the ladder of success and all the rest of it. So you know the direction. You are following all this? Do please. And do you know in meditation where you are going? Who has set the direction? The direction is peace of mind. Your mind is in pieces anyhow, so you want a little piece of that pieces. Laughter No, no, please, do see all this. Who has set the direction? Your guru, your masters, your books? Other people's experiences? 'Yes, I know, I have reached god, I know all about god and I'll tell you what to do'. So somebody has set your direction or you have set the direction. Right? Logically, watch it logically. This demands reason, not superstition that you are all living in. All the rituals that are superstitious, they have no meaning.
So, direction means a fixed point. Right? I know the direction from this place to the place I live because that house is fortunately fixed. Now you say enlightenment, truth, is fixed. Therefore there is a direction. But you never enquire if truth has a fixed point. You understand? Is enlightenment something like a tree fixed, taken a root somewhere? Or is it a living thing, therefore, moving? Therefore no direction, therefore no path. You understand? If you see that, then there is no system. You understand, sir? No method, no practice. See what you have done? And there is no control, no practice, no system to be followed, no slogans repeated as the mantras, all for a direction which is fixed. If there is no fixed point then there is no need for practice.
That means the whole movement of desire as will comes to an end in meditation. You understand? Oh, for god's The freedom from will, which is the concentration of desire, totally must come to an end as directive in meditation. So the mind has no control. It is no longer caught in a routine of meditation, practicing, practicing, repeating. Have you ever been to any of these gatherings where they worship some idiotic person, repeat his name or Ram, Ram, Sita, Govinda or whatever they repeat, and mesmerise themselves into some kind of idiotic state, and say they are religious? This is what you are doing. That's nothing to do with religion, it is hypnosis through idea, through words. So, the mind is no longer directed and there is freedom of will, therefore there is great space.
And is it necessary to sit in a certain way, to breathe in a certain way, to keep your eyes closed, is all that necessary? When you don't do it in daily life, why do it here? You understand? You are living in different departments, utterly unrelated to each other. You are crooked in one way, in your business, in your politics, in your whatever you are doing, corrupt and try to be moral and be immoral, and sexual and trying to be chaste, and in meditation. So you live in sections, in departments, all contradicting each other, and that is the very essence of corruption - not passing money under the desk. So, when you have understood the nature of control, there is no direction. Then why sit in a particular way? It is obviously physically necessary to sit straight. You know, the blood goes more to the head and all that business. I won't go into all that. If life is a if life is the whole movement of meditation, daily life, not just sitting in a corner and having a little peace of mind, but the whole of life is a movement in meditation, then you live freely every minute of your life.
And when you are when this meditative process is going on, there are certain powers you have, naturally, powers of healing, and if you are unfortunate enough to perform some miracles, all these things take place - of which the speaker knows something about, which doesn't mean he is vain about it, he is just stating it. But there are many people in the world who are producing miracles. Right? You have seen them, probably you all go to them - miracle-mongers. And how a human mind, like a reasoned mind, can go to that kind of childish performance is unthinkable. A religious person completely denies all that. Yes, sir! That's not religion, worshipping a person, doing a puja to somebody who does some kind of idiotic miracles. You are all very silent. Probably you go to them, don't you? (Laughter) And you don't see how extraordinarily childish it is. When the house is burning you go and worship a person. You understand what I am telling you? Caught in miracles when your whole house is afire. Are you listening to all this?
And the next problem, question in meditation is: what is silence? Why is it necessary for the mind to be silent? Not at peace - that's a dreadful word to use in meditation, when in your daily life you are not peaceful. In your daily life you are violent, ambitious, greedy, envious, anxiety, fearful, and you want peace. So, as in daily life you have no peace, don't seek in meditation peace. That has no meaning. That's just pretension. It's like my talking about not being corrupt, having my hand in another man's pocket. So what is silence and why is it necessary for the mind to have completely quiet, silent mind? Please, find out, sirs. Why should you have a silent mind, a really quiet mind? A mind that's not occupied with god, with unhappiness, with your job, with your wife, husband, a quiet, unoccupied, totally silent mind - why should you have it? (Sound of barking) Do you listen to that dog? Wait, wait. Silently? Listen to it completely silently, which means without any resistance, without any irritation, just listen to it. When you listen quietly there is no resistance, there is no irritation, you do not identify yourself with the dog and the barking of it, your mind is quiet.
Now, when you are listening, I hope as you are listening to the speaker, to hear what he is saying, your mind must be quiet. That's ordinary courtesy, ordinary politeness, and ordinary rational necessity if you want to listen to what the speaker is saying. So a quiet, silent mind is necessary to listen. To see something, a tree, to see the movement of the breeze and the leaves, you have to look, and if your mind is not looking wholly then you can't look. You understand? So, a quiet mind and a silent mind are necessary. A mind that is not filled in with words, with ideas, with speculations, conclusions, fears, a mind must be silent without any invitation. You understand this? If you invite silence, it's not silence, is it? Do you see this? I have heard you say to me, only when you are silent you can hear the dog, when your mind is quiet you can see the leaves moving. So I have heard that and I want to see the tree, leaves moving, so I practice to be silent. And such practice of silence is no silence, is death. And that is what has taken place with all of you. You are dead people because you are secondhand people. You repeat endlessly what others have said, and perform puja, rituals galore and your life is utterly unhappy.
Therefore, meditation is all through the whole days of our life. And when there is order, which is virtue, a behaviour which is not contradictory, which is whole, then a mind that's completely quiet, completely still, without direction, without control, such a mind has immense energy because in it there is no friction. And then only, because - please listen - because in space there is no direction, there is no time. I wonder, have you understood it, sir, somebody? There is space between here and the place I live. To get from here to there in that space, time is necessary. Right? Time is necessary. But when in space there is no direction, there is no time. Oh, get this, please! Therefore in that space there is only the present, and time then is a mere physical fact - catch a train, catch a bus, go from here there, and so on. But when there is no controller and the controlled, when there is no direction, space is beyond the content of consciousness. No, you don't don't agree, don't nod your head in agreement, you don't understand this.
You know what consciousness is? You are conscious, aren't you? When you are hurt you become conscious of your hurt, or when you are enjoying something tremendously, you are conscious that you are. Your consciousness contains the consciousness is its content. Right? Don't learn this, observe it. Now, the content of consciousness is ambition, violence, greed, envy, power, seeking power, position, cheating, corrupt, all that is the content of your consciousness, as your furniture, as your house, as your name, that's the content. In that content, we move, all thought moves. That is, thought is the movement of the known. The movement of the known is time. Now, in meditation there is the complete emptying of the mind of the known. The known is the 'me'. You understand? Have you ever thought? Must I go into all this?
Sir, you can know yourself very well, can't you, if you applied your mind - your greeds, your envies, your purposes, your attachments and detachments and fears and the pleasures, the past experience, remembrances, you know, the memories are the known. Right? The known is the 'me', isn't it. The 'me' is the content of my consciousness. It's very simple, don't complicate it. You don't have to study fat books about this. You can see it yourself. My consciousness is my struggles, my conflicts, my purposes, my technique, my talent, my desires - that's the content of my consciousness. All thought is within the boundaries of that consciousness. And in meditation, when you come to the real beauty of it, the depth of it, is the freedom from the totally known, though operating in the known. Ah, you won't get this. It doesn't matter.
So, in that quality of mind, time has come to an end. Thought is not projecting anything, therefore there are no visions, no gods, no - nothing. That nothingness is not emptiness. That nothingness is the creative flowering of life, of total life. That is the very essence of something that is unnameable. But the mind cannot come to it with any kind of will, with any kind of desire, through any kind of ritual, slogans, mantrams and Ramas and Sitas and god knows what else. It can only come when you lead a righteous life, now, not tomorrow, every day of your life. When there is no friction between you and another, that is, when you have relationship with another, not through your images of it, but relationship, and when you have this immense feeling of compassion, love, that is beauty, when that is there as a root, as a tree has its root deep in earth, unless your feet are firmly in there, unshakable, then in that out of that grows the beauty of silence which is not cultivable, which is timeless and therefore something beyond all words.