Is the flowering of goodness a matter of time?
There is an ending to sorrow when there is no ‘me’
4th Public Talk Brockwood Park
September 04, 1977
This is the last talk. I am sure most of you will be glad. So am I. (Laughter)
We have been talking over together last Saturday, and Sunday, and yesterday, and during the discussions, question and answer and so on, many of our human problems. Our consciousness, which is ourselves, is so filled with other people's ideas, with our own concepts and conclusions, with our fears, anxieties, pleasure, occasional flash of joy and sorrow, and a great many ideas. That is our consciousness, that is what we are. And if one may point out as we have been doing during the last fifty years and more, that ideas do not bring about a radical change in human consciousness. Idea comes - the root meaning of that word is to observe. What we do is to observe and make an abstraction of what we have seen into an idea, and live according to that idea. That has been the pattern of our existence.
We have been talking about the radical change in human consciousness, whether it is at all possible, and if it is not possible we are everlastingly living in a prison of our own ideas, our own concepts within a field where there is every kind of confusion, uncertainty, instability. And we seem to think if we move from one corner of that field to another, we think that we have greatly changed, but it is still in the same field. I think very few of us realise that fact: that as long as we live within that area of what we call our consciousness, however little change, or however great change within that field, there is no fundamental human transformation.
And meditation - that is what we are going to discuss this morning. When we are going to talk over together this question of meditation, I think one should be very clear about certain things: ideations, or ideologies however clever, however thought-out, ultimately bring about dangerous illusions, whether they are the ideologies of the right or the centre or the extreme left, they all either end up in great bureaucracies controlling man, or concentration camps, or the destruction - moulding man according to a particular concept. This is what is happening throughout the world. And the intellectuals have led us up to this point, right throughout the world. They have accepted with a great delight and a great energy the whole ideological concept of Marxism, Maoism, and so on. And they have all led to a great deal of confusion, misery, concentration camps and all the rest of it - whether the right or the left, or the centre.
And we have also been prisoners of religious ideas, ideologies - the Catholic, the Hindu, the Buddhists and so on. Or the traditional acceptance of the gurus with their modern modifications of the ancient traditions, with their ideologies. And they are also becoming prisoners of those ideologies.
So if one observes all this carefully, impersonally, objectively, one must put away all ideologies. And then if you have no ideology then how do we act? That is one of the problems which we more or less talked about some time ago. Actions based on ideologies are immoral because you are then conforming to a particular pattern. Is morality, ethics, the acceptance of authority and following certain laid-down policy of ideologies and so on; or is morality something totally free from all ideologies? And we are going to talk over together this morning this question which unfortunately has been brought to this country and to the various western countries by so-called gurus, with their ideas of meditation.
So can we talk over together this morning this question? That is, we are both of us thinking together, investigating together. There is no authority here though the speaker sits on a platform, it doesn't give him any authority. Please let's be quite sure of that. Because if there is authority there is no freedom. And without freedom there is no compassion, there is no clarity, there is no skill in action - which we have talked about a great deal. So we are on the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity, investigating this. When we are at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity, that is love. And without love we cannot possibly understand this very complex problem of what is meditation - not how to meditate, that is too absurd, but what is the meaning and the significance of meditation? So we are both of us freely enquiring into this - not that you have learnt something from somebody how to meditate, which may be like practising on a piano the wrong note all the time.
So in enquiring into this very complex problem one must ask for oneself whether this content of consciousness, which is what we are, with all our conflicts, struggles, confusion, misery and occasional happiness, whether that consciousness can become aware of itself and empty itself? That is one problem in meditation.
The other is the question of time, which is: is there psychological progress? That is, is there psychological evolution? That's the second point. And the other is space: whether there is space in which there is no direction, in which there is no centre. We are going to enquire into all this. And we are also going to enquire what is beauty because otherwise without beauty there is no love. And also we are going to enquire if there is anything sacred, holy. This is the whole movement of our investigation. Which is, whether consciousness with all its content, which makes up our consciousness, whether it can be totally, completely emptied? And the question of time: which is the psychological time which gives us the idea that we shall gradually progress, evolve, become better. The whole concept of that.
And is good, the flowering of goodness, is it a matter of time? And is goodness the opposite of that which is not good? And we also have to enquire into the question of space. I am repeating this so that we know the whole thing that we are talking about. And whether there is beauty - beauty not of things, of ideas, of structure, but beauty in itself, fundamentally is there anything that is essentially beautiful and therefore good? And our enquiry also must come into: is there ultimately in our life, daily life, anything that is holy, sacred? This is the meaning of meditation. And any system, any method, which promises a reward is not meditation, obviously. If you do this, you will get that. That is, our centuries of conditioning: reward and punishment, hell and heaven. If you do the right thing, if you believe in what the church says, you will reach heaven; if you don't, down you go! And all the rest of that business right throughout the world. Our conditioning is based on this reward and punishment. And meditation is not seeking an end. It is not trying to grope after a purpose, a goal, an end. Because if you have a motive then the motive dictates what the end is. And enquiry, like all good scientists, first-class top scientists, they have no motive, they enquire. In the enquiry they find out. So one must understand this desire to reach a goal, a purpose, an end. And where there is desire, which we have gone into very carefully, the nature of desire which is perception, contact, sensation, then desire, with all its images - then desire in meditation brings about illusion. Obviously.
Now can we proceed really together? I mean together - not I talk and you listen but together freely, without any distortion, without any conclusion, begin, not knowing what meditation is. And in the process of this enquiry, into the things that we are going to talk about, consciousness and so on, that very enquiry becomes meditation. You understand? Not that you must meditate, nor how to meditate and the problem of meditation, but in the process of enquiry that very movement is meditation. Is this clear? Can we proceed from there? I don't know if you are interested, or if you are at all serious about this question of meditation, because it is very important to find out because out of this comes immense silence. Not cultivated silence, not the silence between two thoughts, between two noises but a silence that is unimaginable. So the brain becomes extraordinarily quiet when in the process of enquiry. And that is why when there is silence there is great perception. And when in this silence there is emptiness, that emptiness is the summation of all energy. This is the problem of meditation. And if you are not interested in it I can't help it. If you are not interested in it then you will carry on your daily monotonous, bourgeois, or intellectual, or amusing life.
So let's begin by enquiring together. I am insisting - we are insisting on that word together, because we have made this monstrous, brutal world together, this immoral world together. And so in the enquiry of all this there may be, and there will be, total transformation of ourselves and therefore a different society, a different social order and so on, differing governments, everything will come out of this - if you know what it is to meditate.
You can please ask questions afterwards, if you don't mind.
So we are going to examine together this question of consciousness and its content. In examination of this it is very important to find out whether you are examining it, or in observing, consciousness becomes aware of itself. You see the difference? I hope this is clear. That is, you can observe the movement of your consciousness, which is your desires, your hurts, your ambitions, your greeds, all the rest of it, which is the content of our consciousness, you can observe it from the outside as it were, or whether consciousness becomes aware of itself. This is the problem. Whether you become aware of your consciousness, or - please go into this with me a little bit - - or consciousness is lighted up and you observe? Do you understand? This is only possible when thought realises that what it has created, which is its consciousness, when thought realises it is only observing itself, not you, which thought has put together, observing consciousness. I don't know how to put it - you understand this a little bit?
Look sir, nobody has to tell you that you are hungry. There is hunger. In the same way is it possible for thought to become aware of itself, for consciousness to be aware, itself, not that you are examining consciousness? Is this somewhat clear or not? Because this is very important at the beginning of our examination. I want to examine consciousness. So I begin to analyse the various aspects, the various contents of my consciousness. I am greedy, I am angry, there is hatred, there is jealousy, there is happiness, there is pleasure, there are a great many hurts from childhood, flowering or controlled. I can examine them. Or there is observation and therefore consciousness begins to reveal itself. Do you see the difference? I observe the tree, the tree tells me all its story if I know how to observe. So in the same way I must learn how to observe - observe only, not tell consciousness what it should do. Right? Am I making it somewhat clear?
That is, if I want to examine consciousness I separate myself from consciousness and then examine it as an analyst. Whereas if there is only observation - only observation - then consciousness begins to reveal its content, its story. I don't have to tell the story about consciousness; consciousness tells its story. This is simple. I won't elaborate that. So that is what we are doing: we are observing only, and so consciousness begins to show itself, not only the superficial consciousness but the deeper layers of consciousness, the whole content of consciousness. This is an art to be learnt - not memorised, not to say, 'Well, I have heard this I am going to store it up in my brain and I am going to learn about it.' Then that is merely a mechanical process, which has no meaning whatsoever. Whereas if you see the importance of sheer, absolute motionless observation, then the thing flowers - consciousness opens up its doors, as it were. So observation implies seeing the totality of consciousness. I wonder if
Am I talking to myself? I hope not! One can have a dialogue with oneself. We did that the other day. I can have a dialogue about the whole question of meditation with myself. But that is entirely different - having a dialogue with each other. That is what we are doing - although there are so many people here, we are actually having a dialogue. There is only one person here and he or she and I are talking about this. I am telling him or her, to observe is the most important thing in life - not tell the observation how to observe, but to learn the art of observing without any distortion, without any motive, without any purpose, just to observe. In that there is tremendous beauty because then there is no distortion. You see things clearly as they are. But if you make an abstraction of it into an idea, and then through that idea observe then it is a distortion. Right?
So we are merely freely without any distorting factor entering into our observation, observing consciousness. So consciousness begins to reveal its own totality. There is nothing hidden. Which is, the content, which is our hurt, our greed, our envy, our happiness, our belief, our ideologies, all that makes up consciousness, the past traditions, the present, scientific or factual traditions and so on and so on and so on - all that is our consciousness. To observe it without any movement of thought, because thought has put all the content of our consciousness - thought has built it. When thought comes and says, 'This is right, this is wrong, this should be, that', you are still within the field of consciousness, you are not going beyond it. So one has to understand very clearly the place of thought. Thought has its own place in the field of knowledge, technology and all the rest of it. But thought has no place whatsoever in the psychological structure of man. When it does then confusion begins, then contradiction and all the struggles, the images about you and another - all the rest of it follows. So the art, as we said the meaning of 'art' means to put everything in its right place, not the painter, not the sculptor or the poet, but in our daily life to put everything in its right place, that is art. So can you observe your consciousness and does it reveal its content - not bit by bit, but the totality of its movement? Then only is it possible to go beyond it. Not through analysis which we talked about, because analysis implies the analyser and the analysed, the division, the problem of time in division, and when you analyse each analysis must be totally complete. If there is not complete analysis then the imperfection of that analysis is carried over to the next analysis, so imperfection grows more and more and more. You understand? Like you practise on the piano and practising the wrong note all the time. Right? So that is our enquiry.
And in enquiry can you observe without any movement of the eye? Because the eye - the eye - has an effect on the brain. You can observe it for yourself. When you keep your eyeballs completely still observation becomes very clear because the brain is quietened. You can experiment with this. This is not a trick for something further. It is like going to a guru and learning a few tricks. There is a lovely story, I must tell you about it. A young man goes to a guru, a teacher, and says, 'Please tell me what truth is. I have searched everywhere and nobody seems able to tell me, and I've come to you, please tell me what truth is.' And the guru says, 'Stay with me. Be with me.' And so the pupil, the disciple, stays with him for about fifteen years watching him - you know, all the rest of it. At the end of fifteen years he says, 'Good lord, I have learnt nothing.' And so goes to the guru and says, 'I am so sorry, you have taught me nothing. I haven't found truth. I am going to leave you and go to that guru, the other one.' And so after five years he comes back. He says, 'At last I have learnt.' And the guru says, 'What have you learnt?' 'You see that river? I can walk across it without a boat, without anything, I can walk, tread on the water.' And the guru says, 'You can do that for twopence if you take that little boat.' (Laughter) I think you should bear that story in mind when you approach any gurus.
So can you observe without any movement of thought interfering with your observation? It is only possible when the observer realises that which he is observing is one - the observer is the observed. Anger is not different from me, I am anger, I am jealousy. So there is no division between the observer and the observed. That is the basic reality one must capture. And to observe without the observer. Just to observe, then you will see the whole of consciousness, the whole of it begins to reveal itself without your making an effort. Which means in that total observation there is the emptying or going beyond all the things that thought has put together, which is our consciousness. The reality which thought has made is not truth - it is a reality of thought. We must go on.
Then to enquire into the problem of time - not scientific fiction, but time as psychologically a movement towards an object, towards an idea, towards an ideology. That is, one is greedy - I am taking that - or violent. And one says to oneself, I will take time to get over it, or to modify it, or to change it, or to get rid of it, or to go beyond it. That will take time. We are talking about that time, not the chronological time by the watch or by the sun; but this whole conditioning of our mind which says, I will take time to achieve that which is essential, that which is beautiful, that which is good. We are questioning that time. You understand? Is there psychological time at all; or thought has invented that time? You are following? Please examine it. Look at it without any distortion, this question, this challenge. You know when you are challenged, unless you respond with all your energy it is not a challenge at all, you just pass it by. But if you respond to that challenge with all your energy, as we are doing now, whether there is a psychological time at all, all your energy is responding; all your energy is not responding if you are trying to withhold something, say, I must have a little time. 'I was looking forward to meeting you the day after tomorrow. Oh my god, if there is no time I am lost. I love you, and all the rest of it, and if I don't meet you in a week's time, what is going to happen?' You follow? You are following all this? This is the psychological time, which is hope.
Are you also, please, working together? We are working together. I am not working by myself. I can do this - I don't do this in my room. There I'm quiet, something else takes - that is not important. But we are sharing this thing together, moving together. So we are asking: as there is chronological time, that is, it takes time to learn a language, it takes time to learn how to drive a car, it takes time to learn mathematics, it takes time to learn certain specialities, to become a specialist. That same idea, that same thought says, it will take time for me to evolve, to be good, or to become chief executive of some blasted business. So is there such time? Please this is very important because you are going to shatter altogether the idea of tomorrow - psychologically. Then it is a tremendous shock. You understand, if there is no psychological tomorrow then what will you do with that which is? You understand the problem? If there is no time, then how is violence to end? Our conditioning is, to use time as a means of getting rid slowly or quickly, or whatever it is of violence. But if there is no time at all then what takes place when there is violence? Will there be violence? You understand my question? If one's whole outlook is, psychologically that there is no time at all, then is there a me who is violent? You follow? The 'me' is put together through time. The 'me' is violence, is time. But if there is no time as thought, as 'me', which is the process of tomorrow, then there is nothing, there is no violence. I wonder if you see this? You see, is love a matter of time? Is love a thing to be remembered - or having remembrance, and the pleasure of that remembrance which you call love, which is time? Right? So is love a matter of time, remembrance? If it is a matter of time, which is thought, then it obviously is not love. 'I will love you everlastingly' - which is of course nonsense. But you take vows in the church, and you know, all that bilge.
So do we in our examination see very clearly that psychologically there is no time at all? If there is no time at all there is no past or future, but only something else totally different. I wonder if you see this! You see we are conditioned to time. We say, psychologically there must be evolution for me to become something other than what I am. And when you deny, when you see the truth of the fact that time is an invention of thought because thought itself has brought this time, then there is an ending of the past and the future. Do you understand what I am saying? There is only the sense of timeless movement now. I wonder if you see this! It is really extraordinary if you understand this. After all love is that, isn't it? Love is at the same level, at the same time, at the same intensity, at that moment, that is love - not the remembrance, or the future - that state of mind that is really completely without time, which is love. I wonder if you understand this! Then see what happens in our relationship, see what happens in our relationship with another. You perhaps have that extraordinary sense of love which is not of time, which is not of thought, which is not a remembrance of pleasure or pain; and what is the relationship between you, who have that, and another who hasn't got that? You understand the problem? You have no image, because image is the movement of time, about another, time has built that, thought has built this image step by step about another; and the other has made an image about you step by step, which is a movement of time. And you have no time at all, and therefore you have this extraordinary sense of love which is not of time, then what is your relationship with another? Do you understand? Work it out! Think it out, go into it, you will see.
Then what is the relationship between human beings? When you have that extraordinary quality of love, then in that quality there is supreme intelligence. Right? I wonder if you see this. That intelligence is going to act in that relationship, not you will act in that relationship. I wonder if you see this. I must get on. We can discuss this really marvellous thing you to go into a great deal because it totally alters all relationship. Because if there is no alteration fundamentally in our relationship there is no alteration in society because we have built this monstrous society. So that is the whole nature of time. A man that is hoping, that hope is born out of despair; that despair is the past and the hope is the future; and so he is caught in psychological time and there is no answer to that question at all.
So then, the next thing is - what is it? - space. Space. One wonders what is space. Do you ever wonder what is space? Not some science writer about space, or who has intellectually thought-out and laid down in ideas, in words, what space is, but what is space? Can there be space without order? Can there be space in disorder? All right, let's begin with this. We are enquiring together. Please bear with me if I repeat it over and over again that we are examining moving, sharing this thing together.
We are asking: is there space when there is disorder in a room? Just take the physical fact when you throw your clothes all over the place, and you know, messy, is there space? And that space can only come when you have put everything in its right place. Right? So outwardly. Now inwardly, our minds are so confused, our whole life is self-contradiction, disorder, caught in various habits, drugs, smoke, drink, sex - habits. Obviously where there is habit there is disorder, because habit is mechanical. So we are going to find out what is order. Is order something dictated by thought? Because thought itself is a movement of disorder because it is limited. Right? I wonder if you see this. We think we can bring about order socially by great careful thought, which is the ideological movement. Right? Our society whether in the west or the east is in disorder, is confused, is contradictory - you sell arms to some people and then hope to have peace. You know it's all so totally mad, the world is - and we are also mad, somewhat. The world is mad because we have made it mad.
So what is disorder, and what is order? We are saying, disorder comes outwardly when thought is in movement in action, thought which is limited, fragmentary and divides the whole of life into fragments. You have seen that. Thought does this. Are we aware of this? Please come on. That is, you are a business man, then if you are not a business man, you are an artist, if you are not an artist, you are a doctor, a professor, or merely a gardener - you follow, all our life is divided, divided, divided. That is disorder. Where there is division there is disorder, and thought has brought about this division - class, nationality, heaven and hell - you know all the rest of it. Thought has done this. So where there is movement of thought, which is time- binding, which is fragmentary in itself, therefore limited in itself, wherever it acts there must be total disorder. I wonder if you see this. No, don't agree with me please, it is not a question of agreeing with me. Do you see this in your life?
So if that is true then what is order in relation to action? You understand? All our action now is based on thought, on conclusions, on memory. And we are saying, as long as thought, which is limited, which has created an ideology and acts according to that ideology, there must be total disorder. We are saying that, which is a fact, if you observe it in daily life. Then what is action in which there is no movement of thought - you understand? Is this all becoming too abstract?
Questioner: No, no.
Krishnamurti: It is not. To me it is boiling. It is not an abstraction, not intellectual amusement either.
Is there an action which is not born out of the movement of thought, out of certain ideologies which have been put together by thought, or by memories, which again is the response of thought - is there an action totally free from thought? Such action then will be complete, whole, total. You understand? Not fragmentary, not contradictory, it will be the whole of action in which there is no regret, no sense of 'I wish I hadn't done that', or 'I will do that'. Right? This is what we are enquiring into. Disorder comes about when there is the movement of thought, and thought itself is fragmentary and when it acts everything must be fragmentary. If one sees that very clearly then one asks, what is action without thought. Action means the doing now, not tomorrow, or having done, doesn't it? The meaning of that word is active present, acting, now. And, as we said, love is not of time. Right? Compassion is beyond the intellect, beyond memory, it is a state of mind, and that love, that compassion acts because that compassion, love is supremely intelligent. So intelligence then acts. You get Are you getting some of this? Or it's just words?
So we can go into this enormously. It is like digging into the bottomless pit and there is water always so we can go deeper and deeper and deeper - that's irrelevant. So then we are saying: order is space, this kind of order, which is action of intelligence, which is neither yours nor mine, which is intelligence born out of love and compassion. Now space implies a mind that is not occupied. But our minds are occupied all day long about something or other. So there is no space, or an interval between two thoughts. Every thought is associated with another thought. Look at it, please look at it. So that there is no gap when your whole mind is crowded, chattering, opinions, judgements, right, wrong, good - I am a rightist, I am a leftist, I am this, that.
So order of the kind we have talked about brings enormous space. Space means silence. Right? And out of silence comes this extraordinary sense of emptiness. Don't be frightened by that word empty because when there is emptiness then things can happen. You understand? Like a womb of a woman who bears a child, it is empty. Do you understand all this?
So then we go on to the next thing - what was that? - beauty. What is beauty? Does it lie in a picture, in a museum, or in the poem of Keats? Does it lie in the line of the mountains against the sky, or in a sheet of water reflecting the heavens, the beautiful clouds? Or the line of an architect, a building? We are asking what is beauty? You understand? Come on sirs, go into yourself, find out. The form, that has a certain beauty. We are enquiring into what is beauty, not the imagination that creates beauty, not the word that creates the beauty, not a beautiful idea, but what is beauty when you see something extraordinarily alive and beautiful like a mountain, a clear sky, blue, at that moment when you see it totally you are absent, aren't you. I wonder if you've realised it. Because of its immensity, its extraordinary stability, its extraordinary sense of - you know - firmness and the line of it, that magnificence drives away the 'me' for the moment. And you say, 'How extraordinary'. Please listen carefully - which is the outer glory has driven away the petty little 'me'. Right? Like a boy, like a child, give him a toy and he is absorbed by that toy. Right? And he will play with it for an hour and break it up, and when you take away the toy he is back to himself, naughty, crying, mischievous, all the rest of it. So the same thing has happened, the great mountain has driven away the petty little 'me', and you see it for the moment. That is, when the 'me' is absent totally there is beauty. Get it? Come on sirs. Not in the drum, not in the folk songs, not in the latest songs, on television they have it, I have forgotten - rock, that's it! You are carried away by all that but you never find out for yourself what is beauty because without beauty there is no love - not the beauty of a form, a face, curly hair, tall, short, black, whatever it is, but the beauty that comes when there is no 'me'. The 'me' that has been put together by thought, the 'me' that is the movement of time. And that is beauty. We can go into it much more deeply because then your relationship to nature changes completely; then earth becomes precious - you understand? - every tree, every leaf, everything is part of that beauty. But man is destroying everything.
So then we are asking: is there anything sacred, holy? Obviously the things that thought has put together in a church - in a church, not the building, which is also the result of thought - everything that thought has put together in the religious sense, or in the psychological sense, and investing sacredness in an image, in an idea, is that sacred at all? If it is sacred then it has no division - you are not a Christian then, nor a Hindu, nor a Buddhist, Muslim and all the rest of the division. So, that which thought has put together is of time, is fragmentary, is not whole, therefore it is not holy. Though you worship the image on a cross that is not holy, that is put together by thought - or the image that the Hindus have put together, or the Buddhists and so on. So what then is sacred? Because without finding that out, not being told, not wanting that sacredness because that gives an enormous vitality, enormous strength to life. Without that, life becomes very shoddy, empty, meaningless. So one has to go into this question and find out. And you can only find out when thought has discovered - please listen - when thought has discovered for itself its right place. Therefore without effort, without will, there is this immense sense of silence - silence of the mind without any movement of thought. It is only when the mind is absolutely free and silent then you discover that which is beyond all words, which is timeless. And all this is meditation. How can you meditate when you are angry, when your life is based on violence, when in yourself there is contradiction? So one has to put order there first. The very process of putting order is part of meditation - you understand? - not to have conflict between two human beings, man, woman, never to have conflict. And to find out how to live without conflict, that is part of meditation. Then out of that comes the enormity of what is true meditation. Finito!