Is there a way of living in which self-centred activity ends?
The essence of goodness is a mind that is not in conflict
2nd Public Discussion, Ojai, California
April 12, 1979
Krishnamurti: What shall we have a dialogue about?
Questioner: Psychological pain which turns into physical pain.
K: Psychological pain and physical pain.
Q: Psychological pain which turns into.
K: Ah, psychological pain which goes into physical pain, psychosomatic pain.
Q: Can we talk about, it seems to me that there must be a contradiction between choice and responsibility, as I don’t understand how a person who is conditioned has choice. Or, without choice how is there responsibility, and how can a person be good or evil?
Q: Isn’t there a contradiction between choice and responsibility.
K: Isn't there a contradiction between choice and responsibility.
Q: Lack of choice.
K: Lack of choice and responsibility.
Q: I would like to have a dialogue about ageing.
K: About getting old. (Laughter) These words, you know, how we avoid that word. 'Ageing' - why not say we are getting old.
Q: I would like to talk about the images.
K: Image-making. Is it possible to understand the making of images and putting an end to them - is that it?
Q: I would like to talk about the origin of thought in the wrong place?
Q: How did it come to happen that thought went into the wrong place.
K: How does it happen that thought moves over, or enters, or takes over in the psychological field.
Q: How did it begin?
K: The origin of this.
Q: What is meditation and why it is important, what it is?
K: What is meditation. Now which of these would you like to have a dialogue about?
Q: How about one more?
K: Do you want to talk about meditation?
K: Do you really? Or is it just a fanciful introduction to talk about something quite irrelevant, apart from our life? If you really want to talk about meditation let's do it, but we must be very, very serious to go into that question. So which would you like? Do you want to talk about it?
K: No! (Laughter)
Q: Krishnamurti, last Tuesday we talked about conditioning and one of the conditionings we have to deal with is the conditioning of authority, and when somebody like me thinks about speaking up here he really gets into an authority problem, such as the authority that I give you, out of respect, the authority I give the group, and my own authority, which I am not so sure about. May be something like that we could discuss. Because everybody has to deal with that that sits here.
K: Do you want to speak about authority? The authority of the man sitting on the platform, the authority of the public, the authority of the specialists, the authority of one's own experience which becomes inward authority. Do you want to talk about that?
Q: Could we talk about meditation at a later meeting. That may be more appropriate to talk about at a later meeting.
K: Talk about meditation and
Q: At a later meeting.
K: At a later meeting! (Laughter) All right.
Q: I would like to talk about our ability to experience that about which you speak, or inability to live it.
K: Would you talk, or would we have a dialogue about that which we are talking about! (Laughter) What a strange crowd we are!
Q: Could we talk about what it is that we really want, what is our over-riding interest?
Q: What do we really want. What is our over-riding interest.
K: Could we discuss that, what is our search, what is it we are seeking and what is the inner urge to find something - could we talk about that? Do you want to talk about it?
A: Yes. (Clapping)
K: What is that for?
Q: Yes, they want to talk about that.
K: All right, sir. You know, I do not know if you have not noticed, specially in California and which spreads to the East and also further East, that most Americans are seeking something - right? - are experimenting with various religious ideas, psychological pursuits, group therapy, you know, this whole phenomenon of seeking, wanting something. Is that what you want to discuss?
K: You are sure?
K: All right, sir.
Q: We give you authority out of respect.
Q: Could we talk about respectability?
K: Talk about respectability. All right, sir, we will introduce that word, and what is the content of that word, in going into this question of what it is that we are all wanting, that we are all seeking, why you all come here and listen to this man. (Laughs) What for? I think this is really a very good question, if we could have a serious dialogue about it.
Q: To distract us from ourselves, that’s why we come here.
K: You come here to escape from yourselves, to avoid our own daily complexities - is that what we are wanting?
Q: I would like to find out about attention, desire and will.
K: Desire and will. We will do that, sir, on Saturday, we will go into the whole question of desire, the implication of desire, the arising of desire and the interference of thought with its image which is pursued through will. So we will discuss that, if you don't mind, on Saturday, the day after tomorrow morning. But let's go into this question: what is it we are all wanting? More money, if you have not money? Obviously one must have more money if you haven't got it, that gives us food, clothes and shelter. Apart from that, and if it is possible that all human beings right throughout the world have enough clothes, food and shelter, that would be a marvellous world. Because there is a great deal of poverty, of which you hardly know in this country, where there is degradation, destruction, of absolute hopelessness of not having a job, food, clothes and all that. We can go into that. But apart from that, in an affluent society where most of us have some kind of assurance of food, clothes and shelter, apart from this, what is it that we are seeking?
K: It is suggested that we are seeking completeness. Go into it, sir, a little bit, step by step, go into it rather deeply. What is it we want? Happiness? Because most of us are discontented, dissatisfied with things as they are, both in our private life and in public life, and we want to bring about some kind of inward peace, tranquillity, a sense of order, not only in society but in ourselves. What is it we want? And if one has this social order, which doesn't exist, if one has it, we want something more: we want god, we want enlightenment, we want a kind of mental peace and so on, so on, so on - what is it each one of us wants, craves after, pursues? I wish we could discuss this.
Q: We don’t even know what we want because we give a label to god, or enlightenment, but we don’t know.
K: Is that it? We do not know what we want, therefore we go window shopping.
Q: I think we do know what we want. That’s why we want it because we know what we want.
K: You know what you want? Then there is no problem.
Q: Not really. (Laughter) No, really, there isn’t, is there?
K: What, sir?
Q: Well, really, that problem isn’t, is there?
K: I mean if you know what you want you can get it, only the trouble is getting it. Then there is no problem: you say, look, I want money, I want to be happy, I want some kind of order in my life, then you work for it. That's very simple. But we aren't satisfied with that, we are always wanting more and more and more. What is this 'more'?
Q: If we work at it to include a physical security, and I think we have to start out with that, and also include – I don’t know if I can call this psychological security but psychological serenity, if there could be that and physical security, because I think the two have to go together.
K: It is suggested that both physical as well as psychological security must be sought out.
Q: Well, it might be that there has to be and I think it does, the physical security, we have to want that, and not just want that and not pay I think in a sense I want physical security...
K: Sir, are you saying for most people in the world, with increasing population, with the destruction that is going on of the earth, the air, everything, to have physical security is becoming more and more difficult. That's one point. Second, psychologically, inwardly we all want some kind of attachment, some kind of comfort, some kind of release from our own daily routine, turmoil. Now are you saying, cannot these two go together? Just enquire into it, sir. You may be well-fed, have clothes and all the rest of it; the vast majority of people in the world, specially in Asia, including India, life is becoming enormously difficult, poverty, and the degradation of poverty. What is preventing this? What is preventing for human beings to live on this earth, having plenty of food, clothes and shelter, for all human beings, what is the cause of this? We are enquiring, we are not accepting, we are thinking the problem over together.
Q: Isn’t it because some amass such wealth and food and power?
K: Is it that some people amass enormous wealth and are only concerned about themselves? Is that the cause? Or is it also nationalities, economic divisions, political divisions, religious divisions, all these factors and some others prevent human beings coming together, organizing, so that we all have enough food, clothes and shelter? Obviously, because we are not concerned about others, we are only concerned as long as I have my security, leave me alone.
So that's one problem. Most of us, here at least, are not seeking physical security, otherwise you wouldn't be here. But we want psychological security, we want something inwardly. What is it you want?
Q: When you say psychological security is that the same, can you also say spiritual security?
K: Oh, I am not using the word 'spiritual' at all. That's rather an over-used word, rather superstitious word and rather catchy word.
K: I am using the word 'psychological' in the sense there is inner demand, I want something - not I - people want something. What is it you want? I wish you would...
Q: We want to realise our potential.
K: You want to realise your potentials. What are your potentials? If you say, I want to realise my potential, first I must find out what my potentials are and then I can put all my energy into that. But what is my potential?
K: Happiness? Now, is that a potential, or is that an end, is that a by-product?
Q: Possibly they mean that our potentiality is god because all the religions have told us that.
K: Is that it? Our potential is god. I am lost! (Laughs) We are not clearly thinking about this matter.
Q: We are all seeking eternal life.
K: We are all seeking eternal life - what do you mean by that word 'eternal'? Eternal, which is beyond time. 'Eternal' we generally understand to mean a continuous existence, eternal - is that what you want? You don't (laughs) You say these things.
Q: Sir, I think we want to end our wanting.
K: Ah, you want to end your wanting. (Laughter)
Q: We want to see our confused mind. That’s what I want to see, I think.
K: You want to have a clear mind, is that it?
Q: I want to see my confused mind. I have got a confused mind.
K: Yes, my mind is confused, the questioner says, and I want clarity. Can we discuss that? You are putting so many things in this, can we discuss that, talk it over together? Most of our minds are confused. That's obvious. If your minds were clear you wouldn't be here. You wouldn't attend any meeting, you wouldn't have to go to any guru, to any philosopher, to any recent man who says, 'I know what I am talking about'.
Q: Maybe then we would just come for conversation and friendship, just to know you. You are a very nice person.
K: Maybe, that's not - is that what you want? So most of us are confused, why? Please, go into it, put your heart into this to find out. Why are we confused?
Q: Sir, the world demands action, and we don’t really know how to respond.
K: The world demands action, and we do not know how to respond. How can one respond at your excellence, at your highest capacity if your mind is confused? Please stick to this. Would you say your minds are confused?
K: Right, let's start from there, please! Why is it confused?
Q: We are living in conflict.
Q: We are constantly living in contradiction.
K: We live in constant contradiction, and therefore our minds are confused. That's one reason. Go on, go into it a little more, step by step, sir.
Q: Could one reason be that our education, we have heard about different religions, and different political ideologies, and that’s why we can’t see
K: So are you saying, our education?
Q: Our conditioning.
K: Our conditioning, various people saying various different things, one philosopher saying this, the others saying contrary to that, a scientist and so on, so on, so on. And therefore we listen to all these people and we do not know who is speaking the truth. Is that it? Give your thoughts to this a little, please!
Q: How can a confused mind recognise this?
K: Just a minute, sir, just a minute.
Q: People tell us that all these things, money and so forth, are good, so we get those things and find out that they are not good at all.
K: First I have to have the capacity for clarity, we must first see what is the cause of this confusion. Right, sir? What is the cause of it?
Q: Is it not the content of our consciousness?
K: Is not the cause of confusion the content of our consciousness. Would we go slowly into this because it is very important for you if you could understand why our minds are confused. Is it because we are unhealthy physically and therefore that somatic reaction makes us confused? That may be one. Second, we listen, or we are educated and we listen to contradictory opinions, contradictory theories, contradictory religious ideas - you can only be saved through Christ, or you can only be saved through this, that, that, the other. So we are being pushed in all directions constantly: the latest guru, the latest philosopher, the latest psychologist and we listen to all these people and you say, 'Lord, who is telling the actual facts, who is telling the truth?'
Q: Sir, if our minds are confused how can we recognise what is correct?
K: If our minds are confused how can we recognise what truth is of what the others are saying. One cannot. But we are trying to find out, sir, what is the cause of this confusion, why do men and women live in this confusion. You don't give your minds to this, you just throw off things!
Q: We have been conditioned to seek things we don’t really need, that’s part of it.
K: Do you really want to find out why your minds are confused? Right? What price are you willing pay for it - not financial money, not money, I don't want a cent from you, thank god! Please listen, sir, please listen. You have asked a very serious question.
Q: What do you mean by ‘confused’?
K: What do you mean by 'confused'. If I may ask, why are you here?
Q: Not to find out about confusion, I hope. I’d like to know what is compassion and what is love and how do we do that.
K: Here everybody has different 'wanting'. You want to find out what is love, and somebody says something else, something else, and something else.
Q: All these different things make for confusion.
K: Yes, sir. At the end of this meeting, this gathering you will be still left with your confusion. So what is important is, if we can clear up this confusion by really talking about it, going into it, really being clear.
Q: Isn’t it that we want somebody to tell us what to do and that is why.
K: We are coming to that, madame.
Q: You asked what is the cause of confusion.
K: I am asking, I know, I am asking that, sir. You are all pushing in all different directions. What is the cause of this confusion that man lives in, not only during this century, it has been like that always.
Q: We believe that we are
K: You don't even listen. Sir, it is historical fact that man has lived this way, in confusion, and we are asking why is he confused.
Q: I don’t know.
K: If you do not know, don't you want to find out?
Q: The question, sir, was, what price are we willing to pay for it.
K: Yes, I asked, sir, what price - not financial, what price in the sense what will you give of your energy, your intention, your demand, to find out whether your mind can be clear. Will you give your attention, will you give your energy, will you give your capacity to find out, that means your blood, your heart, your mind to find out.
Q: We don’t know how to give those things.
Q: We do know how to, we are giving our attention now. You said attention, we are giving that now.
K: Are you giving your attention to find out? Not to what I am saying.
Q: To the process of questioning and trying to find out.
K: Just a minute, sir. Not to what I am saying, that is totally irrelevant. But together to find out if we can clear up this confusion. That means talking it over together, not holding on to your opinion, and my opinion, but I want to find out what is the cause of this. You understand, sir? Is it because each one is so terribly selfish, each one wanting his own expression, his own pleasure, his own - all the rest of it, he is so self-centred? - is that it?
K: Sir, I have just asked a question, enquire into that question. You understand? In this country, here there is freedom to do what you want. In a totalitarian state you cannot do that. Here you can do what you want. And we are doing what we want, each one asserting himself, each one wanting his own success, his own happiness, his own fulfilment of his own ambition and so on, so on, so on. Is that the cause of this extraordinary chaos?
Q: That’s a by-product.
Q: What reason?
K: What is a by-product?
Q: A by-product of some cause, it is not the cause.
K: It's no the cause. Selfishness is not the cause?
Q: I say selfishness is a by-product of the cause, whatever that is.
K: (Laughs) What is further, that is, your egotism, your sense of wanting to fulfil your own urges? If you are a Catholic you want that, you can only find grace, salvation through a certain person; if you are not you are something else. Don't you understand my question? Each one of us wanting something for ourselves - is that the cause of it?
Q: Isn’t it that a sense of self follows the conditioning, sir?
K: Sir, find out this, sir. If we could all put our minds to this to find out.
Q: Sir, when you give yourself attention – self, the other attention goes away (inaudible)
K: Sir, I want to find out, apart from all of you, I want to find out why human minds are confused - the basic reason, the root of this, not just the expression of this confusion but the root of it. Is it that we, each one of us thinks that we are extraordinary individuals, separate, and therefore each one wanting to express his own urges, his own reactions, his own demands? Which can all be expressed in one word, 'self-centredness'.
K: Please, don't agree with me, it is not agreement, you have to find out.
Q: It’s part of it, sir.
K: All right, part. Now - listen to this, two minutes, sir - the parts don't make the whole. Right? Obviously. But through the part you can find the whole. Right? Do you understand? I want to find out for myself why my mind is confused. I say is it because I am really so self-centred? I think it is. I am so self-centred - my wife, my house, my ambitions, my god, my beliefs, my experience, I want this and I don't want that - you know, self-centred action all the time. And this self-centred action is encouraged by the society I live in, encouraged by the religions - you can only save yourself through - Buddhism and parts of Hinduism deny all that. You follow? So I find by observing the world very critically, historically, watching all the human activities, political, religious, nonsensical - communism, totalitarianism, communities and so on, so on, they are all in one way or another self-centred. That's a fact. I may be self-centred, but not know it, but say, 'I am expressing God's wishes, I represent the eternal' - it is still self-centredness. So if that is the cause, and I am pretty sure it is the cause, then what shall I do to clear up that confusion whose cause is this eternal self-centredness?
Q: We said that that is part of the cause, and then we said through the part you find the whole?
K: Yes, sir. Through the part you can find the whole, but the part isn't the whole.
Q: One of the reasons, sir, I am confused is because I don’t know how the parts relate to the whole.
K: No, that was a by-product Forgive me for bringing that in. It is self-centredness. So if that is the root of it what am I to do? How deeply do I want to be free of this self-centredness?
Q: That is the problem.
K: How deeply am I willing to put aside those things that create self-centredness?
Q: I think the depth of that is that you see the danger of it.
K: Therefore psychologically, inwardly, unconsciously, one may see the danger of not being self-centred, which may bring about such a deep psychological revolution, unconsciously one may be frightened of it, therefore we say, please, let me remain in my confusion, let me remain in my anxiety, in my uncertainty, I'll go round window-shopping for the rest of my life but I see the danger of going very deeply into this. Is that the case with most of us?
Q: Yes. We fear the responsibility of clarity.
K: Of course.
Q: To fear the responsibility of clarity is once again to focus the attention on the self. If clarity does not exist in the self, where does it exist?
K: No, I am going to point out a different way of approaching the problem.
K: Ignorance of my own selfishness.
Q: Ignorance and the lack of love.
K: Yes, sir, the lack of love is Why do I talk about love when I am selfish - for god's sake! How can I talk about love, or god, or whatever all that stuff is, when my whole life is self-centred.
Q: Isn’t that aspiration, that’s the completeness of the brain is conditioned and the mind is emptiness to totality and whole...
K: Sir, sir, sir, sir. You are moving away from the central fact that we are self-centred. We may move to god but it is still self-centred. The extension from the centre is still self-centred. So I say to myself, is it possible-I am asking, having a dialogue - is it possible not to be self-centred, what are the implications of not being self-centred, which, if I do it by will, I am still self-centred. If I say, I must not be self-centred, the 'must not' is still part of the self. Right? I wonder if you see that. I can renounce - not I - one can renounce property, beliefs, all that, the very renunciation in order to achieve something is part of this self-centredness. Right? So one wants to find out, is there a way of living, daily life, not in heaven or in some kind of community, living where we are our daily life without being self-centred. Sir, this is an enormous complex question, you understand? There must be no escape into some kind of illusion, ideologies, into some kind of fanciful living, but actual daily living in which self-centred action doesn't take place.
Q: But if I have perfect attention to the present moment you have to live in the now, then I am not self-centred.
K: Give your complete attention to the present.
Q: I mean we’ll have to live in the present.
K: Yes. What do you mean by the word 'present'?
Q: Right now.
K: Look, please sir. 'Right now', what do you mean, 'right now'?
Q: You’ve got a speck of instant, now.
K: What do you mean by those words sir - 'instant', 'now', 'the present'?
Q: Live right now instead of splitting and splitting and splitting.
K: No, no, no, no, I'm not splitting, I am not splitting words. I am asking a very serious question, when you say 'the now', which means there is neither the past nor the future.
So, let's go back: is there a way of living in which this self-centred activity ends?
Q: Sir, could we ask a question: is it possible for the self to exist without self-centred activity at all?
K: (Laughs) Is it possible for the self to exist without its activities. Its very activities is the self. If the self has no activity it dies. Obviously. It has no substance. Please!
Q: Sir, because the fact is that we don’t know what it means to live without self-centred activity.
K: We are going to find out.
Q: What it is. What is the self-centred activity? We don’t know.
K: You don't know what self-centred activity is?
Q: I mean in reality.
K: I am showing in reality. My attachments to my wife, to my husband, to my girl, to my house, to my belief, to my nationalities, to my experience, to my dogmas, to my gods. My belief, my attachments, my activities of ambition, arrogance and so on, all that is self-centred activity. That's obvious, sir.
Q: What is really the root of it?
K: The root of it is the energy, this vast energy channelled in a particular direction of ambition, of greed, envy, violence, belief, all that is all this energy channelled through all this. The very centre of this is energy, and this energy is now being used along particular, narrow, limited lines and therefore it is self-centred.
Q: Could we ask at this point where thought comes in.
K: We will come to that. Madame, thought is part of this self-centredness. I identify myself with my group, with my society, with my wife, with my god, I identify. The identifying process is part of this self-centredness. Sir, I have said this, please, I have said this, see if it is the truth, or false, you jump to something else.
Q: Sir, isn’t this energy somehow trapped?
K: All right, sir, it is trapped by your desire. (Laughs) Where are you at the end of it? Please!
Q: Sir, is this constant doing with others truly a fear of aloneness, basically you don’t want to be alone?
K: Yes, sir. Part of this self-centredness is being afraid to be alone, being afraid of loneliness, therefore gather together, be attached to something, be entertained, television, newspapers, the preachers, the gods, you know - entertained, football. They are all the same whether the entertainment of the cathedral or the entertainment of football, they are the same because you all want to be entertained. Please, sir, just listen to what I am saying, for god's sake! Not that you must accept. We have come to a point where we see we are self-centred, and is it possible not to be?
K: You say, no. Then you are blocked, you have blocked yourself from finding out if it is possible. And if a man says, yes, it is possible, then he is also blocked. The man who says, no, and the man who says, yes, are both blocking themselves.
Q: The only way that we can try to understand this process of self-centredness is to go to the suffering process and remain with it, and do nothing about it.
K: Do it, sir. Are you doing it, or you're just talking?
Q: I am doing it.
K: Good luck! (Laughter) People don't even Yes, sir, I am glad you are doing it, sir, please let's get
Q: Sir, we see the pattern of self-centredness but it continues.
K: We have come to the next step, which is, if you see the cause of this confusion is self-centredness, if you see the self-centredness with all its innumerable activities, then what will you do? If you say, it is not possible not to be self-centred, then you give it up. Right? But if you say, also it is possible, you have also encouraged it. So both are the same. If you discard both and then say, look, I am self-centred, let me find out if one of the expressions which is attachment - attachment to my wife, to my family, to my god, to my belief, to my opinions, to my judgement - you know attachment to something, whether I can be free of that attachment - without conflict, without renunciation, without exercising will, because that is part of the self still.
Q: How can we
K: You haven't listened. Please listen to this. Which means can you observe your attachment of various kinds, not just the wife or the husband, or the girl, attachment to a particular idea, to a particular opinion, to a particular belief - attached, and that very attachment implies you are that. You understand?
Q: Only if
K: Just listen, sir, just listen. If I am attached to my furniture I am the furniture. You understand? Do you understand this simple fact? Because without the furniture I am lost. So can I observe this attachment to this or that or the other, and without conflict, without a motive, just drop it?
Q: How do you do it?
K: I have shown you, sir. The moment you ask 'how' - see the reason, sir, see the logic of it - the moment I ask 'how' you want a pattern, you want a system. That very system is the expression of the self.
K: Just, just Madame, two minutes. Sir, you understand? I want to understand the cause of this confusion. The cause of this confusion is this self-centredness; one of the aspects of this self-centredness is attachment; I see this very clearly, the logic of it, the rationality of it, I have exercised my reason, not my prejudice, not my callousness, I have examined it, and the very examination brings about a certain quality of intelligence. Right? That intelligence says, finished, I am not attached. It's not your will that says, I am not attached, it's the intelligence that has come into being through observation of being attached, all the implications of it: fear, jealousy, anxiety, and the loss which I call suffering, all that I see and the very perception of that is intelligence.
Q: Will we understand it?
K: If you like to use the word 'understand'.
Q: But we don’t see it clearly enough.
K: If you don't see clearly, madame, why? Which means you are not either hearing, or not following, you are not interested, you are distracted, your attention is not fully in the enquiry.
Q: No, because one doesn’t want to give it all up.
K: Ah, then keep it! (Laughter) Then keep it and live in confusion. Nobody wants to give up anything. I am not asking you to give it up. I say on the contrary, by giving up you haven't solved the problem. You can drop your belief, but you haven't solved the problem. The problem is self-centredness, and one of the expressions of that self-centredness is attachment.
Q: Sir, what is special, all the past to unravel the awareness...
K: I am asking, madame, don't bring in other factors, just look at the simple factor that one is attached, and see the implications of that attachment. Suppose one is attached to a woman or a man, they both like being attached to each other, it is part of their sexual, personal, sensational demands. And if anything happens to one or the other, one runs away or chooses after three years another man, and then begins the whole problem of jealousy, antagonism, or indifference because you can always pick up another man or another girl. Right?
Q: Sir, we are so secure in psychological terms, I understand, but in reality we live not only in the psychological world, we live in the natural world as well – livingness, in our daily life which has another aspect other than what you call psychological. Isn’t it right, sir?
K: No, sir, we are not, we are living in both worlds.
Q: We do, agreed. That’s what I imply.
K: We are living both in the psychological world and in the physical world. The psychological world dominates the physical world. The physical world doesn't dominate the psychological world. You can have all the money, all the food, all the cars, everything, but you may be unhappy because your husband or wife has run away, you know, all the rest of it.
Q: The reason I bring this up is because this comes to the root of my confusion here. I am a painter, when you talk about attachment I understand this in psychological terms but in my work when I try to realise myself on a canvas, to realise myself, to put myself on a canvas, to paint a picture, a painting, I don’t see that as an attachment, I try to realise my potential, I try to establish a line of communication. So if I consider that as an attachment – perhaps it is, a sort of attachment in that – but in another sense it is not attachment.
K: Isn't it an attachment? When you say I want to achieve my potential, when I want to be a great success?
Q: No, no. I make a distinction between success and potential. I make a distinction, sir.
K: Sir, a distinction between potential and fulfilment.
K: Just a minute, sir, careful, careful, go slowly, sir, don't say, yes. You are differentiating between potential and fulfilment. If you have potential then it will operate, you don't search out its fulfilment. If you have a first-class feeling for music, you know, and you go on working, working, you don't The moment you say, I want to fulfil, then the self-centred activity begins. It is like a violinist, sir, who has got great potential, and he uses the instrument to fulfil himself, to become rich, to become famous, to becomes this or that.
Q: Yes, sir, you may speak (inaudible) which we are together responding. But what we call confusion, that’s how it appears in our daily living. We hear that attachment is the source of our trouble, of our misery, and yet if we sense that in what we are doing there is some kind of attachment so we get confused, we don’t know if we go ahead with what we want to do, or are we serving some kind of attachment in this way?
K: Sir, sir, you haven't I said that is only part of it. Sir, self-centredness is also getting hurt. Right? Being psychologically hurt. That's part of self-centredness. Part of self-centredness is being violent. Part of self-centredness is, I must fulfil, I have got capacity, there is a certain potentiality in me and I must express it, and when there is no fulfilment in that expression then there is frustration, disappointment, depression, anger, all that is part of self-centredness.
So I say, when you observe this confusion, and man has accepted this way of living which leads to confusion, which encourages confusion, and we live with it, we never say, can this end. All we do is, not knowing how to end it, we run away from it - we want to know about meditation, we want to know about god, if there is immortality, if there is anything but this. So we are pointing out in a dialogue, I am not your authority, though I am sitting on a platform that is merely for convenience, so that we can see each other. And being raised a little bit higher doesn't give one authority. One year I was in India, a very famous guru sent his disciples, wanting to see me. And the disciples came for three days and said, 'You must come and see our guru'. I said, 'I am sorry, I don't go out searching any guru'. And at last the guru came because he wanted to see me. We were sitting on a little platform, on a mattress about that thick, out of politeness we got up and asked him to sit on the mattress. Immediately he became the guru because he was a little higher! (Laughter) And he began to tell us what to do. You understand this, the absurdity of it? So sitting on a platform, as I am, doesn't give me any authority. But I am just pointing out certain things if you are willing to listen. That our cause of our confusion is this enormous, deep-rooted, unconscious as well as conscious, deliberate selfishness, self-centred activity. And can one observe it not only in relationship intimately, but also in our work? One can observe this going on all the time.
Now please just listen, if you are interested. To observe, what does it mean? To observe either as though you are outside of it and looking in-you understand this? - or the observer is that which is observed, there is no division between the observer and the observed.
Q: Sir, this is not exactly clear for me, this division.
K: What division? I'll make it clear. What time is it?
Q: Twenty-five to one.
K: I'll make this very clear. When you observe the mountain, as you can observe it, in what manner do you observe it? Do you see the mountain as it is, or the word 'mountain', the word, interferes with the observation? Because when you look at that thing, the verbal reaction comes immediately, 'That's a mountain'. So when you observe, the word interferes with looking at that thing. Right? Do you see that, sir? That's simple. Now in the same way, can you observe your reactions without the past telling you, this is good, bad, this is right, this is wrong, just to observe?
Q: Without label.
K: That's right.
Q: Do I know then what I am looking at?
K: Sir, look what happens. One is greedy, you see something, a dress, a pair of trousers, shoes, whatever it is, car, woman or man, you see. And can you observe without the past memories interfering with it? When the past interferes you are not actually looking, are you. The past memories are looking, there is no actual looking at that which is happening now. So the observer is the past, the past is looking at what is happening now, so there is a division. You understand, sir?
Q: Is it not possible to have that clarity one moment and not the next?
Q: Can it come about that I have that clarity at one moment, but not the next moment.
K: If one has clarity one moment and another moment you have not clarity, it is not clarity. Clarity is clarity. No, please, just finish this. This is really If you once understand the principle of this, not agree with me, but I am pointing out the logic of it, the reason of it, which is: we are always looking from the past.
Q: Do you mean, sir, that the man, or the being who is looking, is himself the past, the knowledge?
K: Yes, sir. That's right.
Q: The moment before you named it ‘mountain’ wasn’t that clarity?
K: Sir, I named it for you to indicate it, but to look at it without the word.
Q: No, but if I look at it myself...
K: I am going to show you something, sir: can you look at your girl, or your wife, or your husband - please listen - without the past, without the past memories, past sensations, past disagreements, all that piled up, can you look at her or him without a single image you have built about her or about him, can you?
Q: Never tried.
K: Never tried. Quite right.
Q: I do want to try to do it.
K: Never tried.
Q: What did he say?
K: Just a minute, sir, listen to what that gentleman said just now: he never tried. What does that mean? He has taken the past as granted: it's my wife, my girl, my husband, with all the past implications involved in it - probably he wasn't - not you, sir, I am just saying - aware of all the past incidents accumulated which has become the image, the picture, and so the picture says, 'I know my wife'. Like the pope saying, 'God exists'.
Q: What if your wife is doing the same thing every time you see her? (Laughter)
K: Right, sir, can one observe without the past accumulation? If you cannot observe without the past accumulation it is not possible to observe at all. But with all of us the past is so enormous, our minds are burdened that we cannot see without the past, see what is actually happening.
Q: Can we do it?
K: Find out. If you find this out to be true for yourself, I am not telling you, then there is a totally different relationship taking place. It isn't just routine, it isn't just a mechanical repetition of the past operating all the time.
Q: Sir, when you asked us a question, an answer from memory comes up and we try...
K: Don't. Don't try. Just see how the memory jumps immediately, pops up, so watch it. Sir, this requires a great deal of enquiry and attention, it isn't just, well I'll learn this by heart and something else will happen. You have to be very attentive, watchful. But if you observe the past is always meeting the present, the present happening, modifies itself, goes on; but it is still always the past. So man has lived this way; the great scientists, philosophers, say, knowledge is the only thing that will evolve man: the ascent of man through knowledge - which is, knowledge is always the past. So we are saying, on the contrary, man can only ascend if the past with all the knowledge of the past has its right place and is free of the known. Then there is freedom to move.
Q: Sir, I was serious in that comment because it may be that my wife is mechanical and therefore when you look at her you see the same thing because essentially the mechanical pattern is the same. Do you understand what I mean?
K: I think I understand, sir. Sir, our minds have become mechanical, haven't they? Why? You see, we don't observe all this. Why have our minds become mechanical? Our jobs have become mechanical. Right? Right? Get up in the morning, all the rest of it, office - the routine, the routine, our way of thinking is routine, always along a particular line, horizontal or vertical, aspiring or floating along. So our minds are caught in a groove of belief and so on, so on, so everything has become mechanical, your sex, your ambitions, your aspirations, your gods, everything is mechanical. You don't realise it. So there is nothing new. So we are saying something contrary to all that. That is, to observe without the observer, which is the past. (Sound of quail) Even the quail agrees!
Q: But sir, when I try to observe ‘what is’ without the past, and the past operates.
K: Then go after the past, find out why the past operates, why the past has become so important in our lives. Sir, look, the past is important when you are driving the car. Right? Because if you are just put in the car, with a wheel, and you didn't know the technique of driving which you have learnt by constant repetition, which becomes the knowledge, you won't be able to drive. You may drive, you will kill yourself or kill somebody else. So knowledge in language, in business, doing all the necessities of daily life - necessities, knowledge is important. But when the mind, which is the whole movement of thought, is a process of operating from past knowledge, past experience, past memory, then it becomes a dangerous instrument that divides people, that destroys people.
Q: In other words, without meditation life has no meaning.
K: What we are doing now is part of meditation. This is meditation, to clear up one's mind. Sir, look, sir, if I am a Catholic my meditation would be confined to one particular pattern, and that isn't meditation. Meditation is something that has no limitations. I won't go into all that, you will want to escape into that. I won't. Because to meditate is an extraordinary activity. It can only come when the mind is completely free from confusion. A man confused meditates, his meditation is still confused, whether it is transcendental, or any other nonsense, it is still confused meditation, which only leads to illusions.
You see, sir, these various gurus have come to see me at one time or another. I am just telling you, the fun of it. The great ones and the little ones. And they all say, 'What you are saying, sir, is the greatest truth, is what you are living', etc., 'a great privilege', and they go on their own way (laughs), because they say, 'Sorry, sir, we must help the poor people who don't understand'. You understand the game? Right. Is that enough?