Is there an action which is without cause and motive?
Can the mind be free of every motive to investigate?
5th Public Talk, Saanen
July 19, 1977
We have been talking over together whether it is possible to awaken the intelligence. That is our chief concern. And those who are serious will have followed the past four talks - or rather talking over things together. And morning I would like to go into something that I think is equally important.
This awakening of intelligence implies having an insight into all our problems - psychological problems, crises, blockages and so on. The word 'intelligence', according to a good dictionary, means reading between the lines, partly. And also really, deeply, the significance of intelligence is to have deep true insight - not an intellectual comprehension, not resolving the problem through conflict, but having an insight into a human issue. That very insight awakens this intelligence. Or, having this intelligence there is the insight - both ways. And having an insight involves no conflict, because when you see something very, very, very clearly, the truth of the matter, there is the end of it, you don't fight against it, you don't try to control, you don't make all these calculated, motivated efforts. From that insight, which is intelligence, there is action - not a postponed action but immediate action. That is what I would like to talk over together, if we may, this morning, a little bit, and then we will go on to some other problems if we have time.
We are educated from childhood to exercise as deeply as possible every form of effort. If you observe yourself you will see what tremendous efforts we make to control ourselves, to suppress, to adjust, to modify ourselves to certain conclusions, pattern ourselves according to some patterns, or according to an objective that you or another has established, and so there is this constant struggle. You must have noticed it. One lives with it, and one dies with it. And we are asking if it is possible to live daily life, without a single conflict? And as most of us are somewhat awakened to all the problems: political, religious, economic, social, ideological and so on, when you are a little bit aware of all that there must be discontent, as most of us are dissatisfied. When you are young this dissatisfaction becomes like a flame, and you have passion to do something: so you join some political party, the extreme left, the extreme revolutionary, the extreme forms of Jesus freaks and so on, so on, so on. And by joining, adopting certain attitudes, certain ideologies, that flame of discontent fades away, because you are then satisfied. You say, 'This is what I want to do' and you pour your heart into it. And gradually you find, if you are at all awake to all the problems involved, that doesn't satisfy. But it is too late: you have already given half your life to something which you thought will be completely worthwhile, but when you find a little bit later on that it is not, then I am afraid one's energy, capacity, drive has withered away. One must have noticed that our discontent with regard to politics, why we are governed, by whom we are governed, for what purpose are we governed, the discontent that questions the religious attitudes, the religious dogmas, the orthodoxy of the priest, the gurus - the discontent questions it, doubts it. And gradually you like somebody, or some idea, or your girlfriend says 'That is the right thing to do, old boy, go after it'. And you want to please her and so you adjust yourself to that pattern. So gradually this real flame of discontent withers away. You must have noticed it in yourself, in your children, in the young people, and the neighbours - this is the pattern that's followed all the time, generation after generation.
Is it possible - we are talking over together, I am not laying down the law, we are investigating, exploring into something that is really worthwhile if you go into it very, very deeply. Most of us fortunately, if you are at all alive to things, are discontented, and not to allow that discontent to be squashed, destroyed by the desire to be satisfied, by the desire to adjust oneself to the environment, to the establishment, or to a new ideal, to a new utopia. But to allow this flame to keep on burning, not be satisfied with anything, then the superficial satisfactions have no place. This very dissatisfaction is demanding something much greater than the ideals, the gurus, the religions, the establishment, all, ecology and so on, they've become totally superficial. And that very flame of discontent, because it has no outlet, because it has no object in which it can fulfil itself, that flame becomes a great passion. And that passion is this intelligence. You are following what I am Am I making this clear - not verbally? Is it clear to you, who must be dissatisfied - with your husband, with your wife, with your girl, or boy, with the society, with the environment, with all the ugly things that are going on in the name of politics, government. If you are not caught in some of these superficial things, reactionary, essentially reactionary, all of them, then that extraordinary flame is intensified. And that intensity brings about a quality of mind that has a deep insight instantly into things, and therefore from that there is action.
So as most of us here, and I hope it is a fact, that you who are here are dissatisfied. Right? Why are you governed? By whom are you governed, for what purpose are you governed? That is one question. Why do we accept religious patterns of any kind? - whether the religious patterns of the ancient Hindus, their tradition, their superstition, their authority, their worship of tradition, or the Zen Buddhism, Zen meditation, or the transcendental meditation, everything - not to be satisfied. It doesn't make you nervous. It doesn't bring about imbalance. There is imbalance only when this dissatisfaction is translated, or caught in a trap of some kind or another, then there is distortion, then there are all kinds of fights, inwardly.
So since you are here, and you must obviously, if I may point out, you must be dissatisfied, including with what we are saying - (laughs) right? And to be aware of this flame and not allow superficial temptations and be caught by them. Right? Are we doing this now as we are talking over together? Or having been caught in these various traps, can you put them aside, wipe them out, destroy them - do what you like but have this tremendous flame of discontent now? It doesn't mean you go and throw bombs at people, destroy, physical revolution, violence, but when you put aside all the traps that man has created around you, and you have created for yourself, then this flame becomes a supreme intelligence. And that intelligence gives you insight. And when you have an insight, from that there is immediate action. Right? Are we following something? Right sir? Because (laughs) I am very keen on this because to me action is not tomorrow. An action - it has been a great problem with a great many people, with deep thinkers - action without cause, action without motive, action not dependent on some ideology, which is, the ideology is in the future and there is constant adjustment to that ideology, therefore there is conflict. So it has been one of the demands of serious people to find out if there is an action which is per se, for itself, which is without cause and motive. I don't know if you have ever asked this question of yourself - and I hope you are asking it now. Is there an action in life, in daily life, in which there is no motive, there is no cause, and therefore, see what is implied in it: no regrets, no retention of those regrets and all the sequence that follows from that regret; it doesn't depend on some past or future.
So one is asking: is there an action, in daily life - the daily life which we know, what it means, what is involved in it - where action is always free? And this action is possible only when there is insight born of intelligence. Right? I wonder if you get it! Am I making it clear? Verbally perhaps, but dig deeply, have insight into it, into what the speaker is saying.
So our question then is: is it possible to live a daily life without any conflict whatsoever? Most people would say you must have conflict otherwise there is no growth. Part of life is conflict. A tree in a forest fights, struggles to reach the sun. That is a form of conflict. Every animal and so on makes conflict, but we are human beings, supposed to be intelligent, supposed to be educated, supposed to have sufficient knowledge, historical, and yet we are constantly in conflict. Now discontent says, 'Why should I be in conflict?' You understand? Are you doing this now?
(Sound of aeroplane) I hope they are having fun up there. (Laughter)
We are educated to conflict - conflict implies comparison, imitation, conformity, adjustment to a pattern, modified continuity of what has been through the present to the future. Right? All this is a process of conflict. The deeper the conflict the more neurotic one becomes. And therefore not to have conflict at all. One believes in something most deeply, you believe in god most deeply and say 'His will be done' - and we create a monstrous world. Right? - which is his will being done! And conflict implies, as I said, comparison. To live without comparison - you understand? Please do it now. Which means no ideal, no authority of a pattern, no conformity to a particular idea or ideology, and therefore freedom from the prison of ideas. Right? Are you following? Are you doing it? So that there is no comparison, no imitation, no conformity. Therefore you are stuck with 'what is'. Right? Actually 'what is'. Because comparison comes only when you compare 'what is' with 'what should be', or 'what might be' or try to transform 'what is' into something that which is not. All this implies conflict. Right?
Thousands go to India, from America and from Europe, to find enlightenment, to find the real guru, because they realise their religion, their outlook is very limited, materialistic, and India is supposed to be tremendously spiritual - which it is not - and there people go and try to find out. And the guru, the pattern, the tradition says, 'Do this, then that' - conformity. And they try every way - which is to bring about greater conflict in themselves. Right? This is what is happening right throughout the world. And so we are asking: is it possible to live without conflict? Now, it is possible when you have an insight into what is being said; to find out actually, in daily life, to live without comparison. Right? Therefore you remove a tremendous burden. Right? I wonder if you see that? And if you remove the burden of comparison, imitation, conformity, adjustment, modification, then you are left with 'what is'. Right?
Conflict exists only when you try to do something with 'what is'. Right? May I go on? When you try to transform it, modify it, change it, or suppress it, run away from it, then conflict arises. But if you have an insight into 'what is' then conflict ceases. You understand my point? Are you doing it? When there is no comparison and so on, then you are left with 'what is'. Conflict arises only when you are moving away from 'what is'. Right? And what happens with the thing 'what is'? Now I'll show you.
One is greedy, or envious, or violent. The fact is that you are violent, greedy, envious - that is a fact. The non-fact is non-violence, you must not be greedy, you must be noble, etc., etc. So there is a movement away from 'what is' and therefore that is conflict. Come on, sirs! So when you do not move away from 'what is', when thought does not move away then there is only 'what is'. Right? I am violent - one is violent. That is a fact. There is no escape from it whatsoever, suppression of all the violence, which is another form of violence. So you are left with violence, or with greed, or with envy. Can you have an insight into violence? Violence implies conflict, violence implies running away from 'what is', violence implies having an ideal of non-violence. So when you put away all that, you are left with 'what is' - and to have an insight into that. That is, that can only happen - please follow this, give your heart to this! - that can only happen when you are completely free of any form of having a desire to change 'what is'. Right? You understand this? Are we all together in this? Or am I just talking to myself? You know, please, life is very short. And to find out a way of living which is righteous, and righteousness is only when there is no conflict; and how do you have an insight into 'what is'? You understand my question? We are governed - why are we governed? What is government? You follow? Everything. And that is 'what is'. And how do you have an insight into 'what is'? Which is - I am taking the example of violence - all forms of government are violent - the extreme right, and the extreme left or even the centre. And there is violence. Human beings are violent. They say it is part of his nature, and therefore you must accept it. Being aware one doesn't accept anything, we question. We said the day before yesterday there is the art of doubt. The art of doubt is to let doubt express itself and also to learn when not to.
So how does one have an insight into this, into violence? Without analysis - you understand, you see the problem? Because if you analyse, as we went into it, if you escape from it, and so on, they are all forms of the activity of thought which avoids the solution of 'what is'. Right? You understand? For god's sake, come on! And how do I, or you, have an insight into this question of violence? What is the state of the mind - please listen - what is the state of your mind when you are looking at 'what is'? You understand what I am saying? I am asking you: what is the state of your mind when you are not escaping, not trying to transform, or deform 'what is'? What is the state of that mind that is looking? I may say something which may be shocking, but please go into it with me. The state of the mind that has an insight is completely empty. Right? Because it is free from escapes, free from suppression, analysis and so on. So when all these burdens are taken away - right? - because you see the absurdity of them, it is like taking away a heavy burden, so there is freedom. Freedom implies an emptiness to observe. Right? And that emptiness gives you insight into violence - not the various forms of violence, the whole nature of violence and the structure of violence, and therefore there is immediate action about violence, which means you are free completely from all violence. You get it? For god's sake, get it! Have you understood? Is your mind, when you look at 'what is', greed, envy, jealousy, whatever it is, is it empty to observe so that there is instant insight and action, and therefore freedom from 'what is' - get it?
We are not playing intellectual games, (laughs) or analytical games. We are concerned with the awakening of intelligence. As I said, intelligence means, according to the dictionary, reading between the lines. See what is implied in reading between the lines. That you must be so awakened so as not to be caught by words, but to see clearly, see the clarity in which there is no print. You get it? I wonder. Because in between the lines there is no printing, and there is only white space, which is clarity. And that clarity if you have, gives you insight into what is being said on the page. And insight implies observing 'what is' with a mind that is completely free and therefore empty to observe 'what is' - and therefore you have an insight. That is, when you are violent - please follow this - when you are violent and you do not escape from violence, avoid it, try to transform it into some nonsensical non-violence and so on, so on, then you are free of all that burden. Being free the mind is empty, that emptiness gives you insight. And when you have insight into violence you are no longer violent. You see without effort - that is what I want to get at. Are you all too old to follow this?
So we are pointing out it is possible to live, a daily life, in which there is not a shadow of conflict. You know what it means, to live a life without conflict? See for yourself what it means. Because conflict is the strengthening of the self, the 'me', and therefore there is separation - the 'me' and the 'you', we and they. You understand? So it is possible to live a life without conflict - not because the speaker says so but because you, you have discovered it, it is the truth, not mine or yours.
So from discontent not to allow that flame to be smothered in any trap, and to understand the nature and the structure of insight. And that can only happen when you are not caught in any trap. Right?
Now we can move to something else. Quelle heure est-il? Ten past. Is this very clear? Can I go on to something else? Next week we are going to discuss, have a dialogue about all these questions - dialogue, a conversation between two friendly people. I hope you are friends. So we are going to have a dialogue. So if there is anything that is not clear let's discuss it, talk about it.
The other thing that I would like to go into this morning is sorrow. We have talked about authority; we have talked over together about the desire for security, the nature and the structure of authority; we have talked about fear, pleasure, love. And if we may, we also should talk over together this enormous problem of suffering. I hope you are not tired - are you? We are going to have an insight into suffering.
There is not only a particular human being with his suffering, there is the suffering of the world. Right? There is suffering through poverty, ignorance; there is suffering brought about through death; there is suffering out of great pity; there is suffering when you see animals tortured, killed, maimed; there is suffering when there is war, thousands of mothers and sisters and wives, girls crying their heart out because we have accepted war - I don't know why we have accepted it, but you have. So wars have brought about immense suffering. The totalitarian, the authoritarian dictators have brought immense suffering. Concentration camps - one may not have been in them but you see it, you know it is happening and you suffer.
So there are these various kinds of suffering, not only personal but the suffering of the whole of humanity. You are aware of it, aren't you? And we have accepted it. We say love is part of suffering. When you love somebody it brings about suffering. Right? So we are going to question together whether it is possible to be free of all suffering; and when there is this freedom from suffering in the consciousness of each human being who is listening here, then that freedom from suffering brings about a transformation in consciousness and therefore that consciousness, that radical change in consciousness, affects the whole of mankind's suffering. You understand? That is part of compassion - not saying, 'I suffer, my god, my god, my god, why do I suffer? Why should I suffer'? - and from that suffering act neurotically and try to escape from that suffering through various forms of religious, intellectual, social work and so on - escape from it. So we are saying: is it possible for every human being here to be free of this enormous burden of suffering? Where there is suffering you cannot possibly love. That is a truth, a law. When you love somebody and he does something which you - or she does something which you totally disapprove, and you suffer, it shows that you don't love. Right? You understand? I am not laying down the law, (laughs) but see the truth of it. How can I suffer when my wife - if I have a wife, or a girl - who throws me away and goes after somebody else? You understand? And we suffer from that. We get angry, jealous, envious, hateful; and at the same time we say, 'I love my wife' - or my girl. I say such love is not love. Right? So is it possible not to suffer, and yet have immense love, the flowering of it?
So we are going to find out what suffering is. There is physical suffering. Right? Headaches, operations, malformed bodies, accidents that bring about amputation, or some form of ugly deformity. There is suffering from the various unfulfilled desires - I hope you are following all this. There is suffering from the loss of a person whom you think you love. After all what is the structure and the nature and the essence of suffering? You understand? The essence of it, not the various forms of it. What is the essence of suffering? I am asking myself for the first time. I am going to find out, together we are going to find out. Is it not the total expression at that moment of complete self-centred existence? What do you say? It is the essence of the 'me', the essence of the ego, the person, the limited, enclosed, resisting existence which you call the 'me' - the form, the name, all that. When there is an incident that demands investigation and understanding, and insight, that very incident brings about the awakening of the 'me', the essence, and that I call suffering. What do you say? If there was no me, would you suffer? You would help, you would do all kinds of things, but you wouldn't suffer.
So suffering then is the expression of the 'me', which includes self-pity, loneliness, trying to escape, trying to be with the other who is gone - all that is implied which is the very me, which is the past. The image of the past which is me, the knowledge, the remembrance of the past, which is me. So what relationship has suffering, the essence of the 'me', to love? Please think it out, let's think it out together. We are asking: is there any relationship between love and suffering? Is love put together by thought, whereas the 'me' is put together by thought. Oh, come on! I see something. Are we following?
Is love put together by thought? - the experience, the memories, the remembrances, the pain, the delight, the pleasures, and the pursuit of pleasure, sexual or otherwise, the pleasures of possession, possessing somebody and the somebody liking being possessed - all that is the structure of thought, which we have gone into. And the 'me' with its name, with its form, the essence of me is the nature and structure put together by thought. Obviously. So what is the relationship between love and suffering? If love is not put together by thought - please go into this, put your heart into this - if love is not put together by thought then suffering has no relationship to it, therefore action from love is different from action from suffering - get it? Why am I so intense about all this? Why aren't you so intense?
So to have an insight - please follow this - to have an insight into suffering, which means what place has thought in relationship to love, and in relationship to suffering? Right? To have an insight into it, which means you are neither escaping, wanting comfort, frightened to be lonely, isolated, therefore your mind is free; therefore that which is free is empty. And therefore if you have that emptiness, which means freedom, you have an insight into suffering. Therefore suffering as the 'me' disappears. There is immediate action because that is so. So your action then is from love, not from suffering. You get what I am talking about? Gee Whillikins Bene signora?
Then one discovers that action from suffering is a continued action of the 'me' modified, and therefore constant conflict. Right? You can see the logic of it all, the reason for it. So it is possible to love without a shadow of suffering. And what is the action of compassion? You understand? If love is not the result of thought, thought which is the response of memory stored up in the brain as knowledge and experience, that thought is not love - right? - and our action is based on thought. Now. I must do this, this is my motive, I will - you follow? - it is based on the movement and the modification of thought. When thought is not love, then what is the action of compassion, love? We can say then, from there, what is the action of an insight out of which there is intelligence? We are saying compassion is intelligence. What is the action of intelligence - which is not the outcome of thought? Right? What is the action of intelligence? Can you ask such a question? If you have intelligence it is operating, it is functioning, it is acting. But to say, what is the action of intelligence, you want thought to be satisfied. Right? You see what I mean? Look, when you say what is the action of compassion - who is asking it? Is it not thought? Is it not the 'me' that is saying, if I could have this compassion I will act differently? Therefore when you put that question you are still thinking in terms of thought. But if you have an insight into thought then thought has its right place and intelligence then acts. Have you got it for this morning?
Is that enough for this morning? It is enough for me, (laughter) for the speaker. So see sirs, what is implied in all this: how important it is that there should be a radical revolution, psychological revolution, because no politics, no government, no Lenin, Marx, nobody is going to solve any of our problems - the human problems from which every misery comes, from a human being who is functioning, living, operating, acting on thought. And when you have an insight into thought then you also have an insight into the nature and the beauty of love; and from there, action from that.
So. There is a nice story of a preacher, a teacher - perhaps some of you have heard it from me, if you have heard it please forgive me for repeating it - there was a teacher and his disciples. Every morning he used to talk to the disciples, give a sermon. And one morning he gets on the rostrum, on the pedestal, and as he was just about to begin a bird comes in and sits on the window sill and begins to sing. And the preacher stops talking and listens to the bird, the beauty of the sound, the blue sky and the quietness of that song. And the bird flies away. So he turns to his disciples and says, 'The morning sermon is over'. Right? (Laughs)