Is there suffering when there is no attachment?
Is it possible for the stream of selfishness to end?
3rd Public Talk, Saanen
July 17, 1975
May we go on from where we left off the day before yesterday?
We were talking over together, suffering and all the implications involved in suffering, and whether it is at all possible to be totally free of that suffering without becoming callous, indifferent, without any affection, care and compassion.
And we were saying that in the field of reality - we mean by reality all the things that thought has put together, all the things that thought has built, technologically as well as psychologically, thought that is illusory and thought that is real, reasonable, sane. Illusion is sensory perception of objective things, involving belief - we talked about that the other day. In that field of reality, which is our daily life with all the economic, social and political problems, the divisions and wars and griefs and travail, in that field of reality which is the product, which is the process of thought as time and measure, we said freedom cannot possibly exist - total freedom. But yet we must have freedom in that field of reality - politically, religiously and so on. And in that field of reality, of our daily life, we said there must be order because order gives freedom, limited, but yet it is free. Without that order in that field of reality, freedom cannot possibly exist. There are, we said too, there are two types of freedom - freedom of truth and freedom within the field of reality.
So as we are saying, as thought which is the movement of time and measure as knowledge, that knowledge has not profoundly changed man, and any serious person - and I hope we are here - any serious person, observing what the world is - the mess, the brutality, the violence and all the rest of it - must deeply enquire surely, what place has knowledge and if knowledge has not changed man basically, then what will? The knowledge of energy, that is, the whole accumulated process of thought as experience, memory, that knowledge has its own energy. And that energy has not changed man. Therefore we must enquire - if we are at all serious, if we are at all concerned with human beings which are ourselves - is there a different kind of energy which is not the energy of knowledge, that will bring about a fundamental, radical revolution, psychologically, in man? The energy of knowledge which has not changed man: and is there a knowledge is there an energy which will change man? That's what we are enquiring - not intellectually, not theoretically, which is an abomination. This speculative, imaginative enquiry has no value at all - they are merely excursions, verbal.
So we are concerned with the enquiry into that energy which might change man - but that energy of knowledge which has not changed man. So that is what we are concerned with. And we were talking together over this problem of suffering. We said Christianity has made suffering into a parody, and the Hindus and the ancient Asiatic world have got various explanations of suffering and yet man goes on suffering. Is there an end to that suffering? Because if there is no end then we shall always remain in the cloud, in the darkness of suffering, and therefore always remain in the field of reality and therefore no fundamental, radical change. Right?
So we said, in enquiring into the whole structure of suffering, we must also go into the problem of what love is. I am just going over what we discussed the day before yesterday. Thought is limited and therefore thought conditions the mind. Please, we are communicating with each other, I am not talking to myself. We are communicating; that means we are sharing this thing together. We are not merely listening to various explanations and draw an abstraction from those explanations, but actually sharing the problem together. Sharing implies care, attention, responsibility and the responsibility is to find out whether in our relationship in the field of reality, what love is. Because for most of us suffering implies the lack of that love - or the frustration of that love, or the feeling completely lonely. So one must go into this question: what is love in the field of reality, and can there be freedom in relationship in that field of reality, and is suffering one of the factors or one of the movements of thought in relation to love and in relation to human beings? Are we understanding each other? Because the western world, including America, is nearly destroying the world with their industrialisation, with their technological knowledge, overproduction, the whole business of it - consumerism. And the eastern world is copying it, as much as it can and therefore destroying the earth, themselves and their environment, which is again obvious.
And thought can uncondition itself and condition itself. That is what is taking place. Right? One sees that. Thought has conditioned itself into Catholicism, Protestantism, Communism, adjusting itself to Totalitarianism, Mao and so on, and that very thought can uncondition itself and create another conditioning for itself. This is called progress. I do not know if you understand the meaning of the word. Progress means, entering into the enemy country, fully armed - and if you have a Bible, so much the better. You understand the meaning of 'progress'? That is thought that is the original meaning of that word - never mind - to progress, to go forward.
Thought - please, understand this - thought has been conditioned by the culture, by the social structure, by the religious propaganda. Thought has created the propaganda, the social structure, the cultural environment and has conditioned itself. And when thought sees that it is not worth it, it doesn't pay, then it will uncondition itself and create another conditioning. This is the process of the movement of thought in time, in measure.
So, that's what we are doing. We are always living in that field of reality, knowing the cunningness of thought and knowing also thought cannot possibly change radically our psychological structure. Now if you listen to what is being said and not draw an abstraction from what is being said, but actually be aware of what is being said, then the problem is: what is love in relation to our existence, our relationship between you and another? You understand? Are we travelling together? Because this is not - if I may point out - a gathering in which you are being entertained, satisfying your rather obvious curiosity or trying to stimulate you to thinking. We are serious people, at least the speaker is and if we are going to journey together into this problem of suffering and love, we must have certain communication, which means care, respect for each other. That is, to have respect means to give attention to what is being said - not think about it afterwards - that is disrespect, both to you and to the speaker. Not that the speaker wants your respect, but any person who is serious must resolve this problem. In our human relationship between man and woman, between each other, what is love? Is love one of the major causes of suffering in this relationship? If it is the cause of suffering then what value has love in that field of reality? I hope you understand this.
So what is freedom in the field of reality between two human beings who 'love' each other? Love being - I am putting it in quotes. Because apparently that is one of the major causes of this extraordinary suffering. If there is order in that relationship, then that order must come about through freedom - not through regulation, not through legislation, not through vows.
So what is the actual relationship between human beings? - the actual, not the theoretical, not the romantic, mystical or sentimental. What is the actual relationship between man and woman, which creates the whole structure of society? Right? Please. Because the society is what we have made of it; what we have made of it is based on thought, thought which is limited, thought which is fragmented and our society is that - corrupt, all the rest of it - it is obvious.
So, a serious person must enquire what is the actual relationship into what is actual relationship and in that relationship, what is love? We said in that relationship between two human beings love has become a matter of great pleasure, a matter of attachment, a matter of dependence, a matter of utter lack of communication. There can be communication between two people only when they meet at the same level, at the same time, with the same intensity - otherwise there is no communication. Now, if we are to communicate with each other, as we are doing now - which is our relationship between you and the speaker - we must meet at the same level, neither intellectual nor verbal, nor sentimental or romantic; we must meet. Our minds must be in contact and there can be only contact when we both see the same thing - not, you see it and afterwards you tell me about it. We must see the same thing together, at the same time, at the same level, with the same intensity - otherwise between you and the speaker there is no communication, there will be verbal communication, which is irrelevant. Right?
So, in our relationship with each other is there such communication - between man and woman, between man and the whole world? Or is the communication verbal and therefore symbolic, and so - imagery? You understand? Is the relationship between human beings at the level of images, symbols, words, conclusions, remembrances and therefore at the level of thought, and so limited and hence division and conflict? I wonder if you see this? See the beauty of it, sir, come on.
Are you following all this? Phew! Now what is the actual? What is your relationship with another, however intimate? Is it a verbal a thing that has been concluded, a thing that has been remembered and therefore an image? All the movement of thought. Therefore our relationship with each other is based thought - I wonder if you - therefore limited and therefore contradictory. Right? That is so. Then realising that, what can thought do? You understand my question? I am related to you as a husband, wife or whatever it is - and I realise and I observe accurately - the word 'accurate' means care, curare, from the word 'to care' - and as I care, I watch my relationship. I don't know why I put so much energy to this. I watch accurately what my actual relationship is. I see it is that: verbal, a conclusion, a remembrance, a movement of thought as time, the past through the present and the future. And thought, being limited and fragmentary, therefore in that relationship there must be contradiction and therefore isolation. I am aware of that. Then thought says: what can I do? I know I have done this; what am I to do? This is the problem. Therefore one must understand very, very deeply that thought which has created this division - the 'me' and the 'you' - the 'me' with all my ambitions, with all my greed and so on and you with yours - then thought which has operated in the alteration of the conditioning is now going to alter that conditioning into a different pattern. I wonder if you see that. Do we meet this? So I see that. So I see, I perceive, I am aware that any movement of thought in relationship must inevitably create this, and therefore thought creates suffering. And one has been aware, or one has lived with this suffering as a necessity for the pleasure of love. I wonder if you see all this?
So. Then what is love? Is love in the field of reality or outside it? You understand? Please, don't answer, 'Yes' or 'No', because this is a tremendous problem. We have known only love as pleasure in the field of reality and we see - if one is at all serious, gone into this deeply - one sees that this love not only brings about a great friction and also great suffering and which is attachment, dependence, psychological dependence and attachment. So I must enquire why human beings are so dreadfully attached to another, as that is one of the major causes of suffering, and to understand and to be totally free of suffering without becoming callous, one must go into this problem of attachment. You understand, sir? Are we travelling together? You are attached, aren't you? - to your knowledge, to your status, to your capacity, to your efficiency, to your knowledge, to a person, to a belief, to a conclusion, to your country, to your god - you are endlessly attached. One of the causes of this attachment is the movement of thought, which is seeking security because thought itself is insecure, therefore it seeks security in a person, in an idea, in a conclusion. This is all so obvious. No? Or you cling to an ideal or to a projection which you call god.
Why are human beings why is one so deeply attached? Is it a matter of conditioning or is it a psychological emptiness and out of that emptiness and the fear of that emptiness one clings to another, or to a belief and so on and so on? You understand - either it is a matter of environmental conditioning, or is it that inwardly one feels lost, uncertain, empty, lonely? Therefore one clings to these things. I also looked up the word 'emptiness', it means leisure, one of its meanings, leisure - to have leisure. If you have no leisure, you cannot learn. School - the word 'school' means leisure - that leisure is going to help you to learn. You follow? A school that has no leisure, offers to the student a mechanical movement, repetitive movement which is what is happening now. Our education is mechanical and it has no leisure. I don't know if you see this.
And is it this emptiness that makes man cling to something? And in that attachment or and in that adherence to something, is called love. So as I as one must have leisure to learn about this emptiness and to understand the whole movement of thought as attachment, one must have freedom to look. I wonder if you meet all this? Are you bored, sirs? One must have freedom to observe this emptiness, not as the observer and the observed, because when you are observing there is no observer, there is only observation.
One moment sir, let me finish. Sir, I can't throw any light on anything. You have to throw light yourself and find out.
There is an observation of this emptiness, and if there is an observer who is observing the emptiness, then that observer is the conditioned entity who is observing. That observer is the past with all its memories, with all its remembrances, its hurts, its prejudices, and with all that background he is observing that emptiness. Therefore it is distorted observation. So to observe without the observer one must enquire into the structure and the nature of the observer. Right? Is it all getting too complicated? It is not one of those puzzles, you put one box into another, you know - gets more
So. The observer is the past. The observer is the conditioned entity - conditioned by environment, conditioned by the culture in which he has been brought up, with its prejudices, with its knowledge, which is always the past; that observer sees this emptiness and therefore he is looking at it from a very limited, conditioned point of view, he is incapable of looking at it totally. You understand? If I am prejudiced as a Hindu, or a Christian, or a Catholic or a Communist, it is a prejudice. If I say, 'I am a Communist', it is a prejudice. If I look with my prejudice, the prejudice is fragmentary, is limited and therefore I look at something in a limited, small, petty way. And if there is no observer then there is a total perception of this emptiness. I wonder
So when there is no observer but only observation which reveals the totality of that emptiness, then there is no movement of thought as attachment. I wonder if you see this. Do you see this, some of you? Not what I say, but actually, that is with care, observe your emptiness and see that the observer is interfering, is cutting across your observation, and therefore distorting it, limiting it, conditioning your perception. If you see that, then you see the totality of this emptiness and then what takes place? One of the factors of uncertainty and insecurity lies in becoming something. Right? I am becoming something - professionally or ideologically or psychologically. In that becoming something there is great uncertainty, whereas in not becoming - which is to remain totally with that emptiness - is to be nothing, and therefore complete security. I wonder if you understand this? Phew!
So attachment with its pain and pleasure, to be obsessed and to obsess, is part of this attachment, and to be free of that attachment totally, because that is freedom in reality and therefore order in that reality and therefore no friction between human beings. I wonder if you see this. Do you see this, please? Not up here, but with your heart, with your mind, with your whole being see this - the truth of it.
Then what is love? Then is love in the field of reality? And in that field of reality there is confusion when there is attachment, conflict, pain, suffering - then what is the relationship between two human beings - you follow? - in that field of reality, in which there is no attachment? Right? What is your answer? Answer it to yourself - not all of you answer to me - what is your answer? If there is no attachment - not detachment, callousness, indifference, that is the opposite and therefore the opposite is always part of it own opposite. I wonder if you see that. The opposite is part of its own opposite. Therefore opposites have no meaning. I wonder
So what is relationship between human beings when there is no attachment? Attachment brings the pain, the conflict, the contradiction, the isolation and that brings about disorder in the world of reality. And one must have complete order in the world of reality, because we are going to much we are going to something - when you have established order here, in the world of reality, then you can move. But if you have no order here you can't possibly go further. So we must establish order in the field of reality, and that order comes when we go into this question of attachment between human beings - attachment not only between human beings but between conclusions, ideas, suppositions, theories, beliefs and so on.
Now what is the relationship between two human beings when there is total freedom from attachment? Because we said attachment is one of the causes of great suffering, pain. What is it? Do you want my answer - or are you facing, looking at the actuality? The actuality means what is actually taking place and therefore you are observing with care, with respect - not casually and come back to it, which is disrespect. You are watching it completely, with complete attention, with care. That is: what is the human relationship between each other when there is no attachment at all? Is it love? Then it is then it has no continuity in time. You understand? I am related to you, wife, husband or god knows what else. I'm really completely free from attachment. I have no attachment - belief, conclusion, ideas persons, knowledge - and yet we live together. What takes place there? I am asking: is that love? Love being not a series of conclusions, therefore remembrances, therefore a process of time, which is thought. That is: is that love a timeless movement, a timeless - no 'movement' means time - a timeless
Krishnamurti: Don't - don't, please, find out. I am going to find out. A timeless... Yes, I've got it. Love is then is timeless therefore, now. I wonder if you understand that? You see, when we use the word 'timeless', we mean - let's begin. Time means movement - from here to there, physically as well as psychologically - from here to there to cover the distance - that's a movement. And my whole conditioning is from here to there - psychologically as well as physically. Physically I must become - more clever - I must become the Chief Executive or I must become the foreman or the shop steward, or the manager, or something or other - Archbishop or the Pope - they are all the same category.
So my mind is conditioned in the movement of time, and I have lived in that movement as the 'me' and the 'you', I am attached to you and out of that attachment there is great disorder and suffering. And that suffering, that pain, that jealousy, all that I have called 'love'. And I see also that when there is this emptiness and I am totally aware of it, then I am asking what is my relationship with another, is it of the same order as before, or is it something totally new, which thought cannot think out? If it is thought out, then it is limited, then we are back again to the same old mess. So is love a movement in time, or is it totally out of time? Which means: there is no future and no past, only now. And the now has tremendous responsibility. I wonder if you see that. The responsibility which we know is the responsibility of - first let's explain what that word 'response' means: to respond adequately - that's the meaning of to respond. In our relationship in the world of reality there is no total response - obviously. If there were total response there would be total relationship. And as there is no total response, our relationship is fragmentary, contradictory, isolated, bringing pain and all the rest. Where there is no attachment in relationship, there is total response. That means total responsibility - total responsibility for the whole of mankind, not just you and me. And that may be called love.
So. Then what is suffering if there is total response which we have said, love. Is there suffering? I suffer, one suffers both physically and psychologically. Physically there is disease, pain and the remembrance of that pain, which if one is not very alert affects the mind, affects the brain and therefore affects correct thinking. We said correct thinking is accurate thinking and accuracy means care, attention, respect. And is there suffering when there is no attachment whatsoever to anything - to a house, to a name, to a form, to a belief? Now is a human being capable of that? Or is it just a blasted theory like so many other terrible theories? That is: physically there is pain - I can observe that pain and not let it influence the correctness of thought. That's fairly, comparatively, easy when you are watching it. That requires its own discipline. But psychologically we have many hurts, deep hurts from childhood - in school, in the house, in the school, in college, in the university - the whole of life is an affair of being wounded. I am not exaggerating. The more sensitive, alive and active you are, the more you are hurt. And that's one of the causes of suffering. And psychologically is it possible not to be hurt at all? Never be touched by something or some accident, incident, a word, a gesture - nothing to hurt that will hurt?
So we have got two problems, because one, we say hurt being hurt is one of the major causes of suffering. One has been hurt, and when there has been hurt all action becomes neurotic, all action is a form of resistance. Please bear in mind what we are discussing, what we are talking over. We are concerned with the radical transformation of human beings so that they can live a totally different kind of life, and therefore totally different kind of social structure - not my personal salvation or yours, that's too silly, because you are the world and the world is you. So we are concerned with the totality of that. And as human beings right through the world are hurt, have been hurt - how to be free of the hurts that one has received and how not to be hurt any more? You understand the problem?
First of all, not to be hurt, knowing that you have been hurt and - no more hurt. Is one aware that you have been hurt? Are you aware of it? And when you are hurt, you resist, you build a wall around yourself, you don't want to be hurt any more, so your actions are always more and more limited, more and more self-centred and greater form of resistance in a very small space. Right?
Now how is one is there - not a method, or a system, those are mechanical - is there can there be freedom from the past hurts, not through analysis - we went through that yesterday or the day before, not through analysis, because you can endlessly repeat this pattern of analysis - can there be freedom from the past hurts and the freedom never to be hurt? You understand my two questions? Right? Because it is very important to understand this: never to be hurt. That is the quality of innocency. The very word 'innocent' means a mind that is not capable of being hurt. Hurt is not only pain but also pleasure. You understand? Don't just take hurt and keep the other, because they both leave marks.
How is a mind how is a mind never to be hurt? Deal with that first. Then we'll deal with the past. Never to be hurt. What is it that is hurt? You say, 'You have hurt me' - by your word, by a gesture, by a cruel action, by putting me down and so on, ten different ways - you have hurt me. What is the thing that is hurt? Is it the image of me which thought has created as the 'me'. You understand? I think I am very superior, full of some rot, and you come along and say to me, 'How childish you are!' - and that hurts me, because I have an image about myself and you are pulling that image to pieces. And that I call hurt. Follow this carefully, please. If I have no image about myself you can't hurt me. That is, if I am completely empty of all images, but if I am attached to an image about myself or the image which somebody has given me about myself or the image that society has given me, and I am attached to that, then there is inevitable hurt.
So I see that. That is an actuality; correct thinking. Therefore when I have no image and therefore the mind is totally empty of image, then there is not only the there is not only that you can't hurt me, then there is no past hurts at all. I don't know if you see that.
K: I never said do away with thought, sir. Please, you can't do away with thought.
Q: The images will continue as long as you have thought.
K: The image will continue as long as we have thought. I am pointing out, sir, do listen. I said, we said, the speaker said that there is suffering as long as one is hurt. That's one of the causes of suffering. And what is hurt? The image I have about myself. A physical hurt I can cure very easily. The body looks after itself; it cures it. But the psychological hurt is the hurt of the image which thought has built about itself, and any derogatory word or incident hurts that image. See that. That image is unreal, it has no validity, it has been put together by thought which is an illusion; an illusion we said, is sensory perception of an objective thing involving belief. That is illusion. I have created a belief thought has created a belief that the 'me' is a marvellous image, and you have your own marvellous image about yourself - and you pull me down. That hurts me, hurts the image which thought has built. And if I see that, actually be aware of it, then the image is not. Thought doesn't build image; image is not. Therefore you can't there is no hurt. When there is no image, the past hurts I have lost and therefore there is no future hurts. I wonder if you see this.
So, the mind then can understand and look at this suffering, this total suffering, the suffering that makes the whole movement of thought come to an end, all the nervous responses - it is a complete paralysis. Haven't you noticed all this in people? And we have seen one of the major causes is what we have called 'love', for this suffering - that love which is attachment, that love which - you know all that, I won't go through, repeat it. And also we see that being hurt, with all the things involved in it, is also one of the causes of suffering. One is totally aware of this and in that awareness there is no question of overcoming suffering or running away from suffering, or rationalise suffering, it is there completely and you see the whole movement of thought as suffering. Then, when there is an ending of suffering, then there is clarity - there is no distortion to thought. Is that clear? It is very important to understand this. It is the hurt, the so-called love, that brings suffering, and that suffering is like a cloud that distorts the clarity of thought in the field of reality - and therefore clarity of thought in the field of reality brings order, not conflict between human beings. Therefore there is an ending to suffering.
And there is the problem of the whole of mankind suffering, you understand sir? The suffering in Vietnam, the suffering of the people, the terrorists that have created suffering, the wars - there is this vast human suffering. And what effect or what value, what significance or what meaning, has the ending of suffering on the total suffering of man? You understand my question? Are you all awake or am I are you getting tired? You understand my question? I am asking you: you have listened to the speaker, if you have paid attention, care and you see how suffering can end and does end, you have to test it, not just accept it, you have to test it in life, then it has significance. To you suffering has ended - how does it affect the mass of suffering of human beings? You understand my question? Suffering out of poverty in the East, in Africa, their appalling sense of ignorance, their brutality, their callousness and the endless suffering. How will the ending of suffering here affect all that? As we pointed out the day before yesterday - you are the world and the world is you. That's an actuality, not a supposition, a theory - that is a fact. A fact means the thing that is done, that is. Your consciousness with its content is the consciousness of the world; that also is so. And if there is an ending suffering in one consciousness or your consciousness, then it affects the whole consciousness of the world. That's an obvious fact. Hitler affected the consciousness of the world, Lenin, the priests with their belief in Jesus and all the rest of it, have affected the consciousness of Christianity, mind, your mind; so, if a human being - you - are completely free of suffering, hurt, and live in that quality of affection, love, then you affect the whole of mankind, you can't help it. And that is the mystery of compassion.