Looking into the content of consciousness
Truth comes when there is total order
2nd Public Talk, Madras
December 12, 1976
May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday? We were saying how important it is to listen and not make an abstraction as an idea of what you listen to. Most of us are apt to conclude a statement, an actual factual statement, translate it into an idea and pursue that idea instead of facing the fact. That's what we were talking about partly yesterday evening.
And also we were saying how important it is also that we should establish proper communication between the speaker and yourself. Communication implies partaking, sharing, sharing in something common in which both of us are interested, not superficially but seriously, in which both of us are concerned, vitally committed.
And as we were saying yesterday evening - Jove, it's hot, isn't it? - that our consciousness is made up of its content, which is, I think, fairly obvious. When are you or when is one aware of oneself, one's consciousness? When there is pain, pleasure or any kind of suffering, any kind of challenge to which you respond inadequately. Then there is a conflict and it's only then that one is aware of one's consciousness, one's being, one's becoming. That's what we were talking also yesterday. And we were saying also that thought is a material process and all its activities, both technological and psychological are stored in our consciousness. And, we said we are investigating together into this problem of existence - not theoretical problems, not ideological problems or any philosophy. Philosophy means the love of truth - not theories - love of truth, which is actually 'what is'. And that thought has built all our technological world and sociological world and economic world and also the religious world. The word 'religion' is misused. Most people are rather shy of that word, rather spit on that word because it has become so utterly meaningless. But I think the actual meaning of that word, if I can, after looking up in a good dictionary, put it this way: gathering all one's energies without any distraction in the pursuit and in the investigation of what is truth and what is reality. That I would consider, and I think most people would agree, that religion means that - to gather all one's energies without any distraction, or distortion rather, and investigate into the whole human problem of existence and if there is anything beyond the material process of thought. That is the correct usage of that word 'religion' and it has nothing whatsoever to do with temples, rituals, gods and all the business.
So now we are going together, as we said yesterday, take a journey into ourselves. This is not a group therapy or a confession but rather, intelligently, rationally, sanely investigate what actually one is. And therefore one has to look into the content of our consciousness. Right? That's what we are. There are several things involved in it: the capacity to investigate and the capacity to observe. If there is a motive for observation, then observation becomes distorted. Right? I hope this is we'll go into it as we go along. If I have a motive in my investigation, in observing the whole structure of human mind and human heart and brain - if one can divide them all like that - one must have a clear perception, and that perception is denied when there is any sort of direction, any sort of motive. Because then the motive and direction dictate the investigation. Capito? I mean, have you understood? If I have a motive in my investigation into human consciousness - which is the world consciousness, which is your consciousness and therefore you are the world and the world is you, which we went into yesterday - if I have a motive, that motive, that direction dictates how I observe. Therefore there is no clear observation at all. I think that's clear. So it becomes extraordinarily difficult. If you observe something, to observe oneself without any kind of motive, and whether one can do it depends on the intensity and the demand that one understands the whole structure and the nature of consciousness. Right? Is this somewhat clear? That if I want to look at human consciousness - the human consciousness being your consciousness, because we are all one in that consciousness, because we all suffer, we all are anxious, we are all bored with life, we want to find a meaning to life and so on - if there is any kind of direction - you understand? - which is directed by a motive, then investigation into our consciousness becomes utterly impossible because already it's distorted. Is this clear? Shall we go on?
Please, we are sharing this thing together. We are not just merely listening, agreeing or disagreeing. We are together as two human beings investigating into the whole nature of ourselves, not according to any philosopher, not according to any psychologist or psychoanalyst but as human beings who are suffering, frightened, insecure, contradictory, in despair, depressed and all the rest of it.
One of the first things one discovers in looking at human consciousness is that it is so crowded, that there is no space in it. Right? Are we going together? Have you noticed how your own consciousness is filled with so many contradictory things? You want to be peaceful and you are violent. You want to be extraordinarily noble, kindly, generous and you are not. You are frightened, insecure, demanding security, division of nationalities, the tradition and so on. All that is - you are filled with it, so there is no space at all. Do you observe it in yourself? So, one must find out what space means. You understand my question? What does space mean to you? Because it's very important to find this out. Because, I don't know if you have noticed, living in towns and cities, human beings have very little space. They are overcrowded. They live in flats, like in drawers, and very little space to move about. And I do not know if you have not noticed of an evening when birds are sitting on the telephone wire, how they must have space between them very carefully. And it has been found also, when in a small space many rats are introduced, thousands of rats, they destroy each other. So space is absolutely necessary for a human being, both outwardly and inwardly. Is this so? You understand? Do you see the importance of having space within one's own consciousness, within one's own whole structure of the mind? Because space implies silence, space implies not direction, not distance. So we are going to investigate why we human beings have so little space in our consciousness, in ourselves. Right?
So, it means do we see the importance of having space? Right? To find out one must go into this question of how you observe your own consciousness. Right? How do you observe that which you are? You understand my question? How do you observe a tree? There is that tree behind me or in front of you. How do you observe it? Not only there is a visual perception, but there is a distance between the observer and the observed. Right? That distance is time. And in observing that tree, you are already naming it, you have already come to certain conclusions about it. So those conclusions, those verbal descriptions is a form of distortion. Can you observe without word, without giving it significance - just to observe? And that's what we are going to do: find out how to transform the content of our consciousness, something totally different, into something radically, psychologically - a revolutionary change. Because man has suffered for millennia, has lived in a kind of make-believe world, has accepted authority and man now is getting more and more uncertain; life is becoming more and more dangerous and so on. You know how terrible it is, as I do. So, it behoves us, if we are at all serious, to find out if it is possible to change psychologically, fundamentally. So, we are investigating together, which means sharing together in the exploration of our consciousness.
How do you observe? When you are angry, is the person who is angry different from anger? Obviously not. Right? Are you following all this? Does this interest you? What I want to say is very simple: the observer is the observed. But we have created a division, thought has created a division between the observer and the observed. The observer is the past. Right? The past being his knowledge, his conclusions, his accumulated, acquired information, which is the past, and the past is observing the present, the actual. Right? Do we understand each other? Unless you understand this, we cannot go very far, because where there is a division between the observer and the observed, there must be conflict. Wherever there is a division between human beings - economic, social, religious and so on, there must be conflict - the Hindu, the Muslim, the Arab and the Jew, and so on, so on, so on. In us, psychologically, there is a division between the observer and the observed, the analyser and the analysed. Right? This contradiction, this division brings about conflict and therefore observation becomes a distorting factor. Right? I wonder if you understand all this.
So, we are going to observe our consciousness. One of the factors in that consciousness is the hurt, the wounds psychologically that human beings have received. You understand? The hurt. That hurt, when you are a child, comes with the parents, when he goes to school with a teacher, and so on, so on - the hurt of a human being. And are you, is one, are you aware of your hurt? Because that's going to distort all our perception, unless there is an understanding of that hurt, and whether that hurt can be eliminated and never to be hurt again in the future. You understand what I am talking about? Are you following all this? Aren't you hurt? And how do you look at that hurt? How do you observe that hurt? And what is hurt? You understand? There is hurt, and we are asking what is it that is hurt? You say: 'Me'. What is the 'me' that is hurt? It's the image that you have about yourself. Right? The image, the picture, the idea, the conclusion that you have about yourself. You have many, many images, many conclusions, but when that image about yourself is ridiculed or insulted or you know, all the various forms of hurt psychologically, that image is hurt. Right? Are you following this? Now, the question is: as long as that hurt remains, there must be violence, there must be a sense of frustration, a sense of withdrawal, isolation, building a wall around oneself in order not to be hurt more. All these factors are taking place. The more one is sensitive, the more that image is hurt. Now, we are asking whether it is possible to wipe away that hurt completely, without leaving a mark and also never to be hurt again. You understand my question? Does one see what the effect of a human psychological hurt is, what it results in? Is one actually aware of it, the effects of that hurt? As we said, isolation, withdrawal, building a wall around oneself, getting bitter, frightened and so on, and from all that violence comes. Now, we are asking: is it possible not to be hurt at all, ever, either in the present or in the future? And is it possible to wipe away the past hurts? I suppose we have never asked this question. We have accepted, like everything else in life, we have accepted it: we have accepted sorrow, we have accepted fear, we have accepted agony and live with it. Now, we are asking quite a different we are asking, we are challenging, whether it is possible to be free of it. One can only be free of it as long as there is no image about yourself. Right? You understand? As long as I have an image about myself, it will always be hurt. Now, why do human beings have images about themselves, psychological images? Does one derive from it security? You understand my question? If I have an image about myself, there is a certain sense of security in it, a certain sense of protective division. And this image is created through culture, through tradition, through schools, colleges and universities.
It's all right sirs, a little rain, it will go. Do you mind sitting in the rain?
Questioner: We don’t mind.
Krishnamurti: All right. And, we like to cling to the image because we are afraid that if we have no image at all, what are we? Being nothing is a very frightening fact. And so the formation of images becomes extraordinarily important. And the consequences of that image, which is being hurt, we never face it, we never observe it. And is the image different from you? You understand? Oh, la-la! (Sound of crows) I think they are asking a question. Shall we stop or shall we go?
Q: We’ll wait for a while.
K: You don't mind waiting? It's a passing shower. I think we can go on now, can't we?
We are asking whether that image is different from you or you are that image. Which is it? Is the image - which society, which culture, education, all that has built, brought about this image - is that image essentially different from you who may think you are different from the image? Or you are that image? Therefore, if you are that image - which is a fact - and as long as you have that image, it is inevitable you are going to be hurt: by your wife, by your neighbour, by your politician, everyone. And is it possible to live in daily life without a single image? And if it is possible, then you will ask: 'How is it to be done?' Right? Right? When you put the question, 'how', you are already establishing the image. Right? Do you see that? Suppose I have an image about myself - which I haven't got - if I have about myself, and I see that as long as there is that image there will be everlasting hurt. And I see also the observer of that image is the image itself. Right? So the observer is the observed. Do you see that? And we are asking: is it at all possible to live without any image at all? Image being conclusion, a centre from which you observe, a distance from the centre to the periphery, all that is implied in this. And as most of us cling because that gives us a certain sense of protective security, and as long as it is there, it will always be hurt. If we see the importance of not being hurt, if we see the importance of being hurt and the result, of all the consequences of being hurt, then you will have no image. Are we following this?
So, it is one of the factors in our consciousness, not only the observable consciousness but the deeply hidden layers of our consciousness - so-called the unconscious. And as we were saying, our consciousness is filled with so many contradictory urges, desires, wishes, longings, with so many contradictory traditions, uncertainties, confusions. That's what how we live. And in this area, there is no space whatsoever. And where there is no space, there must be violence. Right?
And if we can go on further: one of the factors in our consciousness is fear. Can we talk about that? Shall we talk about it together? We said, the content of our consciousness is consciousness - the content. When the content is not, what then is consciousness? I wonder if you understand all this. Please, tell me something! We said one of the factors of this conflict, of the content of this consciousness is not only the hurt but also one of the fundamental things in our consciousness is fear. Now, what is fear, basically? We are afraid of so many things, aren't we? Death, losing a job, losing your wife or your husband running away with somebody else, or not being successful, being frustrated, being ambitious and not having the capacity to carry out that ambition, fear of not understanding and so on - there are dozens and dozens of forms of fear. What is the basic root of fear? What is the deep root of that fear, of all fears? And you know what fear does - it makes you shrink, shrivel, live in darkness, psychologically and physically, it is a terrible thing. And we have lived with fear, we have accepted it as our normal way of life. Because we are afraid, we go off to the temples, perform all kinds of ridiculous rituals, which have no meaning whatsoever, temples, churches, everything. So, one has to understand and go beyond this question: what is fear, the root of it?
Is not the root of it time? Time in the sense one is afraid of the future, one is afraid of the past, one is frightened of what might happen now. So, time is involved in fear. Right? Would you accept, would you see that? Oh, for God's sake! Do you see that as an actual fact, not as a theory, but as an actual fact that time breeds fear? Aren't you afraid of the future? Aren't you afraid of what you have done in the past which might happen again, both biologically, physiologically as well as psychologically? So, one has to go into the question of what is time. You are interested in all this?
K: Well, you are here, I am here and so if you are interested, tant mieux, if you are not, it doesn't matter. Time is movement - isn't it? - from here to there, both physically and psychologically, from 'what is' to 'what should be'. Right? From 'what is', the actual, to the supposed, not actual, which is the ideal, the distance to cover that, between 'what is' and 'what should be' is time. Right? There is time not only chronologically by the watch as yesterday, today and tomorrow, but there is psychological time. That is, the desire to become. Right? I am not, I will be; I have been and I am going to be different. All that is implied, a movement of time. It's more complex, isn't it? We haven't time to go into all that. We will take a few minutes about this.
Time implies thought. Doesn't it? We said thought is a movement, is a material movement of knowledge meeting the present, modifying that knowledge and going on. All right? You are following this? Would you agree with this or would you disagree with this? Would you question this, that time is a movement, time is the product of thought, psychologically and thought is a material process - material in the sense knowledge stored up in the brain and the brain is a material structure, cells and so on. So, the whole movement of thought is time. So fear essentially is the movement of time. I am afraid I might die, I am afraid I am going to lose my job tomorrow, I am afraid of my wife or my husband or my girl. That is, thought creates a picture of what might happen and is afraid of that, both physically as well as psychologically. One has had pain, physical pain, thought remembers, there is a remembrance of that pain, and the response of that remembrance is thought. Thought says, 'I hope I will not have that pain again tomorrow' - which is a form of fear. So the basic root of fear is time, is thought. Right? Now, is it possible to understand, to look at fear and not give it movement? You understand what I am saying? Look, you are afraid of something, aren't you? Don't be silent, it's just for fun, let's play. Aren't you afraid? Oh, my God! You are the most astonishing audience, all right. Are you frightened to say you are frightened? (Laughter) So, what is that fear of which you are afraid? Is it - please listen - is it the word that creates the fear, the word 'fear' creates the fear or the fear creates the word? You understand? And can you separate the word from the feeling and hold that feeling without any movement? You've understood what I'm saying? Oh, my god!
Look sir, I am afraid. Suppose I am afraid: fear that I might lose a job or I might lose my position or my security or this or that. I am afraid. I want to find out what is that fear, to observe it, to remain very close with it, to be completely intimate with it. So, I must first find out whether it is the word 'fear' that is creating this feeling, and without the word is there the feeling? Do you understand what I am saying? I am saying to myself, 'I am afraid'. Is the word creating that fear, and if there was no word, would there be fear? And why has the word 'fear' become so important - the word? You understand what I am talking about? So, I go into it, the whole movement, why the mind, the brain, always moves, functions in words. Is there thought without the word? Or thought must have word to express itself? So, all this is involved in this. That is, first I must see whether the word has created the fear, and without the word is there fear. Are you following this? Are you doing it as we are going along? And if there is no word, is that feeling - if that feeling exists - is there a possibility of holding that feeling without any movement of thought interfering with that feeling? Have you understood what I mean?
So the question from that arises: why does thought, as time, always breed fear, which means can thought not operate all the time? I wonder if you understand this at all. You understand, sir? Look, I will put it differently: the past meets the present - right? - then modifies itself and goes on as the future. That's clear, that's fairly simple. The past being what I have done, what I should have done, should not have done, and so on, the memories, the remembrances, the failures, the hurts, all that is the past in which I live. My life is the past. Right? That movement of the past meets the present, learns from that, modifies its structure, its nature and goes on. Right? That's what we are doing all the time. I am asking a question, which is: the past meets the present and ends there. And that ending is the ending of thought. You understand?
You know, all this is part of meditation. We are laying the foundation for meditation, because how can a mind, a human being that is hurt meditate? It has no meaning. It can escape from it, that's not meditation. Meditation implies the total emptying of consciousness of its content. That is freedom, freedom based on complete order. That order is not a blue-print to be conformed with, to be followed. I don't know if you follow all this. So there it is. All right.
We live in disorder. Don't you? Would you be frightened to admit that? We live in disorder. And speculatively, imaginatively, thought says, makes a pattern of order. Right? And you try to follow that pattern which is born out of disorder. I don't know if you see this point. Right? I am disorderly in my life: say one thing, do another, think and act contradictorily; in myself there are contradictory desires, pleasures, fears, all kinds of confusion, uncertainty, demanding security and then finding insecurity in relationship, in everywhere. That is one's life, this bundle of disorder, which is my consciousness, which is one's human consciousness. And out of that disorder we create a pattern of what we call order. So that order is born out of disorder. So it is not order. I wonder if you see this, because it's very important. Then you conform to that order, you become a slave to that order, like a soldier. Right? So order then is the understanding of disorder and going beyond it. Right? The understanding of disorder, which means observing my disorder, not escaping from it, not running away from it, face it, be with it completely. To be aware: when I say one thing I mean it, when I am lying I know I am lying and assert it, say it, not defend it, rationalise it, excuse it and run away from it. So out of the understanding, the observation of disorder and the dissolution of that disorder, is supreme order, which is the highest form of intelligence. But our consciousness is in total disorder, and in that total disorder we invent, thought invents a supreme entity which is perfectly orderly - right? - Brahman or God or whatever you like to call it. And having created that, out of confusion, that order, we become frightened of that, not living up to that order. I wonder if you understand all this!
So look what we have done with our life - such a mess, such confusion. And becoming aware of that confusion, one gets deeply frightened, because one doesn't know what to do. Out of such confusion, there can be no correct action. And living in a world where everything is in disorder - governments, you know, all that's happening in the world, I don't have to explain it to you, terrible things are happening, human beings are being destroyed. Out of this disorder, we want order and we create authority. I don't know if you are following all this. A dictator, a ruler, a leader. Out of our disorder we create the authority and the authority is also confused. How can you choose, how can there be a good order, or a good leader whom you choose, when you are disorderly yourself? You understand what you are doing? So, one of the factors, perhaps the major factor, is this fear, fear of wanting order: to come to your home and find order, to go to your office to find order, that means security, complete psychological security, both at home and in the office or in the factory or whatever one is doing. Because we are confused, we want order. So we choose, out of our confusion, the order which we want. I wonder if you see all this. I am confused and the order I want I will find it in a guru. Right? He will tell me what to do. And the poor chap is equally confused (laughter) but he won't admit it because he thinks he has attained something or other. And you, out of your confusion, follow him. So you have created the authority, the dictator, the leader and so you are never a light to yourself. And this is one of the basic forms of fear: the demand for security, both physically and psychologically, because we are so uncertain, so confused, so disorderly. Instead of setting order in the house, inside, which is my house, in which I live, instead of doing that, out of our disorder, confusion, we choose somebody who will help us out of our misery. Right? So we never question whether there is security at all. You understand my question? Don't be frightened. You will go home just as you are now (laughter) and you won't change. But you have to ask this fundamental question: is there security, both physically and psychologically? One must have security - right? - biologically, physiologically, you must have a shelter, food and clothes and a way of earning a livelihood. You must have it. That's absolutely essential for everybody, but that is being denied to everybody. Why? I am not a political person, please. Why? One of the reasons is national division. Right? I wonder, I wonder if you see the truth of it. If you see the truth of it, you will never call yourself a Hindu and worship the flag and all that nonsense. But you are willing to sell your liberty, your freedom for an ordinary for a few years of safety. You understand? I wonder if you realise all this, for god's sake!
So, that's one of the basic reasons of fear, which is you must have security but you demand psychological security, security in your relationship. Right? You want to have permanent, lasting relationship. So, you dominate the person, hold the person, possess the person. Right? And that person likes to be possessed because both the possessed and the possessor are slightly unbalanced. When a person wants to possess somebody, it is a state of neuroticism. So out of that there is fear. So fear is a very complex problem. And we are always trimming the branches of this fear, which has so many branches, so many leaves, so many flowers, so many incidents, but we never go to the very root of it. And the root of it is time, which is thought. If you didn't think, there would be no fear. If there was instant death, there is no fear, but you might die. (Laughter) I wonder if you see all this. Don't laugh sir, because this is my...
So, the problem arises from that, a very important question, which is: can thought come to an end by itself, knowing thought is necessary to function, to speak a language, you know all the rest of it, end there, and have space in which thought never enters? You understand what I am talking about? Sir, this is meditation, to discover for oneself the right place for thought. Thought is the expression of knowledge and therefore knowledge is never complete, never whole. You can always add to it or take away from it. And for thought to realise itself it's limited. Then when it realises it is limited, then there is vast space in which it cannot enter. I wonder if you understand all this. This is part of meditation. That is, when a human being who is frightened, he may sit endlessly cross-legged, breathe and do all the tamasha that goes on in this country, and in other countries, about meditation - it is no meditation at all, because you haven't laid the foundation of human righteousness.
So that is what we are doing when we talk about thought, when we talk about time, when we talk about disorder, and seeing the disorder and out of that disorder, order which is not a blue-print, and the freedom from fear are absolutely necessary if you want to find out, if there is to be right meditation. Because, meditation as you all do, practise and you know, do all kinds of stuff with it, is no meditation, it is merely escape from your daily life.
So, consciousness with its content is so filled there is no space, and where there is no space there is no silence and therefore there is no order. So, one has to observe one's own consciousness, not alter it, because the observer is the observed. You understand that? Right? Have you understood some of all this? So, unless human beings radically transform themselves and become a light to themselves, we are going to destroy each other. And therefore there will be no security for anybody. Right, sir.