Love and freedom
The turning point
6th Public Talk Saanen
July 23, 1981
We have covered most of the problems of our life, the complicated existence. And we ought to also go into whether it is possible to end sorrow. I think we ought to talk it over together and go into it rather deeply and find out for ourselves what are the implications of sorrow, and whether sorrow and love can exist together. And what is our relationship to the sorrow of mankind, not only our own personal daily grief, hurt, pain, and sorrow that comes with death? And also, as we were pointing out the other day, mankind has suffered thousands of wars, wars that seem to have no end. We have left it to the politicians all over the world to bring about peace, and what they are doing, if you have followed them, will never bring peace. We are all preparing for war. When you prepare you are going to have some kind of blow up, whether in the Middle East, here in the West, Far West or in Asia. And we human beings have never been able to live in peace with each other. We talk about it a great deal. The religions have preached, talked, about peace - peace on earth and goodwill and so on. But apparently that has never been possible - to have peace on earth, on the earth on which we live, which is our earth, and not the British earth and the French earth and so on, it is our earth. And apparently we have never been able to resolve the problem of killing each other.
Probably we have violence in our heart. We have never been free from any sense of antagonism, any sense of retaliation, never free from our fears, sorrows, wounds and the pain of daily existence. Except for the very, very, very rich and the people who have position, apparently all the rest of us can never have peace, comfort, always in travail. That is part of our life, part of our daily suffering. And this suffering, without love man has tried many, many ways to be free from it, he has suppressed it, escaped from it, identified himself with something greater, handed himself over to some idea, to some ideals, beliefs and faith and so on. But apparently this sorrow can never end. We have become accustomed to it, we put up with it, we tolerate it, we never ask ourselves seriously, with a great sense of awareness, whether it is possible to end sorrow.
And we also should talk about, together talk over the whole immense implications of death because death is part of life, though we have postponed, avoided even talking about it, it is there. So we ought to go into that too. And whether love, not the remembrance of pleasure which has nothing to do with love and compassion, whether that love and compassion with its own peculiar all-comprehending intelligence, whether that love can exist in our life.
These are the problems or questions which we are going to talk over together this morning.
First of all do we, as human beings, want to be really free from sorrow? Or we have never actually gone into it, faced it and understood all the movement of it, what are the implications involved in it, why human beings, who are so extraordinarily clever in their technological world, why sorrow has never been resolved. I think it is important to talk it over together this question, and to find out for ourselves whether sorrow can really end.
We all suffer, in different ways. There is the sorrow of death of someone, there is the sorrow of great poverty which the East knows very well, great sorrow of ignorance - we use the word 'ignorance' in the sense not of book knowledge but the ignorance of not knowing totally oneself, the whole complex activity of the self. And if we don't understand that very deeply there is the sorrow of that ignorance. And there is the sorrow of never being able to realise something fundamentally, deeply, though we are very clever at achieving technological success and success in this world. And also we have never been able to understand pain, not only physical pain but also the deep, psychological pain. One is sure that one knows all these things, one is aware of all this, however learned or not very erudite, we know all these things: that there is personal sorrow of not being beautiful outwardly or inwardly, there is the sorrow of constant struggle, conflict from the moment we are born till we die, there is the sorrow of attachment with its fear, with its corruption, and there is the sorrow of not being loved, and asking, craving to be loved, and there is the sorrow of never realising something beyond thought, that which is eternal. And ultimately there is the sorrow of death.
Now we have described various forms of sorrow. And the factor of sorrow is self-centred activity. Right? We are all so concerned with ourselves, with our endless problems, with old age, not being able to have a global, deep, inward outlook. And together this morning can we go into it, not verbally, intellectually, but actually realise the sorrow that one has had, or that one is having, and the sorrow of the whole world. Physical pain one can understand, do something about it, and perhaps not register it, not record it. I do not know if you have ever tried that. You may have had pain last week and finished with that pain when that pain is over, not record it. That is possible if you go into it very carefully, it is possible to have physical pain and end it the moment it is over, not carry the remembrance of it at all. It is possible. So that that pain does not interfere or bring about neurotic activity in our daily life, and not make that as an excuse to hurt others.
And we bear psychological pain. We all have, as we pointed out the other day, images of ourselves and about others. The brain is always active in either daydreaming, being occupied with something or other, or imagining, creating from that imagination pictures, ideas, and gradually from childhood one builds this structure of the image which is me. And each one of us is doing this constantly, and it is that image that gets hurt, which is me. Right? As we pointed out, when one is hurt there is this resistance, which is building a wall round oneself not to be hurt anymore and therefore more fear and isolation, and the feeling of having no relationship and encouraging loneliness which brings about sorrow also. I hope we are together thinking, following this and not merely listening to a series of words and ideas which will become rather boring. But if we actually see, are aware how this hurt, with all its consequences, is part of our life, and whether those wounds can ever disappear completely because if that doesn't disappear completely it is part of our sorrow. Right? Are you following this? Are we thinking together?
And there is this pain of isolation, separateness. Not only as a race, as a community, as a nation, but also isolating ourselves as an individual, and all the consequences, the travail, the misery of that individual. And our activity is always self centred, which is one of the factors of isolation.
Now, the question then is, after having described the various forms of sorrow, whether we can look at it without verbalisation, without running away from it, or by intellectual adaptation to some other form of a religious or intellectual conclusion, but to look at it completely, not move away from it, stay with it. You understand? What we mean by that is, suppose I have a son who is deaf and dumb, who may die, and I am responsible, because I have produced him. And it is sorrow knowing that he can never look at the beautiful sky, never hear the running waters. And there is this sorrow. To remain with it, not move away from it. You understand? Are you following? That is, I have this great pain, this sorrow, either of his deformity, or the death of someone with whom I have lived for many years and the ending of that person. There is this sorrow. Sorrow is the essence of isolation. Right? I wonder if you understand that? Right? When we are totally isolated, completely alone and that feeling is sorrow. Now to remain completely with that feeling, not verbalise it, rationalise it, escape from it, transcend it, you know, all the movement that thought brings about. You're following? Are we meeting each other? So that when there is that sorrow, and when thought doesn't enter into it at all, which means that you are completely sorrow, not that you are trying to overcome sorrow, you are totally sorrow. And when there is that totality of it then there is the disappearance of it. I wonder It is only when there is fragmentation then there is travail. You understand this? Are we meeting each other?
So when there is sorrow, to remain with it without a single movement of thought, and the wholeness of sorrow is not that I am in sorrow, I am sorrow. So there is no fragmentation involved in sorrow. So when there is that totality of that, and there is no movement away from that, then there is the withering away of it. Right? Are we together in this?
You see without ending sorrow how can there be love? We have associated sorrow and love strangely together. I love my son and when he dies I am full of sorrow. So we have associated sorrow with love. Now we are asking when there is suffering can love exist at all. Right? Please. We are asking then: is love desire? Is love pleasure? And when that desire, that pleasure, is denied, there is suffering. And we say suffering as jealousy, attachment, possession and all that is part of love. That is our conditioning, that is how we are educated, that is part of our great inheritance, tradition. Now we are asking: love and suffering cannot possibly go together. Right? That is not a dogmatic statement, or rhetorical assertion, but when one looks into the depth of sorrow and understands the movement of it, in which is involved pleasure, desire, attachment, and the consequences of that attachment which brings about corruption - if we are tied to anything it will bring corruption inevitably. And when one is aware without any choice, without any movement, aware of the whole nature of sorrow, then can love exist with sorrow? You understand? Or love is something entirely different? I think we ought to be clear that devotion to a person, to a symbol, to the family, to something or other, is not love. Right? Please, is it? I am devoted to you for various reasons, there is a motive behind that devotion. Love has no motive. Right? If there is a motive it is not love, obviously. If you give me pleasure, sexually, various forms of comfort, dependency, the motive is I depend on you because you give me something in return. And as we live together I call that love. Is it?
So one questions, where there is motive can love exist? And where there is ambition, whether in the physical world, or in the psychological world - ambition to be on top of everything, to be a great success, to have power, religiously, or physically, where there is aggression, competitiveness, jealousy, can love exist? Obviously not. But yet, we recognise it cannot exist and yet we go on. Look what happens to our brain when we are playing such kinds of tricks. I say, 'I love you', I have a motive behind that love. I am ambitious, I want to be spiritually next to god - specially on his right hand! (Laughter) I want to achieve illumination - you know, all that deception. You cannot achieve illumination. You cannot possibly achieve that which is beyond time. But that is our constant endeavour, psychologically. So I am ambitious, competitive, conforming, jealous, fearful, hating, all that is going on psychologically, inwardly. Either we are conscious of it, or deliberately avoiding it. And yet I say to my wife or father, whatever it is, 'I love you'. So what happens when there is such deep contradiction in my life, in my relationship? How can that contradiction have any sense of deep integrity? You are following all this? And yet this is what we are doing all the time, till we die.
So can there be no ambition and yet live in this world - go to the office, factory, being a shop steward - oh, you may not know that word - in England - the ambition of a guru - you understand? Can one live in this world without ambition, without competition? Look what is happening in the outward world. There is competition between various nations, which is taking place, please look at it, for god's sake, what is happening in the world! The politicians are competing with each other, economically, technologically, in the instruments of war. They are competing and so destroying ourselves. We allow this to go on because we are also inwardly competitive. And we realise the politicians are never going to solve a thing. But if we are totally responsible for ourselves and have this deep integrity then we'll affect the consciousness of the world.
As we pointed out, if a few of us really understand this whole movement of what we have been talking about for the last sixty years, and if a few of us are really, deeply involved and have brought about the end of fear, sorrow and so on, it will affect the whole consciousness of mankind. You are doubtful whether it will affect the consciousness of mankind. Hitlers have affected the consciousness of mankind. Right? Napoleon, the Caesars, the butchers of the world have affected mankind. And also the good people have affected mankind. I mean good people, not respectable people, but the 'good' being those who live a life wholly, not fragmented. And the great teachers of the world have affected human consciousness. Individuals have affected human consciousness. But if there were a group of people who've understood all this, what we have been talking about, not verbally but actually live that life with great integrity, then it will affect the whole consciousness of man. This is not a theory, this is an actual fact. Because great warriors have affected mankind. Right? If you understand that simple fact you will see it goes right through: television, newspapers, everything is affecting the consciousness of man.
So love cannot exist where there is a motive, where there is attachment, where there is ambition and competitiveness, and love is not desire and pleasure. Just feel that, see it. And also what is the relationship between human beings when death occurs, when death takes place? Right? Let's talk about it together. Because we are going into all this in order to bring about order in our life. Right? Order in our house which has no order, where there is so much disorder in our life. And without establishing an order that is whole, integral, meditation has no meaning whatsoever. See the logic of it. Right? Because if my house is not in order I may sit in meditation, hoping through meditation I will bring order. But what happens when I am living in disorder and I meditate? I have fanciful dreams and illusions and all kinds of nonsensical results. But a sane man, intelligent, logical, must first establish order in daily life, then we can go into the depths of meditation together, and the meaning of that meditation, the beauty of it, the greatness of it, the width of it and so on.
So, we have also to understand what death is. Whether we are very young, middle-aged or old, it is part of our life, as love is part of our life, pain is part of our life, agony, suspicion, arrogance, all that is part of our life. But we do not take death as part of our life. We want to postpone it, put it as far away from us as possible, to have a time interval, space between the living and the dying. Right? So we ought to, together, go into this question, which is again rather complex, what death is. If you have observed, and I am sure you have, all religions have somehow avoided this question, avoided it in the sense, in the Christian world it is, you know, somebody suffers for you. And in the Asiatic world there is the whole idea: you have lived in the past, you will die and be born next life. If you are going to be born next life, live rightly now, lead a righteous life, lead a life which doesn't harm, hurt others, which is not cruel and so on. But those who believe in the afterlife, in the Asiatic world don't care a pin about leading a righteous life. It is just a belief like all beliefs that have no substance.
So putting all that aside, the Christian concept of death and suffering, and the Asiatic conclusion about reincarnation, karma - that which you sow you will pay - that is part of that Asiatic concept, putting those two aside, the Christian and the Asiatic concern or explanation or lack of confrontation with death, let us together go into it. It may be unpleasant because nobody wants to face that. You are living now, healthily, having pleasure, fear, anxiety, there is the tomorrow, hope, all that. And one doesn't want to be concerned with the other thing which is the ending of all this. So if we are intelligent, sane, rational, we have to face not only the living, the implications of the living, but also the implications of dying. We must know both. That is the wholeness of life, in which there is no division.
So what is death, apart from the physical ending, biological usage of an organism that has lived wrongly: drinks, drugs, overindulgence, asceticism, denial, you know this constant battle between the opposites, not a balanced, harmonious living, but extremes, and so the body goes through a great struggle imposed by thought. I don't know if you realise it. Thought dictates and the body is controlled by thought, and thought being limited, as we went into it, so everything it does brings about disharmony. And we live in disharmony physically: forcing it, controlling it, subjugating it, driving it - this is what we are all doing - fasting, you know. Northern Ireland, for political or religious reasons, it is the same thing, violence. The body can endure for many years, old age, and not get senile. And as the body will inevitably come to an end, the organism will die, is that what is death? Is the organism coming to an end, either through some disease, old age, accidents, it will come to an end, and is that what we are concerned about death? Is it - please follow this - is it thought identifies itself with the body, with the name, with the form, with all the memories, and says 'Death must be avoided'? Right? So is that what we are afraid of? The coming to an end of a body that has been looked after, cared for - if you care for it - coming to dies? I don't think we are afraid of that specially. We are a little bit (laughs) slyly anxious about it but that is not of great importance. But what is far more important for us is to end the relationships that we have had, the pleasures that we have had, the memories, pleasant and unpleasant, the thing that we call living. Right? The daily living, going to the office, factory, doing some skilful job, having a family, being attached to the family, with all the memories of that family: my son, my daughter, my wife, my husband, that unit, which is fast disappearing but there is that feeling of being related to somebody. Though in that relationship there is great pain, anxiety and all the rest of it, it is there. I am at home with somebody. Or you are not at home with anybody. If you are not at home with anybody, then that has its own sorrow. So is that what we are afraid of? - the ending of my relationship, my attachments, the ending of something I have known, something to which I have clung, something in which I have specialised all my life, and all that, I am afraid of ending it. Right? That is, the ending of all that is me. Right? All that, the family, the name, the form, the tradition, the inheritance, cultural education, the racial inheritance, you know, all that is 'me', 'me' that is struggling, 'me' that is happy - is that what we are afraid of? The ending of me, which is all that? Which is, the ending psychologically of the life which I am leading, the life which I know psychologically with its pain, sorrow, all that, is that what we are afraid of?
And if we are afraid of that, and have not resolved that fear, death inevitably comes, and what happens to your consciousness - please listen - what happens to that consciousness which is not your consciousness, which we went into pretty thoroughly, it is the consciousness of mankind, consciousness of the vast humanity, not my consciousness - we went into that very carefully. I won't go into it now, I haven't time. So please see as long as I am afraid as an individual with my limited consciousness, it is that I am afraid of. Right? You are following this? It is that which I am scared of. And to avoid that I go through all kinds of nonsense, Gabriel and you know all that stuff. And I realise, one realises that is not a fact. Right? It is not a fact that my consciousness is totally separate from everybody else. Right? It is an illusion, it is an absurdity, illogical, it is unsanitary, (laughter) if I can use that word, unhealthy. So - follow this carefully - I realise this, perhaps in my heart, in my feeling I realise that I am the whole of mankind, not an individual consciousness, that is too silly, illogical, it has no meaning. And I, who have lived this kind of life which is pain, which is sorrow, which is anxiety, all that, if my brain has not transformed sum of all that, I am merely, my life is only adding further confusion to the wholeness. You understand? I wonder if you understand this. But if I, living it, realise that my consciousness is the consciousness of mankind, and for the human consciousness I am totally responsible, then freedom from the limitation of that consciousness becomes extraordinarily important, because then I am contributing or I am breaking down the limitation of that consciousness. So death has a totally different meaning. You understand what I'm saying? You are following? Are we meeting each other? Or is it just
Look sir: I have lived the so-called individual life, concerned about myself, my problems. And those problems never end, they are increasing. I live that kind of life. I have been brought up, educated, conditioned to that kind of life. You come along and tell me pleasantly, as a friend, or you like me, or you love me, you tell me: look, your consciousness is not yours. You suffer, so do the Asian, other people suffer and so on. I have gone into this. So you tell me all that. I listen to it and it makes sense to me. I won't reject what you say because it makes logical sense, sanity and I see in what you have told me perhaps there can be peace in the world. So I have listened to you, and I say to myself, now, can I be free from fear? Right? Because I am responsible totally for the whole of consciousness. Right? So when I am investigating fear and the moving away from fear I am helping the total human consciousness to lessen fear. You understand? Is this somewhat clear? Then death has a totally different meaning. Not that I am going to sit next to god or I am going to heaven through some peculiar nebulae, but I am living a life which is not my particular life. I am living a life of the whole of humanity and if I understand death, if I end grief, I am cleansing the whole of the consciousness of mankind. You understand now? That is why it is important to understand the meaning of death. And perhaps death has great significance, great relationship with love because where you end something love is. When you end completely attachment, then love is. Right? Right, sirs.