Meditation and the ending of the self
Is there an intelligence which has no cause?
6th Public Talk, Saanen
July 22, 1982
This is the last talk. There will be a question and answer meeting on Sunday.
We have talked about many things together during this Gathering. Together we observed and examined many other factors and problems of our life. We also should this morning explore together whether it is possible to live in this world, which is becoming more and more corrupt, more and more immoral, wars, uncertainty, dangerous, whether in this world we can live at peace, whether the conflict that is going on outwardly, whether that conflict is destroying us also, or whether we have contributed to that chaos in the world. And we ought to talk over together what does it mean to live at peace. It requires a great deal of enquiry, a great deal of not merely superficial verbal examination but one has to look at one's life in relationship to the world and find out for ourselves whether we can live utterly inwardly peacefully. One cannot live at peace with oneself if one is in constant conflict. We went into that question, what is the cause of conflict and we pointed out in our examination together wherever there is a cause that cause can come to an end. And we have made life into a series of causes. And when there is the ending of cause, is there peace? And we also enquired together the nature of fear, what is the cause of fear, and we went briefly into the problem of suffering. Mankind throughout the world has suffered a great deal and still goes on suffering. In their desire to be free from suffering they have accepted all kinds of illusions. They have been trapped in various beliefs, dogmas, rituals and concepts, and yet fear remains as one of the major factors of our life. We went into that too. And we also went into the question what is a human being, living in this world, can do which will both affect his life and the life around him. And if his action is based on an ideal, a conclusion, an ideological concept, any action born from these various causes of action, then there must inevitably be conflict. We went into that quite deliberately, deeply. And we should also go this morning into the question of suffering, whether suffering can end in mankind, with us. And the question of religion, what is religion. And also to understand, explore into the nature of meditation and whether there is something sacred at all. These are the problems we are going to talk over together this morning.
Man has suffered, and is still suffering, for various causes: the cause of war, the cause of division, nationally, economically, socially. And also he has suffered in isolation. He is isolated both in his activity and in his way of life. He is concerned with himself, though he may be related to others intimately or not, he is concerned with himself and he is living a solitary lonely life, desiring various not only physical objects but psychological projections to be achieved in his isolation.
And we talked about human consciousness. That is, our life which is based, which is the result of our accumulated experiences, incidents, beliefs, anxieties, loneliness and so on, which make up the whole content of our consciousness. Our consciousness is not individual because our consciousness is the rest of mankind. All human beings suffer, even the most uneducated, ignorant, living in a small village or town, he also suffers, which is the common lot of mankind. When one observes this non-verbally, or as an idea, but actually, then one sees one's consciousness is not a particular consciousness. It is the consciousness of all mankind, therefore your consciousness, with all its content is the consciousness of all humanity, therefore you are actually, when you observe, you are the rest of mankind. You are not actually an individual. That is our conditioning, our tradition, our education and our religious beliefs, that we are separate souls, that our brains are separate, which is totally absurd if you examine it. Our brains are the result of great evolution, time. It is not a particular individual consciousness. There is no individual thought. Thought again is the common ground of all mankind. So there is no individual thought, or individual isolated existence. We went into this very carefully.
And also in talking about consciousness and all its content thought has put together
(Sound of aeroplane) One noise is enough at a time. Shall we continue now?
Thought has put together the content of our consciousness - our gods, our rituals, our behaviour, all the things that thought has invented, both outwardly and inwardly And we went into the question: what is thinking, what is the nature of thought. Because all of us live, most of us, on the activity of thought. And part of thought is our sorrow. And whether thought can ever end sorrow. You understand our question? I suffer. Suppose I suffer, an ordinary man living in some country, surrounded by lots of idiocy and so on, I suffer. My son is dead. Or the person whom I think I love has gone. In this detachment, in this isolation, because I have lost something which I have held dear, I have been attached to that person, or to that idea, and that idea is shattered by reason, logic, sane observation. And also my son has been dead, disappeared entirely from this earth. And I suffer. And together, please, as we said, we are enquiring together. The speaker is not at all important, he is totally, completely anonymous. He has no authority. But together we are going to enquire into the nature of suffering.
Suddenly I find myself isolated completely. I have depended on my son, or on my wife, or girlfriend and so on, and one day I have lost him, or her. And sorrow, pain, grief, is my lot, as the lot of all human beings living on the earth. And what am I to do? Bear the suffering, which most of us do, in isolation? Or escape from that suffering through some form of drug - whether that drug be a concept, a future projected formula that I'll meet him when I die. All those forms are an escape from reality. The reality is that I suffer. I am not escaping from that suffering nor seeking comfort. I hope we are together in this. Because when one seeks comfort when there is sorrow, that is an escape from actuality, from that actual state of suffering. There are various forms of comfort - belief, rationalisation, enquiring deeply into oneself. All those forms of observation is another form of escape. So can I, with my tears, with my longing for my son, wife, or girlfriend, or the lost beliefs and ideals, can I remain, can the mind or the brain remain with that suffering? What we mean by remaining is not to escape in any form from the actual, the actual pain, the real grief which brings about tears. Life then becomes utterly meaningless because I have been so dependent, attached, and that which I have been attached to is gone. And I suddenly realise how utterly lonely I am. (Sound of aeroplane)
This is a serious subject not to be interrupted by noise. We should really have these meetings far away from all civilisation, where one can talk over things together seriously without any interruption. And as that is not possible we have to listen to the noise, listen to the thunder of an aeroplane, of a jet, without any resistance, and as you would listen to the speaker and to yourself without any resistance. But for most of us resistance is a part of our life. We resist anything new. We resist any change. We resist any new thought, though thought can never have a new concept, thought can project something, call it new and we resist it. If we understand the nature of resistance then we will know when not to resist. When we know what it is to co-operate, not round a person or an idea, or some authority, or for some profitable reason. (Sound of aeroplane) Sorry! To co-operate not for a particular reason, or with a motive, but the quality of co-operation, to work together, the feeling of wanting to work together, not for something, nor because of something. When there is that spirit, that clarity of co-operation, then one will know for oneself when not to co-operate, as one will know when not to resist. (Sound of aeroplane) (Laughter) So one hopes in our conversation together, in our enquiry, we are not resisting each other.
So I have lost, as all human beings have lost (Sound of aeroplane) Avanti! I have lost as all human beings have lost something that I held very closely, dearly, and I find myself totally isolated. So what is the relationship between love, isolation and grief, sorrow? What is the relationship of suffering to love? I love my son. And if love brings sorrow, is that love? Is sorrow part of love? As jealousy, as fear, anxiety, is that the nature of love? Or love has nothing whatsoever to do, has no relationship whatsoever with sorrow. Please, we are enquiring together. We are examining so that we find the actual reality of love and suffering. The speaker is not stating something which you have to accept, or deny. We are examining together, therefore it is neither yours nor mine, it is examination. Like a scientist examining the cause of a cancer, if he is rather a shoddy scientist then his personal interest is involved in that examination, which distorts that examination. Whereas we are now, ordinary human beings, with all our daily problems, and one of them is sorrow, and whether sorrow can ever end. Or it is the lot of man. Is there the ending of this thing? And in the ending is the brain seeking a further result? I hope you are all following all this carefully. I may end sorrow, which requires a great deal of understanding of one's own consciousness, the consciousness of mankind. To go into that very deeply, which means whether thought, which is the central factor, the contributory element in putting together the whole structure of consciousness, what is the relationship of thought to sorrow?
Therefore one has to ask what is the relationship of desire, which for most of us is the actuality, what is the relationship of desire to love? And where there is desire, this urge to fulfil, the energy of that desire, will it end sorrow? Or the understanding of all causation, the investigation of all causation - you are following? - our life is based on causation: I do this because in doing this I will get a reward; if I do this I will be punished. So our life is essentially based on various causes, and where there is a cause there must be an end. So we cling to causation. I wonder if you are following all this. You understand? Causation, the motive, the result, the reward, the punishment, that is our life. And so our life is a process of cause and effect. From that effect becomes the cause, and so it is a perpetual chain. And thought realises this, if you are at all aware of all this. And what is life without a cause? Can one live without a cause? Suffering has a cause, which is my desire to be attached, my desire to possess, in that possession I feel safe, in holding on to a belief there is certain security, so there is always this process of cause and effect. So the cause of suffering is my movement of self-centred isolation. This is obvious. Two wars are going on at present - in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran. They are all human beings, they have isolated themselves as the Israelis, the Iranians and the Iraqis, they have isolated themselves. In that isolation they thought there is security. That isolation is bringing about tremendous wars throughout the world, in the past and in the present, and probably in the future. So wherever there is isolation there must be grief, there must be conflict. This is a law, this is so. And our whole life is a process of isolation, so there is conflict, there is grief, there is sorrow.
So then one asks: is it possible to live in this world without a cause and without isolation? Right? And therefore one asks: has love a cause? Please ask yourself, the speaker is only verbalising what you are asking, what you want, what your enquiry is. Has love a cause? Has intelligence, the capacity to observe very clearly without any distortion, without any bias, without the previous knowledge which guides? To observe so closely, it has no cause. So love has no cause. And can one live in this world, which is appalling, so utterly destructive, can one live in this world with that intelligence which has no cause, and that love which has no cause? Which means can one live in this world with complete compassion. Compassion can only be when thought doesn't belong to any group, any association, any isolation. You understand all this?
Then we can proceed to find out together what is religion. What is religion? Why human beings are trapped in organised religions - as the Christians, the Buddhists, the Hindus, the Islam and so on and so on - the small little sects and the large expanding sects, they all call themselves religious. In their religion they have a thousand divisions. I believe there are in India something like three hundred thousand gods. And you can have your choice. And here too you have got a great many divisions, perhaps not so many, but in having many it is rather pleasant, you don't belong to any. But if you have one or two principal divisions then it becomes rather difficult.
So we are enquiring together into what is religion? Why man, throughout the ages, accepting that life is pain, life is sorrow, life is constant travail, he has projected something called god - thought has invented it. I wonder how many of us see that fact, that thought is responsible for the gods, for the rituals, for the dogmas, for the various divisions of religions, thought is at the core of it. And whatever thought has put together can never be sacred. Right?
Then if one sees the truth, not the verbal explanation, but the actual, when one sees the truth that whatever thought has created is mechanical, thought being in itself divisive, limited, though the brain, which is now conditioned by thought, that brain has extraordinary capacity, infinite capacity - not your brain but the brain of mankind. So in enquiring into religion, we can discard entirely, completely, all the things that thought has put together, which then thought says you must worship, which is just a form of a game, a form of illusion. The word 'illusion' means, the root of it is to play. So our religions are a matter of amusement, entertainment, sensation. If one has put aside all that, that means the brain is clear, therefore not afraid what happens in the future, or in the past.
Please follow all this a little more closely if you will, together. The brain as it is now, our brain, are limited, conditioned by vast experience of millennia. Our brains are the result of accumulated knowledge, from books, from the prophets, from all the psychologists of the past, present and future, our brain is shaped, conditioned, therefore limited. And that brain can never, as it is now, uncover the limitless, the enquiry into the whole universe. The scientists are exploring the universe, through telescopes, through various forms of satellites and so on. It is all the activity of thought. Thought is enquiring into the universe. You understand? And thought can never, whatever it does, understand the deep fullness and the beauty of the universe. Our brain is limited, mechanical and is it possible to free the brain from all its conditioning? You understand? Then one can discover - not 'one' - then there is a possibility to find out that which is timeless, that which has no limitation, that which is not the result of measurement.
So we are asking, a religious man, not one who belongs to various religions, but the religious man who doesn't belong to any community, any group, no nation, he doesn't have no belief, for all these are factors of conditioning, then one can ask: can one be totally free, is there a freedom from the content of our consciousness? I am putting the thing differently. Our consciousness is put together by thought. Which is, I believe in god, I don't believe in god; I have faith, I have no faith; I belong to a particular country, I am patriotic, I suffer, I have pain, I have anxiety, I have loneliness - all that is put together by thought as consciousness, which is me. Right? It is so obvious. Can that content end? You understand? Can that content, which is so confused, which is so messy, disorderly, contradictory, can all that can that consciousness with its content totally disappear? That is, we have talked about it as fear, the ending of fear, talked about various contents of that consciousness - is that possible? You understand?
Now this is meditation, not all the silly things that are going on, with their systems, with their practices, with their desire to achieve something or other. Because the more they practise the more they go step by step by - every day the brain becomes more and more mechanical, more and more dull, more and more repetitive. You will do what you please. But if you really want to understand the nature of meditation, what is involved in it, there must be freedom, never to follow somebody, never to accept authority inwardly. Freedom demands tremendous intelligence. There is no cause for freedom. I suffer therefore I must be free - then that which you are seeking is another form of imprisonment. But when one begins to enquire into freedom, it is not going from one corner of the world to another corner, travelling, that's not nor is freedom choice. Our choice is to move from one corner of the field to another corner but remain in the same field, and this movement is called choice. So one has to enquire together into the nature of freedom. I want to be free because I have pain. There is a motive. I want to be free from all attachment because attachment implies pain, jealousy, anxiety, the fear of being alone. So freedom has no cause.
So, then we can begin to examine what is meditation. The very word implies, the root of it, is not only to ponder over, think over, but deeply the freedom from all measurement. Do you understand? Measurement. That is, achieving something which requires time. Right? Every form of measurement - the better, the more, the becoming, the achieving, which ordinary meditations promise, but in meditation there is the freedom from measurement. Follow this carefully, please this is very serious if you are interested in it. To observe without measurement, which means no comparison; 'I have been, I am, I shall be', which is measurement, which is time. Man has asked whether time has a stop. Meditation is the enquiry into time, whether it has a stop. That is, time has put together the 'me', the self, the self with all its knowledge, whether that self, which is the result of evolution, which is time, which is thought, whether that has an end, a stop. Which means the freedom from all becoming, from all measurement, whether you sit cross-legged (sound of train) whether you sit cross-legged, breathe a different way, become neurotic about your food, accept some kind of fad, and practise some kind of system, all that is a continuity of time, the brain demanding more experience, more
So meditation is the ending of the self, the 'me', which is love. How can I love you if I am most concerned with myself? If I am ambitious, greedy, envious, wanting to fulfil, achieve, how can there love be? So to see the truth of it, not take time over it, not analyse it, go into it step by step, explanation after explanation, but to see instantly that as long as the brain is caught in time and thought, which is limited, whatever it does will create more conflict. See it instantly, the truth of it, which is to have an insight into it, the whole movement of it. Then, as we said at the beginning of the conversation, the brain has that peace of quietness, silence, naturally. There is no perpetuity of thought all the time chattering, chattering, chattering.
Living in this world, is that possible? One has to go to the office from nine until five - god knows why. Of course I know why, we all know why - responsibility, money, position, you know, the whole business, nine to five. And there are those who don't want to go to the office, form a commune and work together in their own land, or whatever it is, that is also another occupation, from nine to five. One has to live in this world, one has to have money, shelter, clothes, that is normal, natural. And can one live with that quality of love, with that quality of intelligence and freedom - they are all one, they are not three separate activities - time, thought, intelligence, love - you understand? - as we know it now, but when there is freedom of this limitation, love without a cause, freedom without a cause, and intelligence without cause, with that state of quality, can one live in this world? Go to the office, go to a factory, cook, wash dishes, go for a solitary walk even for ten minutes, is that possible living in this terrible world? You have to answer that question, not me. You will answer it only when you have realised that thought is the central issue, that thought is always, under all circumstances, is fragmentary, because knowledge is fragmentary, there can be never complete knowledge. And then meditation is the total denial - 'denial' I am using in the right sense of the word - denial of the self, the 'me'.
Then one asks is there anything sacred beyond all this? You understand? Because that is what man has enquired. He says this world, in which we live, is perpetual conflict and pain. There may be slight joys and pleasures but there is always this, there is always death, there is always pain, both physically and psychologically, and he says, 'Is there something beyond all this?' Because one sees all this is so meaningless, empty, and one asks is there something beyond, something that transcends all this? So, not being able to transcend this he invents - the gods, the principles - you follow? So is one aware of this, not to be caught in that trap of the priest, of the specialist. Right?
Then in this freedom, love and intelligence, the brain is naturally not chattery, not pursuing one thought after another, is quiet. You know silence has its own sound. The silence that thought creates is noisy. The silence of a brain that is free has its own peculiar sound. Out of that sound is born is creativeness. You won't understand this unless you have done all this. It is just like words. In that silence with its sound there may be something that which is limitless, timeless. That may be the eternal love. Do you understand? Right.