Meditation is the ending of all the content of one’s consciousness
The essence of goodness is a mind that is not in conflict
6th Public Talk, Ojai, California
April 22, 1979
This is the last talk.
We have been talking over together during the last five gatherings here, apart from the discussions, whether it is at all possible to bring about a good society. That has been our chief concern in our talks, whether the human mind which is very old, which is so heavily conditioned, whether it is possible for it to radically undergo a transformation, a change, a mutation. Because the society in which we live is so frighteningly destructive, it is becoming degenerate, before it's at all mature one wonders if one is at all serious, and one must be serious under this present psychological crisis, whether it is possible to be a totally good human being. Because a good human being creates a good society; society isn't created by itself, it comes into being through the activities of the human mind. And we have been talking over together during the last three weekends - and this is the last one - about many things which affect our daily life: fear, pleasure, and anxiety, loneliness and the sense of great depression, sorrow, which we all know. And yesterday morning we talked about order, love, compassion, and the very complex problem of death. And we said this morning that we would go into the question of what is truth, if there is anything like absolute truth, and what is the nature and the movement of meditation.
We are apt to think that meditation is something apart from our daily life - give twenty minutes during the day to sit quietly, or whatever one does, and the rest of the day do all the mischief you can. But meditation, I think, is something entirely different which we shall go into presently. But one cannot fully comprehend the deep significance of meditation unless one has within oneself complete, absolute order, in our relationship, in our activity. We went yesterday morning into the question of what is order, and what brings about disorder. When there is the ending of disorder then there is naturally the flowering of order. We said that there are two major causes of disorder: desire, which we went into very carefully not only yesterday morning but previous mornings, and also the very structure, the nature of thought. We also went into that. And without this order which has its quality in its expansiveness, it is not an order within a certain area, order throughout our whole life in all our activities. And order is not only personal, but also it becomes social, and out of that order comes goodness. Therefore such human beings who are capable, aware of the present world misery, confusion, uncertainty, insecurity, such serious human beings must inevitably enquire into this order which must not be merely relative, circumstantial, environmental, but absolute order. There is such a thing as absolute order, like the universe. There is order. And if our consciousness is in disorder, which it is at present, however much one may investigate the order of the universe we have very little relationship with that universe. You are following all this?
If I may again point out that we are thinking together, that one is not listening merely to a speaker, but together with the speaker we are exploring into the nature of order, which we did yesterday morning, and the futility of enquiring into the universal order, cosmic order - it merely becomes theoretical, telescopic and not actual. But if one has this absolute order in one's life then one has a relationship with the cosmic order. One can see that logically. But most of us, though we may intellectually comprehend the meaning of the word, the clarity of the statement, but to bring about such order in our lives seems almost impossible because we are not concerned with the mutation of our consciousness, of our minds.
So this morning we are going to enquire together the question of time, space, and whether there is anything which thought has not touched upon. You're following all this? Time, space and whether there is a state of mind, a state of consciousness other than this which is not put together by thought. We will go into that, I'll explain as we go along.
Because meditation is not merely repeating a certain formula, taking a certain posture, breathing properly, or repeating for twenty minutes in the morning, or afternoon and evening a mantra. You have heard that word, haven't you? Do you know what that word means in Sanskrit? No, probably you do not. It means actually, ponder or meditate upon not becoming, and put away altogether self-centred activity. That's the meaning of that word, 'mantra'. But the racketeers have used that word to capture the gullible mind of this country and also in India, and it's taken place in Europe too, unfortunately. Those people have made a lot of money out of it, and that is now going out of fashion. They will introduce something else and you will follow that too because we do not understand, I think, the fundamental nature of meditation. Without laying the foundation of right relationship between human beings mere meditation, or contemplation, or handing yourself over to some idea, or ideal, or some projected image as god and so on, only leads to various forms of illusion - which is obvious. So it behoves us if we would meditate seriously, we must lay down in our lives a foundation that is not broken down or shaken but a foundation that is lasting, enduring. The foundation is right relationship between human beings. That's clear. If that is not established then you might sit everlastingly in a certain posture and think you are meditating but you are merely pursuing an illusion, or your own desirous projections and so on. But that is obviously a childish game.
So if you would understand what is meditation, and the depth of it, and the seriousness of it, one must establish, naturally, the order of right relationship. That's natural, isn't it? And we went into that question of what is right relationship. We said as our present relationship is based on pleasure, sexual, a relationship of comfort, dependency, attachment, born out of this great sense of loneliness, and without grasping the full meaning of this loneliness we escape from it through various forms and thereby bring about a relationship in which there is always division, contradiction, jealousy, anxiety, inhibitions and the desire to run away from what we have. Which again is obvious, what is going on. So unless a human being, you, establish this order in relationship, right order, do what you will, stand on your head, or retire into a monastery, meditation has no meaning whatsoever because you must have solidity, there must be firmness, there must be a sense of endurance in a relationship.
If that is clearly grasped, and you see the truth of it, then we can go into the question of all the various forms of meditations: the Tibetan, the Hindu, the Buddhist, the - what are the other forms - all the latest gurus with their little gadgets of meditation. I think one can brush those aside because they have very little meaning. A man gets up and says, 'I have a certain experience, I'll tell you about it', you get excited, and he gives you a formula and you practise it. And the very practice of it makes your mind more mechanical than it is, more narrow, more sectarian, more limited. We can brush aside all such forms of meditation, because they lead nowhere, because they are not based fundamentally on right relationship between human beings in which there is no jealousy, anxiety, fear and the desire which becomes pleasure.
And also we can brush aside the whole occult phenomena that is going on in this world, the search for it. Right? You know about it, don't you? That is, having certain powers, in Sanskrit it's called 'siddhis', capable of reading other people's thoughts, seeing through various - you know all that stuff. Because the speaker has been involved in all that, he knows something about all that. But a man who is very, very sensitive, a human being, sensitive, not self-centred, egotistic, has certain quality of sensitivity, and that sensitivity can apprehend, can see, can read, can do certain forms of healing and so on, but they are all irrelevant and dangerous because they emphasise and give importance to the self. Right? I wonder if you understand all this. One may be able to read other people's thoughts, and what of it? One may be able to see beyond the material, that is, thought forms, various kinds of - you know all that - I won't go into all that, it is not important - but such human beings, though they have gone into this fairly seriously, do not radically change society, they are not necessarily good people, they are really pursuing a form of materialism. I mean by 'materialism' the cultivation of the process of thought, because thought is a material process. I don't know if you are following. We are investigating together, you are not listening to me, the speaker, the speaker is not important. And the speaker really means it. The speaker as a person is totally irrelevant. What is important is that you and the speaker investigate together, think together, have one mind together, then if we have one mind we can act together. We can bring about a different society together. So the speaker is totally irrelevant.
So having put aside all these trivialities - they are trivial - then we can proceed to enquire into the nature of time, because to us time is very important. Time by the watch, time as yesterday, today and tomorrow, time as achieving a result, acquiring a technique, learning a language, going from here to there physically needs time. Right? That is chronological time, on which we must depend, it is necessary, otherwise you and I wouldn't be sitting here. And we have cultivated also psychological time. That is, one is this, one needs time to become that; one has not knowledge and you require time to have information, to gather information; one is angry, lonely, anxious, to get over that we think psychological time is necessary. You are following? That is, one is ignorant of oneself, the very movement of the egotistic, central movement and being ignorant of all that - self-knowing, one thinks one requires time to understand oneself. So there is the actual need of time to learn a language, to learn how to drive a car, to learn any skill, you must have time, days, years. If you want to be a first-class physicist you devote your time to it, days, years. But we are asking: is there psychological time at all? You understand? Please this is very important to understand if you want to go into things seriously. If you don't, it's all right too. If you want to go into this question whether this idea that one needs time to evolve, evolution is based on time, evolution of the acorn into an oak tree needs time, it will take many years. And perhaps that same concept, concept made out of a fact, that is, an acorn needs time to become a full grown tree, that concept - the fact made into a concept, then psychologically one accepts that fact, then says, 'I must have time to understand, to change, to become'. You are following all this? Are we meeting each other? We are moving together, are we? I hope so.
Now we are questioning, asking together whether there is psychological time at all. Or it is an illusion which has become almost a reality for all of us. You understand? Are we together in this? That is, our idea of hope is based on that. That is, I am hoping, one is hoping to arrive, to be happy, to have enlightenment, to be good - in the future, and so one has thought time is necessary. Right? You are following this? So we are questioning that very thing. And if one has the courage, in the sense real serious enquiry into it, it may be merely a projection of thought which has realised that to learn a skill you need time, and so thought says, perhaps it is the same process psychologically. You are following? Are we together? But it may be totally unreal. I am going to go into it.
That is, to be aware of 'what is' in oneself. Right? One may be conscious that one is envious, or violent, and to change, to bring about a change in that violence you need time. Is that so? You are following this? Please, are you? Is there somebody to whom I can talk and who'll tell me they understand?
Questioner: Yes. (Laughter)
Krishnamurti: One is violent, which is a psychological urge from various forms of inhibitions, frustrations and also the observation of a rotten society desirous of changing, changing through blood, which obviously is impossible and cruel. So, being violent one says I need time, one needs time - is that time necessary? You follow? We are pointing out, when one is violent can you observe that violence without the idea of changing it to something else? You understand? That is, to observe actually 'what is' without any movement of change, resistance, denial, acceptance, just to observe 'what is'. That doesn't need time. But the moment you want to change it to something else that requires time. Whereas if you observe closely without any movement away from it, the very observation of 'what is' undergoes a radical change, which denies time altogether. I wonder if I am conveying this. Have we understood, some of you?
That is - I will put it in another example, perhaps you will see it. We compare ourselves with somebody else; that has been our tradition, our education, our conditioning, this comparative observation, comparative effort. Comparison implies measurement. Right? The more, or the less. Now can you see the consequences of comparison, logically, which is, you are comparing yourself with somebody, therefore you are not important, somebody else is important, so you are always imitating that and therefore there is great deal of frustration, anxiety, jealousy and so on. Now can you observe comparison, the whole movement of comparison, and end it instantly, not let it carry on. The carrying on of comparison needs time, implies time. Right? Are you seeing this? I wonder. You don't. Right, let me take another example, which is, human beings right throughout the world are attached, dependent, attached to another human being. The consequences of that attachment are misery, anxiety, jealousy, hatred, anger and division. Now, to be free of these consequences, which are dangerous in human relationship, to see the total implication of attachment and to not allow time for the mind to say 'I will get over it'. But the very observation of that attachment, which is 'what is', without any movement away from it, then 'what is' undergoes a deep change. You observe it. Because when you observe 'what is' you are giving your whole attention. Right? Are you doing it now? You are giving your whole attention, and that very attention is light, and that light dissipates what is being observed. Have you understood this?
Q: Once more.
K: Once more! (Laughter) Sir, you see we are enquiring into the nature of attention. I will put it that way. Because that is part of meditation. We are enquiring into the nature of attention. And to attend now, attend to 'what is'. Right? The 'what is' is your problem. Right? Emotional, sexual, intellectual, mathematical, whatever the problem is. To attend to it totally, and not allow the problem to go on till the next day, which is time. You follow? I wonder if you see this. So when you attend completely to the problem, psychological problem, completely, then you will see that all that energy which has been dissipated by time, which is, I must get over it, I must suppress it, I must run away from it and so on, so on, all that energy is now concentrated in that attention. And when you attend - when there is this energy totally in attention, then that which is being observed explodes, it reveals all its content and therefore dissipated. I can't put it any more.
Q: That’s brilliant!
K: Are you doing it as we are talking, or it's just - is it an idea? Because this is your problem. We are saying psychologically there is no time at all. Which is a tremendous discovery. You understand? Because to us tomorrow is all important, sexually the desire, the desire that you must be a success tomorrow. You follow? Tomorrow becomes fascinating, important, all consuming. And so psychologically we are saying there is no time at all. Can you face that? We were discussing this with some friends some time ago, last year, and the person said to me, 'My god, if there is no tomorrow how am I going to meet my husband?' Which is - watch the whole phenomenon. You understand? Do you understand? Need I explain that statement? Physically, psychologically if there is no tomorrow, what am I. You understand?
So we are saying that time is necessary at a certain level, and at the psychological dimension there is no time at all. Time is necessary to learn a skill and there is no time at all when you observe 'what is', that is what is going on, happening in yourself. And to attend to that completely is to dissipate 'what is', that needs no time. This is a little more complex because time is movement. Right? Time, going from here to your house needs time, ten minutes, an hour, two hours - time. And also we think we need time to become happy. And we are saying there is no such thing as time. Time as movement must end psychologically. That's part of meditation.
And also time involves registration. I'll explain this. Our brains are registering all the time, aren't they? You have an incident, a happening, and the brain registers what is happening. Right? Can we go on with this? You are following this? Like a computer, you programme it and it will tell you what you have told it and you can switch it off any time you want; but our brains are not quite like that. It registers and you can't turn it off because the whole mechanism is to keep on registering, which is to remember, to register that which has happened, pain, pleasure, an incident which is exciting and so on, so on, so on. As long as the brain is registering that implies time, doesn't it? You are following this? Now we are asking, please, whether it is possible to register only what is necessary and not register anything else. You understand? Are you following all this? We are enquiring together, please. Say for example, someone psychologically hurts you. Right? You know that, most people do. So that hurt is registered in the brain. Thought has created the image of you being important and when one says something derogatory to that image, that image gets hurt. That hurt is registered. You are following? Like a person whom I know, for sixty years he has held a particular hurt - you understand, sir? - like most of you do. It may not be sixty years, it may be ten days, it is the same thing. Now not to register that hurt at all. You understand? First the question, that is, your being hurt by an incident, by a statement, somebody calling you not a nice person, or this or that, and the image which you have created about yourself gets hurt, that hurt is part of the brain, part of the thought which says, 'I am hurt'. Right? So there is this registration of an incident in time in the brain. Got it?
Now we are asking: is it possible not to register that hurt at all? But one needs to register how to drive a car - you understand? - to learn a language, but why should there be registration of your hurt? You follow? Is it possible not to register the hurt at all, any more than you would register flattery? Right? You are following this? Is that possible? Because if it is not possible then the brain is merely a constant mechanism which is registering all the time, and therefore it has no tranquillity, which has no sense of elasticity, then it becomes merely mechanical. The brain is partly mechanical but psychologically the brain must be free of this registration of hurts, of flattery, of this or that. Now we are asking, is that possible? You understand? See the consequences of being hurt, psychologically. You have been hurt, you resist further hurts, you are afraid of being more hurt, so you build a wall round yourself, isolate yourself, and from that isolation act, which brings more hurts, more anxiety, so you become more and more and more withdrawing from the world, from my relationship. You know all this. Till you become a neurotic and then you go to a psychologist and he hopes to cure you; probably he is also hurt. (Laughter) So the blind leading the blind! Whereas we are asking: is it possible not to register that hurt at all? See the importance. You understand? So that the brain is free to have its own rhythm, not the rhythm of the hurt, the memory. You follow? You don't know all this.
We are saying, it is possible. Because we are investigating, and I am showing it to you, it is possible. Because one has been flattered up to the skies, or one has been insulted, the speaker has had both. So not to register either, which means not to have an image about yourself. You understand this? Right? Now, to be free of that image one says, 'I must have time'. Whereas if you see the fact that you have the image, and the consequences of that image, and the result of that image, when you see the whole of that, give your whole attention to that, it's dissipated. You understand? Do it and you will discover for yourself psychologically the brain need not register but only register what is physically necessary. Right? So that the brain - I mustn't go into this - so that the brain is not under constant pressure of the past. You know they are saying now, the brain has the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain, they have divided the brain, the left side, the right side. I have been told this, I am not an expert, I don't read these things. And one side has skill, memory and all that, and the other side appreciates music and all that. Again division. Whereas we are saying the brain, when it is not recording, lives as a whole, has its own extraordinary rhythm. That you will experiment, you can find out.
So that's one of it. Then we must enquire also into what is space, because it is important to find out what is space. For us space is from the centre to the periphery. Right? You understand? Am I using the English language all right? We are understanding each other? You have a centre, which is you, your ego, your conclusion, your belief, the centre, and from that centre to the periphery there is space, which thought has created. Right? And we live in that, that's our life. And so, that space is very limited. Right? As long as there is a border, a frontier, there must be space and therefore always limited. You are following this? Please follow this a little bit, this is important, because it is part of meditation, what we are doing is part of meditation. The speaker is not going to say at the end 'meditation', this is part of mediation, because we said right relationship, time and now we are enquiring into time which is part of registration, the capacity of the brain to be free from the psychological pressure of time. And therefore - still talking of the brain - most of us have dreams. Right? Why? The experts say you must dream. But why do we dream, what are dreams, apart from what the specialists talk about dreams, and the psychologists' interpretation of dreams and so on, you and I, the speaker and you are laymen - right? - we are laymen, not specialists, thank god, and we can then enquire without any commitment into what are dreams, why do we dream. Because this constant activity of the brain - you understand? - must be very, very destructive to the brain. It must have some quiet, it must have its own rhythm, its own way of action, but if there is constant dream, activity during the day and during the night the brain has no rest at all. You are following? So is it possible not to dream at all? I am asking the question please explore it. Apart from the rhythm of the brain itself, which it has, and I am sure the experts would agree to that too, but we are asking, apart from that why do we have to have dreams at all? Is it possible not to have this constant movement? Right? Constant activity during the day, during the night, the brain has no rest. So we are saying it is perhaps possible. Which is, if one is aware, attentive during the day - right? - that is, attentive to the problems and the ending of the problems as they arise every day, then when you go to sleep the problems which have not been solved the brain tries to solve them, and when you wake up you find your problems have been either solved or are going to be solved. You understand? Are you following all this?
K: So we are saying, solve every psychological problem, and perhaps other problems as they arise, and end them, and not take it over, not allow the brain, not the brain taking it over while there is sleep. So that the brain is free, so that it can become young, fresh - you understand? - active in a different sense. So, we are enquiring into space. What is the time?
Q: Twelve twenty seven.
K: By Jove. Because one must have space. When you are crowded in a city, as most people are, living in a small flat, having not enough physical space, part of our violence is that. And if there is no space in our mind, in our heart - space - then being crowded with so many other factors, then from that lack of space you have violence, psychologically. Lack of space brings about various forms of inhibitions and anxieties and so on. So it is important to find out if you can have space without the centre. You understand my point? Am I talking to myself?
K: Look: isn't your mind occupied all the time with something or other? Yes? See the tragedy of it. If you are a housewife you are occupied, a businessman, occupied, a physicist, occupied, personal problems, political problems, it constantly has no space but occupied. You understand? Now can the mind not be occupied? And that is only possible when you end the problems. Most people are occupied because if they are not occupied what will they do. Either they want to be entertained, or they see themselves being so hopelessly lost and they get depressed, or they say, 'Well, as I am not occupied I will go and gossip with somebody' - you follow? - this constant occupation with something or other. Are you aware of this fact? Therefore when a mind which is your consciousness, is occupied there is no space and therefore - it is only in space something new can come into being. You understand? And that space cannot be created by thought. But seeing the truth that occupation denies space, and being occupied implies constant mechanical movement which is very destructive to the whole human nature and the brain, seeing the truth of it you've dissolved, you end it. So you are not occupied except when it is necessary, otherwise space. You understand? I don't think you do. Because then in that space you have enormous sense of energy. That energy is not the energy of self-centred activity. Right? I hope you understand all this. So now we have gone into this question, relationship, time, not registering and space. The next question is: why has man, human beings, always talked about religion? You know, I must tell you something: two friends were walking one day in a nice street, and one of them sees something, picks it up from the pavement. And the moment he looks at it his face lights up, he is delighted, something extraordinary takes place in his eyes, and puts it in his pocket. And his friend says to him, 'What did you pick up? And why did your face become so marvellously beautiful?' And the friend says, 'Ah, that was truth I picked up and put it in my pocket. I am going to keep it, it is a marvellous thing.' And the friend says, 'Let us organise it'. (Laughter) That's what religions have become. Right? And therefore religions have become an anathema to most intelligent people. But beyond that word, beyond all the ritualism, and all the crosses and all the circus that goes on in religions, is there anything untouched by thought - thought being a material process - is there anything which is timeless, is there anything which is absolute truth, something which is wholly sacred? Understand my question? You understand? Human beings have sought this at all times, they want to enquire, they want to find out but they get trapped into something or other - into Catholicism, into Protestantism, into Buddhism, into some 'ism', and then they are lost. But if one puts aside all that and one begins to enquire if there is, or if there is not, to find out one must have a mind that is absolutely silent. Right? It must be under no pressure, under no motive, without any direction, otherwise you can't explore, otherwise the mind is incapable of discovering something totally timeless - if there is.
So, to find out - for that extraordinary thing, if it is, to happen, the mind must be in a state of complete, absolute silence. Obviously. Is that possible? Man throughout the ages has tried this. He said, 'You must control thought, you must control all your emotional responses, your desires, control, so as to bring about a mind that is without a sense of struggle, a sense of effort, and perhaps out of that you can have an absolute silence.' You are following all this? Man has tried this, you may not have. This is part of the old tradition that to find out something that is immeasurable all measure, which is the movement of thought, must end.
Now we are asking: can time, thought come to an end, not science fiction time and space, but time as we have explained, which is the movement of thought, can thought come to an end, or must thought keep everlastingly moving, moving, moving? You understand? To find that out you must understand, as we did, went into, the nature of thought, which we did. So can thought, which has built up our world, outward world and also the inward world - right? - thought has been responsible for it, thought is a material process, thought is the result of all the knowledge, etc., stored up in the brain, which is matter, therefore thought is a material process. Anything that thought tries to discover which is beyond itself, thought itself must come to an end. You understand? This is logic. You understand, sir? So can one find out if thought can completely end, except where it is necessary? That is, learning a language, talking, and so on. How will you find out? How will you, enquiring if there is something beyond all this confusion, misery, sorrow, this travail of humanity, of which one is, find out if there is something that thought has never, never touched? How will you find out? That's part of meditation, not only to have the body absolutely quiet, absolutely, and also to have a mind that is not occupied with anything - with your personal problems, with world problems, because you are the world, the world is not separate from you. So to find that out, if there is or if there is not something beyond all this, that's part of meditation. It is not part of search; if you search, then you are searching with a motive and a desire. Then what you find is what you have already found.
So meditation is the ending of all the content of one's consciousness-anger, jealousy, anxiety - you follow? Which is our consciousness. The freeing of the mind of all its content, then only there is that absolute silence, not brought about by will, by desire, by thought, then only it is possible for something, that which has not been put together by thought, can come into being.