Order in consciousness
London Talks, 1982
2nd Public Talk, London
June 06, 1982
May we continue with what we were talking about yesterday? We went into some length into the question of fear, whether it is possible at all to be totally and completely free of fear. We pointed out the nature and the structure of fear, the contributory causes of fear. And we said that fear cannot be suppressed or transmuted, or escape from it. It is to be observed, and to discern that the observer is the observed, the observer is not separate from fear. The observer, who is the past, with all the accumulated knowledge, he separates himself, and thereby either suppresses fear, escapes from it, or tries to transcend it, go beyond it. All that implies conflict. And as we human beings have lived in conflict for thousands of years, we should consider together whether it is possible entirely to eliminate fear, conflict. And that is possible only when the observer realises he is not separate from that which he is observing, psychologically. Then that division between the observer and the observed disappears entirely. This is not just an idea, a cunning activity of thought. Observation has nothing to do with thought. To observe the whole movement of fear, the complexity of it, not come to it with any kind of motive or try to go beyond it, but just to observe it. And it's very important, it seems, that one has to learn, if we can use that word - and learning is not a matter of time, here - to observe without the accumulated remembrances of the past. That requires a great deal of awareness, to be aware of the whole contributory causes of fear, and the consequences of fear. And observe it as it grows, as it moves. And when there is no conflict, which can only take place when the observer realises that which he is observing is himself, that the observer is the observed, then all energy which we have been dissipating in conflict, in trying to surmount it, go beyond it, suppress it, totally disappears. Therefore when there is the observer, which is the observed, then there is the energy which is not dissipated, which then dissolves entirely fear. This is what we were talking about yesterday.
One listens to a lot of these ideas and draws a conclusion, an abstraction of what one has heard, and that abstraction becomes a principle, an ideal, a thing to be achieved. Whereas if one listens without the abstraction taking place, just listens to the whole psychological movement of fear, not make an idea of it, but actually observe it, as one observes a marvellous mountain, you can't do anything about it, it is there. Similarly to observe this whole nature of fear. And in that observation there is no dissipation of energy. And hence the totality of that energy wipes away fear, entirely.
Either we hear all this, make an abstraction, as an idea, and pursue the idea. Or without abstraction observe one's own fear, because most of us have all kinds of fears. We may have no fear at the moment, sitting here in rather a hot hall, but there is this fear, hidden or obvious. And where there is fear there is all kinds of neurotic activity. Is one aware the whole root of fear, the conscious as well as the hidden fears deeply in the recesses of one's own psyche? Or, we just listen to these words totally unrelated to actual fear that one has. Or you listen very carefully, discover whether it is, for oneself, whether it is false or true. And that very denial of the false in which a great deal of energy is wasted, then that accumulated energy to dissipate fear.
We said too, yesterday, that we'd talk about pleasure - pleasure in various forms, pleasure of possessions, pleasure in becoming something, pleasure in all the sensory responses. But to understand the nature of pleasure one must go into the nature and understand what is love. Because when one loves, if that is possible at all, pleasure has quite a different meaning. It may not be necessary at all. So we ought to, together, as we said yesterday in our conversation with each other, go into this very complex problem of what is love. And please, this is not a sermon.
We have spoilt that word, we use it in so many ways - love of climbing a mountain, sexual love, love of achievement, love of power, position, status, love of something that gives you personal enjoyment, and so on. What is the difference between the thought that has created the pleasure of love and love itself? What is the nature of love, which is not desire - which we talked about briefly yesterday - and love that is not pleasure, love that is not a recollection of past incidents. So one asks, is love desire? Is love pleasure - which is the remembrance of some happy events, sensory or psychological happenings. Is the remembrance of past events, the pleasure that one derives from those events, and the cultivation of desire, is - (short gap in recording)
How is one going to find out? Because it seems to us, in our conversation together, without this quality, what one calls love, and the perfume of it, the reality of it, not the verbal description of it, the actuality of that state of mind, one has to really understand deeply that desire, pleasure, and remembrance has no place at all where love is concerned. Is that at all possible?
In enquiring together into this matter one must go also into the question that the brain records every incident. It's a recording machine like a computer, so it is mechanical. And being mechanical, it is constantly repetitive. And our conditioning is to repeat a pleasure, either it be sexual or other forms of pleasure. Can the brain register what is absolutely necessary and not register any form of psychological events? Please, this is a very serious question, because all our conditioning, the content of our consciousness, is the mechanical process of the brain which records. And so one's life becomes mechanical. In that mechanical field, one may invent, but it's still born out of knowledge, and knowledge is incomplete, always - about anything. So thought is born of knowledge. And so thought is always incomplete. Knowledge always lives within the shadow of ignorance. So we're always functioning within the field of knowledge, which is our conditioning.
Please, if I may point out, and one hesitates to point out, please don't just listen to all this as words, as ideas, but enquire with the speaker into the nature of one's repetitive mechanical mind, neither accepting nor denying it, but closely, attentively observing it, observing your own quality of mind of brain, how terribly conditioned it is - as the British as the French and so on - and also conditioned by the religious concepts, conditioned by the climate and so on, by tradition. And when one is enquiring into a very deep subject like love, it behoves us not to come to it with our conditioning. So can we bring order in the confused, messy consciousness? Can there be order in this disorder of our whole way of life, our society, our culture, the language which we use, our reactions, so contradictory, and observe our consciousness with its content? Because when one observes it, there is such deep contradiction in it - wanting peace, to live a happy life, creative life, and yet doing everything opposite to that. So our consciousness is in perpetual conflict, and rather messy.
And is it possible to bring about order, because order is supreme virtue. Order is totally unrelated with disorder. Having a disordered brain, consciousness, seeking order from that disorder is still disorder. Right, are we meeting each other - I hope. If I am confused, disorderly and messy, and I try to find order out of this confusion, that order is still disorder. Order exists only when there is total ending of disorder. That is, disorder expresses itself in conflict, in contradiction, saying one thing and doing another, thinking one thing and act totally differently. We're such - if one may use without creating irritation in you - we are such hypocrites. And out of this disorder, we try to find order. So can disorder end, because when there is an ending to total disorder, there is supreme order. So one has to enquire into what is disorder, how it arises.
I hope you're all interested in all this. Since you're here, probably you are slightly interested in all this, not too deeply, probably it's such a lovely morning you'd like to go out and play golf. But since you are here, sitting in a hot place, uncomfortable and so on, please do consider seriously all that the speaker is saying - don't brush it off. Because the world is in complete disorder, the world is in a state of insanity - talking about peace and killing each other, talking about peace and selling armaments. All that's going on, which we talked about briefly yesterday. It's a very serious matter, not an entertainment, and our minds are used to entertainments. So please give your serious attention to all this, if you will.
What is disorder? Because where there is disorder, there can be no love, where there is fear there is no love, where there is mere search for the continuity of pleasure love cannot possibly exist. So one has to enquire, if you are at all serious and very, very honest: what is the nature of disorder, why we live in such disorder.
Is not disorder a contradiction? Is not disorder, which expresses itself in conflict - psychologically, inwardly, or outwardly. Is not disorder the pursuit of an ideal? When one is confronted with the actual, is there not disorder when the future is more enticing than the present, and so on? So disorder essentially is a contradiction. That is, as we went into it yesterday, human beings are violent - that's a fact, that's a reality. At the least possible challenge or hurt or considered honour, we are ready to kill another. We've had two terrible wars and we are still pursuing wars and we are still talking about peace - that's a contradiction, utter dishonesty. And where there is conflict in relationship with each other - man, woman, with neighbour, or neighbour who is thousands of miles away - where there is conflict in our relationship there must be disorder. To perceive that instantly, not rationalise it, discuss it, be clever about it, but to see the truth of it, immediately, that there is only the fact, which is, we are violent, and not try to become non-violent. While you are trying to become non-violent, you're being violent, whereas, if we face the fact that we are violent, inherited through various centuries and inherited from the animal and so on, so on, so on.
You know, to see the false, see our illusions, and move away from the false, then that which is, is truth. But we have so many illusions, and these are the contributory factors of our disorder. To be aware of this whole movement of disorder, not to say I must dissolve them, in order to have order, but to observe it very closely, with all your energy, then that state of disorder in oneself disappears entirely. That is to put one's house in order. There is order then, and there is no contradiction. You mean what you say, exactly. There's no double talk. That means one has to be a light to oneself, not follow anybody. In the realm of the spirit there is no authority, no intermediary between you and that reality, the truth. But we have allowed ourselves to have intermediaries, leaders and so on. So if we understand this nature of disorder, then out of that comes, naturally, easily and sweetly, order - which is the highest form of virtue, in our action, in our thinking and so on.
And as we said, where there is disorder in ourselves and contradiction, love is not possible. I may tell my wife - if I have a wife or a girlfriend - 'I love you'. But that's just a pleasurable expression. But love demands a great deal of enquiry. One cannot love another if you belong to any kind of group, nationality, religious adherents. There must be freedom, totally, to love. That very word 'freedom' is the expression of love. The word itself means 'love', freedom. And without love there is no compassion - social service, doing good, being kind, tender, generous, has nothing to do with compassion, that's only part of sympathy, natural expression and so on. But compassion demands a great deal of intelligence. The intelligence of thought, which is cleverness, is not intelligence. That supreme intelligence exists only where there is compassion, love and order.
Then we can go to the next subject. There can be no love if there is jealousy, hatred - no sense of antagonism. How can you kill another, if you really love - whether for your country, for your interest, for god or whatever it is, how can you kill another if you love? Please, this is all very serious - do consider all this, because we are living in a world which is terribly dangerous, which has become dangerous, totally insecure, and without this quality of intelligence, born of compassion and love, we cannot bring about a totally different social order.
We all also should talk over whether sorrow can end, and what is the relationship between love and sorrow. Can there be love where there is suffering, both inwardly and outwardly? So we ought to talk over together whether it is possible to end suffering, this terrible burden that man has carried for millennia upon millennia. There is not only personal suffering, but the suffering of the world. Those who have been brought up without any clothes, food, or one meal a day, living in degradation, poverty, and these terrible wars. How many people have shed tears. And apparently we don't seem to learn from all this, we are still carrying on, like primitive people, barbarians killing each other. So we ought to consider what is the relationship between love and sorrow. If one loses one's brother, wife and children, if one is attached; and is attachment love? Where there is attachment there must be suffering. Attachment breeds fear, anxiety, pain, grief, sense of utter loss. And that breeds sorrow. Is it possible to love another without complete attachment without any kind of attachment?
And if we do not go into this matter deeply, for ourselves, talking about love has very little meaning. Perhaps some of you have heard the speaker for the last 60 years or more, and we are still caught in the old tradition and the old habits of attachment and attempting to become detached, trying to struggle to be detached. Detachment leads to cynicism, cruelty; whereas if one understands the nature of attachment, and goes into it deeply and see the consequences of it, then seeing that which is false, then the false drops away. One hasn't time to go more into this, because we've something more to talk over together, if you're not to tired.
We ought talk over together a very complex problem, of what is death. Why human beings throughout the world, of whatever colour, whatever nationality, whatever race, whatever religion, are so scared of death, so frightened of it. Or you treat life as a jolly good experience, and you die and you say, 'I've had a jolly good life.' But those who are really quite serious in their intent to find out the whole meaning of death, must enquire not only into the fear, which we went into, but also what is death - the ending. What is ending? Why is one frightened so much if things end? I will lose my brother; he's dead, he's dying. And I'm attached to him, I like him, companionship and all the rest of it - or my wife or my sister or my girlfriend. And I'm afraid of losing, afraid of being utterly lonely, facing old age without any companionship. Or being young, the same pattern is repeated, if one thinks, looks at it at all.
So what is death, what is the meaning of death, which means, the ending, the ending of everything - ending of your possessions, ending of all your remembrances, ending all your attachments, ending of all the pleasurable or unhappy habits. So we ought to enquire, not into what is death, but rather into what is the ending of the known. Because our minds, a brain, has always functioned within the known. And when it is challenged, which is the ending of the known, which is death, it is scared, it is frightened, it shrivels up.
So is it possible to end while living - not commit suicide, I'm not talking about that - the ending. Say, for example, the ending of attachment - attachment to one's work, to one's name, to one's family, to one's ideas and beliefs and doctrines, the ending of one's god, if one has god. The total denial, which is the essence of death, of all the known. That is death; the ending of the known is death. So can we live with death all the time? I wonder if you understand what I'm talking about.
I'm living, plenty of vitality, energy, drive, clear, but I'm attached to something, I'm attached to my reputation, sitting here and talking to you. I'm attached to that - if I am, I'm not, but suppose I am. To end that attachment of addressing large audiences right over the world, to completely, totally, without any effort, to end that sense of dependence, because that is death. So while living, to live with this constant ending of accumulation, constant ending of every record. That requires a great deal of attention, awareness, energy. When once you perceive that, then it becomes like a river full of water that is flowing.
I don't know what time it is.
Also we should discuss, talk over together, if you're not too tired, into the question of religion, meditation, and if there is anything sacred. The speaker puts meditation and religion and meditation at the end of the talk, because if you talk about religion and meditation and so on at the beginning, a mind that is confused, disorderly cannot possibly meditate - it has no meaning. It may practice all kinds of silly theories. Please don't be offended by what the speaker is saying
So, we should consider what is a religious mind. Religions throughout the world have played an extraordinary part in one's life, seriously or superficially. It has become an entertainment. All the words and the symbols and the processions and all the things that go on in the name of religion are put together by thought. And thought, as we talked about the other day, yesterday and previously, is not sacred at all, it is merely a material process, born of knowledge, memory, stored in the brain. So first to find out what is truly a religious mind, one must be free of all religious dogma, whether the Hindu, Buddhist, Christian or whatever it is - Muslim, Islamic world - entirely, totally completely free of all that. Because that's part of our conditioning. We have been programmed for two thousand years, as Christians, three to five thousand years as Hindus, Buddhists and so on. Because to find out for oneself what is a religious mind, there must be complete freedom from all orthodoxy, tradition, and all the amusements in this name of religion that goes on. Because in those ideas, in those concepts, in the symbols, saviours, we have found security for a complex, miserable, confusing life. That's our safety escape from this. But when we have put order in our lives here now, then there is no fear, and the mind that is absolutely without a shadow of fear, psychologically, has that quality of a religious mind. And beliefs - whether Christian belief or Buddhist, or Hindu, or the belief of the Muslim - why should we have beliefs at all? Belief in god - god is the invention of thought, because god is the ultimate security. And in the name of god we have done terrible things, burnt people, tortured people. So one has to be free entirely of all belief and faith and dogma.
Why is it that when we talk about religious matters we are so gullible? We don't exercise, apparently, our reason, sanity, common sense. We accept everything. And scepticism and doubt is denied in the Christian world. In the Hindu and the Buddhist organisation of religion, there is doubt is encouraged, doubt is a part of virtue. So the mind can only understand that which is religion in the sense, to find out or to come upon that which is sacred - if there is something sacred. Because technological culture cannot possibly bring about a totally global culture, religion; and that's impossible - global interrelationship of humanity, which is the only goal of all politics.
And to come upon this, if there is anything sacred, which thought has not invented, meditation is necessary. India, unfortunately, has brought this word into this western world recently. The Christian world had its own contemplative order, contemplative state of mind. The gurus and others have brought this idea of meditation. And these people have invented or brought their old tradition from Tibet, from Zen in Japan, from Burma, from India - the mischief began in India, first. That meditation means you must practise something, practise a method, practise to be silent, practise to be aware, practise the moment, which is the present and so on, so on - practise.
When you are practising something you're being repetitive - if you're playing the piano and you're practising, you may be practising the wrong note. (Laughter) But here you think it's necessary to practise, day after day, take a vow, being a monk, you know the whole business of it - there is no time to go into that. So we practise. The more you practise the more your brain will become dull, obviously - whether you're practising various systems of meditation, which means your brain is becoming more and more mechanical, it's never free. And to find out or come upon that which is nameless, timeless, sacred, there must be complete freedom, not brought about by desire, by thought, but by ending that which is not free, like attachment, like pursuit of pleasure, the self-fulfilment, self-centred activity and so on. This demands a great deal of enquiry, great deal of energy, perception, not only knowing oneself; knowing oneself not through any form of analysis, but knowing oneself through observation of one's reactions in our relationship with each other. Those reactions reveal what we are. And when it reveals what we are, that revelation becomes knowledge to us, and so we accumulate more and more knowledge of ourselves. And that knowledge becomes a hindrance to freedom. Please, I haven't time to go into it, just see the truth of it quickly.
So one asks, is there a stop to thought and time? Because if there is time, that is if there is thought, the perpetual occupation, as most of us are perpetually occupied, thinking about various things, chattering, mind is never the brain is never quiet, but always groping, searching, remembering, hoping. Such a mind, obviously, is never quiet. But to perceive that it is not quiet, without any direction, say it must be quiet, to perceive it, to observe it's not quiet, then it becomes extraordinarily quiet, without any compulsion, without any practice, which means one requires great sensitivity, attention, awareness. Only in that absolute silence of the mind, a silence which is not cultivated by thought - it isn't a silence between noise, between two noises, or between two thoughts - this silence is not that. Silence demands total freedom from all self-centred activity and pursuit of pleasure and fear and so on. Only in that silence completely can there be that which is nameless.
May I get up? Please don't clap. It only makes noise.