Order, love and death
In meditation, life is a total movement
3rd Public Talk, Ojai, California
April 14, 1973
This morning we will talk about, if we may, the question of order, a little bit about education and the very simple but complex problem of love, and on such a lovely morning we must also talk about death, because we are concerned with the whole of life, not one segment or one fragment but be totally aware of the whole movement of life - the movement of the clouds, the marvellous mountains, the friendly trees, and what the world is about us like, with its pollution, brutality and the innumerable explanations that people give of what life is, and also to be aware without any choice the inward movement, not only at the conscious level but also at the deeper layers of our own mind. We are going to concern ourselves with the whole structure of life, to be aware of it, not only the cause of it but also in that very awareness to act, because action is necessary, but action along a particular line: religious, social, moral, or economic, is only a fragmentary action. We are concerned with the total action of life in which is included death, love, discipline, order and the beauty not only outside of us but also the great sense of beauty inwardly.
You know it is such a lovely morning and it seems rather a pity to sit down and talk about all these things, but I suppose one must. But in talking about life we are also talking about the beauty of nature, the clouds, the mountains, the hills, the shadows, and the dappled light among the leaves. First let us consider what is order. Because in our life there is very little order, we live in a state of contradiction, consciously or unconsciously, we are not aware of it. Or if we are aware of it we try to superimpose upon this disorder some kind of order, some kind of religious order, or impose upon this disorder of our life a conceptual order - order put together by thought, or suppress this disorder and conform. Conformity is the very denial of order. And most of us do conform to a pattern set by another, by a religious or a legendary figure, or order imposed by some authority, specially the religious authority, or order induced by environment, which is also a form of compulsion.
As we said the other day, we are sharing these problems together, you are not merely listening to the speaker, agreeing or disagreeing. If you accept what you hear then it becomes merely a conclusion and therefore no reality, but if we share the problems together then it is your reality - the reality is neither yours nor mine - and we can share in that reality. And to share implies that quality of communication in which one is aware of each other and be concerned with what is being shared. That is the whole movement of communication - the sharing intelligently and acting.
As we said, most of us conform. And to the speaker that is the very essence of disorder. And we conform because generally we want to succeed; success to us is the most important thing in life - success outwardly or success inwardly. Intelligence says, the outward success is really quite absurd because it leads to all kinds of destructive competition and so on. One sees that logically, objectively, quite clearly. But inwardly one conforms to a guru, one has conformed to the church, to the various religious, legendary figures because inwardly we are quite uncertain, disturbed, not knowing where we are going, we want to be told by another, to do exactly what the guru or the teacher or the priest or the philosopher, or the analyst or the psychologist say because in ourselves we are confused and we want to be quite certain. And so out of disorder in ourselves we set up authority both outwardly and inwardly. And the acceptance of authority is conformity and therefore brings about disorder. Now when you see that, not only verbally, intellectually but actually be aware of this whole nature of conformity, both outwardly and inwardly, where it is necessary to conform, like keeping to the left side of the road or the right side of the road and so on, and where it is absolutely to be denied, completely. To see this totally and to act on it, is intelligence. To see what is false and that very perception is action. The seeing is the doing without the interval of time, and that is the very essence of intelligence.
So we live in disorder. I do not know if you are aware of your own life and see how disorderly it is. You may have perfect order outside, in your room, in your writing and so on, but inwardly there is contradiction, conformity, desire pulling in different directions, ambition, and at the same time try to be kind, affectionate. So seeing disorder in oneself and that very perception of that disorder is order. If I see in my life, in my daily relationship and action and thought how disorderly, contradictory my life is, violent and at the same time wanting to live a peaceful life; aggressive, assertive and humility. We are playing this kind of game all the time. And when I am aware of it and see why I am doing it, the cause, the effect and the very perception of that disorder is action which is orderly. Therefore order is not a blue print, order is not something laid down by society, or by your guru, or by somebody else. Order comes naturally, easily, without effort, when you see in yourself the disorder, and that perception is an awareness of this disorder in which there is no choice. Is this comparatively clear? I hope I am making myself clear.
Because you see without order there is no virtue. Order is virtue. Virtue isn't something you cultivate, morality isn't something that you practise day by day. Vanity can clothe itself in humility, but when you see what the implications of vanity, pride and arrogance are, and you are aware of it choicelessly, out of that comes naturally humility. And that is a living thing, not a thing put in a framework according to which you are conforming.
So order, virtue, comes out of the understanding of disorder.
And that is one of the problems of our education. Why do we get educated at all? I wonder if you have ever asked that question. Here you have so many universities, colleges, schools, all the children going to them to be conditioned - what for? What does all this enormous knowledge mean? To bring about more disorder in the world? More wars? Make the mind conform to a particular structure of a society? And we accept it and we never question why we are being educated. And in this peculiar education that one has, that one has been through, our minds acquire certain types of specialisation: engineers, scientists, biologists, and you know all the rest of it, and we are never taught how to learn about the whole of life, not just one fragment of life, how to look at life as a whole, but only we are encouraged to be more and more self-centred, egotistical, pursuing our own pleasures. And all this, with other complications involved in it which we have no time to go into, is called education, cultivating that part of mind, the intellect, to store up knowledge. And so knowledge being always in the past our lives become more and more mechanical. We are encouraged to conform whether in the communist world or in the capitalist world. And when we revolt against this conformity, that revolt is merely a reaction, again to conform in another pattern or to another pattern - long hair, short hair, whatever that be. Right? So that is our education right throughout the world. So in this education we are never creative. Creation is something which comes into being when the self is not, when the 'me' is not.
So that is part of our life, disorder in a life that is supposed to be educated, civilised. And in this life that we live we talk a great deal about love. All right, may I go into it? Don't be angry with me, don't, if I may ask, accept what we are talking about, but just look at it all, just look as you would look at a map. You can't change the map, it is there: the town, the villages, the bridges, the length of the road and so on and so on, it is there, you can't change it however much you may like to change it. So our life is that and to look at it, to observe it without any choice. And in the observation of it you will discover how you are looking at it, how your own prejudices, your own petty little movement of life, your own anxiety, your own conclusion, distorts the map, and so you never look at this enormous beauty, complexity of life as a whole.
Now we are going to look together and therefore share together this thing called love. You know all religions have talked about it: love of god and love of human beings. Very few religions have talked about the love of nature, love of animals, don't kill animals. And unfortunately the Christians have accepted that to kill animals and all the rest of it is quite normal, and yet they talk about love of animals. And in investigating this problem, what love is, or what compassion is, there are several things we have to understand. I mean by understanding not intellectually, verbally, but actually in the very observation of this fact, action goes with the observation - that is intelligence.
What is love? Is love pleasure, is love desire, is love attachment, is love jealousy, possessiveness? Or, love or, compassion comes into being when we deny all that which is not love. You know most of us are so highly intellectual, or highly sentimental, emotional, that we can never face this problem, and we don't want to face it. And if we will, let us come to grips with it, let's look at it.
We have made love into pleasure, sexual or otherwise. And sex has become an enormous affair in this country, and it is spreading right throughout the world. I don't know why you have made sex such a colossal affair. You think that is the ultimate expression. In that you feel terribly frustrated, important, you know, all the nonsense that goes on with it. And when you observe it very closely in yourself you will see that you are pursuing pleasure and therefore attachment, and dependency. Where there is dependency there must be fear, and where there is dependency there must be jealousy, anxiety. Just listen to it, you can't do anything about it, just listen. And when you see it, act, don't keep on saying, 'Why shouldn't I be attached, it gives me great pleasure? And if I am not attached I will be terribly lonely'. Be lonely, find out what it means to be lonely, go through it, look at it. And mere analysis of the cause why you are attached, why you pursue pleasure endlessly, whether it is sexually or in the name of religion, in every way we pursue this everlasting thing called pleasure. And with it goes fear, anxiety, jealousy, loneliness, the sense of frustration, and from it the desire to fulfil, the whole movement of this thing called the 'me', that's everlastingly trying to express itself. And that we call love. You may cover it up, you may subtly clothe it in religious words or most intellectually, or sentimentally. And is all that love?
And can there be in love suffering? Therefore one has to understand what is suffering, why we suffer. And unfortunately we don't give so much importance to the understanding and transcending suffering, going beyond it, as we do to sex. We have accepted suffering, and because we are not able to go beyond it we personify it in a legend, and we think we have understood it, or find some excuse or rationality for suffering and think we have understood it. What is suffering? And we must solve this problem, as we must solve all other problems in our life, not just accept them. So what is suffering? Is it self pity? Is it the incapacity to face actually what is? Is it the image that we have built about ourselves that prevents the actual coming into contact with reality? The incapacity to face ourselves as we are and to go beyond it? Is it that we are so indolent? A polite word for laziness!
Because we have to understand this: what is suffering, if we are to go into this question of death, as we are going to this morning. Is suffering necessary? I am not talking about physical pain. One has physical pain often but to see that pain doesn't distort the mind in action, that pain doesn't make the mind neurotic. So one has to understand not only how to tolerate physical pain without distortion and also one has to understand the psychological pain, the hurts. And when we do suffer we escape, and there are a thousand means of escape - and escapes, you know what they are for yourself and they have no value, whether you are a religious person who escapes into some fantasy of some extraordinary consciousness, of which you know absolutely nothing; or you escape through sex, through, you know, dozens of ways. Now, not to escape because you yourself are aware totally that any form of escape doesn't solve this problem. So when you no longer escape you have the energy to meet, to look at this problem. How you look at the problem is immensely important. If you are an analyst you want to analyse the whole thing, like tearing a flower to pieces and see what there is behind it. Behind it, in this human suffering, it is very simple, the 'me', the ego, all that structure which I have built carefully which is the 'me'.
And when you don't escape, when you are completely motionless in front of this suffering then you will see out of this suffering comes compassion, and that's love. Compassion means passion for all human beings, for everything, not just for human beings, or for your little child, or become a social worker, passion for everything: for the hills, for the trees, for the animals, you know. And so from that, compassion is the very denial of the 'me'.
Then there is this question of death. Do you want to talk about it on a lovely morning? You know, we are concerned with the whole movement of life, being aware of the totality of life. And death is part of life, as love is part of life, suffering, anxiety, technical knowledge and its place, all that is part of life. You can't choose one part and say, 'I will take that and nothing else, because that pleases me'. You are concerned with the whole movement of life, and being totally aware of all that. So death is part of life. It's a rather complex problem and one must go into it hesitantly, with great care, and with intelligence. I mean by that word 'intelligence' not intellectual capacity, not a mind that's cunning, contriving, or a mind that is imaginative, because death is not imagination, is not something that you can contrive to escape. It is there to be faced and asking whether the mind, you, the mind, the human mind, can ever be free from death. You know, because man throughout the ancient days and throughout the ages has tried to find immortality, to go beyond death and whether the mind can be free from the thing called death. The understanding and the freedom from that is as important as to bring order in life; it is as important as to have compassion - passion, integrity. And so it is a part of life and therefore to be gathered, to be understood, to be faced.
Are you all waiting for me to tell you what to do about it, how to go beyond it? And if you hear what is being said and draw a conclusion from it, and that very conclusion is bringing about a death of a different kind: a mind that is full of conclusions is already a dead mind, it is not a living mind. A living mind is a free mind, learning, never concluding. In the same way we are investigating, therefore learning, never coming to any conclusion, and that is the beauty of this whole movement of life.
So what is death? And can the mind ever be free from it? And what is it that dies? The body, the organism, the way we live, this constant battle, struggle, conflict, inwardly and outwardly, the strain, the tension, will inevitably bring all kinds of diseases and ailments to the body, to the organism, and it will soon wear out. You may prolong it, and the doctors are trying to prolong it, I don't know why. Because - I am asking myself why - because the way we live is not a way of compassion, beauty. A way of life in which relationship is non-existent, and yet we want to prolong it indefinitely, if we can. So apart from the organism, what is it that dies, what is it that we are so frightened of?
In understanding that, we must also enquire into what is time. Apart from the chronological time by the watch, yesterday, today and tomorrow, is there psychological time at all? Is there time to overcome death; or is death always in harmony with life, with love, with pain; or is death something to be put far away, one day we have to face it but not now? And therefore we accept time - please do listen to this - we accept time, the interval between now and that moment which we call death, that period, that lag of time, that interval, is the living. And that living is what we cling to. The living, which is this struggle, the battle, the little pleasures, the conformities, the conclusions, the tortures that we go through life, belonging to this sect or to that sect, dancing in the streets, shaving our head, you know all the absurdities that go on in our life - the interval between now and that moment. That moment when we have got to face this thing, either through disease, old age with all its travail, or to look at it without time so that there is no interval between now, the living, and that. Because in that interval is fear, fear brought about by thought.
Thought is the response of memory, experience, knowledge - the known. In the known is the 'me', though consciously I may not know the 'me' totally, the 'me' lives in this interval. I wonder if you see. This 'me' lives in this interval between now and that which we call death, in that interval is the whole movement of thought in the field of the known. And the known is the 'me', the ego, with all its attachments, pain, loneliness, deceptions, deceits, all the religious nonsense that goes on. Now when there is no interval then death is the death of me. This demands an intensity, this demands a great deal of energy, not to escape but to face, be totally aware, and in that very awareness action, so that the interval doesn't exist at all, so that the living is the dying. I wonder if you get it. And because we cannot face this thing so intensely death becomes something to be frightened of, to be avoided; or if it cannot be avoided then this whole problem of what happens after death arises. The East believes in reincarnation, the 'me', the ego, being, incarnating next life. Please listen to all this, it may be terribly boring but listen to it. You are doing the same in a different way but it comes to the same thing. The 'me', the ego reincarnating next life. And what is the 'me'? Is it permanent so that it can reincarnate in the next, after death, as the 'me', the ego, identified-listen to it - identified with my country, with my house, with my family, with my furniture, with my bank account, you know, all that, that is the 'me'. And that 'me' will be born next life, and it will have a better opportunity next life depending on what kind of life you lead now. All that is implied in reincarnation. Therefore it matters immensely how you behave now, not next life. So what is important is not the next life but to incarnate now completely in behaviour. You understand all this? So their belief has very little meaning.
Then there is this problem in this that the vast majority of people, of human beings, never come to the freedom from death but are caught in a stream, the stream of human beings whose thoughts, whose anxieties, pain, suffering, the agony of everything that one has to go through, we are caught in that stream. And when a human being dies he is part f that stream. It is only the man who has understood, gone through the whole of this life totally, completely, fully aware of all the implications, he steps out of that stream. And the Psychical Research Societies and other societies, when they, through mediums and all the rest of it, when they call upon the dead, they are calling people out of that stream. You understand all this? It doesn't matter.
So that is our life from the beginning to the end. It's a total movement in which there is no fragmentation. But we have made life into fragments, and that fragmentation is corruption. And integrity is the whole, is the sane, is the rational.
What place has religion in all this? I am not talking - we are not talking about the organised religions, or the newly organised religions. What place has religion in life? That's also part of life, though some psychologists say that even the enquiry into such a thing is irrational, neurotic and so on. I do not know if we have time to go into this, this morning, but we have to enquire into that too because that is part of life. Either there is a reality which is not put together by thought, or there is no reality but only the movement of thought. Perhaps we can go into that tomorrow morning and also enquire what is meditation. You know one of the most important things in life is meditation, not the absurd things that are going on in the name of meditation but to really find out very deeply for ourselves what it means. We will do that tomorrow morning. I think that is enough for today. So perhaps you will ask some questions, or not, as you please.
Questioner: Krishnamurti, would you go into the question of belief and hope, and despair.
K: Won't you take a breath? Why do we have hope and belief?
What is the place of hope in life? If you had no despair, would you have hope? If you had never felt the sense of utter futility, the meaninglessness of existence, never felt it, never been wounded by this question of despair, would you have hope? Or is hope a reaction of despair and therefore hope is part of despair? Are you following all this? When there is despair - despair, caught in circumstances out of which I cannot escape, I want to get out of that particular circle, environment, and that particular structure, and I do not know how to get out of it, I am caught in it totally, and the desire, the urge to break through and being incapable brings about in different ways and different circumstances this thing called despair: I've lost my son, the utter loneliness, the meaninglessness of life, and from that arises the sense of not having any purpose, any meaning, any creative thing in life. And from that there is despair. And that same movement creates hope.
Now is it possible to be free of despair? Is it possible never to come upon such a thing and therefore free from both despair and hope? You are following all this? Am I making myself clear? You see thought, by which we live, unfortunately, thought is never new, is never free, and thought has created this prison, not only in the field of knowledge but also this prison of the 'me' and not being able to get out of that 'me'. So thought which has made the 'me' the centre of the universe sees the futility of itself and is incapable of going beyond it. Which is, thought wants to go beyond it, beyond the thing which it has built. Please do see this. It is thought that has made the 'me', the ego, which has become the prison, with all its turmoil, anxiety, fear, jealousy and so on, and thought says, 'I must go beyond it'. And it can invent, contrive, suppose, imagine, but it knows basically the falseness of it. The more sensitive, the more alive, the more it has integrity, sees the falseness of it, and therefore out of that comes despair of another kind. So thought being incapable of escaping from what it has created then begins to have hope in something which it has projected. So thought is creating all this. So to see that, not verbally, not intellectually, but to see the totality of it, then thought becomes extraordinarily quiet; it has no movement either to go beyond the 'me' or to support the 'me'. You understand?
Then what place has belief in life? For me, none whatsoever. Why should you have a belief about anything? Which doesn't mean that you have become callous, indifferent, brutal and all the rest of it, why should you have belief, about what? Belief about my neighbour? Belief about myself? Belief in the politicians - which is the last thing you can ever have? Belief in God? Belief in your guru, that he has attained enlightenment? How do you know he has attained enlightenment? Because he has got some peculiar feeling, or atmosphere about him, therefore you accept it? So why do you want belief? Look what belief has done in the world, for God's sake. You believe in your nationality, and look what it has done: wars. You believe in some kind of legendary god, and look what it has done: the religious wars, the sectarian conflicts, this group which believes in that and fights for it, wanting you to join it. You know the game that goes on. You fill your mind with belief because it has to be active about something. Whether that activity is concerned with drugs, drink, sex, or with enquiring into new consciousness and super consciousness, are exactly the same. If you are occupied with your kitchen or with god it is exactly the same. Because what matters is occupation, restlessness. You cannot have a mind that is completely quiet, full. There is fullness only when there is complete emptiness. You won't understand all that.
So what need there be for belief? Again thought plays its part. If you had no belief, no opinion, no judgement, what would you do? If you had no mental occupation, occupied, you know, going round and round with this or that, or something else, what would happen to your mind? This occupation with belief, with non-belief, is part of the movement of thought because thought is always moving, functioning within the field of the known. And in that there is no escape, the known is the prison, and from there to enquire into the unknown is the despair. But to know exactly the function of thought and the freedom from thought so that there is complete harmony, in that there is neither despair, hope nor belief.
Q: Sir, you said that this me, it takes tremendous energy for this me to die and that what it is to be aware of this whole movement of why one has to face death. Well, how do you face something if you don’t know what it is, and where is this energy to come from?
K: How can you face death if you don't know anything about it. How can you face death if you don't know anything about it. Face what you know, you can't face something you don't know. Face what you know, which is the 'me', the 'me' with all its activities, conscious, as well as the unconscious layers, which is the 'me', that you can understand, that you can face, the 'me' you can totally understand by watching, observing its movement in relationship, not by yourself on a hill top but in relationship you can observe the movement of the 'me', and that 'me' can be known totally. And when there is a complete understanding of the 'me', the self, the ego, and therefore in that facing there is the death of me. Then that is death. The dying to the 'me' is death, the unknown.
Q: Could you speak about discipline and how it relates to awareness and to choice. How we acquire discipline. What is discipline?
K: All right, sir. Discipline, awareness and choice. We are sharing this together therefore you are working, not just listening. What is discipline? Is it conformity to the pattern set by somebody, or you have set a pattern for yourself, or conformity to the norm of society, or of a new guru, or of the old guru? The word 'discipline' means to learn. You understand? The word, the dictionary meaning of that word is to learn, not to conform, not to obey your gurus, but to learn. Now what is learning? Learning to acquire knowledge or learning as a movement? For most of us learning is acquisition, having capacity to function technologically in a certain field. And we confine all learning to that, having more and more experience, more and more knowledge, always within the field of the known, and knowledge is always the past. Now learning of another kind is never to acquire, never to accumulate because the moment you accumulate, that accumulation becomes the 'me' and therefore it is already in the past, therefore dead. There are two things, aren't there: the learning to acquire knowledge, and learning which thought uses for its 'me' so as to acquire through knowledge status. I wonder if you follow all this.
And where you are learning, is there need for conformity? I need to learn a language because I have to go to that country or I like to learn different languages, therefore I learn, accumulate. But I am learning about myself in relationship with you. If I learn in that relationship, acquire knowledge, then according to that knowledge I react in that relationship therefore that is the past. Do you understand? Therefore the 'me' operates in relationship, whereas there is a constant learning in relationship there is no 'me', and therefore no need to discipline.
And the next question is choice: we think because we have freewill we can choose, choice is synonymous with freewill. Now I question altogether if there is freewill and what is the necessity of choice at all. If you see something clearly there is no choice; it is the man who does not see clearly, he says, 'What am I to do?' But to see clearly you can be obstinate, you say, 'Yes, I have seen clearly and it is so.' That's obstinacy. Lots of people are caught in this, they join different sects because they say, 'I see very clearly, it is so', but they don't enquire what is perception, what is seeing. When there is division between the see-er and that thing which he sees then in that division there is confusion, but when the observer is the observed there is no confusion. I can't go into all that.
So a mind that is very clear sees without distortion, such a mind has no choice because it sees. What is there need for choice when you see things clearly?
Then the questioner asks, what is awareness. All this is awareness. The understanding of the word 'discipline', the suppression, the conformity, the imitation, with all its conflicts, struggles, pains, and the reaction to that which is, I must express myself, I must be myself - and myself is still all that from which I have escaped. See all that very clearly, and to observe the nature of choice, what is clarity, perception, all that, the total awareness of all this is complete sense of attention in which there is no choice. I think it's enough for today. Right, sirs.