Psychologically we are one unitary movement
To observe without distortion
5th Public Talk, Ojai, California
May 17, 1980
May we go on with what we were talking about last Saturday and Sunday? If I may point out, this is not an entertainment, to be amused, or intellectually, or emotionally stimulated. Please don't take notes because you can't pay attention to both. I hope you don't mind.
Human beings right throughout the world have been tyrannised over by institutions, organisations, by priests, by gurus, by every form of authoritarian aggressive assertions, either by the philosophers or by the theologians, or by one's own idiosyncrasy, greed and anxiety. And we have been saying during these talks - tomorrow will be the last one - and the questions and answers, and it becomes more and more imperative that human beings, whether they live in far away Asia, or in the Western world, or here, should bring about in themselves a radical transformation, a mutation. And that is necessary because society as it is organised, upheld, has become extraordinary complex, corrupt, immoral; and such a society is very destructive, leading to wars, oppression, every form of dishonest action. And to bring about a change there, in the society, it is necessary that human beings change themselves. And most of us are unwilling to do that. Most of us rely either on an institution, organisation to change society, or some leader - and these leaders generally become tyrannical. We look to others to bring about the necessary change in society. And we human beings are responsible for it, we have created it, we have put it together. We, those in America, Europe, India or wherever they live, we have made this society.
And we seem to not realise the central fact that we, each one of us, are responsible for what is going on in the world. The terror, violence, wars, and all the rest of it. And to bring about that change in ourselves we have to look at ourselves, we have to see exactly what we are; and not depend on anyone, including the speaker. We have all been led by others, and that is one of the great calamities, so we become utterly irresponsible: irresponsible for our own acts, for our own behaviour, for our own vulgarity, and so on.
Many of us, and most people, at least thoughtful people, are aware that they are conditioned by society, by education, by all the various pressures and incidents, and accidents and ideas; we are conditioned by religious beliefs, by philosophers with their theories, whether it be communism or other kinds of ideas spun out by philosophers. The word 'philosophy' means actually the love of life, love of truth; not love of ideas, not love of theological concepts; but the actual understanding of life and the loving that takes place when one understands the deep meaning of living. That is the real meaning of a philosopher.
And we have been conditioned by our own beliefs and the beliefs imposed on us; and the desire to be certain, the desire to have no fear; all that has brought about our conditioning - the American, the Russian, the Hindu, the Muslim, the Arab, the Jew and so on. We are conditioned. And as most of us are aware that we are conditioned, we say, we cannot possibly change it, it is impossible for the mind, for the brain, to uncondition itself. So put up with it, modify it and carry on. If you observe yourself, that's what we are doing. Please, I would like - if the speaker may point out, that we are not doing any kind of propaganda, we are not instituting one belief against another belief, one dependence against another dependence. There is nothing to prove because we are, both of us, are thinking over together. All of us, if you are serious here, are giving our attention to this fact: that we are conditioned and out of this conditioning we are creating more and more havoc in the world, more and more misery, confusion. And we are asking, talking over together, thinking together, whether it is possible that this conditioning can be totally freed, eradicated, broken down, changed, mutated and so on. So we are thinking over together. You are not, if I may point out, listening to the speaker and agreeing or disagreeing. There is nothing to disagree, or agree. We are thinking together and seeing the necessity of bringing about a radical change in society, and that change can only be brought about completely, wholly, when we, human beings, transform ourselves. That's a fact, not a concept.
A concept is merely a conclusion, opposing one opinion against another opinion, one belief against another belief, and wrangling, or quarrelling about those concepts and ideas and ideals. Here we are merely investigating, looking, observing our conditioning.
Our consciousness is made up of its content, which again is a fact. Our anxieties, our beliefs, our ideals, by our experiences - the content, the suffering, the pain, the remembrances of things that are past; all that, the doubt, the faith, the uncertainty, the confusion, all that makes our consciousness. Please as we are talking look, observe, if we will, our own consciousness: the beauty of the trees, the mountains, the lovely skies, if there is no smog, all that is part of our consciousness; the hatred, the disappointments, the success, the travail that one goes through life, all that makes up our consciousness. Your belief in god, or disbelief in god, your acceptance of a guru, or the non-acceptance of a guru, and so on and so on, all that is the content that makes our consciousness. You can expand that consciousness, limit it, but it is still part of that consciousness, its content.
And we are asking, as we have said during the past talks, whether it is possible for a human being to be totally psychologically free of fear. Last Saturday, or Sunday, we went into that very carefully. And if one may briefly repeat it: is fear, of which all of us know, of various kinds, is fear of things with regard to that or that, or is fear the very structure of the mind; or thought has put fear there? Please, I am not asserting, we are talking over together. The mind, which is all the movement of the brain, the reactions, the responses of our nerves and all that, that mind in itself, has it fear? Or thought, which is part of the mind, has brought about fear? Right? We are asking this question. And we said, to find that out you must examine the nature of thought, our whole process of thinking, which is born as a reaction out of knowledge, experience, stored up in the brain. As knowledge is always incomplete, whether scientific knowledge, or the knowledge that one has acquired through experience, or the knowledge through books, study, research, must always be incomplete. That's a fact. And thought therefore is incomplete, fragmented, broken up, divisive. And we are asking has thought put, introduced the fact of fear?
We said thought is time, because thought is movement, and time is movement. That is, from here physically to go there, to cover the distance. And that same movement has been introduced into the psychological world - I am this, I shall be that, or I want to be that. So there is not only physical time, but also psychological time. And that is the pattern in which we live, that is part of our conditioning. And we are asking, talking over together, thinking over together, whether thought is the factor of fear. And if so, can that thought observe itself bringing about fear, and so find out, for the mind to discover that the mind itself has no fear - which we went into, which we can go into again if necessary.
So that is, time, achievement, this million years and more of our brain being conditioned, evolved. And that brain, that mind - the mind is part of that - is conditioned. And we are saying, asking each other, thinking together, whether such a mutation can take place. And that mutation can only take place psychologically when one can look at oneself very carefully, without any distortion, because that is the central fact. Without any distortion - is that possible? It is only possible when there is no motive to become something, to change something and so on. To observe without distortion, actually what we are, not what we should be, or what we have been, but what is going on now.
And distortion takes place when there is any fear in our observation, which we went into the other day, and if there is any form of pleasure. This is one of the central factors one has to understand, look at. Pleasure is one of our driving forces: pleasure of possession, pleasure of knowledge, pleasure of achievement, pleasure of power, pleasure of status; and the pleasure of sex, the pleasure of following somebody, and the pleasure of achieving enlightenment - whatever that may be. That's one of our central activities, like fear. They go together, unfortunately. I hope we are observing ourselves as we are, observing these two factors in life. It's not that the speaker is telling you, you know all about this. And we say, as long as there is fear, with all its anxiety, hatred, antagonism, and so on and so on, comparison, conformity, imitation, and the tremendous drive to have more and more pleasure and the pursuit of it, is a distorting factor in the observation of what is actually going on.
If we observe according to some psychologist, some philosopher, some guru, some priest, some authority, then we are not observing. We are observing according to their knowledge, according to their investigation. And our minds have become so accustomed to accept others' research, investigation and conclusion, and with that knowledge in our mind we try to look at ourselves. Therefore we are not looking at ourselves; we are looking through the eyes of another. And this has been the tyranny with which human beings have put up for a million years and more.
We are not saying you must suppress pleasure, or transform pleasure, or run away from pleasure. That's what the priests have done. That pattern, that idea of suppression, escape through identifying with some idol, person, or concept, that hasn't solved the problem. So we have to go together, investigate, think together, what is the nature of pleasure.
As we said, this is not an entertainment, this is very serious. If you are not serious, if you want to have a sun bath, or sit under a beautiful tree, do so, but you are not paying attention to what is being said, and this is a serious matter that affects our whole life.
So as we went over the other day the nature and the structure of fear, together again let us observe the nature of pleasure. Why human beings all over the world are condemned to this thing, why human beings everlastingly follow it, in different ways. Right? So what is pleasure? Why sex has become important? In this country volumes and volumes are written about it. Is it a reaction to the Victorian era? It is as though for the first time one has discovered it. And here, without any restraint, without any modesty - we are not condemning, we are observing - it is going on, sex in different forms. That's part of pleasure. The remembrance, the picture, the desire and so on. We went into the question the other day, the nature of desire. I won't go into it now because we have limited time.
And it is always the remembrance, remembering the pleasure, an incident, which has passed, that incident has left a mark in the brain, from that mark, which is the remembrance of that incident which has gone, and that incident has given at that moment, at that second, great delight. Then the remembrance of it and the pursuing of it. So our brain, our mind, is a bundle of past remembrances. And these remembrances of various kinds have brought about this desire, this pursuit of pleasure. So if you want to go very deeply into it, which we shall, just now, the mind, including the brain - we are using the word 'mind', please bear in mind, if I may explain, the mind is the brain, with all its convolutions, and all its experience, stored up as knowledge, the mind is the reaction, physical sensations, all that; the totality of all that is the mind. The mind is part of this consciousness with all its content.
So can thought, which is the factor of remembrance, remembrance is the recording of an incident that for a second, for a minute, has given you sensation, which has been transformed as pleasure, can the mind not record? You understand what we are saying? You haven't gone into it probably, and we are going into it now. Our brain is a recording machine, recording all the past experiences, pleasures, pain, anxiety, the wounds, the bruises psychologically one has received, all that is put together by thought. That is, the remembrance, and acting, and pursuing according to that remembrance. We are saying, can the brain, can the whole totality of the mind not continue in registration? That is, if you have an incident - over, finished, not record it. I'll go into it a little bit.
We record from childhood the wounds, psychological wounds that we have received, the pain that has been imposed by our parents, by education through comparison, that is, you must be like your brother, or you must achieve certain position and so on. So we are, human beings psychologically are wounded. And if you are questioned now about the way you live, your beliefs, your confusions, your desire for power, questioned, you will get hurt - why you follow anybody, you get hurt. Now to listen to what is being said, asked, and not to register. I wonder if you follow all this. No, no, madam, this is quite difficult. No, no, don't say so easily.
Not to register flattery that you receive, or the wound, the insult. And that registration is almost instantaneous. If somebody tells you, what a marvellous person you are, there is immediate registration. Oh, what a marvellous speech you made the other day! That is registered, and from that registration there is pleasure; or, that was rather a stupid talk, immediately that is registered, that becomes the wound, and you carry it for the rest of your life, psychologically. We are saying, asking, looking at the mirror which is being presented, in that mirror we see ourselves without any distortion. That is, to be so attentive at the moment of flattery, at the moment of insult, at the second when somebody says a cruel word, or points out your neurotic activities, to see it as fact and not register it; that requires attention at that moment. Attention implies that in that attention there is no centre from which you are attending. I won't go into all that because we did the other day.
So we see the nature of pleasure. I can't go more into it, briefly that is enough. Because we have a lot of things to talk over together.
So fear and pleasure, and we are asking further: is love pleasure? Go into it, sirs, and ladies. Is love desire? Is love something you remember? An image you have created about the other person? And you love that image? Is that love? Can there be love when there is conflict, ambition, the drive for success? Please enquire into all this, look at it in your own lives. We know the love of nature, the love of books, the love of poetry, love of this and that, but we are talking psychologically, which is far more important because that distorts our lives and so distorts our activities and our actions. And without love there is nothing.
So if we are serious, concerned about this fact that human beings have created this society, and that human beings unless they bring about a radical transformation psychologically in themselves, they will go on century after century suffering, creating misery for others, and pursuing this everlasting illusion called god and also the rest of it.
So to find out, or to come upon that strange flower which is called love, which cannot come about through institutions, through organisations, through belief. And is love pleasure, desire, jealousy? If it is not, then is it possible to wipe out all that, effortlessly, naturally, easily? That is, can hatred, violence, which certainly is not love, end? Not at some future time, not tomorrow; end, as you are listening, end it. And we went into the question that attachment is not love. Because attachment breeds every form of antagonism, dependency, fear and so on. You all see that, you all know that, you are all fully aware of all this. And seeing is the ending of it, not merely logically, analytically see it, but to see the fact, the total consequences of attachment. It is very clear. But for most of us seeing is intellectually analysing, verbally explaining, and being satisfied with explanations. To see what attachment implies actually - the pain of it, the jealousy, the antagonism, you know, the whole sequence of that movement. The very seeing, in the sense not only visual seeing, optical observation but also the art of listening to this movement. And when you listen to it completely it is the ending of it.
So the ending of the content of our consciousness, which is the very essence of the 'me', the self, the 'I', because that is that, the 'I'. The ancient Hindus in India said, the 'I', the centre, source, the very essence is there, reality, god, truth, is there, and round that there are many layers of ignorance; and to free the mind of these various layers you must have many lives. You know, reincarnation, and all that stuff. We are not saying that. We are saying, as you see danger, hear danger, observe danger, there is instant response. When you see the danger of a bus coming towards you, you move away instantly, unless you are neurotic - perhaps most of us are! But we don't see the danger, the tremendous danger of attachment, of nationalism, of our separate beliefs, our separate ideas, ideals and so on. We don't see the great danger of that, because it divides man against man, one guru against another guru, one part of religious organisation against another religious organisation. This is happening right through this country and all over the world. When you see danger you act. But unfortunately we don't see the psychological dangers: the danger of comparison, the danger of attachment, the danger of isolated individual demands - because we are not individuals. If you observe, we are not; the word 'individual' means, indivisible, not broken up, not fragmented. Because our minds, our brains, if you observe it carefully, which has evolved through millennia upon millennia, millions and millions of years old, our brain is not your brain; it is the brain of mankind, the brain of humanity. Psychologically you suffer, you are anxious, you are uncertain, confused, seeking security. That's exactly what they do in India, in Asia, all over the world. So psychologically we are one, one unitary movement. And through our education, through all our personal, our desires and so on, we have narrowed all this vast, immense mind to our petty little quarrels and jealousies and anxieties.
And also, if time allows us, we have to go into the question of death, suffering, pain. I do not know if you want to go into all this, because it is part of your life. You can't say, well, I am not interested in death, I am not interested in suffering. That will be lopsided, unrealistic, and such a mind which refuses is an infantile mind. We have to investigate the whole complex problem of life. Either one understands it immediately, the whole structure; or you take part by part, and hope thereby to understand the whole.
Sir, please, this is not a question and answer meeting.
So we have to also consider, talk over together, what is suffering; why human beings throughout the world go through this torture. If you are sensitive, if you are alert, watchful, one suffers a great deal, not only in your own little backyard but you suffer for human beings who have no opportunity, who have no food, who have no education, who will never ride in a car, who only have one piece of cloth. And the suffering man has imposed on animals. All that, this immense global suffering, through wars, the tyranny imposed by the dictators; the tyranny, the sorrow imposed by various doctrines and so on. So what is this, why has mankind, human beings, you and everyone, why are we not completely free of that thing?
Where there is suffering there is no love. How can you? So where there is desire, pleasure, fear, conflict, suffering, there can be no love. So it becomes very important to understand why human beings go through this year after year, century after century. Don't let's reduce it to some kind of romantic nonsense. It is an actual fact. When you lose somebody whom you think you love, what agonies you go through; when you have failed in something: all that is a tremendous weight carried by human beings which they have not put off.
Is suffering to end by an act of will? Do you understand? You can't say, I will not suffer. That very act of will is also part of suffering. You cannot run away from it; you do run away to church. Every form of escape we have from this tremendous burden. In the Christian world you have escaped through your own image. The Hindus, being a little more clever at this kind of game, they say, suffering comes because of your past life, for your misdeeds and so on and so on. First of all, why we have not resolved it? Why human beings, very clever in things technological, in killing each other, why we have not solved this question. First thing is, never to escape from this. You understand? Never to escape from suffering, psychologically. We have pain physically you do something about it; take a pill, doctor and so on and so on. But psychologically when you lose somebody, when there is deep attachment to something or other, person, and when that attachment is broken, there are tears, anxieties, fear, sorrow. And when there is sorrow the natural - or unnatural response is to seek comfort; comfort in drink, in drugs, in some ritualistic religious activity. They are all escapes, because we have not solved it.
So psychologically, when there is the loss of someone, and so on, never escape from it; look at it. That is, to observe without distortion - is that possible? In that sense of agony, the sense of great sorrow, tears, shock, at that moment it is not possible, you are in a state of shock. Haven't you noticed all this? But as you come out of it, it may last a day, it may last a few hours - and I hope it won't last more than a couple of days - when you come out of it the immediate response is to find the cause of this suffering, analyse it, which is another form of escape, because you are running away from this central fact of looking at it, being with it. And when you come out of that shock thought begins: the remembrance of what we did together, what we didn't do, the remorse, the pain of the past, the loneliness which is now asserting itself, it's coming out - all that. To look at it without any movement of thought, because thought is the central factor of fear; thought is also that factor of pleasure and this sorrow, which mankind has carried for a million years, it is part of this whole structure of the 'me', the 'I'.
And we are saying carefully, advisedly, that there is an ending to sorrow, completely. And it is only then there is the passion of compassion, love.
And have we time this morning to go into the question of death?
What time is it, sir?
Q: Twenty five to one.
K: Twenty five to one. You see we have the last talk tomorrow. We have to talk about death, which is a very complex business, and the nature of meditation, which is part of life. Not the meditation of five minutes every morning, and afternoon and evening; but meditation as the whole movement of life, not separate from action, from our daily action. So we have to investigate the nature of death, action and meditation.
You know, sirs, and ladies, you may listen to all this, be stimulated by the speaker, or be antagonistic to him because he is disturbing you, breaking down one's own vanities, showing one's own rather shoddy little pleasures, seeing yourself in the mirror which the speaker is putting before you: but all that has very little meaning unless you act. But action is very, very complex; it isn't just, I will do what I feel like. That's what you have come to now: instant response to your desires, instant meditation and instant illumination. What nonsense all that is! That's what some of the psychologists, others are trying, saying: do what you want. And what you want, what you have done is brought about this terrible society in which we live. That is the beginning of degeneration. With this lovely climate, beautiful country, there is rapid degeneration going on, of which few of us are aware. We haven't even matured before we degenerate, we haven't even come to that.
So all these talks and discussions and question and answers have very little meaning unless one learns the art of listening, listening to oneself without any quiver, without any distortion, without any false response, just to listen to yourself. And also the art of seeing, observing yourself. You cannot observe yourself with your past experience; you have to observe yourself as you are, moving. Then there is an art of learning, which is not the accumulation of knowledge and information. This whole business of living is so complex one has to observe the whole movement of life. Perhaps we shall go into death and action and meditation tomorrow.