Relationships, images and hurt
Thought can never change man
1st Public Talk, Ojai, California
April 03, 1976
We are going together to investigate - I mean by 'together', not the speaker investigates and you listen, but together we are going to investigate into the whole psychological realm of human existence. We are going together to examine meditation, with all its complexity. We are going to examine together if there is anything sacred in life, which is part of meditation. And we are going to look into the question of death, love, whether there is an ending of sorrow, and the complex problem of pleasure, fear and the human relationship, which is the essence of society. And to examine all this one must be serious. This is not an entertainment, a something that you give an hour or two on Saturday or Sunday morning, and forget all about it for the rest of the week. We are going together to look into all these problems. So this is a very serious affair.
And we may use a language which is not modern; we are using the eternal language of human communication. And communication implies a sharing, a partaking together into the immense complex problem of existence. And if you are not serious, if you don't want to examine the whole of it, but only one part of it - you may be interested in meditation and not interested in anything else, or you may be only concerned with relationship, human relationship, between you and another, or you may only be concerned with the question of fear, but you have to take the whole package, not just one bit of it. So please bear in mind through all these talks that we are going to have for the next three weeks, every Saturday and Sunday and dialogues on Tuesdays and Thursdays, that we are gathered here for a very, very serious purpose: how to transform the human mind, the mind that has lived over many, many millennia, in sorrow, suffering, violence, bitterness, anxiety, fear, wars, violence. And to examine all this one must be very deeply concerned with what is happening in the world at the present time, both now and in the past, how all this has come into being, the wars, the violence, the gurus, with their absurd meditations and so on - we are going to go into all that.
And to investigate one must be free of prejudice, otherwise you can't investigate, then you are starting already from a premise, which you like, or which you have experienced, or which you cling to and therefore you are incapable of examining very closely. So to investigate demands that a mind must be not only aware of its own prejudice but the subject which you are going to look into. And to look into it we must use a language, a language that you and the speaker understand. He is using words which are common according to the dictionary, not according to modern language, specially American colloquialism with all their peculiar jargon. So communication is only possible between you and the speaker when both of us are concerned, when both of us are serious, when both of us share the problem. And you cannot share if you are already full, full of your own prejudices, your own conclusions, your own experiences, you must be free to look into - you may not agree or disagree. When you are examining something you don't agree or disagree, you look into it. So all this demands a certain seriousness, a certain quality of attention and not merely be intellectually or emotionally excited.
So having laid that as the basis of communication with each other, we can then look what is happening in the world, because we are the world; the world is you and me, the world is not separate from you and me. We have created this world; the world of violence, the world of wars, the world of religious divisions, sects, anxieties, the utter lack of communication with each other, without any sense of compassion, consideration for another. So wherever one goes, whether in India, the Middle East, or come to this country, in essence, right through the world human beings, that is you and another living in India, in America, in Europe or in the extreme Orient, we suffer, we are anxious, we are uncertain, we don't know what is going to happen.
Everything has become uncertain. So there is a common relationship between us all, whether we live in a cold climate, or hot climate, or very far away or very near, it's our human problem, therefore we are the world essentially, basically, fundamentally, and the world is you, and you are the world. I do not know if one really realises that, not intellectually but deeply, basically, that right through the world as human beings we are in sorrow, fear, anxiety, violence, uncertain of everything, insecurity. So unless one realises that the world is you, and you are the world, fundamentally, deeply, not romantically, not intellectually but actually, because then our problem is the global problem, not my problem or your particular problem, it is a human problem. Can we go on from there?
We are dealing with human, global problems, which is you as a human being, living in this monstrous, disintegrating world. So when we talk about relationship, we are talking about the relationship of man to man. And when you understand that relationship then you can come very much closer, which is you and your neighbour, you and your wife, you and your son and so on. So unless you have a global, universal, the entire, whole human being, you will then merely live in fragments, as an American, or a European, Communist, Socialist, Hindu, Buddhist and all the rest of the divisions that man has made. So this is very important to understand if one may point it out: that we are concerned with man, which is you, you are the world, and the world is you. Wherever you go, whether you go in India, or Europe or come here, man is suffering, man is afraid, man wants to find out if there is some truth anywhere, if there is any god, if there is anything sacred, whether man can ever be free from fear, an end to sorrow, whether there is an eternity or only the ending of life, a fifty-year life and that's the end of it. So we are concerned in our investigation of man, man, the universal man, or the woman - in this country Women's Lib plays a big part, so I had better include the women too in it! When we say man we mean woman also, don't let us quarrel about words, it becomes rather childish.
In examination together there is no authority, there is no teacher and the taught. Please this is very important what we are saying. In examining, in investigating together, sharing the problem together, there is no teacher and the taught, there is no guru and the disciple, therefore there is no authority, this is the basic thing one has to understand. In the world, psychological world, in the world of the spirit there is no authority. One may sit on a platform, as the speaker is, that doesn't give him any authority, and therefore you are not following him, or accepting what he is saying. It is good to have a great deal of scepticism, but that scepticism must be kept on a leash, and to know when to let it go and when to hold it.
So in examining this vast problem of existence and in investigating it, both of us must be very clear and understand that there is no authority; the one who knows and the other does not know. Together we are going to look into this. Whether you are capable of looking, that's a different matter, whether you are intensely, consistently, pursuing the investigation depends on you. Whether you have the energy, the intention, the necessary persistence. And if you haven't then you make authority. I hope you realise this. If you are lazy, indolent, and then you give authority to another. Or if you are disorderly in your life and you see orderliness in another then you make him into an authority. So please from the very beginning of this talk and right through these three weeks, we are going together to examine without any sense of authority, which means freedom to look. Because one of the causes of this disintegrating society in which we live, is that we are followers - one of the causes. We accept spiritual authority, the intermediary, the priest, the analyst - I hope there are some here! We become incapable when we give ourselves over to another to find out about ourselves. And as we said, one of the causes of this disintegration that is taking place in the world is that we have accepted another as our authority, our guide in matters of the spirit. We don't seem to be able to look into ourselves and examine very closely the whole human existence, which is yourself.
So I hope we understand each other. That we are not agreeing or disagreeing, we are examining, investigating and therefore there is no authority, only freedom to examine. I do not know if you see the beauty of it. Then you and I have a relationship.
One can look at what is happening about us, which is, disintegration, moral disintegration, politically, religiously, economically, socially, and in ourselves. One can find out many causes of it, many causes of this disintegration. That is, the word means breaking up, fragmentation taking place, both in the human being and in the society in which he lives. And one of the basic causes of this disintegration, this breaking up, is the utter lack of religious spirit. We are going to examine that word. Each person gives a meaning to that word according to his like and dislike, according to what he thinks his experience is, and therefore makes it a very small affair. The word 'religion' means according to a good dictionary, accumulating all your energy to investigate what is truth. To find out, to come upon that state of mind or consciousness in which there is truth, not invented by thought - which we shall go into presently in one of these talks. But one of the factors of this disintegration is the utter lack of the religious mind. And the other is basically the lack of morality. Not the Christian morality, or the Hindu morality, or the morality of permissiveness; morality implies orderliness, basic order, not according to a pattern, according to the convenience of environment, but an order that comes when you understand the nature of disorder, and therefore morality is a thing that's living.
So that is what we are going to do: to look at this disintegrating world, which is your mind, you who are the essence of society, who are the basis of society in your relationships. And where there is no relationship then there is disintegration. Is this all right? Can we go on from there?
So we are going to investigate what is relationship, what is fear, what is pleasure, what is sorrow, the whole meaning of death, and the very complex problem of meditation, and what is the quality of a mind that meditates. All that we are going to do. That means you'll have to be energetic, eager, passionate to find out.
Now first, as we said, there is no authority, therefore freedom to look, no tradition, therefore capable of examination. The word 'tradition' means to hand down, and also that word means betrayal, betrayal of the present; when you bring over a tradition and try to live according to that tradition, habit, then you are betraying the present - which you won't understand. And to examine this question of relationship, which is the basis of our existence, which is the basis of our society, unless there is that deep understanding and a transformation in that relationship, we cannot go further into the question of meditation, what is religion, what is truth and so on. So that is the bedrock upon which we must stand clearly and find out what it means to have relationship, to have right relationship, accurate relationship. Again the word 'accuracy' means factually correct.
What is relationship? What does it mean to be related to another? This is very important to find out; not to avoid, not to escape, but to find out actually what it means to have a relationship with another - at the physical level, sexually, psychological level, emotional level, intellectual level and at the level of what one calls love. And if that whole nature and structure of relationship is not understood, lived daily - please listen to this - if that relationship is not clear, to go and meditate is utterly infantile, it has no meaning because this is the basis of life, then meditation merely becomes a futile, infantile escape. And in this country, the gurus and all the business, the transcendental meditation and all that, becomes utter stupid nonsense. Unless you establish right relationship between you and another, that being the very basis of existence, trying to meditate becomes an evasion of the actual. Therefore leads to all kinds of neurotic, destructive results. Right?
You know the speaker has faced this problem of meditation and the gurus for the last fifty years. It is not prejudice but in matters of spirit there is no leader and taught, therefore no authority, no guru. It is the authority that has destroyed the investigation and the discovery of what is truth.
So: what is relationship? What is the actual relationship in our daily life with each other? If you examine it very closely, and are not afraid, what is taking place? You have an image about yourself, first, don't you? A picture, an idea, a concept of yourself, and the person you are related to has his concept, or her concept, her image, her picture about herself. Right? Please you are looking at yourself, you are not merely listening to these words. Words are a mirror, and the mirror becomes useless when you are looking at yourself actually. So you and the other, man or woman, boy or girl or husband, wife and so on and so on, each human being has a picture, an image, a conclusion, an idea about oneself, about themselves. If you have lived with another for a week, or a hundred weeks, you have made a picture of the other, and the other has made a picture of you. That's a fact, isn't it? No? Are you afraid to look at that picture? That picture has been built through many days, many years, many incidents, nagging, pleasure, comfort, fear, domination, possession, attachment and so on and so on and so on. Each one has an image of the other, and the other has an image of the other person. That's an actuality, isn't it? And you call that relationship. That is, relationship between the two pictures, between the two images. Right? You are not agreeing with the speaker. You are looking at the fact. These pictures or images or conclusions are memories, memories which you have put together, stored in the brain, and reacting to each other according to those images. You have been hurt, and that hurt is a memory, stored up in the brain, and that reacts. So our relationship is not actual but memorial. Do you understand what I am saying? If one is married, you have built a picture about your wife, and the wife has built a picture, an image about you. Those pictures, those images are the nagging, the casual remarks, the hurts, the pleasure, the comfort, the sexual memories, all that. And the relationship is between these two verbal pictures in memory, not actual. I think you have got to understand this. And therefore there is always division and conflict. For instance, you have been hurt in this relationship. The hurt is the image you have built about yourself has been hurt.
Right? Can we go on?
I wonder if you are actually observing it in yourself, or listening to the speaker and agreeing with the speaker? Do you understand? Those are two different facts. Either you are agreeing with the speaker and therefore that has very little significance. Or you are actually seeing that you have built an image about yourself, and that hurt exists because of that image. Understood?
So in this relationship of human beings the hurt has taken place. The image has been hurt. Unless you heal that image totally there must be always conflict. Right? There is the past hurts and you may receive further hurts. So there are two problems. Right? The one is that you have been hurt in the past and unfortunately this happens from childhood, in the school, in college, at home, university, right through life one is hurt. And because one is hurt one builds a wall around oneself to resist, not to be hurt any more. And having built a wall round oneself division takes place. Right? And you may say, 'I love you' but it is just words because a division exists. Right? So is it possible - please listen - is it possible not to be hurt at all? Which doesn't mean build a wall of resistance so that nothing can touch you, but to live without resistance which means never to be hurt. You understand? You know what it means to be hurt? When the child is compared with another, that's a hurt. Any form of comparison is to hurt another. Any form of imitation, conformity, is to hurt another, not only verbally but deeply. And when one is hurt, out of that hurt there is violence. So the problem is: is it possible never to be hurt? And having been hurt how to deal with the past hurts and how to prevent future hurts. You have understood the problem? So we will find out.
When you say, 'I am hurt' what is this 'me' that is hurt? You say, 'You have hurt me' - by your word, by a gesture, by discourtesy and so on and so on. What is hurt? Is it not the image that you have built about yourself? Please do look at it. That image is one of the factors which society, education and environment has built in you. You are that picture, that image, the name, the form, the characteristic, the idiosyncrasy and so on. All that is you, the picture, the image which you are. And that image has been hurt. You have a conclusion about yourself, that you are this or that, and when that conclusion is disturbed you are hurt. You are following all this? So can you live without a conclusion, without a picture, without an image about yourself? As long as you have an image about yourself you are everlastingly hurt. You may resist it, you may build a wall round yourself but when there is a wall around yourself, when you withdraw there is a division, and where there is a division there must be conflict. Like the Arab and the Jew, the Hindu, the Muslim, the Communist and the non-communist - you follow? Where there is a division it is the law - there must be conflict.
So: is it possible not to be hurt at all? That is to have an innocent mind. The word 'innocent' in Latin and so on means a mind that is incapable of being hurt. And this is very important to find out if one can live in daily life, not to go off into some monastery or in some community, limit your - you know, all agreeing together, and all becoming mushy and sentimental and all that business - but actually in daily life to find out if you can live without an image, and therefore never to be hurt. We are going to find out. We are going to examine whether it is possible to live that way. Which means never to have conflict, never to have this division, psychological division - there is a division between you and me, tall, short, brown, white, black and so on and so on, but the psychological division.
So first to be aware that one has this image. Not to rationalise it, not to say it is inevitable, one must have it, otherwise what would happen, if I don't have an image about myself how can I live in this world when everybody around me has images, they will destroy me. Those are all excuses. But to find out whether it is possible to live without a single image. Because the image is the Arab, the image is the Jew - do you understand this? And therefore there is eternal war. When I have an image about myself and that is hurt and my wife has an image about herself she is hurt, how can we have any kind of relationship? So is it possible not to have an image, which means not to be hurt? One has been hurt in the past, one has resisted it, built a wall round oneself, frightened not to be hurt any more, and there may be future hurts and therefore withdrawal, isolation.
Now how will you deal with the past hurts? Please follow all this. Will you analyse them? Do you understand? Analyse why you have been hurt, what are the causes of your hurt, who has hurt you, you know, go into it analytically. Again look at the analytical tradition: we have accepted analysis as part of our life. Right? If you cannot analyse yourself, you go to the professional. What is the process of analysis? There is the analyser and the analysed. Right? See the division already. Are you following all this? I hope you are, otherwise there is no point in my talking about it. You are examining your analysing your hurts. When you analyse, the process is the analyser and the analysed. Right? So there is a division. Is not the analyser - please listen carefully - is not the analyser the analysed? Right? You follow this? So you have created an artificial division, which is the analyser is thinking differently from the analysed, but in actuality the analyser is the analysed. Right? So there is a fundamental error in the process of analysis. And in the process of analysis you take time, days, months, years - you know the game that you are all playing, and enriching each other in your own peculiar ways, financially and emotionally and all the rest of it.
So there is a fundamental error in the process of analysis. When the analyser is the analysed, realising that, then how is one to be free of all hurts, of the past, and any hurts that may come tomorrow, that is in the future? Is this a problem, is this a real vital issue to be solved by you? Do you feel the necessity of solving it? Otherwise you just play games with it. If it is essential that you solve this problem, which means the problem of man who has divided himself by calling himself a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim - you follow? - me and you and we and they. Now how is one to be free of past hurts? If analysis is not the way, what is one to do?
Q: Make an image.
K: Listen to me for a few minutes - You may ask questions on Tuesday or a little after this talk, but first let's look at the picture first. Not the verbal picture because the description is not the described, the word is not the thing. So what we have done is that the speaker has described, so don't be carried off by the description. Look at the described, which is that you are hurt - it is inevitable. Life hurts you. Another hurts you. By comparing, through imitation, through conformity, through pressure, through propaganda, through all the things that are around you are hurting you. Now is it possible to be free of hurt? That is, are you aware that you have an image about yourself and that image is being hurt? If you are aware, if you say, 'Yes, this is a fact, this is an actuality, not a description', then what is one to do, knowing that any division must inevitably lead to conflict. Right? We will go into it together, share together. That is, the speaker is not telling you what to do. The speaker and you are sharing this question, to find out actually, in daily life, whether it is possible to live without a single hurt, because then you will know what love is.
Hurt and flattery are the same, aren't they? I wonder if you realise it? Both are a different form of hurts - no? You are flattered and you like it, and the flatterer becomes your friend. So that also is another form of encouraging the image. Right? The one you want, the other you don't want. So we are only now dealing with what we don't want. Which is not to be hurt. But we want the other, which is pleasurable, which is comforting, comforting, pleasing to the image that we have. So both are the same. Now how am I, how is a human being to be free of hurts? So we have to go into the question of what it is to be attentive - sorry to expand this question.
What does it mean to attend? Because if you know what it means to attend it may solve the problem. I will show it to you - or rather I won't show it to you, we will share it together. Have you ever given total attention to anything? Complete attention in which there is no centre from which you attend. Do you understand the question? When there is a centre from which you attend then there is a division. I wonder if you follow this? No, I see you don't. Let's put it differently.
All right. You know what it is to be aware - do you? To be aware. That is, one is aware of the trees under which we are sitting, aware of the branches, the colour of the branches, the leaves, the shadows, the thickness, aware of all the nature, the beauty of it. Then you are also aware of sitting on the ground, the colour of the carpet, the speaker, the microphone. And can you be aware of all this, the microphone, the carpet, the earth, the colour of the leaves and so on, the blue shirt and the white shirt, and the desk, aware of all that without any choice? You understand? To look at it without any choice, judgement, just to look. If you can do it, that is to look without any judgement, without any choice, just to observe, in that observation there is no observer. Right? The moment the observer comes in prejudice begins, the like and the dislike; I prefer this, I don't prefer that - division takes place. Right? So there is attention only when there is no entity who says, 'I am attending'. Right? Please, it is important to understand this. Because if you know, if there is an attention then you will see you will never be hurt again. And the past hurts are wiped away. That is, when there is an awareness in which there is no choice, no judgement, merely observation, but the moment the observer comes in then the observer gets hurt. Right? Do you understand?
So, when somebody says something to the picture that is going to be hurt, when there is complete attention there is no hurt. Have you understood? Somebody calls the speaker a fool, arrogant, or this or that. To listen to that word, to see the meaning of that word and give complete attention to it, then there is no past hurt, or the future hurt because there is no entity who is observing. I wonder if you get this? No, please, this is very important because we are going to go into this in all our talks. That as long as there is a division there must be conflict, because this is very important in dealing with fear, with pleasure, with sorrow, with death, all of that, that as long as there is a division between the observer, the experiencer, the thinker and the thought, there must inevitably be conflict, division, fragmentation, and therefore disintegration. So can you observe the tree, yourself, your neighbour, observe life completely attentively? Then can you observe with total attention the picture that you have about yourself? And when you give that complete attention is there a picture at all? You understand? You have understood it?
So when there is no image, no picture, no conclusion then what is the relationship between two human beings? You have understood? Now our relationship is based on division, which is an obvious fact. The man goes to the office, there he is brutal and ambitious, greedy and all the rest of it, comes home and he says, 'Darling, how lovely'! So there is contradiction in our life, and therefore our life is a constant battle. And therefore no relationship. And to have real human relationship is to have no image whatsoever. Then there is no image, no picture, no conclusion, and it's quite complex this question, because you have memories. Can you be free of memories of yesterday's incidents so that you are - you follow? All that is implied. Then what is the relationship between two human beings who have no image? You will find out if you have no image. That may be love. And that word 'love' has been so abused, so trodden, so sullied.
So can one live, actually in daily life without division? Which means without war, without conflict.
What time is it sir?
Q: Five past twelve.
K: I think an hour of this is sufficient. Do you want to discuss this particular problem, not something else? Do you want to have a dialogue about this? Dialogue being conversation between two friends, not two antagonists, two friends who are concerned about the problem, who say, 'Let's go beyond words, don't let's stick at words' - you may use 19th century words, which I am, or much older, 5,000 years old words, putting aside words, having an exchange, enquiry, friendly, amicable, who are committed to solve this problem. Then it's fun to discuss, to go into it.
Q: Sir, why does one try to protect the images you have of yourself in the first place?
K: Why does one try to protect the image in the first place. That's fairly simple, isn't it? Because we all want security, psychological security. What would you be if you had no image about yourself? Wouldn't you get immediately frightened? At a loss, insecure? We need security: food, clothes, and shelter, we need them, they are necessary, otherwise you can't live. But is there psychological security at all? We want it. It's one of our desires, hopes and longings and romantic demands, but in actuality, really, is there psychological security? I may have a marvellous picture about myself, the most this or that and the other, or I am the least, the opposite of that, that gives me comfort, that gives me security, that makes me feel that I am related, I identify with something or other; but remove all that, I become utterly empty, utterly lonely. And so I have to have an identity, which is the name, the form, the image, the conclusion, an idea, which is a belief. But to have none of those, which doesn't mean you live in a vacuum: on the contrary. Then you are totally related with everything and therefore when there is total relationship with everything there is no fear of insecurity. I wonder if you get this?
Q: Is it necessary to have the co-operation of the mind to transcend itself to arrive at that position of no image?
K: Is it necessary to have the co-operation of the mind, not to have that image. The questioner asks is it necessary to have the co-operation of the mind. What is the mind? Look, you have put a wrong question, you understand? Forgive me if I may point it out. You have already divided co-operation - you follow - the mind being different from the picture. The thought has created the picture. Right? And part of the mind is the whole structure of thought. If thought - please we will go into this perhaps tomorrow - the question of the nature and the structure of thought. It is thought that has created the image, isn't it? You say something to me and I react to it, according to pleasure or pain, and that is the beginning of a picture. The thinking about something is the beginning of a picture. And thinking is part of our mind. So when thought has created the image and when you see thought itself, in itself is the cause of fragmentation, then you have to understand thought. I wonder if you follow all this?
Look, we will discuss it tomorrow, this question, I think it is important. Thought has made this world - not the tree, it hasn't made the tree, but thought has made Christianity, thought has made Hinduism, thought has made all the sects, all the divisions, all the Jew, the Arab. You follow? The world. And thought has created wars - my country and your country. The religious wars. So what is the place of thought? Do you understand? We will go into that tomorrow. It is a very complex question. And you have to go into it whether you like it or not because all your life is based on thought. Just let me finish, madam.
Every action you do is based on thought. Therefore, action then is a fragment - business action unrelated to moral action, and moral action unrelated to political action, and political action unrelated to religious action. So there is always in our human existence and relationship conflict, and therefore never a moment of peace. You can invent peace, which is again the process of thought. And is peace the result of thought? We will go into all that tomorrow.
Madam, you were going to say something?
Q: I don’t know if this is absurd but I don’t know that I really understood what you said today. You said to avoid hurt. Is that to accept for the moment without judgement, is that the concept?
K: I never used the word 'avoid'.
K: Oh no. I have never used the word. You can't avoid. Because we have avoided we have all the problems.
Q: I said I...
K: Madam, I made it very clear, that thought, that the image which thought has created gets hurt. To be aware of that image and say, 'Yes, I have an image' to face it, not to escape from it, not to avoid it. I have got an image. I think I am a marvellous man, or a stupid man, or this or the other. I have conclusions that I am a Catholic, Protestant, which are all conclusions. I love Jesus, I don't love Jesus - you follow - they are all conclusions. Now to know, to be aware that you have these pictures, these images, that is the first thing, not to avoid it. Then to look at that image without any choice, without any judgement, of like or dislike, or saying, 'I must have a picture because what shall I do without it?' - you follow? Or rationalise it. Just observe it without the observer. Which is quite arduous, madam, it isn't just a plaything. That means you must be very serious in this matter.
Q: In the moment.
K: Of course. At the moment when somebody flatters you, somebody insults you, to give complete attention.
Q: What about if they love you?
K: If they say they love you, what do they mean by love? Has love a motive? You see that is why one must go into that also. When somebody says, 'I love you', how do you receive that? Which is much more important than the man who says, 'I love you'. How do you share it, how do you partake it, how do you receive it? Does it help you to wipe away your loneliness? Does it cover up your sorrow? You understand? Is it an escape? Does it breed attachment?
So when one says, 'I love you', or insults you, or flatters you, give complete attention. Then you will find out how to live a life without a single shadow of conflict.