Space, love and compassion
Is it possible for the stream of selfishness to end?
5th Public Discussion Saanen
August 03, 1975
Krishnamurti: As this is the last dialogue, conversation between us, what shall we talk about this morning?
K: Would you talk about jealousy and suffering.
Q: Would you talk about attention and awareness?
K: Attention and awareness.
Q: Should we continue with meditation?
K: Should we continue with what we were talking about yesterday morning - meditation, and the non-repetitive process of the brain?
Q: Could you talk about love and compassion?
K: Could you talk about love and compassion.
Q: You talked yesterday about sound, would you go into that?
K: Oh, yes, we talked yesterday about sound. Would you go into that. Now, that's enough, just a minute. Love and compassion; awareness and attention; the importance of space and sound; and meditation, what we were talking about yesterday morning.
May I suggest something, that those who come here for the first time, though their problems may be urgent, would they kindly refrain from talking or interfering because we have already discussed most of the things, like jealousy, anger, greed, violence, all that. To go back over again would not be worthwhile. So would those who for the first time, out of curiosity, or out of serious intent, have come here, would they kindly, it is suggested, refrain?
So perhaps if we began talking over together what we were talking about yesterday, which is: what is the meaning of meditation, is it worthwhile doing it, and what is the mind that is meditative, whether it has any experience at all, whether it is capable of acting in this world, in the world of reality. That's what we were talking about yesterday. May we go on with that? Would that be all right? And also bring in the question of awareness, attention, love and compassion.
Let us talk over together about the question of space. I think that is rather an important issue that we should consider. Outwardly the world is getting overpopulated, one lives more and more in towns, in cities, where there is hardly any space, living in little apartments, flats. And so space is becoming rather scarce, outwardly, which has its own results because when there is no space outwardly various problems arise like violence, a sense of inescapable pressure of so many thousands around you - what a lovely world it must have been a thousand years ago! And when one lives very close to another there is no space, there is no sense of freedom in that life. I don't know if you have lived in New York for a little while, or in London, or any of these places. One feels cramped, held in.
So outwardly there is becoming less and less space. And inwardly we have hardly any space at all. I don't know if you have observed this phenomenon. We have our problems - jealousy, envy, not having sufficient money, despair, loneliness, all the psychotic, neurotic problems, and the ambition, ruthless violence. All that gives very little space within oneself. Now we were talking about awareness, is one aware of that fact, that in oneself one has very little space - ordinary space, emptiness? Is one aware of it that one has so many problems, at all levels, conscious as well as unconscious? And one's consciousness is so crowded in, and there is hardly any space - is one aware of it?
And, as we said the other day, thought has created the centre, and the centre thinks it is independent - I hope you are following all this, those who have heard it I'll just go over it again - thought has created the centre, that centre thinks it is independent and free of thought, so that centre creates for itself a space - me and my little enclosure, me and the family, which is still small - a little larger enclosure, and so on, so on, the nation. And within that little limited space we live.
So it is important to find out for oneself, or learn together, what is the meaning of space. Because a mind that is crowded, a mind that is stifled, held in, enclosed, such a mind must inevitably become violent. Right? And with all the other problems involved in ruthlessness, in violence, in this drive for fulfilment and so on, in that little space we live. Now is there any other kind of space? You understand my question? And to go into that question we must also understand the importance of sound. When you listen to some classical music, not all pop, which is mere noise at the end of it, some of it is good, naturally, but the rest is such a noisy affair, when you listen to some great classical music, if you listen to the sound, and you can only listen to the sound if you have equal space to receive that sound. Vous avez compris? Have you understood? Are we meeting each other or it's impossible?
Q: Non, pas completement.
K: Pas completement. Rien n'est completement. Look sir, when you listen to music, there is the beauty of it, the romanticism of it, the remembrance of it, hearing it in different places, and the association that it evokes, that music, with whom you heard it, how you talked about it, what the critics said about it and so on. So when your mind is occupied then the space is very small. But if you listen to it without any association, any image, then that music itself creates a great space. Haven't you noticed this? And so we try to create artificially that space, through sound, making a noise. That is, the Hindus have gone into this question of sound and listening to that sound, and producing that space in which that sound can continue. I wonder if you know what I am talking about. Do you know what I am talking about? Je mien doutais.
You see freedom is space, outwardly and inwardly, specially inwardly. And as the outward space is becoming more and more difficult, more and more crowded, the search for inner space becomes important, and so one takes drugs, drink, smoke, pot or grass and speed and all that. And there are those people who come from India talking about transcendental meditation through sound, repeating certain words. Those are all the activities of thought trying to produce a space in which whatever is heard is a total movement. That is an artificial process brought about by the desire to have space. I wonder if you see. And the word becomes then very important. So they introduce Sanskrit words, or you can introduce your own word - Coca-Cola is as good as any other word (laughter), I really mean it - or introduce any word, doesn't matter what, and you will see if you watch yourself, if you are aware of yourself, that sound creates a little space. And you think that space is freedom to go beyond.
So this space round the centre is the process of thought, and therefore it is still physical and chemical, because we said thought is a movement in time, chemical as well as physical. Right? And living in a small space denies freedom, and so there is always an unconscious demand for freedom, and so one escapes through some noise, and call it transcendental meditation, or what you like, but it is still the movement of thought. Right?
So consciousness is its content. Your consciousness is made up of what you think, what you feel, what you desire, what your fears, what your tradition, your culture, your demands, your physical necessities, it is a whole content, and that content makes your consciousness. And that content limits the consciousness. You understand? I wonder if you do. And so therefore in that there is no space. Are we going together?
So is one aware - one of the questions was to discuss, talk over together that question of awareness and attention - is one aware of this crowded content of consciousness? And in that consciousness there is a little space, there is a little, and we wander in that little space. Can we go on now? So is one aware of it? By being aware I mean, observe without choice, without discrimination - this is good, this is bad, this should not be - but just be totally aware of that consciousness with its content, which is also the unconscious. Here the problem arises: how can one be aware of the unconscious, the deeper - that's what everybody talks about. What we are saying is, if you are aware totally, then in that totality the unconscious is also. I wonder if you follow that.
I will go into it a little bit. I do not know, one does not know, I do not know why the unconscious has become so tremendously important. The psychologist, the analyst, the professional, everlastingly talking about it. They have written volumes and volumes and volumes about dreams, about everything, which is the unconscious. And to uncover the layers, the content, the intimations, and the hints of the unconscious, one thinks one has to go through analysis, analysing. Right? We are following all this? And analysis implies the analyser and the analysed. So there is duality. And you go endlessly investigating into duality and never reaching anything. Now if you are listening to what is being said, also the analyst - actually listening, then knowing your superficial consciousness, the content, then in that total awareness you see the whole of consciousness. I'll explain this because you are puzzled - by your faces you are puzzled. So we'll go into it.
How do you see the totality of anything? You understand? How do you see the totality of a tree? If you are a professional, a lumberman, you don't see the totality of the tree. You are thinking how useful what you can do with it, how many houses you can build, what kind of paper you can produce and so on, so on. So you never see the totality of anything if there is a previous conclusion about it. Right? Is that simple? That's fairly simple, isn't it? So I do not know what the totality of my consciousness is. Right? That is a fact, not a supposition. Though they talk a great deal about the unconscious and the conscious, and all the dreams and you know all that is going on, actually when you look at yourself do you see the whole content, or parts of it? Go on, sir. You only see parts of it, don't you? So the observation of the part denies the whole. I wonder if you see that. If I am concentrated on my problems, my ambitions, my country, my god, my this, I can't see the whole. Right? I can only see the whole when I am not concerned with the part, though the part is included but I am not concerned with it. Then in that perception, though there are the parts, I see the totality of it, which means my mind is free to observe. And it is not free to observe when I have already come to some conclusions about it.
You know we were talking once with a very famous scholar and a writer, a very well-known writer, superb style, a great friend. And he said, 'You know I find it terribly difficult because I have read so much'. He was a scientist, an artist, he could play the piano, he could draw, he could talk about Vedanta, Tibetan Buddhism, any subject on earth, he could. And he said, 'I have read so much, my mind is so full of words, knowledge, and how can I experience something original?' You follow? So to see something originally, that is, the totality of consciousness, don't bring your knowledge, your associations, your - look at the whole thing. You understand? So knowledge becomes a danger which will prevent you from seeing the whole. Knowledge is useful. Knowledge means, one speaks English, therefore there is a knowledge of English, and so on, mechanical processes.
So. Freedom implies space. And that space is denied and therefore freedom is denied by the politicians, by the dictators, by the totalitarian socialism, by the priests, by our own beliefs, by our own pursuit of pleasure, greed and so on. So freedom implies emptying the consciousness of its content. No, don't, please, this is real meditation. Don't fool yourself, you know nothing about it. One's consciousness is its content. Right? That's clear. Indian, English, you know, the cultural, ethical, economic, personal, everything is in that space of consciousness with its content. Right? That consciousness can expand or contract but it is still within the it's still held by its content - held by its content. One is aware of all this, not verbally, but actually. Right? That is, one is a Christian, one is a Buddhist, one is a communist, one has so many opinions, judgements, evaluations, problems, sex, demands - you follow? - full of that. And in that content there is no space and no freedom. Right? Does one see that? Go on, sir, please. Are you aware that in that limited consciousness there is no freedom and therefore no space? And without space the inevitable process is that thought fills that space. I wonder if you see this. Have you ever noticed when you are by yourself, or walking along the woods quietly, that your mind when it is not thinking at all, when no thought is there, there is an extraordinary sense of deep, wide, quiet space? And thought is frightened of that space because it is uncertain, so it begins to fill that space. Have you noticed all this?
So our question is: is it at all possible to empty the psychological content of consciousness? You understand my question? - the question, not the answer. So we are going to find out, we are going to learn about it together if you are interested in this, we'll go together. As we said yesterday, our brains can only function in areas of certainty, in areas of security. Obviously. It is frightened of the unknown - death, what will happen tomorrow, the unknown. So it functions and operates and lives within the area of the known, which is tradition, old or new. And in the field of the known there is hardly any space. I wonder if you see that. Right? May I go on? Please this is a dialogue between you and me, you must also talk. I am not just talking to myself.
So how can the mind create, bring about space not artificially, because the artificiality then is the movement of thought. We are back into something, the good old business, therefore it is valueless. So is there a possibility of consciousness, its content, emptying itself? You understand? All right. Suppose my consciousness is filled with my pride, with my arrogance, what it has done, what it has achieved, what it has - you know, what it has accumulated, the tradition, the nationality, the culture, all that occupies my consciousness. And therefore in that consciousness there is very little space and therefore there is no freedom there. And I ask myself, can this content naturally fade out? Right? Naturally, not propelled out, kicked out, willed out, or substituted, can it naturally empty itself of its content? You have understood the question?
Now we are going to find out. First of all, am I aware of it - aware of my content? I am a nationalist, I am a Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, or a communist, socialist, and I have got various problems of sex, pleasure, ambition, greed, I must be beautiful, I must know more, I am not as good as that, ideals, conclusions - you follow? - all that. Can all that be washed out, emptied? Have you ever asked this question? No. We are asking it now. How shall I set about it? Right? I know the content of my consciousness, and the content of my consciousness is the content of your consciousness. You understand? My content is your content because you are ambitious, greedy, envious, violent, stupid, clever, all that. So our consciousness deeply is like yours. And I am asking, can this content end instantly, not gradually because through a gradual process I am accumulating. You understand what is meant by this? If I am gradually emptying the well, the water is filling up all the time. You understand? If I am gradually, layer after layer, problem after problem, ideal after ideal, remove, it takes time, in that time some other factors arise which bring further complications - like as they are doing in politics. So my question is: can that end instantly, otherwise it has no meaning. I wonder if you see that. Right?
Now how does it end? What is the process of it? I said, am I aware of this whole movement of the consciousness, am I aware of it? Then if I am aware what is the meaning of attention? Right? Now, when there is no observer then there is total attention. So who is the observer? You follow? The observer is the past, is the accumulated knowledge, associations, remembrances, all that is the past, which is time. So as long as there is an observer who is observing and trying to be attentive, there is no attention. Right? Have we understood? If I am trying to practise attention, as many do, then it is still the process of thought, which is, that the centre says to itself, 'Attention may be most useful and so I'll practise it', and that is still within the area of reality which is thought. I wonder if you see. So we are saying that attention comes about when there is no observer. Right? Think it out, see what is learn about the observer. That is, me observing you, me with my prejudices, observing you, so I never see you. I see you through the screen of my conclusions. So can I look at you without any conclusion, that is, without the observer? Which means only observation and therefore total attention.
Now let's go the next step - this is not a step, this is total comprehension. If you understand it totally then you can break it up into parts; but you cannot come to the totality through the parts. How do I see anything totally? You understand my question? I want to see myself totally, that is, not fragmented as the physical, psychological, intellectual, and so on, emotional but the totality of myself. How do I find out? Come on sir, it is your problem. Are you all paralysed, by any chance?
Q: What has sensitivity to do with the perception of the whole?
K: What has sensitivity to do with the perception of the whole. Obviously unless you are, if you are not sensitive you can't see. You must have a fairly sensitive body, sensitive perception, eyes, sensitive feeling, you know, the whole thing must be sensitive. That is necessary, but put that aside.
Do you ever see the whole? Do you see yourself as a whole, not as a fragmented human being?
Q: I can’t see the whole.
K: We are going to find out, sir. Obviously the 'I', the centre, can't see the whole. Now just listen, please. I ask you, if I may, do you see yourself as the whole? Now you heard that statement - right? - what do you do with that statement? Do you make an abstraction of it into an idea? Listen carefully, please. I made that statement: do you see yourself as a whole? You have heard that statement and how do you respond to that statement? Either you say, 'I have never asked that question myself', or 'I can't see myself as a whole because I have always lived in fragments', or hearing that statement, you make of that statement into an idea? Right? And then try to conform to that idea, or bring that idea and say, 'How am I to work it out' - you understand? Either, when you listen to that statement, either you say, 'I have really never put that question to myself', or you say to yourself, 'How can I look at myself as a whole when I have lived, functioned in fragments?' Or, you hear it, and the very act of listening makes it into a conclusion - it is possible, not possible - into an idea. Now which is it that you are doing? You understand my question? No, wait, don't answer me, please, don't answer me. I am not your analyst. I am asking you, if I may, which is it that you are doing: say, 'I have never looked at myself as a whole, I don't know what it means because I have never, I have always lived in broken-up parts: 'me' and my pleasure, 'me' and something else - you follow? - broken up. Or I, by listening to that statement, draw a conclusion and try to live according to that conclusion. Right? So am I aware of this process - fragmentary perception, never putting oneself that question, having put that question draw a conclusion - am I aware of this total process?
K: First of all I don't know, I have never even gone into this. You follow? You can't answer now immediately because you are being challenged, and you are still looking at it, whether you are drawing a conclusion, never put that question to yourself and always living in fragments. You follow? Are you aware of this movement? If you are aware, then what does it mean to see the whole of yourself? You understand? Are you separate from your thought? Is your desire separate from you? Is your anger separate from you - your ambition, your greed, your violence, arrogance and so on, is it separate from you? Or you are that? Right? Surely you are that. Now, if you see you are that, then there is no observer. Before, traditionally, I said, 'I am different from my anger' - right? 'I can control my thought' - thought which has created the centre, the centre becoming independent of thought, then the centre says, 'I will control thought'. See the trick it is playing? So when you are aware of this process of living a fragmentarily life - your life at home different from your life in the office, there at home you may love, or curse, or whatever goes on in the home, and in the office, you know, you have to be very careful otherwise you can't get on, and so on and on. So we live in fragments - god, all that. So are you aware of this fragmentary way of living, and are you aware that whenever you hear something new, a new statement, you draw a conclusion from it, make an idea of it, and try to comprehend the idea, not the statement. Right? Now, do you give attention to this? When you give attention - which means no observer - you see the whole movement, don't you? I wonder if you see. You see the whole movement - how you live fragmentarily, never looking at a new challenge, and challenges are always new otherwise they are no challenge, and drawing a conclusion. This is the total movement of thought. Right? And do you see the whole of it now because it is so clear?
Now in the same way, can you see the totality of your consciousness, not the parts? And you cannot see the totality if there is any kind of choice in your observation - I like this, I'll keep it, the other I don't like, I'll put it away - if there is any kind of attachment to any content in that consciousness. So you see then the totality of your consciousness and therefore in that totality the part is, the unconscious, it is there, clear. You don't have to plunge and go into all kinds of miserable business of examining the unconscious, it is there. Right?
So we are asking, as long as there is no space there must be violence, which is what is going on outside, outside in the world. When dictatorships rule the world, as they are becoming more and more, they are going to deny space, because space is freedom, and that is deadly to them (laughs). I don't know if you follow all this. So there must be space inwardly, and that space can only come about naturally, not invented by thought, or persuaded by thought, that comes about naturally, when there is a complete observation, seeing the whole of the content.
Then we can move from there and ask: what is love and compassion? Is the love that we have spacious? That's good! Or is it terribly limited? Is compassion without border, therefore infinite space? So we are going to examine that. The love that we have in the world of reality, that love is pleasure. Right? Would you acknowledge that, or you are all too holy for that?
Q: The way we love is sentimental.
K: Sentimentality. Love is called sentimentality, romantic, pleasurable, and the pursuit of that pleasure is called love. Right? I love you because you give me sexual satisfaction, or you give me comfort, you support me, you fulfil my loneliness, I depend on you, emotionally, psychologically and physically. So I am attached to you, and when there is any trouble between you and me, there is antagonism, there is jealousy, being wounded, there is hate. All that we call love, and say, 'I am very sensitive'. (Laughs) So in that love, as we call it, which is both divine and not divine, the divine love is the invention of thought - I don't know if you - come on, sir. And we are saying, in that love there is no space. Right? Because there is no space there is violence in it.
So. Then what is compassion? And is love pleasure? Is love the fulfilment of desire? You are following all this? I love you, and in that there is pleasure, and if in that love there is any disturbance there is jealousy, antagonism and all the rest of it. And in that love there is no space because I am holding - I wonder if you see that - I am clinging. Right? I don't have to go into all that silly stuff. Right?
So the so-called love has no space and therefore that love is really irresponsible. And responsibility comes into being only when there is compassion. Compassion not for you - compassion. Like the sun, it is not shining for you. So where there is vast space there is compassion. And that vast space cannot come into being if there is a centre as the 'me'. Right?
So without compassion there is no meditation. You understand, sir? Because without compassion, which means passion for everything, care for everything, respect for everything, without compassion what is sacred can never be found. You understand? You know we have created - thought has created something sacred - the temples, the churches, the symbols - and we worship those symbols, and call those sacred. But it is the movement of thought in time and measure. So that is not sacred. Once in India, I was asked the speaker was asked by the followers of Mr Gandhi, and he said, 'All peoples can enter, every type of strata of human society can enter into that temple, for god is there for everybody'. And they asked me, 'What do you say to that question?' I said, 'Anybody can enter, it doesn't matter who goes in because god isn't there'. You understand? God is an idea put together by thought. But one has to find that which is eternally, incorruptibly sacred. And that can only come when there is compassion. Which means when you have understood the whole significance of suffering - suffering not only of yourself, but the suffering of the world. The suffering of the world is truth, it is there. It is not a sentimental, romantic fluttering of thought. It is actually there, as in us. And to live with that suffering, go to its very end without escaping from it, when you don't escape you have tremendous energy to meet that suffering. Then only you go beyond it. Out of that comes compassion.
So meditation then is none of the things that have been traditionally brought from India to this country, or abroad, those are all the activities of thought. Meditation then is the total comprehension of the movement of thought, giving it the right place, the correct place. Thought has its correct place, and that correct place can only be understood or seen or have an insight into, when you understand totally the movement of thought - all its activity, all its cunning, its deceptions, its illusions. Then when you understand pleasure and the whole significance of fear, out of that there is this thing called suffering, which man has never been able to solve. Christianity has made a parody of it. We have never been able to solve it, and therefore we have never been compassionate. And compassion comes only when you have understood the whole meaning of suffering, and no longer suffer, and therefore out of that comes compassion. It is only the compassionate mind that can meditate and find that which is eternally sacred.
Quelle heure est il?
Q: Isn’t there a paradox when you say, it is the ‘I’-ness of ‘I understand’ because the ‘I’ is like the observer. But if there is no observer there is no ‘I’. I can’t be aware, I can’t understand.
K: Sir, I said to you, I said, sir, the 'I', the centre, is created and put together by thought. Right, sir? Do you see that? That's a reality, isn't it? Go step by step, sir, I'll show it to you. Thought in its demand for security has created the centre. Right? Agree, sir? Now, that centre is independent of thought. Right? Now is the centre aware of this process? Is the centre aware that thought has created it, and the centre becomes independent of it, and tries to control, shape thought? Is the centre aware of this movement, and not think it is independent?
Q: But it is thought itself.
K: Wait, sir. Wait, I am going into it. You go to the ultimate (laughs). Do we see this, sir, that thought has brought the centre about, and this whole process, are you aware of it, is the centre aware of it?
K: No, sir. I am just asking a very simple question. Is one aware, is the centre aware of this movement of thought? If one is aware then the question is, who is aware? Is the observer looking at the centre, says, 'I am aware', or is the centre itself aware of the movement of thought, which has created it? If it is aware, then who is the entity that says, 'I am aware that thought is doing this'? It is still the centre. Right? So are you aware of that?
Q: It is still the centre!
K: So what next then? The centre is always responding, observing, correcting, discriminating, chastising. Right? All that is the movement of thought. Is one aware of all this?
Q: It’s the centre.
K: Ah, no, no. All right. Is the centre aware of this?
K: Not, 'maybe'.
Q: I don’t know.
K: Leave it alone then. If you don't know, watch it, learn about it, see if the centre can be aware of itself, of the movement of thought.
Q: There is still an observer.
K: No, sir. Look, sir, you are aware of this tent, aren't you? Yes? You are not the tent, are you?
Q: I don’t know.
K: Oh! (Laughter) If you are the tent (laughter), then Mr Graf will be very pleased because then he won't have to collect money! (Laughter) (Clapping)