The tremendous energy of the brain
The brain can function excellently only in order
2nd Public Talk, Bombay
January 19, 1980
I hope we may continue with what we were talking about on Wednesday evening. We were concerned with the nature of the mind, the mind being all the responses of the senses, emotions and the constant movement of thought. And we were concerned whether that whole nature of the mind, which is the mind of every human being which has evolved through many, many, many millennia, with all its vast experience, knowledge and the many incidents, and accidents and griefs and sorrows and the continual pursuit of pleasure, fears, anxieties and many varieties of conflict. Man has lived in that state - man being the woman and the man, not just the man alone. And as long as we are merely functioning within the field of knowledge, which is the brain, which is the mind with all the accumulated knowledge, then in that field action becomes fragmented. We will go into it very carefully.
But before we go into it, we must be clear that we are thinking together. This is really, if you don't mind my repeating it over and over again, very important. We never think together. Each one thinks according to his own particular desires, conclusions, concepts and ideals, hopes and so on. So there is never coming together in our thinking, in our feeling, in our observing. And as our brains and mind are the result of thousands upon thousands of years that brain and that mind, which is not yours or mine, it is not an individual mind, it is the mind of all humanity. I think this must be made perfectly clear, right from the beginning. What we consider our special brain, our special mind has evolved through millennia. That is a fact. Your brain is the result of thousands of years of experience, so-called evolution; evolution being a series of accumulation of knowledge through time. That is a fact, it's not the speaker's invention or the speaker's desire, hope, but that's a fact, the fact being that your mind is the result of thousands of years and that mind is not your mind, it is the mind of all humanity. You are the humanity. Please we must understand this very carefully together because all humanity throughout the world suffers, all human beings go through various forms of struggle, conflict, despairs, desperate loneliness, grief, anxiety, uncertainty, confusion: this is the lot of man. As you are the rest of mankind, you are mankind. If one could understand that, not intellectually, not verbally, but the truth of it, inwardly, when one feels this, the reality of it, the truth of it, then this separate, isolated activity - self-centred ends. You are concerned then with the whole of mankind. That gives one a tremendous vitality. Because when we narrow this brain and this mind to an individual self-centred activity, as we are doing now throughout the world, that is, 'me' is the most important idea, the 'me' and the 'you' - on that we live. But when one realises the fact, and the brain specialists are also saying now, that the whole of the brain - please understand all this - the whole of your brain retains memory, it is memory: memory being accumulated knowledge through experience. That is a fact. And as long as we function within that area which is limited, because all knowledge is limited, there is no complete knowledge, both in science, biology, archaeology, in any direction where knowledge is operating it is always limited. Right? This is so. And therefore that knowledge is always within the shadow of ignorance. Right? Please understand this because we are going to go into the various questions which involves our daily life. Until you understand this very carefully, see the truth of it, that our minds are the rest of mankind, if you see the truth of it there is great beauty in it, there is a sense of total responsibility. Not responsibility to your family, to your jobs to this or that. You are totally responsible for all mankind.
So we are going to think together to find out whether our energy is limited always or is there an energy which is limitless. Because now our energy is limited by our actions, by our education, by our narrow nationalism, by our beliefs, by our gods, by our religions, it is all canalised. Right? You are following all this? And when energy is limited its activity must also be limited. Right? So we are going to find out if it is possible for human beings to act so that their action is not fragmented, broken down, and therefore in that there is a great deal of conflict which is a wastage of energy. Right? You are following all this? Please don't be mesmerised by the speaker. Don't go to sleep. We are not giving out ideas, we are not disseminating some concepts. We are together, you and the speaker together, finding out for ourselves, in which there is no authority whatsoever - though the speaker sits on a platform, it doesn't give him any authority, sitting on a platform is merely for convenience. And so we must forget or put that aside when we are listening to the speaker so that we are together moving, walking as two friends, so that we can discover for ourselves the truth of things which is beyond all belief, all tradition, all gods, all concepts.
So if you have established a relationship between you and the speaker, not only verbally, but intellectually and also actually - you understand the difference between actuality and the verbal capacity of the intellect to grasp the meaning of words, translate those words into concepts and live according to those concepts? We are not doing that. We are dealing with actuality, that is, what is actually taking place now. One can only deal with that, not with concepts. You understand all this? Please, because concepts, ideas, ideals are non-facts. What is actually happening are facts. So we are dealing with what actually is happening, to each one of us; and most of us want to avoid that because it is much easier to talk about concepts, ideals and all the rest of that nonsense and never come to face what is actually going on in our daily miserable, limited life. Right? So please, if I may request you most seriously, we are dealing with actuality, not with ideas. Right? The word 'idea' comes from the Greek and Latin and so on, which means to observe, to observe, not observe and make an abstraction of it into an idea, into a concept. You are following all this?
So we are concerned with our daily life, what is actually going on inwardly, inside the skin, as it were, and also what is happening outwardly. The outward and the inner are like the tides of the sea going in and going out. Right? I was saying, our brains have extraordinary capacity, untold capacity, as you can observe in the technological field what human beings have done - the atom bomb, the surgery, the medicine, transportation, the division between people and so on. The brain has got extraordinary capacity and that capacity is narrowed down by our tradition, by our books, by our beliefs, by our constant battle with each other. I hope you understand all this. So this vast energy is brought down into a small, narrow groove. It took energy for you to come here, it took energy for you to put aside some time to have leisure to come here. When we talk, when we see, when we think, when we feel, all that demands energy. Everything that we do demands energy. But this energy instead of flowering, increasing to a vast degree, we have brought it down to a small area which is our daily miserable, conflicting, contradictory life. Right? Do we see that as an actuality or when you listen to this are you translating what is being said into an abstraction which becomes an idea? You follow what I am saying?
So the speaker is asking: how do you listen? How do you receive a statement of this kind? Do you listen or do you resist, or in the very act of listening, you are translating it to your own convenience, to your own comfort, resisting, so that you continue in your tradition, in your work and so on and so on? So it is very important to find out how you listen. You are following this? Do you listen at all? That is, naturally you hear with the ear, but the hearing with the ear is very limited. Right? You hear the words, the meaning of the words, and there you generally stop. You don't pursue the full meaning of the words, the full content of the words because the word is the expression of thought. Thought, as we pointed out the other day, is limited because knowledge is limited and knowledge which is experience, and therefore it becomes memory and that memory is limited. And when we listen we are listening with thought. I wonder if you understand that. May I go on? Are we listening with thought or merely listening? You see the difference in the two? I can listen to what you are saying, arguing with you, non-verbally, arguing, dialogue and never listening to what you are saying because my thought is interfering with listening to what you are saying. Right? So can you listen without the movement of thought interfering, which is quite an arduous thing if you have gone into it. Because we are always listening, not only with the ear, hearing with the ear, but also listening not only to what you are saying but also listening to the thought which is interfering with what you are saying. Right? So can you listen without the movement of thought interfering with the act of listening? Because we are going to go into the question, as we are doing now, as long as we live narrowing all our energy to a self-centred activity, life must become tortuous, full of anxiety, grief, sorrow, because we are reducing this vast energy to a small narrow little groove. Right?
So we are going to find out through all these talks whether it is possible to release this total energy. Do you understand my question? And so first we must find out what is order? Is there absolute order, or is order always relative? You are following all this? The housewife wants order in her kitchen and she doesn't like to stand in a queue to get a piece of bread - she wants order; and the businessman wants order, so that his investment, his earning and so on and his avoidance of taxes and so on, he says, please give me order, security. So we turn, we translate order into security. As long as we are secure in our job, having money and so on, we think that we bring about order. We want order. Now the brain can only function excellently when there is order, when there is no self-contradiction. You are following all this? When there is no sense of competition, when there is no striving, struggling; the brain demands security, to have security in order to function efficiently. This is what you do in business or if you are a professor or whatever you are, you need security to function skilfully or not skilfully. Right? So the brain is seeking security.
I do not know if you have noticed in your daily life there is disorder. Right? Please face it. Look at it, don't dodge it. There is disorder and when you sleep, the brain tries to bring about order in this disorder. Have you noticed it? That when you wake up next morning you find some kind of order is being established. Haven't you noticed all these things? You are a strange set of people.
So we are going to find out whether there is absolute order, irrevocable, immovable order, or order which is relative, convenient, comfortable, safe and all that. You are following all this? Order means, the root meaning of that word comes from Latin and is to originate, to grow, to increase. Now order according to knowledge is limited order. Right? I wonder if you follow what I am saying. May I ask, if you don't mind, most respectfully, are you also working as the speaker is working? You understand, working, your minds, your brains are active, thinking, investigating, observing or you are just sitting there, just listening, and so gradually going to sleep? Which is the fact? Are you working, thinking, observing, actively now?
So we are now asking: what is order, because without order the brain cannot be secure. When there is disorder the brain is all the time trying to create out of this disorder some kind of order because it can only function in complete order at its highest excellence. Right? This is so. Now we are asking: what is order. We accept order as following certain diction, certain ideals and so on. Order according to the totalitarian people is accept the authority. Right? Whether the Maoist authority, Marxist authority or the authority of the Pope or the authority of your guru or the authority of the books. You follow? In following, in accepting authority you think there will be order - not only outwardly, but also inwardly. Right? And our brains are trained to accept authority: You know, I don't know, please tell me what to do. And so what happens? When you accept authority so that there can be order your mind is not actively alive to find out. You are not investigating. Gradually your mind and brain becomes dull which is what is happening in this country. Right? So order based on knowledge, please follow this, order based on knowledge and knowledge being limited, order will also be limited. See the fact of it. Please, go into it with me. If I base my desire to have order according to what I already know, or according to certain sanctions, which is based on knowledge, that order will inevitably bring about disorder. Have you got it? So any order based on knowledge must inevitably bring disorder. I wonder if you see the beauty of this.
And is there an order which is not based on knowledge? You understand my question? You are following this? Please come with me, let us move together. Because this is very important to find out. As we said, energy which is expended on the accumulation of knowledge and the energy expended on that knowledge in action which we think will bring order will invariably bring disorder. This is a fact. So we are asking is there order beyond the limitation of knowledge? Look, mathematics is order based on knowledge. Order according to science is based on knowledge. All the political, economic investigation, acceptance and so on is again based on knowledge and all your politics are based on knowledge, whether it is personal ambition and so on. So our question is, is there an order which is so absolute, which is not based on human accumulation of knowledge, memory, thought? You get it? Please find out.
We are walking together. We are two friends walking along the same road, friendly - the word 'friendly' means affection, love, care - we are two friends walking together and this is a very important question which affects both of them in their daily life. So they are not resisting, they are walking, looking at the trees, the hills, the water, the birds, and also saying: is there absolute order. Then if there is, the brain is so completely secure, it can act at its highest excellence. You follow this?
We are going to find out if there is an order beyond thought. Right? Now what do you mean by that word 'order'? We must be clear, both of us, when we use the word 'order', what do we mean by it? As we said, the origin of that word is the beginning, the beginning, not the end, not the cause, but the very beginning of energy. I wonder if you get all this. You understand my question? Order implies a state of mind which can also act where thought is necessary, but also be free of thought so that it has an order of the universe. Sir, the universe, which is the rising of the sun and the setting of the sun, the new moon and the full moon, the bright stars, they are in complete order. Right? If the sun didn't rise tomorrow or for the next few days we would all be dead. There is order in the universe. And that order is not based on our thought. You are following? Follow this, please, see the beauty of it, come. Nature is not put together by thought. Thought has out of nature created various things, table, chair, and so on, out of the earth, but the earth, nature, the stars, the beauty of the heavens, the waters, is not put together by thought. And they function, if man doesn't interfere, in complete order. Right? There is total, complete order, absolute order.
Now, we are going to find out if in our daily life such absolute order can come into being. You understand my question? We accept disorder. Right? Not only outwardly, but inwardly. Corruption is disorder. The lack of efficiency in the highest places is disorder. When there is a quarrel between two people that is disorder. When man treats woman as though she was mere chattel, as it happens in this country where you don't respect a woman, that is disorder. And without creating order between man and woman you want to find out absolute order. You are following what I am saying? Which is, without understanding disorder and acting so as to eliminate disorder in our daily life you can't possibly understand the other. You can speculate, write a thesis, take a PhD, become a philosopher. Those are just nonsensical, irrational, irrelevant activities when we are concerned with disorder in our daily life. You are following all this? Now, you have heard that? Will you realise how you treat women? Right? And change it, say, yes, I agree, it is so, we do ill-treat our women, we have no respect for them, we use them for sexual purposes, to breed our children, and if we have a girl she has a very bad time. You know all this. And all that is disorder and unless you change that radically, you cannot possibly find out an order that is so absolute. You are following all this? Will you do it? No, you won't. And that is why our society is degenerating, corrupt, because we think one thing and do a totally different thing.
So as we are saying, the release of energy can only come totally, fully, completely, when there is absolute, irrevocable order, the order of cosmos. And when there is order there is a totally different kind of action. You are following all this?
Now, look, what is action, in which we are all involved? To come here is action, to listen is action, to think is action, not just moving from here to there physically or going to the office and sweating in the office for the next fifty years, that is also action. If you to talk to your wife, to sleep with her, to do anything is action. And the word 'action' means not having done or will do, but to act now. You understand? That is action. You are sitting there listening, that is action. But if you are listening and thinking it over and say, I will think about this tomorrow, that is not action. So we are saying action is what is taking place now. Whether that action now is based on the past, past memories, past knowledge, past incidents, past suffering or acting according to a future concept, future ideals. Right? So which is it that you are doing? Are you acting according to what you have already known? Right? Or acting according to some concept, ideals, premeditated resolves, or observing what is going on and acting immediately? You see the difference? I wonder if you see that. Am I struggling for myself with all this? Or are you also working? Because it's your life, not my life.
So action means order not based on memory. Go into it, sir, you will see. There is such an action which is so absolute, which is correct, precise, unchangeable. That can only take place when you realise, the past - please follow this - the past meets the present, modifies itself and becomes the future. Right? That is what you are doing. Your past has told you that you are this or that, a Hindu with all its tradition, and so on and so on, and meets the present, the economic, the over-population, the lack of jobs, the corruption, all that modifies itself and becomes, goes on to the future. So we are living all the time within this area, within this movement: the past meeting the present, modifying itself, proceeding, that is what we call time. I wonder if you follow all this. Now is there an action which is not based on this? This is not useless speculation, the speaker is not given to speculation. He won't speculate, he won't theorise, he deals only with facts, which is what is actually happening. So what is actually happening is this movement from the past to the present, modified, the future, that's what we are doing all the time and in that process is our action and therefore that action is always limited. And hence it must invariably bring about conflict, conflict - man, woman with each other, with the universe, with nature, it is a conflict. So we are asking is there an action which brings absolute order? Right? Action means order. And to find out that, sir, which is part of meditation, is to find out how you live in your daily life, whether there is an action of postponement, or action based on remembrance, and when you realise that postponement and remembrance, it will invariably bring about contradiction and therefore conflict.
Then when one realises that, the question from that arises is: what do you mean by realising? You understand? You understand my question? When you say I realise it, I understand it, what do you mean by that? Do you understand the meaning of words, therefore you intellectually grasp the meaning and there it ends? With most of you that is the fact. Say, yes, I follow everything you are talking about very clearly, it is so logical, it seems so true and so on and so on, and there you remain, which means what? Your intellect has been trained to accept words and theories, totally unrelated to the rest of the whole movement of human beings. You are following this? That's how you are trained, your education is that, this tremendous cultivation of memory, as a businessman, as a professor or as a scientist and so on and so on, totally unrelated and irrelevant to our life. Right?
So we are asking can one live in this world, this world being our jobs, family, children, pleasure, pain, all the nonsense that goes on around us in every department, specially the religious world which is monstrous: can we live a life of action? Life is action, life is relationship. Can we live and act without this whole momentum of the past changing itself in the present and moving? You follow? Can there be an end to it? You understand what I am saying? I will show you there can be - go into it with me, you will find out if you are serious, not playing games with yourself or with the speaker. Now as I said, as the speaker said, the past memory modifying itself with the present moment, then changing, this is our life which means always moving in time. Right? Now is there an action which is so immediate it doesn't allow time? You follow what I am saying? It is all new to you, so please listen to it, first listen. To us action is based on knowledge, time, ignorance, memory, thought. Right? Our actions are based on thought and so thought is always limited, which we went into, I won't repeat it over and over again. Therefore that action being fragmented, must invariably bring about many, many, various problems. Right? Is there an action which is not within the field of time? You have got it, time being memory, knowledge, movement. I will show you how, if you've got an interest in it, go into it. Which means action is always non-action. You understand? We are never acting, which is only now. We are always acting according to the past or according to the future. Therefore there is never complete action now. I wonder if you grasp that. Right? Do you see that, at least intellectually grasp it? Now we are saying, are asking, is there an action which will bring complete order, and act so that there is not a residue, as pain or regret, sorrow and all the rest of it. You understand my question?
That is, we have to investigate or look into the question of what is observation. Will you follow it with me? What is it to observe? Have you observed anything? That is, given your full attention to observe a tree. Right? To observe, not observe, translate and say, it is good, bad or I like, I don't like, just to observe. Right? Have you ever done it? If you are honest, you haven't. Have you ever observed without all the memory, without all the associations of the person with whom you are intimate, have you ever observed that person? Have you ever observed your wife, your children, your neighbour, your politicians, or your blessed gurus, have you ever observed them? Or are you so deferential and so nonsensical that you never look at them, never look?
I am going to show you something. Come with me, together. That is to observe, observe without the word. Right? Can you do it? Do it. Please look at it. See what happens. That is, to observe a tree, a woman, a man, a child, anything, a bird on the wing, the waters, to observe without the word, without the association that word creates, without all the responses of that word, which is memory, just to observe. Now when you so observe, in which there is no observer - you understand? Oh Lord! I will explain it. Aren't you tired?
K: Don't say 'no', sir, because at the end of the day you have been working, the office and all the boredom of the office, and we have talked over an hour and five minutes you must be tired. You understand? Your brains must be so tremendously active, probably you are stimulated by the speaker for the time being, and so you are using the speaker as a drug and then when the drug wears off you are back to your home. So we are saying, observe without the movement of thought coming into your observation. That is, the movement of thought is the observer - right? - who is the residue of all the past experiences, and he observes through the observer. You are following all this? Now can you observe without the observer? You understand what I am saying? I observe you. If I am prejudiced, I say, I don't like that, I don't like that colour, too red, he belongs to this group or that group, he is wearing this and wearing that. You follow? All these are movements of thought interfering with actual observation. Right? When you so observe without the observer, in that perception, in that seeing, there is immediate action which is unrelated to memory. Right? You are following all this? Do it, do it.
So we are saying there is an action which is totally unrelated to knowledge, knowledge being limited and therefore your action then becomes limited. You are following all this? Whereas if you observe - now wait a minute. Observing is not only with your eyes, observing, listening, learning, all that is a movement of complete perception. You understand what I am saying? You understand sir? No, no, you don't, I know. Sir, look. You are so used to explanations, commentaries, somebody has to tell you all this. You don't find out for yourself. You don't say, look, I am going to find out, I'll spend an hour at this, you have leisure and spend that leisure. You know, sir, the word 'leisure' means a place where you can learn. You understand? 'School' comes from the word 'leisure'. You are sitting down here, you have leisure, so you can learn now. But your learning is limited because you are not observing, you are not listening, you don't put your whole mind, your body, your heart, your senses to find out.
So we are saying that there is this vast capacity of the brain, the mind, astonishing capacity, unlimited capacity and that capacity, that tremendous energy is now limited and so brings about disorder. Right? Disorder between people, between groups of people, between communities, between this guru and that guru, between their beliefs, all that is disorder. And we are expending our energy in disorder. And I was pointing out that there is order, total, complete order which is the order of the universe, when you understand the whole movement of knowledge and enquire if there is action, if there is order beyond all knowledge, beyond all experience. For that you have to find out how you observe yourself, how you observe nature, how you observe your boss, your wife, your friends, your children, observe. In that observation there is great care, great affection and from that care, affection, attention, there is immediate action. Please, this is not a theory to the speaker. This is his life. This is the way he lives. And I am pointing out most respectfully and humbly, you can do it, if you give your mind, your heart, your whole being, to find out how to live correctly.