To live a life that is whole
What relationship has the human mind to the timeless?
3rd Public Talk, Brockwood Park
September 08, 1973
It seems to me that it would be a great pity if you made this place into a resort and an entertainment affair. It is nice to have a sun bath, nice to go about in the country. There are right occasions and wrong occasions, right time and wrong time. And if you made this lovely place into a place of entertainment, a social gathering, meeting of friends and endless chatter, I am afraid then you would not be very serious. And what we have been talking about, and what we are going to talk about this morning too, demands your seriousness, your attention, your care, your affection, so that we can share together, not merely verbally but also non-verbally, the many things that our whole life is made up of - the many fragments, the many contradictions, the many crisises, incidents, the vagaries and the vanities of our life. And if we are going to be merely entertained on a lovely morning like this, I think you would be wasting your time. Much better go somewhere else and enjoy yourself thoroughly.
This place is meant for those who are serious, for those who, really deeply, are concerned with the whole problem of living, which is becoming more and more difficult, more and more complex. And to scatter our energies socially, doing endless hours of yoga here at Brockwood, seems to me, if I may say so, such a waste of your time. But you will do what you please.
We have been talking, having dialogues, going into various aspects of our life, and I would like this morning, if I may, to talk about death - though it is a lovely morning - what is love and what is this thing called living? The whole problem of it, the various things that are involved in it; and how to look at life, live with life as a whole, non-fragmented, non broken up. That is what I would like to talk about this morning, if I may.
When one looks at one's own life, the everyday life that one lives and leads, it is so shallow, a verbal acceptance without any depth, a verbal explanation with which we seem to be so satisfied, a life that is so broken up - a life of the business world, the life of the family, the life of love, as it is called, the life of amusement, the life of a religious pursuit or entertainment or pleasure or conformity, and our own narrow limited self-centred activity, with all its sorrows, anxieties, fears, joys, and the agonies of relationship, the tortures of one's own doubts and peculiarities and tendencies. We have broken up life, and we think we shall be able to solve them fragmentarily, take each fragment, whether it be the artistic world, or the scientific world, or the world of science or religion, as though they were something separate, unrelated to each other, something that must be approached for themselves little by little. I do not know if you have not noticed your own life. Education is something entirely different from our daily activity. Our activity, daily self-centred activity, has nothing to do with the beauty of the world, beauty of the earth, the nature, the extraordinary quality of a world that is so full of joy, and when we lose touch with nature we lose touch with humanity. And yet all our life until we die, is this constant battle without and within. And the search to escape from that battle, through drugs, through sex, through power, money, position and all the religious fantasies, imaginations and amusements. That is our life. From the moment we are born until we die, a battle, a meaningless existence, a thing that soon grows old, decays, diseased and dies.
I am sorry to talk about that this morning, when everything seems to be blossoming, when there is perfume in the air, when there are deep shadows and the leaves are being dancing with the breeze, it seems rather strange to talk about all this. But that is part of our life - the wind, the flow of the waters, the blue sky and the shadows with the clear lovely waters. So, if you would bear with me, we will go into all the difficulties, and the meaninglessness of our existence, and see if out of that there can come a beauty, something that is not perishable, something that is not put together by time and thought, something that might exist if man really goes deeply into himself and understands himself and goes beyond it.
A mind that is so fragmented, so broken up, can that mind observe the whole movement of life as one, as a whole? Because if one can look at it as a whole then there is no problem, then death is love, and love is death, and living is the dying and the loving. But the mind, that is, our own idiosyncrasies, our conditioning, our constant endeavour to change the conditioning, and the movement within that conditioning, is our life. And can our minds see the whole of life, not one fragment of it opposed to another fragment, one thought opposed to another thought, the intellect opposed to the emotion, the organism has its own desires and pursuits, and denied and controlled. But to treat, to live life as a whole. I do not know if you have ever thought about it, and what it means. The word 'whole' means sane, healthy, holy, that is what that word means, to be whole, non broken up. And can one lead such a life in the modern world - in a polluted world of a town, or in the country filled with smog, with all the competition, ambition, the wars, the violence, the bestiality of competition, can we live a life that is totally, completely, absolutely whole? Not as an idea, not as an ideal, because ideals are quite idiotic, they have no meaning. What has meaning is to see if it is possible - not a concept carried out and practised, or to live up to a formula. That is still fragmentation. Right?
I hope we are sharing this thing together. You are not merely listening to a speaker who is using a lot of words to convey something very, very clear and simple, but you are also sharing, taking the same journey, walking together and therefore sharing, partaking in this problem. To share implies that there is no authority. We are both exercising our capacities - intellectual, emotional - our capacities to think very clearly and to see the logic and the limitation of logic, both verbal and non verbal, and to go beyond it. And to share something there must be attention, affection and great care, otherwise we can't share. And as this requires considerable enquiry, considerable investigation, which is to trace out for ourselves, with the help of each other, this question of living a life that is whole: that is never separate, that is never contradictory, that is a total movement.
Now it is one of the most difficult things to put into words, because words are a means of communication, as we both speak English we know the meaning of those words, at least we hope so, and we communicate not only through words but also through non-verbal perception. There must be both a verbal understanding and a non-verbal communication, they must go both together. Therefore you and I must not come to any conclusion, draw any abstraction. If you do, your abstraction will be totally different from the other, and that brings about a contradiction, a division. And where there is a division there must be conflict.
So when one observes one's own life, and the life of the world in which we live, the daily monotonous, a life of routine, boredom, anxiety, fear, in that world is it possible to live a life that is free of fear, free of anxiety, a life that is a movement in which there is never a shadow of contradiction, therefore remorse and the invitation to all kinds of violence and self-centred activity?
What does it mean to observe wholly? You understand? One's life is fragmented, that is obvious, the artist is different from the literary man, and the literary man is different from the scientist, and the professor is different psychologically as well as outwardly, feels different and so on. So is it possible to observe all this, this fragmentation, as a total movement? That is, what does it mean, or what is the significance of an observation that is complete, non-fragmentary, non broken up? To observe. Because when you observe, in that observation there is action. Observation doesn't mean observe, draw a conclusion, an abstraction and from that abstraction act. Therefore in that abstraction and action there is a division, a contradiction, and therefore conflict. Right? Shall we go on with it?
Can the mind observe, not only what is happening outwardly, but also inwardly, without division, without 'me' as the observer and the thing that is observed as two different entities? Because if it is possible to observe without division then action is immediate and therefore not contradictory. When action is based on an idea, an ideology, a goal, an end, then such action must breed inevitably conflict because there is space, time interval between action and the ideology. Where there is division of time between action and a formula, in that interval all kinds of other factors enter and action becomes fragmentary. Is this all right? May I go on? We are sharing this thing together? Not agreeing - if you agree it has no meaning. You are merely agreeing with a concept which you have already. Or you draw a conclusion from what the speaker has said, and you are agreeing with the conclusion, not with the fact. Right? I wonder if you see this. Right sir?
So can there be is it possible to observe this whole movement of life in which there is so much contradiction, division, look at it all as a whole movement? And to find that out one must enquire very, very, very deeply into the whole process of what is consciousness. Right? Are you interested in all this? I am sorry if you are not, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't matter. At least you will hear some words and perhaps sit quietly for a while and forget it afterwards. But it doesn't matter much. What matters is that you should be acquainted with all this, that you should know something of this, then it might some day when you are sitting quietly by the fireside, or walking by yourself in a wood, the thing will pop up and you will say, By Jove, that is so. Then that perception then becomes real, it's yours, it is not planted by anybody else in you.
You know man has always, from time immemorial, has tried to solve this problem: a life that is whole, a life that can be lived without any friction. Though friction brings about certain activity, but such activity does a great deal of mischief. And to live a life without friction one must enquire very, very deeply into this whole problem of consciousness, which is the mind, which is the whole structure of our thinking, of our intellectual, moral, spiritual, organic life. So one has to go into this question: what is consciousness? What is consciousness, in which all the activities of thought take place? Isn't it? The activity of thought with all its difficulties, with all its complexities, its memories, its projections into the future is within the field of this consciousness. Right? The consciousness which is the 'me'. Right? Come on sirs. I am using ordinary words, ordinary English words, not a new jargon that you have to learn. Because if the whole consciousness is the result of fragmentation, then that consciousness cannot possibly be aware of what it means to be whole. You understand? If my mind, which is the basis of consciousness, if that mind is fragmented and asking that mind to look at the world as a whole, it has no meaning. So can consciousness, which is fragmented, can that consciousness observe life as a total movement, non-fragmentary? And that is why it is important to enquire into what is consciousness. You understand? To be conscious. To be aware. To perceive the fragmentations, and when you perceive the fragmentation, is that perception the seeing of a fragment seeing one fragment, other fragments? Does perception is perception the observation of one fragment, the other fragments? When there is such perception it is still fragmentation. And that is all our consciousness and that is what is going on all the time in our consciousness. Right? Right sir?
Now to ask such a mind to observe life in which love, death, the jobs, the livelihood, relationship, the enquiry into god or no god, all those are fragments - can the mind observe all that without fragmentation? So it is important to enquire what is consciousness. Right? Consciousness exists only because of its content. Its content makes up consciousness. Right? My consciousness is made up of my conditioning as a Hindu, as a Brahmin, born in India with its tradition, with its superstitions, beliefs, dogmas, divisions, and the recent acquisition of a new poison called nationalism, with all the gods and so on and on and on and on. The conscious and unconscious residue of the past, the racial inheritance and the recent acquisitions, the recent experiences and denials and sacrifices, the temperaments, the activities of personal demands, all that is the content of my consciousness, as well as your consciousness is, that is the content. And that content makes up consciousness. Without the content there is no consciousness.
Please this is very important to understand because when we go into this question of what is death and what is love, one must have understood this, otherwise it will have no meaning. Because when one dies the content of the brain cells, which have stored up all the memory, which make up the consciousness, withers away, with all its memories, experiences, knowledge. Then what has happened to consciousness, as the 'me' which has lived in this world, fighting, struggling, miserable, full of anxiety and endless sorrow? Until the mind understands the nature and the structure of consciousness, that is, what you are, which is your consciousness, that consciousness with its content makes up the total, which you call the 'me', the ego, the person, the psychological structure of your temperament, of your idiosyncrasy, of your conditioning. But without understanding it very, very deeply, non-verbally, though we may use words, one has to understand it. Communion means the verbal understanding as well as non-verbal understanding. Communion between two people takes place only when there is a relationship between the two, in which both of them are deeply, intensely, at the same time involved in the problem, then there is not only a verbal but non-verbal communication. And that is what we have to do this morning, here, now.
So I the mind sees that the whole content of my existence, my consciousness, my awareness, my conflict is within this field of time, of thought, of memories, experience and knowledge, which is within the field of consciousness. Are we right? Right sir? Wait, wait, wait, let me finish sir, we'll come to it. If that is very clear - that is, all the religious images, the propaganda of two thousand years of priests make you believe in something, or three thousand, five thousand years of propaganda, reading, literature and all the rest of it which has gone on in the East, all that is within this field of consciousness, which is time, which is thought. The content makes consciousness. If there is no content there is no consciousness. And the content being fragmented, one fragment observes the various other fragments, and tries to control, shape other fragments. That is what we are doing all the time. One fragment calling itself virtuous, noble, religious, scientific, modern, whatever it is, trying to shape, dominate, suppress other fragments within the field of time, which is consciousness. Right sir? Are we meeting each other?
So my problem then is, and it is your problem when I say mine, our problem is: how can then the mind observe non-fragmentarily, observe life as a total movement. Right? Which means can the mind be free of the contents of consciousness? All right sir?
Let's approach it differently. What is love? Is love pleasure? Is love desire? Is love the pursuit of a pleasure tasted yesterday and the demanding of it sexually or otherwise? Is that love? Is love fear, jealousy, anxiety, attachment? That is what we consider love, don't we? No? Don't we consider that love? No? Oh my god, so ashamed, are we? That is what we call love, in which there is attachment, dependence, the sense of attachment which comes from loneliness, insufficiency in oneself, not to be able to stand alone, therefore leaning on somebody, depending on somebody. We depend on the milkman, the railway, the policeman, the law - I am not talking of that kind of dependency - psychological dependence with all its problems, the problems of image in relationship - the image that the mind has built about the other, and the attachment to that image, and the denial of this image and creating another image. All that is what we call love and the priests have invented another thing, the love of god, because it is much easier to love god, an image, an idea, a symbol, created, put together by the mind or by the hand than to find out what love is in relationship. Are you following all this? So what is love? And is it part of our consciousness? This thing called love in which there is the 'me' and the 'you'. The 'me' attached to you, possessing, dominating, you possessing me, dominating, holding. You satisfy my physical, sexual demands, and I satisfy you economically and so on and so on and so on. All that is what we call love, is part of our consciousness. And is that love? The romantic love, the physical love, the love of one's country for which you are willing to kill, maim, destroy yourself, is that what love is? Obviously love is not emotionalism, sentimentality, the sloppy acceptance of - you know - I love you and you love me. And the talking about the beauty of love, the beautiful people - you know. Is all that love? Is love the product of thought? And it is, as we know it, because you have given me pleasure, physically, sexually, psychologically and I love you because without you I can't live, I must possess you legally, morally, ethically I must be you must be mine. And if you turn your face I am lost, I get anxious, jealous, angry, bitter, hateful. That is what we call love. And what are we going to do about all that? Just sit and listen? And you have done that for centuries, just sit and listen, or read about it, or some priest talks about it, gives you a thousand explanations. So is that love? And can the mind, the mind being the fragmented consciousness and its content, can that mind put away all this? Totally deny all this? That is dependency, the pursuit of pleasure; to be able to stand completely alone and understand what it means to be lonely, and not move away, run away from this loneliness. Can the mind in the observation of that, observing not verbally, but actually looking, then the very act of looking denies the whole thing.
So, can the mind observe the content of consciousness without the movement of time. Do you understand sir? We said time is thought, of course. Whether that thought is the outcome of memories, experience, knowledge, obviously, which it is, whether that thought projects itself into a fantasy, into some illusion, into some future image, it is still part of time. So can the mind observe this thing called love as it is, not as it should be, which then is also within the field of what is known as love, can the mind observe, can there be observation without the movement of thought which is time? And that observation demands tremendous attention, otherwise you can't do it.
So let's look at it differently, from a different point. Death comes to all of us, to the young, to the old, middle aged, it is inevitable; either through accident or through old age, with all the disease, the discomfort, pain, agony, and the doctors giving you medicine to keep you alive endlessly - I don't know for what purpose. There is death - death being the brain with all its memories stored up, experience, knowledge; that brain which has sought shelter, security in the 'me', which is a series of symbols, ideas, words; or that brain which has sought security in some neurotic action and feels safe in that neurotic action, or sought security in a belief - I am a Christian, I believe in God or I believe in the Saviour, or the Communist and so on, finding security in a belief, in an ideology which brings about all kinds of neurotic activity; that brain, with all its consciousness, dies, comes to an end. And man has been frightened of that. And the Christians have taken comfort in the idea of resurrection, and the Hindus and the Buddhists in a future life. Future life of what? The resurrected, the future, what is that? This consciousness - you are following all this? - with all its content, which has died, and there is the hope, there is the desire, comfort in a future life. Still within the field of consciousness - are you following all this? While I am living - I don't know why I put so much passion into all this, it is my life - while I am living, I know I am going to die, I have rationalised it, I have looked at it, I have seen dead bodies being carried away, I have seen them buried, burnt, incinerated or cremated and the image built round them. I have seen all that going on around me and I am frightened, and being frightened I must seek comfort, security, some kind of hope and that is still within the field of my consciousness, in the living consciousness. And when the brain through disease, accident, old age, comes to an end, what takes place? You are following all this? My consciousness I am fully aware, the mind is fully aware - the content is its consciousness - there is no consciousness when there is no content. And when the mind dies, the brain dies, the content dies, obviously. The 'me', which has been put together by thought; the 'me' which is the image which thought has built through environment, through fear, through pleasure, through accident, through various forms of stimulations and demands, that 'me' is the content and that content is my consciousness, and that consciousness is the whole movement of memory, knowledge, experience comes to an end, when it dies. I may rationalise it, take comfort in rationalisation, or take comfort in some ideologies, belief, in some dogma, in some superstition; but that is not real, that is nothing to do with reality, whether all the religions proclaim there is, or there isn't, that has nothing whatever to do with reality because that is the mere say-so of another - hearsay of somebody else saying - mind has to find out for itself.
So what can the mind, living every day in its everyday relationship, live without the content which has made up the consciousness, which is essentially the 'me' and its activity? You are following all this? So what takes place when the mind, the brain, the organism actually, not theoretically, actually comes to an end? This has been a problem for man, he has accumulated so much, he has acquired so much knowledge, so much information about so many things and at the end of it all there is that thing called death. And as he cannot solve it, at least he hasn't been able to solve it, he has all the comforting images, speculation, beliefs: I will live, or I will not live. And if you do live, all the things the consciousness carries on with its own content, which becomes the stream in which man is caught - that is a different matter, which we won't go into because that involves another enquiry.
So what takes place when living now, today, this morning, when the brain actually ceases, ends its memories, its images, its conclusions - which is the content of consciousness - you follow? Can my brain, my consciousness, which is the 'me', can that, with all its content, come to an end, living, not at the end of another ten years through disease - living - now? Can that mind, can that consciousness empty its content, therefore empty the 'me'. Do you understand all this? Is that ever possible? I get up and go to my room, after I have talked here; the knowledge where that room is must exist otherwise it is not possible to live at all. Right? So knowledge, which is based on experience and memory, from which all thought arises and therefore thought is never free and never new, that knowledge must exist, which is part of consciousness, isn't it? Are you meeting all this? Right sir? Somebody come with me. Riding a bicycle, driving a car, speaking a different language, that knowledge must exist, that is also part of consciousness. But that knowledge is used by the 'me' as a separative movement; use that knowledge for its own psychological comfort and power, position, prestige and all the rest of it. Right? So I am asking myself, whether that consciousness, with all its content as the psychological movement as the 'me', can end now, so that the mind is aware of what death means, and to see what happens. Are you following all this?
Sir, look sir. When you die, actually, I hope you won't die soon, when you die this is what is going to happen, isn't it? Your heart will cease to beat and therefore send blood to the brain, and the brain can only be for three and a half, or two minutes or whatever it is, without fresh blood and therefore it comes to an end. And the brain cells contain all your activity of the past, your consciousness, your desires, your memories, your hurts, your anxieties, all that is there, that comes to an end. Now can the mind, now, today, living, can all that come to an end? If it does then what takes place? You understand sir? The question may be unnecessary, or the question may be put to a mind that has never asked this question but is only afraid of coming to an end. But a mind that is not frightened, a mind that is not seeking or pursuing pleasure, it doesn't mean you can't enjoy the beauty of a sunlight, the movement of a leaf, the curve of a branch, or look at a beautiful this or that, that is real enjoyment, I am not talking of that, but can that mind, can the whole of me with its content observe and end this whole content? Then what takes place? Is it then immortality? You are following all this? That is, the mortal being made into the immortal. The mortal dies and the immortality is an idea of the mortal who is the content of consciousness. You are meeting all this? Man has sought immortality - in his books, in his poems, in his pictures, in the expression of his desires and their fulfilment. He has sought immortality in his family, in his name, all that is still part of this consciousness with its content, in time, therefore that is not the timeless mind that seeks immortality. Therefore what happens to a mind, to a being, whose content of consciousness which makes up the consciousness, dies while living? You understand? Put that question to yourself seriously, take time to meditate, go into it, not try to find a quick, some superficial silly answer.
One has always observed as an observer who is different from the observed. The observer is part of that consciousness with its content, observing another part which is part of that consciousness, so he has divided himself as the observer and the observed. But he is still within the field of that consciousness. And when the observer is the observed, which is a fact, which is so, then is the content of consciousness different from that which is observed, in which there is no observer? Right sir? Because this is very important to ask and find out. The content of consciousness is the observer, with all its content. And the observer separates himself from the observed, which is still part of that consciousness, therefore the division is unreal, it is an artificial division. And when you see that - the observer is the observed. Therefore you totally end - the mind totally ends - all conflict.
Look sir, make it very simple. All relationship is based on the image that you have built about another and the other has built about you. Right? You can't argue about it, it is so. And these two images have relationship, and these images are the result of many years of memories, experiences, knowledge, which you have built about her, and she has built about you. That is part of your consciousness. And what is the relationship when there is no image at all between you and her, and she has no image about you? You understand? Are you - if I may ask - are you aware that you have an image about him, to which you are dreadfully attached? And are you aware that you have an image about her to which you cling? Are you aware of this, conscious of it? And if you are conscious of it you see that your relationship with her, or her to you, is based on that image, on those images. Can those images come to an end? Then what is relationship? If the image has come to an end, which is the content of consciousness, which makes up your consciousness, the various images you have about yourself, about everything; when those images come to an end, then what is the relationship between you and her? Then is there an observer observing apart from the thing it has observed? Or it is a total movement of love in relationship. You are coming? So love is a movement in relationship in which the observer is not.
So, the mind - we are using the word 'mind' to include the brain, the physical organism, the totality - that mind has lived within the field of fragmentations which make up its consciousness, and without its content the observer is not. And when the observer is not, then relationship is not within the field of time, which comes about when there is the image you have about her and she has about you. Can that image come to an end as you live daily? If that image doesn't come to an end then there is no love. It is then one fragment against another fragment. Now you have heard that, don't draw a conclusion from it, see the truth of it and you can't see the truth of it verbally. You can hear the meaning of the words but you have to see the significance of it, have an insight into it, see the truth of it, actually 'what is'. Then the truth is not within the field of consciousness.
So, what takes place when the mind can empty itself of all its content as consciousness? That is, the observer and the observed, two separate things which you have regarded, which you have always thought differently; the observer, the higher self and all that, you know the inventions which you all go into, the content with all its anxieties, fears, agonies, despairs, hopes, joys, you know the thing of loosing a job, all that, which is the content, can the mind see it? You know the other day we talked about idea. The root meaning of that word 'idea' is seeing. The seeing only, not seeing and drawing an abstraction from the seeing. Just seeing. Then action is instantaneous. The seeing of the content of your consciousness, which is your daily existence, the seeing of it and not drawing a conclusion from it. The conclusion is verbal and therefore no reality. But the seeing then is immediate action. That immediate action is the total movement of life. You are getting it? That is a movement in which there is no fragmentation, therefore perceiving life as a whole, death as a whole, love as a whole, living as a whole, which means sane, healthy, holy - H-O-L-Y - holy, therefore you don't have to seek something sacred beyond yourself, it is there - no I won't say it is there, then you would say, 'I am God' - we have got such crooked minds. Then you will see life becomes holy, therefore out of that you respect every living thing, and that is love. Right sirs, that is enough.
Do you want to ask any questions, or that is enough for this morning? I think that's enough, don't you?