What is the significance of meditation?
Intelligence is the capacity to see the truth that thought is limited
6th Public Talk, Ojai, California
April 17, 1977
This is the last talk. I am sure you'll be glad of it, and I am sure also I am glad of it. (Laughter)
I would like if I may this morning, talk about meditation. It is really one of the most important things in life. Not how to meditate, not the system of meditation nor the practice of meditation, but rather, what is meditation. And if one can find out very deeply what is the significance, what is the necessity, what is the importance of it for oneself, then one puts aside all systems, methods, gurus, and all the peculiar things that are involved in the Eastern type of meditation. But before we go into it fully, I think we should go over rather briefly what has been said during the last five talks.
It is very important, I think, to uncover for oneself what one is, what actually one is. Not the theories, not the assertions and the experiences of psychologists, philosophers and the gurus and all the rest of them, but rather, investigate into the whole structure of oneself, what actually one is, what is the nature and the movement of oneself. And in the transformation of oneself, radically, psychologically, one affects the whole of consciousness of man. We went into this very, very carefully during all these talks, and if I may, I would like to go into it briefly again because I think it is very important to understand this.
All human beings throughout the world suffer, go through great agonies, despairs, fear, and there is the absolute fear of death. This is the common lot of every human being whether they live in Asia or in the Western world, whether under tyrannies or in the so-called democratic societies - this is the common lot. And we don't seem to be able to understand how extraordinarily important it is to see what one is actually, as though you were looking at yourself in a mirror, psychologically, and bring about a transformation in the very structure of oneself. Because that transformation affects man. After all, each one of us is the history of mankind. That's a fact. History in the sense, the story of suffering, agony, violence, brutality, cruelty, ambition, and all the things man has put together with his thought. And so when one fundamentally, deeply, brings about a transformation, a mutation, then that mutation affects the whole consciousness of man. Like those rather brutal, violent people who are tyrants, who have been tyrants, who have killed thousands and millions of people for some ideologies - communist, and other ideologies - have affected the consciousness of man. This is also an absolute fact and a reality.
So it becomes very important, if one is at all serious, if one is concerned with the world as it is, with all its appalling misery, confusion, uncertainty, and with all the divisions of religions, nationalities, with their wars, with the accumulation of their armaments, spending enormous sums to prepare for war, to kill people, in the name of nationality and so on and so on, so it becomes vital, absolutely important that there must be freedom; freedom from this whole content of our consciousness. The content of our consciousness are all the things put together there by thought. We went into that very closely and definitely. Thought, as we said, is the response of memory stored up in the brain cells; that memory is knowledge, experience, and the response and the movement of memory is thought. So thought is limited, and whatever it does, both in the technological world as well as in the psychological field, must be limited, because thought in itself is a fragment, a movement of fragmentation. I think this was very clear, and all the talks we have emphasised this particular point. And even the scientists - and when we use the word 'scientists', those people have gone into all this business - even they agree, and so perhaps you'll also, because the scientists say so, you'll also easily accept. But we're not talking of acceptance. We are seeing the fact for ourselves, not according to anybody, including that of the speaker, because there is no - as we said - no authority in the matter of the psyche, in the matter of spiritual business. And when there is authority, that destroys all endeavour to find truth, which is the ultimate enlightenment. And freedom from this, from our angers, brutalities, from our vanities, arrogance, from all the things that we are caught up in - freedom from that is meditation. And all these talks here have been to lay the foundation for this meditation. The foundation, if laid by thought, is still limited. Right? I hope we see this point together.
Please, some of you may have come here for the first time, and so it is necessary to explain that we are exploring, investigating into the whole structure of our consciousness, of what you actually are, not what you want to be, or what you should be, or your ideologies, which are all the projections of thought and therefore limited, but actually, in your daily life, to see what you are. And the very perception of it is the beginning of the transformation. And also we explained the other day in this talk, that change and transformation are two different things. Change is a modified continuity. Right? You understand? I am this and I want to be that. That is projected by thought because it does not understand 'what is'. So it hopes by having an ideal, the 'what should be' away from 'what is', it hopes to use the ideal as a means of changing 'what is'. The humanity throughout the world is violent. That's a fact. That is the actual reality. And thought has said, I don't know how to deal with this violence, but if I have an ideal called non-violence, then perhaps I will move from this to that. That is, a modified continuity of violence, therefore it is not non-violence. Whereas we are talking about the transformation of violence, not into something else, but complete, the ending of violence, which is the transformation, which is mutation. So if one understands that very, very clearly, not that we change from this to that, but the ending of violence, the ending of anger, the ending of sorrow, the ending of this continuous struggle to be, or to become psychologically something - to end it.
And we also went into the question of the observer and the observed - the observer who separates himself from the observed. Haven't you noticed all this? Right, sir? I must be this I am this, I must become that. So the observer is making an effort to become that. Right? Is the observer different from that which he is observing psychologically? Or the observer is the observed. Please, this must be clearly understood when we are going into the question of what is meditation, because meditation implies the ending of all strife, of all conflict inwardly, and therefore outwardly. Actually there is no inward or outward; it is like the sea, there is the ebb and flow. So in the same way, it is very important that we understand this question. Is the observer - psychologically we're talking - different from the observed? I observe the tree, or the mountain, and I am not the tree - I hope not. But when I observe my anger, my greed, am I different from my greed? You understand the question? Am I different from the fact of anger? When there is anger, there is no me or anger, there is just that state of anger. Right? Can we proceed from there? I hope you are following all this. If not, I'm afraid you'll be wasting your morning, instead of playing golf or going for a walk. If you don't understand this, perhaps you would leave and go for a walk. But as a human being, living in this world, with all the terrible things that are going on, it behoves for every human being in the world to be concerned with this problem, to bring about a different way of living. Not the terrible, meaningless existence that we do lead.
So, we are asking, is the observer different from that which he observes, psychologically, that is, inwardly, under the skin as it were. That is, I am angry, I am greedy, I am violent. Is that 'I' different from the thing observed, which is anger, jealousy, greed? You're following this? Am I different? Obviously I'm not. Right? When I'm angry there is no, 'I am angry', there is only anger. So, anger is me. So the observer is the observed. So you eliminate the division altogether. You're following this point? Wherever there is division there must be conflict - between the nations, between communities, between the Episcopalians and god knows what else. So wherever there is division there must be struggle, there must be conflict - between a man and a woman when they are pursuing their different ways, their personal etc. - division. Where there is division, man and woman must be in conflict.
So, we are saying, to eliminate this conflict, psychologically, it's very important to understand whether the observer is different from the observed. If he is not, then the observer is the observed, and therefore conflict ends. I'll explain, go into this a little more. I hope you are working with the speaker, that you're not merely listening to a series of words, ideas, conclusions, but rather using the speaker, the words, as a mirror in which you are seeing actually yourself. So that you are aware of yourself, because we're talking about human being, which is you. That human being is the story of the totality of mankind. And when you investigate that, when you look at it, you see the conflict has always existed between man and woman, between in himself. So part of this meditation is to eliminate totally all conflict, inwardly, and therefore outwardly. And to eliminate this conflict, one has to understand this basic principle, which is, the observer is not different from the observed, psychologically. Are we meeting each other? Yes? Do you see the fact, not the acceptance of what I'm saying?
Look, when there is anger, there is no 'I', but a second later the thought creates the 'I' and says, 'I have been angry', and there is the idea that I should not be angry. So there is 'me' who have been angry, and I should not be angry, so the division brings conflict. I hope you understand this. Please. I hope you understand this because we are going to something which demands that you pay complete attention to this, which is the essence of meditation, and to eliminate totally, completely every form of conflict, otherwise there is no peace in the world. You may have peace in heaven, but actually to live in this world with complete inward peace, therefore every action is born out of that peace. So it's very important to understand that the observer is the observed. When that takes place - please listen - that is, one is jealous - of which you all know - one is jealous; is jealousy different from the observer? You understand my question? Or the observer is the observed, therefore he is jealous. There is not 'I am jealous', but there is only jealousy. Right?
Then what takes place? You understand? Before, there was division between me and jealousy, and then I tried to conquer it, I tried to suppress it, rationalise it, put away from, but now when I see the 'me' is jealous - right? - then what takes place? Before, I tried to conquer it, suppress it, understand it, rationalise it, or say, 'Yes, why shouldn't I be jealous?' And therefore in all that process there is conflict. Whereas, we are saying, when there is no division between the observer and the observed, and therefore only the thing that is, which is jealousy, then what takes place? Does jealousy go on? Or is there a total ending of jealousy? You understand my problem, my question? I wonder.
When jealousy occurs, when there is no observer, you let it blossom and then end. You understand the question? Like a flower that blooms, withers and dies away. But as long as you're fighting it, as long as you're resisting it or rationalising it, you're giving life to it. So we are saying that the observer is the observed, and when there is this jealousy, let it when the observer is the observed then jealousy blossoms, grows, and naturally dies. And therefore there is no conflict in it. I wonder if you see this. Right, sir? Please, madame.
So, what then is action? You understand? We live by action, all our life is action - action according to a motive, action according to an ideal, according to a pattern, or action habitual, traditional, without any investigation. So we're going to ask ourself: what is action? Because a mind that is in meditation must find this out. What is action? You are following all this? I wonder if it interests you, all this. Because, please, this is a very serious matter, all this. We are hear not to spend a pleasant morning under the trees, but rather to investigate into the things of our life. One of the major problems in our life is conflict, in ourselves. And from that conflict all kinds of neurotic activities go on. And to end conflict and therefore end neurotic action becomes very important - to have a sane mind, a mind that's healthy, a mind that's not neurotic, caught in beliefs and fears and so on. So we're saying, we're investigating conflict and the ending of conflict. And also we're asking now, what is action, because we live by action. When you go to the factory, when you go to your office, when you talk, when you walk, everything is action. Life is action. So when you're asked, what is action, and how do you act, according to what principle, according to what quality or state of mind from which you act. Please investigate it together.
You generally act from memory, the memory which has set a pattern, which has become habit, routine, which is based on remembrance and that remembrance having being pleasant, and act according to that which is pleasant. Right? Or act on reward or punishment. Right? You are following all this? Reward and punishment. Or you act according to an idea, an ideal; having an ideal you say, 'I will carry that ideal out in daily life'. Or you have a certain ambition and try to fulfil that ambition. So there are these various types of action. So each of these actions are incomplete, fragmented. Each action is not whole, holistic. You understand this? If I go to the office every morning for the next fifty years, I'm a business man - thank god I'm not - but I'm a business man, or a lawyer, doctor, some kind of professional careerist. Therefore my actions are divided. Right? Do you see this? Divided, fragmented. I'm a business man and I come home and I love my children, but when I'm a business man, there, I don't love anybody, I want profit etc., etc. So my actions are divided, fragmentary. So, when there is a fragmentary action it must inevitably bring conflict, psychologically. So we're asking: is there an action - please listen to this - is there an action which has no conflict? You understand my question? So we're going to find out, together, we're going to investigate into this question whether there is an action in which there are no regrets, no failures, no sense of frustration, and therefore an action which is whole, harmonious, complete, holistic.
But first we must see very clearly that our actions are fragmentary in our life. I may be a scholar, a painter, but my life, though I'm an excellent sculptor, my life is shoddy - I'm ambitious, greedy, wanting money, position, recognition, fame. So there is contradiction. And hence, where there is contradiction there must be conflict. And that's the way you live. I may be a priest but I am burning inside to be become a bishop. It's this pattern, goes right through the world. And where there is division in action there must inevitably be conflict - that's law. Please pay attention. Let her I know, we know this lady. Please. See how difficult it is to concentrate?
So, we're trying to find out if there is an action which is whole and never contradictory, therefore an action that does not bring about tension, division and all the rest. So we must find out what is action. Right? Not action in a particular field contrary to another part of the field. Therefore one has to see what one is actually doing, how one actually is living, living a contradictory life, contradictory action, and therefore conflict. You must see that. You must become aware of it. Are you aware of this fact, that you, as a human being, live actively, and each action contradicts other actions. Are you aware of this fact? If you are completely aware, then what takes place? You understand my question?
Suppose I am I live a contradictory - actions, live in contradictory actions, and you tell me, 'Be aware of it'. Right? What do you mean by being aware of it, I ask. Awareness is not possible when you choose, when you say, 'Well, I like that particular action, I would like to keep that, and please help me to avoid all other actions - you follow? - which are contradictory to what I like. You follow what I'm saying? Therefore that is not awareness, that is choosing a particular action which is most satisfactory, most comforting, most gratifying, rewarding, and all the rest of it, and I say, 'Please let me hold to that and help me not to have contradictory actions with regard to that'. That is not awareness. You understand? Where there is choice in awareness there is no complete, total, holistic awareness. So I'm asking you: are you aware of this fact that your whole life is lived in contradiction with contradictory actions? Without any choice, just to be aware what actually is. Then if you are actually aware of it, there is no problem, is there? I wonder if you see this. We'll go into it a little later.
So, I'm coming back to it. We are saying that there is an action which is continuous, without any break. Do you see this? Our actions are broken, and therefore contradictory, changing, but we are saying there is an action which is continuous, and therefore holistic, whole. The word 'whole' means to have good health, physically. It means also to have a mind that is sane. Sanity implies not being committed to any particular form of belief, dogma, church, nothing - sane, which is capable of reason, logic, and therefore able to think clearly, directly, objectively. That is sanity. But neurotic mind cannot think logically, sanely. Therefore holistic mind - whole - the word 'whole' means having a good health, sane mind, and also the word 'whole' means holy, sacred. All that is implied when we use the word 'holy' - whole. So we are saying there is an action which has no break in it, and therefore a movement that is holistic, whole, and that movement we're going to find. Not, I'm projecting the idea and then finding it. You're following this? But in the process of meditation, we're going to find that action. You've got what I'm saying?
So we're coming to the point: what is meditation? Not how to meditate, not how to sit in a particular posture, breathe in a certain way, and all that - to me all that is nonsense. Because you can only meditate, the depth of meditation and understand it fully, when there is no search or desire for power, when there is no storing up of hurts, when there is no fear, when you have understood the meaning of pleasure, in which there is joy and enjoyment - we went into that, I won't go into it now. And when there is the ending of sorrow, this must be, and love and compassion and all that. Therefore this is the basis of foundation, otherwise you go you're caught in an illusion. So we're asking, what is meditation? And why should we meditate?
First of all, the Asiatics, including India, have brought to this country their idea of what meditation is - right? - their system of meditation, their concept of meditation, the conclusion of their meditation, which is traditional. You are following all this? You have in this country, and also brought from India, the thing called transcendental meditation. The word 'transcendental' is misused. They give you a mantra. Right? You know about it, don't you, some of you at least.
Krishnamurti: Yes. You know what the word, that Sanskrit word 'mantra' means something entirely different from what you have been told - the root meaning of that word. It means, 'man' means reflect - please listen, for god's sake, listen - reflect on not becoming or being. Reflect on it. Look at it, observe it, see what is implied in it. Therefore reflect on not becoming or not being. 'Tra' means put away or destroy all self-centred activity. You understand? So mantra means reflect on not becoming, and dispel all movement born from the centre as the 'me'. That is the meaning of that word. And you have made it into something extraordinarily meaningless thing. Which is, you repeat a word or a series of words, given by another for 150 dollars or 20 dollars or some absurd money, and then you repeat it three times a day, for 20 minutes or 5 minutes, and have a good siesta. (Laughter) You know what a siesta is, don't you. And you think you are meditating. So we're asking, what is meditation? That certainly is not meditation, because I can have a 20 minutes siesta, I wake up, go to my office and - follow? - carry on the most mischievous life, or in my family. Just a minute, don't I am not arguing.
Q: But that’s misstating the fact.
K: No, sir, I know a little bit about it. I am not misstating the fact.
Q: Sir, I am a teacher of meditation. I know you are misstating the fact.
K: He's a teacher of meditation and You see? You have already stated something totally wrong. You cannot be a teacher of meditation. (Clapping) Please, sir, forgive me. No, I am talking.
Q: I must make one statement. Meditation begins when the mantra ends. I agree with Krishnamurti: mantra is not meditation. (Inaudible) ends, it begins.
K: Yes, sir. He is saying, when the word or series of words, meditation then begins.
Q: When they end.
K: When the mantra ends - I know this, sir, please forgive me. I know this very well. The sound, the ending of the sound, then the listening of that sound without the word, and so on. It's much more complex than it is than it's generally understood - I won't go into that.
So we are trying to find out what is meditation. Not according to any guru, not according to any system, because freedom from all authority is one of the factors of meditation. Therefore there is no teacher of meditation. And to find out what is meditation, what is the first thing that is necessary, to find out? All previous knowledge of what meditation is, blocks the exploration of what is meditation. You've understood? If I have heard somebody tell me what is meditation, and I accept that or deny it, but it has left a mark on me, and with that memory I investigate, then it's blocked. So we are investigating into what is meditation without any previous knowledge. Right? You are following all this? So there must be freedom from the past, which is time. You understood this?
So we have to investigate what is time. Time by the watch and time psychologically. That is, I will be something or I will become something. That requires time, doesn't it. Physically to go from here to there requires time, that's obvious. But we're asking, is there psychological time at all? You are following this? That is, is there the movement of becoming, or being, or moving from this to that? Which is psychological time. We are questioning that psychological time. We are accustomed or educated to this idea that you must change from what you are into something, what should be. That is the traditional acceptance of this. We are saying that movement is time, and that movement has no meaning because you're not changing 'what is', you're changing 'what is', modified. Right? Change implies modification. Transformation implies the ending of 'what is'. You've understood? The ending of anger, not how to become not angry. I hope you have understood this.
So in the investigation into what is meditation, freedom is absolutely necessary - freedom from authority, psychologically - of course I have to accept the authority of the policeman or the doctor, etc., that's irrelevant - from all authority. There is no teacher that's going to teach you what meditation is. When there is that freedom you can proceed. What is necessary in the investigation of what is meditation, first? Is it concentration, or is it attention, or is it awareness? You are following? There are three things: concentration, awareness and attention. Right? In daily life, sir, look at it in daily life. When you concentrate, what takes place actually? Your whole energy is focused on a particular point, or on a particular page - right? - when you concentrate. Which is to put aside all interfering thoughts - right? - therefore resist all other thoughts. You follow this? Right? Even you must agree, sir. Right? So what happens then? That is, you're resisting, in concentration. Right? But we are saying something totally different, which is, be aware of your thought - aware - don't choose in that awareness which thought you would like - just be aware of it. And from that awareness comes attention. Attention implies that there is no centre from which you are attending. This is really important to understand because this is the essence of meditation.
In concentration there is a centre - right? - from which you are concentrating - on a picture or an idea or on some image, etc. You understand? From a centre you are exercising energy in concentration. That means resisting, building a wall, so that no other thought comes in. Therefore there is conflict - right? - there's conflict. When you resist anything, there must be conflict. When you say, 'I must think about that and I must not think about other things', your mind, your brain, your thought is wandering all over the place. Right? So you try to pull it back, and therefore there is conflict, constant conflict. To totally eliminate that, become aware of your thought. Say, for instance, I want to think about - what? - think about my suffering, I want to think about it. In thinking about it, I'm distracted by the noise that is going on out there, or by a thought that comes in that I must see somebody tomorrow. So there is always a distraction going on. Right? Now, become totally aware of this movement of distraction. I'm thinking about suffering, and then I think about cleaning my shoes. Then leave suffering and look at your thought which wants to clean your shoes. So there is no conflict. You understand what I'm saying? You understand? So pursue each thought, and therefore there is no contradiction, no resistance about any thought. You've understood this?
So then from that arises awareness, to be aware; you are aware then of all the movement of your thought. You've got it? Then out of that awareness comes attention. Now when you are attending to something really deeply, there is no centre is there? Have you watched? Now wait a minute. If you are listening very attentively to what is being said, now, actually now, when you are attending with all your nerves, ears, giving all your energy to attending, is there a 'me'? Is there? Obviously not. You understand? So, in attention there is no centre from which there is you are attending. Whereas in concentration there is a centre. You get it? Well, it's up to you.
Then in that attention, if you have gone that far, which is that you have laid the foundation, that you are free from all the business of thought, all the travails of thought - fear, agony, despair - that's the foundation. That is, the content of your consciousness, which is put there by thought, now is being emptied. You understand? It's being freed. So meditation is the emptying of the content of consciousness, which is consciousness. You're getting this? That is the meaning and the depth of meditation: the emptying of all the content, which means putting - please listen - thought coming to an end. Thought is necessary when I function technologically, in the office and so on, but every other form of registration comes to an end. You understand what I'm saying? No, please listen - I'll tell you something.
You know, our brain is registering almost everything - the noise, the words which we are using, like a tape, it is registering. Now is it possible not to register, but only register what is absolutely necessary? You understand my question? I wonder if you understand. Why should I register your insult? Why? Why should I register your flattery? It's unnecessary. Why should I register the hurts? - unnecessary. You understand? Therefore register only that which is necessary to operate in daily life, as a technician, a writer and so on, but psychologically, don't register anything else. Are you capturing this? So the registration is the movement of thought, which is anger, jealousy, hatred, all that. So the brain so consciousness then has lost its content, therefore it is totally a different state of mind. Which is - I do not know how far you can go into this. I will go - follow it if you can, if you cannot it doesn't matter, because this is the way of living, not the way that we carry on day after day with all kinds of confusion, uncertainty. We are pointing out a totally different way of living, which is the emptying of consciousness of its content, which is fear, and so on - all that thing which we have been talking endlessly for the last five talks.
Now we've come to a point when we say, meditation is the attention in which there is no registration, psychologically no registration except the fact, of language, going to the office, working in a factory and so on - nothing else. Then out of that comes complete silence, because thought has come to an end. It functions only where it is absolutely necessary. So time has come to an end. You understand? Time means movement. Therefore when time stops, then there is a totally different kind of movement, in silence. Sorry, you won't understand all this. And religion then becomes a totally different thing. Religion then has a totally different meaning.
Now, let's look at that. Religion as it is now - please, if I use strong words, look at it, don't say, you are prejudiced or you're conditioned or anything, just look at it. Religion now is a matter of thought. Right? Thought has made the various Hindu religions, the Christian religions, with all their contents, their superstitions, with their symbols, with their, you know, figures - everything is put together by thought, and therefore each religion is fragmented. You are a Christian, somebody else is a Muslim, somebody else is a Hindu and so on. And in those divisions there are subdivisions, multiple divisions, all the result of thought. This is what you call religion - going to the Mass, rituals, the incense, the symbols, all that is called religion - the beliefs, the hopes, the fears, and the desire to be secure in another world, or find security in a belief, and so on - all that is called religion. Right? We are saying that is not religion. That is merely the movement of thought in fear, in hope, in trying to find security. Thought being a material process; material process - when we use the word 'material' it means memory, experience, knowledge, is stored up in the brain, in the very cells, therefore it is matter. So thought is a material process, and anything that thought has created, put together, is fragmentary, and therefore not religious.
So we're finding out then what is religion, if all this is not religious? Which no bishop, no devout Christian, no devout superstitious Hindu or superstitious will accept this. But it doesn't matter, these are facts. Then what is religion? If it is none of these things, then what is it? It is the investigation with all your attention, which means with all your energy, the summation of all your energy to find out that which is sacred, to come upon that which is holy, which thought has not put together. And that can only take place when there is freedom from noise, that is, the noise of thought. That means the ending of thought and time, psychologically, inwardly. But not the ending of knowledge in the world where you have to function with knowledge. So this that which is holy, that which is sacred, which is truth, can only be when there is complete silence, when the brain itself has understood the necessity, or put thought in its right place. Then out of that immense silence, then there is that which is sacred.
Silence demands space, space in the whole structure of consciousness. There is no space in the structure of our consciousness as it is, because it's crowded with fears - you follow? - crowded, chattering, chattering. And therefore there is no space. When there is silence, there is immense, timeless space. Then only there is the possibility of coming upon that which is the eternal, the sacred.