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What love is not

Love is not desire. It is a great thing to find out this for oneself. And if love is not desire then what is love? Love is not mere attachment to your baby, love is not attachment in any form; love is not jealousy, ambition, fulfilment or becoming; love is not desire or pleasure. The fulfilment of desire, which is pleasure, is not love. So I have found out what love is. It is none of these things. Have I understood these elements and am I free of them? Or I just say, 'I understand intellectually, I understand verbally, but help me to go deeper'? I can't; you have to do it yourself.

The root of fear

What is fear? If we can understand the question and problem of desire then we will understand and be free from fear. ‘I want to be something’ – that is the root of fear. When I want to be something, my wanting to be something and my not being that something creates fear, not only in a narrow sense but in the widest sense. So as long as there is the desire to be something there must be fear.

Freedom from the self

Freedom from the self, and therefore the search of reality, the discovery and the coming into being of reality, is the true function of man. Religions play with it in their rituals and rigmarole – you know, the whole business of it. But if one becomes aware of this whole process, then there is a possibility for the newly awakened intelligence to function. In that, there is not self-release, not self-fulfilment, but creativeness. It is this creativeness of reality, which is not of time, that sets one free from all the business of the collective and the individual. Then one is really in a position to help create the new.

Attachment and freedom

You can never be attached to a living thing any more than you can be attached to the river or the sea because the living thing is moving, eternal, in a state of continual motion. So when you say you are attached to your son or daughter, your husband or wife, if you can very carefully look within yourself you will see that you cannot be attached to a living person because that person is constantly changing, moving, in a state of turmoil. What you are attached to is your picture of that person.

What is compassion?

Compassion is not the doing of charitable acts or social reform; it is free from sentiment, romanticism and emotional enthusiasm.  It is as strong as death. It is like a great rock, immovable in the midst of confusion, misery and anxiety. Without this compassion no new culture or society can come into being. Compassion and intelligence walk together; they are not separate. Compassion acts through intelligence. It can never act through the intellect. Compassion is the essence of the wholeness of life.

What do we mean by education?

The right kind of education is not concerned with any ideology, however much it may promise a future utopia: it is not based on any system, however carefully thought out, nor is it a means of conditioning the individual in some special manner. Education in the true sense is helping the individual to be mature and free, to flower greatly in love and goodness. That is what we should be interested in, and not in shaping the child according to some idealistic pattern. The highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole.

The meaning of death

Can we know and understand the full meaning of death? That is, can the mind be completely nothing, with no residue of the past? Whether that is possible or not is something we can inquire into, search out diligently, vigorously, work hard to find out. But if the mind merely clings to what it calls living, which is suffering, this whole process of accumulation, and tries to avoid the other, then it knows neither life nor death. So the problem is to free the mind from the known, from all the things it has gathered, acquired, experienced, so that it is made innocent and can therefore understand that which is death, the unknowable.

What brings disorder in relationships?

Life is a movement in relationship and in that relationship there is disorder. We must examine closely why we live in such disorder in our relationships with each other, however intimate or superficial. To understand the full meaning of relationship with each other, however close, however distant, we must begin to understand why the brain creates images. We have images about ourselves and images about others. Why is it that each one has a peculiar image and identifies himself with that image? Is the image necessary? Does it give one a sense of security? Does not the image bring about the separation of human beings?

The transformation of consciousness 1: The Challenge

If you are at all serious you have to find out whether human beings, that is you and I, can bring about a total revolution in ourselves psychologically. When you change not at a superficial level but fundamentally, you affect consciousness, because you are the world and the world is you.

The transformation of consciousness 2: The Process

How do you see the totality of something? You never see the totality of anything if there is a previous conclusion about it. So I do not know what the totality of my consciousness is. That is a fact not a supposition. Though we talk a great deal about the unconscious and the conscious, actually when you look at yourself do you see the whole content or parts of it? You only see parts of it, don't you? So the observation of the part denies the whole. If I am concentrated on my problems, my ambitions, my country, my god, I can't see the whole. I can only see the whole when I am not concerned with the part; the part is included but I am not concerned with it. Then in that perception, though there are parts, I see the totality of it, which means my mind is free to observe.


Can you listen, as the soil receives the seed, and see if the mind is capable of being free, empty? It can be empty only by understanding all its projections and activities, not off and on, but from day to day, from moment to moment. Then you will find the answer; then you will see that change comes without your asking, that the state of creative emptiness is not a thing to be cultivated – it is there, it comes darkly, without any invitation, and only in that state is there a possibility of renewal, newness and revolution.

A perception free of time

If you actually perceive the narrowness of the spirit and the increasing slavery of the mind, you will find that out of that perception comes energy. It is this energy, born of perception, that shatters the petty, respectable, fearful mind. Perception is the way of truth.

What is our responsibility in the world?

You must be well aware of what is happening in the world. There is a revolt against the established order because what is called established order is nothing very great. What has the older generation built, for which, please bear in mind, each one of us is responsible? Each one of us is responsible for every war, whether it is in the East or West. Each one of us is responsible for the confusion, misery and ugliness going on in the world. When we emphasise the individual, it is not an emphasis on the individual as opposed to society. One who is very serious is neither an individual nor concerned with society but is outside the field of individuality and the structure of society – an entirely different human being. The individual is society, and society is the individual – they are indivisible.

The art of looking, listening, learning

The art of seeing, listening, watching, is not a thing to be cultivated; it is not a question of evolution and gradual growth. When one is aware of a danger, there is immediate action, the instinctual, instantaneous response of the body and memory. From childhood, one has been conditioned that way to meet danger, so the mind responds instantly to prevent physical destruction. We are asking whether it is possible to act in the very seeing, in which there is no conditioning at all. Can a mind respond freely and instantly to any form of distortion and therefore act? That is, perception, action and expression are all one; they are not divided, broken up. The very seeing is the acting which is the expression of that seeing.

The search for meaning

Your daily living, when you look at it very deeply, has no meaning. You are striving, wanting money, position, prestige, and when you do have it, what is it? You have not found out for yourself if life has real meaning. You ask what the purpose or goal of life is, rather than the meaning. The purpose can be invented by clever people, or you can invent purpose out of your misery, confusion and conflict. But the purpose is not the meaning. The meaning is to find out for yourself by looking at yourself, the depth of your heart, the depth of your feelings, the depth of your thought.

What is our relationship to nature?

If you lose relationship with nature, you lose relationship with humanity.

Can the mind be free of conditioning?

Self-knowledge, or the learning about yourself every day, brings about a new mind. You have denied the old mind. Through self-knowledge, you have denied your conditioning totally. The conditioning of the mind can be denied only when the mind is aware of its operations, how it works, what it thinks, what it says, its motives.
There is another factor involved. We think it is a gradual process, that it will take time to free the mind from conditioning. We think that it will take days or years to uncondition our conditioned mind, gradually, day after day. This implies acquiring knowledge in order to dissipate conditioning, which means you are not learning but acquiring. A mind that is acquiring is not learning. A mind that uses knowledge to achieve a sense of liberation must have time. Such a mind thinks it must have time to free itself from its conditioning, which means it is going to acquire knowledge, and as the knowledge expands, it will become freer and freer. This is utterly false.
Through time, through the multiplication of many tomorrows, there is no liberation. There is freedom only in the denial of the thing seen immediately.

What will you do with your life?

Don’t you want to find out if it is possible to live in this world richly, fully, happily, creatively, without the destructive drive of ambition and competition? Don’t you want to know how to live so that your life will not destroy another or cast a shadow across their path? We think this is a utopian dream which can never be brought about in fact, but I am not talking about utopia; that would be nonsense. Can you and I, who are ordinary people, live creatively in this world without the drive of ambition which shows itself in various ways as the desire for power and position? You will find the right answer when you love what you are doing. If you are an engineer merely because you must earn a livelihood, or because your father or society expects it of you, that is a form of compulsion; and compulsion in any form creates contradiction and conflict. Whereas if you really love to be an engineer or a scientist, or if you can plant a tree, paint a picture, or write a poem, not to gain recognition but just because you love to do it, then you will find that you never compete with another. I think this is the real key: to love what you do.

The observer and the observed

When you say, ‘I must be free from all conditioning, I must experience,’ there is still the ‘I’ that is the centre from which you are observing. Therefore there is no way out because there is always the centre, the conclusion, the memory, a thing that is watching and saying, ‘I must’ or ‘I must not.’

Is there a state of the non-observer, a state in which there is no centre from which you look? At the moment of actual pain, there is no ‘I’. At the moment of tremendous joy, there is no observer—the heavens are filled, you are part of it, there is bliss. This state takes place when the mind sees the falseness of attempts to become, to achieve. There is a state of timelessness only when there is no observer.

The ending of conflict

Conflict exists when we disregard what is actually taking place and translate it in terms of an ideal, in terms of ‘what should be’, in a concept we have accepted, or we ourselves have created. When there is a division between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ there must inevitably be conflict.

Time and the timeless

As long as a human being lives in the river of sorrow and does not end it, humanity will go on endlessly in that stream. But when there is an ending to that, there is a totally different dimension in which there is no beginning and no ending, and that is absolutely timeless. This you have to come upon by living it. When you are attached to something, end it today, not tomorrow. And one can. There is pleasure in attachment and possession. Look at this pleasure and see what the implications of that pleasure are: fear of losing, fear of not having the same thing tomorrow, jealousy, anxiety, hatred—all that comes out of that attachment. Seeing all this as a whole and instantly ending it is dying to it all now, and therefore there is a totally different dimension in which there is neither an ending nor a beginning, which is eternity.

On hurt

Are you aware of hurt? Are you aware that you are resisting, that you are frightened hurt might increase and invite more hurts? Are you aware that seeking the cause of hurt is a waste of time? So what happens? You are not spending energy inquiring into the cause of hurt. You are not building a wall around hurt in order not to be hurt more. You are no longer trying to cover it up. When you give your complete attention, you will see hurt is no longer there. Then only you can proceed to find out what love is.

On loneliness

It is good to be alone. To be far away from the world and yet walk its streets is to be alone. To be alone walking up the path beside the rushing, noisy mountain stream full of spring water and melting snows is to be aware of that solitary tree, alone in its beauty. The loneliness of man in the street is the pain of life; he’s never alone, far away, untouched and vulnerable. To be full of knowledge is never to be alone, and the activity of that knowledge breeds endless misery. The demand for expression, with its frustrations and pains, is that man who walks the streets; he is never alone. Sorrow is the movement of that loneliness.

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