Why is your mind chattering?
Transcript of Discussion 2, Brockwood Park, 1 September 1977
What shall we do this morning? Discussions are not possible with a large crowd like this, nor dialogues, but perhaps we can start with question and answers and see where it goes. May we do that?
Krishnamurti: Right. No questions? Yes sir.
Q: When one is totally attentive there is no thought, but when there is thought one is being inattentive. Could we discuss about how this inattention comes about?
K: The gentleman would like to discuss, ask, to talk over together, the question of when there is complete attention there is no movement of thought; but thought arises when there is inattention, when there is no attention. So could we go into this question? Any other questions?
Q: Could we talk about education and responsibility?
K: Education and responsibility.
Q: Do you think sir that the unconditional freedom of the human mind is totally dependent on the ending of suffering and slaughtering of animals?
K: We have answered that question the other day, sir. You are raising the same question again.
Q: Parents and children.
K: Education and responsibility – so what shall we talk over together? When there is complete attention, a total – not commitment, not concentration – but complete attention there is no arising of thought. Is that so? Then also in that question was asked: when there is inattention, when there is no attention thought arises, how is one, or is it possible to maintain total attention all the time? Isn’t that the question, sir? And education and responsibility. So what shall we discuss?
Q: The first question, sir.
Q: The first.
K: The first question.
Q: Sir, before you begin could you include in that something to do with the flowering of good?
K: Would you also discuss the nature of the flowering of goodness.
Perhaps we can include all these three questions in talking over together what is attention and that which is not attention. Shall we begin with that? Am I going to have a dialogue with myself, or will you join in with me? (Laughter)
K: You know having a dialogue with myself, it may be very amusing to you. I once saw: a hole had to be dug for an electric conduit and there were about eight people sitting all around, two men working. The others were smoking, talking, drinking and having a good time watching the others dig! So it appears to me it will be the same when I have a dialogue with myself. (Laughter)
K: So in answering this question: what is attention, what is the nature of thought that ceases when there is complete attention, and when there is no attention, thought arises. That is what we are going to talk over together.
First of all, if one may ask, if one gone into this question of what is awareness, what is it to be aware, otherwise we will not be able to understand totally, completely what is the full significance of attention. So I think we ought to talk over together the question of what is awareness. Don’t you think?
K: I don’t want to have a dialogue with myself, please!
Q: How does the concept of awareness come about actually?
K: What is the concept of awareness, how does it arise, what is the necessity of awareness? Right, sir?
Q: No sir, what I mean is that the concept of awareness is unawareness, and it seems that in trying to be aware there is a concept of awareness that gets in the way.
K: That is what we are saying, the same.
Q: You have to find out where the concept of awareness is, why should we make concepts of things?
K: Wait a minute. I understand what you are saying. Which is: why do we make concepts? Why do we make out of a statement, which may be factual, a concept of it, an idea of it, a conclusion of it? Shall we deal with that first and go on into it?
Someone makes a statement that politicians are generally crooked. And you make an image of politicians, or you draw a conclusion from it, but you never take the word and its whole significance without making an abstraction of it. You understand what I’m saying? We make abstractions of truth, of a fact, but we never look at the fact but make an abstraction and then act according to that abstraction. That is fairly simple. So we will go into it. What is the concept of awareness – concept, that is, is there an idea of awareness, or are you aware? There is a difference. The idea of being aware, or be aware. Let’s go into it a little more. The word ‘aware’ means to be sensitive, to be alive, to things about you – to nature, to people, to colour, to the trees, to the environment, to the social structure, the whole thing, to be aware outwardly of all that is happening outside and to be aware of what is happening inside – to be sensitive, to know, to observe what is happening inside, and also what is happening outside, environmentally, economically, socially and so on and so on. Now if one is not aware of what is happening outwardly and one begins to be aware inwardly then one becomes rather neurotic. But if one begins to be aware of what is exactly happening in the world, as much as possible, and then from there move inwardly, then you have a balance, then there is a possibility of not deceiving oneself. So we will begin by being aware of what is happening outwardly and then move, like an ebb and a tide that comes in and then goes out, comes in and goes out, there is constant movement – out, in, in and out, so that there is no deception.
Why are we governed? Why is there a government? Why is there social difference – the poor and the rich, the various classes, racial differences, national differences, religious differences, all that is going on outwardly – wars, violence and every kind of brutal activity going on? And governments exist to rule, to govern, obviously. Without some kind of order there must be disorder – politically, religiously, all the rest of it. So let’s find out what is order and what is disorder. Right? Can we begin with that? Because that is what is happening, outwardly there is tremendous disorder. Right? Nobody can…
Q: Sir, could you just clear up one point? You said that one must be aware outwardly first otherwise there may be deception within. Why is this so?
K: The gentleman asks if one is not aware outwardly what is happening and begins to be aware inwardly – I said there might be a possibility of deception, of not being able to see clearly what is happening inside because what is happening outside you can observe, see, hear, know – right? – and you can judge. And inwardly if you know what is happening outside and from there move inwardly you have then a criterion – I wonder if I am making it clear? This is fairly simple I think. Sir, look: how am I to study myself? How am I to know myself? Which is: myself is a very complex structure, very complex movement, how am I to know myself so that I don’t deceive myself? I can only know myself in my relationship to others. Right? In my relationship to others I may withdraw from others because I don’t want to be hurt. Or in my relationship I may discover that I am very jealous, that I am dependent, that I am attached, that I am really quite callous. So relationship acts as a mirror in which one knows oneself. It is the same thing outwardly – the outer is the reflection of myself, because the society, the government, all the things we have created are created by humanity, by human beings. That is all fairly obvious.
So in beginning to find out what is awareness we must go into the question of what is order and what is disorder. Right? We see outwardly there is a great deal of disorder, confusion and uncertainty. Right? Shall we go on from there? Now what has brought about this uncertainty, this disorder outwardly? I know there is this disorder outwardly, who is responsible for all this? Are we? Be quite clear please. Don’t be hesitant. (Laughs) Be quite clear whether we are responsible for the disorder outwardly, or it is some divine disorder out of which divine order will come. So if we feel responsible for the outward disorder then is that disorder an expression of our own disorder?
Q: We are generally confused therefore we throw out confusion.
K: Quite. So as we are generally confused we throw out – the gentleman suggests – confusion. So I have learnt, observed, this disorder outwardly is created by my disorder inwardly. So as long as human beings have no order in themselves there will be disorder always. And governments try to control that disorder outwardly. The extreme form is totalitarianism where Marxism, Leninism, Maoism – is to say we know what order is, you don’t, we are going to tell you what it is. Right? And suppress you, or concentration camps, psychiatric hospitals and all the rest of it follow.
So if the world is in disorder because we are in disorder, each one of us, then are we aware of our disorder? Or is it a concept of disorder? You understand? I wonder…
Q: Oh, yes.
Q: This is true.
K: Are we aware that we are in disorder? Or there is an idea which has been suggested that we are in disorder therefore I accept that idea? The acceptance of an idea is an abstraction, an abstraction of ‘what is’. The abstraction is to move away from ‘what is’ – and most of us live in ideas, move away from facts. So what is it we are doing now? Are we accepting a concept of disorder, or are we aware that we are ourselves in disorder? You understand the difference between the two? It is clear. Now which is it? Aware of disorder in ourselves because somebody else has suggested it? And without somebody suggesting it, or having a concept of order, do we become aware per se, for itself? I wonder. This is simple. Shall we go on from there?
So am I aware of my disorder?
Q: One is aware but one becomes very fearful, even to the point of considering suicide and all the rest of it.
K: Yes sir, we’ll come to that in a minute. We are coming to that slowly, don’t… We will go slowly, if you don’t mind, step by step – not jump to any conclusion. Are we aware, am I aware, I and you, aware that we are in ourselves in disorder? (Baby crying) That is disorder! (Laughter)
Q: Sir, I feel there would be order if that young lady could be very quiet with her mother.
K: Yes sir, what… I am not responsible. (Laughs)
Q: I agree.
K: So: are we in ourselves aware that it is disorder? And what do we mean by disorder – not what is order, but what do we mean by disorder? Come on, sir.
Q: May I come in on this point. It is very difficult, we can only be aware of our disorder at this particular moment but thought comes and goes. May I ask you: I have found how difficult it is, any moment, to be actually aware of it.
K: Yes sir. To be actually at every moment to be aware of this disorder. That is why – please if we are serious, if we are talking seriously together – we are asking each other what does it mean to be in disorder?
Q: To be in contradiction with oneself, within oneself.
K: Yes, that means contradiction. Why are we in contradiction?
K: Look into yourselves, please look into yourself, watch it.
Q: One half thinks one thing and another bit thinks another.
K: So there is contradiction. You think one thing and do another. Say one thing and do something else and so on. There is contradiction, opposing desires, opposing demands, opposing movements in all of us – duality. Right? Are we clear on this? May we go on? This duality. How does this duality arise? I am having a conversation with myself. (Laughs)
Q: My conditioning, maybe.
K: Yes. Is it my conditioning? Is it our conditioning?
K: Sir, look.
Q: The struggle between the inner self and what we have been conditioned to accept.
K: So we have been conditioned to accept, and not to accept, to obey and not to obey, to follow and the urge to be independent. So, that is, there is constant dualistic action going on, whether it is conditioned, or not conditioned. So we are asking: how does this duality arise?
Q: Because we compare ‘what is’ with ‘what should be’.
K: Are you doing that? Or is that an idea?
Q: I am doing that.
K: Good. (Laughs) I am not trying to be sarcastic, sir. We are talking factually, not theoretically, not in abstractions, not hypothetically, anything, but dealing with facts. Then we can go very far if we deal with facts. But if you go into abstractions we are lost.
So we are asking: why does this contradiction arise, basically, – I know education, culture, all the rest of it, but go beyond that, much more fundamentally, deeply. Why does this contradiction arise, between heaven and hell, god and the devil – you follow? – this whole social, moral structure?
Q: From childhood we are brought up to be, rewarded for being good, and punished for being bad.
K: Yes sir, reward and punishment.
Q: So therefore one is acting out of fear.
K: I am asking sir – we know that – we are asking a much more fundamental thing: why does this contradiction, division, exist, fundamentally? Go into it much deeper than… not… Fear is involved in it but much further than that.
Q: Due to lack of awareness from without.
Q: Is life just trying to balance these things all the time?
Q: Sir, we call ourselves human beings but we have a lot of animal instincts…
K: Yes. The animal instincts are based on reward and punishment – but it is only domesticated animals I believe, that have this reward and punishment conditioning. But generally, I believe, they have told me also, that wild animals don’t have, regard, reward and punishment, they kill to eat, that’s all, but it is not reward or punishment. Let’s leave that for the moment. I wish you would…
Shall I talk to myself?
K: No. (Laughs) No, but you are not following what I am asking you. Please just go into it. Fundamentally why does this contradiction exist?
K: Don’t guess sir. Let’s go into it.
Q: I think it is trial and error.
K: Trial and error – no, no. Jesus!
Q: Sir, can that question really be answered?
K: I am going to answer it. (Laughter) I am not conceited. I have enquired into this, sir – fifty two years I have talked about these blasted things! (Laughter)
Q: Sir, is it not inherent in human consciousness?
K: Is it inherent in human consciousness. If it is inherent, inborn, then we can’t do anything about it.
Q: I said an inherent conditioning.
K: Ah, inherent conditioning. It may be that. I want to go into it.
Q: Is it because in one sense after discussing harmony, we come into disharmony because deceive ourselves.
K: We deceive ourselves.
Q: Mainly because I want two things.
K: Man, woman, light and shadow, courage and cowardice – you know, you can multiply, but why does this dualistic activity go on in us? You can explain – conditioning, instinct, inherent, we have been taught, and so on and so on, and so on and so on
Q: Because we are operating all the time from self-centred activity.
K: Yes sir, self-centred activity and therefore there is division. I am asking you, why does this division exist? I won’t ask anymore. You go…
Q: There is a nerve and we don’t listen to it.
Q: We try to be what we are not.
K: Don’t you want to find out?
Q: I think there is a lot of influence from a lot of groups of people.
Q: Is it that we are too ready with intellectual answers?
K: That’s right, sir – just verbal answers, too quickly. If you don’t mind, go into it seriously and find out. Why is there this dualistic action, ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’. Right? The ideal and the fact – that is good enough. ‘What is’ and ‘what should be’. Look into that. Just take that. And why is there this division between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ – the ideal.
Q: Escaping from the fact.
Q: Because we think we know what should be.
K: I am asking you, my lady, why is there this division?
Q: Because we want to impress others.
K: You see how you make me have a dialogue with myself – which I don’t want. I am asking a very simple question.
Q: I think it is because sometimes what is good for me is bad for you and vice versa.
K: I am asking myself, and therefore I am asking you: why is there this division between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’?
Q: We do not listen.
Q: If I am living totally in the present, totally in the now, and I don’t have those thoughts, I don’t have thoughts, I am totally aware.
K: No, sir. Please, you are not answering my question.
Q: When I ask myself that question I don’t like what I find.
K: So just begin with that, I don’t like ‘what is’ and I would like ‘what should be’. The pleasure of ‘what should be’ is greater than ‘what is’. Right? Take a simple thing like that, begin with that. That is, sir, I have no hope in this life, but I have a hope later on, next life and so on. So what is the process of this division?
Q: Surely the evolution of consciousness, imagination, always on the move, never ever satisfied.
K: Is it, sir, that we are incapable of looking at ‘what is’? We would rather run away from ‘what is’ into ‘what should be’, hoping somehow, by some miracle, by some effort of will to change ‘what is’ into ‘what should be’. Take that simple fact and begin with that. That is, I am angry and I should not be angry. If I knew what to do with anger, how to deal with anger and go beyond it there is no need for ‘what should be’, which is ‘don’t be angry’. You understand my question, sir? If you can tell me what to do with ‘what is’, then I won’t escape to ‘what should be’ because I don’t know what to do with ‘what is’, I hope by inventing an ideal I can somehow through the ideal change ‘what is’. This is what is happening – no? Will you start from there?
Q: If we remain with ‘what is’ is there anything to do at all?
K: I am coming to that, sir. Let’s look into it first. Because I am incapable, I don’t know what to do, my brain has been so conditioned that I am always living in the future – ‘what should be’. But I am essentially living in the past. But I hope by living in the future I can alter the present. Right? Now if you were to tell me what I am to do with ‘what is’ then the future doesn’t matter to me. Right? I wonder if you understand this.
K: It is not a question of accepting ‘what is’, but remaining with ‘what is’. Right?
Q: I see there is a lot more implied than you are actually bringing out in this. I am denied, the ‘me’ is denied when you say that.
K: I don’t want to go into the ‘me’ yet. It is very complex. Just begin with the simple. Which is: I am greedy, that is a fact. The abstraction of the fact is non-greedy. So it means I have moved away from ‘what is’. And by moving away I hope to understand ‘what is’. Now I can only understand something if I can look at ‘what is’ and not run away from it, not try to change it into something else. So can I, with your help, can I remain, look, observe, see ‘what is’? Nothing else! You understand my question? You have understood my question? Please teach me.
Q: The problem there is you see we don’t want ‘what is’.
K: Then escape.
Q: That is what we are all doing.
K: Do it, but know that you are escaping.
Q: But that doesn’t change it.
K: Know that you are escaping. Therefore you haven’t solved a thing.
Q: Quite right.
K: But be aware that you are escaping, that you are running away, avoiding.
Q: The point is that it is worth seeing that as soon as one tries to see ‘what is’, one doesn’t do that. I see I am jealous – at least I do not see it yet but the feeling is there, that it is worth challenging perhaps. (Sound of flute) (Laughter)
K: Could you ask, somebody, that gentleman to play the flute a little further away? There is plenty of space! (Laughs) Sir, so please help me to understand how to deal with ‘what is’ – then my problem is solved, you understand? Then I won’t fight duality, there won’t be duality. So please teach me, help me to understand and go beyond it, not remain in it – go beyond ‘what is’.
Q: Sir, we have the conflict between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ and that is part of ‘what is’.
K: No, sir, please sir. For the love of… Of course in a sense it is but, please. Oh!
Q: You want to learn about something, that is your greed, and to learn about anything you have to be attentive.
K: That is what I am coming to sir. Slowly, sir, slowly, piano, piano. Please help me to understand ‘what is’. How am I to look at ‘what is’? Right? If I know how to look at it then I can begin to unravel it and then it is finished. Right? Now please help me to learn the art of observation of ‘what is’.
Q: Look at it without thought.
K: Oh madam, how am I to look at it without thought? I don’t know.
Q: Be aware.
Q: Look without judgement.
K: (Laughs) You see, you are not doing this. Do it, please, then you won’t answer so quickly.
Q: To look at ‘what is’ is very difficult.
K: I said what is the art of looking? Please if you give five minutes, two minutes attention to this marvellous thing you’ll learn something. What is the art of looking?
Q: I said it is acceptance.
K: No sir, it is not acceptance. Just to look.
Q: Watch your thoughts.
K: Oh no. I am asking you – I give up! I had better have a conversation with myself.
K: I want to look at ‘what is’ – there must be a great deal of things involved in it because we have looked. I know I am greedy but it doesn’t do anything. Greed is a feeling and I have looked at that feeling named greed. The word is not the thing. But we may be mistaking the word for the thing. This is not intellectual; it is very simple. I may be caught in words but not with fact. The fact is I am greedy. The word – it is very complex that is why you should go into this very deeply – the word may incite that feeling. Can the mind be free of the word and look? You follow what I am saying? So I must first learn whether the word has become important to me in my life. Am I a slave to words, knowing that the word is not the thing? So the word becomes important when the fact is not real, actual to us. I would rather look at a picture of a mountain than go and look at a mountain. Right? To look at a mountain I have to go a great distance, climb, look, observe, feel. But by looking at a picture of a mountain – it is a picture, it is a symbol, it is not reality. So are we caught in words? If you are caught in words then you are moving away from the fact. So does the word create the feeling of greed, or is there a greed without the word? Examination requires tremendous discipline, not suppression, the very enquiry and the pursuit in that enquiry has its own discipline. So I have to find out very carefully whether the word has created the feeling, or the feeling exists without the word. The word is greed, I have named it. I have named it because I have had that feeling before. So I am registering the present feeling by a past incident of the same kind. So the present has been absorbed into the past. Are you interested in all this?
So I realise what I am doing. I am aware what is happening. What is happening is that the word has become extraordinarily important to me. So then is there a freedom from the word – communist, socialist, etc., etc., greed, envy, nationality and so on – is there a freedom from the word? The word is the past. Right? The feeling is the present recognised by the word as the past, so I am living all the time in the past. So the past is me, the past is time, so time is me. Look what I am discovering – come on! Time is me. So the ‘me’ says, I must not be angry because my conditioning has been, don’t be angry, don’t be greedy. So the past is telling the present what it should do. So there is a contradiction. So I am finding out why there is contradiction. There is contradiction because fundamentally, very, very deeply, the past is dictating the present, what it should do. Which is, the ‘me’, which is the past with all its memories, experiences, knowledge, and the thing that it has put together by thought – the ‘me’ – which is the past, which is time, the past is dictating what should happen.
Now can I observe the fact – please listen – the fact of greed without the past? Can there be observation of greed without naming, without getting caught in the word and understand whether the word has created the feeling, and if the word has created the feeling then the word is me, which is the past, so the ‘me’ is telling, ‘Don’t be greedy’. So I am asking myself whether it is possible to look at ‘what is’ without the ‘me’, which is the observer. Right? Can I observe greed, the feeling and its fulfilment and action without the observer, which is the past? You get it?
K: Don’t say, how to do it. You will do it as we learn going along, it’s like learning to drive a car. You can’t say, ‘I’ll drive a car…’ You learn day by day, looking, looking, looking, looking. Or in one moment you can learn the whole thing, but that is much more difficult, I won’t go into that.
So are we doing now what is being said? That is, ‘what is’ can only be observed when there is no me. Right? Can you observe without the observer? Go on sir.
Q: Only if it is possible to look at it and not want an answer.
K: I am going to show you in a minute. Wait a minute. I am asking: how you then observe?
Q: Be with it.
K: No, observe. Observe the tent, observe the colour round you, the shirts and the dresses around you – how do you observe it? What is observation? You observe through the eye, don’t you? Now can you observe without moving the eye? Because if you move the eye the whole operation of the brain comes into being. I won’t go into this because you will turn it into some kind of mystical, nonsensical thing, mysterious and you know, occult and all the rest of that. Please, there is something mysterious in the world, hidden things which you cannot possibly find unless you have laid the foundation of righteousness – to live correctly, truthfully, without conflict, then you have all kinds of powers. But if you start seeking powers of various kinds then you are lost, you become somewhat neurotic.
So can you observe, as you do with your eyes, to look without any distortion? The moment there is distortion the brain is in operation. By golly, I have got lots of things about it! You understand? Now look at something without moving your eyes. How still the brain becomes. Have you noticed it? The moment you look all around there is then taking all that in – I won’t go into that. Anyhow, how do you observe all this? You observe not only with your eyes but you observe with all your care, if you are interested you observe with care. Which means you observe with affection – care means affection. Right? No?
K: So is there an observation of the fact, not the idea, but the fact, with care, with affection? Is there an observation of violence with care and with affection? Therefore there is no – you follow? No, you don’t see all this – it is so simple once you capture this! Attention implies care – begin with awareness – awareness implies care, affection. So you approach ‘what is’ with care, with affection, therefore where there is affection there is no judgement. Right? There is no condemnation, therefore you are free of the opposite. I wonder if you get this.
Q: We have to love very profoundly.
K: Ah, not we have to love. That is not an action of will. If there is to be an understanding of ‘what is’, and ‘what is ‘ may be violence, greed, brutality, cruelty or affection or joy – awareness implies great care in looking. When you have a baby don’t you – the mother cares infinitely with affection, gets up at two, three or four o’clock in the morning, half a dozen times, watching, watching, watching. So in the same way where there is awareness there is care, there is affection. Can there be observation, awareness of violence with care, to look at it with a great deal of care? See all its operation, what is implied, how it affects humanity – you follow – the whole of it, what is happening in the world, what is happening inside, to look at it with infinite care and affection. Then there is no duality. The mother doesn’t say my baby is not so beautiful as that baby. It is her baby! Later on she might wish it. (Laughs)
So awareness implies observing the fact, not the idea of the fact, but the fact of ‘what is’. And in that awareness there is infinite care, watching, affection – you know. Then there is no duality. Duality exists because we don’t know what to do with ‘what is’. Now when I know what to do with it, duality is non-existent. When I know, for example, that I am greedy I go into it very, very carefully. Is it the word that has incited the feeling? Or does the feeling exist without the word? I must find out that first. That is, I see a shirt, material of a shirt and there is a perception, contact, sensation, the desire to have it, cut properly, put on – you follow? – the image begins. So that is greed. Now is there greed without the object? Oh, you people don’t know what all this is.
Q: May I ask you a question about violence?
K: I don’t understand what you’re saying sir. I can’t hear it. If somebody has heard it please repeat it and I’ll repeat it again to see if I’m quoting the question correctly.
Q: Maybe when you observe violence there is an immediate reaction to it and you become violent yourself.
K: Yes. So when you observe violence there is an immediate reaction to it, and that reaction may be another form of violence. Now, watch it! That is, you say something to me which I don’t like and I become angry. It is a tremendous question, sir, this, if you go into it. That is, not to register what you have said, either in the way of flattery or in the way of insult. If you don’t register there is no reaction. You follow, sir? This requires a discipline of a totally different kind, watching – yourself so completely that you only register, as we discussed the other day, what is absolutely essential, nothing psychologically. To understand that and to go into it, to watch it, is its own discipline – you understand? Not imposed. There is its own – it says, look, look carefully, don’t move – you follow? – that itself is – right.
So we said duality exists in all of us, which is self-contradiction in various forms because we do not know what kind of action should take place with ‘what is’. If I know it there is no duality. You see, in India and all over the world, they have been preaching non-violence, especially in India, it started from there, probably with Tolstoy and much earlier. And the people who talk a great deal about non-violence are very violent people because that is a fact. They are suppressing it, they are holding it, they are controlling it, but they talk about it. But if you really understand violence, the whole of it, the word and so on and so on, so on, then there is no opposite at all. So, this is awareness. You understand? I have watched the word ‘violent’, and I see that violence, confusion exists because I have contributed to it, I am responsible for it. And to eliminate violence I must understand the whole nature of violence – anger, imitation, conformity, accepting authority and so on and so on. Right?
Now when there is awareness you can move to something else, which is: what is the difference between awareness and concentration? We learn at school to concentrate. I want to look out of the window and the teacher says, ‘Look, look at the book’, so there is immediately contradiction. I want to see out of the window, what is happening out there, and the teacher tells me, ‘Look at your book’ – so there is conflict. If I was a good teacher I’d say, ‘First look what is happening out there. Look at it with all your attention.’ You understand? ‘Look with great care at the tree, the bird sitting on it, the leaves moving in the wind.’ From that he learns attention – you follow? – learns awareness and so on.
So one has to find out for oneself what is awareness, what is concentration, and what is attention. We have talked about attention, whether it can be maintained, sustained all the time. Or if there is inattention, there is no attention? That is one problem. Then the other is: what is concentration? Why do we give such tremendous importance to concentration? Go on sir, I don’t want to have a dialogue with myself.
Q: Concentration is to do with inattention.
K: No, no, don’t say inattention. We have to learn about it. What is concentration? Why do all of you who meditate under the tree or in your room, try to concentrate? Don’t you?
Q: To achieve something.
K: Sir, are we talking about the same thing? Are you talking about concentration?
Q: You achieve something from concentration.
K: I am asking what is concentration, why do we give such importance to concentration?
Q: It suppresses the chattering mind.
K: To suppress the chattering mind. You see what you are doing. That means conflict, doesn’t it? Your mind is chattering and you suppress it, so there is duality, there is conflict, there is struggle. But you never say: why is my mind chattering? Not how to stop it. Why is your mind chattering? This is all so childish sir! Why is one’s mind chattering? Is it habit? Is it laziness? Is it comforting? Go on, think it out sir. Is it laziness that the mind has got into the habit and therefore it keeps on chattering, chattering, chattering? Is it your conditioning? Is it because it is afraid very profoundly if it doesn’t chatter what will happen? You understand? That is, most of our minds are occupied, whether in the kitchen, whether in the office, whether in the family, whether it’s in bed or cooking, it’s all the time occupied with something or other – why? Sir, this is so…
Q: Does it really matter if the mind is chattering?
K: Oh, yes, it does. Wait, wait, I’ll show it to you why it matters if you don’t mind listening for a minute. It matters a great deal because it is a wastage of energy. It is like all the time walking, walking, walking. (Laughs) Please answer this: why is the mind occupied with something? First watch yourself. Please don’t immediately answer; it becomes verbal and meaningless, but if you say now why is my mind occupied? Why is your mind occupied?
Q: Because the mind is not free.
K: No, no. Is it afraid that if it is not occupied what would happen?
Q: It would have no existence if it were not occupied.
K: Wait, wait, that is just it sir. Because it has no existence
Q: It’s function is to be occupied.
K: So it says I exist because I am chattering? Oh, you don’t see all this!
So I am asking you why is it your mind is occupied? If it was not occupied it is empty isn’t it? And you are frightened of that, aren’t you? So fear is dictating that you should be occupied with something so as to escape from fear – and chatter, chatter, chatter – is that it?
Q: To avoid what can’t be controlled.
K: To avoid it. So your mind is occupied, and you know what it is when a mind is occupied it is useless. Right? Isn’t it? It may be thinking of god and saying god, god, or whatever it does, and read books about god, and never look at anything else – it is an utterly meaningless and useless mind. So a mind that is occupied is not only useless but it has no vitality. Right? And it has no – I won’t go into all this, it is too difficult. You know, we are so afraid of being empty. You understand? Of being nothing. So occupation implies a mind that is wasting its energy. And to avoid all that chattering, you concentrate on something: you say, ‘I won’t chatter, I’ll look at this picture’ – at this poem, at this face and look. But you are not looking because it is occupied. Right? Whereas to look there must be no occupation.
Q: Yes, yes.
K: Which means you look without concentration. Concentration then becomes an occupation – I must concentrate. I must not allow any thought to come in etc., etc. So you are building a wall round yourself in order to concentrate, which becomes a conflict. I wonder if you… Right?
Audience: Yes, yes.
K: So awareness we have gone into. Concentration – we can go much more deeply into it but we haven’t time, there is a great deal involved in it, because you know when you concentrate you are bringing about greater importance to the self, unconsciously. I may give my concentration in the office, or in the factory, or in the garden or whatever it is, that concentration becomes very important to me. Haven’t you noticed it? Because through that concentration I am going to get something – a reward. So that is the question of concentration.
Attention is something entirely different from awareness in which there is no choice, concentration which is focussing all your energy on a particular thing, thereby becoming a specialist – specialist as a gardener, professor, or whatever you like, which gives you tremendous importance, to oneself. Now we said attention has nothing whatsoever to do with either, because in attention there is no centre from which you are observing. You are attending. Right? Have you ever… give your… Now look, I am saying something: now give your whole attention, attention, your nerves, your body, everything, listen with such tremendous attention and you will see there is no centre as me who is listening. You are just listening. So where there is attention there is no me. Obviously. There is no centre and therefore there is no periphery, there is no distance from the centre to an end, there is only a space in which there is complete attention, without border. That becomes… So what is then not attention? Because most of us attend very seriously for a couple of seconds and then seeing what it does we want to maintain it, practise attention, go to various schools where you learn to be attentive, or follow some guru who will tell you how to be attentive, practise and all the rest which is all nonsense.
So, to attend – which means to give your whole attention, whole attention in observing, which means keeping your eyes absolutely still and looking. Will you all do some of all this? Or am I talking vainly, as usual?
K: Look sirs: this is very important what we are talking about because responsibility becomes then of extraordinary importance; relationship. That lady asked what is the relationship between education and responsibility. If I have a child and I am responsible for it, unfortunately, and how am I to educate it? It becomes – you follow? – a tremendous problem. Send it to an ordinary school where he is turned out to be like the rest of the world? You follow? And all the rest of it. What is your responsibility as a mother, a father, a parent? What is your responsibility? You are tremendously responsible while they are two or three years old, watching over them, careful, you know, dressing properly… After five or six send them off to school and you have wiped your hands off. So, this is not an educational meeting – we can go into that another time.
So conflict ends with the understanding of ‘what is’. Right? You understand now? If I have learnt a great deal about ‘what is’ there is no necessity for the opposite. Right?
Is that enough for this morning? What is the time?
Q: Quarter to one.
K: Quarter to one. Just right. May I go now? That’s enough.
Q: Thank you.