Krishnamurti: Talk 10
Transcript of Talk 10, Ojai, 31 August 1952
As this is the last talk of the present series, perhaps it might be as well if I briefly went over what we have been discussing for the past several weeks; but in doing so, I am not making a resume, which would imply recollection of what has been said and repeating it, and that is not my intention.
What we have been discussing is the problem of change. I think most of us realize the necessity of change, not only outwardly, in the economic and social world, but primarily at the psychological level of our existence. When we consider change, we generally think in terms of superficial level. We mean the change that must take place in the relationship of nations, of groups, of communities, of races. We talk of economic and social revolution, and how to bring it about – and there the majority of us stop. We are satisfied with intellectual concepts, verbal formulations, or with the vision of a new world to which we can give our faith and for which we can sacrifice ourselves. So, we see the necessity of change; but I feel a radical change can take place, not at the periphery, on the outside, the circumference, but only at the centre, that is, at the psychological level. In discussing this problem, we have considered it from different points of view; and perhaps this morning we can approach it from the point of view of authority, and how authority prevents a fundamental change. There is the authority of knowledge, the authority of one’s own experience, the authority of memory, the authority of what others say, the authority of the interpreter; and wherever the mind clings to authority, is hedged about by it, obviously there can be no radical change.
I think authority is one of the greatest hindrances that prevent this inward transformation which is so essential if there is to be an outward change in which the problem of war and starvation can be resolved. Until there is a psychological revolution, a fundamental transformation in each one of us, mere outward reformation will not bring about the desired end; and this inward change is prevented when you and I as individuals cling to authority. Most of us are afraid of change. We want things to remain as they are, particularly at the physical level if we are well off. We have a house, a little bit of property, and we are afraid of change there. We are also afraid of change in belief, because we are uncertain of the future. However intelligent, clever, so-called intellectual the mind may be, it clings to some form of belief. Belief becomes the authority, the ideal, the vision. In our relationships, in experiences, there is the desire to be secure, to continue in a particular psychological state, and we are afraid to have a fundamental change along these lines. Being afraid, the mind creates authority: political authority, the authority of religion, of belief, of dogma, the authority of one’s own experience, and so on.
Is it not important to find out how the mind is constantly creating its own barriers of authority, which prevent a radical transformation? Has not each one of us a subtle form of authority? There is the authority of the book, which is knowledge; and must not knowledge be completely set aside if the mind is to be free to see the new? And can the mind ever be free from this acquisition of knowledge? By knowledge we mean information concerning what has been said by the clever, the intellectual, the people who are capable of expressing ideas very clearly, subtly; and does not the mind, in its fear, make of this an authority to which it clings? And do we not make our own experience into authority, a pattern of action according to which we function? Do we not make belief into an authority? Because we ourselves are uncertain, fearful of change, of what might happen, there is always the belief, the ideal, the ultimate reality, the authority of a book, of another’s experience, and of our own hope. Most of us are seeking something to which the mind can cling, round which the mind can build its own security, its own continuity, are we not? And can the mind ever be free from this pursuit, from the erection of these walls which hold it? Can the mind, being smothered by authority ever change? Is this not one of our problems, yours and mine? Can the mind ever be free from authority, even at the superficial level?
You may not make an authority of me because, after all, I am not saying anything which you cannot find out for yourself if you are eager, if you are alert, inquiring; but the desire for authority is always there. Being confused, you depend on interpreters to tell you what I am trying to say or not to say; you find interpreters of the truth. In yourself you are so uncertain, lost, confused, and you want someone to lead, to help you. The moment you rely on another, however great or absurd he may be, there is no freedom, hence there is no possibility of a radical change. In its own uncertainty, in its own confusion and desire to find security, the mind gradually sets up the authority of the church, of the political party, of the leader, the teacher, the book; and realizing this, the church, the State, the politicians, the cunning people, seize the authority and tell us what to think. Most of us are satisfied with authority because it gives us a continuity, a certainty, a sense of being protected. But a man who would understand the implications of this deep psychological revolution must be free of authority, must he not? He cannot look to any authority, whether of his own creation, or imposed upon him by another. And is this possible? Is it possible for me not to rely on the authority of my own experience? Even when I have rejected all the out ward expressions of authority – books, teachers, priests, churches, beliefs – I still have the feeling that at least I can rely on my own judgment, on my own experiences, on my own analysis. But can I rely on my experience, on my judgment, on my analysis? My experience is the result of my conditioning, just as yours is the result of your conditioning, is it not? I may have been brought up as a Mohammedan, or a Buddhist, or a Hindu, and my experience will depend on my cultural, economic, social and religious background, just as yours will. And can I rely on that? Can I rely for guidance, for hope, for the vision which will give me faith, on my own judgment, which again is the result of accumulated memories, experiences the conditioning of the past meeting the present? Can I analyze my own problems? And if I do, is the analyzer different from the thing that he has analyzed?
Now, when I have put all these questions to myself and I am aware of this problem, I see there can be only one state in which reality, newness, can come into being, which brings about a revolution. That state is when the mind is completely empty of the past; when there is no analyzer, no experiencer, no judgment, no authority of any kind. After all, is this not one of our deep problems? As long as the mind is crippled by the past, burdened with knowledge, with memories, with judgments, the new cannot be; as long as the mind is the centre of the self, the “me”, which is the result of time, there is no possibility of the timeless. I do not know what the timeless, that ultimate reality is; but I see that I cannot possibly be aware of anything other than my own creations as long as the mind is merely in a state of experiencing, analyzing, judging, following.
So, if I am really anxious to find out whether there is anything new, the mind must see the nature of its own creations, its own illusions. And I think this is one of our greatest difficulties, because our whole education is to worship the intellect, the mind. So many books have been written about the mind, and everything that we have read is guiding, shaping, conditioning us. This is not a matter of agreement or disagreement with me; but are you not aware of these things in your own life? And a mind which is crippled by the past, by one’s own experiences, by one’s own motives, urges, demands, ambitions, beliefs, by the everlasting striving to be something – how can such a mind ever be capable of seeing new? If you are at all aware of your own inner problems, and see that the political, religious and economic crises of the whole world are interrelated with the psychological conflicts, you are bound to put these questions to yourself. Any change that takes place without freeing the mind of the past, is still within the field of time, therefore within the field of corruption; and surely such a change is no change at all, it is merely a continuation of the old in a different form.
Being aware of all this, I ask myself, as you must also, whether the mind can possibly be free, completely empty of the past, and so capable of seeing something which is not of its own projection, of its own manufacture. To find out if it is possible, you have to experiment – which means that you must distrust completely any form of authority, self-imposed, or imposed by outward circumstances. And authority works very subtly. You are being influenced by me, you are bound to be. But if you are only being influenced, then there will be no radical change – it’s merely a sensation which will react and throw off this influence, taking on another. Whereas, if you are deeply concerned with the problem of fundamental change, then you will see directly for yourself that this change must come about if there is to be peace in the world, if there is to be no starvation when many are well fed. If there is to be the universal well-being of man, there must be a change, not at the superficial level, but at the centre. The centre is the “me”, the “I”, which is ever lastingly accumulating negatively; and one of its ways of acquisition is through authority. Through authority it has continuance. So, if you and I realize this, then the problem arises, can the mind empty itself of its whole content, can it be free of all the things that have been put upon it, imposed and self-imposed? It is only when the mind is empty that there is a possibility of creation; but I do not mean this superficial emptiness which most of us have. Most of us are superficially empty, and it shows itself through the desire for distraction. We want to be amused, so we turn to books, to the radio, we run to lectures, to authorities; the mind is everlastingly filling itself. I am not talking of that emptiness, which is thoughtlessness. On the contrary, I am talking of the emptiness which comes through extraordinary thoughtfulness, when the mind sees its own power of creating illusion and goes beyond.
Creative emptiness is not possible as long as there is the thinker who is waiting, watching, observing in order to gather experience, in order to strengthen himself. And can the mind ever be empty of all symbols, of all words with their sensations so that there is no experiencer who is accumulating? Is it possible for the mind to put aside completely all the reasonings, the experiences, the impositions, authorities, so that it is in a state of emptiness? You will not be able to answer this question, naturally; it is an impossible question for you to answer, because you do not know, you have never tried. But, if I may suggest, listen to it, let the question be put to you, let the seed be sown; and it will bear fruit if you really listen to it, if you do not resist it, if you do not say, “How can the mind be empty? If it is empty, it cannot function, it cannot do its daily job”. And what is its daily job? Routine, boredom, tiresome continuity. We all know that. So, it seems to me important to find out for yourself; and to find out, you must listen, inquire. When I am talking, I am helping you to inquire, I am not putting something across or over to you. I also am inquiring. That is the purpose of these talks.
After all these weeks of talking, of going into this problem of change, we must ultimately come to this question, whether the mind can ever be empty so that it can receive the new. It is only the new that can transform, not the old. If you pursue the pattern of the old, it is a continuity, modified continuity of the old; there is nothing new in that, there is nothing creative. The creative can come into being only when the mind itself is new; and the mind can renew itself only when it is capable of seeing all its own activities, not only at the superficial level, but deep down. When the mind sees its own activities, is aware of its own desires, demands, urges, pursuits, the creation of its own authorities, fears; when it sees in itself the resistance created by discipline, by control, and the hope which projects beliefs, ideals – when the mind sees through, is aware of this whole process, can it put aside all these things and be new, creatively empty? You will find out whether it can or cannot only if you experiment without having an opinion about it, without wanting to experience that creative state. If you want to experience it, you will; but what you experience is not creative emptiness, it is only a projection of desire. If you desire to experience the new, you are merely indulging in illusion. But if you begin to observe, to be aware of your own activities from day to day, from moment to moment, watching the whole process of yourself as in a mirror, then, as you go deeper and deeper, you will come to the ultimate question of this emptiness in which alone there can be the new. Truth, God, or what you will, is not something to be experienced; for the experiencer is the result of time, the result of memory, of the past; and as long as there is the experiencer, there cannot be reality. There is reality only when the mind is completely free from the analyzer, from the experiencer and the experienced.
Now can you not just listen to this 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 own projections, its own 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 the 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, revolution.
Question: I read recently of a Hindu girl who could easily solve problems in higher mathematics which were difficult for even the greatest mathematicians. How can you explain this except by reincarnation?
Krishnamurti: Isn’t it very odd how we are satisfied by explanations? You have a particular theory of continuity, which is reincarnation. You have that belief, that conviction. I don’t know why, but you have it – or rather, we do know why: because you want to continue. Having that belief, that explanation, you want to fit everything round it; and the authority of your belief cripples your discovery of the new. This girl’s extraordinary faculty may or may not be the result of reincarnation; but surely, what is important is to find out your own state, not that of the girl, why your mind is caught and crippled by words, explanations. Good gracious me, there can be a dozen explanations for this; but why do you as an individual choose the particular explanation that satisfies you? That is important to find out, is it not? Because, if you go into it, you will discover how your mind is crippled by belief, by sensation, by the desire for your own continuity. Surely, that which continues cannot be the new. Only in dying is there the new. But we don’t want to die, we want to continue. Our whole social structure, all our religious beliefs, are based on this continuity of the “me”, of the “I”, which means we are afraid of death, of coming to an end. Being afraid, we have innumerable explanations to cover up that fear. What is this fear? Please follow this: what is this fear of not being, of not continuing? What is the “you” that wants to continue? Is it not your property, the things that you have gathered in your house, the furniture, the radio, the washing machine, the qualities, the virtues you have struggled to gain, the name, the reputation, the memories and experiences? And if you really go into it, look at it earnestly, what are all these things? What are they but empty words, symbols that give you sensations; and these sensations we cling to? It is that we want to continue; and so there is never the new, there is never a death, but a postponement. It is only in dying that you see the new; it is only in putting an end to the old that there is a possibility of something creative. And is it possible to die from day to day? Is it possible not to hoard resentments, ideas, goals, to put an end to this process of achievement which gives birth to everlasting strife? Fear is a thing which we have never looked at; death we have never faced We watch other people die, but we don’t know what death means because we are afraid of it; so we run away through explanations, through words, through ideas, beliefs. And can the mind face fear? Can the mind look at it? What is this fear? Is it a word, or an actuality? Please listen, find out. The thing which we are afraid of, is it the word “fear”, or something which is actual? There is the fact of death; but we have ideas, opinions about death. The ideas about the fact create the fear. It is the word about the fact that creates the fear – not the fact itself. And can the mind be free of the word and look at the fact? Which means, really, looking at the fact without the activity of the mind. The mind is active only in words, in symbols, in opinions; so the mind creates the barrier and looks through the barrier at the fact, and therefore there is fear. Can the mind look at the fact without having an idea about it, without an opinion, a judgment? If it can, then there is a complete revolution, is there not? Then there is a possibility of going beyond death.
Question: What is suffering?
Krishnamurti: Let us inquire and find out. There is the physical pain which gradually becomes a mental suffering, and which the mind uses to create situations, problems, either to strengthen or to diminish itself. Then there is the suffering caused by not being loved sufficiently, by wanting love; there is suffering through death, when you love some body and that somebody is gone; there is suffering through frustration, the suffering which comes when you are ambitious and cannot achieve your ambition; there is suffering through the loss of your property, through ill health. What does all this indicate? What is this thing that we call suffering? Is it not that through these activities of the mind the self-enclosing process of the “me” becomes more and more accentuated, strengthened? When you become aware that you are enclosed, held, is that not suffering? Does not suffering exist when you are conscious of yourself, of your battles, of your strivings, of your frustrated ambitions? The more you are caught in the conflicts of the self, the more there is of suffering. So, suffering is a reaction of the self; and to understand the implications of suffering is to go into the whole process of the “me”, of the “I” – which is what we have been doing in these talks.
Suffering is an indication of the activities of the mind. Suffering is not to be denied; but most of us try to cover it up, we run away from it through explanations, through satisfying words. We do not go into the problem of suffering, which is to expose the “me” in its nakedness; and when it is suddenly exposed, we do not dwell with it, we do not watch it, we try to escape. Escape creates further conflict, further struggle; so we are caught in this everlasting process of suffering. Whereas, if, when suffering comes, we are capable of looking at that nakedness, that loneliness, that emptiness which is the self, only then is there a possibility of going beyond it.
Question: What is meditation?
Krishnamurti: Perhaps you and I can find out together what meditation is, so let us go into it. You are not waiting for an answer from me, so that you can be satisfied by words, by explanations. You and I are going to find out what meditation actually is.
What is meditation? Sitting cross-legged, or lying down, relaxed? Obviously, there must be relaxation of the body; but though your body is relaxed, your mind is very active, chattering away endlessly. Being aware of this, you say, “I must control it, I must stop it, there must be a certain sense of quietness”. So, you begin to control, to discipline your mind. Please follow all this, and you will see. You spend years in control ling, disciplining your chattering mind; your energy is spent in making the mind conform to a desired pattern, but you never succeed; and if you do succeed, your mind becomes so weary, lethargic, empty, dull. Obviously, that is not meditation. On the contrary, the mind must be supremely alert, not caught in a routine of habit, discipline.
So, I see that my mind, though it is chattering endlessly, cannot be disciplined, made to fit into a particular pattern of thought. Then how is it to be calmed? How is the chattering mind to be quiet? Just see the implications of the problem. If the observer, the analyzer, imposes a discipline on the chattering mind, then there is a conflict between the observer, the analyzer and the thing he has observed, analyzed. The thinker is struggling to make his thought conform to the pattern which he desires, which is to calm the mind; so he disciplines it, he controls, dominates, suppresses it, in which is involved the conflict of duality. There is a division between the observer and the observed, and in that division there is conflict; and meditation is obviously not an endless process of conflict.
So, how is the mind, which is ceaselessly chattering, to be quiet? When I ask that question, what is the state of your mind? Please watch yourself. What is the state of your mind when I put that question? You are accustomed to discipline, control, but now you see its absurdity, its illusory nature; therefore, the state of your mind is that you do not know how to quiet the mind. You are finished with explanations, with knowledge, which is conditioning; the actual fact is that your mind is chattering, and you do not know how to quiet it. So, what is the state of your mind? You are really inquiring, are you not? You are watching, you have no answer. All that you know is that your mind is chattering, and you want to find out how the mind can be quiet – but not according to a method. Surely, the moment you put to yourself the question, “How is the mind to be quiet, cease from chattering”? you have already entered the realm in which the mind is quiet, have you not? You know that your mind is active, ceaselessly battering, one layer against another layer, the observer fighting the observed, the experiencer wanting more; you are aware of the incessant vagaries of thought, and you actually do not know how to reduce it, how it is to be quiet. You reject all methods, because they have no meaning. To follow a method, to copy a pattern only cripples the mind through habit. Habit is not meditation. The routine of a discipline does not free the mind so that it can discover the new. So, you reject all that completely; but you still have the question, how is the mind to be quiet? the moment you put that question to yourself really, vitally, actually, what then is the state of your mind? Is it not quiet? It is no longer chattering, analyzing, judging; it is watching, observing, because you don’t know. The very state of not knowing is the beginning of quietness. You discover that as long as there is the struggle between the desired pattern and that which you are, there must be a battle; and this battle is a waste of energy, which creates inertia. So, the mind sees the falseness of all that and rejects it. As it observes, the mind becomes quiet; yet there is still the problem of the thinker apart from thought, so there is again a battle.
Meditation is all this process, not just a limited process with a particular end. It is this vast searching, groping, not being caught in any particular idea, belief, or experience, being aware that any projection of the mind is illusion, hypnosis. And if you go into it more and more deeply, not with a motive, not with any desire for a particular result, but simply watching the whole process of yourself, then you will see that, without any form of compulsion, suppression or discipline, the mind becomes creatively empty, still. That stillness will not give you any riches in this world – do not translate it so quickly into dollars. If you approach it with a begging bowl, it will offer you nothing. That stillness is free from all sense of continuity, in it there is no experiencer who is experiencing. When the experiencer is there, it is no longer stillness, it is merely a continuation of sensation. Meditation is all this process, which brings about a state in which the mind is still, no longer projecting, desiring, defending, judging, experiencing. In that state the new can be. The new is not to be verbalized; it has no words to ex plain it, therefore it is not communicable. It is something that comes into being when the mind itself is new; and this whole, complex process of self-knowledge is meditation.