The capacity of thought is shaped and controlled by desire and so the capacity is narrowed down. This capacity is limited by the movement of desire: desire is the essence of sensation. Ambition limits the capacity of the brain, which is thought. This capacity is restricted by social and economic demands or by one’s own experience and motive. It is narrowed down by an ideal, by the sanctions of various religious beliefs, by unending fear. Fear is not separate from pleasure.
Desire – the essence of sensation – is shaped by environment, by tradition, by our own inclinations and temperament. And thus capacity or action that demands total energy is conditioned according to our comfort and pleasure. Desire is a compelling factor in our life, not to be suppressed or evaded, not to be cajoled and reasoned with, but rather to be understood. This understanding can only come into being through the investigation of desire and the observation of its movement. Knowing the impelling fire of desire, most religious and sectarian prohibitions have made it into something that must be suppressed, controlled or surrendered – handed over, as it were, to a deity or principle. The innumerable vows that people have taken totally to deny desire have in no way burned it out. It is there.
So we must approach it differently, bearing in mind that intelligence is not awakened by desire. A desire to go to the moon brings about enormous technical knowledge, but that knowledge is limited intelligence. Knowledge is always specialized and therefore incomplete, whereas we are talking of intelligence which is the movement of the wholeness of the mind. It is with this intelligence that we are concerned and with the awakening of it in both educator and the student.
As we said earlier, capacity is limited by desire. Desire is sensation, the sensation of new experience, of new forms of excitement, the sensation of climbing the highest peaks on earth, the sensation of power, of status. All this limits the energy of the brain. Desire gives the illusion of security, and the brain, which needs security, encourages and sustains every form of desire. So if we do not understand the place of desire, it brings about degeneration of the mind. This is really important to understand.
Thought is the movement of this desire. Curiosity to discover is urged by desire for greater sensations and the illusory certainty of security. Curiosity has brought about the enormous amount of knowledge which has its importance in our daily life. Curiosity has significance in observation.
Thought may be the central factor of degeneration of the mind, whereas insight opens the door to the wholeness of action. We will go into the full meaning of insight in the next letter but for now we must consider whether thought is a destructive factor to the wholeness of the mind. We have made the statement that it is. Do not accept it until you have thoroughly, freely examined it.
What we mean by wholeness of the mind is infinite capacity and its total emptiness in which there is immeasurable energy. Thought by its very nature being limited, imposes its narrowness on the whole, and so thought is always in the forefront. Thought is limited because it is the outcome of memory and knowledge accumulated through experience. Knowledge is the past and that which has been is always limited. Remembrance may project a future. That future is tied to the past, so thought is always limited. Thought is measurable – the more and the less, the larger, the smaller. This measurement is the movement of time: I have been, I shall be. So thought when it predominates, however subtle, cunning and vital, perverts the wholeness and we have given to thought the greatest importance.
If one may ask, after having read this letter, have you grasped the significance of the nature of thought and the wholeness of the mind? And if you have, can you convey this to the student who is your total responsibility? This is a difficult matter. If you have no light you cannot help another to have it. You may explain very clearly or define it in chosen words, but it will not have the passion of truth.