We Try To Put the Immeasurable in a Frame of Words

This winter there has been constant rain, day after day practically for the last three months. It is rather an extravagance of California – either it doesn’t rain at all or it rains to drown the land. There have been great storms and very few sunny days. It has been raining all yesterday and this morning the clouds are low down on the hills and it is rather gloomy. All the leaves are beaten down by the rain of yesterday. The earth is very wet. The trees and that magnificent oak must be asking where the sun is.

On this particular morning with the clouds hiding the mountains and the hills almost down to the valley, what does it mean to be serious? What does it mean to have a very quiet serious mind – or, if you will, brain? Are we ever serious? Or do we always live in a world of superficiality, walking to and fro, fighting, quarrelling, violent over something utterly trivial? What does it mean to have a brain that is very awake, not limited by its own thoughts, memories and remembrances? What does it mean to have a brain that is free from all the turmoil of life, all the pain, all the anxiety and the endless sorrow? Is it ever possible to have a totally free mind, free brain, not shaped by influences, by experience and the vast accumulation of knowledge? Knowledge is time; learning means time. To learn to play the violin takes infinite patience, months of practice, years of dedicated concentration. Learning to acquire a skill, learning to become an athlete or to put together a good engine or to go to the moon – all this requires time. But is there anything to learn about the psyche, about what you are – all the vagaries, the intricacies of one’s reactions and actions, the hope, the failure, the sorrow and joy – what is there to learn about all that? As we said, in a certain area of one’s physical existence, gathering knowledge and acting from that knowledge, requires time. Is it that we carry that same principle, extend that same movement of time into the psychological world? There too we say we must learn about ourselves, about our reactions, our behaviour, our elations and depressions, ideations and so on; we think that all that requires time too.

You can learn about the limited, but you cannot learn about the unlimited. And we try to learn about the whole field of the psyche, and say that needs time. But time may be an illusion in that area, it may be an enemy. Thought creates the illusion, and that illusion evolves, grows, extends. The illusion of all religious activity must have begun very, very simply, and now look where it is – with immense power, vast properties, great accumulation of art, wealth, and the religious hierarchy demanding obedience, urging you to have more faith. All that is the expansion, the cultivation and the evolution of illusion which has taken many centuries. And the psyche is the whole content of consciousness, is the memory of all things past and dead. We give such importance to memory. The psyche is memory. All tradition is merely the past. We cling to that and want to learn all about it, and think that time is necessary for that as in the other area.

I wonder if one ever asks whether time has a stop – time to become, time to fulfil? Is there anything to learn about all that? Or can one see that the whole movement of this illusory memory, which appears so real, can end? If time has a stop, then what is the relationship between that which lies beyond time and all the physical activities of the brain as memory, knowledge, remembrances, experiences? What is the relationship between the two? Knowledge and thought, as we have often said, are limited. The limited cannot possibly have any relationship with the unlimited but the unlimited can have some kind of communication with the limited, though that communication must always be limited, arrow, fragmentary.

One might ask, if one is commercially minded, what is the use of all this, what is the use of the unlimited, what can man profit by it? We always want a reward. We live on the principle of punishment and reward, like a dog which has been trained, you reward him when he obeys. And we are almost similar in the sense that we want to be rewarded for our actions, for our obedience and so on. Such demand is born out of the limited brain. The brain is the centre of thought and thought is ever limited under all circumstances. It may invent the extraordinary, theoretical, immeasurable, but its invention is always limited. That is why one has to be completely free from all the travail and toil of life and from self-centred activity for the unlimited to be.

That which is immeasurable cannot be measured by words. We are always trying to put the immeasurable into a frame of words, and the symbol is not the actual. But we worship the symbol, therefore we always live in a limited state. So with the clouds hanging on the tree tops and all the birds quiet, waiting for the thunderstorm, this is a good morning to be serious, to question the whole of existence, to question the very gods and all human activity. Our lives are so short and during that short period there is nothing to learn about the whole field of the psyche, which is the movement of memory; we can only observe it. Observe without any movement of thought, observe without time, without past knowledge, without the observer who is the essence of the past. Just watch. Watch those clouds shaping and reshaping, watch the trees, the little birds. It is all part of life. When you watch attentively, with diligence, there is nothing to learn; there is only that vast space, silence and emptiness, which is all-consuming energy.