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Chapter 3 - 22nd October 1968 - 3rd Public Talk at Brandeis University
Chapter 3 - 22nd October 1968 - 3rd Public Talk at Brandeis University
I was told the other day that meditation has no place in America at the present time; that the Americans need action, not meditation. I wonder why this division is made between a contemplative, meditative life and a life of action. We are caught in this dualistic, fragmented way of looking at life. In India there is the concept of various ways of life; the man of action, the man of knowledge, the man of wisdom and so on. Such division in the very act of living must inevitably lead to conformity, limitation and contradiction.
If we are to go into this question of meditation - which is an extraordinarily complex and, for the speaker, most important thing - we have to understand what we mean by that word. The dictionary meaning of that word is "to ponder over", "think over", "consider", "inquire thoughtfully", and so on. India and Asia seem to have monopolized that word as though meditation in all its depth, meaning and the very end of it, is under their control; the monopoly apparently is with them - which of course is absurd. When we speak of "meditation" we must be clear as to whether it is with the intent to escape from life - the daily grind, the boredom, anxiety and fear - or as a way life. Either, through meditation, we seek to escape altogether from this mad and ugly world or it is the very understanding, living and acting in life itself. If we want to escape then there are various schools: the Zen Monasteries in Japan and the many other systems. We can see why they are so tempting, for life, as it is, is very ugly, brutal, competitive, ruthless; it has no meaning whatsoever, as it is.
When the Hindus offer their systems of Yoga, their mantras, the repetition of words and so on, we may obviously be tempted to accept rather easily and without much thought, for they promise a reward, a sense of satisfaction in escape. So let us be very clear; we are not concerned with any escape, either through a contemplative, visionary life, through drugs or the repetition of words.
In India, the repetition of certain Sanskrit words is called mantra; they have a special tonality and are said to make the mind more vibrant, alive. But the repetition of these mantras must make the mind dull; maybe that is what most human beings want, they cannot face life as it is, it is too appalling and they want to be made insensitive. The repetition of words and the taking of drugs, drink and so on, does help to dull the mind. The dulling of the mind is called "quietness", "silence", which it obviously is not. A dull mind can think about God and virtue and beauty yet remain dull, stupid and heavy. We are not concerned in any way with these various forms of escape.
Meditation is not a fragmentation of life; it is not a withdrawal into a monastery or into a room, sitting quietly for ten minutes or an hour, trying to concentrate, to learn to meditate, and yet for the rest being a hideous, ugly human being. One brushes all that aside as being unintelligent, as belonging to a state of mind that is incapable of really perceiving what truth is; for to understand what truth is one must have a very sharp, clear, precise mind; not a cunning mind, not tortured, but a mind that is capable of looking without any distortion, a mind innocent and vulnerable; only such a mind that can see what truth is. Nor can a mind that is filled with knowledge perceive what truth is; only a mind that is completely capable of learning can do that; learning is not the accumulation of knowledge; learning is a movement from moment to moment. The mind and the body also must be highly sensitive. You cannot have a dull, heavy body, loaded with wine and meat, and then try to meditate - that has no meaning. So the mind - if one goes into this question very seriously and deeply - must be highly alert, highly sensitive and intelligent, not the intelligence born of knowledge.
Living in this world with all its travail, so caught up in misery, sorrow and violence, is it possible to bring the mind to a state that is highly sensitive and intelligent? That is the first and an essential point in meditation. Second: a mind that is capable of logical, sequential perception; in no way distorted or neurotic. Third: a mind that is highly disciplined. The word "discipline" means "to learn", not to be drilled. "Discipline" is an act of learning - the very root of the word means that. A disciplined mind sees everything very clearly, objectively, not emotionally, not sentimentally. Those are the basic necessities to discover that which is beyond the measure of thought, something not put together by thought, capable of the highest form of love, a dimension that is not the projection of one's own little mind.
We have created society and that society has conditioned us. Our minds are tortured and heavily conditioned by a morality which is not moral; the morality of society is immorality, because society admits and encourages violence, greed, competition, ambition and so on, which are essentially immoral. There is no love, consideration, affection, tenderness, and the "moral respectability" of society is utterly disorderly. A mind that has been trained for thousands of years to accept, to obey and conform, cannot possibly be highly sensitive and therefore highly virtuous. We are caught in this trap. So then, what is virtue? - because that is necessary.
Without the right foundation a mathematician does not go very far. In the same way, if one would understand and go beyond to something which is of a totally different dimension, one must lay the right foundation; and the right foundation is virtue, which is order - not the order of society which is disorder. Without order, how can the mind be sensitive, alive, free?
Virtue is obviously not the repetitive behaviour of conforming to a pattern which has become respectable, which the establishment, whether in this country or the rest of the world, accepts as morality. One must be very clear on this point as to what virtue is. One comes upon virtue; it cannot be cultivated any more than one can cultivate love, or humility. One comes upon it - the nature of virtue, its beauty, its orderliness - when one knows what it is not; through negation one finds out what is positive. One does not come upon virtue by defining the positive and then imitating it - that is not virtue at all. Cultivating various forms of "what should be", which are called virtue - like non-violence - practising these day after day until they become mechanical, has no meaning.
Virtue, surely, is something from moment to moment, like beauty, like love - it is not something you have accumulated and from which you act. This is not just a verbal statement for acceptance or non-acceptance. There is disorder - not only in society but in ourselves, total disorder - but it is not that there is somewhere in us order and the rest of the field is in disorder; that is another duality and therefore contradiction, confusion and struggle. Where there is disorder there must be choice and conflict. It is only the mind that is confused that chooses, but for a mind that sees everything very clearly there is no choice. If I am confused, my actions will be confused.
A mind that sees things very clearly, without distortion, without a personal bias, has understood disorder and is free of it; such a mind is virtuous, orderly - not orderly according to the Communists, the Socialists or the Capitalists or any church, but orderly because it has understood the whole measure of disorder within itself. Order, inwardly, is akin to the absolute order of mathematics. Inwardly, the highest order is as an absolute; and it cannot come about through cultivation, not through practice, oppression, control, obedience and conformity. It is only a mind that is highly ordered that can be sensitive, intelligent.
One has to be aware of disorder within oneself, aware of the contradictions, the dualistic struggles, the opposing desires, aware of the ideological pursuits and their unreality.
One has to observe "that which is" without condemnation, without judgment, without any evaluation. I see the microphone is the microphone - not as something I like or dislike, considering it good or bad - I see it as it is. In the same way one has to see oneself as one is, not calling what one sees bad, good - evaluating (which does not mean doing what one likes). Virtue is order; one cannot have a blueprint of it; if one does, and if one follows it, one has become immoral, disorderly.
Questioner: Is order simply not disorder?
Krishnamurti: No. We said that the understanding of what disorder is - understanding not verbally, not intellectually - is actually to be free of disorder, which is the conflict, the battle of duality. Out of that understanding comes order, which is a living thing. That which is alive you cannot put on a piece of paper and try to follow it - it is a movement. Our minds are tortured, our minds are twisted, because we are making such tremendous efforts to live, to do, to act, to think. Effort in any form must be a distortion. The moment there is an effort to be aware, it is not awareness. I am aware as I enter this hall; I do not make an effort. I am aware of the size of the hall, the colour of the curtains, the lights, the people, the colour of what they wear - I am aware of it all, there is no effort. When attention is an effort it is inattention.
Questioner: Something takes me from inattention.
Krishnamurti: Nothing takes you from inattention to attention. One is mostly inattentive. If you know you are inattentive and be attentive at the moment of knowing inattention you are attentive.
To look at something objectively, without any judgment, is fairly easy. Look at a tree, at a flower, or the cloud, or the light on the water, to look at it without any judgment or evaluation is fairly easy - because it does not touch us deeply. But to look at my wife, at my professor, without any evaluation, is almost impossible, because I have an image of that person. That image has been put together through a series of incidents over days, months and years - with their pleasure, pain, sexual delight and so on. It is through that image that I look at that person. See what happens: when I look at my wife or my neighbour - or the neighbour may be a thousand or ten thousand miles away - I look at her or him through the images I have built and through the images which propaganda has built. Have I any relationship? - is there any relationship between the husband and the wife when both of them have their images? The images have relationship - the memories of the experiences, the nagging, the bullying, the dominating, the pleasure, this and that - which have been accumulated for years. Through these memories, these images, I look and I say, "I know my wife", or she says she knows me. But is that so? I know merely the images; a living thing I cannot know - dead images are what I know.
To look clearly is to look without any image, without any symbol or word. Do it and you will see what great beauty there is.
Questioner: Can I look at myself that way?
Krishnamurti: If you look at yourself with an image about yourself, you cannot learn. For instance, I discover in myself a deep-rooted hatred and I say, "How terrible, how ugly". When I say that, I prevent myself from looking. The verbal statement, the word, the symbol, prevents observation. To learn about myself there must be no word, no knowledge, no symbol, no image; then I am actively learning.
Questioner: Is it possible to observe all the time?
Krishnamurti: I wonder why one asks such a question. Is it a form of greed? You say: "If I could do that my life would be different" - therefore you are greedy. Forget whether you can do it all the time - you will find out. Begin and see how extraordinarily difficult it is to be attentive.
Questioner: (Inaudible on tape.)
Krishnamurti: Through the senses of my body there is visual sight; and there is also psychological sight; I see visually, why should I introduce the sight of psychological memories into what I am seeing?
All this is meditation. You cannot say there is all this and that meditation is at the end of it! All this is the way of living which is meditation and that is the beauty of it; beauty, not as in architecture, in the line and curve of a hill, of the setting sun or the moon, not in the word or in the poem, not in a statue or a painting - it is in a way of living, you can look at anything and there is beauty.
Is it possible for a mind that is twisted, broken, fragmentary, to see everything clearly and innocently? We are tortured human beings, there is no question about it, our minds have been tortured and are tortured - how can such a mind see things very clearly? To find that out - because we are learning, not stating things - to find that out one must go into the question of experience.
Every experience leaves a mark, a residue, a memory of pain or pleasure. The word "experience" means to go through something. But we never "go through" something so it leaves a mark. If you have a great experience, go through the greatness of it, completely, so that you are free of it, then it does not leave marks as memory.
Why is it that every experience that we have had leaves a remembrance, conscious or unconscious? - because it is this that prevents innocency. You cannot prevent experiences. If you prevent or resist experience, you build a wall around yourself, you isolate yourself; that is what most people do.
One must understand the nature and structure of experience. You see a sunset such as it was yesterday evening - lovely, the light, that rose-coloured light on the water and the top of the trees bathed in marvellous light. You look at it, you enjoy it, there is a great delight and beauty, colour and depth; a second later you say, "How beautiful it was". You describe it to somebody, you want it again, the beauty of it, the pleasure of it, the delight of it. You may be back tomorrow, at that time and hour and you may see the sun- set again - but you will look at it with the memory of yesterday's. So the freshness is already affected by the memory of yesterday. In the same way, you may insult me, or flatter me, the insult and the flattery remain as marks of pain and pleasure. So I am accumulating, the mind is accumulating through experience, thickening, coarsening, becoming more and more heavy with thousands of experiences. That is a fact. Now, can I when you insult me, listen with attention and consider your insult, not react to it immediately, but consider it? When you say I am a fool, you may be right, I may be a fool, probably I am. Or when you flatter me, I also watch. Then the insult and the flattery leave no mark. The mind is alert, watchful, whether of your insult or flattery, of the sunset and the beauty of so many things. The mind is all the time alert and therefore all the time free - though receiving a thousand experiences.
Questioner: If somebody insults you and you really listen to what they are saying, after you have heard it... well, are they right or are they wrong?
Krishnamurti: No, you can see it instantly, the mind being free from the past, the psychological accumulation of knowledge and experience. You can be innocent.
Questioner: Then it must be attentive...
Krishnamurti: Of course. And in that there is great joy. In the other there is not; there the mind is twisted, tortured by experience, and therefore can never be innocent, fresh, young, alive.
There is the whole question of love. Have you ever considered what it is? Is love thought or its product? Can love be cultivated by thought - become a habit? Is love pleasure? Love as we know it is essentially the pursuit of pleasure. And if love is pleasure, then love is also fear - no?
What is pleasure? We are not denying pleasure; we are not saying you must not have pleasure; that would be absurd. What is pleasure? You saw that sunset yesterday evening; at the moment of perception there was neither pleasure nor pain, there was only an immediate contact with that reality. But a few minutes later you began to think about it; what a delightful thing that was. It is the same with sex. You think about it by building images and pictures; thinking about it gives you pleasure. In the same way, thinking about the loss of that pleasure, you have fear - thinking about not having a job tomorrow, being lonely, not being loved, not being capable of self-expression and so on. This machinery of "thinking about it" causes both pleasure and fear.
Is love to be cultivated as you would cultivate a plant? Is love to be cultivated by thought? - knowing that thought breeds pleasure and fear. One has to learn what love is, learn, not accumulate what others have said about love - what horror! One has to learn, one has to observe. Love is not to be cultivated by thought; love is something entirely different.
From the sensitivity and intelligence, from the order born when the mind understands how this disorder comes into being and is free of it, from the discipline which comes in the understanding of disorder, one comes upon this thing called love - which the politicians, the priests, the husband, the wife, have destroyed.
To understand love is to understand death. If one does not die to the past, how can one love? If I do not die to the image of myself and to the image of my wife how can I love?
All this is the marvel of meditation and the beauty of it. In all this, one comes upon something: the quality of mind which is religious and silent. Religion is not organized belief, with its gods, with its priests. Religion is a state of mind, a free mind, an innocent mind and therefore a completely silent mind - such a mind has no limit.
Questioner: What happens to people who do not have this type of mind?
Krishnamurti: Why do we say: "If people do not have it"? Who are "the people"? If I do not have it - that is all. If I do not have such a sharp, clear mind, what am I to do? Is not that the question? Our minds are confused, are they not? We live in confusion. What should one do? If I am stupid, Sir, it is no good trying to polish stupidity, trying to become clever. First I must know I am stupid, that I am dull. The very awareness of my dullness is to be free of that dullness. To say "I am a fool", not verbally but actually say "Well, I am a fool", then you are already watchful, you are no longer a fool. But if you resist what you are, then your dullness becomes more and more.
In this world the apogee of intellect is to be very clever, very smart, very complex, very erudite. I do not know why people carry erudition in their brains - why not leave it on the library shelf? The computers are very erudite. Erudition has nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence. To see things as they are, in ourselves, without bringing about conflict in perceiving what we are needs the tremendous simplicity of intelligence. I am a fool, I am a liar, I am angry and so on: I observe it, I learn about it, not relying on any authority, I do not resist it, I do not say "I must be different", it is just there.
Questioner: When I attempt to pay attention I realize that I cannot give attention.
Krishnamurti: Is attention born of inattention?
Questioner: No: what produces it - how does it come?
Krishnamurti: First of all, what is attention? When you attend, that is, when you give your mind, your heart, your nerves, your eyes, your ears, there is complete attention; it takes place, does it not? Total attention is that. When there is no resistance, when there is no censor, no evaluating movement, then there is attention - you have got it.
Questioner: But it seems so seldom.
Krishnamurti: Ah! - we are back again. "this happens so seldom"! I am just pointing out something, which is: most of us are inattentive. Now, next time you are conscious of inattention, you are attentive, are you not? So be conscious of inattention. Through negation you come to the positive. Through understanding inattention, attention comes.