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Part II, Chapter 3 - San Diego State College, 4th Public Talk - 9th April 1970 - ‘Meditation’
Part II, Chapter 3 - San Diego State College, 4th Public Talk - 9th April 1970 - ‘Meditation’
WHAT IS MEDITATION? Before we go into that really quite complex and intricate problem we ought to be very clear as to what it is that we are after. We are always seeking something, especially those who are religiously minded; even for the scientist, seeking has become quite an issue – seeking. This factor, of seeking, must be very clearly and definitely understood before we go into what meditation is and why one should meditate at all, what is its use and where does it get you.
The word ‘seek’ – to run after, to search out – implies, does it not, that we already know, more or less, what we are after. When we say we are seeking truth, or we are seeking God – if we are religiously minded – or we are seeking a perfect life and so on, we must already have in our minds an image or an idea. To find something after seeking it, we must already have known what its contour is, its colour, its substance and so on. Is there not implied in that word, ‘seeking’, that we have lost something and we are going to find it and that when we find it we shall be able to recognise it – which means that we have already known it, that all we have to do is to go after it and search it out?
In meditation the first thing we realize is that it is no use to seek; for what is sought is predetermined by what you wish; if you are unhappy, lonely, in despair, you will search out hope, companionship, something to sustain you, and you will find it, inevitably.
In meditation, one must lay the foundation, the foundation of order, which is righteousness – not respectability, the social morality which is no morality at all, but the order that comes of understanding disorder: quite a different thing. Disorder must exist as long as there is conflict, both outwardly and inwardly.
Order, which comes of understanding disorder, is not according to a blueprint, according to some authority, or your own particular experience. Obviously this order must come about without effort, because effort distorts – it must come about without any form of control.
We are talking about something very difficult in saying that we must bring about order without control. We must understand disorder, how it comes into being; it is the conflict which is in ourselves. In observing it, it is understood; it is not a matter of overcoming it, throttling it, suppressing it. To observe without any distortion, without any compulsive or directive impulse, is quite an arduous task.
Control implies either suppression, rejection or exclusion; it implies a division between a controller and the thing controlled; it implies conflict. When one understands this, control and choice come totally to an end. All this may seem rather difficult and rather contradictory to everything you have thought about. You may say: how can there be order without control, without the action of will? But, as we have said, control implies division, between the one who controls and the thing that is to be controlled; in this division there is conflict, there is distortion – When you really understand this, then there is the ending of the division between the controller and the controlled and therefore comprehension, understanding. When there is understanding of what actually is, then there is no need for control.
So there are these two essential things that must be completely understood if we are to go into the question of what meditation is: first, there is no use in seeking; second, there must be that order which comes from the understanding of disorder which comes from control, with all the implications of the duality and the contradiction which arises between the observer and the observed.
Order comes when the one who is angry and tries to get rid of anger sees that he is anger itself. Without this understanding you really cannot possibly know what meditation is. Do not fool yourself with all the books written about meditation, or with all the people who tell you how to meditate, or the groups that are formed in order to meditate. For if there is no order, which is virtue, the mind must live in the effort of contradiction. How can such a mind be aware of the whole implication of meditation?
With one’s whole being one must come upon this strange thing called love – and therefore be without fear. We mean love that is not touched by pleasure, by desire, by jealousy love that knows no competition, that does not divide, as my love and your love. Then the mind – including the brain and the emotions – is in complete harmony; and this must be, otherwise meditation becomes self-hypnosis.
You must work very hard, to find out the activities of your own mind, how it functions, with its self-centred activities, the ‘me’ and the ‘not me; you must be quite familiar with yourself and all the tricks that the mind plays upon itself, the illusions and the delusions, the imagery and the imagining of all the romantic ideas that one has. A mind that is capable of sentimentality is incapable of love; sentiment breeds brutality, cruelty and violence, not love.
To establish this deeply in yourself is quite arduous; it demands a tremendous discipline, to learn by observing what is going on in yourself. That observation is not possible if there is any form of prejudice, conclusion or formula, according to which you are observing. If you are observing according to what a psychologist has said to you, you really are not observing yourself, therefore there is no self-knowing.
You need a mind that is able to stand completely alone – not burdened by the propaganda or the experiences of others. Enlightenment does not come through a leader or through a teacher; it comes through the understanding of what is in yourself – not going away from yourself. The mind has to understand actually what is going on in its own psychological field; it must be aware of what is going on without any distortion, without any choice, without any resentment, bitterness, explanation or justification – it must just be aware.
This basis is laid happily, not compulsively, but with ease, with felicity, without any hope of reaching anything. If you have hope, you are moving away from despair; one has to understand despair, not search out hope. In the understanding of ‘what is’ there is neither despair nor hope. Is all this asking too much of the human mind? Unless one asks what may appear to be impossible, one falls into the trap, the limitation, of what is thought to be possible. To fall into this trap is very easy. One has to ask the utmost of the mind and the heart, otherwise one will remain in the convenient and the comfortable possible.
Now are we together still? Verbally, probably we are; but the word is not the thing; what we have done is to describe, and the description is not the described. If you are taking a journey with the speaker you are taking the journey actually, not theoretically, not as an idea but as something that you yourself are actually observing – not something you are experiencing; there is a difference between observation and experience.
There is a vast difference between observation and experience. In observation there is no ‘observer’ at all, there is only observing; there is not the one who observes and is divided off from the thing observed. Observation is entirely different from the exploration in which analysis is involved. In analysis there is always the ‘analyser’ and the thing to be analysed. In exploring there is always an entity who explores. In observation there is a continuous learning, not a continuous accumulation. I hope you see the difference. Such learning is different from learning in order to accumulate so that from that accumulation one thinks and acts. An enquiry may be logical, sane and rational, but to observe without the ‘observer’ is entirely different.
Then there is the question of experience. Why do we want experience? Have you ever thought about it? We have experience all the time, of which we are either cognizant or ignorant. And we want deeper, wider, experiences – mystical, profound, transcendental, godly, spiritual – why? Is it not because one’s life is so shoddy, so miserable, so small and petty? One wants to forget all that and move into another dimension altogether. How can a petty mind, worried, fearful, occupied with problem after problem, experience anything other than its own projection and activity? This demand for greater experience is the escaping from that which actually is; yet it is only through that actuality that the most mysterious thing in life is come upon. In experience is involved the process of recognition. When you recognise something, it means you have already known it. Experience, generally, is out of the past, there is nothing new in it. So there is a difference between observation and the craving for experience.
If all this, that is so extraordinarily subtle, demanding great inward attention, is clear, then we can come to our original question: what is meditation? So much has been said about meditation; so many volumes have been written; there are great (I do not know if they are great) yogis who come and teach you how to meditate. The whole of Asia talks about meditation; it is one of their habits, as it is a habit to believe in God or something else. They sit for ten minutes a day in a quiet room and ‘meditate’, concentrate, fix their mind on an image, an image created by themselves, or by somebody else who has offered that image through propaganda. During those ten minutes they try to control the mind; the mind wants to go back and forth and they battle with it – that game they play everlastingly; and that is what they call meditation.
If one does not know anything about meditation, then one has to find out what it is, actually – not according to anybody – and that may lead one to nothing or it may lead one to everything. One must enquire, ask that question, without any expectation.
To observe the mind – this mind that chatters, that projects ideas, that lives in contradiction, in constant conflict and comparison – I must obviously be very quiet. If I am to listen to what you are saying I must give attention, I cannot be chattering, I cannot be thinking about something else, I must not compare what you are saying with what I already know, I must listen to you completely; the mind must be attentive, must be silent, quiet.
It is imperative to see clearly the whole structure of violence; looking at violence the mind becomes completely still – you do not have to ‘cultivate’ a still mind. To cultivate a still mind implies the one who cultivates, in the field of time, that which he hopes to achieve. See the difficulty. Those who try to teach meditation, say, ‘Control your mind, make your mind absolutely quiet’. You try to control it and everlastingly battle with it; you spend forty years controlling it. The mind that observes does not control and everlastingly battle.
The very act of seeing or listening is attention; this you do not have to practise at all; if you practise, you immediately become inattentive. You are attentive and your mind wanders off; let it wander off, but know that it is inattentive; that awareness of that inattention is attention. Do not battle with inattention; do not try, saying, ‘I must be attentive’ – it is childish. Know that you are inattentive; be aware, choicelessly, that you are inattentive – what of it? – and at the moment, in that inattention, when there is action, be aware of that action. Do you understand this? It is so simple. If you do it, it becomes so clear, clear as the waters.
The silence of the mind is beauty in itself. To listen to a bird, to the voice of a human being, to the politician, to the priest, to all the noise of propaganda that goes on, to listen completely silently, is to hear much more, to see much more. Such silence is not possible if your body is not also completely still. The organism, with all its nervous responses – the fidgeting, the ceaseless movement of fingers, the eyes – with all its general restlessness, must be completely still. Have you ever tried sitting completely still without a single movement of the body, including the eyes? Do it for two minutes. In those two minutes the whole thing is revealed – if you know how to look.
The body being still, the flow of blood to the head becomes more. But if you sit crouched and sloppy, then it is more difficult for the blood to go to the head – you must know all this. But, on the other hand, you can do anything and meditate; when in the bus, or when you are driving – it is the most extraordinary thing, that you can meditate while you are driving – be careful, I mean this. The body has its own intelligence, which thought has destroyed. Thought seeks pleasure, and in this way thought leads to indulgence, overeating, indulging sexually, it compels the body to do certain things – if it is lazy, it forces it not to be lazy, or it suggests taking a pill to keep awake. That way the innate intelligence of the organism is destroyed and it becomes insensitive. One needs great sensitivity, therefore one has to watch what one eats – if one overeats, one know what happens. When there is great sensitivity, there is intelligence and therefore love; love then is joy and timeless.
Most of us have physical pain, in some form or another. That pain generally disturbs the mind which spends days, even years, thinking about it – ‘I wish I did not have it’, ‘Shall I ever be without it?’ When the body has pain, watch it, observe it, do not let thought interfere with it.
The mind, including the brain and the heart, must be in total harmony. Now, what is the point of all this, this kind of life, this kind of harmony, what good is it in the world, where is so much suffering? If one or two people have this ecstatic life, what is the point of it? What is the point of asking this question? – it has none whatsoever. If you do have this extraordinary thing going in your life, then it is everything; then you become the teacher, the disciple, the neighbour, the beauty of the cloud – you are all that, and that is love.
Then comes another factor in meditation. The waking mind, the mind that is functioning during the day along the lines in which it has been trained, the conscious mind with all its daily activities, continues these activities during sleep in dreams. In dreams there is action going on, of some kind or other, some happening, so that your sleep is a continuation if the waking hours. And there is a lot of mysterious hocus-pocus about dreams – that they need to be interpreted, hence all the professionals interpreting dreams – which you can observe yourself very simply, if you watch your life during the daytime. Yet why should there be dreams at all? (Though the psychologists say that you must have dreams, otherwise you will go insane.) But when you have observed very closely your waking hours, all your self-centred activities, the fearful, the anxious, the guilty, when you are attentive to that all day then you will see when you sleep, you have no dreams. The mind has been watching every moment of thought, attentive to its every word, if you do it, you will see the beauty of it – not the tired boredom of watching, but the beauty of watching; you will see then that there is attention in sleep. And meditation, the thing that we have talked about during this hour, becomes extraordinarily important and worthwhile, full of dignity and grace and beauty. When you understand what attention is, not only during waking hours but also during sleep, then the whole of the mind is totally awake. Beyond that, every form of description is not the described; you do not talk about it. All that one can do is point to the door. And if you are willing to go, take a journey to that door, then it is for you to walk beyond; nobody can describe the thing that is not nameable, whether that nameable is nothing or everything – it does not matter. Anybody who describes it does not know. And one who says he knows, does not know.
Questioner: What is quietness, what is silence? Is it the ending of noise?
Krishnamurti: Sound is a strange thing. I do not know if you ever listen to sound – not to sounds which you like or do not like – but just to listen to a sound! Sound in space has an extraordinary effect. Have you ever listened to a jet plane that is passing overhead? – have you, to the deep sound of it, without any resistance? Have you listened and moved with that sound? It has a certain resonance.
Now, what is silence? – is it the ‘space’ you produce, which you call silence, by control, by suppressing noise? The brain is all the time active, responding to stimuli with its own noise. So what is silence? You understand the question now? Is silence the cessation of that self-created noise? – is it the cessation of chattering, of verbalization, of every thought? Even when there is no more verbalization and thought seemingly comes to an end, the brain is still going on. Is not silence therefore not only the end of noise but the complete cessation of all movement? Observe it, go into it, see how your brain, which is the result of millions of years of conditioning, is responding to every stimulus instantly; see whether those brain cells, everlastingly active, chattering, responding, can be still.
Can the mind, the brain, the whole organism, this total psychosomatic thing, be completely still? – not forced, not compelled, not driven, not out of greed saying ‘I must be still in order to have the most marvellous experience’? Go into it, find out and see whether your silence is a mere product, or whether it is perhaps because you have laid the foundation. If you have not laid the foundation, which is love, which is virtue, which is goodness, which is beauty, which is real compassion in the depth of your whole being, if you have not done that, your silence is only the ending of noise.
Then there is the whole problem of drugs. In India, in ancient times, there used to be a substance called ‘soma’. It was a kind of mushroom of which they drank the juice which produced either tranquillity or all kinds of hallucinatory experiences; those experiences being the result of conditioning. (All experiences are the result of conditioning; if you believe in God, obviously you have the experience of God; but that belief is based on fear and all the agony of conflict; your god is the result of your own fear. And so the most marvellous experience of God is nothing but your own projection.) But they lost the secret of that mushroom, that particular thing called soma. Since then, in India, as here, there are various drugs, hashish, L.S.D., marihuana, you know the multiplicity of them all, tobacco, drink, heroin. Also there is fasting. If you fast, certain chemical actions take place producing a certain clarity and there is delight in that.
If one can live a beautiful life without taking drugs, why take them? But those who have taken them tell us that certain changes take place; a certain vitality, an energy arises and the space between the observer and the observed disappears; things are seen much more clearly. One drug taker says he takes them when he goes to a museum, for then he sees colours more brilliantly then ever before. But you can see those colours in such brilliance without the drug when you pay complete attention, when you observe without the space between you the observer and the thing observed. When you take drugs you depend on them, and sooner or later they have all kinds of disastrous effects.
So there it is – fasting, drugs, which it is hoped will satisfy the desire for great experience, which will produce everything that you want. And what is wanted is such a tawdry affair; some petty little experience, which is blown up into something extraordinary. So a wise man, a man who has observed all this, puts aside all the stimulants; he observes himself and knows himself. The knowing of himself is the beginning of wisdom and the ending of sorrow.
Questioner: In right relationship, do we really help others? Is it sufficient to love them?
Krishnamurti: What is relationship? What do we mean by relationship? Are we related to anybody? – except sanguinary relationship. What do we mean by that word ‘relationship’? Are we ever related to anything when each one of us lives a life of isolation – isolation in the sense of self-centred activity, each with his own problems, his own fears, his own despairs, his desire to fulfil – all enclosing properties. If he is, so-called, related to his wife, he has added images. It is these images that have relationship, and that relationship is called love! Relationship exists only when the image, the isolating process, comes to an end, when you have no ambition for her and she has no ambition for you, when she does not possess you or you possess her, or you depend on her or she on you.
When there is love you will not ask whether it helps or not. A wayside flower, with its beauty, with its perfume, is not asking you who are passing by to come and smell it, to look at it, to enjoy it, to see the beauty, the delicacy, the perishable nature of it – it is there for you to look or not to look. But if you say ‘I want to help another’, that is the beginning of fear, the beginning of mischief.