This Light in Oneself – J. Krishnamurti

One can talk endlessly, describing, piling words upon words, coming to various forms of conclusions, but out of all this verbal confusion if there is one clear action that action is worth ten thousand words. Most of us are so afraid to act because we ourselves are confused, disorderly, contradictory and rather miserable. And we hope through this confusion, through this disarray, that some kind of clarity could come into being, a clarity that can never be clouded over, a clarity that is not of another, a clarity that is not given or induced or taken away, a clarity that keeps itself without any effort, without any volition, without any motive, alive; a clarity that has no end and therefore no beginning. Most of us do desire, or most of us, if we are at all aware of our inward confusion, want such clarity.

This morning, if we may – and I’m sorry you have to sit in a hall like this when there are lovely clouds, clear sunshine and waving trees; to sit in a hall is rather unpleasant – I would like this morning, if I may, to see if each one of us could come upon this clarity, so that when you leave this hall your mind and your heart are very clear, undisturbed, with no problems and no fear. If we could go into this it would be immensely worthwhile to see for each one of us if we could be a light to ourselves, a light that has no dependence on another and that is completely free. To go into that one has to explore rather a complex problem. Either one can explore it intellectually, analytically, taking layer after layer of confusion and disorder, taking many days, many years, perhaps a whole lifetime – and then not finding it. Either you do that, this analytical process of cause and effect; or perhaps you can side-step all that completely and come to it directly – without the intermediary of any authority of the intellect, or of a norm. To do that requires that much abused word ‘meditation’. That word has unfortunately become a monopoly of the East and therefore utterly worthless.

I don’t know why the mysticism, if it is mysticism at all and not self-hypnosis and illusion, why the Orient, the East, has this peculiar dominance over the West about spirituality, as though they have got it in their pocket and give it out to you. Most of them do at a considerable expense, you have to pay for it: or they use that as a means of exploiting you in the name of an idea or a promise. I don’t know why, both in India and those unfortunate people who come out of that country, including myself – though I am not an Indian, I refuse to have any nationality – there is a peculiar feeling that being an old civilization, having talked a great deal about this peculiar quality of spirituality, that they therefore have this authority. I’m afraid they haven’t – they are just like you and me, they are as confused, dull, clever with their tongues, and they have learnt one or two tricks and try to convey to others the method, the system of meditation.

So that word has become rather spoilt; like love it has been besmirched. But it is a lovely word, it has a great deal of meaning, there is a great deal of beauty, not in the word itself but the meaning behind that word. And we are going to see for ourselves, each one of us, if we cannot come upon this state of mind that is always in meditation. To lay the foundation for that meditation one must understand what living is – living and dying. The understanding of that life and the extraordinary meaning of death is meditation; not searching out some deep mystical experience; not – as it is done in the East – a repetition of words, as the Catholics and others also do, a constant repetition of a series of words, however hallowed, however ancient. That only makes the mind quiet, but it also makes the mind rather dull, stupid, mesmerized. You might just as well take a tranquillizer, which is much easier. So that is not meditation, the repetition of words, the self-hypnosis, the following of a system or a method.

I think we should be very clear about these two facts: experience and following a method, a system, that promises a reward of vast transcendental experience and all that silly nonsense. When one talks about experience, the word itself means, does it not, ‘to go through something, to be pushed through’. And to experience also implies, doesn’t it, a process of recognition. I had an experience yesterday, and it has either given me pleasure or pain. To be entirely with that experience one must recognize it. Recognition means something that has already happened before and therefore experience is never new. Do please bear this in mind. It can never be new because it has already happened before and therefore there is a recollection, a remembrance, a memory of it and therefore a person who says, ‘I’ve had great transcendental experience, a tremendous experience’, such a person is obviously either exploiting others, because he thinks he has had a marvelous experience, which already has happened and therefore is utterly old. Or, a person who says, ‘I’ve had the most extraordinary spiritual experience’ wants to exploit others. Truth can never be experienced, that is the beauty of it, because it is always new, it is never what has happened yesterday. That must be totally, completely, forgotten or gone through – what has happened yesterday – the incident of yesterday must be finished with yesterday. But to carry that over as an experience to be measured in terms of achievement, to convey to others that one has something extraordinary in order to impress, to convey, to convince others, seems to me so utterly silly.

So one must be very cautious, guarded about this word experience, because you can only experience and remember that experience only when it has already happened to you. That means, there must be a center, a thinker, an observer, who retains, holds the thing that is over and therefore something already dead; and therefore nothing new. It is like a Christian steeped in his particular conditioning, burdened with two thousand years of propaganda; when he perceives or has a vision of his savior, whatever he may call him, it is merely a projection of what has been, his own conditioning, his own wish, his own desire. It is the same in the East, their own particular Krishna or whoever it is.

So one must be tremendously cautious about this word. You cannot possibly experience truth. As long as there is a center of recollection as the ‘me’, as the thinker, truth is not. And when another says that he has had an experience of the real, distrust him, don’t accept his authority. We all want to accept somebody who promises something, because we have no light in ourselves, and nobody can give you that light, no one – no guru, no teacher, no savior, no one. Because we have accepted so many authorities in the past, we have put our faith in others, either they have exploited us or they have utterly failed. So one must distrust, deny all spiritual authority. Nobody can give us this light that never dies.

And the other thing is this acceptance of authority – the following of another who promises through a certain form, certain system, method, discipline, the eventual ultimate reality. To follow another is to imitate. Please do observe all this, listen to all this simply. Because that is what one has to do: one has to deny completely the authority of another, however pretentious, however convincing, however Asiatic he be. To follow implies not only the denying of one’s own clarity, of one’s own investigation, one’s own integrity and honesty, but also it implies that your motive in following is the reward. And truth is not a reward. If one is to understand it, any form of reward and punishment must be totally set aside. Authority implies fear. And to discipline oneself according to that fear of not gaining what the exploiter in the name of truth or experience, and all the rest of it says, denies one’s own clarity and honesty. And if you say you must meditate, you must follow a certain path, a certain system, obviously you are conditioning yourself according to that system or method. And what that method promises perhaps you will get, but it will be nothing but ashes. Again the motive there is achievement, success and at the root of it is fear, and fear is pleasure.

It is clearly understood between yourself and myself that there is no authority in this. The speaker has no authority whatsoever. He is not trying to convince you of anything, or asking you to follow. You know, when you follow somebody, you destroy that somebody. The disciple destroys the master and the master destroys the disciple. You can see this happening historically and in daily life, when the wife or the husband dominate each other, they destroy each other. In that there is no freedom, there is no beauty, there is no love.

So, having laid that clearly then we can now proceed to meditate about life, about death, about love. Because if we do not lay the right foundation, a foundation of order, of clear line and depth, then thought must inevitably become tortuous, deceptive, unreal, and therefore valueless. So the laying of this order, this foundation, is the beginning of meditation. Our life, the daily life which one leads, from the moment we are born till we die – through marriage, children, jobs, cunning achievements – our life is a battlefield, not only within ourselves but also outwardly, in the family, in the office, in the group, in the community and so on. Our life is a constant struggle: that is what we call living. Pain, fear, despair, anxiety, with enormous sorrow constantly our shadow, that is our life. Some of us, perhaps a small minority, and it is always a small minority that create, bring about a vital change, perhaps a small minority, neither accepting or denying this disorder, this confusion, this frightening mess in ourselves, and in the world, can look at it, can observe this disorder without finding external excuses – though there are external causes for this confusion – to observe this confusion, to know it, not only at the conscious level but also at a deeper level.

You know a great deal, especially in the West, has been written about the unconscious. They have given such extraordinary significance to it. It is as trivial, as shallow as the conscious mind. You can observe it yourself, not according to any specialist; if you observe it you will see that what is called the unconscious is the residue of the race, of the culture, of the family, of your motives and appetites and all the rest of it – it is there, hidden. And the conscious mind is occupied with the daily routine of life, going to the office, sex and all the rest of it. To give importance to one or to the other seems to me so utterly empty. Both have very little meaning, except that the conscious mind has to have technological knowledge in order to have a livelihood.

This constant battle, both within the deeper layer as well as at the superficial layer, is the constant way of our life, and therefore a way of disorder, a way of disarray, contradiction, misery. And such a mind trying to meditate, by going to some school in the East, is so utterly meaningless, infantile. And so many do, as though they can escape from life, put a blanket over their misery and cover it up. So meditation is bringing about order in this confusion, not through effort, because every effort distorts the mind. That one can see. To see truth the mind must be absolutely clear, without any distortion, without any compunction, without any direction.

So this foundation must be laid; that is, there must be virtue.

Order is virtue. This virtue has nothing whatsoever to do with the social morality, which we accept. Society has imposed on us a certain morality, and the society is the product of every human being. Society with its morality says you can be greedy, you can kill another in the name of god, in the name of your country, in the name of an ideal; you can be competitive, you can be greedy, envious, monstrous, within the law. And such morality is no morality at all. You must totally deny that morality within yourself in order to be virtuous. And that is the beauty of virtue; virtue is not a habit, it is not a thing that you practice day after day in order to be virtuous. Then it becomes mechanical, a routine, without meaning. But to be virtuous means, does it not, to know what is disorder, the disorder which is this contradiction within ourselves, this tearing of various pleasures and desires and ambitions, greed, envy, fear – all that. Those are the causes of disorder within ourselves and outwardly. To be aware of it; to come into contact with this disorder. And you can only come into contact with it when you don’t deny it, when you don’t find excuses for it, when you don’t blame others for it.

Then in the denial of that disorder there is order. Order isn’t a thing that you establish daily; virtue which is order comes out of disorder, to know the whole nature and structure of that disorder. This is fairly simple if you observe in yourself how utterly disorderly we are, which is how contradictory we are. We hate, and we think we love. There is the beginning of disorder, this duality. And virtue is not the outcome of duality. Virtue is a living thing, to be picked up daily, it is not the repetition of something which you called virtue yesterday. Then that becomes mechanical, worthless.

So there must be order. And that is part of meditation. Order means beauty and there is so little beauty in our life. Beauty is not man made; it is not in the picture, however modern, however ancient it is; it is not in the building, in the statue, nor in the cloud, the leaf or on the water. Beauty is where there is order – a mind that is utterly unconfused, that is absolutely orderly. And there can be order only when there is total self-denial, when the ‘me’ has no importance whatsoever. The ending of the ‘me’ is part of meditation. That is the major, the only meditation.

Also we have to understand another phenomenon of life, which is death – old age, disease, and death accidentally through disease or naturally. We grow old inevitably and that age is shown in the way we have lived our life, it shows in our face, how we have satisfied our appetites crudely, brutally. We lose sensitivity, the sensitivity that one has had when one was very young, fresh, innocent. And as we grow older we become insensitive, dull, unaware and gradually enter the grave.

So there is old age. And there is this extraordinary thing called death, of which most of us are dreadfully frightened. If we are not frightened, we have rationalized this phenomenon intellectually and have accepted the edicts of the intellect. But it is still there. And obviously there is the ending of the organism, the body. And we accept that naturally because we see everything dying. But what we do not accept is the psychological ending of the ‘me’, with the family, with the house, with the success, the things I have done, the things I have to do, the fulfillments and the frustrations – and there is something more to do before I end! And the psychological entity, the ‘me’, the I, the soul, the various words that we give to this center of myself as my being, we are afraid that will come to an end. Does it come to an end? Does it have a continuity? The East has said it has a continuity, reincarnation, perhaps being born better next life if you have lived rightly. And you have here other forms of resurrection and a new way – you know, all that. After all if you believe in reincarnation, as the whole of Asia does – I don’t know why they do, what they do, because it gives them a great deal of comfort – if you do believe in that idea then in that idea is implied, if you observe it very closely, that what you do now, every day, matters tremendously, because in the next life you’re going to pay for it or be rewarded for how you have lived. So what matters is not what you believe will happen next life, but what you are, how you live. And that is implied also when you talk about resurrection. You have symbolized it in one person and worship that person, because you yourself don’t know how to be reborn again in your life now – not in Heaven at the right hand of god, or the left hand, or behind, or forward of god, whatever that may mean.

So what matters is, how you live now – not what you think, what your beliefs are, what your dogmas, superstitions are, what your achievements are, but what you are, what you do. And we are afraid that the center, called the ‘I’, should come to an end; and we say: does it come to an end? If you have lived in thought – please listen to this – if you have lived in thought, that is when you have given tremendous importance to thinking, and thinking is old, thinking is never new, thinking is the continuation of memory – if you have lived there, obviously there is some kind of continuity. And it is a continuity that is dead, over, finished, it is something old. Therefore only that which ends can have something new.

So dying is very important to understand: to die, to die to everything that one knows. I don’t know if you have ever tried it? To be free from the known, to be free from your memories, even for a few days; to be free from your pleasure, without any argument, without any fear, to die to your family, to your house, to your name, to become completely anonymous. It is only the person who is completely anonymous who is in a state of non-violence; he has no violence. And to die every day, not as an idea but actually; do it sometime.

You know, one has collected so much, not books, not houses, not the bank account, but inwardly, the memories of insults, the memories of flattery, the memories of neurotic achievements, the memory of holding on to your own particular experience, which gives you a position. To die to all that, without argument, without discussion, without any fear just to give it up. Do it sometime, you’ll see. It used to be the old tradition in the East that a rich man every five years or so, gave up everything, including his money and began again. You can’t do that nowadays, there are too many people, everyone wanting your job, the population explosion and all the rest of it. But to do it psychologically. It is not detachment, it is not giving up your clothes, your wife, your husband, your children or your house, but inwardly not to be attached to anything. In that there is great beauty. After all, it is love, isn’t it? Love is not attachment. When there is attachment there is fear. And fear inevitably becomes authoritarian, possessive, oppressive, dominating.

So meditation is the understanding of life, which is to bring about order. Order is virtue, which is light, which is not to be lit by another, however experienced, however clever, however erudite, however spiritual. Nobody on earth or in heaven can light that, except yourself, in your own understanding and meditation. And to die to everything within oneself, for love is innocent and fresh, young and clear.

Then, if you have established this order, this virtue, this beauty, this light in oneself, then one can go beyond. Which means then the mind, having laid order, which is not of thought, then the mind becomes utterly quiet, silent – naturally, without any force, without any discipline. And in the light of that silence all action can take place, the daily living, from that silence.

And if one has or if one were lucky enough to have gone that far, then in that silence there is quite a different movement, which is not of time, which is not of words, which is not measurable by thought, because it is always new; it is that immeasurable something that man has everlastingly sought. But you have to come upon it; it cannot be given to you. It is not the word, not the symbol, those are destructive. But for it to come, you must have complete order, beauty, love, and therefore you must die to everything that you know psychologically, so that your mind is clear, not tortured, so that it sees things as they are, both outwardly and inwardly.

-J. Krishnamurti

From Public Talk #4, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 19 May 1968

Here you can listen to the talk This Light in Oneself.

The Mind – Vimala Thakar

As we are meeting in the morning, let us hope that all of us are more fresh, alert, and attentive perhaps than yesterday. We shall go together into an issue that is very subtle and very complex. We shall go together into the issue of what brain is, the mind is, and how the mind functions – to go into the anatomy of mind, the whole mechanism.

It is going to be difficult because you do not see your own mind. You see your body, the hands, the feet, the eyes. You can touch them. You can look at them if you sit before a mirror. But mind is that part of our body which is invisible and intangible. It is material all the same. Mind is matter. Though it is invisible and intangible, it is a part of the physical body, a very subtle part. It is one of our sense organs, like the senses that we have – the smelling, the hearing, the seeing, the touching. In the same way, brain is a sense organ located in the head, connected with the whole body, with sensory and motor nerves, and the most important part of the physical body, if you go into it really.

So what you call the mind or the brain is a part of the physical structure. It is a material structure, and one who has not looked at mind as a sense organ, one who has not looked at the brain as a part of the physical structure, does not realize that mind being matter has a kind of energy. In the physical structure, you have the glandular energy, you have the muscular energy, you have the nervous or the neurological energy. In the same way, the brain has a kind of energy which we are going to go into this morning.

When you talk about the hands, the feet, the optical nerves, the outer ear, the middle ear, the inner ear, it is easy to communicate, to respond to what someone says unto you. But mind being invisible, to talk about the content of that invisible organ, intangible sense organ gets very difficult. So we will need all our attention this morning.

The mind, the brain is located in the human head, connected with the whole body. And as you see with the eyes and you hear with the ears, with the brain you catch ideas. There is an involuntary activity going on in our body. Whether you want it or not, the eyes see things; you cannot prevent the seeing of the eyes as long as they are open. A living human being sees thing around him. He hears the sounds around him. Whether he wants to listen to them or not is different. But the seeing is an involuntary activity of the optical nerves, the retina receiving impressions. The activity of seeing goes on. The activity of hearing goes on, not voluntarily, not out of your effort, not out of your motivation, but it is there. You do not breathe consciously with an effort all the time. You are born with a breathing process. The inhaling and the exhaling of breath is something with which you are born. It’s one of the involuntary activities. In the same way, the brain, the cerebral organ has got an involuntary activity of moving and catching ideas, catching thoughts, registering the name, the color, the kind, the shape, the size of the objects that you touch with your eyes or ears. The brain registers, goes on registering, recording, and whatever has been cognized or registered or recorded gets transferred to memory.

This goes on. You do not have to make a conscious effort for it. If there is no physical disability, and if there is no psychological inhibition, then this cerebral activity of receiving impressions, interpreting them, judging them, transferring them into memory – that goes on in your waking hours.

So mind is a sense organ, the brain, a very subtle one. Now this sense organ has been trained and educated by the human race through untold centuries. We were talking yesterday that the content of culture is patterns of behavior – physical behavior, and psychological behavior. There are patterns of cooking meals, having meals, the kind of food, the quality of food. There are patterns of going through exercises, patterns of having your clothes, houses, furniture. There are patterns of behavior, talking, shouting, crying, laughing, smiling. When does a person smile? How does he smile? The patterns of reactions and activities. This is the content of culture, conditioning for the physical, the verbal, and the mental. And there are beautiful designs in these conditionings, innumerable variety of designs and patterns.

These patterns of behavior and their code words, their symbols, their measurements, their evaluations, priorities are all contained in the brain. As the feet are taught to move on the Earth when a child grows (you teach him how to respond to the law of gravity contained in the Earth) so the movement in the feet and the law of gravity in the Earth – there is a responsive cooperation between the two, and therefore you can walk, run, climb upon the Earth. The child has to be taught how to stand up and cooperate with the Earth, and how to run, to climb. It falters, it falls down, and the mother, the father, the teacher help the child to stand up again, to feel the Earth. How much pressure to put upon the Earth when you walk, the soft earth, the hard earth, the stony surface. All this education has been given. You do not realize it today when you walk because it has become a substance of your being.

The child has been educated and trained to discriminate sounds. The noise, the sound, and organized sound that is music. The child is trained, educated to discriminate the sound of a crow from a swallow, from that of a nightingale, the note of a cuckoo bird. The child gets education in this auditory discrimination, optical discrimination. This is green color. This is blue. This is red. This is yellow, and all the nuances and various shades of colors. This is all part of conditioning. As the ears, the eyes, the nose, they are educated, this so-called mind, the brain, has been trained and educated to receive thought, to interpret it, to evaluate it, to compare it with others, to judge it, and then to put it in memory under different categories. And this process goes on today with an electromagnetic speed. You are not even conscious how such a subtle and complex process is going on every fraction of a second in your and my brain. It goes so quick. The more educated and more cultured you are, the quicker is the process of this cerebration.

You see a thing, compare it, evaluate it, judge it, reduce it to an idea, put it in your memory. It gets registered as a like. It gets registered as a dislike, as a preference, as a prejudice, as an idea, as something to be criticized, condemned, to be given up. You know, all these things go on quickly.  So the brain involuntarily registers and records the name, the shape, the color, the kind, and the more educated you are, the more refined becomes the process of discrimination, and the faster goes the process of naming, registering, recording. We have to remember this.

Now this brain has been nourished on thought. It has been nourished on symbols, ideas, and therefore we, the human beings living in this twentieth century, we live in a world of symbols. When you see an object, you cannot keep the object all the time with you whether it is a thing or a being, an animal, a bird, a human being, or a thing, you cannot keep that object with you. But the idea about the object, manufactured by the brain, is stored in the bank of memory. So the ideas and symbols are the things that become the content of the brain. As the ear has the auditory power, or the eyes together with the optical nerves have the optical powers, the power of the brain consists in the ideas, the thoughts, the symbols, the values, the likes, the dislikes, the prejudices, preferences, all contained in it. Systematically fed into the brain by different cultures, different countries, by different contexts of life.

So brain functions through the symbol, though the idea, through thought, through an emotion, a feeling, sentiment. These are all the cerebral ways of behavior. As the physical structure outwardly has a way of behavior, you know, sitting down, getting up, moving; there are ways. In the same way, the brain has ways of moving. Where it moves into relationship it has certain ways, and the eyes look at you in a certain way. That is to say, the optical instrument in the action of relationship has ways of behavior. So the brain has ways of behavior, what you call your feelings, and sentiments, the angers, the jealousies, the greed, the violence. That is a cerebellar way taught to the human brain, through untold centuries, by different cultures, religions, metaphysicians, occultists, physical scientists, economical political leaders. All of these go on feeding systematically into the brain.

Thoughts and emotions, so as the feet walk and run, the brain thinks and feels. Mind you, it is connected with the whole body, so as soon as the brain moves, the whole body moves. The brain thinks a thought, and the whole neurological system becomes tense. Brain touches an emotion or a feeling, and the whole chemical system, the liver, the spleen, the kidneys, the pancreas gland, the intestines, they respond to that emotion, and a chemical change takes place in the body. So the movement of the brain is interwoven with the whole body. When the brain moves, the body moves.

Now, we said the content of the brain is all these symbols, these thoughts, these ideas, and man lives in this ideational, conceptual world much more than the physical world. The more sophisticated, the more cultured a person is, he lives much more in the conceptual world, in the world of ideas, concepts, theories, beliefs, judgements, confusions. He lives there much more than with his senses. A primitive person who has not dealt much with the cerebration lives more with his senses. And the so-called educated person, intellectually advanced person, lives most of the time in this conceptual world. The concepts, the ideas have their own beauty. The symbols and the world of symbols have their own beauty, but one has to look at the mind, get acquainted with its anatomy, and see how we live in the world of symbols and ideas. We have to see it.

For example, all of us talk in terms of time. We measure life by time. Time is a measurement, a yardstick created by man to measure infinity. As he wanted to measure the Earth, the Space, and he made a kilometer, a mile; that’s a measurement.  There are no miles and kilometers as far as the globe is concerned. It is the invention of the human mind. When he wanted to make arrangements for collective living, he started measuring. The very idea of measuring is the creation of the human mind.  So, whether you measure a cloth by a yard or a meter, centimeter, whether you measure the Earth into kilometers, whether you measure infinity into years, and months, and days, and centuries, and hours and minutes, time is a symbol. All the measurements are symbols. You must have noticed this. The numbers with which you measure, like one, two, three, four, up to nine, which is the perfect number, the whole number. One to nine, these are the inventions of human mind. And the relationship between one and two, and two and five, and five and nine, all this is arbitrarily arrived at by the ancient man on which not only mathematics but even astronomy, astrology is based. So man having this brain, started playing around with it, and he created symbols.

We have to look at the symbols and see them for what they are. So I wonder if we look at time and see it as a symbol created by the human mind? Beautiful. You measure it, a second and 60 seconds into a minute, and sixty minutes into an hour, and 24 hours into a day. You go on measuring that, but there are no days, and hours, and minutes, and seconds in life. Life is a whole. Wherever it moves, it moves in its totality. It moves as a whole. Man cannot keep in touch with the movement of totality which is mind so he fragments it, measures it, and finds out ways of being with a fragment, with the particular. And we have become so used to this language of time, we feel that life is equal to time. We forget that it is a symbol. The yesterday, the today, the tomorrow, these are concepts. The sunset, the sunrise, it’s a poetical language. The sun never rises, never does it set. The sun is there but due to the movement of the Earth, the whole globe in relation to the sun and the whole solar system, the sun, the moon, the planets, when you see the sun, you call it the sunrise, the midday, the evening. The Earth in relation to the Sun and the movement of the Earth. But in reality, there is nothing like sunset or sunrise.

So life is timelessness. Time is a creation of the human mind, and one has to see the beauty of this creation so that one can use it efficiently wherever the use is warranted, but does not get obsessed with the idea of time. If the idea of tomorrow obsesses a person, and a person obsessed with the idea of tomorrow, the fear and anxiety of tomorrow, misses the today, then he will never live because to live is to be with what is before you here and now. If the memory of the past keeps you away from this eternity that presents itself to you in what you call the present moment, in what you call the now, in what you call the here, you meet that eternity now at this moment, or never. Eternity cannot be met with in tomorrows. What I am trying to say, my friends, is, there are very many symbols, I have taken only one, of the time. So time has to be understood as a measurement, as a symbol, beautifully, poetically, aesthetically created and cherished by the human race.

I for one have nothing against the conditions of man. The conditions are not the bondage. To mistake the conditionings for the reality of life, leads towards bondage. To see the falsity of the false thing is the beginning of seeing what is true, what is real. So the conditionings are bound to be there. They are part of our inner being. They are the content of consciousness. You cannot run away from them. You cannot deny them. You cannot wish them away. The brain, the mind, contains all these.

We have touched only one symbol, the symbol of time and around it is woven the whole structure of psychological time. And collective relationships are arranged, managed on the basis of this. If you say the life is timelessness, therefore I don’t care for the time, then there will be chaos in collective relationships. In collective relationships and living together, we have to use symbols as the children use toys and play with them. So that we meet here exactly at 10:30 or quarter past 11, knowing full well that there is nothing like quarter past 11, or 12, in life and reality. We meet here at that time. So living together, human transactions, communications, require these toys of ideas and symbols. As I said, the mathematical figures, numbers — beautiful things — if you start counting the totality of life into one or two, the God, the divine into one and two, then you are mistaking the symbol for the real.

There are the seven basic notes of music and you organize them — permutations, combinations of those notes and their arrangement — you arrive at music. But those seven basic notes, with which are associated now feelings, sentiments, emotions. If you play Symphony No. 2 of Beethoven, you get into one kind of feeling, and if you play Symphony No. 5, or Symphony No. 9, or Bach, or Schubert, or Mozart, that communion with that music stimulates certain chemical responses in you because certain note in relation to certain other has been associated with certain feelings. Or if you travel to the Orient, the ragas, the melodies, the ragas of the morning before the sunrise, after the sunrise, the mid-morning, the end of the morning, the midday and so on, for 24 hours, different ragas, different melodies. These seven notes, they are the creation and the music is the creation of human mind. But all these notes and sounds are born of that infinite substance of silence, the soundlessness of life. As time is born of the timelessness of life — and it’s only a measure, to measure the infinity — the sound is a measurement. Man tried to measure the infinity of silence, and he arrived at sound. He arrived at speech.

So the brain contains a great variety of symbols, in art, in sculpture, in music, in literature. You take a point, and with that point you get the whole science of geometry, trigonometry, engineering. You have to postulate and presume that point, having no length and no breadth. If you put a point on paper, it has both, length and breadth. But the definition, the presumption of the point is having no length and breadth. You have to presume, and on that presumption, you start. All the beautiful angles, and triangles, and circles, octaves, so many things you get out of that. You play with that.

The content of culture is this wealth of conditionings, is this wealth of symbols. If a man does not recognize them as symbols, then he becomes a prisoner of the symbols. It is the lack of acquaintance with these conditionings that puts you in bondage. If you see them, look at them in a friendly way and discover what they are, and use them in the relative field of utility. They enrich the life. You cannot strip the whole life of all the content of brain, all the content of your psyche.

So the brain, the mind, the consciousness contains all this and because of this, there is a movement going on, the thought energy, the energy of the emotions, the sentiments, the feeling, the energy of anger, energy of lust, of passion, you know. So the mind moves with the energy of all these. The meaning attached to anger, to jealousy, to greed, to lust, to sexual instinct, the meaning attached to all these by man gives the energy.  So the mind, the brain, containing all these is moving involuntarily.

There cannot be matter without motion. Wherever there is matter there is energy —energy being the property of that matter — and wherever there is energy (energy is never idle) it moves. So the mind is moving. Please do not look upon the incessant movement of mind as a problem otherwise we will create a problem out of a simple fact of life. The mind moves. When you sit down quietly winding up all your sensual activities, you notice the movement of mind. When you are busy the whole day, physically acting or reacting, then you do not notice the velocity with which the mind moves. But when you sit quietly, the first encounter is with your own mind and its movement. Then you find out in how many directions the mind moves, hops from one point to the other. Now it is with one thought and it hops over to another emotion and there, after a fraction of a second, it hops over and jumps to another thought.

The whole movement of mind, the variety of directions in which the mind tries to run simultaneously, all this you will notice. It is vitally important to look at the mind, to be with it, and to observe the movement of the mind as it goes on, without wanting to change the movement, without wanting to stop it. Without wanting to do anything about it, to look at the mind because this is only information. As I go on speaking, though I may be speaking about the facts as I have seen them, when you receive it through the brain, it becomes information for you. It will be [an] information or an idea for you until you experiment with observation.

If you just store it in memory then it will be there as a piece of information with which you agree or you disagree, which you accept or you reject. It has no value. The brain has already too much information, undigested, incoherent, unrelated to your daily living, and that undigested, unorganized, chaotic information creates mental problems. It keeps the nerves shaking all the time, that chaotic, anarchic, unorganized or disorganized information, undigested. The information remains as an idea as long as you and I do not discover the validity thereof by experimenting.

That is why a religious life is a life of constant discovery. Every minute you live, you move, you act, and through the action you discover a new ounce of life, some subtle meaning of life which you had not noticed before. And life being infinite, there is no end to this discovery. That’s why it is worth living. If you discover the whole meaning of life by the age of 25, 30, 50, life won’t be worth living at all. Life is living. Living is learning. Learning is growing, discovering. And the authenticity of personal discovery gives the vitality and passion. Information and ideas never give you passion. They can’t give you a non-cerebral energy. Knowledge gives you energy born of thought. But discovery and understanding, a personal encounter and understanding, give you a non-cerebral energy about which we shall talk later on. But this morning, let us be busy, let us investigate how the brain functions. The brain functions involuntarily, and when you add a voluntary effort to it, by providing a motive, a purpose, an intention, then you increase the velocity of that movement.

It is such a fascinating subject, you know — this mystery of mind — if you can go into it. So whether you want it or not, the brain moves. It has a momentum of millions of years behind it. The thoughts, the ideas that you and I have, are not all our creation. A tiny bit of it may be acquired by you and me since our childhood, but much of it is inherited, from the parents, from the family, from the community into which you are born, the culture of the country, the context of the life, and then also the total human race. This tiny little brain of man, this mysterious sense organ that you and I have, contains in its chemicals the total human experience and knowledge. And please, this is not a tall claim. This is a simple fact that you and I contain the knowledge and experience of the total humanity, total human race. Knowledge and experience. Because the knowledge and the experience are constantly getting converted into chemicals stored in brain cells. It is possible to extract that knowledge and memory from a brain cell and inject it into another brain.

So, in our biological and psychological inheritance, we have got it, the knowledge, the experience, and it has its momentum. You need not give it a momentum. Even without you, or in spite of you, it moves. And with the motivations that you acquire in this life, you add to the velocity already existing. Or if you try to resist the movement of the mind then also you add velocity. Every resistance increases the speed of what is contained inside. The more you try to resist it, the more you try to suppress and repress it, the more it gets motion. The momentum, the speed, the velocity increases with your every resistance. I am not a student of science so if the expressions velocity or momentum or movement, if they are not very apt expressions, please forgive me. It is not easy for me to get apt words in your language, I mean in English language. If it were Sanskrit, then there would be much more accuracy and precision. It’s difficult for me, even to satisfy myself, then I have to communicate in English language.

So the brain moves, the mind moves. The content of the consciousness is all these symbols, ideas, and thoughts. The variety of them is not a problem unless you create a problem out of it. It is there; it is the inheritance. Now, how do I see it for myself? You may say, “Alright, you have talked about it. How do I see it, and how can I get into a direct, simple, immediate encounter with my own brain?” That is a very important question. We are not taught to do that. Since childhood, we are trained to use the brain. Ideas are fed into it. Patterns of behavior are fed into it. But nobody educates us to look at the mind, its mechanism, its movement, the kind of energy that mind generates, and so on. So as enquirers, we will have to educate ourselves in looking at the movement of mind.

What does this imply? Who will look? And what is looking? What is observing? First of all, we use the word “I”, don’t we? You are listening to me, and you are aware that you are listening. This is not a simple activity of listening. But you listen, you understand, you agree or you do not agree with it, and at the same time you are aware that you are listening.

You like certain things and you are aware that you like [it] them. This human consciousness is a complex consciousness. It can move backward and forward, upward and downward, in all directions simultaneously. Inward and outward. So, a person can think and be aware that he is thinking. He can act and be aware that he is acting. If he is sensitive, why he is acting, and how he is acting, and so on. So human psyche, or consciousness, is a very much evolved consciousness and a very complex one. So “I” the experiencer, “I” the doer, sit down to observe or look at my own mind.

At present, the energy at the level of the mind, of the brain, is divided, is it not? You are listening, and at the same time, you are aware that you are listening. You are dividing it into two and using it in that duality. Every activity requires the duality.

So, I sit down to look at myself. I am using the “I”, the “me”, the “self”, the ego. Where does the ego come from? What is the “I-consciousness”? We shall go into it later on. But it is not a problem for any one of us. We always use the term “I”, the “me”. I do it. I experience it. I hate it. I like it. The same “I”, the same ego is now going to look at itself, as you look at yourself into the mirror.

Into the mirror you see a person, but that person is your own reflection. You are looking at yourself. In the same way, you are going to look at yourself, not physically, not at the tangible and physical level, but at the invisible level. But where is the mirror? The mirror is the state of observation. I sit down. Whether I sit down, or I stand up, or I walk around, it is immaterial. This is only a way of communicating, otherwise, you might think, “Oh, it is necessary to sit down.” I am not implying that way. But you have to use words. So I say you sit down. You are not looking at objects, you are not hearing sounds or listening to them, but you begin to watch the movement of the mind. You notice, you begin to notice, when there is nothing to be done, there is nothing to be acquired or obtained. The outgoing activities are all gathered unto yourself. The looking, the listening, the doing, the reacting. There is no necessity; they are not warranted. So, all the senses are gathered unto the “I”, the “me”, the “self’. They are not moving outward. So with all the faculties intact, now you remain, and you see the mind moving. Thought is a movement of mind. An emotion is a movement of mind. So when you sit quietly there comes up a thought. There comes up an idea. There comes up an emotion. Not stimulated by external objects because you are not sitting there in relation to the objects around you. You are sitting in relation to yourself, with yourself. So the ideas, the thoughts, the feelings, and their movement is felt.

What happens is, as soon as you feel the movement of the thought or the emotion, you react to it. We have been trained to feel feelings or to think thoughts, either stimulated by external objects, and immediately react accordingly, or we are educated to react to the thoughts and feelings that come from within. But this business of reacting goes on. We react so quickly, unawares, unknowingly, unconsciously. The reaction goes on, of judging it, of evaluating it, of reducing what is seen, what is felt to a conclusion, to a theory.

So when you sit down and you begin to notice the movement of mind, the first pitfall is reacting to what is being observed. You will notice it very quickly if and when you experiment with this observation. You will notice that one is not educated to remain in the state of pure and simple observation, non-reactional attention. One is not educated to be in that state of bare cognition, pure attention. That state is not sustained. The moment you are there, the reaction comes in, and the state of observation gets contaminated, gets polluted.

So when you begin to sit down and watch the movement of mind, the first thing you notice is, “I cannot observe. I cannot remain steadily in the state of non-reactional attention.” That’s a great discovery if one can arrive at that. Not as a fear, but how the human race, advanced in intellectual activity, of grasping, or acquiring ideas, interpreting, judging, and storing them in memory, has grown lobsidedly. It has lost the simplicity of remaining in the state of simple, innocent observation. Simple innocent look. A glance. We have lost that elegance of innocency. We are so busy, something seen, heard, felt, reacted, judged, compared, and put it into like or dislike, good or bad, like a business man. To be with something, just in the simplicity of being, to be with it. So one realizes that one does not know how to observe.

An encounter with the movement of mind can teach us a lot. You know, life is a teacher, and with every discovery of the factual reality, you learn something. If one has the humility to learn, the master, the teacher, this whole life is around you and within you, eager to teach you, eager to open you. So I say, “Goodness me, I don’t know how to observe. The moment I observe the reaction comes up so how do I learn to observe?”

One has to learn to observe, that is to say, to sustain the state of simple cognition, the state of non-reactional attention. When you sit in silence, you see that the mind is moving and you say, “Well I was sitting in silence and the mind was moving. There were so many thoughts.”  Obviously, there were thoughts. But when you went into silence at least you could notice. Noticing the subtle movement of mind by itself is a great act of learning.

So you sit down and watch and observe. The observation slips out of you, and you notice the state of inattention. You notice that you are in the state of inattention. You are not attentive. If you get angry with yourself and say, “Well, I sat down for observing and I can’t observe. I sat down for observing, and suddenly I lapsed into my reaction.” If you try to condemn yourself, criticize yourself, or if you give yourself a timetable that the observation much be learned within one minute or one year. If you try to imprison the growth into your schedules, your timetables, your ambitions, your comparisons with other people — the other person learned in one minute and I can’t do it — if you are comparing, if you are measuring then the growth cannot take place.

Religion is a question of total growth. It is only total growth that transforms the quality of your being, not petty little changes that we bring about intellectually or emotionally. The changes in behavior outward, they do not result in the growth of total being. When I observe and I notice in that moment of observation that the state of observation is not steady — it is shaky. And a fraction of a second, I am there / I am not there, then let me notice that I am not there. Being aware of the inner tension is itself a kind of attentiveness. But one has an image of oneself. I am very sensitive. I am very attentive. I am very quick. One has an image of oneself. And when he sits down to observe and discovers that he cannot, then the image is shattered.

You know, we all have our own images. So I have an image. “I will do things quickly. What is there in observation? I sat down. I’ll get it very quickly.” We feel as if it is something to be grasped, to be grabbed. And you know, life is something that can never be grabbed, never be grasped, never be imprisoned into your framework of experiences, cannot be imprisoned in concepts and ideas. It can enter into an idea apart and go out, like the breathing in and breathing out. You cannot arrest life. You cannot imprison life.

So when you sit there, and when you notice that you do not know how to observe, you become impatient. If your image is shattered, if you feel humiliated, if you feel self-pity, “I have lived 60 years in life and I don’t know how to observe.  Goodness me. Now what am I going to do?” “Will I be there in liberation or nirvana before I die or not?” You know, all such crazy things come up, and that builds a resistance. So when I notice that I am inattentive, that I was in the state of inattention or non-attention, let me not resist that state of non-attention. Let me not create a problem out of that momentary inattentiveness, because if I resist it, if I grudge it, if I get annoyed with it, I am complicating the matter.

It was very simple that due to a deep-rooted habit of reacting the state of observation was not sustained. When you learn to drive a car or to pilot an aeroplane, the balance is precarious in the beginning. When you learn to swim, in the same way, every learning and every growth is painful because one moment you feel you have got it and the other moment it slips. The nerves, the control about the nerves, right from your toe to the crown of your head, it doesn’t come quickly. The sensual system, the physical structure requires time for education. Not the understanding.  Understanding is not of time. But for the response to come out of your whole being, and for the sensual, the physical, to keep pace with the quickness of your understanding, that requires education.

So when you have understood what is observation, and you sit down to observe, not to experience, not to analyze, not to judge, then you sit down, you have understood what is observation, and yet when the observation takes place, it slips. So one has to be very pliable. Be in the state of observation and also go with the state of inattention without resistance, without complicating the state of non-attention any further. Then the moment you become aware that you were not attentive, the attentiveness comes back. The moment you become aware that you were not observing, you were not in the state of observation, that very recognition brings you back to the state of observation.

So one has to work upon oneself seriously, and seriousness does not mean stiffness or rigidity. It does not mean dogmatism. It does not mean becoming fanatic about it. Seriousness has its own relaxation. I say seriousness in order to remind ourselves that our impatience, our ambitions cannot affect the growth any way. It cannot escalate the speed. It is only the intensity of inquiry that can accelerate the speed. Nothing else. The heat of that intensity. The depth of the passion. That can bring about the growth quicker but not the impatience, the annoyance, the irritation, the resistance, the comparison, the self-pity. On the other hand, they create obstructions, and they slow down the pace of growth.

So I sit down to observe, observation being non-reactional attention. As I am not educated in it, and I started at the age of 15 or 20 or 50, the whole system does not cooperate. So on one hand, through proper diet and exercises, and sleep and so on, what we have talked about yesterday, by creating an inner order on the physical structure, I make the physical structure more and more sensitive. I educate it in sensitivity and that sensitivity cooperates with me when I learn observation. Spiritual life is a realm of self-education at all levels, in all fields. Dehypnotizing ourselves that we know what religion is, or spirituality is.

So now I think the time is over. So I cannot proceed any further. This morning we went into the issue of mind. The mind, the brain, including all the faculties of the brain. The faculty of imagination. The faculty of memory. The faculty of retaining ideas in memory, and so on. The brain, the mind is a sense organ located in the head, connected with the whole body, interwoven into the body.

And before I conclude, may I just remind you that this brain is interwoven very closely and intimately with all the organs contained in the stomach, the pituitary gland connected with the whole of your stomach. The slightest movement in the brain, and the liver, the kidneys, the spleen, the pancreas gland, the intestines big and small, you know, they get affected. Attention is generated in the stomach. If there is something wrong in the stomach, if the digestive process is not functioning properly, it affects the nerves in the brain. It affects the optical nerve, the auditory nerves, the points of pleasure, the point of pain located in the brain. It affects the movement of all the brain cells, the blood circulation in the brain. That is why one pays so much attention to the exercise, to the diet, and to the other parts of the physical life. The navel point and the brain located in the head, these two, unless they are balanced properly, are in a proper balance, the physical and the mental health is not easy to come by. It is only in the balance of the two that the radiance of health can be there.

So we were talking this morning about this beautiful and complex, very sensitive sense organ. It functions through symbols, ideas, thoughts, confusions, theories. It cannot function without a thought, without an emotion, without an idea, without a word, the brain doesn’t function. For the fun of it, you can find out what the movement of the brain implies — some idea, some thought, some concept, some imagination, some memory, the manipulation of knowledge, the manipulation of experiences, and so on.

Now all these are the inheritance that we have, and we have no control over the velocity, the momentum, of the inheritance. The biological and the psychological, they have their tremendous momentum. So on the conscious level, on the surface level, you have the knowledge and experience that you acquire in this life, and deeper down, what you call the subconscious or the unconscious, is contained the total inheritance.

So there are two energies moving. At the conscious level, the energy of your acquired total experience, and at the sub or unconscious level — these are not compartments, please — it is difficult for me to indicate the words. The words can give wrong ideas. Consciousness is one pole. But the subtlest movement that we are aware of in waking hours has one kind of energy and one kind of motion. That motion or energy of other theories, other values is much slower, very much slower than the motion of subconscious or unconscious. Shall I put it this way? The motion of the inheritance is much more than the movement or the momentum of what you acquired since childhood. There are two motions, two different energies, working parallel, and unless there is a harmony in these two, there is no peace. We talked about the content of the psyche, the two different momentums contained in the psyche, and we proceeded to find out how we can become aware of them.

And the last point, we saw that for a personal discovery, a direct encounter with the mind is inevitable. A direct encounter with the mind implies being with oneself, and observing the movement of the mind as it takes place, not with an idea but just as it takes place to watch it. When we went into this issue we found out, that we don’t know how to observe. We don’t know how to look. That is why education becomes necessary. Throughout the day, educate the physical being to be more sensitive, and when you spend some time with yourself to observe, not to be impatient or not to be in a hurry. But to observe and when you lapse into inobservation or inattention to go with that inattention, to go with that non-observation. And the moment you recognize it, the moment you become aware of it, you are back in the state of observation. […]

If some of you find it difficult, I am really helpless because I don’t think I could put it in simpler words, or that I could make it more easy. With consciousness is a very difficult thing to deal with through words. So we have had enough for the morning, haven’t we?

At the end of the talk, Vimala recited a mantra from the Yajurveda, Wakeup Mantra.

-Vimala Thakar

From The Mind, A talk given by Vimala Thakkar in 1974

Here you can listen to Vimala Thakar’s The Mind.

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

Wake Up Mantra – Vimala Thakar

I will recite today a mantra from second Veda, Yajurveda, and it means:

“Wake up! Oh, my mind, wake up!
To the infinite divinity that surrounds you.
Those who are aware of that infinite life
Receive help from that infinity,
But those who are in the deep slumber of intellect,
Infinity waits upon them
That they also might wake up, some day.
Wake up! Oh, my mind, wake up!
To the vast infinite life
Vibrating within you and around you.”

That is a kind of free translation.

-Vimala Thakar

This was recited at the end of the talk The Mind.

Here you can listen to Vimala’s Wake Up Mantra.

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

The Complexity of Life – Vimala Thakar

Life is a complex phenomenon. I would like to go into the issue of this complexity this morning as it seems that you would prefer to have a talk.

Man is born in the midst of duality, duality that seems to have two poles, having an opposition or a contradiction between them. We are born in the midst of life where there is birth and death. To be born and to die. The event of birth gives an impression that the form, with a shape, with a color, with some contents has come into existence. And the event of death gives an impression that something is being destroyed. And in the midst of the events of birth and death, which no one can avoid, man has to live. He has to live in the midst of pleasure and pain that seem to be exclusive of each other, opposed to one another, contradictory to one another, pleasure being an agreeable sensation and pain being a disagreeable one. You can’t avoid either of these.

We have got the physical structure with the sense organs, the inner senses, and whenever the sense organs or the senses receive an impression, it is registered as either agreeable or disagreeable. So, you can’t avoid pleasure, you can’t avoid pain, if you want to live. And in the midst of these contradictory things, there seems to be a tension between the pleasure and pain. There seems to be a tension between birth and death. And man has the responsibility to live in the midst of that. Joy and sorrow. He has to live in the midst of sound and silence. And you can’t escape either the sound or the silence. We have to live in the midst of light and darkness. Light and shadow. The day and the night. And the day with the glorious light, and the night with the deep darkness around it seem to be exclusory of each other.

It is not necessary to elaborate upon this point, but if you look at human life, you will see the panorama of these apparently contradictory, apparently mutually exclusive points having a tension between them. And it is the responsibility of man to live in this duality without getting stuck up either in pain or pleasure, without getting attached either to birth or death, to the day or the night, to the light or the darkness. He has to live in the so-called waking consciousness during the day, and during the night he enters the sleep consciousness, the dream consciousness, the sleep consciousness. And both are necessary and both are inevitable. You can’t avoid.

And it seems to me that man gets stuck up either in pain or in pleasure. Either he hunts pleasure, and his whole life and living becomes a game of hunting pleasure, pleasurable situations, individuals that will give the pleasure. Or, he becomes obsessed with the idea of pain, and his whole life becomes a game of finding out situations, places, where he will have no pain. Either he hunts pleasure, or obsessed with the idea of pain, he becomes busy trying to avoid pain. That doesn’t happen anyway.

Pleasure and pain go together, one is the shadow of the other. Joy and sorrow accompany each other. Birth and death cannot be isolated. Birth is the beginning of death and death is the beginning of a new birth. The day is the beginning of the evening and the darkness, and the darkness of the night is the indication of a new dawn coming towards you.

So, to live is to be aware of both ends of the duality. Not to ignore either of these. To be aware that there is this duality, that you are born in the midst of duality, and you have to walk through the corridors of duality, in each field. He has to move through relationships where he has to act, where he has to respond, and he has to live with the relaxation. Relationship and relaxation. If he ignores either of these, if he does not get acquainted with either of these, or if he gets stuck up in either of these, then he misses the beauty of living. Or if he creates a philosophy out of pleasure or out of pain, and tries to find out a direction where he will find only pleasure and no pain, only joy and no sorrow, only the waking consciousness and no sleep, or only sleep and no waking consciousness, then he is going astray.

To live is to be vulnerable to the tension between these two poles of duality and yet to move through that in a simple, innocent, relaxed way. That is really the crux of the whole issue. To be religious is to be able to move through the duality in a non-dual approach. And a nondual approach for me implies an awareness of the two. As soon as you are aware of the two, you do not get bogged down in any one of them. So, the non-dual approach, the non-dual attitude, or the perception born of non-duality implies the content of this non-duality is the awareness of the two forms of duality – their nature and the inevitability of their existence.

Another duality comes to my mind, knowledge and innocency. You can’t escape knowledge because you are born with it; you have inherited it. But if you do not get acquainted with innocency, that is freedom from knowledge and the known, then the very burden of knowledge crushes you down. If you do not get acquainted with relaxation, the dimension of total abandonment, then relationships, instead of being opportunities for expressing your own being, become such a great burden that the mind begins to crumble under the burden of relationships.

So this morning, as we shall be parting from one another tomorrow, I would like to share with you this very fundamental issue. Meditation is a way of living where you are aware of this duality. You are not afraid of the tension between the duality. It’s a way of living in which you move into relationships with relaxation. Where you move into sound and speech with the substance of silence with you. Where you wake up in the morning with the freshness of profound sleep, and where you enter the profound sleep with the humility and innocence of a child, sleeping in the lap of his mother.

So, meditation is a new way of living. It’s a new state of being. And let us look at this and let us find out how one sets about it. The perspective of total life goes a very far way to determine the quality of your inner being, and determine the quality, the texture, the caliber of your relationship with other people. So, am I aware that I have to live between the two points of birth and death? Does the word death frighten me? Am I attached to the event of birth as if it is something auspicious, and have I been conditioned to look at death as something inauspicious? Something to weep over? To shed tears?

I hope you will see that the word death does not imply the killing that man indulges in, where one human being kills another human being, in the name of religion, in the name of ideology, in the name of country, in the name of race, under any name. But where man indulges in killing the other, it is not death; it is a murder. It may result in the fact of death but it is not. It hasn’t got the beauty and the grandeur of natural death.

I was twelve years old when I saw my grandfather die. He was a religious man. And six months before he died, he wrote letters to all his relatives that on such and such a day he will be departing, that has been ordained. He has to depart from the world. Would they come to share the festivity of his departure?

He was a prince in one of the States in central India. So, all his daughters and sons-in-law and sons, daughters-in-law and cousins, you know, an Indian family, and being a prince – all his friends, about 500 people went there. And there was a big feast. And I am not going into the details, just one incident that introduced me to the beauty and grandeur of death.

So, there was a big feast and he was serving all people, standing there with folded hands, receiving everyone, joyous like anything, no sickness, nothing. And he gave presents to all the 501 persons. And then he said, “May I take your leave?” And he went to his room, where he used to sit down for meditation, sitting cross-legged like this, and he departed, with a smile on his lips.

Of course, the grandmother and others really did not believe, they thought it was the whim of an old man, so they were humoring him. After half an hour, my father and maternal uncle, they entered the room, tried to find out, but he was gone. They invited the doctors. They thought he might be in samadhi so let us wait for another hour or two. Nothing. He had just departed. So, when I entered the room and looked at that figure, I said, “Ah, can death be that beautiful? Is this the way to die?” As a leaf drops from the tree, the dry leaf dropping away through the air to the earth, have you seen it? In the autumn? How the leaves take leave of the tree, the branches, the trunk. Death is as beautiful as birth. It has its own divinity and ecstasy, if one can enter into it, not succumbing to it out of fear, not shrinking, not trying to cling to life, resenting the act of death, then it becomes ugly.

So, am I aware that everything that is born, everything that has a form, has to go through the event of death? This awareness will bring new passion, new depth, to the event of living because you don’t know when you are going to die. There are certain things beyond the logical mathematics of man and that is why life is worth living. Love, for example, incalculable, unpredictable. The moment that it will dawn upon your heart and transform your whole being, you cannot mathematically work it out. Death, beauty, you do not know where and how you will come upon beauty.

So, the awareness of the fact of death, not somewhere there out, far away from me, but here with me, as I inhale and exhale breath. Birth-and-death is the inhaling and exhaling of life because it is included in the whole complexity of life. So not knowing when one is going to die, one is very alert and on one’s toes, very attentive to live the day or the moment that he has before him and with him. When postponement of anything becomes simply impossible. You don’t have to take a vow that I shall not postpone. It is the awareness of death, that brings about an alertness and sensitivity and you live and you go through what has to be done this moment, you go through it this moment, not out of a compulsion, not out of a vow, a discipline, that is intellectually imposed upon you, but the awareness gives a new dimension to your life. Either you say, “One day man has to die and so we don’t know when, so why not live any way, any how. Why does there have to be order, beauty, and efficiency, an aesthetical keenness? Why not live any way.” That is one approach that takes away all the charm and grace and grandeur of this opportunity of living. To live is an ecstasy. Or one can say that because I do not know when I am going to be confronted with death, why don’t I make the most of what I have, why don’t I make the best of this moment because what you call the now, the here, the “this moment” is the only eternity that you can meet. You cannot meet eternity in future, because future is only in the human mind, not in reality.

The division of life into past, present, and future is the creation of human mind, and it may be very convenient for arranging collective relationships, but out of human mind there is no reality. Tomorrows, or futures, or yesterdays, have no factual reality. What has factual reality is the isness of life, this moment, here and now. Even the words here, now, present moment are very defective because the here has no meaning unless you presuppose the there. The “this moment” becomes meaningless unless you postulate the “other moment.” The today, the now, all these are relative words. You know human languages are relative. So, these words are not really satisfactory words but one has to use them for a verbal communication.

So, the awareness of death brings a new vitality and a sense of urgency in living. I have this day, the now, the moment, these circumstances before me, and I have to live with them. Either I live it or I miss it. There is no third alternative. Either you live it or you miss it. And because death is inevitable, one doesn’t become sadistic, doesn’t want to pursue pain, or want to bring the death nearer. There are people trying to use death as an escape. Goodness me. As an escape from the responsibility of living. But once you know that both these two are inevitable facts, and if you recognize that life doesn’t begin with the birth and doesn’t end with the death, it’s a much bigger whole.

But man is born between these two points, as he is born between time and space, he’s born between these two points of birth and death. He has to live a kind of framework that is there. Being aware of the timelessness, he has to live in the midst of the calculated psychological time because he is living with human beings. And he has to converse with them. He has to have relationships with them.

So on the canvas of eternity, you have the paintings of time and space. But if you are not aware of the timelessness of life, if you are not aware that time is a symbol created by man for the convenience of collective life, then you will become a prisoner of the concept of time. Then you will worry so much about the tomorrow, the future, the next moment, that you will never open your eyes and look at this moment because you are concerned with the next.

You meet a person and you are concerned with how to meet this person in such a way that he is pleased with me and the relationship of friendship, or recognition and appreciation will continue. So, you are busy and concerned with the continuity part of relationships rather than the fact of this moment. So, you try to project an image before that person that will please him. There comes another person of a different temperament and then you are busy projecting another image to him or her so that that person is pleased. You are trying to convert relationships into investment for the future, so you don’t live them at this moment.

So, if one is not aware of the timelessness then he becomes a prisoner of the concept and idea of time, and he either worries about the future, or he is brooding about the past. And the factual reality slips out of his grip. So, one has to use time, being aware of the timelessness.

I hope you see that how there can be an approach where the apparent contradiction, or the apparent mutual exclusiveness, melts away into the two poles of duality becoming complimentary to one another, complementary to each other. Birth and death becoming intrinsic parts of one’s whole life, complimentary to each other. Time and timelessness being complimentary to each other. The appearance of contradiction and opposition withers away. The appearance of tension withers away when you look at these poles of duality, these two points of duality, and get acquainted with them, discover their nature.

To live is to be related, we have seen the other day. To be related with the nature, with the animals, with the birds, with the human beings, with the things that you use, with the houses that you build, the cars that you use, the machines that you use. It’s a relationship. And no one can escape relationships because in isolation there is only existence, not life. Life vibrates in and through relationships, as peace can live and vibrate only in movements. If there are no movements, there will be dead peace. Peace for living and operating requires the field of movement.

Relaxation requires the field of relationships to move and operate. Life requires the field of relationship to express itself. When I talk with another person, when I live with other people and react or respond to their behavior, then their behavior affects me, then only I know what I am, what kind of mind I have. What kind of feelings, sentiments, lusts or desires, or anger, or violence I have. You cannot hide it in relationships. Relationships are the mirror. You may believe yourself to be a very holy person, a very pure person, a very peaceful person, and you move into relationships either at the house, or in the office, or with friends, and the slightest thing that does not please you, and there you are disturbed, perturbed. Peace is shattered. You look upon yourself as a very loving, kind person, and then in relationships, something happens and anger bursts out, through the eyes, through a glance, through a gesture, through a word. Relationships reflect your inner being because you have to be there in a relationship. You have to react; you have to respond.

Now to live is to be related. To be related is to move with the things and beings around me without losing my inner equipoise, peace, sanity. That is the challenge of relationship. And I would like to go into this issue a little bit more.

Why do relationships disturb us? Why do relationships become a problem? They are a challenge but a challenge is not a problem. Challenges are like the ripples on the waters. Relationships bring up challenge. If I do not learn how to move into relationships then I will divide life into a period of relationship and a period of solitude. A period of relationship and a period of retreat. I say, “I am tired of being with the people so let me go now to a retreat. Let me go, let me withdraw.” We divide life then, fragment, separate it, but if I learn to move through relationships without losing my inner relaxation, without losing my inner sense of freedom and equipoise, then obviously relationships would not tire me. In the midst of relationships, I would be relaxing. A relaxed relationship will become a movement of relaxation.

This can happen if I can be with people without converting them into my means of security. When I get attached to you then I am converting you as a security. I feel that I need security so I want to depend upon you. I expect things from you. I expect agreement from you, recognition from you. There is no relaxation in a relationship when I get attached. There will be no relaxation in a relationship if I want to dominate over you and try to make out of you a carbon copy of myself.

This may sound simple but this is a very fundamental and serious issue, that in relationship we want to own and to possess the other people. Not only the husband, the wife, or the boyfriend, or the girlfriend, we want to own and possess even friends. To own them to possess them as you own a car. As you own a house or a tape recorder. So that you can play the tape recorder or drive the car whenever you get into a mood of doing that; whenever you get bored, you go to the tape recorder and play it. Or you feel bored and you get into a car and you just go out for a drive. In the same way, we want to utilize the human beings, to own them, to possess them, to feel satisfied that you have them. Secondly, to escape into those human beings whenever you feel bored with life, and thirdly, to dominate over them so that the ego, the self, the me gets gratified. These are the things that spoil, pollute or contaminate the relationship. Otherwise, relationships are not a bondage at all. Whether it is the relationship of husband, wife, children, parents, or it’s a relationship of friends, colleagues, working in an office or business, it is we who create the bondage out of the relationships.

There is no life without a relationship, but when I move into it, I say, “Now is this a nice person?” I wonder if I can have him or her as a friend. This is a nice person, there seems to be some similarity between us, now if we marry or if we live together then he or she belongs to me, and I belong to him. So, the attachment begins, not love, but attachment for the sake of security. An attachment makes you very suspicious. If the other person is talking to someone then you begin to suspect. Has he more affection for her? Has she more concern for him? Is he turning away from me? Attachment makes you very suspicious because you want to keep the person to whom you are attached bound to yourself with the chains of attachment. You want to keep the person, bind him to you, as you keep the things under a lock. You want to keep the person under the lock of relationship, and feel secure. Attachment, then the fear that you may lose the person; then fear making you suspicious; suspicion bringing in jealousy; jealousy bringing in anger. The chain reaction is there.

Can I move into relationships without being attached? Without expecting attachment from the other person? That is really the challenge. The crisis in human relationships is the lack of love – that keeps both the individuals in a relationship free. The crisis in the total human life today is the crisis in society, where the person wants freedom for himself, but by being attached to the other, he wants to keep the other person under his thumb, under his domination. Denying the freedom to the other, expecting every freedom for themselves. Expecting every protection for themself, denying that protection to the other, and this goes on in family or outside family. In an individual’s life and the life of society.

So relationships by themselves are not the bondage, but we create bondage out of them and then having lived a life of lust, of attachment, of domination, jealousy, suspicion, we say, “All these are worldly relationships. Now let me go and find out an ashram, a guru, and those disciples will be my gurubais and gurubhens, and so I will create a new atmosphere, a new circle of relationships which will be unworldly, non-worldly.” If I am attached to the father, to the husband, to the mother, to the wife, to the sister, it’s a worldly relationship, and if you get attached to a guru, a master, a teacher, that is a spiritual attachment. You see the silliness of it? You create them, leaving the home, giving up the house, and the property and everything. One moves and creates a field of new relationships where the same game of attachment, suspicion, jealousy, domination begins.

Mind you, the friend who is talking to you, is born and brought up in a country which is cluttered with so-called spiritual ashrams. You can’t visit a town, a city, or a village without so-called ashrams, where the monks, or the sannyasis, or the yogis are as ambitious as any worldly man. They have their competitions. They have their jealousies. They have their fights. And the means that they use for those fights are as foul as the means of the politicians whether they profess with antara or this yoga or that yoga. And these are not words spoken out of criticism for anyone. I have gone round the whole of India three times. There is not a district out of the 316 districts of India that I have not visited. Not that I would have done it, but I was working in a movement where it was necessary for me to travel. So, three times I have gone round the whole of India, the land of religions, visited the ashrams, gone up to the Himalayas. Up to the height of 16,000 feet I have climbed.

The search began at the age of five, you know. So, whatever I am talking, please don’t think that I am trying to criticize anyone. These are words written in the ink of blood. There may be exceptions; exceptions are everywhere. I am talking about giving up one form of relationship, running away from one field of relationship, and creating another field of attachment, jealousy, suspicion. That is what happens. So by giving it the name of a religious or spiritual relationship, the essence of attachment or jealousy or suspicion, that doesn’t change. The I and the me trying to capture what is mine. The attitude of ownership towards the relationship doesn’t change. Then we can fight over whether my teacher is superior or your teacher is superior. My God or your God. The organized religions have done it on a very large scale; individuals do it on a small scale. And the field of relationships has become a field of misery and suffering unnecessarily, unwarranted. In isolation there is no life so we have to discover the secret of getting related with other people, where one can live in freedom and let the other person live in freedom.

The mystery of relationship has to be uncovered. The secret of relationship is to be uncovered, and we shall go into it this morning, and I hope you will have patience and keep pace with me.

If I can move into a relationship of any kind whatsoever, if I can move into it in the simplicity of my being, without trying to project an image upon the other person, then the relationship does not become a problem. I am what I am. Let me get acquainted with myself and then talk to other people, live with them as I am. You know what it implies? Not to compare oneself with other people. A non-comparative approach is always a non-ambitious approach. But if I look at myself and I say, “Well, I am ugly and the other person is beautiful,” then I create a hurt, a wound in my mind maybe on the conscious level, maybe on the subconscious level. I say, “I am ugly and the other person is beautiful or handsome. I am brown and the other person is fair. I am short and the other is tall. I am dull and the other is brilliant.” If my perception of other human beings is polluted by this comparative approach then I will always compare myself with others. And I would like to pretend that I am as clever as the other person, so I will try to gather ideas, thoughts from books, from talks, from individuals, decorate my brain with it and show it off because I would like to show that I am clever, knowing full well that I am stupid. Knowing full well that I am not clever. But I would like to profess then I make an effort, a struggle for gathering, for collecting, storing it in memory, then the effort to produce it whenever I am with people, show it off. And you can’t deceive all people, cheat all people for all of the time, so you are afraid. Will he find out that I know only a little and I do not know about the other aspect? Will they find it out? Then you are always very tense lest people find out the shallowness of knowledge. Lest people find out the pettiness of the mind.

So if there is a comparative approach, if you are constantly comparing yourself with other people and trying to become like them, then you as you have no scope to live, to breath freely, to breath without any pressure and burden that you have imposed upon yourself. Then you will not be able to be in the beauty of your being because you are trying to shrink somewhere to look like someone else. You are trying to blow air into yourself to look like and behave like some other person. All the time you are playing the game of becoming someone else, trying to imitate the other person’s experiences, other person’s ways of living, other person’s types of living. You go on doing that.

Whether the boys, the girls in India try to imitate the styles of the occidentals or the occidental youths, the American, the European, tries to imitate the Indian, the oriental. It’s just the same. If you try to graft upon yourselves, because of a comparison, mind you, not out of understanding. When you understand something, and the value of it, and the understanding brings about an inner change in you that is a different matter. We are talking about a comparative approach, an ambitious approach, trying always to measure oneself according to other people. According to their judgements. That way lies fear in relationship. That way lies all the tension, and shyness, and embarrassment, and hesitation in relationship. You can never sing your song like a bird, perched upon a branch of a tree, and singing into the vast space of the skies. You’ll never sing your note in the vast space of freedom because you will always be on the defensive. So, to grow into a non-comparative approach to life is vitally necessary to be what I am, not measure myself in the terms of other people.

Secondly, when I have expressed myself as I am, and I find that it has displeased the other person, the person doesn’t like it, or when I express myself and something has gone wrong, that is the opportunity for me to learn. Something has gone wrong. When you are driving the car and the pressure on the accelerator is not enough, the nerves in the feet are not educated enough, so the pressure on the brake, the foot brake or the hand brake, or the accelerator, that is not sufficient; you can find the car wobbling. And don’t you say, “I can’t drive the car,” and so here I step out of it and I go. Or you have not taken care of the choke part, or the hands are not sensitive to handle the steering. One has to investigate nerves so that the movement of the body and the mind can be in such a way that it doesn’t hurt the other people, and it doesn’t do any damage or harm to the other person. If you can’t move into a relationship without doing harm to the other, obviously you have not learned how to be related. That is to say, how to live. Without friction, causing friction. If the other person is psychologically ill or sick, or hypersensitive, and he creates a harm or a hurt out of your simple behavior, you can’t help it but otherwise, a person has to find out a sensitive way of speaking and behaving in his own simplicity. And if his expression, his uncovering of the inner being, has done some harm, then that is the moment to learn. But as soon as we find out that something has gone wrong, the first desire is to find out the fault with the other person, throw the responsibility on the other person, and feel justified in what one has done. So one goes on the defensive, trying to justify one’s mistakes, defend one’s mistakes. This is the content of bondage, the temptation to defend your own mistakes that even your own intelligence can point out to you.

The moment you try to defend, to justify, to interpret to protect yourself, then relationships become a problem. What is wrong if I commit a mistake in a relationship? I am learning, I am living, I am growing. There might be a mistake. If you are terribly concerned that you always must do the right things, in the correct way, and you get very nervous and embarrassed, then there will be a paralysis of movement. You will always hesitate to move. So, there should be the humility and the simplicity to say to oneself, “Maybe there will be a mistake. Maybe something goes wrong. Doesn’t matter. I’ll find out. I’ll learn.”

To live is to learn, you know. If you don’t learn, you become stale. If you stop learning by the age of 25 or 30 and you feel that you know everything about life, and you have just to repeat certain patterns of behavior, day after day, then the behavior becomes mechanical and the persons become stale. There is no freshness about the person.

So, a non-comparative approach, and then the simplicity and the innocence to say to oneself, “Really, I don’t know how to live. I am learning. I don’t know how to live so there might be mistakes. And I will learn from the mistakes.” One can learn from failures, from successes, from mistakes. So, there is no fear when I am willing to learn. When I am willing to be exposed in a relationship as I am, so that I find out the factual reality of myself. I get acquainted with myself, then there is no fear.

And thirdly, if I do not want to dominate upon other people through expectations. There are many ways of dominating. One way is asking the people, “Do this. Do not do this. You must do this. You must not do this.” That is an overt and an obvious and very gross way of dictating things, dictating terms. The second way is of expecting agreement, acceptance, recognition, and appreciation. All the time one is expecting these things. And the moment you find that the other people do not agree or do not accept, or do not appreciate or recognize you, you feel hurt. People misunderstand you, misinterpret you, and you feel hurt.

People born in different cultures, having different temperaments, having different constitutional and psychological idiosyncracies, they are bound to behave in so many different ways. So, if one can act or respond in a relationship, without looking for a guarantee, looking for a security of appreciation, recognition, or the security of being interpreted correctly, then the relationships become a problem. You express yourself; you move into a relationship you do what you can and there is an end to it. It is up to the other person to respond, to receive, to understand, to misunderstand, to interpret, to misinterpret. It is up to the other person.

So, if one can feel the joy of expressing oneself in a relationship, enjoy doing it, if you can enjoy moving into a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship and expressing yourself, then you express spontaneously, fearlessly, with all the humility, whatever you are, and then it is finished for you. If the other person understands, there will be a slight smile on your lips, and if the other person does not understand, for a split second, the fact that it has not been understood may bring about a breath of sadness. That is the fact and the impact of the fact being sensitive to others. But you do not make an issue out of it. You do not make a grudge out of it. You do not nurse that he did not understand, she did this, he misunderstood, he cheated, she deceived. You know, you do not go on creating issues and grudges out of it. You do not nurse the hurt within and thereby carry the wounds, ever running wounds in the heart. And on the other hand, you do not create a grudge against the other person. If you create the grudge against the other person, you meet the other person after half an hour, or after two days, and you can’t look at him, because the memory of that incident of humiliation, or insult, or the hurt, or other misinterpretation, works like a screen. It is not you but the memory that looks at the other person, and naturally there is no relationship.

So it seems to me, the mystery of relationship is having a non-comparative, non-ambitious approach, realizing that a person can’t do anything more than expressing what he is and to have the humility to express that without any hypocrisy, without any pretensions, without trying to hide something that there is and pretend to show things that are not there. You cannot borrow the act of living, you know? The movement of living cannot be borrowed. Knowledge can be bought and borrowed, but like wisdom and understanding, this act of living, you cannot pretend the style, the experience of another person and feel satisfied that you have lived. It has got to be your original act of spontaneity. So, a non-comparative, non-ambitious approach, simplicity and innocency to face the mistakes if there be any, and the consequences if there be any, to shoulder the responsibility of what is, and, my dear friends, we don’t like it. In a relationship you get angry, but you like to feel that you are not an angry person. You are not an angry person. The other person is stupid, and he has made you angry. I hope you have noticed this. You know, I am not angry by nature, you know, but when those other people, they behave in such a stupid way, they make me angry. But my dear fellow, if there was no anger in you, how could anything on the Earth, cause it at all?

They are not the originators. Those occurrences, those events, those behaviors, those words are only instruments in bringing out what is there. But a person feels very pious, very religious, and he says, “No, I am not an angry person. I am a very peaceful person. But the circumstances, the situation, made me angry.” He wants to put the blame upon the other. And nowadays, it is very easy to throw the blame upon other people with the help of theories of psychoanalysis. I won’t go into it. But you throw the responsibility upon everyone else in the world and feel “poor me.” Then this “poor me” complex, martyr complex, self-pity, always leads to depressive psychosis, melancholia.

So, to have the robustness to shoulder the responsibility whenever mistakes take place, and say, “Yes, something went wrong. I wasn’t aware. I wasn’t alert.” To shoulder the responsibility of one’s own mistake and the consequences thereof, to have that robustness, then even the mistakes that you commit make your life glorified. But if you are afraid of committing mistakes, then you hesitate from living, shrink away from the act of living. Well, I can’t go into more details, but when you thus move in daily relationships, then a non-comparative, simple, humble approach keeps you relaxed. Then there is no dichotomy between the relationship here and the relaxation there. You move into relationships and through relationships in a relaxed way. With all the relaxation you move. Spontaneity is relaxation. You know the content of relaxation is humility, innocency, and spontaneity. So, there is no dichotomy between the two. There is no opposition or contradiction between the two.

And let me take one more point before we conclude the session. It is the same with speech and silence. Silence is a dimension of life as speech is. As sound is a dimension of life, silence also is a dimension. Out of silence, sound is born. Out of the emptiness of space, movement is born. We are always with the word, with the sound, chattering with others or with ourselves, and we never spend time in the dimension of silence.

So, the words in our mouth are worn out. They are hollow, shallow. They lose the vitality to have any effect upon the heart of the person to whom you speak, because the words are not nourished. On the nutrition of silence, the speech has only one nutrition and that is silence. It is not a negative something. It is not the rigidity of saying, “I won’t speak,” and take a vow of silence. Not that, but just to gather all the words, the speech, unto yourself, binding them up, you spend some time where there is no word, no activity, but only the isness of life.

With the silence, let me connect profound sleep. We are covering some points of duality, at least some points. We work in the day and we go to sleep in the night. In the sleep, there may be either the dream consciousness or profound sleep. Now in profound sleep, the body is totally relaxed, unconditionally relaxed, every limb, every fiber, nerve, neurone, neuron all relaxed. And the mind is relaxed. In profound sleep, you are not the man or the woman, the Indian, the Swedish, the Norwegian, the Hindu, the Catholic. In profound sleep, the maleness, the femaleness, the whole identification goes into abeyance. All your identifications go into abeyance in the phenomenon of profound sleep.

The breathing continues, the blood circulation continues, the involuntary activities continue. But they are not from the center of the I, the me, the ego. You don’t know what happens in profound sleep. But when you wake up, you find yourself refreshed, rejuvenated. It is a different energy, unconditioned energy, non-personal energy that operates in profound sleep. Not the energy of the me, the I, the energy of the thought, or the emotion, but it’s an entirely different energy which is neither personal or collective, individual or collective. And without profound sleep, you can’t work in the day. If you don’t get profound sleep, you consult a doctor and you take medicines for it. Because without profound sleep, the sanity, the order, the health cannot be sustained, cannot be retained. So as in profound sleep, though you do not know what is happening, and you are not doing anything at all, you are in the state of non-doing. You are in the state of non-action in profound sleep, but the growth takes place, the transformation, the change takes place. It is a field of happening. In waking hours is the field of doing. You do. You act. You move. There is a field of happening; there is this duality of doing and happening. If you say, “I am going to remain awake to find out what happens in profound sleep,” then there is no sleep. In profound sleep, it is not you who do something or you who act, but you are in a state of total vulnerability for the happening of growth to take place.

Profound sleep is a state of total vulnerability. In the same way, when you dive into, you plunge into, the waters of silence, once you are there, then you are in the field of happening, not doing. What shall I do when I sit silently? Don’t sit silently if you want to do something. Silence is an area where you are totally, wholly vulnerable to the life and the life forces that surround you, that are within you, and that are around you. You are vulnerable to them. You are vulnerable to the happenings. Vulnerable to the movement of the unconditioned, uninherited, non-personal energy which is beyond your control. You may call it intelligence; you may call it sensitivity, but it is an energy which you do not inherit which is the very nature of motion, life.

So in silence, a person is in the realm of happening. But the ego is so rigid, the me, the self, the ego is used to acting, reacting, doing, rejecting, having, not having, all this business throughout the waking hours, it doesn’t want to leave. It says, “I would like to experience what happens in silence.” So, it wants to stick to the center, and as long as there is a center there will be a circumference. If you take a piece of paper and put a point upon it, you have already created an invisible circumference around that point. So when you stick to the point of the ego, the self, the me, the circumference of your knowledge and inheritance is already there, and the whole thing moves. You are back in the trap of the mind.

So, in silence is when one can be in total abandonment, vulnerability, and it requires humility. If man feels that he is the doer of everything in his life, then he shall never understand what life is, because life is a mystery. There is doing of course, but there is happening, and as he has to move efficiently and competently in the area of doing with the help of knowledge, the mind, the brain, and the senses, he has to be with full abandonment, openness, vulnerability in the field of happening. When these two are balanced then there is a harmony in life. Then there is an equipoise in life.

A person who doesn’t know how to relax in silence is not very good at words, or speaking, because he doesn’t have the precision, the accuracy, the beauty, the music of sound and speech. His words are born of friction, of tension. They stink. They have an odor of frustration, or depression, or vanity, or pride. To have a pure chaste word like a dew drop of the morning. But if you are introduced to silence, when you are introduced to silence, then silence extends itself into speech as sleep extends itself into waking hours. So, if we remember the fact of sleep, the sleeping hours are as important, if not more, as the waking hours. What happens in profound sleep is as much a part of your total life as what you do. Life is not all doing. More happens to us than we can ever do, or we shall ever do to ourselves, because we are organically related to the universal life.

But I think I should stop now. It’s more than an hour and a quarter. I was trying to share with you the simple fact that man is born in the field of duality. This duality has been looked upon as having a tension. Duality has two poles, or two points, and man has looked upon these two points as mutually exclusive and contradictory to each other. And I question the validity of such a traditional approach. It seems to me that they are neither mutually exclusive nor are they contradictory but the two together make the whole life. The wholeness of life will be damaged if we have an attitude of carelessness, or contempt, or fear of death. If we have fear of death, we have polluted the whole issue of life and living because death and birth together make the life. If we are afraid of pain and attached to pleasure, then we have missed the whole beauty of life because with every pleasure there is pain. And as long as there are senses, you have to go through pleasure and pain, but if in the moment of pleasure, you can enter the state of joy and leave the pleasure of thought behind, then you are free from the duality of pleasure and pain.

So, we were saying this morning that these two points of duality are complimentary and supplementary to each other. They together make the whole life, and the awareness of the two poles of duality, the two points of duality, awareness of their nature and how they supplement and complement each other, that gives you a new vitality, a new passion from within. Then one is not obsessed with the tomorrow or one does not get bogged down in yesterdays. One is not bogged down in the past and not carried away by the future, but then one can remain with the expression of eternity which is the present moment here and now. The moment before you is condensed eternity. If you can uncover that moment and meet it there, and live there, the situation, the challenge, the relationship that is here and now — if you can live it, you have lived. If you say, “No, this is a difficult situation. Let me postpone.” If you go on postponing living to tomorrows, the tomorrow never comes.

So the awareness of the duality is the content of non-duality. Non-duality is not something separate that here is it duality and there it is non-duality. Our awareness of duality itself is the content of non-duality, as the awareness of the known, the limitations, the frontiers of the known, awareness of the mechanistic nature of the movement of the known, is already being with the unknown. There are not two categories that here it is the known and then you leave and give it up and go somewhere else to the unknown. It is the piercing through the known that brings out the quality of unknown. It is living through the time, being aware of the intrinsic limitations, that time is a concept. Living in time, being aware of the conceptual reality of time and factual reality of timelessness frees you from fear.

So, life is one indivisible whole. It’s a very complex one, and if we do not look at the complexity, investigate the nature of complexity, then we find that everything is complicated. It is not complicated. It is only complex, and we cannot turn back from the complexity of life into the so-called simplicity of primitivity. Understanding of complexity brings us into simplicity. The maturity of understanding is simplicity.

-Vimala Thakar

A talk given by Vimala Thakkar in 1974

Here you can listen to Vimala Thakar’s talk The Complexity of Life.

For more posts on Vimala Thakar look here.

In the Fire of Dancing Stillness

A review of In the Fire of Dancing Stillness – Reflections with Vimala Thakar

A film by Renata Keller

Renata Keller introduces the life and teachings of Vimala Thakar in an extraordinarily accessible way, so very much in tune with Vimala herself.  The opening scene sets the stage for the intertwining of the elements and nature as both background and enhancement.  Waves form, play, and disappear. The boatman intently watches as he punts his craft along the shore, and soaring over this peaceful scene is the crystal-clear voice of Vimala.

Renata uses a delicate touch to tell Vimala’s story, guided by profound gratitude, for Vimala recognized her longing for wholeness, and by so doing changed her life.  This tribute, made some twenty years after this meeting, interweaves interviews with Vimala’s colleagues and friends; an exploration of places she worked and taught; and powerful excerpts from those teachings. Interspersing these scenes is the slow evolution of a chalk image into the goddess Durga.

Vimala is described as a philosopher, spiritual revolutionary, and social activist.  She engaged in land distribution, persuading rich landowners to donate part of their land to landless laborers so all could live in dignity.  She reached out to, and taught, girls and women, encouraging their independence and development of self-respect.  She explains her work as taking care of suffering at all levels.

Vimala’s capacity for love and light extends far beyond her social activism.  J. Krishnamurti invited her to visit him for some healing sessions after a car accident severely damaged one of her ears.  These meetings engendered an upheaval in her consciousness.  Vimalaji wrote, “Something within has been let loose. It can’t stand any frontiers. The invasion of a new awareness irresistible and uncontrollable has swept everything away. The freshness and awareness keep one ever alert, ever keen and ever insecure. Though the journey has come to an end, I have not arrived.  Perhaps there is nowhere to arrive.  Perhaps there is no static destination.  It seems to me that life is its own purpose. Life is its own direction.  Life is dynamic, and those who live are on an eternal voyage.”  Krishnamurti strongly encouraged Vimala to start giving talks from her understanding.

This movie exudes the vast love and concern Vimala felt for the whole of humanity, the global family we are becoming as so much of our way of living is changing.  Vimalaji has tremendous hope in the new generation, in all of us, that though we live in turbulent times, such challenges create the possibility to “emanate out of our being a new human culture” based on truth, love and compassion.

Vimalaji explains how we have become separate from the sacred in life due to the way we live apart from nature, apart from each other, interacting with the manmade. Vimala points out how so much of what is considered human can now be done by artificial intelligence; it has become memory, thought, and even feeling.  She asks, is there something that is untransferable, something that artificial intelligence cannot do?  And this is the search.  What is it that cannot be transferred to a machine?  Let us find out! And this dovetails into another frequent theme.  How can we relate to life without the interference of the mind? Can we learn to look at life in a fresh way born of silence, from emptiness, in touch with the sacred?  Vimala encourages us all to experiment, dive within, disinfect ourselves of knowledge, and find out.

And the threads of this tapestry – scenes of flowing rivers and still lakes, a bird aloft in the vast sky, the beauty of trees, of humanity – the interrelatedness of it all woven together with exquisite music, and the patient creation of the goddess Durga from chalk; and shortly after completion, the destruction.


In the sanctuary of silence
Beauty comes to life.
On the altar of silent beauty
Humility plays with life.
In the light of dancing humility
Innocence opens itself.
Freedom is the blossom
Love is the perfume
Compassion its graceful way of walking.

-Vimala Thakar

Download or watch the video: In the Fire of Dancing Stillness.

Here is a link to explore more from Vimala Thakar.

Why Should I not be Disturbed? – J. Krishnamurti

Question: If I am perfectly honest, I have to admit that I resent, and at times hate, almost everybody. It makes my life very unhappy and painful. I understand intellectually that I am this resentment, this hatred; but I cannot cope with it. Can you show me a way?

Krishnamurti: What do we mean by “intellectually?” When we say that we understand something intellectually, what do we mean by that? Is there such a thing as intellectual understanding? Or is it that the mind merely understands the words, because that is our only way of communicating with each other? Can we, however, really understand anything merely verbally, mentally? That is the first thing we have to be clear about: whether so-called intellectual understanding is not an impediment to understanding. Surely understanding is integral, not divided, not partial? Either I understand something or I don’t. To say to oneself, “I understand something intellectually,” is surely a barrier to understanding. It is a partial process and therefore no understanding at all.

Now the question is this: “How am I, who am resentful, hateful, how am I to be free of, or cope with that problem?” How do we cope with a problem? What is a problem? Surely, a problem is something which is disturbing.

I am resentful, I am hateful; I hate people and it causes pain. And I am aware of it. What am I to do? It is a very disturbing factor in my life. What am I to do, how am I to be really free of it—not just momentarily slough it off but fundamentally be free of it? How am I to do it?

It is a problem to me because it disturbs me. If it were not a disturbing thing, it would not be a problem to me, would it? Because it causes pain, disturbance, anxiety, because I think it is ugly, I want to get rid of it. Therefore the thing that I am objecting to is the disturbance, isn’t it? I give it different names at different times, in different moods; one day I call it this and another something else, but the desire is, basically, not to be disturbed. Isn’t that it? Because pleasure is not disturbing, I accept it. I don’t want to be free from pleasure, because there is no disturbance—at least, not for the time being. But hate and resentment are very disturbing factors in my life and I want to get rid of them.

My concern is not to be disturbed and I am trying to find a way in which I shall never be disturbed. Why should I not be disturbed? I must be disturbed to find out, must I not? I must go through tremendous upheavals, turmoil, and anxiety to find out, must I not? If I am not disturbed, I shall remain asleep and perhaps that is what most of us do want: to be pacified, to be put to sleep, to get away from any disturbance, to find isolation, seclusion, security. If I do not mind being disturbed—really, not just superficially—if I don’t mind being disturbed, because I want to find out, then my attitude towards hate and towards resentment undergoes a change, doesn’t it? If I do not mind being disturbed, then the name is not important, is it? The word “hate” is not important, is it? Or “resentment” against people is not important, is it? Because then I am directly experiencing the state which I call resentment without verbalizing that experience.

Anger is a very disturbing quality, as hate and resentment are, and very few of us experience anger directly without verbalizing it. If we do not verbalize it, if we do not call it anger, surely there is a different experience, is there not? Because we term it, we reduce a new experience or fix it in the terms of the old, whereas, if we do not name it, then there is an experience that is directly understood and this understanding brings about a transformation in that experiencing. Take, for example, meanness. Most of us, if we are mean, are unaware of it—mean about money matters, mean about forgiving people, you know, just being mean. I am sure we are familiar with that. Now, being aware of it, how are we going to be free from that quality? Not to become generous, that is not the important point. To be free from meanness implies generosity, you haven’t got to become generous. Obviously one must be aware of it. You may be very generous in giving a large donation to your society, to your friends, but awfully mean about giving a bigger tip; you know what I mean by “mean.” One is unconscious of it. When one becomes aware of it, what happens? We exert our will to be generous; we try to overcome it; we discipline ourselves to be generous and so on and so on. But, after all, the exertion of will to be something is still part of meanness in a larger circle, so if we do not do any of those things but are merely aware of the implications of meanness, without giving it a term, then we will see that there takes place a radical transformation.

Please experiment with this. First, one must be disturbed, and it is obvious that most of us do not like to be disturbed. We think we have found a pattern of life—the Master, the belief, whatever it is—and there we settle down. It is like having a good bureaucratic job and functioning there for the rest of one’s life. With that same mentality, we approach various qualities of which we want to be rid. We do not see the importance of being disturbed, of being inwardly insecure, of not being dependent. Surely it is only in insecurity that you discover, that you see, that you understand. We want to be like a man with plenty of money: at ease. He will not be disturbed; he doesn’t want to be disturbed.

Disturbance is essential for understanding and any attempt to find security is a hindrance to understanding. When we want to get rid of something which is disturbing, it is surely a hindrance. If we can experience a feeling directly, without naming it, I think we shall find a great deal in it: then there is no longer a battle with it because the experiencer and the thing experienced are one, and that is essential. So long as the experiencer verbalizes the feeling, the experience, he separates himself from it and acts upon it; such action is an artificial, illusory action. But if there is no verbalization, then the experiencer and the thing experienced are one. That integration is necessary and has to be radically faced.

– J. Krishnamurti

From The First and Last Freedom, Question 13

A Letter from Albert Blackburn

Dear R:

Thank you for your letter.  I will answer your questions by sending you this parable which I wrote in 1974, entitled The Train of Thought.

One day I awakened to find myself standing on the platform of a railway station.  The platform was crowded with the entire human race and everyone but me (somehow I knew) was sleepwalking.  I did not know what had awakened me, or what had led me there; I did know that I was awake and apparently could see the real meaning of that was happening around me.

In that most unusual state in which I found myself, I was able to see many strange and wonderful things that no one else could apparently see.  Each person on the platform was enclosed in an aura resembling a soap bubble of many colors, and each color, I knew, represented their qualities and interests.  There were no two exactly the same, but people did seem to gravitate into groups having similar colors.

The station building itself, where tickets were sold, was a beehive of activity.  There were numerous signs advertising such different destinations as Self-Fulfillment, Peace, War, Religion, and so on; the possibilities seemed unlimited.  In a few cases the price of the ticket was clearly marked, but in most it was not.  No one seemed interested in what a trip would cost, as long as the ticket could be paid for later, or charged on a credit card.  There was a sign saying that all sales were final; no refunds or exchanges were possible once the trip was taken.

There were many authorities present acting as guides, teachers, and advisors.  They were clearly identified by their dress, and by the rather prominent badges that they wore. I could see that most of the prospective passengers were so carried away by the whole procedure that without someone’s help they would have indiscriminately climbed aboard the first car to appear.  Others, of a more discriminating nature, eagerly sought advice from the authority that appealed to them the most.

Many authorities went out of their way to recruit gullible passengers, and in this way were able to build up quite a reputation.  Word was passed from generation to generation through tradition, which was thought to be the best authority of all to follow.

I myself had always preferred to make my own choice, and therefore had never followed the advice of any of these well-known authorities.  I found out later that it was my independent attitude that had led to my present state of wakefulness on the platform.  I saw that accepting any authority was an absolute guarantee that one would never awaken, and without awakening, there was an endless trip through space and time.

The whole scene was intensely interesting to me as I watched what seemed to be happening.  Some people got on board and were not seen again, while others would jump on, only to get off almost immediately.  There seemed to be no rules of behavior, since some passengers kept changing cars and even seats for reasons known only to themselves.

The track leading in and out of the station was only visible for a short distance in either direction, for the train entered a tunnel immediately after leaving the boarding area.  The arriving train (which I now saw was only a continuation of the same train) also emerged from a tunnel just before its arrival at the station.  I was unable to determine the length of the train, but I could see that it was continuous.  It was also unique in a most peculiar way – there were five distinct types of railway cars, each with its respective color, shape, size and different way of attracting my attention.  For a time I was puzzled by this, but I finally saw a signboard with a description that enabled the passengers to make a choice.  The first car was called The Car Of Sight, the second The Car of Sound, the third The Car Of Touch, the fourth The Car Of Taste, and the fifth The Car Of Smell.  This information, of course, explained many things to me, and I again focused my attention on this fantastic train.

As I watched the people round me, I could see that they were caught up in a ceaseless round of activity.  They behaved in much the same way that a person does when under hypnosis.  Their attention was focussed entirely on the train, and they seemed to be unaware of anything else.  A constant loading and unloading was going on, and for a time I was at a loss as to why a certain car was chosen.  Finally I perceived that each person’s choice was motivated by a subtle blending of interests, familiarity, prejudice, fear, and desire.  The blending of these qualities in a person was expressed by an overall tone or frequency, which in some corresponding way was linked to a tone or similar frequency that was emitted by each car as it passed by.  The result apparently was like a post-hypnotic suggestion in its effect on the prospective passengers. As I watched people’s reactions, I was struck more and more by the dreamlike quality of the scene.

All of this time, I was in a state of wakefulness in which I could watch the proceedings with detached interest.  But now I also wanted to experience this fascinating train ride that everyone else seemed to be enjoying so much.  The instant my decision to participate was made, a subtle change in my own perception occurred.  My attention was immediately drawn to what seemed to me to be the most beautiful car, which was just arriving. I barely had time to get on board, but found to my delight that it had unlimited seating capacity.  Every seat individually molded itself to each passenger and automatically adjusted to suit that person’s tastes and mental attributes.

Before sitting down in my own choice seat, I glanced around me and saw a glassy look in the eyes of all the seated passengers.  My own eyes no doubt took on the same trance-like look, because as I sat down all memory vanished along with my objective perception. I too was lost in my own private dream world, and I was so busy correlating this new experience with my past life that time just seemed to disappear.  By the time this assimilation had taken place, I realized that I must be missing the thrill of riding in other cars.  I jumped off on the platform and immediately awakened again to the world around me, and realized that I had been asleep and dreaming.

The rest of that day I spent experimenting.  I would take different cars and different seats, but the result was always the same.  I found that as long as I remained on the platform a clear perception of everything could be maintained, but the moment that my attention was arrested by an unusually attractive car I would fall asleep, and everything experienced from that point on was a part of my own personal dream world, and in a rather vague way was connected to that of the other passengers in my general group.  Of course, I had many interesting discussions with my fellow travelers on science, religion, and philosophy, and we reassured one another that some of the rather frightening things that happened were either necessary or happened through the will of God.

It was only after I had jumped off that my memory would return, and I could remember all of the events leading up to the moment when my attention had been diverted, and recall the very subtle way in which my choice of cars and seats had been influenced.  I could also remember everything that I had experienced while on the train, and even the supposedly intelligent conversations which had taken place in the cars.  While I remained on the platform, in an objective state, I could see how superficial our lengthy discussions had been.  What had seemed to be the whole world had only been a tiny fragment of it, so that any judgement or action stemming from it accomplished very little good. The complete picture could be seen and intelligent action taken only by remaining on the platform and in the state of awareness.

I also saw that even though the cars of Sight, Sound, Touch, Taste, and Smell were separate, they were all part of the same train, and were only focal points that attracted attention.  Once on board, a mysterious blending of the whole dream-train into a single unity took place.  A kind of mutual conditioning effect occurred.  The passengers took on the qualities of the train, and the train took on the qualities of its passengers.  I could see that this gradual conditioning process – called by some growth, progress, or evolution – was only a sort of glorified “merry-go-round.”

I could see the whole picture only be stepping off the train.  It was easy to be caught up in the mass hysteria especially as no advance payment had to be made for a ride; anyone could jump on board.  Many, no doubt, thought there was a free trip to an ultimate pleasure, and were unaware that it was a “pay as you leave” system.  Some of the prices paid seemed to me extremely high, since they included sickness, old age, and death; naturally, there was a great deal of grumbling when payment fell due.

After a great of deal of inquiry, I found out that there had been other, isolated cases similar to mine, in which individuals had awakened, and because it did happen from time to time, a new type of pass had been authorized.  It was called “The Cycle of Perception,” and was available free of charge to anyone with the capacity for awareness.

I immediately took advantage of this information and obtained one of these special passes, and from then on my experience was quite different.  Instead of falling asleep immediately, and remaining asleep for the duration of the trip, I only slept at the moment of choice; immediately thereafter I was able to wake up, and the rest of the trip took place in a state of awareness.

It seemed to work in the following way: As the cars came into view, and I began to feel an irresistible attraction towards a particular car, I would fall asleep; I would then awaken in my favorite seat on that car.  I had always remained asleep for the duration of the trip when this had happened before, but now I was able to watch the whole procedure objectively in a waking state.  I could see the superficiality of the whole scene, and was no longer carried away by the conversations of my fellow passengers.  In this way, my desire to blindly participate in this means of transportation gradually diminished, and as a consequence my trips became shorter and less frequent.

The use of “The Cycle of Perception” pass was mandatory during the transition that I was going through, a transition from a state of unconscious participation (in which I was immersed in a hypnotic dream) to a state of complete wakefulness (in which there was no longer any desire to use this antiquated means of transportation).

I have since tried to tell others on the platform of my experiences, but my words seem to fall on deaf ears.  Some people think I’m crazy but most think that even questioning such a wonderful train system is foolish.  “It is here, so why not enjoy it,” they say.  Others think that I should not speak about it for fear that some authority might overhear and bring the whole thing to an end.  Personally, I am tired of watching this “merry-go-round,” and keep wondering if it may not all vanish into thin air some day.  How and why it originally got started is a mystery, but its continuity is assured through the unlimited supply of avid passengers recruited from the entire human species.

In closing my account of the strange phenomenon which I have been describing, let me add the following.  I have found out that this train was conceived of and dedicated millions of years ago by the earliest human beings.  In the beginning, the train was a simple thing, but because it has been refined and added to over the intervening years, it has become the pride of our times.  Habit has also played a great part in its growth.  Through careful observation, I saw that the people who were waiting usually chose familiar cars each time.  Those who were considered leaders (or who were able to easily persuade others) seemed to be held in great regard, because then people didn’t have to make their own decisions.  Most passengers also felt much more comfortable when there were others on the same car, and they aided and abetted each other in their choices.

Through common usage, this “Train Of Thought” has become the universally accepted mode of transportation.  All educational institutions are geared to programming their students in making the ‘right’ choice on the “Thought Train.”  The resulting systems of thought, with all their subtle nuances, are held in great esteem.  These, in turn, support the whole social structure and the economic system, which explains the nervousness and outright anger that is aroused by any suggestion that there might be a better means of transportation.  The constant threats to the system caused by war or natural catastrophes make a few people question the whole thing, but this rarely happens.  I have recently discovered for myself that there really is a different way of getting to where one wants to go.  It is through direct perception, and the result is an instantaneous oneness with the object or situation itself, including all of its related phenomena.  It eliminates having to choose anything related to “The Train Of Thought.”  Direct perception makes the old method of doing things seem obsolete, except as a means of continued communication with other people.  I can conceive of a future state in which more and more people would use this new dimension, and thereby create a brand new society.

The new social structure would be based on real values in human relationships. Of course, many of the destinations of the “Thought Train” would be dropped, such as War, Prejudice, Yours, Mine, Reward, Punishment, Courage, Politics, My Country, Authority, Philosophy, and so on.  There would be a complete social upheaval, since people engaged in these activities would be forced into other lines of work.  It is not hard to see why the train is so ancient, nor why even the slightest effort to upset the status quo is met with resistance from all of those whose livelihood depends upon it.

Perhaps only rare individuals can step away from it from time to time.

Please become aware of your own “Train Of Thought” and find direct perception and now-consciousness.


Al Blackburn

Albert Blackburn (1988).  Worlds Beyond Thought.  Conversations on Now-Consciousness.  Idylwild Books, P.O. Box 246, Ojai, CA 93023.

Worlds Beyond Thought – Albert Blackburn

The following is an excerpt from a conversation between Albert Blackburn  and Gabriele, his wife.

Albert Blackburn:  Can thought go beyond?

Gabriele:  How can it? And what can go beyond? How can one go beyond?

A:  A new factor must obviously be introduced in order to transcend the thought process; and once again, we should be able to go into it right from this present moment.  Does anything exist in this present moment that is not a part of thought, and that is not a part of our memory bank and ego?

G:  I would say awareness, perception, and the factual things we are surrounded by.

A:  I think that you’re right.  I feel that perception is something beyond thought, because perception is inherent in every living creature in the world.  Every living creature has perception and is able to use perception within its own particular field of consciousness.

G:  Yes.

A:  I think the problem that exists is that we have identified ourselves with perception.  We say we’re perceiving, or we’re feeling, or we’re smelling, or we’re doing.  I think these are all ideas because from a factual point of view there is only seeing, there is only doing, there is only feeling, there is only smelling, there is only hearing; it is only an idea that we are seeing, we are hearing, we are smelling, we are feeling these things.  I believe that each person has to explore this themselves, and see if it is true; does perception exist beyond our personal ideas about it?

To me, it is a very real fact that perception is outside my field of consciousness.  It is completely separate from the thought process.  When my mind is quiet, there is complete perception; there is no fragmentation due to my personal identification with one object.

G:  But the moment I say that I am aware of that beautiful sunset, I bring in my ego, or I bring in the ‘I’ of thought.  I create a memory so that tomorrow I can say, “Yesterday I saw a beautiful sunset.”

A:  That’s right; in other words, we take a mental picture of something the minute we identify it and say, “I have seen it,” or “I am seeing it.”  I must remember it because it is a beautiful picture and I want to put it into my photographic album so that tomorrow I can drag it out and compare it to something else that I have seen, or so that I can tell you about it.

G:  That’s how we generate our own personal body of knowledge. 

A:  It’s also a matter of communication. We can’t communicate with another person without using words and ideas.  Communication on the physical level has to be through the field of consciousness, doesn’t it?

G:  Yes.

A:  I can communicate to you things that I have experienced, or things that I’m experiencing at the present time.  I can do it through words, or I can do it through memory, but I have to use the field of human consciousness.  I have to use the values, the words, and everything else that we both understand in order to get the idea across to you.

But your perception of an idea doesn’t have to involve the field of consciousness. A sudden understanding or a sudden knowing may occur inside of you when you hear me talking about it or describing it.  And even though I’m using my conditioning to describe it, you don’t have to use your conditioning to understand it.  That’s the point.

G:  I can use now-consciousness to understand it.

A:  Right!  This is very important, because it creates an entirely new situation.  In other words, you or I or anyone else, who is endeavoring to communicate a certain idea or a certain insight has to use accepted grammatical forms in order to be understood.  But the holistic understanding of the other person has to lie outside of the field of human consciousness.  If the person who is listening is understanding or interpreting the words in a mechanical way only, then that person’s understanding is only on the verbal level; it doesn’t go any deeper and it doesn’t affect the person’s actions.  For your actions in life to be really affected at the gut level, you have to understand things outside of the field of your personal conditioning. You can’t be caught by any of the words that you hear.  You can’t bring up something from your memory bank or bring up some photograph that you have personally taken, some memory, and have understanding take place.  The minute you catch yourself interpreting something in any way at all – going back to your memory bank in any way at all – drop it.  In dropping the memory, you are open again and free of your conditioning.  Once free, understanding can take place at a deep level, and this can really change your life.

This is why Krishnaji had such difficulty in communicating with the people who listened to him; most of them were interpreting the words that he was using.  They were mired down by the ideas that were evoked in their minds by the words that he used, and they made no impression on them at a deep level.  Consequently, there was no understanding.  They would say, “I understand what Krishnamurti is talking about, it is very plain he’s talking about,” but there was no inner revolution in their understanding of life.

G:  So it became another accumulation of ideas.

A:  Exactly, there was no inner revolution.  The inner revolution can only take place outside of the field of consciousness.  There has to be a listening, not you listening, there has to be a listening without ‘you’ in the picture.  And when there is that listening, then what is heard is not being interpreted, it is not being analyzed, and it is not being filtered through your conditioning.  In that, there’s a holistic understanding which affects you at a deep level, and changes your life, and brings about this inner revolution that Krishnaji was talking about.

G:  That’s right.

A:  I think that is the whole secret of it.

G:  Yes.  So this perception, this awareness is necessary.  If one is in a state of now-consciousness, then what is beyond that?  What is beyond man’s creation, beyond man’s whole field of the known?  What happens?  Let us go into that now.

A:  Well, the world of nature is beyond; understanding, love, affection, attention, compassion, beauty, and all the so-called virtues are beyond; everything that humanity has ever dreamed about possessing, but has never really possessed except as a name or an idea, is beyond human consciousness.  And it is not something that can’t be touched at any time, because what is beyond human consciousness (as we have said before) is the present moment. Thus beauty can be touched in the present moment if I’m not in the picture, ‘I’ as an idea.  Affection can be touched in the present moment; love can be touched in the present moment; understanding can be touched.  All of the things we have just named can be touched in the present moment.

G:  Yes.

A:  It is so simple everybody passes it by, because most of us expect a complicated answer.  You have to experiment and discover for yourself the simple beauty of this approach to life.

G:  It is so direct.

A:  Absolutely direct; direct perception; direct action.

G:  So how does one wake up?  How does one stay in the now?

A:  Well, let us start in this present moment again, because this is the beginning point.  Every step, every question has to begin with this present moment.  Would you ask the question, “How can I sit in this chair?”

G:  No, I guess I know how.

A:  “How can I put my feet on the floor?”  “How can I put my two hands together?”  “How can I look at another person?”  You know, it is so simple. There’s no how to it for us.  So the question is not how to do something in a positive way, but rather what prevents us from doing it? That should be the question.  What prevents me from being aware that I’m sitting in this chair?  What prevents me from being aware that I have my hands clasped together and my thumbs are moving together against each other?  What prevents me from being aware of this?

G:  All that we’ve been talking about.

A:  Right; thought.

G:  Thought.

A:  In other words, identification with a certain object or a certain idea that was recalled through the memory process, a retrieval from our personal memory bank. That’s what prevents us from being constantly attentive and aware of what is happening in the present moment.

G:  Then without awareness there is no true love, no beauty, no compassion, no affection, none of those things that are beyond thought.

A:  They don’t exist, if I’m thinking.

G:  No.

A:  They can’t.  Each one can exist as an idea; I can name each one as an abstraction.  But it is just an idea, it is not the thing itself.  The emotions themselves, which are part of the holistic feeling about life which contains all of those so-called virtues, are there every moment.  But we’re simply not aware of them because we’re busy thinking about some picayune idea that has nothing to do with them at all.

Of course, you have to use thought in order to make plans.  If you have a certain insight into what has to be done this afternoon, or tomorrow, or whatever, you have to use thought.  You have to use the creative planning capacity of your brain in order to bring it about.  But most of the time we’re not in that situation; most of the time we could sit back and enjoy these other things that we’ve been talking about as possibilities.  We could enjoy them as facts, and not just as ideas.

G:  In other words, I don’t see nature when I’m thinking.

A:  Of course not.

G:  I can see that that’s a tree, or a bird, and so on, but I don’t really see it, feel it, or perceive it when the mind is chattering

A:  The minute you name something you don’t perceive it, either.  You perceive the tree, and the minute you name the tree, the perception is gone.  In the act of naming, the name you are giving the tree becomes superimposed between you and the tree.  The same phenomenon takes place in every phase of our life.

G:  Seeing the beauty of what we’re saying, and the necessity of it, and perhaps experiencing it – how does it come about?

A:  I think we should start once again with something that we can understand.  Obviously, thought cannot wake itself up.  I consider thinking a form of dreaming.  (People call it thinking, you know, but actually it is day-dreaming!)  Thought can’t wake itself up.  If you’re in the middle of a dream at night, you normally can’t wake yourself up immediately.  However, there are certain techniques that the occultists use to trick themselves into waking up in the middle of a dream; they then go on with the dream in a different way, objectively.

G:  They’re experimenting with this now in dream labs.

A:  There’s the possibility of doing this.  There’s also the possibility of waking yourself up and becoming aware of the fact that you have been thinking a certain train of thought.  Then, instead of continuing that particular thought (which, from your point of view, might be a negative thought), you continue in the thought process by substituting what you consider to be a more positive, more acceptable thought.

G:  That’s still the same old thing.  It is still using memory to trick yourself into thinking in another way.

A:  So both ways are really tricks of the mind, aren’t they?

G:  Yes.

A:  So, if thought cannot wake itself up, if thought cannot bring itself to an end, if thought cannot extricate itself from the field of human consciousness – which is the origin of thought in the first place – then something else has to take place, doesn’t it?  Another factor must come into play to break the impasse.  Earlier, we came to the realization that perception and awareness are outside of human consciousness.  So what is it that will wake us up?  That was the question you asked.

G:  Just now you said thought can’t achieve its own end.  What do you mean by that?  You can’t think yourself to the end of thought?

A:  No, there has to be some outside agency, doesn’t there?  There has to be some factor outside of my conditioned response.

G:  You said that thought can’t stop itself.  You can’t sit there and say, “I’m going to meditate and stop thinking?”

A:  No, because consciously stopping a negative type of thought, for instance, and turning it into a positive thought, is still continuing the thought process.  Some of the so-called New-Thought organizations do this type of mental manipulation; they tell you to think positively instead of negatively.  It is just a trick of the mind.  In other words, they continue to experience the same dream, only they’ve edited it now, and they turn it into a positive dream instead of a negative one.

But this doesn’t answer your question, and I think it is an intriguing question.  I like to use analogies, because I think analogies are really another way of talking about harmonics on another level.  For example, you yourself have thoroughly studied and used your mind and your mental capacity to its utmost to determine all of the facts concerning a certain way of living.  You’ve gone as far as you can go in creatively thinking about the subject, and have used your mental capacity to find out everything related to the healing work that you do.  Is that true?

G:  Yes, it is.

A:  Then suppose that somebody calls you this afternoon and tells you that your assistance is required tomorrow morning at 8:00, that the capacity that you’ve developed as a ‘healer’ is needed to help someone.  You realize the value of doing this, you see that life has chosen you to do this and that you have the capacity to do it, and you have a feeling that you can perhaps help this other person.  Are you going to need an alarm clock to wake you in time to be ready for your 8 o’clock appointment tomorrow morning?  Or are you going to wake up spontaneously?

G:  I’ll wake up by myself.

A:  You’ll wake up.  You won’t need an alarm clock.  You may set one just as a safety measure because you may not be completely sure you’ll wake up, but you will always awaken.  Just as I’d wake up if somebody called me and wanted to talk about my favorite subject, now-consciousness.  I would wake up; I wouldn’t need an alarm clock because I’m intensely interested in the subject, just as you are intensely interested in what you are doing, too.  We can’t say it is ‘you’ waking yourself up, or ‘me’ waking myself up.  It is the interest that we have in the things with which we are involved that wakes us up.  That interest is part of the life-force, the vitality or energy of life, that awakens us.  Isn’t that true?

G:  Yes, one can hardly wait to get started.

A:  Well, if this is true on the physical level, why doesn’t it apply on other levels as well?  Wouldn’t it apply to waking up from a thought pattern?

G:  It is part of that inner intention, that interest.

A:  Suppose that I have gone into this deeply enough to see the value and the logic of waking up.  I realize that most of the time I identify with just one fragment of each moment.  I can see the potential danger in this limited response to unforeseen challenges and am really serious in my desire to change.  I see that I will be unable to cope adequately with emergencies that may come up as long as I’m plugged into only one channel.  Suppose that you have told me all of this, and I’ve looked into it and understood logically at least that what you say must be true.  I may not have felt it deeply because I have not experienced it myself, but I see that life must be much richer; there must be a thousand things out there of which I’m unaware.

My inquiry and deep interest opens the door for insight.  There is freedom from the known, because I clearly see that thought cannot make a breakthrough.  Another factor, outside of myself, must become operative.  In other words, I can’t consciously awaken myself from sleep, nor can I consciously bring about awareness.

Perceiving the validity of these observations gives me the inner intention to wake up, and this inner incentive accomplishes what thought cannot do.  Thought can’t extricate itself from the trap it has created.  It is the sincere acknowledgement of this impasse that opens the door for insight to occur.

G:  That’s exactly it.

A:  If I’ve reached that stage mentally, and have really pushed it and am really interested, my inquiry and my interest are going to be the very things that wake me up.

G:  And then you carry that through into action.  When someone comes to you with a problem, you approach it with an attitude of ‘I’ don’t know.  For example, I can’t approach the healing process with any knowledge that I have; but if I stay away from thought and just ‘tune’ into the energy that is there, that exists in that same state of perception, the healing may occur.

A:  Exactly.

G:  And if you take that approach when someone comes to you with a question, rather than approaching it from the standpoint of what you’ve already written or thought or experienced, then real communication may occur.  Or you may at least say something important to that person; whether they can comprehend it in the same way or not is not your responsibility.

A:  You are not personally providing the answer.  If you are open, if your cup is empty, and life is pouring information into you moment by moment through the medium of insight, then you are not consciously saying something designed to engender a particular reaction in the other person.  If you have the idea that you are going to effect a certain result, it is a product of thought

G:  That’s right.  ‘I’ am not a healer, ‘I’ can’t heal anybody.

A:  You will spontaneously and intuitively say the right thing, with no idea at all as to why you are saying it.  And it is life that engenders the understanding in the other person that might change the course of that person’s life.  But you are not doing it to bring about a specific result; that is the important point

People thought that Krishnaji deliberately said certain things to them personally that were designed to elicit particular results, because specific results did occur as a consequence of what he said.  But I don’t believe that he himself had any intention of doing that; he said what he did because at that moment it was the right thing to say.  It was life that engendered an understanding in the listener.

G:  Yes, because that energy, that life, that love that comes through, is then actually working in that state beyond thought.  And that is the state of pure insight and pure compassion, and in that state, healing and understanding can take place.

What do you think Krishnaji meant by saying that you must follow a thought to its end?

A:  If I’ve suddenly awakened to the fact that my mind has been identifying with a certain train of thought, there are two directions in which I can go, aren’t there?  Usually that direction is forward; I use thought and imagination to conclude the particular thought that I had been involved in at the time I awakened.  In other words I analyze my thought, interpret the thought that I’ve just had, and follow it through to a conclusion of some kind.  That would involve the thinking process, wouldn’t it?

G:  Yes.

A:  In other words, it would be impossible to proceed from the point at which you have awakened without using thought.

G:  So Krishnaji couldn’t have meant that, could he?

A:  No.  Let’s go back to the analogy of sleeping.  When you wake up in the morning, there’s an immediate awareness of the fact that you are in the bed where you went to sleep (if everything is normal).  An awareness of how you went to asleep at night, of how you prepared yourself for bed, of all of the events leading up to it – all of this comes to you in a flash when you wake up in the morning.  You don’t have to think about it; in a flash you see the whole backward track.  You even picture some of the dreams that your mind was involved in during the night.

In the same way, at a different and higher harmonic level, you can wake up or suddenly become aware of the fact that you’ve been involved in thought.  Immediately, instead of proceeding, instead of analyzing and editing the thought, and all of the rest of the process, be aware of your tendency to do this, and the minute that you start doing it, drop it.  In that dropping there is a clear seeing of the whole backward path.  You see the train of thought that you were involved with and how it originated.  You see the memory that triggered it; you see the life challenge that triggered it – you see the name, or the person, or whatever it was triggered that particular train of thought.  You can then perceive where the thought originated, how it started in your mind, how you were conditioned to react to a particular thing, and how you programmed yourself to respond in a particular way.  And then the thought can even be traced back into all kinds of other little channels back to the actual origin of the memory itself.  When all of that is clearly seen, it dissipates, it withers way.  It is no more, and you will not be troubled by that particular memory again

G:  Are you saying that it diminishes, that the content goes out of it, as well as the feelings associated with it?

A:  The feelings go out of it, the life goes out of it and it shrivels up in the light of understanding.  It withers away in the light of awareness that you focus upon the backward path leading to the whole train of thought.  But if you make the mistake of going forward, you give it new energy, you give it new life, you give it new continuity; and then it keeps coming up over and over again, and there’s no end to it.  It becomes a neurotic response

G:  And there is no end to it at all.

A:  So that’s what I feel that Krishnaji meant when he spoke of following thought to an end.  He knew that if you followed it forward it would lead to a dead end, that you’d never escape it, and that you would discover for yourself that you could never escape it.

G:  Is following thought to an end different then from analysis?

A:  Oh yes, completely; analysis is going forward with thought.  Analysis is going forward, but also looking back while you’re going ahead and analyzing the thing that you thought you were thinking about.  Analysis is part of the thought process.

Now-Consciousness is the world beyond thought, where there is love compassion beauty, and a holistic unity with all of life.

-Albert Blackburn

Excerpt from Worlds Beyond Thought, Conversations on Now-Consciousness, p.102 – 117

Resources to Nourish Our Inner World

During these extraordinary times when many of us are self-isolating or in quarantine we have a unique opportunity to gather our energies and explore and nourish our inner world.

We are extremely fortunate that there are so many resources at our fingertips, here are a few.

Enjoy and Be Well!


Osho reading library

OshoWorld discourse PDF’s

Osho Books hardcopy

Ramana Maharshi resources

O-Meditation Sangha posts

O-Meditation downloads

Listening: audio downloads

OshoWorld audio downloads

O-Meditation downloads

The entire J. Krishnamurti audio collection


Osho Active Meditation CD’s

Osho Book of Secrets Meditations

Osho No-Mind Meditations


Seeking What is True – J. Krishnamurti

I think there is a way of life in which there is not this process of reformation breeding further misery, and that way may be called religious. The truly religious person is not concerned with reform, he is not concerned with merely producing a change in the social order; on the contrary, he is seeking what is true, and that very search has a transforming effect on society. That is why education must be principally concerned with helping the student to seek out truth or God, and not merely preparing him to fit into the pattern of a given society.

I think it is very important to understand this while we are young; because, as we grow older and begin to set aside our little amusements and distractions, our sexual appetites and petty ambitions, we become more keenly aware of the immense problems confronting the world, and then we want to do something about them, we want to bring about some kind of amelioration.  But unless we are deeply religious we shall only create more confusion, further misery; and religion has nothing to do with priests, churches, dogmas, or organized beliefs.  These things are not religion at all, they are merely social conveniences to hold us within a particular pattern of thought and action; they are the means of exploiting our credulity, hope and fear.  Religion is the seeking out of what is truth, what is God, and this search requires enormous energy, wide intelligence, subtle thinking.  It is in this very seeking of the immeasurable that there is right social action, not in the so-called reformation of a particular society.

To find out what is truth there must be great love and a deep awareness of man’s relationship to all things—which means that one is not concerned with one’s own progress and achievements.  The search for truth is true religion, and the man who is seeking truth is the only religious man.  Such a man, because of his love, is outside of society, and his action upon society is therefore entirely different from that of the man who is in society and concerned with its reformation.  The reformer can never create a new culture.  What is necessary is the search of the truly religious man, for this very search brings about its own culture and it is our only hope.  You see, the search for truth gives an explosive creativeness to the mind, which is true revolution, because in this search the mind is uncontaminated by the edicts and sanctions of society.  Being free of all that, the religious man is able to find out what is true; and it is the discovery of what is true from moment to moment that creates a new culture.

-J. Krishnamurti

From Think on These Things, Chapter 27


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