Sunday, July 27, 1980
This is the last meeting. Perhaps we shall meet again next year.
There are many questions and some quite absurd with very little meaning, and others are rather superficial, like the one that I am going to read presently, and there are some rather serious and worthwhile questions. As we said the other day, and if we may repeat it again, the root of the meaning, the root meaning of the word « question » means to seek, and in answering some of these questions we are sharing it together. It is not that the speaker is answering them and that you must accept them or deny them, but rather together in a kind of good relationship, amicable, and try to understand together the depth of these questions.
I'll read the first one, rather...
The people who have reserved seats come at the last moment. They have been working. They have been doing a great many other things connected with the Foundation, with the tent and all the organisation of this gathering. And also some seats are reserved for those who are not too well. And it is rather unfortunate to judge superficially that many of these people are rather proud, vain and all the rest of it. I don't think that question need be answered.
I have a young child. How am I to educate him so that he will live a different sort of life without being so different that society will destroy him?
You know there are many schools in India – we have six schools in India. There is one at Brockwood, one in Canada, one in California, Ojai. First of all, it is very difficult to get the right kind of teachers. When they come to teach, the difficulty is they have all kinds of opinions, how it should be done, how should not be done, the teaching, and so on – they project their own desires and volitions and their own prejudices. They may be very capable of transmitting information, knowledge, but they also project their own personalities, their own peculiar idiosyncrasies. So it is a constant trouble to get the right kind of teachers who is really interested in teaching, not only the academic subjects but teaching something much more: teaching how to live a life as you go along, older, adolescent and so on, how to live a life rational, not superstitious, not confused, and so on. It is very difficult. And when we were in India with these six schools, we sent a letter to all the parents saying that these schools intend and are doing, as much as possible, to free the mind of the child, the student, from fear, from confusion, and have integrity. So when the parents came, not many of them, they were really not interested in their children, except the mothers, the fathers wanted them to go on to earn a livelihood, you know, follow the old usual routine, but the mothers were a little bit concerned. But perhaps the parents and the... are really responsible. Perhaps they may destroy their children.
And when one has a small child, how are you going to educate him? This is a great... it's a great problem. And we are trying at Brockwood to answer this question. Perhaps we shall have young children but we are going to go into it. But the difficulty is society is so strong, the temptations of the young person who wants to be with other young children who are already corrupt, who have already, you know, have accepted all the nonsense of society, and it becomes extremely difficult to bring up a child who will not yield to the tremendous weight of society.
So it beholds not only on the part of the teachers, but also on the part of the parents. It is a cooperative business, it isn't just you send the child to the school and forget all about it. Here in these schools they are strict vegetarians, and when they go back they eat meat, so the conflict begins – you know all the rest of it. And this is a question that cannot be so easily answered, because to run these schools you have to have plenty of money and these schools survive just on a shoe string. And the parents are only too willing to send them there, and the responsibility, the work, the immense concern is there, it is not there – it is there, we have been through it year after year. And this requires not only cooperation from the parents but also good teachers who are capable of understanding not only the academic subjects but also something much more serious.
I think I can solve my problems. I do not need any help with them. I have the energy to resolve them. But beyond this, I come to receive, and if you don't like that word, to share something measureless to man, something that has great depth and beauty. Can you share that with me?
It is a quotation from Xanadu by Coleridge: « measureless to man ». That phrase « measureless to man » is a poem written by Coleridge called Kubla Khan. And the questioner says, I can solve all my problems – and problems can be solved without the help of others, because the problems are created by oneself in relationship to another, and these problems, however subtle, however superficial, however grave, they can be solved if one applies one's mind and heart to resolve them. That is fairly clear. That is, if one has energy, not be slack, lazy. And if one really wants to solve them, they can be solved. The questioner said that is simple. But he wants to go much further. He says, I can do all that, and I've come here to share something, as he calls it, « measureless to man », something beyond all measure, something that is not given in churches, and you know, all the rest of it.
First of all, we are sharing this together. I am not a Delphic Oracle. There is no authority here. I happen to sit on a platform for convenience so that everybody can see – if you want to see. And that little height doesn't give him any authority whatsoever. And I really mean this. You are not my followers, and all the rest of it. So first thing is to realise what do we mean by « measure », because he uses the word « measureless ». You are following all this? Thought can be measured. Distance can be measured: from here to there. And the so-called progressive evolution can be measured: one was this yesterday, through meeting the present what was yesterday is modified, and the movement to the future – that can be measured. Measured: if you are good today, and tomorrow you might not, and that can be measured. And thought, which is a material process, can also be measured. The shallowness of one's thinking, the superficiality, the deeper and the deepest. As long as there is the more and the less, that can be measured. Comparison is a process of measurement – please follow all this if you are interested – and imitation can be measured. Conformity can be measured. And the word « measure », in Sanskrit too, means to regulate, to measure. Meditation, that word not only, means not only ponder, think, investigate, observe, but also it means to measure – from the Sanskrit word Ma – I won't go into all that.
So as long as there is measurement the mind can only function in that measurement, whether it is long or short, whether it is wide or narrow, it can only function in that which is measurable. Right? I wonder if you understand all this. And the word « meditation », in that word is implied also measurement. Now, the mind, the brain has been trained, accustomed, fallen into a habit of measurement, obviously. And is something which is not measurable, if there is such thing, can the mind, the brain and the heart – they are all one – can that whole structure be free of measurement? You follow? Then only you can find out. Are you meeting?
The brain is, as we pointed out several times – and the scientists are beginning to agree too, so perhaps you will also accept it, because the moment you talk about scientists you worship them and you think they have achieved something, and when they also say, « Yes, partly you are right », then perhaps you will also come along. You see, the brain, as we said, is not your brain. It is the brain which has evolved through time, millions and millions of years. And that brain is the common brain of humanity. You may not like to see that, because we are accustomed to the idea that we are individual, our brains are individual – ours, mine, not yours. And that concept has been a constant tradition through millennia, and so the brain is conditioned to that and that brain is constantly measuring – the more, the less, the better and the best – the very word « better » is measurable. So this brain is constantly functioning in that pattern. I don't know if you have observed yourself; you can see this in yourself. Physically, objectively, you can see that a workman becomes a foreman, and if he is good he is a manager; a priest becomes a bishop, cardinal, pope; the apprentice, then the master, the master carpenter. This is the whole pattern of our existence, which are all measurable. And the questioner says, is there something beyond measure, measureless to man?
Now how are you going to find out? We will share this together, as the questioner says, share it with me. How are we going to find out if there is something beyond all measure, that is beyond all time? Because time is measurement – yesterday, today, tomorrow; 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock – measurable – distance, measurable. And as thought is measurable, if you have gone into it, which you are doing now, please. Whoever the questioner is, please do listen. Is there something beyond time, which is thought? Time is movement – - right? – and thought is movement, so time is thought. Thought is born out of memory, experience, knowledge. That is the process of memory, of thought. And this process is a material process, because in the brain is... in the very cells of the brain are the memories, so it is material process, and everything that it creates is a material process. Right? Please follow this, not accepting or denying but logically, observing it in oneself, and also observing externally.
So, as long as thought is measuring, moving in measurement, there can be no other than measurement. Right? Obviously. Now the question is: can all measure end? Measure as comparison; comparing oneself with somebody else – the hero, the example, the ideal, the perfect one, and so on, so on, so on. If you observe for yourself, from childhood we are trained to compare – better marks in a school, the various classes, college, university, a degree, it is all measurements, which is essentially comparative. Right? Now can you, the questioner who is sharing this with us, stop comparing completely? That is, psychologically. Naturally the other thing is – academically you have to. So can you psychologically end immediately? Not tomorrow, another day, but immediately all sense of comparison, if you want to go... if the mind wants to go much further. And imitation, conformity, which are all the same movement – comparing, conformity, imitation, are all the same movement – can that movement end totally? In comparison there is aggression, there is competition – I am better than you, and all that. And, as we talked about it yesterday, have an insight into measurement.
I explained very carefully yesterday, if I may repeat it again briefly: insight has been, as man, a scientist and others have experimented, insight is the accumulation of knowledge – as I told you about the monkeys and so on – and from that accumulation of experience, knowledge, have an insight into the understanding of the structure. That is based on the past. Now we are saying that is not insight. Insight is total perception of the whole complex movement of measurement. And you can have only that insight when you perceive it without previous knowledge. Then if you are using the knowledge, then it is comparative, it is measurable. Insight is not measurable. You get it now? Then when there is that measureless insight, the whole... the unfolding of the whole movement of comparison, all that, not only seen but ends immediately. You can test it out. You don't have to accept the speaker's word for it, you can test it out.
So, what is beyond measure, there must be freedom from fear, naturally – deep rooted, conscious or unconscious fear. That is a problem which can be observed, resolved, because the root of fear – the root, not the various branches and the leaves of that tree – the root of that fear is time. Right? I am afraid of tomorrow. I am afraid of what has happened. The physical pain which I have had, gone, and the fear it might occur again. The whole physical phenomena of pain. And psychologically too, one has done something wrong, not right, not honourable – « honourable », I am using the word in its dictionary meaning, not what you call honourable – and psychologically fear is time. I am afraid of dying. I am living but I dread what might happen. Which is the measurement of time. So the root of fear is time and thought. Right? Now, to have an insight into that is the ending of totally fear. When one ends fear, you will say, « What is there? » You follow? We will go into that later.
So, the ending of fear, which means the understanding of time, and the ending of sorrow. If this is not cleared... If the mind, the brain are not afraid, then there may be something more. But you see, we want to be assured, we want it guaranteed, like a good watch – especially in Switzerland – like a good watch, you want it guaranteed, that will last at least three years. In the same... we have the same attitude, that if I do this what will I get? That is commercial mentality. Right? If I do this, will you guarantee me that? There is no guarantee, and that is the beauty of it. This is... you have to do it for itself, not for something. And that is very difficult for people. One gives up this in order to reach that – nirvana, heaven, whatever it is – which are all acts of measurement.
So can the mind – we are sharing this together – can the mind be free of all measurement, in your relationship to another, which is much more difficult? And to be free of all that is to be measureless, and then something totally different takes place. When that is described, that which has taken place beyond measure, that which is described is not « what is ». You understand what I am saying? You can describe the mountain – shape of it, the line of it, the shadows; you can paint it, make a poem of it, describe it – all that is not the mountain. We sit in the valley and say, « Please tell us about the mountain ». We don't walk there. We want to be comfortable. So there is a state – not a state – there is something beyond, measureless, beyond all measure.
What is consciousness? Are there different levels of consciousness? Is there a consciousness beyond the normal one we are aware of? And is it possible to empty the content of our consciousness?
Sorry. (Sound of aeroplane) Please, we are sharing this together. I may use the words, the description, but what is described is not the fact. So don't be caught in descriptions, in explanations.
What is our consciousness? To be conscious of, to be aware of what is going on not only outside but also inside. It is the same movement. So when we say we are conscious, we are aware, we are – our consciousness is the product of society – right? – our education, our culture, racial inheritance, and the inheritance of one's own striving – the result – and our beliefs, our dogmas, our rituals, our concepts, our jealousies, anxieties, our pleasures, our so-called love, all that is our consciousness. Right? Right? That you cannot... nobody can dispute that. You can add more to it or expand it but that is the structure which has evolved through millennia after millennia – wars, tears, anxieties, sorrow, depression, elation, all that is part of us. Right? And the content, which is all this, make up our consciousness. Right? Right, sirs? You are following this? I believe I am a Hindu, with all the Brahmanical superstitions, with their rituals, with their absurdities, with their gods, with their beliefs in this and that and the other thing. That is the consciousness of a Hindu born in that country. In the West, the consciousness is the content – the Christian, the Saviour, the whole hierarchical system – the soul, the redeemer, the original sin and so on, so on, so on, so on. If you are a Communist you will say according to Marx; environment, which is economy, has shaped your consciousness. And there are those people who say you can't change it – you can modify it, you can polish it up, but you have to accept it, make the best of it, but it is there. You are following all this?
And, as we said, the content makes its consciousness. Without the content, consciousness as we know it, doesn't exist – obviously – if I have no belief, no dogma, no this and no that. And the question is, the questioner says: is it possible to empty all the content? You understand my... The sorrow, the strife, the struggle, the terrible human relationship with each other, the quarrels, the anxiety, jealousies, the affection, the sensuality – you follow? – all that is our consciousness with its content. Can that content be emptied? And if it is emptied, is there a different kind of consciousness? And has consciousness different layers, different levels?
In India they have divided consciousness – clever people they are, the ancient people – into lower, higher, higher, higher – I won't use the Sanskrit words and so on – it is divided, and this division is measurement. I don't know if you are following all this. The moment there is division there must be measurement. Division between the Arab and the Jew, the Englishman, the Frenchman, it is all measurement, and where there is measurement there must be division and effort, wars, all the rest of it follows. Whether that consciousness has different levels, this consciousness is still within consciousness. I don't know if you follow it. It has been divided by thought, by clever people, by so-called people who have gone into this – it has been divided. That division is measurement, therefore it is thought. Whatever thought has put together is part of consciousness. Right? Whether you divide that consciousness as the highest supreme, it is still the movement of thought. Right? You agree? We are moving along together?
Now the question is: can the content be emptied? Can sorrow be ended? Not only your personal sorrow but the sorrow accumulated through millennia of mankind. The personal sorrow, I mean the immediate sorrow – I have lost a son, I have lost this, or, you know, the tears, the despair, which is momentary. But there is this vast sorrow of mankind which has been accumulated through five or ten thousand years of wars, tribal divisions, tribal hatreds, the various aspects of religion, organised, not organised, those who believe, those who don't, and so on, so on, so on. Can all that be emptied? Must you take – please listen – must you take one by one and resolve them – you understand? – fear, conformity, pleasure, the nature of pleasure, the whole movement of pleasure, and sorrow – can all that... will we take one by one and resolve these? That will take one's whole lifetime. I don't know if you are following all this. Or can one have a total insight into all of it? You understood? We have explained what insight means, not the insight of remembrance, not the insight of knowledge, time and action. I wonder if you are following all this. I am afraid you are not. Please, don't meditate now. Don't go off into kind of some... This is very, very serious because it affects your life.
And I say, we say it is possible to empty this content completely. The essence of this content is thought, which has put together the « me », the me which is ambitious, the greedy, aggressive, all that. That is the essence of the content of consciousness. Can that « me », with all this structure, selfishness, you know, all that, can that be totally ended? The speaker can say, yes, it can be ended completely, which means no centre from which you are acting, no centre from which you are thinking. The centre is the essence of measurement, which is the becoming. Can that becoming end? And we say probably it can but what is at the end of it? You understand? That is, if I end this becoming, what is then being? I wonder if you follow all this.
First of all, find out for oneself if this becoming can end. Can you drop, end something which you like, that gives you some deep pleasure? Without a motive, without saying, « I can do it if there is something at the end of it ». Can you do something immediately, end something that gives you great pleasure? You see how difficult this is? Like a man who smokes, his body has been poisoned by nicotine, and when he ends the body is craving for it, and so he takes something else to satisfy the body. So to give up some... to end something, rational, clear, without any reward or punishment, just to say finished.
Selfishness hides in many, many ways: seeking truth, social service, surrendering oneself to something, to a person, to an idea, to a concept. It also hides itself in social work, in devotion to nationalism, to god. Right? One must be so astonishingly aware of all this, and that requires energy. And that energy is now being wasted in conflict, in fear, in sorrow, in all the travails of life. That energy is being wasted in so-called meditation. And this requires enormous energy, not physical energy, that is fairly easy, but the energy that has never been wasted. Then can go... consciousness can be emptied, and if it is emptied you will find if there is something more or not – it is up to you. We like to be guaranteed that; there is no guarantee.
Why is it almost all human beings, apart from their talents and capacities, are mediocre? I know I am mediocre and I don't seem to be able to break through this mediocrity.
First of all, are we aware that we are mediocre? Sir, you answer it for yourself. Mediocre means neither high nor low, just hovering in between. The great painters, the great musicians, the great architects, they have got extraordinary capacities and talent, but in their daily life they are like you and me and like everybody else. Like Haydn, when he composed he put on his best clothes, and when we go to church we put on the best clothes. You understand what I am saying? So – was it Haydn? Doesn't matter so much.
If I am aware that I am mediocre – just a minute, go into it slowly with me, please, let's share it – if I am aware I am mediocre what does that mean? I am neither hot nor cold – right? – neither passionate; I may be lustful and I cool off. I may have great talent – writer, painter, sculptor, musician, teacher – those are all outward dress, outward show of inward poverty. Being poor inwardly, we are always struggling to become rich, not financially, but in knowledge, in understanding, in striving to something nobler, nobler, nobler. This sense of insufficiency and trying to fill that insufficiency with the latest gossip about politics, with the latest rituals, latest meditation, latest this and the – all that is an act of mediocrity. Right? Please don't get angry with me, we are just sharing it, pointing out to each other.
And this sense of mediocrity, if one is aware of it, shows itself in outward respectability. Right? Or the revolt against the mediocrity – the hippies, the long hair, the unshaved, the latest fallouts – it is the same movement. You understand? I can join a community, a commune, because inwardly there is nothing in me and by joining I become important, there is something, there is an action. So when one is aware of this mediocrity, which is this utter sense of insufficiency, this sense of deep frustrating loneliness, which is covered over by all kinds of activities. If you are aware of that, then what is insufficiency? You understand my question? What is loneliness? How do you measure this insufficiency? You follow? The moment you measure, you are insufficient. I wonder if you capture it. Do you see that? Right? No, don't agree, but don't measure. See, like depression is measurement. Don't reduce everything to measurement. (Laughs) That is another catchword. You are good at catching words and repeating it, and worthless, it becomes worthless. But we are saying this insufficiency comes into being as long as there is comparison. Right? And this measurement is limitless – you can go on measuring, measuring, measuring. Not « limitless ». Sorry I used that word. It is a constant movement from a human being who is insufficient in himself. Now can that comparative observation end? Then is there insufficiency? You are following what I am saying? No, come on, sirs.
I compare myself with you and I realise that you are much cleverer than I am, much more intelligent, nicer, alive, full of this and that. I compare myself, and then I say to myself how dull I am in comparison. So I strive to compete with you. But if I don't compare with you who are very clever – the « very clever » is already comparison; I don't know if you follow – if I don't compare, am I dull? Or am I aware of what is actually taking place in me? When I compare, I am avoiding the fact of « what is ». Is this too much of a thing for a morning? Perhaps for some of you it is.
So, this mediocrity that all of us seem to have can be broken through when there is no sense of comparison, measurement. It gives you an immense freedom. Where there is freedom there is no mediocrity. Right? Do see it, sirs. The more – not « the more » – where there is complete psychological freedom there is no sense of mediocrity – you follow? – you are out of that class altogether – not « you » – something totally different, state of mind exists.
Attachment brings about a kind of emotional exchange, a human warmth. This seems a fundamental need. Detachment produces coldness, lack of affection, a break in relationship. It can also deeply hurt others. Something seems to be wrong with this approach. What do you say?
I don't have to say anything. (Laughter).
I am attached to you. The word « attach » means to cling, to hold – attachÊ – the feeling that you belong to somebody and that somebody belongs to you, to hold, to cling, to adhere, like a plaster – sorry! – all that is implied in that word. And the questioner says cultivating detachment breeds lack of affection, a coldness, a break in relationship; the cultivation of the opposite. Naturally it will. You understand? If I am attached to you, the audience, and I feel this attachment is dangerous because I know I will be unhappy if I don't meet all of you and talk to all of you, which is my fulfilment, which is called attachment, then seeing the danger of that, depression when I don't meet a large audience, if I meet two people and, you know, go through all that ugly business, and seeing all that I say I must cultivate detachment. So I must break from you, I must break my relationship if I have a wife or a husband, or a girl or boy, or whatever it is. So I gradually withdraw. And in this process of isolation I hurt others – right? – I hurt my wife or my father, I hurt lots of people, and so on.
Now, is there – please listen – is there an opposite to attachment? If detachment is the opposite of attachment, that detachment is an idea, is a concept, is a conclusion that thought has brought about realising that attachment produces a lot of trouble, a lot of conflict, jealousy, anxiety and so on, so on. So thought says, by Jove, much better be detached. Detachment is a non-fact – right? – whereas attachment is a fact. I don't know if you are following all this. Please don't go to sleep. Another ten minutes or quarter of an hour keep awake and then you can go to sleep, or meditate afterwards.
Look, the speaker has done this. Not attached to a thing – the house, the audience, the books, the speaking, people – he has been like that from childhood. So he is a freak, biological freak, so leave him alone. But we can see clearly that the fact and that which is not. Right? That which... When attachment is there, to cultivate detachment is a movement towards illusion, and in that illusion you become cold, because that is illusion, it isn't reality, you become cold, hard, bitter, isolated, without any sense of affection. That is what we are all doing. We are all living in non-fact.
So, can you face the fact that you are attached? It is not only to a person, to an idea, to a belief, to your own experiences – which is much more dangerous. Your own experience gives you such a sense of, you know, excitement, sense of being alive. So are you... are we aware that we are attached to something or other? And you may be attached to a furniture, a piece of furniture – it is old, polished, well kept, fifteenth century, and it is immensely valuable, and you are attached to it. See what happens. When you are attached to a piece of furniture, you are that furniture. Right? Yes, sir. Go into it.
So, if one is aware that one is attached, and see all the consequences of that attachment – anxiety, lack of freedom, jealousy, anger, hatred – follow the whole consequences of human attachment to something or other. In that attachment to something there is safety, there is a sense of stability, a sense of being guarded, protected. And where there is being possessed and... possessor and the possessed, there must be jealousy, anxiety, fear, all the rest. Now, do you see the consequences of all that? Not the description of it but the actuality of it. If I am attached to you and that attachment takes place out of my loneliness, and that attachment and that loneliness says, I love you – you understand? – I feel a communication because you are also in the same position. Right? Two people clinging to each other out of their loneliness, out of their depression, out of their unhappiness, out of their – you know all the rest of it. So what happens? I am clinging not to you but to the idea. You follow? You understand what I am saying? So I am clinging to something which will help me to escape from myself. Right? Right, sirs? Don't agree with me, just observe it.
You are attached to your experience, an incident which has given you great excitement, a great sense of elation, a sense of power, a sense of safety, you cling to that. That experience – please listen to it, if you are interested – that experience which you have had, what is it? Either you have projected it – right? – you want some kind of experience and you will get it because that is what you want. And then that experience is registered in the mind and hold it. That is, something that is dead you are holding on to. Right? So what you are holding, and so that which you are holding which is dead, you also become dead. I wonder if you see all this. So if you see all this without any direction, without any motive, observe it, then you will see, if you observe, that insight shows the whole thing as a map. When once there is the insight, the thing disappears completely, you are not attached. You have been attached to this and let go and you are attached to something else. Attachment is the ending of attachment.
As you pointed out yesterday, being uncertain we seek certainty through different channels, trusting them then distrusting them. Is there an absolute, irrevocable certainty?
Isn't it odd that I am sitting here and you are listening? Isn't it odd? I feel its rather odd, but doesn't matter.
We move from certainty to uncertainty, then from that uncertainty to another certainty, trust this person and then later on discover that he is not worthy of your trust and move to another, and again put your trust in him then discover he is untrusting, that's our life. Right? Please, you're not putting your trust in me. Be very clear. I won't have it. To me that is the beginning of corruption. Avoided all my... one's life, this life, not to be corrupted. I won't be corrupted.
So, as I pointed out yesterday, various types of experiments have been made on animals: pigeons, monkeys, rats; and these monkeys, pigeons and rats, by pressing a button get their food. But if you keep changing the buttons all the time, the bird, the monkey, the rat gives up, they die. You understand? This constant movement from certainty to uncertainty, from trust to trust. This is what has happened to all of... to human beings. This has been the movement from time immemorial. You understand, sirs? You trusted the priest, the whole hierarchical structure of organised religion, you discard it then go to another – it is the same thing in a different garb. There you put your trust and again discover later on: « Good lord, what have I done? » And always seeking outside somebody who will give you hope, trust, certainty, either in books, in philosophers, in priests, or in scientists or in politicians. Right? And none of them have given... extreme left, right or centre.
So what is wrong with us? Why are we doing this all the time? Or if you don't do it, you become cynical, bitter, say, « Not worth it », and lead your own narrow little ugly life and that is that. But if you are asking for certainty, which you are, where do you find it? In a human being? In a priest with his garb and with his mitre, with his – all that? Or in India? Where do you find it? What is uncertainty? You follow? Where do you find it? In somebody else, in (clanging sound) Sorry. Not hysterics. In somebody else? In idea? In a concept? In the state? You understand what I'm asking? In having plenty of money and feeling completely safe? There is no such person anymore. So where do you seek certainty? Please, if you seek it you won't find it. Right? Because you have sought it in everything around you.
I used to know a man who one day, walking... (dog barking) He was walking one day along the beach... Let no other dog bark! You know that saying? It doesn't matter. He was walking along one day, along the beach, and he found a piece of wood washed by the sea for many, many, many years. A piece of wood which looked like a human head with face and eyes. It was the most beautiful thing, polished wood, and he took it home and put it on the mantelpiece, and said, « What a beautiful thing that is, I'm glad I found it ». And as he looked at it, week after week, one day he put a flower, and then a few days later incense, and began to worship it. And by some misfortune, by the maid or somebody, by misfortune burnt it; push it into the fire, burnt it. He came to me and explained to me the whole thing and he was literally a grown up man in tears. You understand what I am saying? There was his certainty, in a piece of wood.
So, where do you seek it? If you don't seek it anywhere outside you, then what happens? You understand my question? Apply it to yourself – we are sharing this thing together. What happens if you don't seek certainty in anything that thought has created? In god, in illumination, you know, in the whole thing. So you don't ask for certainty. I don't know if you follow. You've asked there and you found none, and you are going to ask if there is here, inside your brains, your mind, your heart. And you know your brain is volatile, moving, changing, adjusting, breaking one pattern, taking another pattern. The same phenomenon which was out there is happening inside. I wonder if you understand all this.
So, the moment you don't seek certainty, certainty is. That means you have really stopped seeking any kind of permanency, in yourself or in there. If you have sought it there, you turn inward and you discover it is the same thing. Can I trust myself? I can when I'm doing a technical work, but can I trust myself, myself which has been put together by thought, and thought has put trust in you, and thought has discovered there is no trust there. You follow? It is the same movement. So when you don't seek certainty there's something far greater than certainty.
Are you all tired? Spoken for an hour and a half. There's one last question.
Are there different paths to truth?
The speaker has said 60 years ago, truth is a pathless land. The ancient Hindus have laid down paths according to the tendency of human beings. They said that truth can be attained through knowledge, that truth can be attained through work, that truth can be attained through devotion, romance, imagination – you see? – gratifying each human being according to his state, according to his idiosyncrasies. And that is well established. And there have been volumes written on each path. Which is, the clever birds at that time laid down these paths for the convenience of human beings, for the comfort of human beings. « I am devotional, romantic, idealistic, and there is a path for me ». You follow? So this idea that there are different paths to truth is utter nonsense. Follow the idea – the path leading to a point. I wonder if you understand this. That truth is fixed, and this path will lead you there, or that path – devotion, action, knowledge. I think there are four – I have forgotten. It doesn't matter, it is not important. So, the Christian path, (laughs) the Hindu, the Buddhist, the Tibetan, the Muslim – you follow? – then you are safe, you don't have to give up your path (laughs). It is a game they play.
So truth is not something that's fixed, and therefore there is no path to it. Which means the mind must be free from all movement. You understand? Path means gradual arrival, and you can take your time. If you can't do it this life, perhaps next life. If you want to do it quicker, go to somebody who will help you. But it is still the movement of walking, striving, moving towards an idea. And when you see the falseness of it – it is really utterly false that there is your way and my way. You see, because your mind is the mind of humanity, it is not your mind. Therefore it is not your path. It is the human path. Human life – the way we live, the way we meet life, not according to your temperament and my temperament, or my idiosyncrasy or your idiosyncrasy, which is what we are doing now- it is the human mind, common to all of us. And when one realises that – not verbally – actually, inwardly, the feel of it, the beauty of it, the depth of it, the extraordinary width of such a thing, then one realises there is no path. There is no striving for that. There is only this, the transformation of « what is ». The transformation of hate, jealousy, fear, sorrow, all the travail of our daily human existence.
And if there is no love and compassion, nothing exists. You understand? The love that we have is not love, it is based on pleasure, maternal instinct – you understand what I am saying? – which you have derived from the animals. The love of one's wife or one's husband or one's children is still me and you. And with that love and compassion goes intelligence. Without this, do what you will, you will never have that thing.
Goodbye, sirs. A pleasant journey.
Fifth Question and Answer Meeting in Saanen
Sunday, July 27, 1980
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