Thursday, July 28, 1966
All of us must have asked ourselves whether it is possible to become totally new, to become young again, not in body obviously, but in the mind, in our hearts. Is it possible to be totally reborn, not to begin life all over again as a young man or a young girl, but to see life, with all its vast complexities, its pains and suffering, its anxieties and fears as though we were looking at it all for the first time, and then resolve it, not carry on the burden year after year until we die? Is it at all possible to renew the mind and the heart so that they look at life entirely differently? I would like to talk over that problem this morning and try to find out whether it is possible to do something about it, to have a fresh mind, a mind that is clear, unconfused, never touched by worry, by problems, and all the travail that we are used to, and to have a heart that knows no jealousy, which is full of affection and love – so that we are reborn totally each day.
Is there any method, any decisive action, positive or negative, « that can bring about this new state? Most of us must have asked this question, if not deliberately then perhaps rather vaguely or, if we are inclined to peculiar sentimentality, mystically. Having asked that question of ourselves, either we do not have the full energy, the force, and the vitality to go beyond the question and find out actually for ourselves, or we ask it rather casually, indifferently, out of curiosity. Obviously there must be a change outwardly, economically, and socially in order to bring about the unity of man, whether the individual is brown, black, white, Russian, communist, socialist, or whatever he may be. It is necessary that we participate actively in order to get rid of this present ugly state of affairs, to get rid of these differences that exist racially, communally, politically, nationally. We must also get rid of that absurd invention of great business called « religion, » which is a great corporation controlled by the priests and the hierarchy, like any other business. It divides man into Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, and so on. Any intelligent, clearsighted, serious man puts that aside completely and is not touched by all that silly nonsense. He is concerned with ending poverty throughout the world, not in one particular corner of the world, not in America, nor in the so-called united Europe, the Common Market, but with ending the enormous poverty, degradation, and all the things that poverty brings, in Asia. The scientists assure us that it can be done, and it must be done, to end wars, to put an end to this constant physical insecurity. All of that any intelligent, sane, rational man fully intends to do. We are not talking of the do-gooder, nor of the reformer, because neither the man who wants to do good nor the reformer can bring about a total physical revolution. Yet that revolution must take place.
Leaving that aside as a necessity and an urgency of alteration that must be done by any intelligent man who is aware of the world and its crises and its terrible misery, that must be carried out by each one of us, there is a much deeper question involved. In a mind and in a heart that has been conditioned for centuries, caught up in the psychological structure of society, hedged about by the innumerable influences that man is forced to accept, in such a mind and heart is it possible to have a rebirth, not in some distant future, not in some other life as the whole of the Orient believes – and that same belief in a different form exists in this Western world – is it at all possible to have a rebirth, now, in this present moment? We are not limiting ourselves to time, but a rebirth, a renewal, is needed that is not dependent on time at all. That is the question we are going to find out about.
We can only ask that question when we have seen the absurdity of the average life that we lead, the life of the middle class, the bourgeois, the communist, the life of everlastingly repeating a pattern. We are always copying, imitating, continuing a past that does not bring a new perception, a new vitality, a new existence. When we ask that question, not only must we be very clear in our intention, but we must also realize fully that no one can answer that question. No authority can tell us if the mind, which is the result of time, or the brain, which has been trained, civilized, and polished but yet remains the animal, can live in that state – not realize for just one single minute, not continue in that state, but live it.
The moment we ask whether it is possible to have a continuity of that state, we are no longer living. A man who is living fully, clearly, is not concerned with the tomorrow. There is no concern at all; he is living and is not looking to a future continuity. Any form of continuity, except knowledge of a skill, is totally destructive to the new. What continues is habit, memory, the repetition of a pattern of pleasure and pain, of desire. The repetition of any habit, of any pattern cannot bring about this state of mind that is totally new, young, decisive, alive, and not burdened by the past. That is the first thing to realize if we are going to inquire into this question of whether the mind can renew itself, be new each day, be fresh, uncontaminated. Any form of continuity except knowledge and skill is totally detrimental, is a block to a fresh mind, to being reborn. What has continuity is the self-centered activity in which most of us are caught – ambition, greed, envy, the pursuit of pleasure, the avoidance of pain, imitation, following, and all the other things that the center does. That center is the result of this continuity, and we cannot say, « I will end that continuity by will, by determination, by desire »; but when we see, comprehend, understand the whole implication of what is involved in this continuity, then, by itself, it comes to an end. We can realize it, not intellectually, not emotionally, but actually, as something factual, only when we are inquiring into this question of the birth of a new mind, of a fresh heart, of innocency, because dying is the cessation of this continuity.
For most of us death is the ending of something we have known, something which we have experienced or acquired, and we are afraid of the final ending of something of the past. We are not so much afraid of physical dying because we know the body is undergoing changes every year. Those changes the mind cannot control. Physically we decay, through disease, through accident, through various wrong ways of living. We are afraid, not of the unknown which lies beyond death, but rather of losing what we have, of not being able to continue with the known. We cannot say, « I will deliberately end the past in order to have a rebirth, a new mind, a fresh heart. » We cannot achieve it; we cannot deliberately practice some system. The very practice of a system is in itself the continuity of the past, and therefore there is nothing new.
If one listens, not only to the speaker, but to every intimation, to all the world in agony, to the world in pleasure, the world at war, then the very act of listening is the greatest miracle, the greatest mystery. If one can listen and not translate what one listens to, or interpret what one hears, or condemn, or judge, or carry on all the rest of that interference of thought, which is self-centered activity – if one can actually listen, then one will find for oneself that though one can do certain things like altering the political situation, bringing about economic unity, wiping out poverty, all of which one can and should do, one cannot do a thing about the other. Analyzing, dissecting, exposing oneself, examining all one's states of being only lead to more confusion, more misery, more strife; but if one listens, as one would listen to that stream running by, quietly, without any sense of acquiring, retaining, or rejecting, then one will see that that very listening ends self-centered activity.
I am not asking you to do anything but just to listen. I am not indulging in ideas, in theories, in fantasies, in anything mystical or conceptual. I am just pointing out what actually is. If you listen with an open heart and mind, a mind which is not committed to anything but just listening, then that very listening becomes an action, and it is the only action, the only operation to end this so-called continuity, this repetitive, imitative process of demands and pursuits. You can see for yourself very clearly that what has continuity can never perceive or understand something new. It is only when there is a death to something that there is anything new. To die to ourselves, the « ourselves » which form the very center of this continuity, to die to the known, to be free of the known, that is the renewal of the mind; that brings a freshness. Then you see the mountain, the river, the tree, the woman, the man, the child, humanity as something totally different, as something new.
That is what most of us are asking, demanding, because the more intellectual one is, the more one is aware, the more one is informed about the world, of all of history which is constantly repeating itself – the more one asks whether man can be reborn, born afresh, so that he can live a different kind of life, a different way of acting, have a different perception of existence. That is all we are seeking, every day. We are becoming older every day; even the young people are getting older, and if each one of us is aware of all of these things, then the only question that is worth asking is: Is it possible to be reborn, so that the mind and the heart are renewed, fresh, so that they can renew themselves all the time, so that they are all the time fresh, all the time young, alive, new? » That demands a great deal of energy, not the energy manufactured by conflict, by violence, by intention, by effort. All that has its own energy, but we are seeing for ourselves that to renew every day, to be reborn every day, to die every day to everything known so that there is the fresh, the new, and to live in that, not to maintain it, but to be in that state demands an astonishing energy which is not the energy of conflict.
We must inquire what this energy is. If we are healthy, strong, vital, we have a great deal of physical energy, which is used for aggression, for violence, trying to get somewhere or do something. There is a great deal of energy engendered through conflict, and most of our relationships are conflict. We need energy to go to the office every day; we need energy to learn, to do, to act. The energy which is brought about, put together, engendered, bred by the mind in pursuit of pleasure, gain, and fame never will bring a fresh mind, a young heart. We have to inquire what the energy is which will bring about the death every day of everything that the mind has conceived, seen, observed, and stored up. It requires energy to die to something that we have acquired, that we have stored up, to the things that we have known, remembered, accumulated. The death of the mind that has experience every day, the death of the brain that reacts to every movement of life, the ending of the animal in all of us – because a great deal of the human is still the animal, and to die to that all that requires energy. It is not an intellectual thing. The intellect can never create the necessary energy. It creates energy in action, in doing something, in following an idea, in formulating something and carrying that formulation into action, but that is not the energy of which we are talking. We are talking of an energy, a vitality, a force that is necessary in order to die every day so that the mind and the heart are fresh, new.
Together we are going to find out what that energy is. It is not for the speaker to tell you. We are going together to share in our inquiry. We are going to participate in that extraordinary energy which we must have. We are asking ourselves what that force is that keeps the mind young. I don't know how you answer it, what your answer is, if you have an answer. It is very important for each one of us to find out if we are waiting to be told, if we are expecting someone to answer. There is no one to answer it, not your gods, not your priests, certainly not the communist. He is not interested in it. How do you respond to this question of dying every day to everything known, experienced? In the very dying there is the new.
There must be a simple approach to any complex problem. A human problem with all its complexity especially must be answered very simply. The word simple is loaded. There are various concepts of what simplicity is. If you are brought up in the East, simplicity is one meal a day and a loincloth, and that obviously is not simplicity. Here that word has a different connotation. We are using the word simple in the sense of not being complicated, not being weighted down by ideas, by concepts. It is a very difficult thing just to be simple. To find out about that energy which is always renewing itself without any motive, we have to become extraordinarily simple. What is that energy? We can put the answer in one word, but that word is so loaded, so burdened by centuries of repetition that it has lost its real beauty. That word is love. Just listen to it, not to the fragmentations of what is called love. We know love only as sexual love, physical love; love that is surrounded by jealousy, by anxiety, by fear; the love of God, the love of man. That is what we call love. We also use that word when we are tremendously intimate with another, sexually, or merely in physical contact. We use it when a relationship exists between two human beings, in which there is no conflict, no domination, no attachment. We use that word for the moment when we have that extraordinary feeling, but the feeling has gone the next moment. Thought interferes and there is the demand for continuity, for repetition of the pleasure. All the machinery begins to operate.
We are talking of a word, which is not the fact. The word or the symbol is never the fact. We are talking of a word in which there is no fragmentation, in which there is no sense of « the other, » in which the observer has totally ceased, and therefore the observed is no longer there. This we must understand very deeply; otherwise, that word has very little meaning except the common bourgeois meaning. That love, which is not the word, that energy makes the mind and heart reborn so that they are always fresh. Only that energy keeps the mind fresh, not in time. Whatever the experience, whatever the impression, whatever the knowledge that has been acquired, it dies the moment it has come. It comes, is experienced, and ends, all in one movement. You cannot acquire that thing that lies beyond the word. You cannot practice it. This word practice is a terrible thing. Doing something day after day in order to acquire is a most ugly, bourgeois, cruel thing.
Have you noticed the extraordinary change that takes place, without effort, when you are very quiet, in your room, in a bus, or when you are by yourself in a forest. The mind is so full and so rich that it is not thinking, not looking, not observing. It is so total because it is neither the observer nor the observed. Only that state is love, not the ordinary thing which we have talked about. Only that love can end continuity. Then life has a meaning because death is an ending to continuity.
Questioner: Is it not necessary to have continuity of normal physical habits in order to listen in to other lives around us?
Krishnamurti: Does continuity ever listen to anything? We said that one must have a physical continuity; one cannot just go and jump in the lake, but does it help to listen to someone else? What lies behind the question? You listened to a Catholic and got something from that listening. You listened to a Buddhist and got something from that. You listened to the communists and collected. This collection has been gathered by listening to various lives. You have collected them, and that collection has a continuity. We are saying that there must be the very ending of all collection. What you collect is a museum, but a museum never creates a picture. A picture is only brought into being by a man who is no longer concerned with the museum, with the gallery, or the owner of the gallery. He is concerned with the feeling of painting. If he has a certain capacity then he paints, but painting, expression, has so little value. It has value only for the collector who makes money out of it. If a painter or a musician is concerned with money and collecting it, then he ceases to be a painter or a musician.
Comment:I feel that my daily life is unimportant, that I should be doing something else.
Krishnamurti: When you are eating, eat. When you are going for a walk, walk. Don't say, « I must be doing something else. » When you are reading, give your attention completely to that, whether it is a detective novel, a magazine, the Bible, or what you will. The complete attention is a complete action, and therefore there is no « I must be doing something else. » It is only when we are inattentive that we have the feeling of « By Jove, I must be doing something better. » If we give complete attention when we are eating, that is action. What is important is not what we are doing but whether we can give total attention. I mean by that word not something we learn through concentration in a school or in business but to attend, with our bodies, our nerves, our eyes, our ears, our minds, our hearts – completely. If we do that there is a tremendous crisis in our lives. Then something demands our whole energy, vitality, attention. Life demands that attention every minute, but we are so trained to inattention that we are always trying to escape from inattention to attention. We say, « How am I to attend? I am lazy. » Be lazy, but be totally attentive to the laziness. Be totally attentive to inattention. Know that you are completely inattentive. Then when you know that you are totally attentive to inattention, you are attentive.
Ninth Public Talk in Saanen
Thursday, July 28, 1966
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