Chapter 5: SELF-KNOWLEDGE
THE PROBLEMS OF the world are so colossal, so very complex, that to understand and so to resolve them one must approach them in a very simple and direct manner.
the solution is not to be found through conferences, blueprints, or through the substitution of new leaders.
The solution obviously lies in the creator of that problem, in the creator of the mischief, of the hate and of the enormous misunderstanding that exists between human beings, The creator of this mischief, the creator of these problems, is the individual, you and I, not the world as we think of it. The world is your relationship with another. The world is not something separate from you and me.
So you and I are the problem, and not the world, because the world is the projection of ourselves and to understand the world we must understand ourselves. That world is not separate from us; we are the world, and our problems are the world’s problems.
To transform the world, we must begin with ourselves; and what is important in beginning with ourselves is the intention. The intention must be to understand ourselves and not to leave it to others to transform themselves.
It is important to understand that this is our responsibility, yours and mine; because, however small may be the world we live in, if we can transform ourselves, bring about a radically different point of view in our daily existence, then perhaps we shall affect the world at large, the extended relationship with others.
To be is to be related, and there is no such thing as living in isolation.
If we can transform our relationship in that narrow world, it will be like a wave extending outward all the time.
the world is our relationship, however narrow; and if we can bring a transformation there, not a superficial but a radical transformation, then we shall begin actively to transform the world.
To understand oneself there must be the intention to understand - and that is where our difficulty comes in.
it is important to discover these things for ourselves, because self-knowledge cannot be given to us by another, it is not to be found through any book.
We must discover, and to discover there must be the intention, the search, the inquiry.
If I am greedy, envious, violent, merely having an ideal of non-violence, of non-greed, is of little value. But to know that one is greedy or violent, to know and understand it, requires an extraordinary perception. It demands honesty, clarity of thought.
The understanding of what you are, whatever it be - ugly or beautiful, wicked or mischievous - the understanding of what you are, without distortion, is the beginning of virtue. Virtue is essential, for it gives freedom.
This process of avoiding what is through the cultivation of the ideal is considered virtuous. But Virtue is not the becoming of what is not; virtue is the understanding of what is and therefore the freedom from what is.
to understand what is is extremely difficult, because what is is never still, never static, it is always in movement. The what is is what you are, not what you would like to be; it is not the ideal, because the ideal is fictitious, but it is actually what you are doing, thinking and feeling from moment to moment.
What is is the actual, and to understand the actual requires awareness, a very alert, swift mind. But if we begin to condemn what is, if we begin to blame or resist it, then we shall not understand its movement. If I want to understand somebody, I cannot condemn him: I must observe, study him. I must love the very thing I am studying. If you want to understand a child, you must love and not condemn him. You must play with him, watch his movements.
if you merely condemn, resist or blame him, there is no comprehension of the child. Similarly, to understand what is, one must observe what one thinks, feels and does from moment to moment. That is the actual. Any other action, any ideal or ideological action, is not the actual; it is merely a wish, a fictitious desire to be something other than what is.
To understand what is requires a state of mind in which there is no identification or condemnation, which means a mind that is alert and yet passive.
The fundamental understanding of oneself does not come through knowledge or through the accumulation of experiences, which is merely the cultivation of memory. The understanding of oneself is from moment to moment; if we merely accumulate knowledge of the self, that very knowledge prevents further understanding, because accumulated knowledge and experience becomes the centre through which thought focuses.
If I follow a particular method of knowing myself, then I shall have the result which that system necessitates; but the result will obviously not be the understanding of myself.
by following a method, a system, a means through which to know myself, I shape my thinking, my activities, according to a pattern.
Therefore there is no method for self-knowledge.
Seeking a method invariably implies the desire to attain some result - and that is what we all want. We follow authority - if not that of a person, then of a system, of an ideology.
We really do not want to understand ourselves, our impulses and reactions, the whole process of our thinking, the conscious as well as the unconscious; we would rather pursue a system which assures us of a result.
Authority prevents the understanding of oneself.
Most of us are not creative; we are repetitive machines, mere gramophone records playing over and over again certain songs of experience, certain conclusions and memories, either our own or those of another. Such repetition is not creative being - but it is what we want. Because we want to be inwardly secure, we are constantly seeking methods and means for this security.
The understanding of oneself is not a result, a culmination; it is seeing oneself from moment to moment in the mirror of relationship.
To bring about a fundamental revolution in oneself one must understand the whole process of one’s thought and feeling in relationship.
If we can understand ourselves as we are from moment to moment without the process of accumulation, then we shall see how there comes a tranquillity that is not a product of the mind, a tranquillity that is neither imagined nor cultivated; and only in that state of tranquillity can there be creativeness.
Chapter 6: ACTION AND IDEA
our whole existence, our whole life, is a process of action.
without action there is no life, there is no experience, there is no thinking.
Does action create the actor or does the actor come first?
Can ideas ever produce action, or do ideas merely mould thought and therefore limit action?
How does an idea come into being? And can idea and action be brought together?
Idea is the outcome of a thought process.
the idea is the result of the thought process, the thought process is the response of memory, and memory is always conditioned. Memory is always in the past, and that memory is given life in the present by a challenge. Memory has no life in itself; it comes to life in the present when confronted by a challenge. And all memory, whether dormant or active, is conditioned.
When is there an action which is not the result of experience? An action based on experience is, as we said, limiting, and therefore a hindrance. Action which is not the outcome of an idea is spontaneous when the thought process, which is based on experience, is not controlling action.
the idea ceases only when there is love. Love is not memory. Love is not experience.
When the truth of this is seen, the quality of love, which is not mentation, which you cannot think about, comes into being.
One has to be aware of this total process, of how ideas come into being, how action springs from ideas, and how ideas control action and therefore limit action.
It is only when the mind is free from idea that there can be experiencing.
Ideas are not truth; and truth is something that must be experienced directly, from moment to moment.
Chapter 7: BELIEF
One of the things, it seems to me, that most of us eagerly accept and take for granted is the question of beliefs.
Is it possible to live in this world without a belief - not change beliefs, not substitute one belief for another, but be entirely free from all beliefs, so that one meets life anew each minute?
to have the capacity of meeting everything anew, from moment to moment, without the conditioning reaction of the past.
a cup is useful only when it is empty; and a mind that is filled with beliefs, with dogmas, with assertions, with quotations, is really an uncreative mind; it is merely a repetitive mind. To escape from that fear - that fear of emptiness, that fear of loneliness, that fear of stagnation, of not arriving, not succeeding, not achieving, not being something, not becoming something - is surely one of the reasons.
why we accept beliefs so eagerly and greedily?
A belief, religious or political, obviously hinders the understanding of ourselves. It acts as a screen through which we are looking at ourselves. And can we look at ourselves without beliefs? If we remove those beliefs, the many beliefs that one has, is there anything left to look at? If we have no beliefs with which the mind has identified itself, then the mind, without identification, is capable of looking at itself as it is - and then, surely, there is the beginning of the understanding of oneself.
It is really a very interesting problem, this question of belief and knowledge. What an extraordinary part it plays in our life! How many beliefs we have! Surely the more intellectual, the more cultured, the more spiritual, if I can use that word, a person is, the less is his capacity to understand.
the very belief is a process of isolation.
We see that where there is a process of desire at work there must be the process of isolation through belief because obviously you believe in order to be secure economically, spiritually, and also inwardly.
Can the mind be free from the desire for security? That is the problem.