Memoirs

Letter 13

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

There is so much discontent and one thinks an ideology, communism or other, is going to solve everything even banish away discontent, which of course it can never do. Communism or any other organized religious conditioning can never do away with discontent; but one tries every way to smother it, to shape it, to give it content, but it is always there. To be discontented, one thinks ii wrong-normally not right, and yet one cannot do away with it; it has to be understood. To understand is not to condemn. So really go into it, watch it without any desire to change it, to channelize it. Be aware of it as it operates during the day, perceive its ways and be alone with it.

Freedom comes when mind is alone. Just for the fun of the thing, keep the mind still, free of all thought. Play with it, don’t make it a very serious affair, without any struggle, be aware and let the mind be still.

There is frustration as long as one is seeking fulfillment. The pleasure of fulfillment is a constant desire and we want the continuity of that pleasure. The ending of that pleasure is frustration in which there is pain. Again the mind seeks in different directions fulfillment and again it meets frustration. This frustration is the movement of self consciousness which is isolation, separation, loneliness. From this the mind wants to escape again into some form of fulfillment. The struggle to fulfill brings the conflict of duality. When the mind sees the futility or truth of fulfillment, in which there is always frustration, then only can the mind be in that state of loneliness from which there is no escape. When the mind is in this state of loneliness, without any escape, then only is there freedom from it. Separation exists because of the desire to fulfill; frustration is separation.

No shocks must ever take place now, even the fleeting ones. These psychological reactions affect the body, with its adverse effects. Be very strong inwardly. Be firm and clear. Be complete; don’t try to be complete, be complete. Don’t depend on anyone or on anything or on any experience, or memory; the dependence on the past, however pleasant, only prevents the completeness of the present. Be aware and let that awareness be intact and unbroken even if it be for a minute.

Sleep is essential; during sleep one seems to touch unknown depths, depths that the conscious mind can never touch or experience. Though one may not remember the extraordinary experience of a world that is beyond the conscious and the unconscious, it has its effect on the total consciousness of the mind. Probably this is not very clear, but just read it and play around it. I feel there are certain things that can never be made clear. There are no adequate words for them, but nevertheless they are there.

Especially with you this is important, to have a body that will not be subject to any illness. You must easily, voluntarily put aside all the pleasurable memories and images, so that your mind is free, uncontaminated for the real thing. Do, please, pay attention to what is written. Every experience, every thought must end each day, each minute, as it arises; so that the mind does not put out roots into the future. This is really important, for this is true freedom. Thus there is no dependence, for dependence brings pain, affecting the physical and breeding psychological resistance. And as you said, resistance creates problems-to achieve, to become perfect, and so on. In seeking is involved struggle, effort, endeavor, this struggle, invariably ends in frustration-I want something or I want to be something-in the very process of getting there is the craving for the more, and the more is never in sight and so there is always a sense of being thwarted. So there is pain. So once again one turns to another form of fulfillment, with its inevitable consequence. The implication of struggle, of effort, is vast, and why does one seek? How does the mind everlastingly seek and what makes it seek? Do you know or are you aware that you are seeking? If you are, the object of your search varies from period to period. Do you see the significance of search, with its frustrations and pain? That in the finding of something that is very gratifying there is stagnation, with its joys and fears, with its progress and becoming? If you are aware that you are seeking, is it possible for the mind not to seek? And if the mind does not seek, what’s the immediate, actual reaction of a mind that does not seek?

Play with this, find out; don’t force anything, don’t let the mind coerce itself into any particular experience, for then it will breed for itself illusion.

I saw someone who is dying. How frightened we are of death; what we are frightened of is living; we do not know how to live; we know sorrow and death is only the final sorrow. We divide life, as living and dying. Then there must be the ache of death, with its separation, loneliness, isolation. Life and death are one movement, not isolated states. Living is dying, dying to every thing, to be reborn every day. This is not a theoretical statement but to be lived and to be experienced. It is will, this constant desire to be, that completely destroys the simple “being”. This “being” is to tally different from the sleep of satisfaction, fulfillment, or the conclusions of reason. This being is unaware of the self. A drug, an interest, an absorption, a complete “identification” can bring about a desired state, which is still self-consciousness. True being is the cessation of the will. Play around with these thoughts and experiment happily.

Letter 12

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

Take things easily, but inwardly with fullness and alertness. Don’t let a moment slip by without being fully aware what is happening inwardly and about you. Often this is what is to be sensitive, not to one or two things, but to be sensitive to everything. To be sensitive to beauty and to resist ugliness is to bring about conflict. You know, as you watch you will perceive that the mind is always judging-this is good and that is bad, this is black and that is white-judging people, comparing, weighing, calculating. The mind is everlastingly restless. Can the mind watch, observe, without judging, calculating? Perceive without naming and just see if the mind can do that.

Play with this. Don’t force it, let it watch itself. Most people who attempt to be simple begin with the outer, discarding, renouncing, and so on; but inwardly the complexity of their being remains. With inward simplicity, the outer corresponds to the inner. To be simple inwardly is to be free from the urge for the more, which does not mean to be satisfied with “what is”. To be free from the urge for the more is not to think in terms, progress, getting there. To be simple is for the mind to free itself from all results, is for the mind to empty itself of all conflict. This is real simplicity.

How can the mind battle between the ugly and the beautiful, clinging to one and pushing away the other. This conflict makes the mind insensitive and exclusive. Any attempt on the part of the mind to find an undefined line between the two is still part of the one or the other. Thought cannot, do what it will, free itself from the opposites; thought itself has created the ugly and the beautiful, and good and bad. So it cannot free itself from its own activities. All that it can do is to be still, not choose. Choice is conflict and the mind is back again to its own entanglements. The stillness of the mind is the freedom from duality.

Letter 11

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

Dignity is a very rare thing. An office or a position of respect gives dignity. It is like putting on a coat. The coat, the costume, the post gives dignity. A title or a position gives dignity. But strip man of these things, and very few have that quality of dignity that comes with inward freedom of being as nothing. Being something is what man craves for, and that something gives him a position in society which it respects. Put a man into a category of some kind-clever, rich, a saint, a physicist; but if he cannot be put into a category that society recognizes, he is an odd person. Dignity cannot be assumed, be cultivated, and to be conscious of being dignified is to be conscious of oneself, which is to be petty, small. To be nothing is to be free of that very idea. Being, not of or in a particular state, is true dignity. It cannot be taken away, it always is.

To allow the free flow of life, without any residue being left, is real awareness. The human mind is like a sieve which hold some things and lets others go. What it holds is the size of its own desires; and desires, however profound, vast, noble, are small, are petty, for desire is a thing of the mind. Not to retain, but to have the freedom of life to flow without restraint, without choice, is complete awareness. We are always choosing or holding, choosing the things that have significance and everlastingly holding on to them. This we call experience, and the multiplication of experiences we call the richness of life. The richness of life is the freedom from the accumulation of experience. The experience that remains, that is held, prevents that state in which the known is not. The known is not the treasure, but the mind clings to it and thereby destroys or defiles the unknown.

Life is a strange business. Happy is the man who is nothing.

We are, more of us at least, creatures of moods and a variety of moods. Few of us escape from it. With some, it is caused by the bodily condition, with others it is a mental state. We like this up and down state, we think this movement of moods is part of existence. Or one just drifts from one mood to another. But there are few who are not caught in this movement, who are free from the battle of becoming, so that inwardly there is a steadiness, not of the will, a steadiness that is not cultivated, nor the steadiness of concentrated interest, nor the product of any one of these activities. It comes soon upon one only when the action of will ceases.

Money does spoil people. There is a peculiar arrogance of the rich. With very few exceptions, in every country, the rich have that peculiar atmosphere of being able to twist anything, even the Gods, and they can buy their Gods. Riches is not only of wealth, but the capacity of being able to do things. Capacity gives man an odd sense of freedom. He also feels he is above others, he is different. All this gives him a sense of superiority; he sits back and watches other people squirming; he is obvious to his own ignorance, the darkness of his own mind. Money and capacity offer a very good escape from this darkness. After all, escape is a form of resistance, which breeds its own problems. Life is a strange business. Happy is the man who is nothing.

Letter 10

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

The farmer about here had a beautiful rabbit, alive and kicking. His woman carried it to him and one of the women said, “I cannot look”, and the man killed it, and a few minutes later that which was alive, with a light in its eyes, was being skinned by the women. Here they are used to killing animals, as elsewhere in the world, religion does not forbid them to kill. In India where for centuries, children are told, at least in the South among the Brahmins, not to kill, how cruel it is to kill, there are many children who when they grow up are forced by circumstances to change their culture overnight. They eat meat, they become army officers to kill and be killed. Overnight their values change. The centuries of a particular pattern of culture is overthrown and a new one taken on. The desire to be secure, in one form or another, is so dominant that the mind will adjust itself to any pattern that can give it security and safety. But there is no security; and when one really understands this, there’s something totally different, which creates its own way of life. That life cannot be understood or copied; all that one can do is to understand and be aware of the ways of security, which brings its own freedom.

The earth is beautiful and the more you are aware of it, the more beautiful it is. The color, the varieties of greens, the yellows. It is amazing what one discovers when one is alone with the earth. Not only the insects, the birds, the grass, the varieties of flowers, the rocks, the colors and the trees, but thoughts, if one loves them. We are never alone with anything. With ourselves, or with the earth. It is easy to be alone with a desire, not to resist it by an action of will, not to let it run away into some action, not to allow its fulfillment, not create its opposite by justification or condemnation; but to be alone with it. This brings about a very strange state without any action of will. It is that which creates resistance and conflict. Being alone with a desire brings about a transformation in the desire itself. Play with this and discover what happens; don’t force anything, but consider it easily.

Education? What do we mean by it? We learn to read and write, acquire a technique necessary for a livelihood, and then we are let loose on the world. From childhood we are told what to do, what to think, and inwardly we are deeply conditioned by social and environmental influence.

I was thinking, can we educate man on the outside but leave the center free? Can we help man to be free inwardly and be always free? For it is only in freedom that he can be creative and so be happy. Otherwise, life is such a tortuous affair, a battle within and so without. But to be free inside needs astonishing care and wisdom; but few see the importance of this. We are concerned with the outer and not with creativity. But to change all this, there must be at least a few who understand the necessity of this, who themselves are inwardly bringing about this freedom. It is a strange world.

What is important is a radical change in the unconscious. Any conscious action of the will cannot touch the unconscious pursuits, wants, urges, the conscious mind must subside, be still, and no try to force the unconscious, according to any particular pattern of action. The unconscious has its own pattern of action, its own frame within which it functions. This frame cannot be broken by any outward action, and will is an outward act. If this is really seen and understood, the outward mind is still; and because there is no resistance, set up by will, one will find that the so-called unconscious begins to free itself from its own limitations.Then only there a radical transformation in the total being of man.

Letter 9

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

Through this estate runs a stream. It is not quiet water running peacefully to the big river, but a noisy cheerful stream. All this country around here is hilly, the stream has many a fall and at one place there are three falls of different depths. The higher one makes the noise, the loudest, the other two are not valuable but are on a minor key. All these three falls are spaced differently, and so there is a continuous movement of sound. You have to listen to hear the music. It’s an orchestra playing among the orchards, in the open skies, but the music is there. You have to search it out, you have to listen, you have to be with the flowing waters to hear its music. You must be the whole to hear it-the skies, the earth, the soaring trees, the green fields and the running waters, then only you hear it. But all this is too much trouble, you buy a ticket and sit in a hall, surrounded by people, and the orchestra plays or someone sings. They do all the work for you; someone composes the song, the music, another plays or sings, and you pay to listen. Everything in life, except for a few things, in second-, third-, or fourth-hand-the Gods, poems, politics, music. So our life is empty. Being empty we try to fill it-with music, with Gods, with love, with forms of escape, and the very feeling is the emptying. But beauty is not to be bought. So few want beauty and goodness, and man is satisfied with second-hand things. To throw it all off is the real and only revolution, and then only is there creativeness of reality.

It’s strange how man insists on continuity in all things; in relationships, in tradition, in religion, in art. There’s no breaking off and a beginning and a beginning new again. If man had no book, no leader, no one to copy, no one to follow, to example, if he was completely alone, stripes of all his knowledge, he would have to start from the very beginning. Of course this complete stripping of himself must be wholly and fully spontaneous and voluntary, otherwise he would go mad, force himself into some kind of neurosis. As only a few seem to be capable of this complete aloneness, the world carries on with tradition-in its art, its music, its politics, its Gods-which everlastingly breed misery. This is what is happening in the world at the present time. There is nothing new, there is only opposition and counteropposition-in religion the old formula of fear and dogma continues; in the arts there is the endeavor to find something new. But the mind is not new, it is the same old mind, ridden with tradition, fear, knowledge, and experience, endeavoring to search the new. It is the mind itself, wholly, for the new to be. This is the real revolution.

The wind is blowing from the south, dark clouds and rain, everything in putting forth, reaching out and renewing itself.

“ Why do you want to read others' books when there is the book of yourself? „
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