Letter 16

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From the book "Letters to a young friend"

How is everything? Are your days swifter than a weaver’s shuttle? Do you live in one day, a thousand years? It is strange, for most people boredom s a very real thing; they must be doing something, be occupied with something, an activity, a book, the kitchen, children, or God. Otherwise they are with themselves which is very boring. When they are with themselves they get self-centered, crochety, or become ill and ill-humored. An unoccupied mind-not a negative black mind, but an alert passive mind, a totally empty mind-is a sweet thing, capable of infinite possibilities. Thoughts are wearisome, uncreative, and rather dull. A thought may be clever, but cleverness is a sharp instrument-it soon wears itself out, and that is why clever people are dull.

Let there be an unoccupied mind without deliberately working for it. Let it happen than cultivate it. Read this with awareness and let it take place. Hearing it or reading about the unoccupied mind is important, and how you read and how you listen.

What is important is to have the right kind of exercise, good sleep, and a day that has significance. But one slips so easily into a routine, and then one functions in the easy pattern of self-satisfaction, or in the pattern of self-imposed righteousness. All their patterns invariably lead to death-a slow withering away. But to have a rich day, in which there is no compulsion, no fear, no comparison, no conflict, but to be simply aware, is to be creative.

You see, there are rare moments when we feel this, but most of our life is made up of eroding memories, frustration, and vain efforts, and the real thing goes by. The cloud of dullness covers everything and the real thing fades away. It is really quite arduous to penetrate through this cloud and to be in the simple clarity of light. Just see all this and that is all. Don’t try to be simple. This trying only breeds complexity and misery. The trying is becoming and the becoming is always desire, with its frustrations.

How important is to free oneself from all emotional, psychological shock, which does not mean that one must harden oneself against the movement of life. It is these shocks that gradually build up various forms of illness. Life is a series of events (wanted and unwanted); and as long as we pick, choose which shall keep and which we shall discard, there must inevitably be a conflict (of duality) which is the shock. These series of checks harden the mind, heart; it is a self-enclosing process and so there is suffering. To aloe the movement of life, without choice, without any particular movement, desirable or undesirable, to take root needs enormous awareness. It is not a matter of trying to be aware all the time, which is wearisome, but seeing the very necessity of the truth of awareness, then you will see that the very necessity operates without forcing yourself to be aware.

One may travel, be educated in the best of schools, in different parts of the world; have the best of foods, instruction, climate; but does all this make for intelligence? One knows of such people, and are they intelligent? The Communists are trying, as others, like the Catholics, to control and shape the mind. The very shaping of the mind does have certain obvious effects-more efficiency, a certain quickness and alertness of mind-but all these different capacities do not make intelligence. The very learned people, those who have plenty of information, knowledge, and those who are educated scientifically, are they intelligent? Don’t you think intelligence is something entirely different? It is really the total freedom from fear. Those whose morality is based on security is the outcome of fear. Fear and the constraint of fear, which we call morality, is really not moral at all. Intelligence is the total freedom from fear, and intelligence is not respectability, nor is the various virtues cultivated through fear. In understanding fear is something which is wholly different from the formulations of the mind.

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