The whole of the Orient is mesmerized by the word meditation, and in the Occident, the word prayer is of tremendous importance. It is essential to find out whether the mind - which is so very complex, and then caught in a system of what is called meditation, or in a repetition of words, however ancient, however meaningful as prayer - whether the mind can actually know what meditation is, or what lies beyond the word prayer, and discover an actual state that is really silent.
It is only when the mind is silent that we can understand anything. If I want to understand somebody, my mind must be quiet, not chattering, not prejudiced, not having innumerable opinions and experiences, for they prevent the observation and the understanding.
One can see directly that it is only when the mind is very quiet that there is a possibility of clarity; and the whole purpose of meditation in the East is to bring about such a state of mind. That purpose is the controlling of thought - which is the same purpose in constantly repeating a prayer - so that in that quiet state one may hope to understand one's problems. One has to understand these problems, one has to be free of the anxieties and fears which they entail, otherwise one cannot really be a human being, one is a tortured entity, and the tortured entity obviously cannot see anything serious very clearly.
Unless one lays the foundation - which is to be free from fear, free from sorrow, anxiety, and all the traps that consciously or unconsciously one lays for oneself - I do not see how it is possible for a mind to be actually quiet. This is one of the most difficult things to communicate, or even to talk about.
Talks in Europe 1967
4th Public Talk Paris 27th April 1967