Quote of the Day

Aug 1, 2023
Please follow this. For us thought is very important; that is the only instrument we have. Thought is the response of memory which has been accumulated through experience, through knowledge, through tradition; and memory is the result of time, inherited from the animal. And with this background we react. This reaction is thinking. Thought is essential at certain levels. But when thought projects itself as the future and the past psychologically, then thought creates fear as well as pleasure; and in this process the mind is made dull and, therefore, inaction is inevitable. Sir, fear, as we said, is brought about by thought - thinking about losing my job, thinking my wife might run away with somebody, thinking about death, thinking about what has been and so on. Can thought stop thinking about the past psychologically, self-protectively, or about the future?

You understand the question? You see, sir, the mind in which is included the brain, can invent and can overcome fear. To overcome fear is to suppress it, to discipline it, to control it, to translate it in terms of something else; but all that implies friction, doesn't it? When I am afraid, I say to myself, "I must control it", "I must run away from it", "I must go beyond it" - all that implies conflict, doesn't it? And that conflict is a waste of energy. But if I understood how fear comes into being, then I could deal with it. I see how thought creates fear. So I ask myself, "Is it possible for thought to stop as otherwise fear will go on?" Then I ask myself, "Why do I think about the future?", "Why do I think about tomorrow?", or "Why do I think about what has been as pain or pleasure yesterday?"

Please listen quietly: we know that thought creates fear. One of the functions of thought is to be occupied, to be thinking about something all the time. Like a housewife who thinks about the food, the children, the washing up - that is all her occupation; remove that occupation, and she will be lost, she will feel totally uncomfortable, lonely, miserable. Or take away the God from the man who worships God, who is occupied with God; he will be totally lost. So thought must be occupied with something or the other, either about itself or about politics, or about how to bring about a different world, a different ideology and so on; the mind must be occupied. And most of us want to be occupied; otherwise we shall feel lost, otherwise we do not know what to do, we will be lonely, we will be confronted with what we actually are. You understand? So, you are occupied, thought is occupied - which prevents you from looking at yourself, at what you actually are.

We are concerned with bringing about a different world, a different social order. We are concerned not with religious beliefs and dogmas, superstitions and rituals, but with what is true religion. And to find that out there must be no fear. We see that thought breeds fear, and that thought must be occupied with something as otherwise it feels itself lost. One of the reasons why we are occupied with God, with social reform, with this, with that, or with something or the other, is because in ourselves we are afraid to be lonely, in ourselves we are afraid to be empty. We know what the world is: a world of brutality, ugliness, violence, wars, hatreds, class and national divisions, and so on. Knowing actually what the world is - not what we think it should be - our concern is to bring about a radical transformation in that. To bring about that transformation, the human mind has to undergo tremendous mutation; and the transformation cannot take place if there is any form of fear.

Therefore, one asks oneself, "Is it possible for thought to come to an end so that one lives completely, fully?" Have you ever noticed that when you attend completely, when you give your attention completely to anything, there is no observer and therefore no thinking, there is no centre from which you are observing? Do it some time, give your attention completely - not `concentration'. Concentration is the most absurd form of thought; that any schoolboy can do. What we are talking about is `attention' - that is, to give attention. If you are listening now with all your being, with your mind, with your brain, with your nerves, with your total energy, listening; not accepting, not contradicting, not comparing, but actually listening with complete attention - is there an entity who is listening who is observing? You will find that there is no observer at all. Now, when you look at a tree, look with complete attention. There are so many trees here, look at them. When you listen to the sound of the crows going to bed at night, listen to it completely. Don't say, "I like that sound", or "I don't like that sound". Listen to it with your heart, with your mind, with your brain, with your nerves, completely. So also see the tree without the interference of thought - which means: no space between the observer and the observed. When you give such total and complete attention, there is no observer at all. And it is the observer that breeds fear: because the observer is the centre of thought, it is the me, the I, the self, the ego; the observer is the censor. When there is no thought, there is no observer. That state is not a blank state. That demands a great deal of enquiry - never accepting anything.
Mumbai, India | 1st Public Talk, 19th February 1967 Read full text