The Understanding of Space & the Nature of Silence
“There are two things which are absolutely necessary to find out about: the understanding of space, and the nature of silence. It is a most interesting thing to find out what space means. We are not talking of the distance between the earth and the moon, but psychological space, the space within. A mind that has no space is a shoddy, little mind, a petty mind; it is caught in a trap and the movement in the trap it calls living.
You can observe how little space you have inwardly; we are overcrowded with noise, chattering, endless memories, images, symbols, opinions, knowledge, crammed full of secondhand things. There is no space there at all; therefore there is no freedom. And without this space, in which there is no boundary, the mind is incapable of finding out, of coming upon that immeasurable reality.
Then also one must understand what silence is. You know, we are never silent; either we are having a dialogue with ourselves, or with somebody else. The machinery of thought is incessantly active, projecting itself, what it should do, it must not do, how it has been – endlessly chattering; or conforming, accepting, comparing judging, condemning, imitating, obeying. Knowing this, there are various forms of meditation which tell you how to control thought. But controlling thought is not meditation at all; anybody can concentrate, from the schoolboy to the higher general preparing for war. And it is only a silent mind that can perceive, that can actually see; not a chattering mind, not a controlled mind, not a mind that is tortured, suppressed – nor yielding, indulging. It is only a very silent mind that can actually see.
Meditation is one of the greatest arts of life – perhaps the greatest art. Because in the understanding of meditation there is love, and love is not the product of systems, of habits, of following a method. Love cannot be cultivated by thought. Love can perhaps come into being when there is complete silence. And the mind can only be silent when it understands the nature of its own movement, as thought and feeling.
So meditation can take place when you are sitting in a bus, or walking in the woods full of light and shadows, or listening to the singing birds, or looking at the face of your wife or husband. Meditation is not something apart; it is the understanding of the totality of life in which every form of fragmentation of life has ceased.
When one has totally denied the psychological world which man has created for himself, and has denied the psychological structure of society of which we are: the greed, the envy, the brutality, the violence, the jealousies, the hatred; then when you totally deny, you have space and silence. And it is only such a mind that is the religious mind, not belonging to any organized, propagandist religion – it is only such a mind that can see what is the immeasurable. And such a mind is a light to itself.”
Excerpts from 5th Public Talk in Amsterdam, 1967
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