What could be the word to sum up all the experiences currently going on in our planet, the Earth?
Love? Peace? Happiness? Hope? Understanding? Animosity? How about violence.
At this stage in my own evolution, I am observing all of that violence within. Perhaps, that is the “reason” why I pick the word violence among all the other labels. Through the experience of violence, I have been the tyrant and the submissive peon. Once one side is experienced the other side will follow, for that reason; submissiveness is passive violence.
Violence has been with us from time immemorial. A culture conquered another through violence. Then, there was violence within that conquered culture. A gender subdued another through violence. A race proclaimed its superiority through violence. In society, we clash with one another and use violence to “win.”
Violence is not just physical, but that is the most obvious and grotesque. We could insult one another, we could look at someone in a despicable way. We could say things with irony, sharpness, dryness and sarcasm. We could speak with a tone of voice meant to overpower another. To take advantage of another, is violence.
Then, we could go into the “subtler” aspects of it, the ones which not too many could observe: I could compare a person with another. That is violence for I am not respecting their unique individuality. I could teach someone that respect means to infuse fear to others, that is violence. I could “correct” someone by putting down their ideas, by letting them know that “I am right, you are wrong;” that is violence as well. The key to understand violence is in being aware of the sensation, the internal emotion, the feeling which it brings. Many times it could be perceived as a “current” over the head area. That will change our facial expression. Definitely, the first sensation will be “closing up” or clenching up. Most will feel their stomach areas tighten up. If we are able to observe this emotion, open up; let the perceived violence go through you and outside you. Thus, it is not necessarily an action the one which defines violence, but rather the engine of it; is the sensation we have inside.
There are countless ways to express violence, even while “making love” (which by the way, is the most common.) Violence is everywhere and “I” am part of it. Do we see the enormous significance of this?
How can I love and feel peace with violence within? The conditioning of using violence is overwhelming. Isn’t the “alpha male” the archetype of violence? However, we could observe that the media almost worships that “winner” image.
No wonder we are violent. That trait could be desirable for those in society who are looking to get ahead, to dominate others and show them who “they are;” it is desirable for those who only care to “look out for number 1,” nevertheless; that sort of enhanced ego, cannot harmonize with the common good. There are consequences for behaving in such selfish way.
I recall: “ A violent man does not die a natural death” Tao Te Ching – Ch 42 or in a Christian way : “… and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7.
Despite all the religious and “spiritual” teachings, violence endures. It toughen our hearts, it creates psychological pain which in turn will be a traumatic experience lingering in our beings for as long as it needs, until one day we realize it is there, ready to heal into its opposite, that is Gentleness.
Authentic gentleness is not the “practice” of a violent person. Gentleness is the outcome of lack of violence.
It is a wonder how religions and spirituality have named the capital sins, the main vices, etc. as important to eradicate; however, we are not looking good enough at the obvious violence.
We want to deal with our ego, to become “better,” but we have a hard time recognizing what that ego is.
It is way easier to start with violence as we can smell it. However, we may need to be aware that if “I” try to stop it; “I” will inflict violence on myself. It is not by rejection or suppression how violence will subside. It is by being aware of it, through watching it in ourselves and fully realizing what it is and what it does to us.
“Non-violence” is non existing in a violent being, thus; we can only “practice” it, which is truly the rehearsal of a script.
To meet violence only with some defined “non-violence,” is to take the process of understanding violence in ourselves, in a trivial way. We could DO actions which seem non-violent, but when we ARE violence we cannot get away from the fact of who we ARE and thus, we only cover the reality of ourselves with the veil of “good deeds,” until we have the fortitude to look inside.
When we become aware of violence as one of the main human energies surrounding our planet at this time, then we understand that a “normal” man is unable to avoid it. After all , it pervades the collective consciousness. It is in the air.
The origin of violence is in the experience of psychological pain.
A person has many experiences in Life. When a particular experience has been oversized and we are unable to assimilate it, that experience becomes a trauma. That is psychological pain.
Consciously or unconsciously, we “protect” ourselves from experiencing that again, as if we could have complete control in Life. So we wear and “armor;” that is we close ourselves to experience newness due to fear of feeling pain again.
Many could affirm that fear is the main cause of violence, but we can see that fear is a reaction coming from psychological pain. We fear that which we know. What we know is the experience of certain pain. We cannot fear the “unknown,” but we fear to lose something or to repeat a painful experience of the past.
Observe how racism may start: We feel comfortable around individuals who we have determined to be “alike.” The most superficial basis for this are physical characteristics. Perhaps we suffered the pain of being left out, or the pain of not belonging. Fear then appears when I reject what is there (I don’t like it,) which is manifested as violence many times. Observe xenophobia (dislike or prejudice against people from others countries.) Our tendency is to generalize and put certain individuals in the same basket. Fear arrives when we feel threatened. But what is the cause of that emotion? Psychological pain. We experienced uncertainty, lack of security or we want to cling to that which is known to us to maintain our perception of security. We are unwilling to try and discover something new. We have closed ourselves to Life.
When we perceive something strange, unusual, odd; we fear. Our sense of security has been challenged. We don’t want to lose what we value which is understandable; however, the reaction is completely irrational for we are assuming that unless we do something radical to that which our minds have identified as hazards, we will lose, we will feel pain.
Thus, the expression of violence is completely irrational in the light of the existence of human laws and social procedures. We fear that those procedures will not be followed.
When we lose our openness to Life, we shrink our sense of enjoyment. We are busy walking around with an armor as we perceive Life as something risky, a menace.
Our capacity to feel pleasure diminishes greatly, thanks to the armor made up of perceived painful situations.
No wonder the collective consciousness have determined that pleasure has to be regulated, that is within certain limits known as “acceptable.” Pain on the other hand, is open in all known forms. Even the psychological pain of the saint is considered “good.” Our society thrives on pain for our capacity for pleasure is small. Why?
When the mind is constantly busy with thoughts of survival or profit, we have little space left for other experiences. We are not at ease. There is fear in the air. The shadow of pain overwhelms our conscious thoughts and expands into the collective. Then, the cloud of pain increases until it suffocates those unaware.
Pain expresses inwardly as fear and then it manifests into violence. Repeated violence dulls our consciousness and our capacity for fulfillment. Violence will damage our subtle energetic channels and as a consequence we will no longer feel joy.
Most individuals only “talk” about joy or fulfillment but they do not have the capacity to feel its full range, due to the atrophy caused by violence.
As we can see, it becomes a vicious cycle, where pain and fear grows and so does violence.
When a person is ready to face those painful situations, the opportunity for healing arrives and then violence will subdue.
To be “violence free” is a work in progress, as this may take some time. We need to remember that healing is not immediate. It has a process and this may need to be nurtured and acknowledged.
Violence surged little by little in us. Likewise, it goes away naturally a little bit at the time. Without awareness, we will only know it is there when it spills the glass and makes a mess.
A serious seeker will recognize how violence shapes his own Life and will follow the steps to understand it; that is, he will go into those traumatic painful knots in his life, in order to harmonize within and with others.
Do we see violence within? Are we aware of it? There is a difference between seeing it and being aware of it. When we see, when we look, there is language involved to label and make sense of that which we are looking. We wouldn’t know what a “rose” was without classifying it, we couldn’t communicate that to others and ourselves without a label: “rose. I have seen a rose.”
Language is thought. The gist of thought is to separate, classify, analyze, dissect, compare. Thus, when we “see” violence, we separate it and compare it with something which we consider “non-violence.”
That idea is merely another thought. Then the mind comes up with a “solution.” What is that solution?
We ought to “practice” non-violence; which is just an idea.
The above, is what our society does on a regular basis. It is very superficial indeed. We want to “practice” an ideal, something floating in our minds and put it in “practice.” But we cannot.
BEING violent does not change through a behavioral “practice.”
If we observe a man hitting another, we label that as “violence.” Our solution is that man should not hit another man. That behavior, is the manifestation of violence; however, the root is still there, ready to manifest in another way: Let me hit an animal instead. Another law appears to protect animals. Violence continues to escalate: Then, let me hurt myself. There is no “law” against that.
Many individuals DO that (self-violence) on a regular basis: We hurt ourselves emotionally when we resent or make a trauma out of life. Physically; when we do not care for our bodies and psychologically when we continuously compare with others then; we cannot help but hurt others as we live in relationship. We are not isolated islands separated by the immense ocean. We are the ocean itself.
Do we see this cycle?
Looking at violence is not enough. Making “laws” is not enough.
Become aware of violence: When I push myself because of the idea of “winning” or “no pain, no gain.” When I compare myself with others and want to “beat them,” we are being violent. Society may give me a “medal” in certain “games” but, violence is there. Otherwise, why is winning so important when we are “playing” in goodwill?
When a child does not want to do what we grown ups, ask them to do. How do we react? What is the sensation coming out from us? When we belittle someone, what is the experience? Yes, the ego may feel “superior.”
If person A does not want to comply with the desires of person B, what is the solution? Although the “solution” is important, more important is to be aware of the sensation, the feeling coming out from us during that time. That is the path to understand violence. Are we clenching our teeth to avoid fighting? Are we repressing the sensation? Are we sensible enough to perceive how that repression is hurting our internal organs? Are we aware of the trigger and the whole motion of violence?
Are we watching the commentaries of the ego through the mind as the situation takes place? Are we aware on how those commentaries remain even days after the fact?
Do we see the importance of BEING AWARE?
Violence brings more violence in unaware individuals. They may think that they are “fighting back,” defending themselves. They may think that it is “reasonable” to fight back, but there is another side of reason that we haven’t looked at: The egoistic reasons of the mind. The one offending others and the ones defending use those “reasons” quite often. The end result is more violence.
How is it possible for a mind whose primary objective is to divide, to consider the common good?
“Spirituality” has been known for not being able to come up with “real” solutions for the problems in society, but perhaps we are missing the point: Violence has been inside man. No matter what we do from the outside, violence will be there. Thus, it is the task of every “reasonable” man to become aware of that; for until we become aware of that violence in us, it is very little that could be done as a “solution” for society. Even after so many laws to prevent violence; there is greater violence.
Society is “us” and so is violence.
In Spirituality, to know means to live the experience in awareness. Humans live many experiences without awareness, thus; there is no consciousness of the significance of their own thoughts and actions. It is merely an automatic response like a physical reflex which in spirituality is known as conditioning. We are not free when conditioned.
“Spirituality” means to become aware of the experience of inner conflict; the continuous division between the Observer (“I”) and the observed (world.) The conflict arises when the observer seeks to conform to an ideal, what “should be.”
“When there is conflict there is a waste of energy. Conflict being: I must control fear, I must run away from it, I must go to somebody to tell me how to get rid of fear. All those are factors of wasting energy. If you don’t waste energy, and that only takes place when the observer is the observed, then you have immense energy to transform what is. The very observation is the energy that transforms that which is.”
Public Talk 3 in Ojai, California, 10 April 1976
Practically; how the above works?
In a heated family discussion where most of the “covers of an educated individual” are gone, we could OBSERVE the scenes.
Typically, we could OBSERVE two related emotions: VIOLENCE and FEAR. When we perceive those 2 emotions, we are able to change by allowing the current of those 2 emotions to go through us without further energetic consequences. Otherwise, we are unaware and the opportunity to OBSERVE gets lost in our attempt to defend the “I” or to take sides by JUDGING the scenes and picking the “right” side and the “wrong” one. Emotionally, that means that we RESISTED ( we felt insulted, misunderstood, etc) for we had the need to DEFEND the “I” or the side that we considered to be “right.” That resistance feeds the energy of violence and fear in that environment, back to ourselves. Again, energetically; we can either let the energy go through us (observer and observed are one) or let the energy to stay with us (observer and observed are different.) Most individuals will go with the later. This is not a “choice” that we need to make. This is only a matter of awareness.
Therefore, for most conditioned individuals the OBSERVER is different than the OBSERVER.
“When the observer is the observed, there is only the observed, not the observer. When there is division as the observer and the observed, there is conflict and the desire to control, suppress, conquer. That is a waste of energy. When there is only the observed, not the observer observing that which he is seeing, there is energy to go beyond the observed, beyond what is. So it is very important to find out how to observe. Don’t go to classes or some community to learn how to observe or how to become sensitive. For God’s sake be simple. It is very important to understand this for yourself, not from my explanation. See it for yourself. Then the conflict in yourself comes to an end, and you have no violence. The truth, the understanding, not intellectual but the fact that the observer is the observed, brings about a totally different freedom in which there is no conflict whatsoever.”
Public Talk 1 in San Francisco, California, 20 March 1975
If we understand the above only intellectually, we will not change at all. It will only be a fancy piece of information to display in the next spiritual gathering. If we have experienced this through Life itself; the above will only put words to an already lived experience. Then, we “know.”
Many times I hear that part of Education is to teach the student “how to think.”
Actually, that is called conditioning, in a mild way. The proper label is violence.
Most individuals do not realize how violence has been ingrained by society. The competitive “spirit” hungry for success is violence, as it is not concerned at all for the common good. It is just about “ME” and “MY” loved ones. If we want to observe this with some depth, we may need to inquire about the nature of thought:
“Thought is the response of the brain that has recorded. If the brain did not record, you would have no thought or knowledge. It is like a registering machine. From knowledge is memory, and the response of memory is thought.”
J. Krishnamurti – Public Talk 1 in Madras (Chennai), 24 December 1977
Notice the automatic process of thought. That mechanism is unable to be creative. It only repeats what is recorded, although with variations. That may be a “good thing” to learn some technical skill, but the art of living is not concerned with that skill at all.
Out of that repetition and the obsession of “becoming number 1” to feel “successful” in society, the thought of violence was generated.
“Thought has created violence in me, and then it creates non-violence to be achieved, and then there is conflict.”
J. Krishnamurti – Buddhist Scholars Discussion in Madras, 21 January 1985
Observe the contradiction. I AM vs. I SHOULD BE. What SHOULD BE is an ideal. That is the main component of the rhetorical talk of a politician. Those are the “feel good” words that most want to listen. We don’t want to SEE what IS. We are blind.
What is needed is a new way to deal with what IS.
“Please learn. Learn to observe, not memorize. We have contradiction only when we are not dealing with what is actually going on. Because we don’t know how to deal with what is going on, we invent the ideal, which is an escape. If you want to change what is going on, don’t have contradiction. Then you have the energy to deal with what is, instead of wasting energy in contradiction, having ideals and all the rest of it. I am violent, and my conditioning has been not to be violent, so I try to be non-violent. Whereas in actual fact, I am violent. So I am wasting my energy in trying to be non-violent. When I remove that, I have the energy to deal with what is – the energy to observe the fact of being angry. I won’t use the word ‘anger’ because the word is not the thing. Therefore there is only that reaction. The moment you name it, it becomes stronger. By associating through that word with the past, you are giving it strength. If you don’t name it, it soon dissipates. Eliminate contradictions altogether, and you are dealing only with what is actually going on.
J. Krishnamurti – Public Discussion 1 in Madras (Chennai), 27 December 1977
What should I DO to eliminate violence in me?
Acknowledge it. Do not fight it. OBSERVE it when it appears and become aware on how “I “want to demonstrate my supremacy over others, then we invent escapes, such as pride, shame, competition, non-violence and even nationalism.
“Nationalism is a poison.”
J. Krishnamurti – Public talk 2 in Bombay (Mumbai) 25 January 1981.
As the emotion is OBSERVED without labeling it or judgment; there is a space where it could be seen to its root causes. Every person may have a different root, although the “output” is violence. Observation is not concerned with results or the goal of “becoming better.” Observation is only concerned with OBSERVATION.
Thought, memory, thinking, conditioning, action; which in our society usually results in violence. It is a vicious cycle.
For those eager to “practice” and learn this “new method,” there is a catch:
“Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.” – J. Krishnamurti. There is no achievement, no “becoming better,” no reward in the afterlife, no “special mention” and honors, no utility whatsoever in our “money making” society. Can we handle that?
As we start observing the “others” that is society, just to know ourselves; we could make great progress in self knowledge. The mirror is there, reflecting back our true colors.
The ideology of modern society which is taught to individuals is built upon 2 clear principles, which are applied according to social power:
“I am the center of the Universe” and “If it doesn’t go my way, I will fight until it does.”
Those are the universal, infantile principles of the “I.”
Although, we may observe how childish those ideas are, we may not be able to recognize that the collective consciousness is within us. The training has been assimilated and those ideas will reflect the way our society acts as a whole.
The opposite extreme of those two main principles will be there as well, that is to the point where there is no self-worth. Any extreme location is a disease of the mind. We could observe how many human relationships typically bring those 2 extremes together as a “match made in heaven.” That is how we could safely assume, that there is a strong need for mental health in our society.
Life is not just about two states: happy and unhappy, as the collective consciousness dictates. Like a computer, we have been programmed to perceive only 2 states, 2 “bits” a “0” and “1”, on and off. Man created the computer in his own image.
Observe how labels are extremist. We say “there is good people and bad people”. We have learned to look at Life from 2 opposite colors (black or white) and as we “mature,” we have been told that Life has many “gray” areas; the combination of those two colors.
Life is not “gray”. It doesn’t have “gray” areas as we are told to believe; but our society may be very “gray” indeed. Life is colorful. Truly we cannot attempt to classify individuals or Life into 2 little boxes; although that is what we learn in the “system.”
When we go through the “system” our minds are fixed into good, bad, right, wrong, winner, loser, god, devil, success, failure, beautiful, ugly, life, death, etc. The collective consciousness is unable to perceive the amplitude of a label-less, colorful life. While it is true that we are condemned by our dualistic language, to use simple but inaccurate labels to communicate with each other; few will realize that our AWARENESS should be strong enough so we don’t believe what we are saying.
Language describes things which may not be accurate. Spiritual, non-material values are clear examples (describe beauty or peace) but yet the collective consciousness believes in “holy words.”
Is there truly such a thing as a “bad” person? What about a “good” person? It is important to see that our judgment is biased as any judgment is. Nevertheless, we judge and place individuals in one of the 2 boxes available for us. Thus, as we say “bad dog”, we may want to be AWARE that this judgment is only for a particular situation and a limited time; and this label will need to be erased from our minds next time we meet such dog. However, more important than the label is the FEELING behind the label; for the feeling will give the flavor and we will keep the taste of it.
For the collective consciousness, words are everything. However, words without feelings are dead words. Observe yourself while speaking to someone and perceive the times when feelings arise. That is a fantastic training to be able to perceive the main conditioning of the collective consciousness: VIOLENCE.
We could smell violence in the air. It impregnates every human activity at this time. Even human sexuality. That is an activity which should be enjoyable and free from manipulation of the “I”, but it is another field to display violence.
Observe how sexuality has been transformed into a game of man vs woman (or partners against each other). Observe how it has been transformed into a game of performance and violent touching, wording and furious behavior which paradoxically is labeled as “making love. “
Observe how the infantile collective consciousness is permeated with violence in all aspects. An AWARE individual should be conscious of that influence.
When a person is ready to start his own process of de-condition, he will observe how deep the roots of violence are within.
We cannot cut those roots for the pain would be unbearable (if that was possible.) We can observe them, become aware of them and begin sowing the seed of gentleness.
Protect that seed while it is growing, for eventually it will use the roots of violence to nurture itself, for the opposite of violence is gentleness and that means, that both have the same root. Duality 101. Observe that mainstream religious, social and moral teachings would like for us to “get rid of violence” through rejection. That is a violent way to uproot something which is the fuel for its opposite.
We cannot cut violence with violence, but we can let it be transformed gradually; that change will be ushered into gentleness. This is personal inner work.
“Time, Sun and Water” will do the magic in such fertile soil.
In Nature, we can observe a variety of flowers: Colors, shapes, sizes, etc.
We could observe new born buds, full grown flowers and the ones decaying. Life will allow us to see the full range of experiences as an observer.
Is a decaying flower worse off than a new born bud?
Observe the range. Every flower will go through that range of experiences.
We say: “Young and old.” That distinction, that duality is a seed for suffering, for a traumatic experience when we imbibe conditionings beyond the label.
Labels allow us to make distinctions. When we give to a label certain value as in good/bad, right/wrong; we will create a trauma.
Life will show us the full range at any given time. Today, “you” may be the representative for young. Tomorrow, it is certain that “you” will represent old. What is the trauma? To identify with a particular, transient state. We cannot fully observe when we identify ourselves with something. We are biased.
To live on Earth; means to experience duality at every step. Our “choice,” our attachment to one side of a duality creates the trauma in Life. That trauma will not allow us to evolve for fear arrives.
Fear brings a mentality of continuous fight to live, a mind conditioned to compete for ideals, or an obsession to maintain something unchanged.
To enjoy Life with that conditioning, with that program; is impossible.
Gradual change in Life is the law. Humans do not respect that. We want for things to change “now.” The consequence is violence. What happens when violence increases? Look around you.