They had come from different parts of the world, and had been discussing some of the problems that confront most of us. It is good to talk things over; but mere words, clever arguments and wide knowledge do not bring freedom from aching problems. Cleverness and knowledge may and often do show their own futility, and the discovery of their futility makes the mind silent.
In that silence, understanding of the problem comes; but to seek that silence is to breed another problem, another conflict. Explanations, the uncovering of causes, analytical dissections of the problem, do not in any way resolve it; for it cannot be resolved by the ways of the mind. The mind can only breed further problems, it can run away from the problem through explanations, ideals, intentions; but do what it will, the mind cannot free itself from the problem. The mind itself is the field in which problems, conflicts, grow and multiply. Thought cannot silence itself; it can put on a cloak of silence, but that is only concealment and pose. Thought can kill itself by disciplined action towards a predetermined end; but death is not silent. Death is more vociferous than life. Any movement of the mind is a hindrance to silence.
Through the open windows came a confusion of sounds: the loud talk and quarrelling in the village, an engine letting off steam, the cries of children and their free laughter, the rumble of a passing lorry, the buzzing of bees, the strident call of the crows. And amidst all this noise, a silence was creeping into the room, unsought and uninvited. Through words and arguments, through misunderstandings and struggles, that silence was spreading its wings. The quality of that silence is not the cessation of noise, of chatter and word; to include that silence, the mind must lose its capacity to expand. That silence is free from all compulsions, conformities, efforts; it is inexhaustible and so ever new, ever fresh. But the word is not that silence.
Why is it that we seek results, goals? Why is it that the mind is ever pursuing an end? And why should it not pursue an end? In coming here, are we not seeking something, some experience, some delight? We are tired and fed up with the many things that we have been playing with; we have turned away from them, and now we want a new toy to play with. We go from one thing to another, like a woman who goes window-shopping, till we find something that is entirely satisfying; and then we settle down to stagnate.
We are forever craving something; and having tasted many things which were mostly unsatisfactory, we now want the ultimate thing: God, truth, or what you will. We want a result, a new experience, a new sensation that will endure in spite of everything. We never see the futility of result, but only of a particular result; so we wander from one result to another, hoping always to find the one that will end all search.
The search for result, for success, is binding, limiting; it is ever coming to an end. Gaining is a process of ending. To arrive is death. Yet that is what we are seeking, is it not? We are seeking death, only we call it result, goal, purpose. We want to arrive. We are tired of this everlasting struggle, and we want to get there-‘there’ placed at whatever level. We do not see the wasteful destructiveness of struggle, but desire to be free of it through gaining a result.
We do not see the truth of struggle, of conflict, and so we use it as a means of getting what we want, the most satisfying thing; and that which is most satisfying is determined by the intensity of our discontent. This desire for result always ends in gain; but we want a never-ending result. So, what is our problem? How to be free from the craving for results, is that it?
‘I think that is it. The very desire to be free is also a desire for a result, is it not?’
We shall get thoroughly entangled if we pursue that line. Is it that we cannot see the futility of result, at whatever level we may place it? Is that our problem? Let us see our problem clearly, and then perhaps we shall be able to understand it. Is it a question of seeing the futility of one result and so discarding all desire for results? If we perceive the uselessness of one escape, then all escapes are vain. Is that our problem? Surely, it is not quite that, is it? Perhaps we can approach it differently. Is not experience a result also? If we are to be free from results, must we not also be free from experience? For, is not experience an outcome, an end?
‘The end of what?
’The end of experiencing. Experience is the memory of experiencing, is it not? When experiencing ends, there is experience, the result. While experiencing, there is no experience; experience is but the memory of having experienced. As the state of experiencing fades, experience begins. Experience is ever hindering experiencing,
living. Results, experiences, come to an end; but experiencing is inexhaustible. When the inexhaustible is hindered by memory, then the search for results begins.
The mind, the result, is always seeking an end, a purpose, and that is death. Death is not when the experiencer is not. Only then is there the inexhaustible.
Excerpt from Commentaries on Living I