There are two kinds of experience, that of wish and that of actuality. But to experience the actual, the real, the experiences of wish must cease. The experience of wish is the mere continuance of separative self-consciousness and this prevents the comprehension of actuality. Although you may think that you are experiencing the actual, you are really experiencing your own wishes, and these wishes become so real, so concrete, so definite, that you take them for actuality. The experience of wish continues to create division and conflict.
What are the results of the experiences of wish? They are the coverings or masks that we have developed through our own volitional activities, based on fear and the search for security, the security of the here with its acquisitiveness or of the hereafter with its hopes and longings, the security of opinion, beliefs and ideals. These masks and coverings, the product of the volitional activity of craving, continue the beginningless process of the "I", that consciousness which we call individuality. As long as these masks exist there cannot be the comprehension of the real, the actual.
You will ask: How can I live, exist, without any craving or wish? You ask this question because for you this conception is only theoretical, and as you have not experimented, you have not proved to yourself its validity, its actuality. If you experiment, you will perceive that you can live without craving, integrally, completely, actually, and so comprehend reality, the beauty and the fullness of life. Whether you can live, work and create without craving, wishing, can be discovered not by another for you but only by yourself.
So long as the process of reforming the "I" continues through the experiences of wish, there must be confusion, sorrow and friction from which the mind tries to escape into the search after immortality or other comfort and security, thus engendering the process of exploitation. With the cessation of all experiences of wish, which sustains separative individuality, there is the nameless, immeasurable reality, bliss. To be able to experience reality, you must be free of all the masks which you have developed in the struggle for acquisition, born of craving.
These masks do not conceal reality. We are apt to think that by getting rid of these masks we will find reality, or that by uncovering the many layers of want we will discover that which is hidden. Thus we are assuming that behind this ignorance, or in the depths of con- sciousness, or beyond this friction of will, of craving, lies reality. This consciousness of many masks, of many layers, does not conceal within itself reality. But as we begin to comprehend the process of development of these masks, these layers of consciousness, and as consciousness frees itself from its volitional growth, there is reality. Our conception that man is divine but limited, that beauty is concealed by ugliness, wisdom buried under ignorance, supreme intelligence hiding in darkness, is utterly erroneous. In discerning how through this beginningless ignorance and its activities there has arisen the "I" process and in bringing that process to an end, there is enlightenment. It is an experience of that which is immeasurable; which cannot be described, but is.
How is one to discern this beginningless ignorance with its volitional activities? How is one to bring about its end? How can one become deeply thoughtful, integrally aware of the process of consciousness with its many layers of tendencies, cravings, hatreds and desires? Can any discipline or system help one to recognize and end this process of ignorance and sorrow?
By experiment you will perceive that no system, no guide and no discipline can ever help you to discern this process or bring ignorance to an end. You need an eager, pliable mind, capable of direct discernment in which there is no choice. But as your mind is prejudiced, divided in itself, it is incapable of true discernment. As you are prejudiced you have to become aware of that fact before you can begin to discern what is actual and what is illusory. To discern, there must be awareness. You must become aware of the movement of your thought and its activity. Whatever you do, do it with the fullness of mind and you will perceive that in this awakening process, many hidden and subtle thoughts and cravings are revealed. When the mind is no longer bound by choice there is the experience of actuality. For choice is based on wish, and where there is wish there cannot be discernment. By right effort of awakened interest, the beginningless process of ignorance, with its self-sustaining activities, is brought to an end. It is by right endeavour that the mind, freeing itself from its own self-created fears, tendencies and cravings, is able to discern the real, the immeasurable.
New York City
2nd Public Talk 4th June, 1936