Talks in Europe 1967 | Paris, France 16th April 1967
We can only understand something when we see the totality of it, when we see its whole structure and the meaning of it. You cannot see the whole pattern of life, the whole movement of life, if you merely take one part of it and are tremendously concerned about that particular part. It is only when we see the whole map that we can see where we are and choose a particular road. So we are not concerned with individual salvation or individual liberation, or whatever the individual is trying to seek but rather with the whole movement of life, the understanding of the whole current of existence; then perhaps the individual problems can be approached entirely differently. It becomes extremely difficult to see the whole issue, to understand it - it demands attention. One cannot understand anything intellectually - you may hear words, give explanations, find out the cause, but that is not understanding. Understanding - as one observes oneself - takes place only when the mind, including the brain, is totally attentive. And one is not attentive when one is interpreting and translating what one sees according to one's background. You must have noticed - obviously most of us have - that when the mind is completely quiet - not demanding, not fussing around, not tearing to pieces the problem, but I really facing the problem with complete quietness - then there is an understanding. That very understanding is the action, the liberating force or energy, which frees us from the problem. So we are using the word `understand' in that sense, not intellectual or emotional understanding. And this understanding is rather a negation of the positive, the positive being understanding with the motive to do something about it. Most of us, when we have a problem, are inclined to worry about it, to tear it to pieces, to analyse it, to find a formula for dealing with it. And thought - as one may observe - is always the response of the old; thought is never new, yet the problem is always new. We translate the new, the problem, in terms of thought, and thought which is old is therefore positive, and active to do something about it.