Letter 8

From the book "Letters to a young friend"

How lovely a river is. A country without a rich, wide flowing river is no country at all. To sit on the bank of a river and let the waters flow by, to watch the gentle ripples and hear the lapping of the ripples on the bank; to see the wind on the water making patterns; to see the swallows touching the water, the water catching insects; and in the distance, across the water, on the other bank, human voices or a boy playing the flute, of a still evening, quietens all the noise about one. Somehow, the waters seem to purify one, cleanse the dust of yesterday’s memories and give that quality to the mind of its own pureness, as the water in itself is pure. A river receives everything-the sewer, the corpses, the filth of the cities it passes, and yet it cleanses itself within a few miles. It receives everything and remains itself, neither caring nor knowing the pure from impure. It’s only the ponds, the little puddles that are soon contaminated, for they are not living, flowing, as the wide, sweet-smelling flowing rivers. Our minds are small puddles, soon made impure. It’s the little pond, called mind, that judges, weighs, analyzes, and yet remains the little pool of responsibility.

Thought has a root or roots, thought itself is the root. There must be reaction or otherwise there’s death; but to see that this reaction does not extend its root into the present or into the future is the problem. Thought is bound to arise, but to be aware of it and to end it immediately is essential. To think about thought, to examine it, to play around it, is to extend it, to give it root. This is really important to understand. To see how the mind thinks about thought is to react to the fact. The reaction is sadness and so on. To begin feeling sad, to think of the future return, to count the day, e.t.c., is to give root to the thought concerning the fact. So the mind establishes roots, and then how to root them out becomes another problem, another idea. To think of the future is to have roots in the soil of uncertainty.

To be really alone, not with yesterday’s memories and problems but to be alone and happy, to be alone without any outward or inward compulsion, is to let the mind be uninterfered. To be alone. To have a quality of love about a tree, protective and yet alone. We are losing the feeling for trees, and so we are losing love for man. When we can’t love nature, we can’t love man. Our Gods have become so small and petty and so is our love. In mediocrity we have our being, but there are the trees, the open heavens, and the inexhaustible riches of the earth.

You must have a clear mind, a free untethered mind; this is essential, you cannot have a clear, penetrating mind if there is fear of any sort. Fear clogs the mind. If the mind does not face its own self-created problems, it is not a clear, deep mind. To face its own peculiarities, to be aware of its urges, deeply and inwardly, to acknowledge all this without any resistance, is to have a profound and clear mind. Then only can there be a subtle mind, not merely a sharp mind. A subtle mind is a slow, hesitant mind; not a mind that concludes, judges, or formulates. This subtlety is essential. It must know to listen and to wait. To play with the deep. This is not to be got at the end, but this quality of the mind must be there from the very beginning. You may have it, give it a full and deep chance to flower.

To go into the unknown; to take nothing for granted, not to assume anything, to be free to find out, and then only can there be depth and understanding. Otherwise one remains on the surface. What is important is not to prove or disprove a point, but to find out the truth.

All idea of change or the truth of change is seen when there’s only “what is”. The “what is” is not different from the thinker. The thinker is that “what is”, the thinker is not separate from that “which is”.

It’s not possible to be at peace if there’s any kind of want, any hope for some future state. Suffering follows if there’s any want, life is generally full of want; even to have one want, even to know that one desire needs attention, and that is quite an affair. When found, don’t let it become a problem. To prolong the problem is to allow it to take root. Don’t let it take root. The one want is the one and only pain. It darkens life; there’s frustration and pain. Just be aware of it and be simple with it.

“ Why do you want to read others' books when there is the book of yourself? „
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