Walking* along the pavement overlooking the biggest basilica and down the famous steps to a fountain and many picked flowers of so many colours, crossing the crowded square, we went along a narrow one-way street [via Margutta], quiet, with not too many cars; there in that dimly lit street, with few unfashionable shops, suddenly and most unexpectedly, that otherness came with such intense tenderness and beauty that one's body and brain became motionless. For some days now, it had not made its immense presence felt; it was there vaguely, in the distance, a whisper but there the immense was manifesting itself, sharply and with waiting patience. Thought and speech were gone and there was peculiar joy and clarity. It followed down the long, narrow street till the roar of traffic and the overcrowded pavement swallowed us all. It was a benediction that was beyond all image and thoughts.
28th At odd and unexpected moments, the otherness has come, suddenly and unexpectedly and went its way, without invitation and without need. All need and demand must wholly cease for it to be.
Meditation, in the still hours of early morning, with no car rattling by, was the unfolding of beauty. It was not thought exploring with its limited capacity nor the sensitivity of feeling; it was not any outward or inward substance which was expressing itself; it was not the movement of time, for the brain was still. It was total negation of everything known, not a reaction but a denial that had no cause; it was a movement in complete freedom, a movement that had no direction and dimension; in that movement there was boundless energy whose very essence was stillness. Its action was total inaction and the essence of that inaction is freedom. There was great bliss, a great ecstasy that perished at the touch of thought.
30th The sun was setting in great clouds of colour behind the Roman hills; they were brilliant, splashed across the sky and the whole earth was made splendid, even the telegraph poles and the endless rows of building. It was soon becoming dark and the car was going fast.** The hills faded and the country became flat. To look with thought and to look without thought are two different things. To look at those trees by the roadside and the buildings across the dry fields with thought, keeps the brain tied to its own moorings of time, experience, memory; the machinery of thought is working endlessly, without rest, without freshness; the brain is made dull, insensitive, without the power of recuperation. It is everlastingly responding to challenge and its response is inadequate and not fresh. To look with thought keeps the brain in the groove of habit and recognition; it becomes tired and sluggish; it lives within the narrow limitations of its own making. It is never free. This freedom takes place when thought is not looking; to look without thought does not mean a blank observation, absence in distraction. When thought does not look, then there is only observation, without the mechanical process of recognition and comparison, justification and condemnation; this seeing does not fatigue the brain for all mechanical processes of time have stopped. Through complete rest the brain is made fresh, to respond without reaction, to live without deterioration, to die without the torture of problems. To look without thought is to see without the interference of time, knowledge and conflict. This freedom to see is not a reaction; all reactions have causes; to look without reaction is not indifference, aloofness, a cold-blooded withdrawal. To see without the mechanism of thought is total seeing, without particularization and division, which does not mean that there is not separation and dissimilarity. The tree does not become a house or the house a tree. Seeing without thought does not put the brain to sleep; on the contrary, it is fully awake, attentive, without friction and pain. Attention without the borders of time is the flowering of meditation.
October 3rd The clouds were magnificent; the horizon was filled with them, except in the west where the sky was clear. Some were black, heavy with thunder and rain; others were pure white, full of light and splendour. They were of every shape and size, delicate, threatening, billowy; they were piled up one against the other, with immense power and beauty. They seemed motionless but there was violent movement within them and nothing could stop their shattering immensity. A gentle wind was blowing from the west, driving these vast, mountainous clouds against the hills; the hills were giving shape to the clouds and they were moving with these clouds of darkness and light. The hills with their scattered villages, were waiting for the rains that were so long in coming; they would soon be green again and the trees would soon lose their leaves with the coming winter. The road was straight with shapely trees on either side and the car was holding the road at great speed, even at the curves; the car was made to go fast and to hold the road and it was performing very well that morning.*** It was shaped for speed, low, hugging the road. We were too soon leaving the country and entering into the town [Rome] but those clouds were there, immense, furious and waiting.
In the middle of the night (at Circeo], when it was utterly quiet, save for an occasional hoot of an owl which was calling without a reply, in a little house in the woods,+ meditation was pure delight, without a flutter of thought, with its endless subtleties; it was a movement that had no end and every movement of the brain was still, watching from emptiness. It was an emptiness that had known no knowing; it was emptiness that had known no space; it was empty of time. It was empty, past all seeing, knowing and being. In this emptiness there was fury; the fury of a storm, the fury of exploding universe, the fury of creation which could never have any expression. It was the fury of all life, death and love. But yet it was empty, a vast, boundless emptiness which nothing could ever fill, transform or cover up. Meditation was the ecstasy of this emptiness.
The subtle interrelationship of the mind, the brain and the body is the complicated play of life. There is misery when one predominates over the other and the mind cannot dominate the brain or the physical organism; when there is harmony between the two, then the mind can consent to abide with them; it is not a plaything of either. The whole can contain the particular but the little, the part, can never formulate the whole. It is incredibly subtle for the two to live together in complete harmony, without one or the other forcing, choosing, dominating. The intellect can and does destroy the body and the body with its dullness, insensitivity can pervert, bring about the deterioration of the intellect. The neglect of the body with its indulgent and demanding tastes, with its appetites can make the body heavy and insensitive and so make dull thought. And thought becoming more refined, more cunning can and does neglect the demands of the body which then sets about to pervert thought. A fat, gross body does interfere with the subtleties of thought, and thought, escaping from the conflicts and problems it has bred, does make the body a perverse thing. The body and the brain have to be sensitive and in harmony to be with the incredible subtleness of the mind which is ever explosive and destructive. The mind is not a plaything of the brain, whose function is mechanical.
When the absolute necessity of complete harmony of the brain and body is seen, then the brain will watch over the body, not dominating it and this very watching sharpens the brain and makes the body sensitive. The seeing is the fact and with the fact there is no bargaining; it can be put aside, denied, avoided but it still remains a fact. The understanding of the fact is essential and not the evaluation of the fact. When the fact is seen, then the brain is watchful of the habits, the degenerating factors of the body. Then thought does not impose a discipline on the body nor control it; for discipline, control makes for insensitivity and any form of insensitivity is deterioration, a withering away.
Again on waking, when there were no cars roaring up the hill and the smell of a small wood near by was in the air**** and rain was tapping on the window, there was that otherness again filling the room; it was intense and there was a sense of fury; it was the fury of a storm, of a full, roaring river, the fury of innocency. It was there in the room with such abundance that every form of meditation came to an end and the brain was looking, feeling out of its own emptiness. It lasted for considerable time and in spite of the fury of its intensity or because of it. The brain remained empty, full of that otherness. It shattered everything that one thought of, that one felt or saw; it was an emptiness in which nothing existed. It was complete destruction.
4th The train [to Florence] was going very fast, over ninety miles an hour; the towns on the hills were familiar and the lake [Trasimenus] seemed a friend. It was a familiar country, the olive and the cypress and the road that followed the railway. It was raining and the earth was glad of it, for months had passed without rain and now there were new shoots of green and the rivers were running brown, fast and full. The train was following the valleys, shouting at the crossroads, and the workmen labouring along the metalled way stopped and waved as the train slowed down. It was a pleasant cool morning and autumn was turning many leaves brown and yellow; they were ploughing deep for the winter sowing and the hills seemed so friendly, never too high, gentle and old. The train was again running very fast and the drivers of this electric train welcomed us and asked us to come into their cab for we had met several times in several years; before the train started they said we must come and see them; they were as friendly as the rivers and the hills. From their window the country was open and the hills with their towns and the river that we were following seemed to be waiting for the familiar roar of their train. The sun was touching a few of the hills and there was a smile upon the face of the land. As we raced north, the sky was becoming clear and the cypress and the olive against the blue sky were delicate in their splendour. The earth, as ever, was beautiful.
It was deep in the night when meditation was filling the spaces of the brain and beyond. Meditation is not a conflict, a war between what is and what should be; there was no control and so no distraction. There was no contradiction between the thinker and the thought for neither existed. There was only seeing without the observer; this seeing came out of emptiness and that emptiness had no cause. All causation breeds inaction, which is called action.
How strange love is and how respectable it has become, the love of God, the love of the neighbour, the love of the family. How neatly it has been divided, the profane and the sacred; duty and responsibility; obedience and the willingness to die and to deal out death. The priests talk of it and so do the generals, planning wars; the politicians and the housewife everlastingly complain about it. Jealousy and envy nourish love, and relationship is held in its prison. They have it on the screen and in the magazine and every radio and television blares it out. When death takes away love there is the photo in the frame or the image which memory keeps on revising or it is tightly held in belief. Generation after generation is bred upon this and sorrow goes on without an end.
Continuity of love is pleasure and with it comes always pain but we try to avoid the one and cling to the other. This continuity is the stability and security in relationship, and in relationship there must be no change for relationship is habit and in habit there is security and sorrow. To this unending machinery of pleasure and pain we cling and this thing is called love. To escape from its weariness, there is religion and romanticism. The word changes and becomes modified with each one but romanticism offers a marvellous escape from the fact of pleasure and sorrow. And, of course, the ultimate refuge and hope is God who has become so very respectable and profitable.
But all this isn't love. Love has no continuity; it cannot be carried over to tomorrow; it has no future. What has is memory, and memories are ashes of everything dead and buried. Love has no tomorrow; it cannot be caught in time and made respectable. It is there when time is not. It has no promise, no hope; hope breeds despair. It belongs to no god and so to no thought and feeling. It is not conjured up by the brain. It lives and dies each minute. Is a terrible thing, for love is destruction. It is destruction without tomorrow. Love is destruction.
5th There is a huge, tall tree in the garden,***** it has an enormous trunk and during the night its dry leaves were noisy in the autumnal wind; every tree in the garden was alive, rustling, and winter was still far away; they were all whispering, shouting and the wind was restless. But the tree dominated the garden; it towered over the four-storey house and the river [the Mugnone] fed it. It was not one of those large rivers, sweeping and dangerous; its life had been made famous and it curves in and out of the valleys and enters the sea, some distance away. There is always water in it and there are fishermen hanging over the bridges and along its banks. In the night the small waterfall complains a great deal and its noise fills the air; the rustle of leaves, the waterfall and the restless wind seem to be talking to each other a great deal. It was a lovely morning with a blue sky and a few clouds scattered about; there are two cypresses beyond all others that stand clear against the sky.
Again, well after midnight, when the wind was noisy among the trees, meditation became a fierce explosion, destroying all the things of the brain; every thought shapes every response and limits action. Action born of idea is non-action; such non-action breeds conflict and sorrow. It was in the still moment of meditation that there was strength.
Strength is not the many threads of will; will is resistance and the action of will breeds confusion and sorrow within and without. Strength is not the opposite of weakness; all opposites contain their own contradiction.
7th It had begun to rain and the sky was heavy with clouds; before the sky was covered over entirely, immense clouds filled the horizon and it was a marvellous thing to see them. They were so immense and peaceful; it was the peace of enormous power and strength. And the Tuscan hills were so close to them, waiting for their fury. It came during the night, shattering thunder and lightning that showed every leaf aquiver with wind and life. It was a splendid night full of storm, life and immensity. All the afternoon the otherness had been coming, in the car and in the street. It was there most of the night and early this morning, long before dawn, when meditation was making its way into the unknown depths and heights; it was there with insistent fury. Meditation yielded to the otherness. It was there in the room, with the branches of that huge tree in the garden; it was there with such incredible power and life that the very bones felt it; it seemed to press right through one and made the body and brain completely motionless. It had been there all night in a mild and gentle way and sleep became a very light affair, but as dawn was coming near, it became a crushing, penetrating power. The body and the brain were very alert, listening to the rustle of leaves and seeing the dawn coming through the dark branches of a tall, straight pine. It had great tenderness and beauty that was past and beyond all thought and emotion. It was there and with it was benediction.
Strength is not the opposite of weakness; all opposites breed further opposites. Strength is not an event of will and will is action in contradiction. There is a strength that has no cause, that is not put together through multiple decisions. It is that strength that exists in negation and denial; it is that strength that comes into being out of total aloneness. It is that strength which comes when all conflict and effort have completely ceased. It is there when all thought and feeling have come to an end and there is only seeing. It is there when ambition, greed, envy have come to an end without any compulsion; they wither away with understanding. There is that strength when love is death and death life. The essence of strength is humility.
How strong is the newborn leaf in spring, so vulnerable, so easily destroyed. Vulnerability is the essence of virtue. Virtue is never strong; it cannot stand the glare of respectability and the vanity of the intellect. Virtue is not a mechanical continuity of an idea, of thought in habit. The strength of virtue is that it is easily destroyed to be reborn again anew. Strength and virtue go together for neither can exist without the other. They can only survive in emptiness.
8th It had been raining all day; the roads were slushy and there was more brown water in the river and the slight fall of the river was making more noise. It was a still night, an invitation to the rains which never stopped till early this morning. And the sun suddenly came out and towards the west the sky was blue, rain washed and clean, with those enormous clouds full of light and splendour. It was a beautiful morning and looking to the west, with the sky so intensely blue, all thought and emotion disappeared and the seeing was from emptiness.
Before dawn, meditation was the immense opening into the unknown. Nothing can open the door save the complete destruction of the known. Meditation is explosion in understanding. There is no understanding without self-knowing; learning about the self is not accumulating knowledge about it; gathering of knowledge prevents learning; learning is not an additive process; learning is from moment to moment, as is understanding. This total process of learning is explosion in meditation. 9th Early this morning, the sky was without a cloud; the sun was coming up behind the Tuscan hills, grey with olive, with dark cypress. There were no shadows on the river and the aspen leaves were still. A few birds that had not yet migrated were chattering and the river seemed motionless; as the sun came up behind the river it cast long shadows on the quiet water.****** But a gentle breeze was coming over the hills and through the valleys; it was among the leaves, setting them trembling and dancing with the morning sun on them. There were long and short shadows, fat ones and little ones on the brown sparkling waters; a solitary chimney began to smoke, grey fumes carrying across the trees. It was a lovely morning, full of enchantment and beauty, there were so many shadows and so many leaves trembling. There was perfume in the air and though it was an autumnal sun there was the breath of spring. A small car was going up the hill, making an awful noise but a thousand shadows remained motionless. It was a lovely morning.
In the afternoon yesterday, it began suddenly, in a room overlooking a noisy street; the strength and the beauty of the otherness was spreading from the room outward over the traffic, past the gardens and beyond the hills. It was there immense and impenetrable; it was there in the afternoon, and just as one was getting into bed it was there with furious intensity, a benediction of great holiness. There is no getting used to it for it is always different, there's something always new, a new quality, a subtle significance, a new light, something that had not been seen before. It was not a thing to be stored up, remembered and examined, at leisure; it was there and no thought could approach for the brain was still and there was no time, to experience, to store up. It was there and all thought became still.
The intense energy of life is always there, night and day.
It is without friction, without direction, without choice and effort. It is there with such intensity that thought and feeing cannot capture it to mould it according to their fancies, beliefs, experiences and demands. It is there with such abundance that nothing can diminish it. But we try to use it, to give it direction, to capture it within the mould of our existence and thereby twist it to conform to our pattern, experience and knowledge. It is ambition, envy, greed that narrow down its energy and so there is conflict and sorrow; the cruelty of ambition, personal or collective, distorts its intensity, causing hatred, antagonism, conflict. Every action of envy perverts this energy, causing discontent, misery, fear; with fear there is guilt and anxiety and the never ending misery of comparison and irritation. It is this perverted energy that makes the priest and the general, the politician and the thief. This boundless energy made incomplete by our desire for permanency and security is the soil in which grow barren ideas, competition, cruelty and war; it is the cause of everlasting conflict between man and man.
When all this is put aside, with ease and without effort, then only is there that intense energy which can only exist and flower in freedom. In freedom alone, it causes no conflict and sorrow; then alone it increases and has no end. It is life that has no beginning and no end; it is creation which is love, destruction.
Energy used in one direction leads to one thing, conflict and sorrow; energy that is the expression of total life is bliss beyond measure.
12th The sky was yellow in the setting sun and the dark cypress and the grey olive were startlingly beautiful, and down below the winding river was golden. It was a splendid evening, full of light and silence. From that height******* you could see the city in the valley, the dome and the beautiful campanile and the river curving through the town. Going down the incline and down the steps, one felt the great beauty of the evening; there were few people and the odd, restless tourists had passed by there earlier, always chattering, taking photos and hardly ever seeing. There was perfume in the air and as the sun went down, the silence became intense, rich and unfathomable. Out of this silence only, there is seeing, listening really, and out of this came meditation, though the little car went down the curving road noisily, with a great many bumps. There were two Roman pines against the yellowing sky and though one had seen them often before it was as if they were never seen; the gentle sloping hill was silver-grey with the olive and the darkly solitary cypress was everywhere. Meditation was explosion, not carefully planned, contrived and joined together with determined pursuit. It was an explosion without leaving any remnant of the past. It exploded time, and time never need again stop. In this explosion everything was without shadow and to see without shadow is to see beyond time. It was a marvellous evening so full of humour and space. The noisy town with its lights and the smooth running train were in this vast silence and its beauty was everywhere.
The train, going south [back to Rome] was crowded with many tourists and businessmen; they were endlessly smoking eating heavily when the meal was served. The country was beautiful, rain washed, fresh and there was not a cloud in the sky. There were old walled towns on the hills and the lake of many memories was blue, without a ripple; the rich land yielded to poor and arid soil and the farms seemed less prosperous, the chickens were thinner, there were no cattle about and there were few sheep. The train was going fast trying to make up the time that it had lost. It was a marvellous day and there in that smoky compartment, with passengers that hardly looked out of the window, there was that otherness. All that night, it was there with such intensity that the brain felt its pressure. It was as though at the very centre of all existence, it was operating in its purity and immensity. The brain watched, as it was watching the scene racing by, and in this very act, it went beyond its own limitations. And during the night at odd moments, meditation was a fire of explosion.
13th The skies are clear, the small wood across the way is full of light and shadows. Early in the morning before the sun showed over the hill, when dawn was still on the land and there were no cars going up the hill, meditation was inexhaustible. Thought is always limited, it cannot go very far, for it is rooted in memory, and when it does go far, it becomes merely speculative, imaginative, without validity. Thought cannot find what is and what is not beyond its own borders of time; thought is time-binding. Thought unravelling itself, untangling itself from the net of its own making is not the total movement of meditation. Thought in conflict with itself is not meditation; the ending of thought and the beginning of the new is meditation. The sun was making patterns on the wall, cars were coming up the hill and presently the workmen were whistling and singing on the new building across the way.
The brain is restless, an astonishingly sensitive instrument. It's always receiving impressions, interpreting them, storing them away; it is never still, waking or sleeping. Its concern is survival and security, the inherited animal responses; on the basis of these, its cunning devices are built, within and without; its gods, its virtues, its moralities are its defences; its ambitions, desires, compulsions and conformities are the urges of survival and security. Being highly sensitive, the brain with its machinery of thought, begins the cultivation of time, the yesterdays, the today and the many tomorrows; this gives it an opportunity of postponement and fulfilment; the postponement, the ideal and the fulfilment are the continuity of itself. But in this there is always sorrow; from this there is the flight into belief, dogma, action and into multiple forms of entertainment, including the religious rituals. But there is always death and its fear; thought then seeks comfort and escape in rational and irrational beliefs, hopes, conclusions. Words and theories become amazingly important, living on these and building its whole structure of existence on these feelings which words and conclusions arouse. The brain and its thought function at a very superficial level, however deeply thought may have hoped it has journeyed. For thought, however experienced, however clever and erudite, is superficial. The brain and its activities are a fragment of the whole totality of life; the fragment has become completely important to itself and its relationship to other fragments. This fragmentation and the contradiction it breeds is its very existence; it cannot understand the whole and when it attempts to formulate the totality of life, it can only think in terms of opposites and reactions which only breed conflict, confusion and misery.
Thought can never understand or formulate the whole of life. Only when the brain and its thought are completely still, not asleep or drugged by discipline, compulsion, or hypnotized, then only is there the awareness of the whole. The brain which is so astonishingly sensitive can be still, still in its sensitivity, widely and deeply attentive but entirely quiet. When time and its measure cease then only is there the whole, the unknowable.
4th In the gardens [of the Vila Borghese], right in the middle of the noisy and smelly town, with its flat pines and many trees, turning yellow and brown and the smell of damp ground, there, walking with certain seriousness, was the awareness of the otherness. It was there with great beauty and tenderness; it was not that one was thinking about it - it avoids all thought - but it was there so abundantly that it caused surprise and great delight. Seriousness of thought is so frag- mentary and immature but there must be seriousness which is not the product of desire. There is a seriousness that has the quality of light whose very nature is to penetrate, a light that has no shadow; this seriousness is infinitely pliable and therefore joyous. It was there and every tree and leaf, every blade of grass and flower became intensely alive and splendid; colour intense and the sky immeasurable. The earth, moist and leaf-strewn, was life.
15th The morning sun is on the little wood on the other side of the road; it is a quiet, peaceful morning, soft, the sun not too hot and the air is fresh and cool. Every tree is so fascinatingly alive, with so many colours and there are so many shadows; they are all calling and waiting. Long before the sun was up, when it was quiet with no car going up the hill, meditation was a movement in benediction. This movement flowed into the otherness, for it was there in the room, filling it and overflowing it, outward and beyond, without end. There was in it a depth that was unfathomable, of such immensity and there was peace. This peace never knew contact, was uncontaminated by thought and time. It was not the peace of ultimate finality; it was something that was tremendously and dangerously alive. And it was without defence. Every form of resistance is violence, so also is concession. It was not the peace that conflict engenders; it was beyond all conflict and its opposites. It was not the fruit of satisfaction and discontent, in which are the seeds of deterioration.
16th It was before dawn, when there was no noise and the city was still asleep, that the waking brain became quiet for the otherness was there. It came in so quietly and with hesitant care for there was sleep still in the eyes but there was great delight, the delight of great simplicity and purity. 18th On the plane.******** There was thunder and a great downpour of rain; it woke one up in the middle of the night [in Rome] and the rain was beating on the window and among the trees across the road. The day had been hot and the air was now pleasantly cool; the town was asleep and the storm had taken over. The roads were wet and there was hardly any traffic so early in the morning; the sky was still heavy with clouds and dawn was over the land. The church [S. Giovanni in Laterano] with its golden mosaic was bright with artificial light. + The airport was far away and the powerful car was running beautifully; it was trying to race the clouds. It passed the few cars that were on the road and hugged the road round every corner at high speed. It had been held too long in the city and now it was on the open road. And there was the airport too soon. The smell of the sea and the damp earth was in the air; the freshly ploughed fields were dark and the green of the trees so bright, though autumn had touched a few leaves; the wind was blowing from the west and there would be no sun during all that day on the land. Every leaf was washed clean and there was beauty and peace on the land.
In the middle of the night, when it was quiet after thunder and lightning, the brain was utterly still and meditation was an opening into immeasurable emptiness. The very sensitivity of the brain made it still; it was still for no cause; the action of stillness with cause is disintegration. It was so still that the limited space of a room had disappeared and time had stopped. There was only an awakened attention, with a centre which was attentive; it was the attention in which the origin of thought had ceased, without any violence, naturally, easily. It could hear the rain and movement in the next room; it was listening without any interpretation and watching without
There is no entry for the 19th.
Ciampino. The airport at Fiuminei had not yet been built. knowledge. The body was also motionless. Meditation yielded to the otherness; it was of shattering purity. Its purity left no residue; it was there, that is all and nothing existed. As there was nothing, it was. It was the purity of all essence. This peace is a vast, boundless space, of immeasurable emptiness.
* He was now in Rome. He had flown there on the 25th.
** On the way to Circeo, near the sea, between Rome and Naples.
*** On the way back to Rome from Circeo where he had spent three nights in the hotel la Baya d'argento. One of the little cottages belonging to the hotel at Circeo, situated in a wood-garden. It was very quiet there. Each cottage contained two bedrooms, a bathroom and sitting-room.
**** He was staying in Rome in the via dei colli della Farnesina, a new road with very little traffic on it; the small wood was across the way.
***** An ilex. He was staying in a villa, Il Leccio, north of Florence, above Fiesole.
****** A little pond formed by the stream in a wood. An apartment in Florence where he was paying a visit.
******* From S. Miniato al Monte on the south side of the Arno.
******** Flying to Bombay where he arrived on the 20th.