Q: If I am at war with myself, it is the outcome of my life's events. If I complain, it is because I cannot help complaining. Can I not complain, observe my complaint, and be at peace with my complaining? Are you saying that I should try to evolve and try to stop complaining?
A: Not to stop complaining, but to watch how much we complain, and to see that complaining is pollution, and that it is the primary pollution. The primary pollution is from the mind. All dictators are thinking people. You've never heard about the stillness of Hitler, Stalin or Mao Tse Tung. These people act from thinking, and we see the result.
Again, there is nothing to stop. If you feel like engaging in a revolution, why not? There is nothing wrong with engaging in action, but for me it is secondary. It can be an expression of clarity, but it is not a way, because it is not what we do in life which is important. It is what we are, and as long as we haven’t seen our functioning, we live in a half-dream, thinking we are somebody we are not, demanding rights for what-we-are-not and pretending that what-we-are-not needs to be loved, respected, listened to etc. All of our energy is consumed there. Most people spend their time asking for love, listening, understanding and acceptance. They either ask, hoping that the other will love and accept them, or they engage in strategies to get love and acceptance. Most people don't sleep with their neighbor so that their wife won't sleep with the other neighbor. Some people like it that way. If you don't do this, I won’t do that. It's OK, but it is not love, it is business.
I believe that first, we must see this process at work in ourselves. After that, life is action. We cannot not act. According to your intelligence, your financial resources and your qualifications, you may act. You may be part of a revolution, if you have any military or political ability; I have no problem with that. But again, the direction will be obvious to you. As we said, if Abd-El-Kader could wage war and be a great mystic at the same time, so can you. But he had no ideology. That's why he was able to make peace with France at some point. He was free from himself. So, this work won't prevent you from making war, it will prevent you from making ideological war.
When you say that what you are is the result of your environment, I say yes, of course, and so what? Can you be a diplodocus? Can you be a chicken? Can you be a dog? No. So we accept the environment. Why? Because it is there. You live with this fact. Where you come from, I would say I don't care. I am who I am. You tell me that your body is a result of your ancestors, of your heredity, but I don’t care. Why? Because I live with the facts. I live with what is here. Where you come from is irrelevant to me. My character is what it is. My ability is what it is. I don't need an excuse. I don't need a pretext. I must listen to it. I must observe it. I must love it. Why? Because I have nothing else in life than myself. It is only when I encounter all my characteristics with this openness, without judgment, without wanting to change, that some clarity will come.
And when I have gained clarity in myself, when I have the clarity to love myself enough to totally accept and surrender to my capacities, to my limitations, to my stupidity, then I also have the clarity to surrender to my environment, to life. Then I will see what is possible, according to my abilities. So again, action comes from clarity.
For most people, action comes from reaction. If you tell somebody “you are stupid,” you really are the stupid one, this is not action, it is reaction. And many wars, as we can see again in this 21st century, are reactions. Whether it's on a trade level or a military level, reaction creates reaction. There is no military victory. Peace brings peace, war brings war. A war which supposedly brings peace is going to be bringing war later on. You want to begin with peace in order to end in peace. War never brings peace, it is a fantasy. Violence never brings peace.
So, for me it is the same thing; looking at oneself and looking at the world are exactly in the same realm. They need the same openness. When you realize that what you pretend to be is a fantasy, that all your life you defended an idea of yourself that actually does not exist, then you see that what you call the world—at least the world talked about by the media—is another fantasy, it does not exist. What does exist is something so much more complex, and, at the same time, so much easier to understand from an open point of view; but it is not ideological.
We can see the political world from a non-ideological point of view, but only if we are free of any idea of ourselves. Otherwise there will always be a preference. We will prefer this country over the other one, etc. To have no preference is to be free of oneself, because ego is only preference and judgment. With the ego, can we see anything without judgment? We can't. It is impossible. Pick up any book written by a historian and by the 21st page you already know the conclusion. Why? Because the historian only picked his field because of his own prejudice. His preconception will only deepen with knowledge. Knowledge is used to cement or concretize our preconception. Knowledge doesn't make our preconception explode.
You can see the facts and again, as I said before, acting is not a problem. We can act in any direction, support or criticize the government, it’s not a problem. But from the obvious, from the heart, not from thinking. The heart is unpredictable, it’s not a factor we can take for granted. Sometimes the mind says “I must intervene” and the heart will say “No, there's nothing to do.” And sometimes the mind will want to stay quiet, out of cowardice, and the heart will say “No, you must do something.” So, we must feel whether the action comes from the heart or from the mind. Generally, it comes from the mind, because thinking is so fast that we cannot help but see the situation as a fantasy.
If a man says “Women are so stupid,” some people who identify as women will think they are hurt. We are so limited mentally, it’s very important to acknowledge that, so we can act, not from reaction but from fact. Fact can only be seen when I look at the world with no ideology, and I can only look at the world with no ideology if I don't have any idea about myself, because the way I see the world is a projection of the way I see myself. If I hate myself, the world is a disaster. If I love myself, I will see a world of beauty.
Why do all the Indian sages say that the world is beautiful, life is beautiful, and you feel the opposite? Well, I would challenge that in myself. Maybe the sages know better. They are at peace, and because of that, they say the world is at peace. We say “No, the world is at war,” but we are at war first. So, let's see what will happen to the world when we are at peace with ourselves. Then we will look at the world and we may be surprised with what we see. We will be surprised to see that when the lion eats the zebra, it is not wrong, it is not right, it is not violent, it is what it is. It is beyond thinking. So that's the line of exploration.