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The Mirror of Relationship

Ommen, Holland
3rd Public Talk 4th August, 1937

All strife is one of relationship, an adjustment between two resistances, two individuals Resistance is a conditioning, limiting or conditioning that energy which may be called life, thought, emotion. This conditioning, this resistance, has had no beginning. It has always been, and we can see that it can be continued. There are many and complex causes for this conditioning.

This conditioning is ignorance, which can be brought to an end.

Ignorance is the unawareness of the process of conditioning, which consists of the many wants, fears, acquisitive memories, and so on.

Belief is part of ignorance. Whatever action springs from belief only further strengthens ignorance.

The craving for understanding, for happiness, the attempt to get rid of this particular quality and acquire that particular virtue, all such effort is born of ignorance, which is the result of this constant want. So in relationship strife and conflict continue.

As long as there is want, all experience further conditions thought and emotion, thus continuing conflict.

Where there is want, experience cannot be complete, thus strengthening resistance. A belief, the result of want, is a conditioning force; experience based on any belief is limiting, however wide and large it may be.

Whatever effort the mind makes to break down its own vicious circle of ignorance must further aid the continuance of ignorance. If one does not understand the whole process of ignorance, and merely makes an effort to get rid of it, thought is still acting within the circle of ignorance.

So what is one to do, discerning that whatever action, whatever effort one makes only strengthens ignorance? The very desire to break through the circle of ignorance is still part of ignorance. Then what is one to do?

Now, is this an all-important, vital question to you? If it is, then you will see that there is no direct, positive answer. For positive answers can only bring about further effort, which but strengthens the process of ignorance. So there is only a negative approach, which is to be integrally aware of the process of fear or ignorance. This awareness is not an effort to overcome, to destroy or to find a substitute, but is a stillness of neither acceptance nor denial, an integral quietness of no choice. This awareness breaks the circle of ignorance from within, as it were, without strengthening it.

Questioner: How can one know for certain whether the mind is unconditioned, because there is a possibility of illusion there?

Krishnamurti: Do not let us be concerned about the certainty of an unconditioned mind, but rather be aware of the limitations of thought-emotion.

Questioner: There is a real difference between being unaware of our conditioning and imagining that we are unconditioned.

Krishnamurti: Surely that is obvious. To inquire into the unconditioned state when one's mind is limited is so utterly futile. We have to be concerned with those causes which hold thought-emotion in bondage.

Questioner: We know there is reality and unreality, and from the unreal we must move to the real.

Krishnamurti: Surely that is another form of conditioning. How do you know that there is the real?

Questioner: Because it is there.

Krishnamurti: You have stopped thinking, if I may say so, when you assert that it is there. Questioner: I think we realize continually that we are conditioned, because we are always suffering and in conflict.

Krishnamurti: So conflict, suffering, the strain of relationship, indicates a conditioning. There may be many causes for conditioning, but are you aware of at least one of them?

Questioner: Fear and desire are the causes of limiting.

Krishnamurti: When you make that statement are you conscious that, in your life, fear and desire cause strife, misery?

When you say that fear is conditioning your life, are you aware of that fear? Or is it because you have read of it, or heard me talk about it, that you repeat, "Fear is conditioning"? Fear cannot exist by itself, but only in relation to something.

Now when you say you are conscious of fear, is it caused by something outside of yourself, or is it within you? One is afraid of an accident, or of the neighbour, or of some immediate relation, or of some psychological reaction, and so on. In some cases it is the outward things of life which are making us afraid, and if we can free ourselves from them, we think that we shall be without fear.

Can you free yourself from your neighbour? You may be able to escape from a particular neighbour, but wherever you are, you are always in relation with someone. You may be able to create an illusion into which you can withdraw, or build a wall between your neighbour and yourself, and thereby protect yourself. You may separate yourself through social division, through virtues, beliefs, acquisitions, and so free yourself from your neighbour. But this is not freedom.

Then there is the fear of contagious diseases, accidents, and so forth, against which one takes natural precautions, without unduly exaggerating them.

The will to survive, the will to be satisfied, the will to continue - this is the very root cause of fear.

Do you know this to be so? If you do, then what do you mean by "knowing"? Do you know this merely intellectually, as a word-picture, or are you aware of it integrally, emotionally?

You know of fear as a reaction when your resistance is weakened; when the walls of your self-protection have been broken into, then you are conscious of fear and your immediate reaction is to patch up again those walls, to strengthen them so as to be secure.

Questioner: Will you tell us what fear is?

Krishnamurti: Will I tell you what fear is! Don't you know what it is?

If in your house there is nothing of value to which you are attached, then you are not afraid of your neighbour, your windows and doors are open. But fear is in your heart when you are attached; then you bar your windows, then you lock your doors. You isolate yourself.

The mind has gathered certain values, treasures, and it intends to guard them. If the worth of these possessions is questioned, there is an awakening of fear. Through fear we guard them more closely, or sell out the old and acquire the new which we protect more cunningly. This isolation we call by various names.

I am asking you if you have anything precious in your mind, in your heart, that you are guarding. If you have, then you are bound to create walls against fear, and this resistance is called by many names - love, will, virtue, character.

Have you anything precious? Have you anything that may be taken away from you, your position, your ambitions, desires, hopes?

What is it that you have, actually? You may have worldly possessions which you try to safeguard. To protect them you have imperialism, nationalism, class distinctions. Each individual, each nation is doing that, breeding hate and war. Can the fear of loss be utterly removed? Every sign indicates this fear cannot be taken away by greater protection, greater nationalism, greater imperialism. Where there is attachment, there is fear.

Questioner: Is it by letting the objects go, or by setting up a different relationship between ourselves and them, that fear is dissipated?

Krishnamurti: Surely we have not yet come to the question of how to rid ourselves of fear. We are trying to find out what are the precious things that each one of us holds so cunningly, and then only can we discover the means of getting rid of fear.

Questioner: It is very difficult to know. I do not know what I am holding on to.

Krishnamurti: Yes, that is one of the difficulties, but unless you know that, fear must continue, though you may desire to get rid of it. Are you conscious with your whole being that you are protecting yourself in some form or other through belief, acquisitions, virtue, ambition?

When you begin to consider deeply, you will perceive how belief or any other form of exclusion is segregating you either as a group, or as an individual, and that belief acts as a resistance against the movement of life.

Some of you may say that the mind is not guarding a belief, but that it is part of the mind itself, that without some form of belief mind, thought, cannot exist. Or you may say that belief is not really a belief, but intuition, to be guarded, to be encouraged.

Questioner: With me it seems that belief is there, and I do not know what to do about it. I do not know whether I am guarding it or not. Krishnamurti: That is just it. It is part of you, you say. Why is it there? Why is it part of you? You have been conditioned through tradition, education; you have acquired belief consciously or unconsciously as a protection against various forms of fear, or through propaganda you have accepted a belief as a cure-all. You may not have a belief in a particular theory, but you may have in a person. There are various forms of belief. The desire for comfort, for security, forces one to some kind of belief, which one guards, for without it one feels utterly lost. So there is the constant attempt to justify one's belief or to find a substitute in the place of the old.

Where there is attachment there is fear, but the freedom from fear is not a reward of non-attachment. Suffering makes one decide to be utterly detached, but this detachment is really a form of protection against suffering. Now as the majority of us have something - love, possessions, ideals, beliefs, conceptions - to protect, which go to make up that resistance which is the "I", the "me", it is futile to ask how to get rid of the "I", the "me", with its many layers of wants, fears, without fully comprehending the process of resistance. The very desire to free oneself from them is another and safer form of self-protection.

If you are aware of this process of protection, of building up walls to guard that which you are and have, if you are conscious of this, then you will never ask what is the way, the method, to free yourself from fear, from craving. Then you will find in the stillness of awareness the spontaneous breaking up of the various causes that condition thought-emotion.

You are not going to be aware by merely listening to one or two talks. It is as a fire which must be built, and you must build it. You must begin, however little, to be conscious, to be aware, and this you can be when you talk, when you laugh, when you come into contact with people, or when you are still. This awareness becomes a flame, and this flame consumes all fear which causes isolation. The mind must reveal itself spontaneously to itself. And this is not given only to a few, nor is it an impossibility.

The Mirror of Relationship

Ommen, Holland
3rd Public Talk 4th August, 1937

Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.


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