The Mirror of Relationship
2nd Public Talk 6th August, 1938
You may remember that I was trying to explain the difference between spontaneity and mechanical action, the mechanical being the morality of the will, and the spontaneous that which is born out of the depth of one's own being. This morning I will talk about one or two things concerning this, and then let us discuss them.
I was saying that fear in any form creates habit, which prevents unconditioned freedom in which alone there is reality, in which alone there can be the integrity of oneself. Fear prevents spontaneity.
Now it would be rather ridiculous, and impossible, to consider what it is to be spontaneous, or to judge who is spontaneous and who is not, and to consider also the qualities, the characteristics of spontaneity. Each one will know what it is to be spontaneous, to be real, when there is the right inward condition. You will know for yourself when you are truly spontaneous, when you are really yourself. To judge another to see if he is spontaneous means, really, that you have a standard of spontaneity, which is absurd. The judgment of what is spontaneous reveals a mind that is merely reacting mechanically to its own habit and moral patterns.
So it is futile and a waste of time, leading to mere opinion, to consider what it is to be real, spontaneous, to be oneself. Such consideration leads to illusion. Let us concern ourselves with what is the necessary condition that will reveal the real.
Now what is the right condition? There is no division as the inner and the outer condition; I am dividing it as the inner and the outer only for purposes of observation, to understand it more clearly. This division does not exist in reality.
From the right inward state alone can the outer conditions be changed, ameliorated and fundamentally transformed. The approach from the merely superficial, that is, from the outer, in creating right conditions, will have little significance in understanding truth, God.
One has to understand what is the right inner condition, but not from any superficial compulsion or authority. The deep inward change will always intelligently deal with the outward conditions. Once and for all, let us fully perceive the importance of this necessary inward change and not merely rely on the change of outer circumstances. It is ever the inward motive and intentions that change and control the outer. Motives, desires, are not fundamentally altered by merely controlling the outer.
If a man is inwardly peaceful and is affectionate, without greed, surely such a man does not need laws imposing peace on him, police to regulate his conduct, institutions to maintain his morality.
Now we have given great significance to the outer, to maintain peace; through institutions, laws, police, armies, churches, and so on, we seek to maintain a peace which does not exist. By imposition and domination, opposing violence by violence, we hope to create a peaceful state.
If you really comprehend this, deeply, honestly, then you will see the importance of not approaching the many problems of life as the outer and the inner, but only from the comprehensive and the integral. So what is the inward condition necessary to be oneself, to be spontaneous? The first necessary inward condition is that the habit-forming mechanism must cease. What is the motive power behind this mechanism?
Before we answer this we must first find out whether our thoughts and feelings are the result of mere habit, tradition, and are following ideals and principles. Most of us, if we really think about it intelligently, honestly, will see that our thoughts and feelings usually spring from various standardized patterns, whether they be ideals or principles.
The continuation of this mechanical habit and its motive power, is the desire to be certain. The whole mechanism of tradition, of imitation, of example, the building up of a future, of the ideal, of the perfect and its achievement, is the desire to be secure; and the development of various supposedly necessary qualities is for its assurance, for its success.
Desire gives a false continuity to our thinking, and mind clings to that continuity whose actions are the mere following of patterns, ideals, principles, and the establishment of habit. Thus experience is never new, never fresh, never joyous, never creative; and hence the extraordinary vitality of dead things, of the past.
Now let us take a few examples and see what I mean. Take the habit of nationalism, which is now becoming more and more strong and cruel. Is not nationalism really a false love of man? One who is at heart a nationalist can never be a complete human being. To a nationalist, internationalism is a lie. Many insist that one can be a nationalist and at the same time be of no nation: this is an impossibility and only a trick of the mind.
To be attached to one particular piece of earth prevents the love of the whole. Having created a false and unnatural problem of nationalism, we proceed to solve it through clever and complex arguments for the necessity of nationalism and its maintenance through armaments, hate and division. All such answers must be utterly stupid and false, for the problem itself is an illusion and a perversion. Let us understand this question of nationalism, and in this respect at least let us remain sane in a world of brutal regimentation and insanity.
Is not the organized love of one's country, with its regimented hate and affection, cultivated and imposed through propaganda, through leaders, merely a vested interest? Does not this so-called love of one's. country exist because it feeds one's own egotism through devious ways? All enforcement and gratification must inevitably create mechanical habits which must constantly come into conflict with one's own integrity and affections. Prejudice, hate, fear, must create division, which inevitably breeds war; war not only within oneself, but also between peoples.
If nationalism is merely a habit, what is one to do? Not having a passport does not make you free of the nationalistic habit. Mere super- ficial action does not liberate you from the brutal inner conviction of a particular racial superiority. When you are confronted with the feelings of nationalism, what is your reaction? Do you feel that they are inevitable, that you must go through nationalism to come to internationalism, that you must pass through the brutal to become pacific? What is your reasoning? Or do you not reason at all, but merely follow the flag because there are millions doing this absurd thing? Why are you all so silent? But how eager you will be to discuss with me about God, reincarnation or ceremonies!
This question of nationalism is knocking at your door whether you will or not, and what is your answer?
Questioner: Is it not possible to look upon nationalism as an improvement on provincialism? And therefore the first step towards internationalism?
Questioner: It is the same thing, surely.
Questioner: I find nationalism an extended provincialism.
Questioner: It does seem to me, sir, that you perhaps overemphasize the nationalist position. It seems to me that there is less national feeling today in some quarters of the globe than there was fifty years ago, and that as time goes on the national feeling may become less amongst more and more people, and that internationalism may therefore have more chance. I think it is most important to have time for the moderate elements in the population to increase their international thoughts and feelings, and to prevent, if possible, some explosion which would sweep away the good in the present civilization along with the bad.
Krishnamurti: The point is this, is it not: Can you at any time come to peace through violence - whether you call it provincialism, nationalism or internationalism? Is peace to be achieved through slow stages? Love is not a matter of education or of time. The last war was fought for democracy, I believe, and look, we are more prepared for war than ever before, and people are less free. Please do not indulge in mere intellectual argumentations. Either you take your feelings and thoughts seriously, and consider them deeply, or you are satisfied by superficial intellectual answers.
If you think you are seeking truth, or creating in the world a true human relationship, nationalism is not the way; nor can this human relationship of affection, of friendship, be established by means of guns. if you love deeply there is neither the one nor the many. There is only that state of being which is love, in which there may be the one, but it is not the exclusion of the many. But if you say to yourself that through the love of the one there will be the love of the many, then you are not considering love at all but merely the result of love, which is a form of fear. Now let us take another example of the process of the habit-forming. mechanism which destroys creative living. You must be made new to understand reality.
Take the question of the way we treat people. Have you noticed how you yourself treat people - one whom you think to be superior, with great consideration, and the inferior with offensive contempt and indifference? Have you noticed it? (Yes) It is obvious in this Camp; the way you treat me and the way you treat one of your fellow campers or those who help in running the Camp; the way you behave to a titled person, and to a commoner; the respect you pay to money, and the respect you do not pay to the poor, and so on. Is not this the result of mere habit, of tradition, of imitation, of the desire to succeed, the habit of gratifying one's own vanity?
Please just think about this and perceive how the mind lives and continues in habit, though it is asserting that it must be spontaneous, free. What is the good of your listening to me if the obvious thing is escaping your consideration? Again you are silent, because this is a common event in your lives, and so you are a bit nervous of approaching it for you do not want to be exposed too radically.
If this habit exists - and it is merely a habit and not a deliberate, conscious action except in the case of a few - when you become conscious of it, it will disappear, if you really love this whole process of living. But if you are not interested, you will listen to me, and you may be intellectually excited for a few minutes, but you will continue in the same old manner. But those of you who are deeply interested, who love to understand truth, to you I say, observe how this or any other habit creates a chain of memories which becomes more and more strong, till there is only the "I", the "me". This mechanism is the "I", and as long as this process exists there cannot be the ecstasy of love, of truth.
Let us take another example, that of meditation. Now I see you are beginning to take interest. Nationalism, the way we treat people, love, meditation - all these are part of the same process; they all spring from the one source, but we are examining each separately to understand them better.
Perhaps you will talk over with me this question of meditation, for most of you, in one way or another, practise this thing called meditation, don't you? (Yes and No) Some do; some do not. Those of you who do, why do you do it? And those of you who do not, why don't you? Those who do not meditate, what is their motive? Either their attitude is one of complete thoughtlessness, indifference, or they are afraid of becoming involved in all this rubbish, or they fear to reveal themselves to themselves, or there is the fear of acquiring new and inconvenient habits, and so on. Those who do meditate, what is their motive?
Krishnamurti: Are you putting forward this word as an explanation? I can give you also a very good explanation, but we are trying to go beyond mere explanations. Mere explanations usually put a stop to thinking. What are we trying to do in talking this matter over? We are exposing ourselves. We are helping each other to see what we are. You are acting as a mirror to me, and I as a mirror to you, without distortion. But if you merely give an explanation, just throw off a few words, you cloud the mirror, which prevents clear perception.
We are trying to find out why we meditate, and what it means. Those of you who meditate, you do it presumably because you feel that you need a certain poise and clarity, through self-recollectedness, to deal with the problems of life. So you set aside some time for this purpose and you hope during this period to come into contact with something real, which will help to guide you during the day. Is this not so? (Yes) During this period you begin to discipline yourself, or during the whole day you discipline your thoughts and feelings, and so your actions, according to the established pattern of those few moments of so-called meditation.
Questioner: No, I consider it a step on the pathway to the liberation of the self, a footstep only.
Krishnamurti: Surely you are saying the same thing as I am pointing out, only you put it in your own words. Through discipline can you liberate thought, liberate emotion? This is the point which the questioner raises. Can one discipline oneself in order to become spontaneous, to comprehend the unknown, the real? Discipline implies a pattern, a mould which is shaping, and that which is truth must be the unknown and cannot be approached by the known.
Questioner: I think I meditate because I want to know myself, because I am afraid of myself, because I hate myself as I hate my neighbour, and I want to know myself to protect myself. I hate my neighbour, and I love him. I hate him because he threatens my habits, my well-being. I love him because I want him. And I am a nationalist because I am afraid of those across the frontier. I protect myself in every way possible.
Krishnamurti: You are saying that you meditate in order to protect yourself. (Yes) That is so, but we should go more deeply into this question of discipline, not only the discipline imposed by the outside world through various institutions of organized morality, through particular social systems, but also the discipline that desire develops. Discipline imposed from without, by society, by leaders, and so on, must inevitably destroy individual fulfilment; I think this is fairly obvious. For such discipline, compulsion, conformity, merely postpones the inevitable problem of the individual fear with its many illusions.
Now there are many reasons for disciplining oneself; there is the desire to protect oneself in various ways, by achievement, by trying to become wiser, nobler, by finding the Master, by becoming more virtuous, by following principles, ideals, by wanting and craving for truth, for love, and so on. All this indicates the working of fear, and the noble reasons are but the coverings of this innate fear.
You say to yourself: "In order to reach God, to find out reality, to put myself in communion with the Absolute, with the Cosmic" - you know all the phrases - "I must begin to discipline myself. I must learn to be more concentrated. I must practise awareness, develop certain virtues". When you are asserting these things and disciplining yourself, what is happening to your thoughts and emotions?
Questioner: Do you mean it is a form of self-glorification?
Questioner: We are forming habits.
Krishnamurti: Suppose one conceives a pattern of what is good, or it has been imposed through tradition, education, or one has learnt that evil is that which divides; and if this is the ideal, the pattern for life's conduct that one pursues through meditation, through self-imposed discipline, then what is happening to one's own thoughts and emotions? One is forcing them, violently or lovingly, to conform, and thereby establishing a new habit instead of the old. Is this not so? (Yes)
Thus intellect, will, is controlling and shaping morality; will based on the desire to protect oneself. The desire to protect oneself is born of fear, which denies reality. The way of discipline is the process of fear, and the habit created by so-called meditation destroys spontaneity, the revelation of the unknown.
Questioner: Is it not possible to form a habit of love without losing spontaneity?
Krishnamurti: Habit is of the mind, of the will, which merely overcomes fear without doing away with it. Emotions are creative, vital, new, and therefore cannot be made into a habit however much the will tries to dominate and control them.
It is the mind, the will, with its attachments, desires, fears, that creates conflict between itself and emotion. Love is not the cause of misery; it is the fears, desires, habits of the mind that create pain, the agony of jealousy, disillusionment. Having created conflict and suffering, the mind with its will for satisfaction finds reasons, excuses, escapes, which are called by various names - detachment, impersonal love, and so on. We must understand the whole process of the habit-forming mechanism, and not ask which discipline, pattern or ideal is best. If discipline is coordination, then it is not to be realized through enforcement, through any system. The individual must comprehend his own profound complexity and not merely look to a pattern for fulfilment.
Do not practise discipline, follow patterns and mere ideals, but be aware of the process of forming habits. Be conscious of the old grooves along which the mind has run and also of the desire to create new ones. Seriously experiment with this; perhaps there will be greater confusion and suffering, for discipline, moral laws, have merely acted to hold down the hidden desires and purposes. When you are aware integrally, with your whole being, of this confusion and suffering, without any hope of escape, then there will arise spontaneously that which is real. But you must love, be enthused by that very confusion and suffering. You must love with your own heart, not with another's.
If you begin to experiment with yourself, you will see a curious transformation taking place. In the moment of highest confusion there is clarity; in the moment of greatest fear there is love. You must come to it spontaneously, without the exertion of will.
I suggest seriously that you experiment with what I have been saying and then you will begin to see in what manner habit destroys creative perception. But it is not a thing to be wished for and cultivated. There cannot be a groping after it.
The Mirror of Relationship
2nd Public Talk 6th August, 1938
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.