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The Mirror of Relationship

Ojai, California
7th Public Talk 25th June, 1944

I have been trying to explain in my last few talks how to cultivate right thinking; how right thinking comes with self-knowledge. The more you are aware of your thoughts-feelings the more you are detached, and the less you identify, the greater the self-knowledge; and it is this self-knowledge that dissolves ignorance and sorrow. In understanding the self, right thinking comes into being.

Virtue, as I explained, lies in freeing thought-feeling from craving; also to liberate thought there must be candor. Dependence destroys love. Craving must ever create attachment, possessiveness, from which arise jealousy, envy and those conflicts with which we are all too familiar. Where there is dependence and attachment, there love is not.

In understanding relationship we will find that the cause of disturbance and pain lies in depending on another for our inward sustenance and happiness. Relationship then becomes merely a means for self-gratification which breeds attachment and fear. Relationship is a process of self-revelation; relationship is as a mirror in which you begin to discover yourself, your tendencies, pretensions, selfish and limited motives, fears and so on. In relationship, if you are aware, you will find that you are being exposed which causes conflict and pain. The thoughtful man welcomes this self-exposure to bring about order and clarity, to free his thought-feeling from isolating, self-enclosing tendencies. But most of us try to seek comfort and gratification in relationship; we do not desire to be revealed to ourselves, we do not wish to study ourselves as we are, so relationship becomes wearisome and we seek to escape. We seek peace in relationship and if we do not find it then we bring about gratifying changes till we find what we seek, dull comfort or some distraction to cover up our hollow emptiness and aching fears. But relationship will ever be painful, a constant struggle, till out of it comes deep and extensional self-knowledge. With deep self-knowledge there is inexhaustible love.

If we understand relationship and the cause of dependence we do not bring about enmity and this is of primary importance. The cause of enmity in all relationship is not to be discovered if relationship is not a self-revealing process. If there is no cause for enmity, then there is neither the friend nor the enemy, the forgiver nor the forgiven. We cause enmity through pride of position, knowledge, family, capacity and so awaken in another ill will and envy.

The craving to become causes fear; to be, to achieve, and so to depend engenders fear. The state of non-fear is not negation, it is not the opposite of fear nor is it courage. In understanding the cause of fear there is its cessation, not the becoming courageous, for in all becoming there is the seed of fear. Dependence on things, on people or on ideas breeds fear; dependence arises from ignorance, from the lack of self-knowledge, from inward poverty; fear causes uncertainty of mind-heart, preventing communication and understanding. Through self-awareness we begin to discover and so comprehend the cause of fear, not only the superficial but the deep causal and accumulative fears. Fear is both inborn and acquired; it is related to the past and to free thought-feeling from it the past must be comprehended through the present. The past is ever awaiting to give birth to the present which becomes the identifying memory of the me and the mine, the I. The self is the root of all fear. To inhibit or suppress fear is not to transcend it; its cause must be self-discovered and so understood and dissolved. In becoming aware of craving and its dependence, in observing with kindly detachment its ways and actions, fear yields to understanding. There are, surely, three states of awareness of every problem: first to become aware of it; then to be deeply aware of its cause and effect and of its dual process; and to transcend it the thinker and his thought must be experienced as one. Most of us are unconscious, let us say, of fear and if we are conscious of it we become apprehensive, we run away from it, suppress or cover it up. If we do none of these things then through constant awareness the cause and its processes begin to unfold themselves; if we are not impatient, if we are not greedy for a result, then this flame of awareness, which brings understanding, dissolves the cause and its ever developing processes. There is only one cause but its ways and expressions are many.

Inhibiting, prohibiting fear does not create the cause of fear but only produces further factors of disturbance and suffering. Through tolerant observation of fear, through being aware of every happening of fear, it is allowed to unfold itself; by following it through, without identification, with kindly detachment, there comes creative understanding which alone dissolves the cause of fear, without developing its opposite which is another form of fear.

Questioner: Why don't you face the economic and social evils instead of escaping into some dark, mystical affair?

Krishnamurti: I have been trying to point out that only by giving importance to those things that are primary can the secondary issues be understood and solved. Economic and social evils are not to be adjusted without understanding what causes them. To understand them and so bring about a fundamental change, we have first to comprehend ourselves who are the cause of these evils. We have, individually and so as a group, created social and economic strife and confusion. We alone are responsible for them and thus we, individually and so perhaps collectively, can bring order and clarity. To act collectively we must begin individually; to act as a group each one must understand and change radically those causes within himself which produce the outer conflict and misery. Through legislation you may gain certain beneficial results, but without altering the inner, fundamental causes of conflict and antagonism they will be overturned and confusion will rise again; outer reforms will ever need further reform and this way leads to oppression and violence. Lasting outer order and creative peace can come about only if each one brings order and peace within himself.

Each one of us, whatever his position, is seeking power, is greedy, lustful or violent; without putting an end to these in himself, by himself, mere outward reform may produce superficial results, but these will be destroyed by those who are ever seeking position, fame and so on. To bring about the necessary and fundamental change in the outer world with its wars, competition and tyrannies, surely you must begin with yourself and deeply transform yourself. You will say no doubt that in this way it will take a very long time to reform the world. What of it? Will a short, drastic superficial revolution change the inward fact? Through the sacrifice of the present will a happy future be created? Through wrong means will the right ends come into being? We have not been shown this and yet we pursue blindly, not thinking, with the result that there is utter destruction and misery. You can have peace, order, only through peaceful and orderly means. What is the purpose of outward economic and social revolutions: to liberate man, to help him think-feel fully, to live completely? But those who want immediate and quick change in the economic and social order, do they not also create the pattern of behaviour and thought; not how to think but what to think? So it cheats its own purpose and man is again a plaything of the environment.

I have been trying to explain in these talks that ignorance, ill will and lust cause sorrow, and without self-purification of these hindrances we must inevitably produce outer conflict, confusion and misery. Ignorance, the lack of self-knowledge, is the greatest "evil." Ignorance prevents right thinking and gives primary emphasis to things that are secondary and so life is made empty, dull and a mechanical routine from which we seek various escapes: explosion into dogma, speculation and delusion and so on which is not mysticism. In trying to comprehend the outer world one comes to the inner and that inner, when properly pursued and rightly understood leads to the Supreme. This realization is not the fruit of escape. This realization alone will bring peace and order to the world.

The world is in a chaos because we have pursued wrong values-We have given importance to sensuality, to worldliness, to personal fame or immortality which produce conflict and sorrow. True value is found in right thinking; there is no right thinking without self-knowledge and self-knowledge comes with self-awareness.

Questioner: Don't you think there are peace-loving nations and aggressive nations?

Krishnamurti: No. The term, nation, is separative, exclusive and so the cause of contention and wars. There is no peace loving nation; all are aggressive, dominant, tyrannical. As long as it remains a separate unit, apart from others, taking pride in segregation, in patriotism, in the race, it breeds untold misery for itself and for others. You may not have peace and yet be exclusive. You may not have economic and social, national and racial frontiers, without inviting enmity and jealousy, fear and suspicion. You may not have plenty while others starve, without inviting violence. We are not separate, we are human beings in common relationship. Your sorrow is the sorrow of another, by killing another you are destroying yourself, by hating another you suffer. For you are the other. Good will and brotherliness are not achieved through separate and exclusive nationalities and frontiers; they must be set aside to bring peace and hope for man. And besides, why do you identify yourself with any nation, with any group or with any ideology? Is it not to protect your small self, to feed your petty and death dealing vanities, sustain your own glory? What pride is there in the self which brings wars and misery, conflict and confusion? A nation is the glorification of the self and so the breeder of strife and sorrow.

Questioner: I am greatly attracted and yet afraid of sex. It has become a torturing problem and how is one to solve it?

Krishnamurti: It has become a consuming problem because we have ceased to be creative. Intellectually and morally we have become merely imitative machines; religiously we merely copy, accept authority and are drugged. Our education narrows us; our society, being competitive, wastes us; the cinemas, radios, newspapers are continually telling us what to think, sensually and falsely stimulating us. We seek and are fed by incessant noise. So we find a release in sex which becomes a torturing problem.

Through self-awareness the repetitive habit of thought which we consider as thinking is brought into the light of understanding; by observing it, examining it with kindly detachment, suspending judgment, we shall begin to awaken creative understanding. This is the process of disengaging thought-feeling from all hindrances, limitations; when once we become aware of this process all our problems, trivial and complex, can be exposed to it and creative understanding extracted from it. So this is essential to grasp. Denial or acceptance, judgment or comparison, which mean identification, prevent the full flowering of thought-feeling. If you do not identify, then as thought-feeling flows, follow it through, think it out, feel it out as extensively and deeply as possible and so become aware of its wide and profound implications. Thus the narrow, small self-enclosed mind breaks through its self-imposed limitations and blockages. In this process of clarification there is inward, creative joy.

In this manner solve the problem of lust. And as I said, mere inhibition or suppression does not solve the problem but only acts as a further factor of excitation, disturbance, only strengthening the self-enclosing process of the me and the mine. Become aware of the problem as extensively and deeply as possible and thereby discover its cause. Do not identify with the cause by judging or comparing it, condemning or accepting it, but watch that cause expressing itself in many ways; follow it through, think it out, feel it out intelligently, with tolerant detachment. In this extensional awareness the problem is resolved and transcended.

There is a difference between conquering sensuality and the state of non-sensuality. In non-sensuality thought-feeling is no longer a slave to the senses and merely to conquer is to be conquered again. Awareness, find substitutions for lust is still to be lustful. There is no escape from conflict and sorrow save in right thinking. Without self-knowledge there is no right thinking. Through awareness the ways of the self are discovered and it is this discovery that liberates, that is creative. Love is chaste but a mind that plots to be is not.

Questioner: Don't you think that there is a principle of destruction in life, a blind will, quite independent of man, always dormant, ready to spring into action, which can never be transcended?

Krishnamurti: Surely we know that within us there are these two opposing capacities: to destroy and to create, to be good and to be harmful. Now, are they independent of each other? Is the will to destroy separate from the will to live, or is the will to live, to become, in itself a process of destruction? What makes us destroy? What makes us angry, ignorant, brutal; what urges us to kill, to seek vengeance, to deceive? is it a blind will, a thing over which we have no control whatever - let us call it the devil - an independent force of evil, or an uncontrollable ignorance? Is the urge to destroy inane or is it the response to a deeper demand to live, to be, to become? Is this reaction never to be transcended, or can it slow down to be examined and so understood? To slow down a response is possible. Or is there a blind spot which can never be examined, a result of heredity, an inborn result which has so conditioned our thinking that we are incapable of looking into it? And so we think that there is a power of destruction, of evil, which cannot be transcended.

Surely anything that has been created, that has been made up, can be understood by those who have created it. This dual process of good and evil is in us to create and to destroy. We have created it and so we can understand it; but to understand it we must have the faculty of dispassionate observation of ourselves which requires great alertness and pliable awareness. Or we can say that in all of us potentially there is a dormant evil, a power that is in itself destructive. Though we may be loving, generous, merciful, this power - like an earthquake - completely impersonal, seeks an occasional outburst. And as over an earthquake, over acts of nature we have no control, so over this power we have no influence whatever.

Now is this so? Can we not, in understanding ourselves, understand the causes that exist in us to destroy and to create? If first we can clear the confusion that exists in the superficial layer of our conscious mind, then into it because it is open, clear, the deeper layers of consciousness, with their contents, can project themselves. This clarification of the superficial layer comes when thought-feeling is not identifying but detached and so capable of observing without comparison and judgment. Then only can it, the conscious mind, discover what is true. Thus you can test for yourself whether there is in you an element which is absolutely beyond your control, an element which is destructive. Then you can find out whether it is the result of conditioning or whether it is ignorance or whether it is a blind spot or an independent, uncontrollable evil force. Only then can you discover whether or not you are capable of transcending it.

The more you comprehend yourself and so bring about right thinking the less you will find that there is any tendency, any ignorance, any force within you that cannot be transcended. And out of this you will discover an ecstasy that comes with understanding, with wisdom. It is not the faith and the hope of the foolish. In understanding ourselves completely and thus creating the faculty to delve deeply within, we will find there is nothing that cannot be examined or understood. Out of this self-knowledge comes creative understanding; but because we do not understand ourselves there is ignorance. What thought has created thought can transcend.

Questioner: Why are there so many insane, unbalanced people in the world?

Krishnamurti: What is this civilization that we have built up? A civilization which is the result of craving, the dominant factor of sensory gratification. And having produced a world in which sensate value dominates, naturally the creative sensibilities are either destroyed or warped or blocked. Through the value of the senses there is no release and so individuals resort to the fabrication of delusion, consciously or unconsciously, which eventually isolates them. Unless sensate value yields to eternal value we will have delusions and strife, confusion and war. To bring a fundamental change in value you must become thoughtful and discard those values of the self, of craving, through constant awareness and self-knowledge.

Questioner: I am intensely lonely. I cannot seem to go beyond this misery. What am I to do?

Krishnamurti: This is not an individual problem only; the whole human thought feels lonely. If we could think this out, feel this out deeply we would be able to transcend it. As I explained, we create through craving a dual process in ourselves, and thus there arises the I, the me, the self and the not-self, my work, my achievement and so on. Having created through craving this conflicting process of the I and not I, its natural outcome is isolation, utter loneliness. In relationship, in action, if there is any self-enclosing thought-feeling it is bound to buildup isolating walls which cause intense loneliness.

Craving engenders fear, fear nourishes dependence, dependence on things, people or ideas. The greater the dependence the greater the inward poverty. Becoming aware of this poverty, loneliness, you try to enrich it, try to fill it with knowledge or activity, with amusement or mystery. The more you try to fill it, to cover it up, the more deeply does the real cause of loneliness get buried. The self is insatiable and there is no satisfying it. It is as a broken vessel, a bottomless pit which can never be filled.

By becoming aware of thought-feeling creating its own bondage and dependence and thus bringing about isolation; by becoming aware of the cultivation of sensate values which must inevitably bring inward poverty; out of this very awareness, out of this extensional, meditative understanding there is discovered the imperishable treasure. Through this constant awareness, if rightly unfolded, ever deeper and wider, there comes into being the serenity and joy of highest wisdom.

The Mirror of Relationship

Ojai, California
7th Public Talk 25th June, 1944

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


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