The Mirror of Relationship
8th Public Talk 2nd July, 1944
In the last few talks we have been discussing how to develop the faculty with which to discover what is true, in which alone is serenity and creative peace. This faculty is to be developed, as I explained, through right thinking - right thinking which is different from right, conditioned thought. In becoming aware we come upon the conflict of duality which if we do not deeply comprehend will lead to wrong kinds of effort. Right effort consists in thought-feeling freeing itself from this conflict of merit and demerit, the becoming and the not-becoming. To develop the perception of truth there must be candor, integrity of understanding, which can come only with humility. As I explained, virtue does not lie in developing qualities, which is to cultivate the opposites and so engender wrong effort; but in freeing thought-feeling from craving virtue comes into being.
And we somewhat discussed relationship, dependence, fear and love; how to set about freeing thought-feeling from dependence and fear which corrupt love. I said that this morning we would try to understand what makes for a simple life. Simple life is freedom from acquisitiveness, freedom from addiction and freedom from distraction. Freedom from acquisitiveness surely lies in understanding the cause that breeds in us the conflict of greed and envy. The more we acquire the greater the demand for possessions and to deny, to say, "I will not acquire" in no way solves the problem of greed and envy. But in watching it, in becoming aware of the process of acquisition and envy on all the different levels of our consciousness, we begin to understand their deeper significance, with all the economic, social and inward implications. This state of acquisitive conflict, competitive possessiveness is not conducive to simple life which is essential to understand the real. So if you become aware of acquisitiveness with its problems - not putting yourself in opposition to it and therefore developing the quality of non-acquisitiveness, which is only another form of greed - you will begin to be aware of its deeper and wider implications.
Then you will begin to understand that a mind caught up in greed and envy cannot experience the bliss of truth. A mind which is competitive, held in the conflict of becoming, thinking in terms of comparison, is not capable of discovering the real. Thought-feeling which is intensely aware is in the process of constant self-discovery which discovery, being true, is liberating and creative. Such self-discovery brings about freedom from acquisitiveness and from the complex life of the intellect. It is this complex life of the intellect that finds gratification in addictions: destructive curiosity, speculation, mere knowledge, capacity, gossip and so on; and these hindrances prevent simplicity of life. An addiction, a specialization gives sharpness to the mind, a means of focussing thought, but it is not the flowering of thought-feeling into reality.
The freedom from distraction is more difficult as we do not fully understand the process of thinking-feeling which in itself has become the means of distraction. Being ever incomplete, capable of speculative curiosity and formulation, it has the power to create its own hindrances, illusions, which prevent the awareness of the real. So it becomes its own distraction, its own enemy. As the mind is capable of creating illusion this power must be understood before it can be wholly free from its own self-created distractions. Mind must be utterly still, silent, for all thought becomes a distraction. Craving is the distorting factor and how can the mind that is capable of delusion know the simple, the real? Till craving in its multiple forms is understood and transcended, there is no joy of the inward, simple, full life. If you begin to be aware of the outward distractions and so trace them to the cause which is inner, then thought-feeling, which in itself has become the means of its own escape, its own cause of ignorance, will disentangle itself from the jungle of distractions. Through becoming aware of the outward distractions - possessions, relationships, amusements, pleasures, addictions - and by thinking-feeling them out, the inner distractions - escapes, knowledge, speculations, self-protective beliefs, memories and so on - are discovered. When there is an awareness of the outer and inner distractions there comes deep understanding, and only then is there a natural and easy withdrawal from them. For thought-feeling to discipline itself not to be distracted, prevents the understanding of the nature and cause of distraction, and so discipline itself becomes an escape, a means of distraction.
Simple life does not consist in the mere possession of a few things but in the freedom from possession and non-possession, in the indifference to things that comes with deep understanding. Merely to renounce things in order to reach greater happiness, greater joy that is promised, is to seek reward which limits thought and prevents it from flowering and discovering reality. To control thought-feeling for a greater reward, for a greater result, is to make it petty, ignorant and sorrowful. Simplicity of life comes with inner richness, with inward freedom from craving, with freedom from acquisitiveness, from addiction, from distraction.
From this simple life there comes that necessary one-pointedness which is not the outcome of self-enclosing concentration but of extensional awareness and meditative understanding. Simple life is not the result of outward circumstances; contentment with little comes with the riches of inward understanding. If you depend on circumstances to make you satisfied with life then you will create misery and chaos, for then you are a plaything of environment, and it is only when circumstances are transcended through understanding that there is order and clarity. To be constantly aware of the process of acquisitiveness, of addiction, of distraction, brings freedom from them and so there is a true and simple life.
Questioner: My son was killed in this war. I have another son twelve years old and I do not want to lose him too, in another war. How is another war to be prevented?
Krishnamurti: I am sure this same question must be put by every mother and father throughout the world. it is a universal problem. And I wonder what price the parents are willing to pay to prevent another war, to prevent their sons from being killed, to prevent this appalling human slaughter; how much they really mean when they say that they love their children, that war must be prevented, that they must have brotherhood, that a way must be found to stop all wars. To create a new way of life you must have a new revolutionary way of thinking-feeling. You will have another war, you are bound to have another war, if you are thinking in terms of nationalities, of racial prejudices, of economic and social frontiers. If each one really considers in his heart how to prevent another war he must put aside his nationality, his particular specialized religion, his greed and ambition. If you do not you will have another war for these prejudices and the adherence to specialized religions are merely the outward expressions of your selfishness, ignorance, ill will, lust.
But you will answer that it will take a very long time for each one of us to change and so to convince others of this point of view; society is not prepared to receive this idea; politicians are not interested in it; the leaders are incapable of this conception of one universal government or State without separate sovereignties. You might say that it is an evolutionary process which will gradually bring about this necessary change. If you replied in this manner to the parent whose son is going to be killed in another war and if he really loved his son, do you think he would find hope in this gradual evolutionary process? He wants to save his son, and he wants to know what is the surest way to stop all wars. He will not be satisfied with your gradual evolutionary theory. Is this evolutionary theory of gradual peace true or invented by us to rationalize our lazy and egotistic thought-feeling? Is it not incomplete and so not true? We think that we must go through the various states, the family, the group, the nation and the internation and then only will we have peace. It is but a justification of our egotism and narrowness, bigotry and prejudice; instead of sweeping away these dangers we invent a theory of progressive growth and sacrifice to it the happiness of others and ourselves. If we apply our mind and heart to the disease of ignorance and selfishness, then we shall create a sane and happy world.
We must not think and feel horizontally but vertically. That is, instead of following the course of lazy, selfish, ignorant thought-feeling of gradualism, of slow enlightenment through the process of time, of following this stream of continual conflict and misery, of constant mass murder and a period of rest from it - called peace - and an eventual paradise on earth; instead of thinking-feeling along these horizontal lines, can we not think - feel vertically? Is it not possible to pull ourselves out of the horizontal continuance of confusion and strife and to think-feel away from it, anew, without the sense of time, vertically? Without thinking in terms of evolution which helps to rationalize our laziness and postponement, can we not think-feel directly, simply? The love of the mother thinks-feels directly and simply but her egotism, her national pride and so on help her to think - feel in terms of gradualism, horizontally. The present is the eternal, neither the past nor the future can reveal it; through the present only the time less is realized. If You really desire to save your son and so mankind from another war, then you must pay the price for it: not to be greedy, not to have ill will and not to be worldly; for lust, ill will and ignorance breed conflict, confusion and antagonism; they breed nationalism, pride and the tyranny of the machine. If you are willing to free yourself from lust, ill will and ignorance, then only will you save your son from another war. To bring happiness to the world, to put an end to this mass murder, there must be complete inward revolution of thought- feeling which brings about new morality, a morality not of the sensate but based on freedom from sensuality, worldliness and the craving for personal immortality.
Questioner: You talk of meditative awareness but you never talk of prayer. Are you opposed to prayer?
Krishnamurti: In opposition there is no understanding. Most of us indulge in petitionary prayer and this form of prayer cultivates, strengthens duality, the observer and the observed, which are a joint phenomenon. Only when this duality ceases is there the whole. However much you may petition your answer will be according to your demand, but it will not be of the real. The answer to a desire is in the desire itself. When the mind-heart is utterly still, utterly silent, then only is there the whole, the eternal.
Some time ago I saw a person who said he had been praying to God and one of his petitions was for a refrigerator. Please do not laugh. And he had acquired not only a refrigerator but also a house, so his prayers were answered and God was a reality, he asserted.
When you ask you will receive but you will have to pay for it; according to your demands you are answered but there is a price for it. Greed replies to greed. When you ask out of greed, out of fear, out of want, you will have an answer but you must pay for it and you pay for it through wars, strife and misery. The centuries of greed, cruelty, ill will, ignorance manifest themselves when you call upon them. So to indulge in prayer without self-knowledge, without understanding, is disastrous. The meditative awareness of which I have been speaking is the outcome of self-knowledge in which alone there is right thinking, and it is this that frees the mind-heart from the dual process of the observer and the observed, for they are a joint phenomenon, a joint occurrence. The observer is ever conditioning the observed and it is extremely difficult to go beyond the observer and the observed, to go beyond and above the created. The thinker and his thought must cease for the Eternal to be. I have been trying to explain in my talks how to clarify the confusion that exists between the observer and the observed, the thinker and his thought, through self-knowledge and right thinking. For without self-clarification, the observer is ever conditioning the observed and so can not go beyond himself and becomes imprisoned. He is caught in his own delusion. For the realization of that which is not created, not made up, thought-feeling must transcend the created, the result, the self; thought-feeling must cease to demand, cease to acquire, cease to be distracted by any form of ritualism and memory. If you will experiment you will discover how extremely difficult it is for thought to be wholly free from its own chattering and creation. Only when it is so free, only when the observer and the observed have ceased, is there the Immeasurable.
Questioner: I have been writing down as you suggested. I find that I cannot get beyond the trivial thoughts. Is it because the conscious mind refuses to acknowledge the subconscious cravings and demands, and so escapes into an empty blockade?
Krishnamurti: I suggested that to slow down the mind in order to examine the thought-feeling process, you should write down every thought-feeling. If one wishes to understand, for example, a machine of high revolution one has to slow it down, not stop it for then it becomes merely a dead matter; but make it turn gently, slowly, to study its structure, its movement. Likewise if we wish to understand our mind, we must slow down our thinking - not put a stop to it - slow it down in order to study it, to follow it to its fullest extent. And to do this I suggested that you should write down every thought-feeling. It is not possible to write down every thought and feeling for there are too many of them, but if you attempted to write a little every day you would soon begin to know yourself; you would begin to be aware of the many layers of your consciousness, of their interrelation and inter-response. This awareness is difficult but if you would go far you must begin near.
Now, the questioner finds his thoughts are trivial and that he cannot get beyond them. He wants to know if this triviality is the result of an escape from the deeper cravings and demands. Partly it is and also our thoughts and feelings are in themselves petty, trivial, small. The root of understanding lies through the small, the trivial. Without understanding the small, thought-feeling cannot go beyond itself. You must become aware of your trivialities, your narrowness, your prejudices to understand them, and you can understand only when there is humility, when there is neither judgment nor comparison, acceptance nor denial. Thus there is the beginning of wisdom. Most of our thought-feeling is trivial. Why not recognize and understand its cause: the self, the result of vast and petty ignorance? Just as in following a thin vein you may come upon riches so if you follow, think - out, feel-out the trivial you will discover deep treasures. The small may hide the deep but you must follow it. The trivial if you study it gives promise of something beyond. Do not brush it aside but become aware of every thought-feeling for it has a significance.
The blockages may occur either because the conscious mind does not want to respond to deeper demands, which may necessitate a different course of action and so bring about trouble and pain, or it is incapable of wider and deeper thought-feeling. If it is the lack of capacity, you can create it only through persistent and constant awareness, through searching, observing, studying.
I only suggested writing down every thought-feeling as a means of cultivating this comprehensive, extensional awareness which is not the concentration of exclusion, not the concentration of self-enclosing isolation. This extensional awareness comes through understanding, not through mere judgment or comparison, denial or acceptance.
Questioner: What guarantee have I that the new faculty of which you speak will come into being?
Krishnamurti: I am afraid none what ever! This is not an investment, surely. If you are seeking surety then you will meet death but if you are uncertain, therefore adventuring, seeking, the real will be discovered. We want to be guaranteed, we want to be sure of the result before we even try for we are lazy and thoughtless and do not wish to set out on the long journey of self-discovery. We do not apply ourselves; we want enlightenment to be given to us in exchange for our effort which indicates possessive security. In security there is no discovery of the real; this search for security is self-protectiveness and in the self there is ignorance and sorrow. To understand, to discover the real, there must be the abandonment of the self; there must be negative comprehension for that which lies beyond all the cunning schemes of the self. What is discovered in the search of self-knowledge is true and it is this truth that is liberating and creative - not my guarantee that you will be liberated which would be utter folly. We are in conflict, in confusion, in sorrow and it is this suffering, not any promise of reward, that must be the compelling force to seek, to search out and to discover the real. This search must be made by each one of us and self-knowledge is to be cultivated through constant self-awareness; right thinking comes with self-knowledge which alone brings peace and understanding. The end is made distant through greed.
Questioner: Is it wrong to have a Master, a spiritual teacher on another plane of existence?
Krishnamurti: I have tried to answer the same question put indifferent ways at different times but apparently few wish to understand. Superstition is difficult to throw off for the mind creates it and becomes its prisoner.
How difficult it is to find what is true in what one reads, in one's daily relationship and thought! Prejudice, tendency, conditioning dictate our choice; to discover what is true these must be set aside; mind must discard its own self-restricting, narrow thoughts-feelings. To discover what is true in our thoughts, feelings and actions is extremely difficult and how much more difficult it is to discern the true in a supposedly spiritual world! If we want a teacher, a guru, it is sufficiently difficult to find a physical one and how much more complex, deceptive, confusing it must be to search out a teacher in a so-called spiritual world, in another plane of existence. Even if a supposedly spiritual teacher chooses you, you are really the chooser - not the supposed teacher. If you do not understand yourself in this world of action and interaction, of lust, ill will and ignorance, how can you trust your judgment, your capacity to discern, in a supposedly spiritual world! If you do not know yourself, how can you discern what is true? How do you know that your own mind which has the power to create illusion has not created the Master, the teacher? Is it not vanity that persuades you to seek the Master and be chosen?
There is a story of a pupil going to a teacher and requesting him to lead him to the Master; the teacher said that he would only if he, the pupil, did exactly as he was told. The pupil was delighted. For seven years he was told he must live in the nearby cave and there follow the teacher's instruction. He was told that first he must sit quietly, peacefully, in concentrated thought; then in the second year he was to invite the Master into the cave; the third he was to make the Master sit with him; in the fourth he was to talk with him; in the fifth year he was to make the Master move about in the cave; in the sixth to make him leave the cave. After the sixth year the teacher asked the pupil to come out and said to him, "Now you know who the Master is."
The mind has the power to create ignorance or to discern what is true. In this search for the Master, there is always in it the desire to gain and so there arises fear; and a mind that is seeking a reward and so inviting fear, cannot understand what is true. It is the height of ignorance to think in terms of reward and punishment, of the superior and the inferior. Besides can anyone help you to discover what is true in your own thoughts-feelings? Others may point out but you yourself have to search out and discover what is true.
If you look to another to be saved from suffering and ignorance, from this chaotic and barbarous world, you will only create further confusion and ill will, further ignorance and sorrow. You are responsible for your own thoughts-feelings-actions; you alone can bring clarity and order; you alone can save yourself from yourself; by your understanding alone can you transcend greed, ill will and ignorance.
Each one of us, here, I hope, is trying to seek the real, the imperishable, and is not to be distracted by the beauty of wayside shrines, by the trimmings of the sign post, by ritualism. There is no authority that can lead you to the ultimate reality and that reality lies in the beginning as in the end. Do not stop at the sign posts nor be caught up in the pettiness of groups, nor become enamoured of the chanting, of the incense, of the ritual. The reliance on another for self-knowledge adds more ignorance, for the other is yourself. The root of understanding is hidden in yourself. The perception of the true lies in right thinking, in humility, in compassion, in simple life, not in the authority of another. The authority of another, however great, leads to further ignorance and sorrow.
The Mirror of Relationship
8th Public Talk 2nd July, 1944
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.