The Mirror of Relationship
Ommen Camp, Holland
2nd Public Talk 27th July, 1936
All of us are in some measure caught up in suffering, whether economic, physical, psychological or spiritual. To understand the cause of suffering and to be free from that cause is our constant problem.
To understand the fundamental cause of suffering, we cannot divide man into different parts. Man is indivisible, though he expresses himself through many aspects, and assumes many forms of expression which give him great complexity. There are specialists who study these various divisions and aspects of man and try to discover along their special lines the cause of suffering, but we cannot leave the comprehension of ourselves to another. We must understand ourselves as a whole and examine our own desires and activities. We must discern the "I" process, which seeks ever to perpetuate and maintain itself separately through its own activities. When we fully comprehend this process, there will be the awakening of that intelligence which alone can free us from sorrow.
This "I" process is consciousness which is individuality, and the cause of suffering is the ignorance of this self-active process. If we do not comprehend this process, which engenders sorrow, there cannot be intelligence. Intelligence is not a gift but can be cultivated, awakened, through alertness of mind and choiceless life. So action can either create sorrow, or destroy ignorance with its tendencies and cravings and thus end sorrow.
You can see for yourself in your life how this process, with its fears, illusions and escapes, diminishes creative intelligence which alone can bring about the well-being of man. The comprehension of reality, truth, comes with the cessation of sorrow. Our consideration of the hereafter, of immortality, is vain pursuit for there can be the bliss of reality only with the cessation of sorrow.
To understand suffering we must begin with ourselves, not with the idea of suffering, which is only the arid emptiness of the intellect. We must begin with ourselves, with the agonies, miseries and conflicts which seem to have no end. Happiness is not to be sought after, but with the cessation of sorrow there is intelligence, the bliss of reality.
From what source do our daily activities spring? What is the basis of our moral and religious thought? If we examine ourselves deeply, comprehensively, we will see that many of our activities and relationships have their origin in fear and illusion. They are the outcome of craving, of a ceaseless search for both outward and inward security and comfort. This search has produced a civilization in which each individual, subtly or grossly, is fighting for himself, thus engendering hatred, cruelty and oppression. This process has fostered a civilization of exploitation, wars, and organized religious superstition, the results of a false conception of individuality and fulfilment. The external conflict of races and religions, the division of peoples, the economic struggles, have their roots in false ideas of culture. Our lives are in continual conflict because of fear, belief, choice and subjugation. Our environment stimulates the process of ignorance, and our memories and wants renew and give continuity and individuality to consciousness.
When you examine this process you will discern that the "I" is reforming itself each moment by its own volitional activities based on ignorance, want and fear. When you begin to realize that the "I" therefore has no permanency, there will be a vital change in your conduct and morality. Then there can be no subservience, acquiescence, but only the action of awakened intelligence which creates ever new conditions, without being enslaved by them. This intelligence alone can bring about true co-operation without frustration.
Each one of you must become aware of the process of ignorance. This awareness is not that directive power of a higher comprehension over a lower, which is but a trick of the mind, but that choiceless comprehension which is the outcome of persistent action without fear and want. From this choiceless perception there arise right morality, relationship and action. Conduct is not then the mere imitation of a pattern or ideal, or a discipline, but it is the outcome of true comprehension of the "I" process. This discernment is awakened intelligence which, not being hierarchical or personal, helps to create a new culture of fulfilment and co-operation.
Question: Is effort consistent with awareness?
Krishnamurti: Please understand what I mean by awareness. Awareness is not the result of choice. Choice implies opposites, a discrimination between the essential and the unessential, between right and wrong. Choice must create conflict for it is based on self-protective prompting, calculation and prejudice. Choice is ever based on memories. Discernment is direct perception, without choice, of what is, and to perceive directly is to be free from the background of want. This can take place only when effort which is now being exerted between opposites ceases. Opposites are the result of want, of craving, and so of fear. With the cessation of fear there is direct perception of what is. We are at present making effort to achieve, to succeed, to conquer one habit by another, to subjugate one fear by another, one longing by another, one ideal by another. So there is constant effort to substitute, to overcome. Such effort is utterly futile, vain; it leads to confusion and not to the awakening of intelligence.
If you begin to be aware of this process of choice, of conflict between the opposites, then there is a change of will, and this will is the result of choicelessness.
When I talk about right effort, I mean that one should become conscious of the false effort one is making now. Become aware of the background, perceive how each moment thought is modifying itself in limitation through its own volitional activities born of ignorance and fear, which give a continuity to the "I" process, to consciousness.
We suffer and we want to escape from that suffering, so we make an effort to seek a remedy, a substitution, but thereby we do not eradicate the cause of suffering. As mind is burdened with many substitutions, many escapes which prevent the birth of choiceless discernment, so effort merely creates further sorrow and frustration. This is false effort. Right effort is the spontaneous discernment of false effort which seeks substitution or escape through the many forms of security.
Question: How can one come to an agreement with people who have objectives in life radically different from one's own?
Krishnamurti: There cannot be agreement between a false objective and a true objective. There may be agreement between two false objectives. In trying to bring about agreement between the false and the true, we attempt to develop what is called tolerance, with its many false pretences. There can be real agreement only when the objectives are intelligent and true. When two individuals perceive the fundamental illusion of security, there is agreement, co-operation. But if one comprehends the cruelty of acquisitive security and another does not, then there is conflict, and to overcome this friction the false virtue of tolerance is developed, but this does not mean that he who understands is intolerant.
Instead of trying to agree, instead of trying to find out the common factor between two absurdities, let us see if we can be intelligent. A man who has fear cannot be intelligent - for fear impedes choiceless discernment. So long as there is acquisitiveness, there cannot be intelligence, for it indicates that the mind is entangled in the process of ignorance and want. The cultivation of virtue is not intelligence. As long as there is the volitional activity of ignorance there must be fear, delusion and conflict.
Instead of cultivating tolerance which is but a trick of the mind, there must be the awakening of intelligence which has no self-protective memories and fears.
Question: Those who possess - whether land or machinery or labour - do not willingly share with those who are less fortunate. Have not the latter, therefore, the right and, in the last resort, the duty, to take away from those who possess, for the common benefit of all? Are you not rather inclined to waste your teachings on the more fortunate who are the least likely to want to alter the existing economic and social structure?
Krishnamurti: I know this is a vital problem for many people. I am not evading it, when I say that I want to deal with all the problems of life comprehensively, integrally, not separately. Where intelligence is functioning freely, these separative problems will not exist. Where there is no intelligence, though you may take over the machinery, the land, the labour, you will again create division with its cruel acquisitiveness and wars. So, from my point of view, what is important is the cultivation of true intelligence which alone can bring about order. There must be that inward revolution, which to me is much more important than the outward upheaval. This inward revolution is not to be postponed. It is much more vital, much more immediate than the outward one. This complete change of will is in your own power.
The inward, vital revolution is the result of comprehension and not of compulsion. Intelligence does not recognize riches or poverty. I am not talking either to the rich or to the poor, to the fortunate or to the less fortunate. I am talking to individuals, to whom I say that it is necessary for them to comprehend the process of life because they as individuals are caught up in suffering. They as individuals are the creators of social environment, morality, relationship. So we must deal with man comprehensively and not merely with one of his aspects. As long as there is not that deep comprehension of the process of individuality, mere change will not awaken intelligence. If we discern this truly, we shall not as individuals seek happiness through the various cruelties and absurdities which we call modern civilization.
If you comprehend the utter necessity for this inward revolution, this change of will, then you will help naturally, spontaneously, to bring about right order, right action and conduct. Question: Is not the theosophical conception of the Masters of Wisdom and evolution of the soul as sound as the scientific conception of biological growth of life in organic matter?
Krishnamurti: That which is capable of growth is not eternal. The theosophic or the religious conception is one of individual growth - the process of the "I" becoming greater and greater by acquiring more and more virtue and comprehension. That is, the "I" is capable of indefinite growth, reaching greater and greater heights of perfection, and to help it onwards Masters, disciplines and religious organizations are necessary.
So long as one does not understand what the "I" is, then Masters of some kind or other become an illusory necessity. It may not be a Master in the theosophical sense, it may be a saint of a church or a spiritual authority of an organization. What we have to understand is not whether the Masters exist or not, whether they are necessary or not, but whether the "I" in its growth, in its expansion, can become eternal or lead to the comprehension of truth. The problem is not whether Masterhood is a perfectly natural process, but whether discernment of truth can come to a mind which is held in the "I" process. If you consider the "I" to be eternal, then it cannot grow, it must be timeless, spaceless. So the idea that the "I" becomes a Master through growth, experience, is an illusion. Or, the "I" process is transient. To bring this process to an end, no outside agency however great can ever be of help, for the "I" process is self-active, sustaining itself through its volitional activities. You have to consider whether the "I" is eternal or transient. But it is not a question of choice, for all choice is based on ignorance, prejudice, want.
Some of you may not be concerned with the belief in the Masters of the Theosophists, yet when sorrow comes to you, you may seek some other spiritual authority or guidance, and it is this dependence on another that perpetuates the "I" process, with its subtle exploitation and sorrow.
Question: Many persons find it very hard to be fully concentrated in their actions. In order to train the capacity for concentration, cannot certain exercises be of great help or do you regard them as hindrances?
Krishnamurti: When you are deeply interested there is no necessity for exercises which help you to develop concentration. When you are enjoying beautiful scenery, there is a spontaneity of delight and interest which is beyond all the artificial aids to concentration. It is only when you are not interested that there is a division in consciousness. Instead of trying to find exercises for developing the capacity for concentration, find out if you have deep interest in the things of life. To understand life, you need comprehensive interest, not only in bread and butter but in the processes of thought, of love, in experiences, in relationship. Where there is deep interest there is concentration. Is not the questioner trying to stimulate concentration artificially? Such artificial stimulation becomes a barrier to the rich comprehension of life. Disciplined meditations are artificial stimulations and become barriers which create a division between living actuality and illusory longings and desires. Do not seek the bliss of reality, for the mere search for reality only leads to illusion, but comprehend that process of thought, consciousness, focussed in yourself. This demands not mere concentration but pliability of mind and self-sustained interest.
Question: The idea of leadership is, to many, a great inspiration. Also it leads to the cultivation of respect and a spirit of self-sacrifice. In you we recognize a great spiritual leader, and feel profound reverence towards you. Should we not therefore encourage, in others as well as in ourselves, these great qualities of respect and self-sacrifice?
Krishnamurti: The show of respect is personally distasteful to me. (Laughter) Please do not laugh. If there were true respect you would not only show it to me but to all. Your show of respect to me only indicates a mentality of barter. You think I am going to give you something, or help you in some way, and so you show respect. What you are really doing is showing respect to an idea that you should display consideration to a person who may help you, but out of this false respect there is born contempt for others. There is no consideration of the ideas in themselves, but unfortunately only of the person who gives forth these ideas. In this lies grave danger, leading to reciprocal exploitation. The mere respect of authority indicates fear which breeds many illusions. From this false respect, there arises the artificial distinction between leaders and followers, with its many obvious and subtle forms of exploitation. Where there is no intelligence there is respect for the few and disdain for the rest.
The Mirror of Relationship
Ommen Camp, Holland
2nd Public Talk 27th July, 1936
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.