The Mirror of Relationship
Ommen Camp, Holland
4th Public Talk 29th July, 1936
Action which springs from the self-preserving process of consciousness with its many layers of ignorance, tendencies, wants, fears, cannot liberate the mind from its own self-created limitation, but merely intensifies sorrow and frustration. As long as this process continues, as long as there is no comprehension of this "I" process, not only in its obvious form and expression, but also in its prodigious subtleties, there must be suffering and confusion. Yet this very suffering, from which we are ever trying to escape, can lead us to the comprehension of the "I" process, to the profound knowledge of oneself, but all escapes into illusion must cease. The greater the suffering, the stronger is the indication of limitation. But if you do not suffer it does not necessarily mean that you are free of limitations. On the contrary, it may be that your mind is stagnant within self-protective walls so that no provocations of life, no experiences, can stir it into activity and so awaken it to sorrow. Such a mind is incapable of discerning reality. Suffering can bring about the comprehension of oneself, if you do not try to avoid it or to escape from it.
How can we bring to an end the "I" process, so that our action does not create further limitation and sorrow? To bring this "I" process to an end, there must be the consciousness of suffering, not the mere conception of suffering. Unless there is the vital provocation of life, most of us are apt to comfort ourselves to sleep and so allow unconsciously the "I" process to continue. The essential requirement for the discernment of the "I" process is to be fully conscious of suffering. Then there must be the utter certainty that there are no escapes whatsoever from suffering. All search for comfort and superficial remedies then wholly ceases. All ritualistic palliatives cease to have any significance. We then begin to perceive that no external agency can help us to bring this self-sustaining process of ignorance to an end. When the mind is in this state of openness, when it is wholly able to confront itself, then it becomes its own mirror, then there is undivided consciousness; it does not judge its actions by standards, nor is it controlled by the authority of ideal. It is then its own creator and destroyer. Environment with its conditioning influences, and heredity with its limiting characteristics, yield to the comprehension of the "I" process. When the mind discerns this process integrally, it sees itself as the process, utilizing all action, all relationship to sustain itself. In the renewal of itself from moment to moment, through its own volitional activities, the "I" process is perpetuating itself and merely engendering sorrow.
The majority of us try to escape from suffering through illusions, logical definitions and conclusions, and so gradually the mind becomes dull, incapable of perceiving itself. Only when the mind perceives itself as it is, as the will of itself, with its many layers of ignorance, fear, want, illusion, when it discerns how through its own volitional activities the "I" process is perpetuating itself, only then is there the possibility of this process bringing itself to an end. When the mind discerns that it is itself creating sorrow, perpetuating the "I" process, and that it is the "I" process itself, then there is a change of will, change of consciousness. The ending of the "I" process is the beginning of wisdom, bliss.
We have sedulously developed the idea of a superior and an inferior will in consciousness. This division merely creates conflict, which we seek to end by discipline. Where there is want or fear, its action is as the fuel to a flame, it merely sustains the "I" process. The comprehension of this process demands great awareness and not the effort of choice or of discipline.
Question: Is fear a fundamental part of life, so that the understanding of it merely enables us the better to accept it; or is it something that can be transmuted into something else; or again, something that can be wholly eliminated? One often seems able to trace the cause of a particular fear, and yet in other forms fear continues. Why should it be so?
Krishnamurti: Fear will exist in different forms, grossly or subtly, as long as there is the self-active process of ignorance engendered by the activities of want. One can wholly eliminate fear, it is not a fundamental part of life. If there is fear there cannot be intelligence, and to awaken intelligence one must fully comprehend the process of the "I" in action. Fear cannot be transmuted into love. It must ever remain as fear even though we try to reason it away, even though we try to cover it up by calling it love. Nor can fear be understood as a fundamental part of life in order to enable us to put up with it. You will not discover the deep cause of fear by merely analyzing each fear as it arises. There is only one fundamental cause of fear, though it may express itself in different forms. By mere dissection of the various forms of fear, thought cannot free itself from the root cause of fear. When the mind neither accepts nor rejects fear, neither escapes from it nor tries to transmute it, then only can there be a possibility of its cessation. When the mind is not caught in the conflict of opposites, then it is able to discern, without choice, the whole of the "I" process. As long as this process continues there must be fear and the attempt to escape from it only increases and strengthens the process. If you would be free of fear, you must fully comprehend action born of want.
Question: I am beginning to think that material possessions tend to foster vanity and in addition are a burden; and now I have decided to limit my own material requirements. However, I find it difficult to come to a decision as regards leaving inheritance to my children. Must I, as their parent, take a decision in the matter? I know that I would not consciously pass on a contagious disease if I could possibly avoid it. Would I be right in taking a similar view regarding inheritance and so depriving my children of it?
Krishnamurti: The questioner himself says he would not willingly pass on a contagious disease. Now, is inheritance such a disease? To possess or acquire money without working for it breeds a form of mental illness. If you agree with this statement and act by it then you must be willing to face the consequences of your action. You will help to upset the present social system with its exploitation, its cruel and stupid power through the accumulation of money and the privileges of vested interest. Whether possessing or acquiring money without working for it is a disease or not, you must discover for yourself.
When you as individuals begin to free yourselves from the disease of fear, you will not ask another whether you should leave your wealth to your children or not. Your action then will have a profound and different significance. Then your attitude with regard to family, class, work, wealth or poverty will undergo a deep change. If there is not this significant change, which is brought about through comprehension and not through compulsion, then artificial problems can only be answered superficially, without any consequence or value.
Question: You have talked about the vital urge, the ceaseless awakened state, which, if I understand rightly, would be possible only after one had been through utter loneliness. Do you think it is possible for one to have that great urge and yet be married? To me it seems that however free the husband and wife may be, there will always be invisible threads between the two which must inevitably prevent each from being wholly responsible to himself or herself. Will not the awakened state, therefore, lead to utter and complete detachment from each and all?
Krishnamurti: You cannot exist except in relationship with persons, with environment, with tradition, with the background of the past. To be, is to exist in relationship. Either you can make relationship vital, strong, expressive, harmonious, or you can turn it into conflict and pain. It is suffering which forces you to withdraw from relationship, and as you cannot exist without being in relation with something, you begin to cultivate detachment, a self-protective reaction against sorrow. If you love, you are in right relationship with environment; but if love turns into hatred, into jealousy, and creates conflict, then relationship becomes burdensome and painful, and you begin the artificial process of detaching yourself from that which gives you pain. You can intellectually create a self-protective barrier of detachment and live in this self created prison, which slowly destroys the fullness of mind-heart. To live, is to be in relationship. There cannot be harmonious and vital relationship if there are any self-protective desires and reactions which bring about sorrow and conflict.
Question: If I understand you rightly, awareness alone and by itself is sufficient to dissolve both the conflict and the source of it. I am perfectly aware, and have been for a long time, that I am "snobbish". What prevents my getting rid of snobbishness?
Krishnamurti: The questioner has not understood what I mean by awareness. If you have a habit, the habit of snobbishness for instance, it is no good merely to overcome this habit by another, its opposite. It is futile to fight one habit by another habit. What rids the mind of habit is intelligence. Awareness is the process of awakening intelligence, not creating new habits to fight the old ones. So you must become conscious of your habits of thought, but do not try to develop opposite qualities or habits. If you are fully aware, if you are in that state of choiceless observation, then you will perceive the whole process of creating a habit and also the opposite process of overcoming it. This discernment awakens intelligence which does away with all habits of thought. We are eager to get rid of those habits which give us pain or which we have found to be worthless, by creating other habits of thought and assertions. This process of substitution is wholly unintelligent. If you will observe you will find that mind is nothing but a mass of habits of thought and memories. By merely overcoming these habits by others, the mind still remains in prison, confused and suffering. It is only when we deeply comprehend the process of self-protective reactions, which become habits of thought, limiting all action, that there is a possibility of awakening intelligence which alone can dissolve the conflict of opposites.
Question: Will you kindly explain the difference between change in will and change of will?
Krishnamurti: Change in will is merely the result of duality in consciousness, and change of will takes place in the plenitude of one's whole being. One is a change in degree and the other is a change in kind. The conflict of want, or the change in the object of want, is merely a change in will, but with the cessation of all want there is a change of will.
The change in will is submission to the authority of ideal and conduct. The change of will is discernment, intelligence, in which there is not the conflict of antitheses. In the latter there is deep and spontaneous adjustment; in the former there is compulsion through ignorance, want and fear.
Question: Is the renewal of the individual sufficient for the solution of the problems of the world? Does intelligence comprise action for the liberation of all?
Krishnamurti: What are the problems of the world? Bread, unemployment, wars, conflicts, opposing political groups, the enjoyment by the few of the riches of the world, class divisions, starvation, death, immortality - these are the problems of the world. Are not these also individual problems? The problems of the world can be understood only through that process which is focussed in each one, the "I" process. Why create this artificial division of the individual and the world? We are the world, we are the mass. If you, as an individual, comprehend the process of division as nationalism, class conflict and racial antagonisms, if you are no longer Dutch, French, German, or English, with all the absurdities of separativeness, then surely you become a centre of intelligence. You are then fighting stupidity wherever you are, though it may lead you to hunger and struggle. If we fully comprehend this through action we can be as oases in the midst of deserts. The process of hatred and division is as old as the centuries. You cannot withdraw from it, but in the midst of it you can be clear, simple, true, without all the encrustations of past stupidities. Then you will see what great understanding and joy you can bring to life. But unfortunately in the moment of great upheavals and wars, you are swept off your feet. Your own potential hatreds and fears are aroused and carry you away. You are not the tranquil oasis, to which suffering humanity can come.
So it is of the utmost importance to comprehend the process which engenders these limitations, hatreds, sorrows. Action born of integral understanding will be a liberating force, though the effects of such action may not show themselves in your lifetime or within a set period. Time is of no consequence. A bloody revolution does not bring about lasting peace or happiness for all. Instead of merely desiring immediate peace in this world of confusion and agony, consider how you, the individual, can be a centre, not of peace, but of intelligence. Intelligence is essential for order, harmony and man's well-being.
There are many organizations for peace, but there are very few individuals who are free, who are intelligent in the true sense of the word. You must begin as individuals to comprehend reality; then the flame of understanding will spread over the face of the earth.
The Mirror of Relationship
Ommen Camp, Holland
4th Public Talk 29th July, 1936
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.