The Mirror of Relationship
1st Public Talk 4th August, 1938
Have you ever tried to communicate to a friend something which you feel very deeply? You must have found it very difficult, however intimate that friendship may be. You can imagine how difficult it is for us here to understand each other, for our relationship is peculiar. There is not that friendship which is essential for deep communication and understanding. Most of us have the attitude either of a disciple towards a teacher, or of a follower, or of one who tries to force himself to a particular point of view, and communication becomes very difficult. It is further complicated if you have a propagandist attitude, if you come merely in order to propagate certain ideas of a particular society or sect, or an ideology that is popular at the moment. Free communication is possible only when both the listener and the talker are thinking together on the same point.
During these days of the Camp there should not be this attitude of a teacher and a disciple, of a leader and a follower, but rather, a friendly communication with each other, which is impossible if the mind is held in any belief or in any ideology. There is never a friendship between a leader and a follower, and hence deep communication between them is impossible.
I am talking about something which to me is real, in which I take joy, and it will be of very little significance to you if you are thinking of something quite different. If we can somehow go beyond this absurd relationship that we have established through tradition and legend, through superstition and all kinds of fantasies, then perhaps we shall be able to understand each other more naturally.
What I want to say seems, to me at least, very simple, but when these thoughts and feelings are put into words they become complicated. Communication becomes more difficult when you, with your particular prejudices, superstitions and barriers, try to perceive what I am trying to say, instead of attempting to clear your own mind of those perversions that prevent full understanding - which alone can bring about a critical and affectionate attitude.
As you know, this Camp is not meant for propaganda purposes, for either Right or Left, or for any particular society or ideology. I know there are many here who regularly come to the Camp to do propaganda for their societies, for their nationality, for their church, and so on. So I would seriously ask you not to indulge in this kind of pastime. We are here for more serious purposes. Those who have an itch for this kind of pastime have plenty of opportunity elsewhere. Here, at least, let us try to find out what we individually think and feel, and then, perhaps, we will begin to understand the chaos, the hate that exists in and about us.
Each one of us has many problems: whether one should become a pacifist, or how far one should go towards pacifism; whether one should fight for one's country; social and economic problems, and the problems of belief, conduct and affection. I am not going to give an answer which will immediately solve these problems. But what I should like to do is to point out a new approach to them, so that when you are face to face with these problems of nationalism, war, peace, exploitation, belief, love, you will be able to meet them integrally and from a point of view which is real.
So please do not at the beginning of these talks expect an immediate solution for your various problems. I know Europe is a perfect madhouse, in which there is talk of peace and at the same time preparation for war; in which frontiers and nationalism are being strengthened while at the same time there is talk of human unity; there is talk of God, of love, and at the same time hate is rampant. This is not only the problem of the world, but your own problem, for the world is you.
To face these problems you must be unconditionally free. If you are in any way bound, that is, if in any way you have fear, you cannot solve any of these problems. Only in unconditioned freedom is there truth; that is, in that freedom alone can you be truly yourself. To be integral in one's whole being is to be unconditioned. If in any way, in any manner, you have doubt, craving, fear, these create a conditioned mind which prevents the ultimate solution of the many problems.
I want to explain in what manner to approach the freedom from conditioning fear, so that you can be yourself at all times and under all circumstances. This state without fear is possible, in which alone can there be ecstasy, reality, God. Unless one is fully, integrally free from fear, problems merely increase and become suffocating, without any meaning and purpose.
This is what I want to say: that only in unconditioned freedom is there truth, and to be utterly oneself, integral in one's whole being, is to be unconditioned, which reveals reality.
So what is it - to be oneself? And can we be ourselves at all times? One can be oneself at all times only if one is doing something that one really loves; and if one loves completely. When you are doing something which you cannot help doing with your whole being, you are being yourself. Or when you love another completely, in that state you are yourself, without any fear, without any hindrance. In these two states one is completely oneself.
So one has to find out what it is that one loves to do. I am using the word "love" deliberately. What is it that with your whole being you love to do? You do not know. We do not know what it is wise to do, and what is foolish, and the discovery of what is wise and what is foolish is the whole process of living. You are not going to discover this in the twinkling of an eye.
But how is one to discover it? Is it to be discovered - what is wise and what is foolish - mechanically, or spontaneously? When you do something with your whole being, in which there is no sense of frustration or fear, no limitation, in this state of action you are yourself, irrespective of any outward condition. I say, if you can come to that state, when you are yourself in action, then you will find out the ecstasy of reality, God.
Is this state to be mechanically achieved, cultivated, or does it come into being spontaneously? I will explain what I mean by the mechanical process. All action imposed from without must be habit-forming, must be mechanical, and therefore not spontaneous. Can you discover what it is to be yourself through tradition?
Let me here digress a little and say that we will try, as we did last year, to talk over these ideas during the following meetings. We will try to take up the various points; not arguing with each other, but in a friendly manner finding out what we individually think about these things. In my first talk I want to give a brief outline of what, to me, is the real process of living.
Can you be yourself if your being is in any way touched by tradition? Or can you find yourself through example, through precept?
Questioner: What is precept?
Krishnamurti: Through a precept, through a saying - that evil is all that which divides and good all that which unites - by merely following a principle, can you be yourself? Will living according to a pattern, an ideal, following it ruthlessly, meditating upon it, bring you to the discovery of yourself? Can that which is real be perceived through discipline or will? That is, by exertion, by an effort of the intellect, curbing, controlling, disciplining, guiding, forcing thought in a particular direction, can you know yourself? And can you know yourself through behaviour patterns; that is, by preconceiving a mode of life, of what is good, the ideal, and following it constantly, twisting your thought and feeling to its dictates, putting aside what you consider evil and ruthlessly following what you consider to be good? Will this process reveal to you that which you are, whatever that is? Can you discover yourself through compulsion? It is a form of compulsion, this ruthless overcoming of difficulties through will, discipline - this subduing and resisting, a withholding and a yielding.
All this is the exertion of will, which I consider to be mechanical, a process of the intellect. Can you know yourself through these means - through these mechanical means? All effort, mechanical or of the will, is habit-forming. Through the forming of habit you may be able to create a certain state, achieve a certain ideal which you may consider to be yourself, but as it is the result of an intellectual effort or the effort of the will, it is wholly mechanical and hence not true. Can this process yield the comprehension of yourself, of what you are?
Then there is the other state, which is spontaneous. You can know yourself only when you are unaware, when you are not calculating, not protecting, not constantly watching to guide, to transform, to subdue, to control; when you see yourself unexpectedly, that is, when the mind has no preconceptions with regard to itself, when the mind is open, unprepared to meet the unknown.
If your mind is prepared, surely you cannot know the unknown, for you are the unknown. If you say to yourself, "I am God", or "I am nothing but a mass of social influences or a bundle of qualities" - if you have any preconception of yourself, you cannot comprehend the unknown, that which is spontaneous.
So spontaneity can come only when the intellect is unguarded, when it is not protecting itself, when it is no longer afraid for itself; and this can happen only from within. That is, the spontaneous must be the new, the unknown, the incalculable, the creative, that which must be expressed, loved, in which the will as the process of intellect, controlling, directing, has no part. Observe your own emotional states and you will see that the moments of great joy, great ecstasy, are unpremeditated; they happen, mysteriously, darkly, unknowingly. When they are gone, the mind desires to recreate those moments, to recapture them, and so you say to yourself: "If I can follow certain laws, form certain habits, act in this way but not in that, then I shall have those moments of ecstasy again".
There is always a war between the spontaneous and the mechanical. Please do not adapt this to suit your own religious, philosophic terms. To me, what I am saying is vitally new and cannot be twisted to suit your particular prejudices of the higher and the lower self, the transient and the permanent, the self and the not-self, and so on. Most of us have, unfortunately, almost destroyed this spontaneity, this creative joy of the unknown from which alone there can be wise action. We have sedulously cultivated through generations of tradition, of morality based on will, of compulsion, the mechanical attitude of life, calling it by sweet-sounding words; in essence it is purely mechanical, intellectual. The process of discipline, of violence, of subjugation, of resistance, of imitation - all this is the outcome of the development of the mere intellect, which has its root in fear. The mechanical is overwhelmingly dominant in our lives. On this is based our civilization and morality - and at rare moments, when the will is dormant, forgotten, there is the joy of the spontaneous, the unknown.
I say that in this state of spontaneity alone can you perceive that which is truth. In this state alone can there be wise action, not the action of calculated morality or of will.
The various forms of moral and religious disciplines, the many impositions of social and ethical institutions, are but the outcome of a carefully cultivated mechanical attitude towards life, which destroys spontaneity and brings about the destruction of truth.
Through no method - and all methods must inevitably be mechanical - can you unravel the truth of your own being. One cannot force spontaneity by any means. No method will give you spontaneity. All methods can but create mechanical reactions. No discipline will bring about the spontaneous joy of the unknown. The more you force yourself to be spontaneous, the more spontaneity retreats, the more hidden and obscure it becomes and the less it can be understood. And yet that is what you are trying to do when you follow disciplines, patterns, ideals, leaders, examples, and so forth. You must approach it negatively, not with the intention of capturing the unknown, the real.
Is each one aware of the mechanical process of the intellect, of the will, which destroys the spontaneous, the real? You cannot answer immediately, but you can begin to think about the intellect, the will, and specially feel its destructive quality. You can perceive the illusory nature of the will, not through any compulsion, not through any desire to achieve, to attain, to understand, but only when the intellect allows itself to be denuded of all its protective sheaths.
You can know yourself only when you love completely. This, again, is the whole process of life, not to be gathered in a few moments, from a few words of mine. You cannot be yourself when love is dependent. It is not love when it is merely self-gratification, though it may be mutual. It is not love when there is a withholding; it is not love when it is merely a means to an end; when it is merely sensation. You cannot be yourself when love is at the behest of fear; it is then fear, not love, that is expressing itself in many ways, though you may cover it up by calling it love. Fear cannot allow you to be yourself. Intellect merely guides fear, controls it, but can never destroy it, for intellect is the very cause of fear.
As fear cannot allow you to be yourself, how then is one to overcome this fear - fear of all kinds, not of one particular type? How is one to free oneself from this fear, of which one may be conscious or unconscious? If you are unconscious of fear, become conscious of it; become aware of your thoughts and actions, and soon you will be conscious of fear. And if you are conscious of it, how are you going to be free from it? Are you going to free yourself from fear mechanically, through will; or will it begin to dissolve of its own accord, spontaneously? The mechanical or the will process can but hide away fear more and more, guard it and carefully withhold it, allowing only the reactions of controlled morality. Below this controlled behaviour pattern, fear must ever continue. This is the inevitable result of the mechanical process of the will, with its disciplines, desires, controls, and so on.
Until one frees oneself from the mechanical, there cannot be the spontaneous, the real. Craving for the real, for that flame which bursts from within, cannot bring it about.
What will free you from the mechanical is the deep observation of the process of the will, being one with it, without any desire to be free from it. Now you observe the mechanical attitude towards life with a desire to get rid of it, to alter it, transform it. How can you transform will when desire is of the will itself?
You must be aware of the whole process of will, of the mechanical, of its struggles, its escapes, its miseries; and as the farmer allows the soil to lie fallow after a harvest, so must you allow yourself to be silent, negative, without any expectation. It is not easy. If in the hope of gaining the real, you mechanically allow yourself to be silent, force yourself to be negative, then fear is the reward. As I have said, this creative emptiness is not to be run after or sought by devious ways. It must happen. Truth is. It is not the result of organized morality, for morality based on will is not moral.
We have many problems, individual as well as social, and for these problems there is no solution through the intellect, through the will. As long as the process of will continues in any form, there must be confusion and sorrow. Through will you cannot know yourself, nor can there be the real.
The Mirror of Relationship
1st Public Talk 4th August, 1938
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.