The Mirror of Relationship
6th Public Talk 8th August, 1937
Relationship may be limited, between two individuals, or it may be with many, in an ever widening sphere. Limited or wide, the importance lies in the character of relationship.
What do we mean by relationship? It is an adjustment between two individualistic desires. In this relationship there is strife of opposing ambitions, attachments, hopes, wants. Thus almost all relationship becomes one of strain and conflict. There is relationship not only with people and external values, but also with those values and conceptions within us.
We are aware of this strife between friends, between neighbours, between ourselves and society.
Must this conflict ever continue? We may adjust our relationship with another so cunningly that we never come into contact with each other vitally; or adjustment being impossible, two people may be forced to separate. But as long as there is any kind of activity there must be relationship between the individual and society, which may be one or many. Isolation is possible only in a complete state of neurosis. Unless one acts mechanically, unthinking and unfeeling, or is so conditioned that there is only one pattern of thought and feeling, all relationship is one of adjustment either of strife and resistance, or of yielding.
Love is not of relationship, nor of adjustment; it is of a wholly different quality.
Can this strife in relationship ever cease? We cannot, through mere experience, bring about a relationship without strife. Experience is a reaction to previous conditioning which in relationship produces conflict. The mere domination of environment with its social values, habits and thoughts, cannot bring about a relationship which is free from strife.
There is conflict between the conditioning influences of desire and the swift, lively current of relationship. It is not, as most people think, relationship that is limiting, but it is desire that conditions. It is desire, conscious or unconscious, that is ever causing friction in relationship.
Desire springs from ignorance. Desire cannot exist independently; it must feed on previous conditioning, which is ignorance.
Ignorance can be dissipated. It is possible. Ignorance consists of the many forms of fear, of belief, of want, of attachment. These create conflict in relationship.
When we are integrally aware of the process of ignorance, voluntarily, spontaneously, there is the beginning of that intelligence which meets all conditioning influences. We are concerned with the awakening of this intelligence, of this love, which alone can free the mind and heart from strife.
The awakening of this intelligence, this love, is not the result of a disciplined, systematized morality, nor is it an achievement to be sought after, but it is a process of constant awareness.
Questioner: Relationship is also a contact between habits, and through habit there is the continuity of activity.
Krishnamurti: In most cases action is the result of habit, habit based on tradition, on thought and desire pattern, and this gives to action an apparent continuity. Generally, then, habit rules our action and relationship.
Is action merely habit? If action is the outcome of mere mechanical habit, then it must lead to confusion and sorrow. In the same way, if relationship is merely the contact of two individualized habits, then all such relationship is suffering. But unfortunately we reduce all contact with each other to a dull and weary pattern through incapacity of adjustment, through fear, through lack of love.
Habit is conscious or unconscious repetition of action which is guided by memory of past incidents, of tradition, of thought-desire patterns, and so forth. One often realizes that one is living in a narrow groove of thought and, breaking away from it, slips into another. This change from habit to habit is often called progress, experience or growth.
Action, which may once have followed full awareness, often becomes habitual, without thought, without any depth of feeling.
Can true relationship exist when the mind is merely following a pattern?
Questioner: But there is a spontaneous response, which is not habit at all.
Krishnamurti: Yes, we know of this, but such occasions are rare, and we would like to establish a relationship of spontaneity. Between what we would like to be and what we are there is a wide gap. What we would like to be is a form of ambitious attachment which has no significance to one who is searching out reality. If we can understand what we are, then perhaps we shall know what is.
Can true relationship exist when the mind is merely following a pattern? When one is aware of that state called love, there is a dynamic relationship that is not of a pattern, that is beyond all mental definitions and calculations. But, through the conditioning influence of fear and desire, such relationship is reduced to mere gratification, to habit, to routine. Such a state is not true relationship but a form of death and decay. How can there be true relationship between two individualized patterns, though there may be mechanical response from each?
Questioner: There is a continual adjustment between these two habits.
Krishnamurti: Yes, but such adjustment is merely mechanical, which conflict and suffering enforce; such enforcement does not break down the fundamental desire to form habit patterns. Outside influences and inward determinations do not break down the formation of habit, but only aid in superficial and intellectual adjustment which is not conducive to true relationship.
Is this state of patterns, of ideals, of conformity, conducive to fulfilment, to creative and intelligent life and action? Before we can answer this question, do we realize or are we aware of this state? If we are not aware of it there is no conflict, but if we are, then there is anxiety and suffering. From this we try to escape or try to break down old habits and patterns. In overcoming them, one merely creates others; the desire for mere change is stronger than the desire to be aware of the whole process of the formation of habit, of patterns. Hence we move from habit to habit.
Questioner: Yes, I know habit is foolish, but can I break away from it?
Krishnamurti: Before you ask me how to overcome a particular habit, let us find out what is the thing that is creating habit, because you may break away from one habit, one pattern, but in that very process you may be forming another. This is what we generally do, go from one habit to another. We will go on doing this indefinitely unless we find out why it is that the mind ever seeks to form habits, follow thought-desire patterns.
All true relationship requires constant alertness and adjustment not according to pattern. Where there is habit, the following of patterns, ideals, this state of pliability is impossible. To be pliable demands constant thought and affection, and as the mind finds it is easier to establish behaviour patterns than to be aware, it proceeds to form habits; and when it is shaken from a particular one, through affliction and uncertainty, it moves on to another. Fear for its own security and comfort compels the mind to follow thought-desire patterns. Society thus becomes the maker of habit, patterns, ideals, for society is the neighbour, the immediate relation with which one is ever in contact.
The Mirror of Relationship
6th Public Talk 8th August, 1937
Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.