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The Mirror of Relationship

Ommen, Holland
3rd Public Talk 8th August, 1938

I have been trying to explain what is the right inward condition in which one can truly be oneself; that so long as the habit-forming mechanism exists one cannot truly be oneself, even if it is considered good. All habit must prevent clarity of perception and must conceal one's own integrity. This mechanism has been developed as a means of escape, a process of concealment, of covering up one's own confusion and uncertainties; it has been developed to cover up the futility of one's own actions and the routine of work, of occupation; or to escape from emptiness, sorrow, disappointment, and so on.

We are trying to escape, run away from ignorance and fear, through forming habits that will counteract them, that will resist them - habits of ideals and morality. When there is discontentment, sorrow, the intellect mechanically comes forward with solutions, explanations, tentative suggestions, which gradually crystallize and become habits of thought. Thus suffering and doubt are covered over.

So fear is the root of this habit-forming mechanism. We must understand its process. By understanding I do not mean the mere intellectual grasp of it, but the becoming aware of it as an actual process that is taking place, not superficially, but as something that is happening every day of one's life. Understanding is a process of self-revelation, of being aware not merely objectively, mechanically, but as a part of our very existence.

To understand this mechanism of escape through habit, we must first find out the concealed motive - the motive that drives us to certain actions, which brings in its wake what we call experience. As long as we do not understand the motive power of this mechanism that creates escape, merely to consider the escapes is of little value.

Experience is a process of accumulation and denudation, of revelation and a strengthening of old habits, a breaking down and building up of that which we call the will. Experience either strengthens the will or at moments destroys it; either builds up purposive desires, or breaks those desires we have stored up, only to create new ones. In this process of experiencing, living, there is the gradual formation of will.

Now there is no divine will, but only the plain, ordinary will of desire: the will to succeed, to be satisfied, to be. This will is a resistance, and it is the fruit of fear which guides, chooses, justifies, disciplines. This will is not divine. It is not in conflict with the so-called divine will, but because of its very existence it is a source of sorrow and conflict, for it is the will of fear. There cannot be conflict between light and darkness; where the one is, the other is not. However much we may like to clothe this will with divinity, with high-sounding principles and names, will in its essence is the result of fear, of desire.

Some are aware of this will of fear, with all its permutations and combinations. Perhaps some realize this will as fear and attempt to break it down by pursuing it along its many expressions, thus only creating another form of will, breaking down one resistance only to create another.

So before we begin to inquire into the ways and means of breaking down fear through discipline, through forming new habits, and so on, we must first understand the motive power that lies behind the will. I have explained what I mean by understanding. This understanding is not an intellectual, analytical process. It is not of the drawing room or of the specialist, but has to be understood in everyday actions, in our daily relationships. That is, the process of living will reveal to us, if we are awake at all, the functioning of this will, of this habit, the vicious circle of creating one resistance after another, which we can call by different names - ideals, love, God, truth, and so forth.

The motive power behind the will is fear, and when we begin to realize this, the mechanism of habit intervenes, offering new escapes, new hopes, new gods. Now it is at this precise moment, when the mind begins to interfere with the realization of fear, that there must be great awareness not to be drawn off, not to be distracted by the offerings of the intellect, for the mind is subtle and cunning. When there is only fear without any hope of escape, in its darkest moments, in the utter solitude of fear, there comes from within itself, as it were, the light which shall dispel it.

Whatever attempts we make superficially, intellectually, to destroy fear through various forms of discipline, behaviour patterns, only create other forms of resistances; and it is in this habit that we are caught. When you ask how to get rid of fear, how to break down habits, you are really approaching it from outside, intellectually, and so your question has no significance. You cannot dissolve fear through will, for will is the child of fear; nor can it be destroyed through "love", for if love is used for the purposes of destruction it is no longer love but another name for will.

Questioner: please, what is samadhi? Those who have reached it maintain that it is a true realization. Is it not, on the contrary, only a kind of suicide, the final result of an artificial way? Is there not an absolute lack of all creative activity? You point out the necessity of being oneself, whereas this is a mere killing of oneself, is it not?

Krishnamurti: Any process that leads to limitation, to resistance, to cutting oneself off, as it were, in an intellectual or an ideal state, is destructive of creative living. Surely this is obvious. That is, if one has an ideal of love - and all ideals must be intellectual and therefore mechanical - and one tries to practise it, make love into a habit, one reaches certainly a definite state. But it is not that of love, it is only a state of an intellectual achievement.

This pursuit of the ideal is attempted by all peoples; the Hindus do it in their way, and the Christians and other religious bodies also do it. Fear creates the ideal, the pattern, the principle, for the mind is pursuing satisfaction. When this satisfaction is threatened the mind escapes to the ideal. Fear, having created the pattern, moulds thought and desire, gradually destroying spontaneity, the unknown, the creative.

Questioner: The greatest fear I have is that the life of another, or my own, should be spoilt.

Krishnamurti: Is not each one, in his own way, spoiling his own life? Are we not destroying our own integrity? By our own desires, by our own conditionings, we are spoiling our own individual lives. Having control of another, and having the capacity to spoil our own life, we proceed to twist the life of another, whether it is a child, a dependent, or a neighbour.

There are institutions, governmental and religious, to which we are willingly or unwillingly forced to conform. So to which kind of spoiling does the questioner refer? The deliberate perversion of one's own life, or the twisting of one's life by powerful institutions? Our natural reaction is to say that institutions, great and small, are corrupting our lives. One's reaction is to put the blame on the outer, on circumstances.

To put it in a different way, here we are in a world of regimentation, of compulsion, of the clever technique of governments and organized religions to wear down the individual - and what is one to do? How is an individual to act? I wonder how many of you have seriously put this question to yourselves. Some may have realized the brutality of all this and joined societies or groups which promise to alter certain conditions. But in the process of alteration, the organization of the party, of the society, has grown to vast proportions and has become of the greatest importance. So the individual is again caught in its machinery.

How are we to approach this question? From the outside or from within? There is no division as the outer and the inner, but merely changing the outer cannot fundamentally alter the inner. If you are aware that you are spoiling your own life, how can you look to an institution, or to an outward pattern to help you?

If you deeply feel that violence in any form can only lead to violence, though you may not stop wars you will at least be a centre of sanity, as a doctor in the midst of disease. So in the same way, if you integrally perceive in what manner you are spoiling your life, that very perception begins to straighten out those things that are crooked. Such an action is not an escape.

Questioner: Must we return to the past? Must I be aware of what I have been? Must I know my karma?

Krishnamurti: By being aware, both the past and the present are revealed, which is not some mysterious process, but in trying to understand the present, the past fears and limitations are revealed.

Karma is a Sanskrit word whose verb means to act. A philosophy of action has been created around the central idea "As you sow, so shall you reap", but we need not go into all that now. We see that any action born of the idea of reward or of punishment must be limiting, for such action springs from fear. Action brings either clarity or confusion, depending on one's conditioning. If one is brought up to worship success, either here or in the so-called spiritual sphere, there must be the pursuit of reward with its fears and hopes, which conditions all action, all living. Living becomes then a process of learning, of the constant accumulation of knowledge. Why do we lay up this so-called knowledge?

Questioner: Are we not to have in ourselves some standard for action?

Krishnamurti: Now we come to the fundamental question: Must one live by standards, whether outer or inner? We easily recognize the outer standard as one of compulsion and therefore preventing individual fulfilment. We look to an inner standard which each one has created through action and reaction, through judgment of values, desires, experiences, fears, and so on. What is this inner standard based upon, though it is constantly varying? Is it not based upon self-protective desire and its many fears? These desires and fears create a pattern of behaviour, of morality, and fear is the constant standard, assuming different forms under different conditions. There are those who take shelter in the intellectual formula "Life is one", and others in the love of God, which is also an intellectual formula, and they make these into patterns, principles, for their daily life. Morality of will is not moral but the expression of fear.

The Mirror of Relationship

Ommen, Holland
3rd Public Talk 8th August, 1938

Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Mirror of Relationship. The collected works of J.Krishnamurti, 1936..1944.

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