J Krishnamurti - We are trapped
because we do not understand Relationship
Question: You have shown me the superficiality and the
futility of the life I am leading. I should like to change, but I am
trapped by habit and environment. Should I leave everything and everyone
and follow you?
Jiddu Krishnamurti - Do you think our problems are solved when we
follow another? To follow another, no matter who it is, is to deny the
understanding of yourself. And it is very easy to follow somebody. The
greater the personality, the greater the power, the easier it is to
follow; and in the very following you are destroying that understanding
because the follower destroys - he is never the creator, he never brings
about understanding. To follow is to deny all understanding and
therefore to deny truth.
Now, if you do not follow, what are you to do? Since, as the questioner
says, one is trapped by habit and environment, what is one to do?
Surely, all that you can do is to understand the trap of habit and
environment, the superficiality and the futility of your life. We are
always in relationship, are we not? To be is to be related, and if you
regard relationship as a trap from which you want to escape, then you
will only fall into another trap - the trap of the teacher whom you
follow. It may be a little more arduous, a little more inconvenient, a
little less comfortable, but it will still be a trap; because, that also
is relationship, and there too there are jealousies, envy, the desire to
be the nearest disciple, and all the rest of the nonsense.
So, we are trapped because we do not understand relationship; and it is
difficult to understand relationship if we are condemning, identifying
ourselves with something, or if we are using relationship as a means of
escape from ourselves, from that which we are. After all, relationship
is a mirror, is it not? Relationship is a mirror in which I can see
myself as I am. But to see ourselves directly as we are is very
unpleasant, and so we avoid it by condemning it, justifying it, or
merely identifying ourselves with it.
Without relationship there is no life, is there?
Nothing can exist in isolation. And yet all our efforts are towards
being isolated; relationship for most of us is a process of
self-isolation, self-enclosure, and therefore there is friction. When
there is friction, misery, pain, suffering, unhappiness, we want to run
away, we want to follow someone else, to live in the shadow of another,
and so we turn to the church, to a monastery, or to the latest teacher.
They are all the same because they are all escapes, and our turning to
them is obviously prompted by the desire to avoid that which is; and in
the very running away we create further misery, further confusion.
So, most of us are trapped, whether we like it or not, because that is
our world, that is our society; and awareness in relationship is the
mirror in which we can see ourselves very clearly. To see clearly, there
must obviously be no condemnation, acceptance, justification, or
identification. If we are simply aware without choice, then we can
observe, not only the superficial reactions of the mind, but also the
deep and hidden reactions, which come out in the shape of dreams, or in
moments when the superficial mind is quiet and there is spontaneity of
response. But if the mind is conditioned, shaped, and bound by a
particular belief, surely there can be no spontaneity, and therefore no
direct perception of the responses of relationship.
It is important to see, is it not, that no one can give us freedom from
the conflict of relationship. We can hide behind the screen of words, or
follow a teacher, or run to a church, or lose ourselves in a cinema or a
book, or keep on attending talks; but it is only when the fundamental
process of thinking is uncovered through awareness in relationship that
it is possible to understand and be free of that friction which we
instinctively seek to avoid. Most of us use relationship as a means of
escape from ourselves, from our own loneliness, from our own inward
uncertainty and poverty, and so we cling to the outer things of
relationship, which become very important to us.
But if, instead of escaping through relationship, we
can look into relationship as a mirror and see very clearly, without any
prejudice, exactly what is, then that very perception brings about a
transformation of what is, without any effort to transform it. There is
nothing to transform about a fact; it is what it is. But we approach the
fact with hesitation, with fear, with a sense of prejudice, and so we
are always acting upon the fact and therefore never perceiving the fact
as it is. When we see the fact as it is, then that very fact is the
truth which resolves the problem.
So, in all this the important thing is not what another says, however
great or stupid he may be, but to be aware of oneself, to see the fact
of what is, from moment to moment, without accumulating. When you
accumulate, you cannot see the fact; then you see the accumulation, and
not the fact. But when you can see the fact independently of the
accumulation, independently of the thought process, which is the
response of accumulated experience, then it is possible to go beyond the
fact. It is the avoidance of the fact that brings about conflict, but
when you recognize the truth of the fact, then there is a quietness of
mind in which conflict ceases.
So, do what you will, you cannot escape through relationship; and if you
do escape, you will only create further isolation, further misery and
confusion, because to use relationship as a means of self-fulfillment is
to deny relationship. If we look at this problem very clearly, we can
see that life is a process of relationship; and if, instead of
understanding relationship, we seek to withdraw from it, enclosing
ourselves in ideas, in superstitions, in various forms of addiction,
these self-enclosures only create more of the very conflict we are
trying to avoid.
Source: Jiddu Krishnamurti Talk at New York & Seattle
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