Jiddu Krishnamurti - Most of us realize, when we dare look at it, that we are terribly lonely, isolated human beings. Whether we are consciously or unconsciously aware of it, we want to escape from it, because we do not know what lies behind and beyond it; being frightened, we run away from it through attachment, through activity and every form of religious or worldly entertainment.
This is fairly obvious when one observes it in oneself. We isolate ourselves by our everyday activities, by our attitude and our way of thinking; although we may have an intimate relationship with somebody, we are always thinking about ourselves. The result of this is more isolation, more loneliness, a greater dependence on outward things, greater attachments and the resultant suffering which arises from it. I do not know if you are aware of all this.
Perhaps as we are sitting here, we could become aware of this thing called loneliness and of the isolation, dependency and suffering it brings. This is going on in ourselves all the time. If one is observant one can see that our whole activity is self-centred. We are thinking about ourselves endlessly: about our health, that we must meditate, that we must change; we want a better job with more money, a better relationship. 'I want to attain enlightenment; ''I must achieve something in this life'' - ''me'' and ''my life'', my worries, my problems.
This eternal preoccupation with oneself is going on all the time; we are devoted to ourselves. That is an obvious fact. And whether we go to an office or to a factory, do social work or are concerned with the welfare of the world, our self-concern motivates all our activities; it is always ''me'' first. This self preoccupation which operates in daily life and relationship does bring about isolation.
This again is fairly obvious, and if one goes into it very deeply one discovers that this isolation is an awareness of being completely alone, cut off, not having a relationship with anybody or anything. You may be amongst a crowd, or sitting with a friend, when suddenly this sense of utter isolation, of being completely cut off from everybody comes upon you. I do not know if you have noticed this or if it is something you have never experienced. When we become aware of this loneliness, then we try to escape by being occupied through domestic strife, or various forms of entertainment, by trying to mediate, and so on.
Surely, all this indicates that the mind, whether it is shallow or deep, superficial or merely caught in technological knowledge, must cut itself off from every form of relationship if it is constantly occupied with itself. Relationship is the most important thing in life, because if you don't have a right relationship with the one, you cannot possibly have it with any other human being. You can imagine that you will have a better relationship with another, but it is merely at the verbal level and therefore illusory. If you understand that relationship between two human beings is the same as relationship with the rest of the world, then isolation, loneliness, has quite a different meaning.
So what is relationship? We are trying to find out why human beings are so desperately lonely. Not having love, but wanting to be loved they cut themselves off, physically and psychologically and thereby become neurotic. Most people are neurotic, slightly unbalanced, caught in some particular idiosyncrasy. It seems, if you examine it closely, that all this arises from the utter lack of relationship. So before we can understand how to bring an end to this loneliness and suffering, to this ache and anxiety of human existence, we must first of all go into this question of relationship - what it means to be related.
Are we related at all with another? Thought asserts that we are related, but actually we may not be, even though one human being may have an intimate, a sexual relationship with another. Unless one deeply understands the truth about relationship, it appears that human beings must inevitably end in sorrow, in confusion and in conflict. They may accept various forms of belief, or do social work, but all that has no value, unless they have established between themselves a relationship in which there is no conflict whatever. Is that possible?
Can you and I be related? Perhaps you could have a very good relationship with me, because soon I am going away and then it is finished. Can there be a relationship between two human beings if each one is occupied with himself? - if each one is concerned with his own ambitions and worries, his opposition in the world and all the absurdity that human beings go through? When a human being is caught in that net, can he have any relationship with another?
Please, follow all this. Can there be any relationship between a man and a woman when one is a Catholic and the other is a Protestant, when one is a Hindu and the other is a Buddhist?
What then is relationship? It seems to me that it is one of the most important things in life, because living is relationship. If there is no relationship, there is no living at all; then life merely becomes a series of conflicts, ending in separation or in divorce, in loneliness, with all the fears, anxieties, problems of attachment, and all the things that are involved in this sense of being completely isolated. I am sure you know all this. One observes how extraordinarily vital relationship is in life, and how very few human beings have broken down the barrier that exists between themselves and another. To break down this barrier with all implications - not just the physical barrier - one has to go deeply into this question of action.
What is action? Action is not future or past action, but acting. Is it the result of, a conclusion and acting according to that conclusion? Or is it based on some belief and acting according to the belief? Is it based on some experience and acting according to that experience or knowledge? If it is, then action is always in the past, our relationship is always in the past, never in the present.
If I have a relationship with another - and relationship obviously is action - throughout the days, weeks or years of that relationship I have built an image and I act according to that image, and the other acts according to the image which he has; so the relationship is not between us but between these two images. Please do observe your own minds, your own activity in relationship, and you will soon find out the truth and validity of this statement. Our relationship is based on images, and how can there be a relationship with another, if it is merely the relationship of these images?
I am concerned with having a relationship in which there is no conflict whatsoever, in which I am not using or exploiting another, either sexually, for reasons of pleasure, or for the sake of companionship. I see very clearly that conflict destroys any form of relationship, so I must resolve that conflict at the very centre, not at the periphery. And I can only put an end to conflict by understanding action, not only in relationship but in daily life.
I want to find out if all my activities are isolating, in the sense that I have built a wall round myself; the wall being myself concerned with myself, with my future, my happiness, my health, my God, with my belief, my success, my misery - you follow? Or is it that relationship has nothing whatsoever to do with me or myself? Myself is the centre, and all the activities that are concerned with my happiness, my satisfaction, my glory must isolate. Where there is isolation there must be attachment and dependency; when there is uncertainty in that attachment and dependency then there is suffering, and suffering implies isolation in any relationship. I see all this very clearly, not verbally but actually - it is a fact.
For many years I have built images about myself and about another; I have isolated myself through my activities, through my beliefs and so on. So my first question is - how am I to be free of these images? - the images of my God, my conditioning, that I must achieve fame or enlightenment (which is the same thing), that I must achieve success and so I am afraid of being a failure. I have so many images about myself and about you. How am I to be free of them? Can I end the building of images through the analytical process? Obviously not.
Then what am I to do? It is a problem and I must end it, not carry it over to the next day. If I do not end it today, then the problem creates disorder, a disturbance, and the brain needs order to function healthily, normally, not neurotically. I must establish order now, during the day, otherwise the mind worries about it, has dreams and is incapable of being fresh the next morning; so I must end this problem.
How am I to prevent this building of images? By not creating a super-image - obviously. I have many images and not being able to be free of them the mind unfortunately invents a super. image, the higher self, the Atman; or it introduces some outside agency, either spiritual or the ''Big Brother'' of the communist world.
So without creating a higher, nobler image, there must be the ending of all the images which I have created. I see that if I have one single image, there is no possibility of any relationship, because images separate and where there is separation there must be conflict, not only nationally but between human beings; that is clear. Then how am I to be rid of every image which I have gathered, so that the mind is completely free, fresh and young, so that it can observe anew the whole movement of life?
First of all, I must find out non-analytically how the images come into being. That is, I must learn to observe. Is observation based on analysis? I observe, I see - is that the result of analysis, of practice, of time? Or is it an act outside of time? Zen has always tried to go beyond time by various tricks and they have all failed. Suspecting that perhaps he is incapable of getting rid of these innumerable images, he has created a super-image, and to that image he has become a slave, therefore he is not free. Whether that super-image is the soul, the higher self, the State or anything else, it is still not freedom: it is another image. Therefore I am vitally interested in ending all images, because then only is there a possibility of having a relationship with another; my concern is to find out if it is at all possible to end the images instantly, not chase one image after another. That will obviously lead nowhere.
So I must find out if I can break the mechanism of the mind which builds images and at the same time go into the question of what it is to be aware; because that may solve my problem, which is the ending of all images. That gives freedom, and when there is freedom then only is there a possibility of having a true relationship in which every form of conflict has come to an end.
What does this awareness mean? It implies an attention in which there is no choice whatsoever. I can't choose one image instead of the other, then there is no ending of that image. So I must find out what it is to be aware, in which there is no choice at all, but only pure observation, pure seeing.
Now, what is seeing? How do I look at a tree, or a mountain, at the hills, the moon, the flowing waters? There is not only visual observation, but also the mind has an image about the tree, the cloud and the river. That river has a name; it makes a sound which is pleasant or unpleasant. I am always observing, am aware of things, in terms of like and dislike, in terms of comparison. Is it possible to observe, to listen to that river without any choice, any resistance and attachment, without any verbalization? please do this as we are talking - it is your morning-exercise!
Can I listen to that river without any sense of the past? Can I observe these various images without any choice? - which means without condemning any one of them, or being attached to them, but just observe without any preference. You can't do it, can you? Why not? Is it because my mind has become used to prejudices and preferences? Is it because it is lazy and has not sufficient energy? Or is it that my mind does not really want to be free of images and wants to hold on to one particular image? So it means that the mind refuses to see the fact that all existence is relationship, and when there is conflict in that relationship, then life becomes a misery and loneliness and confusion follow. Does the mind see the truth non-verbally, that where there is conflict there is no relationship?
How can one be free of the images that one has? First of all I must find out how these images come into being, what is the mechanism that creates them. You can see that at the moment of actual relationship, that is when you are talking, when there are arguments, when there are insults and brutality, if you are not completely attentive at that moment, then the mechanism of building an image starts.
That is, when the mind is not completely attentive at the moment of action, then the mechanism of building images is set in motion. When you say something to me which I do not like - or which I like - if at that moment I am not completely attentive, then the mechanism starts. If I am attentive, aware, then there is no building of images. When the mind is fully awake at that actual moment, not distracted, not frightened, not rejecting what is being said, then there is no possibility of building an image. Try this - do it during the day.
So I have found how to prevent the building of images; but what happens to all the images that I have gathered? You are following the problem? Apparently this is not your problem, because if it were the real, deep, vital problem in your life, you would have solved it for yourself instead of sitting here waiting for me to find the answer for you. Now, what happens to all the images which you have collected? Do you know you have many images hidden away in the cupboard of your mind?
Can you resolve them all, bit by bit, or would that take an infinite time? While you are dissolving one image, you are already creating others, so there is no ending to the gradual process of getting rid of one image after another. So you have discovered a truth, which is, that you cannot get rid of the images one by one; therefore the mind that really sees the truth of this is totally aware when it is creating an image. In that attention all the other images go away. I wonder if you see this.
Images, then, are formed when the mind is not attentive; and most of our minds are inattentive. Occasionally we give attention, but for the rest of the time we are inattentive. When you are aware of one image attentively, and you are also attentively aware of the whole mechanism of the building of images and how it operates, then in that attention the building of all images comes to an end; whether they be of the past, the present or of the future. What matters is the state of attention, not how many images you have. Do, please, try and understand this, because it is most important. If you can really grasp this, then you have understood completely all the machinery of the mind.
Most of us, unfortunately, have not been able to solve our problems; we don't know how to deal with them, so we live with them, they become our habit and they are like impenetrable armour. If you have a problem which has not been resolved, you have no energy; the energy that you have is taken up by the problem; if you have no energy, that too becomes a habit.
So if you are at all serious, if you really want to live a life in which there is no conflict whatsoever, then you have to find out how to end a human problem instantly, immediately; which means that you give complete attention to the problem and that you are not seeking an answer to it. Because if you are trying to find an answer, then you are looking beyond the problem, whereas if you remain with the problem and are completely attentive, then in the problem itself - not beyond it - is the answer.
Let me put it differently. We all know what suffering is, both physical and psychological, that is inwardly. One can deal with physical pain by various remedies and also by not allowing the memory of that pain to remain. If you are aware of the pain, and in that very awareness you see the memory of the past, then the pain disappears; therefore you have energy to meet the next pain, when it comes. We all have suffered psychologically in various ways, either with great intensity or to a lesser degree - we have all had suffering of one kind or another. When we suffer, instinctively we want to run away from it - through religion, through entertainment, reading books, through anything to get away from the suffering.
Now if the mind is attentive and does not move away from suffering at all, then you will see that out of total attention comes not only energy - which means passion - but also that suffering comes to an end. In the same way, all images can end instantly when there is no preference for any image; this is very important. When you have no preference, you have no prejudice. Then you are attentive, then you can look. In that observation there is not only the understanding of the building of images, but also the ending of all images.
So I see the importance of relationship, and there can be a relationship without any conflict, which means love. Love is not an image; it is not pleasure; it is not desire. Love is not something that can be cultivated; it is not dependent on memory. Can I live a daily life without any kind of self-concern, because the self-concern is my major image? Can I live without that major image? Then action does not bring loneliness, isolation and suffering.
Source - Jiddu Krishnamurti book Awakening of Intelligence
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