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Ojai, 16 June 1940
For most of us, relationship with another is based on dependence, either economic or psychological. This dependence creates fear, breeds in us possessiveness, results in friction, suspicion, frustration. Economic dependence on another can perhaps be eliminated through legislation and proper organization, but I am referring especially to that psychological dependence on another, which is the outcome of craving for personal satisfaction, happiness, and so on. One feels, in this possessive relationship, enriched, creative, and active; one feels one's own little flame of being is increased by another. In order not to lose this source of completeness, one fears the loss of the other, and so possessive fears come into being with all their resulting problems. Thus in this relationship of psychological dependence, there must always be conscious or unconscious fear, suspicion, that often lies hidden in pleasant-sounding words. The reaction of this fear leads one ever to search for security and enrichment through various channels, or to isolate oneself in ideas and ideals, or to seek substitutes for satisfaction.
Though one is dependent on another, there is yet the desire to be inviolate, to be whole. The complex problem in relationship is how to love without dependence, without friction and conflict; how to conquer the desire to isolate oneself, to withdraw from the cause of conflict. If we depend for our happiness on another, on society or on environment, they become essential to us; we cling to them, and any alteration of these we violently oppose because we depend upon them for our psychologicalsecurity and comfort. Though intellectually we may perceive that life is a continual process of flux, of mutation necessitating constant change, emotionally or sentimentally we cling to the established and comforting values; hence there is a constant battle between change and the desire for permanency. Is it possible to put an end to this conflict?
Life cannot be without relationship, but we have made it so agonizing and hideous by basing it on personal and possessive love. Can one love and yet not possess? You will find the true answer not in escape, ideals, beliefs but through the understanding of the causes of dependence and possessiveness. If one can deeply understand this problem of relationship between oneself and another then perhaps we shall understand and solve the problems of our relationship with society, for society is but the extension of ourselves. The environment that we call society is created by past generations; we accept it, as it helps us to maintain our greed, possessiveness, illusion. In this illusion there cannot be unity or peace. Mere economic unity brought about through compulsion and legislation cannot end war. As long as we do not understand individual relationship, we cannot have a peaceful society. Since our relationship is based on possessive love, we have to become aware, in ourselves, of its birth, its causes, its action. In becoming deeply aware of the process of possessiveness with its violence, fears, its reactions, there comes an understanding that is whole, complete. This understanding alone frees thought from dependence and possessiveness. It is within oneself that harmony in relationship can be found, not in another nor in environment.
In relationship, the primary cause of friction is oneself, the self that is the centre of unified craving. If we can but realize that it is not how another acts that is of primary importance, but how each one of us acts and reacts, and that if that reaction and action can be fundamentally, deeply understood, then relationship will undergo a deep and radical change. In this relationship with another, there is not only the physical problem but also that of thought and feeling on all levels, and one can be harmonious with another only when one is harmonious integrally in oneself. In relationship the important thing to bear in mind is not the other but oneself, which does not mean that one must isolate oneself, but understand deeply in oneself the cause of conflict and sorrow. So long as we depend on another for our psychological well-being, intellectually or emotionally, that dependence must inevitably create fear from which arises sorrow.
To understand the complexity of relationship there must be thoughtful patience and earnestness. Relationship is a process of self-revelation in which one discovers the hidden causes of sorrow. This self-revelation is only possible in relationship.
I am laying emphasis on relationship because in comprehending deeply its complexity we are creating understanding, an understanding that transcends reason and emotion. If we base our understanding merely on reason then there is isolation, pride, and lack of love in it, and if we base our understanding merely on emotion, then there is no depth in it; there is only a sentimentality that soon evaporates, and no love. From this understanding only can there be completeness of action. This understanding is impersonal and cannot be destroyed. It is no longer at the behest of time. If we cannot bring forth understanding from the everyday problems of greed and of our relationship, then to seek such understanding and love in other realms of consciousness is to live in ignorance and illusion.
Without fully understanding the process of greed, merely to cultivate kindliness, generosity, is to perpetuate ignorance and cruelty. Without integrally understanding relationship, merely to cultivate compassion, forgiveness, is to bring about self-isolation and to indulge in subtle forms of pride. In understanding craving fully, there is compassion, forgiveness. Cultivated virtues are not virtues. This understanding requires constant and alert awareness, a strenuousness that is pliable. Mere control with its peculiar training has its dangers, as it is one-sided, incomplete, and therefore shallow. Interest brings its own natural, spontaneous concentration in which there is the flowering of understanding. This interest is awakened by observing, questioning the actions and reactions of everyday existence.
To grasp the complex problem of life with its conflicts and sorrows, one must bring about integral understanding. This can be done only when we...On Relationships. Copyright © by Jiddu Krishnamurti. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.