Relationship without image is love
In meditation, life is a total movement
1st Public Talk, Ojai, California
April 07, 1973
As there are many problems to talk over together I feel that it's very important that we should, sitting under these trees and blue sky, share together the problems that confront human beings. It isn't an American problem, or European, or Asiatic, it's a global problem, it's a crisis or a great challenge, if you will, that demands right response, and when there is no adequate response to this immense challenge then there is conflict, there is every form of entertainment, every form of degeneracy. And as we are going to deal with these problems together, I think it is important that you should understand the speaker. He is not bringing any oriental philosophy - thank God! - nor exotic ideas, or a new programme or religion so as to amuse you, or to entertain you, or to make you join some kind of absurd cult.
So we have to deal with actual problems, we have to deal with the problems, primarily I feel, at the psychological level, for there and according to our understanding of ourselves, lies the clear answer to the innumerable problems. And if I may suggest as we are sharing together, please listen, though perhaps you belong to some kind of cult, have already committed yourself to some kind of philosophy, follow some kind of guru, or follow your own particular tendency, idiosyncrasy or pleasure. If we could this morning put aside all that and actually listen, not interpret what is being said, or condemn what is being said, or translate what is being said, but listen to find out, not only listen to the speaker but also to your own reactions to what is being said. Listen not only verbally, and the meaning of the word, but also non-verbally - for communication is verbal and non-verbal, and since we are speaking in English, the words have definite meaning and if you don't understand the meaning of the word actually but interpret that word according to your particular conditioning then you will not be listening to what is being said. So communication is both verbal and non-verbal. And communication implies thinking together, not agreeing together, not accepting together a certain fact or a certain belief or a certain idea. But sharing together; sharing, thinking together, understanding together the whole problem of life is communication.
So our responsibility is, since you have taken all this trouble to come here and also have travelled a long distance, our responsibility is that we should be terribly serious, at least for an hour and a half, and together share the problems, and if it is at all possible, their resolution. Sharing implies a certain quality of attention. You can't share something if you are not also interested, if you are not also intense; sharing implies at all levels, not only at the psychological level but also intellectual, emotional, almost physiological; sharing implies a total quality of attention. Otherwise you can't.
As we said, our responsibility is not only to ourselves but also to the society in which we live. We have created this society and though we are entangled, caught up in the pattern of society, in its structure, we have made it. Society hasn't made us. It has shaped us because we have contributed to the whole structure; therefore we are responsible to society and society is not responsible for us psychologically. So our responsibility - I am using that word 'responsibility' in the sense: to respond rightly, totally to the whole structure, and we cannot respond properly, truly, if we are thinking in terms of America, or of a particular religion, a particular philosophy, particular sect or guru, but as human beings responsible to the whole world, because the whole world is concerned, because we are human beings. And as we have made this world, and the world is us and we are the world, you may accept this feeling that we are the world and the world is us, intellectually and therefore verbally, which has no meaning whatsoever. But if you actually see the reality that you are the world and the world is you, and you have made this world as it is: the brutality, the wars, the various contradictory morality, the division between religions, the nationalistic, economic division with all its conflicts, violence; and this structure which we call society is put together by human beings, you and I. We are responsible for it. And being responsible demands a certain maturity, not only in age but a maturity of mind. And to bring a radical revolution psychologically, not merely physically - physical revolution, throwing bombs and all the rest of that kind of stuff has not, cannot possibly bring about a radical change. Revolutions, physical revolutions do not fundamentally change the human mind; they may control the mind, shape the mind, put it in a particular category, force it to conform but such revolution fundamentally, psychologically doesn't bring about a totally different kind of human being. And I feel with this global challenge we need to respond totally in a different way.
And if we are at all serious then we have to consider the problems of relationship, the problems of morality, what is love, death and if there is something beyond the measurable, beyond the structure of thought, which man in different ways has always sought. The truth, beauty and that thing called infinite, the nameless - man has given to it a thousand names - whether any religious activity is neurotic as some of the prominent psychologists maintain, or whether there is something not put together by the mind, not told by another. So please listen to it with certain affection, care, because it's your problem, not mine. And when one has travelled all over the world, except behind the Iron Curtain and so on, when one has observed objectively, non-sentimentally, observed what is going on around you, in you, the activities of the politicians, of the priests, of the psychologists, the scientists and the philosophers, one sees, if one has to be very clear, if one has to understand all this oneself, one must reject all that. Philosophy implies, doesn't it, the love of truth, that is the meaning of that word, the love of truth, not an abstraction, not an ideal, not something that you project out of your background of dissatisfaction or cunning, or contrivance, but it means the love of truth in daily life; what you do, what you think, how you behave. That is philosophy, that is the love of truth.
You know I have spent over fifty years talking about all this and I feel very strongly about all this, it isn't just an intellectual amusement either for you or for me. When one sees the wars and the children being tortured, butchered, maimed for life, the human beings, the divisions in the world not only class divisions but the divisions of status, one really, if one is at all sensitive, if one is at all aware, one feels one must act not in any one particular direction, not along any particular philosophy, or religion or guru, but totally as a whole human being. Therefore one must understand the words 'integrity' and 'corruption'. The word 'corruption' comes from the root to break up - 'rumpere', to break to pieces. And our minds are broken up, contradictory, fragmentary. We act in the world of affairs, business, in one way, with the family another way, with our intimate friends another way, and so on - we are broken up inwardly, therefore that is corruption. And integrity implies a wholeness, that which is sane, whole, complete. And it is only the mind that is whole, sane, rational, logical that can respond to this immense challenge.
It's only to the serious there is life, only to the earnest that living has meaning. But when we talk about seriousness we translate that word according to our peculiar pleasure, to our tendency. Reaction is not seriousness, but realising the reaction and going beyond it, is to be serious.
So we have these problems and without settling or understanding deeply these problems, merely to enquire what is reality, what is beyond the limited consciousness, or try to expand consciousness through various techniques has no meaning whatsoever; it is an escape from reality; and that's a form of corruption.
So first let us deal with the problem of human relationship, bearing in mind that we are sharing this together. I am not telling you what to do, I am not your guru, or philosopher, or your analyst. You've got plenty of them! Unfortunately! On the contrary, what we are saying is, that you must be a light to yourself. And therefore no authority, except the authority of the law which you have made. And if you want to change the law you have to change yourself first. So we are going to deal with relationship, human relationship because that is society; relationship means life, there is no living without relationship. Relationship means action, movement and without understanding human relationship, the totality of it, we shall always live in conflict with each other however intimate we may be. So that is one of the primary important things to grapple with, to put our minds and hearts to understand it. Please see this, see the seriousness of it because without relationship there is no life. Relationship implies action, when in that relationship there is contradiction, there is division, then there is conflict. And as our life, everyday life in relationship is a series of conflicts between you and your closest most intimate friend, between you and your neighbour, between you and the neighbour who may be thousands of miles away; and when there is a division, whether that division be national, religious, a division brought about by belief, a conclusion, your particular idiosyncrasy then that division invariably will being about not only conflict but violence, antagonism, aggression, brutality. This is a fact, not a theory, not something invented by the speaker. Look at your own relationship with another. Look at it objectively, not sentimentally, not emotionally but look at it very clearly. To observe it so that you see clearly not only yourself in relationship, but how, in that relationship, you have created an image about yourself and the image about another.
Please do pay attention to this because this is the most basic thing in life. Because if we don't have true relationship with another we live in isolation, whether that isolation be intellectual, self-centred, or ideological, these are all images. And when you have an image, that very image, whether it be a verbal image or an image of imagination, a contrivance, by thought, then that image divides. You have an image about your wife, or your husband, your girl friend or a boy friend, or whatever it is, you have an image, and she or he has an image about you. So the relationship is between these two images, which is not a relationship at all, it is a relationship based on a conclusion or knowledge.
So, when there is knowledge as image in relationship then there is conflict. Is that clear? Can we go on from there? We are sharing this together, I am not telling you anything. I am only pointing out. And if you are sensitive, earnest, serious, then you have to face this problem: whether a relationship can exist between two human beings in which there is no image at all. Then only there is relationship, otherwise there isn't any: it is a relationship based on a conclusion, on a memory, on an idea or an image and therefore it is an abstraction, an abstraction, a thing drawn from a reality, and one lives in that abstraction of images. So is it possible to live with another and therefore with society, and therefore bring a totally different kind of society in which relationship is not based on conclusions, images, knowledge?
Where there is division as Americans and Russians, or Christians and Hindus, or Buddhists, or Islam, Mohammedans, this very division is conflict. You may tolerate, you may put up with something, but at the core when there is any kind of division, as there is in the world - the national division, we the Americans, we the Russians, we the Maoists, or we belonging to some guru, the Krishna consciousness and the Transcendental Meditationists, all those things that are pervading this country, and you being so astonishingly gullible swallow all this, because you want new forms of entertainment. And when one sees that division of any kind must breed inevitably struggle, conflict, war, brutality and all the rest of it, then is it possible for the mind and the heart - when we use the word 'mind' we are using that word totally in the sense mind, heart, psyche, the whole human being - can the mind in relationship have no image whatsoever and therefore live a life in which there is no conflict in relationship?
That is one of the challenges, perhaps the greatest. You have images, of that there is no doubt about, haven't you? If you are married, you have built an image about her and she has built an image about you; the image of one day or ten years, nagging, bullying, sexual pleasures - you know all the things that the mind accumulates, which is knowledge about another, and this knowledge is the image you have. Can one observe it, not asking how to get rid of the image, we will go into that in a minute, but just to be aware of these images that one has: the national image, the Christian image and so on, the dozens and dozens of images that one has built up. Or the image you have about another, because that is near, that you can almost get at, can you observe that image and not try to break it down, or to ask the question, 'How to be free of that image'.
So one has to go into this question of what it is to observe.
Isn't it? We have been, please, sharing this together, we are trying to investigate together. The word 'investigate' means to trace out, to follow the thing right through and not stop in the middle when it doesn't please you to go further! So we are investigating together this question of relationship, which is one of the most fundamental things of life. And without understanding that deeply, you cannot possibly go beyond; you may escape from it, through religion, through drugs, through sex, through - you know - joining one group after another and all that kind of nonsense that goes on.
So what is it to observe? How do you observe the image that you have about another? You have an image about the speaker, obviously, otherwise you wouldn't be sitting here. Can you observe the image which you have about the speaker, or about your wife, or friend or whatever it is, can you observe it and - we are investigating the word, the meaning of that word 'to observe' - how do you observe? Do you observe the image as an outsider looking at the image? Or there is no division between you as the observer and the observed, which is the image?
When you observe that mountain, or that tree, or the water flowing under the bridge, and the beauty of a bird on the wing, and the light of the morning, how do you observe it? As an outsider looking? Or there is no division between you and the thing you are seeing? When you look at that mountain, do you look at it with the image you have about mountains, or do you look at it without the image, or the idea, or the word of a mountain - so that there is no division, a verbal division between the observer and the observed. Perhaps you can do that fairly easily with regard to mountains, trees and birds, and the lovely trunk of this tree. But when it becomes a little more intimate, it becomes much more difficult. You have an image, haven't you, about your friend. How do you look at it? Do you look at it as though you are outside of it and looking at the image which you have built up? Or do you look at it non-verbally, therefore you and the image are one, the observer is the observed. Right? That's clear, isn't it? At least the explanation, but the explanation is not the explained. We are considering the explained, not the explanation. So can you observe the image you have built about another without another image?
And so to observe then implies that you must give your total attention, or total awareness, to that which you see. If you see something which you don't like, or like, in that image then the like and the dislike, which are also another form of image, bring about a division. So it's very important, if one may point out, to learn the art of observation. Because in that lies the clue, to observe without any conclusion. Then you will see that between you and the image division disappears, therefore you are the image and therefore having no division the image ceases. Are you following all this? No, I am afraid you are not. Too bad! Because you see you are not used to thinking, I am afraid you are used to being told what to do. Unfortunately in this country everything is organised, and you attend classes to learn to be aware, to be sensitive, how to meditate, what to do. You have been brought up on that: Christians, what to believe, what not to believe, as the Hindus, as the Muslims, as the Buddhists - you are all just second-hand human beings told what to do. And we are not telling you what to do. What we are trying to do is share together an immense problem, a problem of relationship. And where there is division there is no love. Love isn't pleasure, love isn't desire, which you have made it into. And that's why you pursue everything in terms of pleasure.
So it is very important to understand this question: what is relationship? Until you resolve this, not according to some philosopher or psychologist, or analyst, or according to your belief or pleasure, but actually in your daily life; if you haven't resolved this problem you are contributing to the corruption of the world. And relationship means a movement in action with another human being; because life is relationship and if you observe you will see that you are, through daily life, you are isolating yourself. This isolation is self-centred, this tremendous concern about oneself. Aren't you concerned deeply about yourself? Whether you succeed, whether you fail, whether you are happy, unhappy, whether your desires are fulfilled, whether you have achieved enlightenment - God knows what else! And this isolation which is the self-centredness of yours and the self-centredness of another, how can there be a relationship between the two? If there is no relationship between the two and therefore inevitably there must be conflict. And our society is based on this principle of conflict, which means of having no relationship. You may sleep with another, hold hands with another, have a family, but you, self-centred, ambitious, greedy, pursuing your own fulfilment, must inevitably create a division between you and another. This is a fact. This is a psychological certainty. And a man who really is concerned to bring about a totally different kind of morality, behaviour, a social structure; until he understands and brings about right relationship with another, he is contributing to the brutality, to the violence, to the extraordinary things that are going on in this ugly, mad world. Right?
So we have this problem: having created an image, how to prevent the creation of further images and what to do with the past image that one has. You see the problem? Do you, sirs? No? Look, I have an image about you - I haven't but suppose - I have an image about you, I have built it up through my interaction with you; there are those images in my mind, and I realise that to be really related with another there must be no image. Now, how am I to be free of those images? That's one point. The second is, how am I not to create images at all in relationship, whatever you do? You understand the two? How am I not to create images whatever you do; whether you call me a fool, flatter me, steal things from me, insult me, hurt me - not to have an image. That is, how am I not to be hurt by you? Right? Let's bring it down to that simple thing, because the hurt is the building of image, as flattery is also building of an image. From childhood we have been hurt. This hurt takes the form of competition; when you are being compared with another - that happens in schools and in families - the hurt has begun. Right? Society hurts us, parents hurt you, your friends hurt you, and war, that is physical, hurts you psychologically, inwardly. We are human beings who are terribly hurt. We may shed tears quietly by ourselves in our rooms, or because we are hurt we become violent, aggressive, self-protective, defensive and all the rest of it.
So how is a mind not to be hurt at all? There are two problems: having been hurt and never to be hurt again. If you can find out for yourself, not because somebody points it out, if you can find it out for yourself whether the mind, that is the total being, can never be hurt, then you will see that we have wiped away all the past images, past hurts. So the question is: how can the mind, your mind, never be hurt at all? Have you got the question? You tell me I am a fool, or you tell me I am a great man - which are both the same. And I listen to you; the one I like, the other I don't like. Can I listen to you - please listen to this - can I listen to you when you call me a fool or a great man, with total attention, so that there is no reaction to your verbal statement? Can you listen to your wife, or to your friend, with total attention, when she or he calls you all kinds of things, or flatters you? In that total attention, in that choiceless awareness, there are no frontiers, there are no borders. It is only when there is a border, when there is a line that the mind gets hurt. When there is no border as the centre which is being hurt then there is no question of being hurt at all.
What is it that is being hurt? The image that you have about yourself, that image is getting hurt, isn't it? When you call me a fool I have an image that I am not a fool. And I have this conclusion that I am not a fool and therefore when you call me that I get hurt, I get disturbed. That is - please listen to this - when there is no image as the 'me', which means the 'me', the self is not, because there is no image of me, then whatever you say, either pleasant or unpleasant is not a response, does not meet the response of being hurt. It is the centre as the 'me' that gets hurt. Now can the mind listen with tremendous attention, care, love, listen when you say something pleasant or unpleasant? What gets hurt is the resistance which you have. If you have no resistance there is no hurt. This is - please - this is terribly important in relationship. One has lived seventy years, or fifty years, or ten years. Things happen, incidents take place, uninvited occurrence takes place, and to have a mind that walks through all this without a single hurt: that is real innocency. The word 'innocent' means a mind that is not capable of being hurt. The real meaning of that word in the dictionary is a mind that is not capable of being hurt. And it will be hurt if there is an image as Krishnamurti, or Mr Smith, or Mr Y. That image puts a limit, a border, a line, which you cannot cross. The moment you cross I get hurt.
So in relationship to live a life, daily life, every moment of it, not just once a week, but every day, in relationship in which there is not a single image. If you can do this, really, not intellectually or verbally, or emotionally, actually do it, you will bring about a totally different kind of human being, and therefore a different kind of society. And such a relationship is love.