Unity in Relationship

From Krishnamurti’s Book THE URGENCY OF CHANGE

Questioner: I have come a long way to see you. Although I am married and have children, I have been away from them, wandering, meditating, as a mendicant. I have puzzled greatly over this very complicated problem of relationship. When I go into a village and they give me food, I am related to the giver, as I am related to my wife and children. In another village when somebody gives me clothes, I am related to the whole factory that produced them. I am related to the earth on which I walk, to the tree under which I take shelter, to everything. And yet I am alone, isolated. When I am with my wife, I am separate even during sex – it is an act of separation. When I go into a temple, it is still the worshipper being related to the thing he worships: separation again. So in all relationships, as I see it, there is this separation, duality, and behind or through it, or around it, there is a peculiar sense of unity. When I see the beggar, it hurts me, for I am like him and I feel as he feels – lonely, desperate, sick, hungry. I feel for him, and with him, for his meaningless existence. Some rich man comes along in his big motor car and gives me a lift, but I feel uncomfortable in his company, yet at the same time I feel for him and am related to him. So I have meditated upon this strange phenomenon of relationship. Can we on this lovely morning, overlooking this deep valley, talk over this question together?

Krishnamurti: Is all relationship out of this isolation? Can there be relationship as long as there is any separateness, division? Can there be relationship if there is no contact, not only physical but at every level of our being, with another? One may hold the hand of another and yet be miles away, wrapped in one’s own thoughts and problems. One may be in a group and yet be painfully alone. So one asks: can there be any kind of relationship with the tree, the flower, the human being, or with the skies and the lovely sunset, when the mind in its activities is isolating itself? And can there be any contact ever, with anything at all, even when the mind is not isolating itself?

Questioner: Everything and everybody has its own existence. Everything and everybody is shrouded in its own existence. I can never penetrate this enclosure of another’s being. However much I love someone, his existence is separate from mine. I can perhaps touch him from the outside, mentally or physically, but his existence is his own, and mine is forever on the outside of it. Similarly, he cannot reach me. Must we always remain two separate entities, each in his own world, with his own limitations, within the prison of his own consciousness?

Krishnamurti: Each lives within his own tissue, you in yours, he in his. And is there any possibility, ever, of breaking through this tissue? Is this tissue – this shroud, this envelope – the word? Is it made up of your concern with yourself and his with himself, your desires opposed to his? Is this capsule the past? It is all of this, isn’t it? It isn’t one particular thing but a whole bundle which the mind carries about. You have your burden, another has his. Can these burdens ever be dropped so that the mind meets the mind, the heart meets the heart? That is really the question, isn’t it?

Questioner: Even if all these burdens are dropped, if that were possible, even then he remains in his skin with his thoughts, and I in mine with my thoughts. Sometimes the gap is narrow, sometimes it is wide, but we are always two separate islands. The gap seems to be widest when we care most about it and try to bridge it. Krishnamurti: You can identify yourself with that villager or with that flaming bougainvillaea – which is a mental trick to pretend unity. Identification with something is one of the most hypocritical states – to identify oneself with a nation, with a belief and yet remain alone is a favourite trick to cheat loneliness. Or you identify yourself so completely with your belief that you are that belief, and this is a neurotic state. Now let’s put away this urge to be identified with a person or an idea or a thing. That way there is no harmony, unity or love. So our next question is: can you tear through the envelope so that there is no more envelope? Then only would there be a possibility of total contact. How is one to tear through the envelope? The ‘how’ doesn’t mean a method, but rather an enquiry which might open the door.

Questioner: Yes, no other contact can be called relationship at all, though we say it is. Krishnamurti: Do we tear the envelope bit by bit or cut through it immediately? If we tear it bit by bit, which is what analysts sometimes claim to do, the job is never done. It is not through time that you can break down this separation. Questioner: Can I enter into the envelope of another? And isn’t his envelope his very existence, his heartbeats and his blood, his feelings and his memories?

Krishnamurti: Are you not the very envelope itself? Questioner: Yes. Krishnamurti: The very movement to tear through the other envelope, or extend outside of your own, is the very affirmation and the action of your own envelope: you are the envelope. So you are the observer of the envelope, and you are also the envelope itself. In this case, you are the observer and the observed: so is he, and that’s how we remain. And you try to reach him, and he tries to reach you. Is this possible? You are the island surrounded by seas, and he is also the island surrounded by seas. You see that you are both the island and the sea; there is no division between them; you are the entire earth with the sea. Therefore there is no division as the island and the sea. The other person doesn’t see this. He is the island surrounded by sea; he tries to reach you, or, if you are foolish enough, you may try to reach him. Is that possible? How can there be a contact between a man who is free and another who is bound? Since you are the observer and the observed, you are the whole movement of the earth and the sea. But the other, who doesn’t understand this, is still the island surrounded by water. He tries to reach you and is everlastingly failing because he maintains his insularity. It is only when he leaves it and is, like you, open to the movement of the skies, the earth, and the sea, that there can be contact. The one who sees that the barrier is himself can no longer have a barrier. Therefore he, in himself, is not separate at all. The other has not seen that the barrier is himself and so maintains the belief in his separateness. How can this man reach the other? It is not possible.

Questioner: If we may I should like to continue from where we left off yesterday. You were saying that the mind is the maker of the envelope around itself, and that this envelope is the mind. I really don’t understand this. Intellectually I can agree, but the nature of perception eludes me. I should like very much to understand it – not verbally but actually feel it – so that there is no conflict in my life.

Krishnamurti: There is the space between what the mind calls the envelope which it has made, and itself. There is the space between the ideal and the action. In these different fragmentations of space between the observer and the observed, or between different things it observes, is all conflict and struggle, and all the problems of life. There is the separation between this envelope around me and the envelope around another. In that space is all our existence, all our relationship and battle.

Questioner: When you talk of the division between the observer and the observed do you mean these fragmentations of space in our thinking and in our daily actions?

Krishnamurti What is this space? There is space between you and your envelope, the space between him and his envelope, and there is the space between the two envelopes. These spaces all appear to the observer. What are these spaces made of? How do they come into being? What is the quality and the nature of these divided spaces? If we could remove these fragmentary spaces what would happen?

Questioner: There would then be true contact on all levels of one’s being.

Krishnamurti: Is that all?

Questioner: There would be no more conflict, for all conflict is relationship across these spaces.

Krishnamurti: Is that all? When this space actually disappears – not verbally or intellectually – but actually disappears – there is complete harmony, unity, between you and him, between you and another. In this harmony you and he cease, and there is only this vast space which can never be broken up. The small structure of the mind comes to an end, for the mind is fragmentation.

Questioner: I really can’t understand this at all, though I have a deep feeling within me that it is so. I can see that when there is love this actually takes place, but I don’t know that love. It’s not with me all the time. It is not in my heart. I see it only as if through a misty glass. I can’t honestly grasp it with all my being. Could we, as you suggested, consider what these spaces are made of, how they come into being?

Krishnamurti: Let’s be quite sure that we both understand the same thing when we use the word space. There is the physical space between people and things, and there is the psychological space between people and things. Then there is also the space between the idea and the actual. So all this, the physical and psychological, is space, more or less limited and defined. We are not now talking of the physical space. We are talking of the psychological space between people and the psychological space in the human being himself, in his thoughts and activities. How does this space come about? Is it fictitious, illusory, or is it real? Feel it, be aware of it, make sure you haven’t just got a mental image of it, bear in mind that the description is never the thing. Be quite sure that you know what we are talking about. Be quite aware that this limited space, this division, exists in you: don’t move from there if you don’t understand. Now how does this space come about?

Questioner: We see the physical space between things…

Krishnamurti: Don’t explain anything; just feel your way into it. We are asking how this space has come into being. Don’t give an explanation or a cause, but remain with this space and feel it. Then the cause and the description will have very little meaning and no value.

This space has come into being because of thought, which is the ‘me’, the word – which is the whole division. Thought itself is this distance, this division. Thought is always breaking itself up into fragments and creating division. Thought always cuts up what it observes into fragments within space – as you and me, yours and mine, me and my thoughts, and so on. This space, which thought has created between what it observes, has become real; and it is this space that divides. Then thought tries to build a bridge over this division, thus playing a trick upon itself all the time, deceiving itself and hoping for unity.

Questioner: That reminds me of the old statement about thought: it is a thief disguising himself as a policeman in order to catch the thief.

Krishnamurti: Don’t bother to quote, sir, however ancient it is. We are considering what actually is going on. In seeing the truth of the nature of thought and its activities, thought becomes quiet. Thought being quiet, not made quiet, is there space?

Questioner: It is thought itself which now rushes in to answer this question.

Krishnamurti: Exactly! Therefore we do not even ask the question. The mind now is completely harmonious, without fragmentation; the little space has ceased, and there is only space. When the mind is completely quiet, there is the vastness of space and silence.

Questioner: So I begin to see that my relationship to another is between thought and thought; whatever I answer is the noise of thought, and realizing it, I am silent.

Krishnamurti: This silence is the benediction.