What Are Your Relationships Based On?—Mutual Gratification or Are They Processes of Self-Revelation?

Mindfulness is basically just a particular way of paying attention. It is a way of looking deeply into oneself in the spirit of self-inquiry and self-understanding.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn, “Full Catastrophe Living,” pg. 12

[W]hat is relationship generally based on?—apart from the emotional screen which we throw up against each other, what is it based upon?

On mutual gratification, is it not? If I do not please you, if you find me in some way aversive or unappealing, you get rid of me. If I please you, if you want something from me, if I make you feel good, then you accept me either as your wife or as your neighbour or as your friend.

That is the actual fact.

So relationship is sought where there is mutual satisfaction, gratification. And when you do not find that satisfaction you change the relationship—either you divorce, or you remain together but seek gratification elsewhere, or else you move from one relationship to another till you find what you seek, which is satisfaction, gratification and a sense of self-protection and comfort.

We talk about love, we talk about responsibility, duty, and so on, but really there is no love in a relationship when it is based on gratification. If we look closely at the way we treat our wives, children, neighbours, friends, it shows this; it shows that in our relationship there really is no love at all, it is merely a mutual gratification pact.

And when this is so, what then is the purpose of relationship? What is its ultimate significance?

Relationship has very little significance when we are merely seeking mutual gratification. But relationship becomes extraordinarily significant when it is a means of self-revelation and self-knowledge.

Does not my contact with you reveal my own state of being if I am aware, if I am honest with myself, if I am alert enough to be conscious of my own actions and reactions and motivations in a relationship? Relationship really can be a process of self-revelation which is a process of self-knowledge—if I can accept what I see of myself and not run. Because in that self-revelation which is relationship, there will be many unpleasant things—many disquieting, uncomfortable thoughts and activities and tendencies—that I will find out about myself. And because I do not like what I am discovering about myself I will be prone to run away from a relationship, because none of this will be pleasant to a relationship which is supposed to be pleasant, easy, comfortable, gratifying, and make me feel good, fulfilled, accepted, secure.

Relationship is self-revelation. And it is because we do not want to be revealed to ourselves that we run away and hide in comfort. And whenever we do this relationship loses its extraordinary depth, significance and beauty. There can be true relationship only when there is love, but love is not the search for gratification. Love exists only when there is self forgetfulness, when there is complete communion, not between one or two, but communion with the highest, and that can only take place when the self is forgotten.

( – Krishnamurti, abridged and adapted from “The Observer is the Observed,” Madras, India; public talk; December 7, 1947; http://www.jiddu-krishnamurti.net/en/1945-1948-observer-is-observed/krishnamurti-the-observer-is-the-observed-47-12-07)

Yes, real Love—mature Love—is not the search for solace, comfort, gratification; it is not the search for titillation or excitement. Real Love exists only when there is forgetfulness of this smaller self, when the part of us that lacks perspective, that spins out, is skittish, easily frightened, anxious, avoidant, self-deceptive, the part of us that wants comfort, gratification, safety, security, to avoid challenges and difficulties, in short, what’s worst and or what’s weakest in us—is forgotten—or at least kept in check and kept in its cage. Love can exist only—only—when there is communion or real contact between what is best in two people—their conscience, their deep heart, their soul, their higher self, their desire to grow and become more truthful, objective, real, honest, healthy. Real love cannot be based on contact between their smaller selves, because smaller selves cannot commune, they can only temporarily fuse and glom onto each other and use and rob and steal from each other and then hide and run and spin out. The contact between the smaller selves of two people is infatuation, fusion; it’s not real love or even real contact; it’s love that is a feeling, and thus it’s not even love at all. Communion is only possible between the highest parts of each of us, between what’s best in us—that part of each of us that is self-aware, honest, courageous, resilient, open, transparent, conscientious, that has perspective, that can put itself in another’s shoes and that can seek first to understand (to become more aware). “Love is what’s left in a relationship after all the selfishness has been removed” (Cullen Hightower). Or, put another way, love is what left in a relationship after the smaller self and all its—which is to say our—fear, pettiness, discursiveness, erraticness, avoidance have been removed.

Related articles:

What Are Your Relationships Based On? (realtruelove.wordpress.com)

Love & the smaller and LARGER Self  (realtruelove.wordpress.com)

About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in Courage, Emotional Maturity, Immature Love, Love, Mature Love, What is Love? and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What Are Your Relationships Based On?—Mutual Gratification or Are They Processes of Self-Revelation?

  1. Pingback: Love & the smaller and LARGER Self | What Is Real True Love?

  2. Pingback: What Are Your Relationships Based On? | What Is Real True Love?

Comments (feel free to speak your mind and even to disagree!)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s