What does it mean to be related to another?
Yes, the speaker is asking the question, but, please, we are thinking together about it.
If you are married, if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend or what have you, how do you look at him or her? What is your reaction when you look at this person?
Are you totally indifferent? You have a history with this person, and in that history you have hurt her and she has hurt you, and so at this point are you now totally indifferent to this person?
Do you have any real affection left in you? Or have been totally conditioned to be petty, unforgiving, a nightmare?
Or do you say, “I have a responsibility towards this person”?
Are you following all of this?
What is your true inward response?
Are you merely going your way and she is going her way, and so you never meet because you are ambitious, competitive, wanting more money, a better job, and so on, and so on, and she also has her ambitions, her own selfish ideals?
There is no relationship when two people are merely running parallel.
As we are living now—in utter selfishness, callousness, indifference, brutality, insensitivity—we are destroying each other. Don’t scoff at this or try to laugh it off, because to do so at this is only a means of trying to escape from the facts. Please, we are talking about very, very serious things, we are talking about life, about love, about daily living. Don’t try to pass it off or soften it by scoffing at it or laughing it off. We have to face this terrible existence in which there is so little real love and happiness.
You are the story of mankind. In you is the residue of all of man’s endeavors, all of mankind’s sufferings, all of mankind’s fears and anxieties. You as a human being are not alone: you are just like the rest of mankind. You have pain, you suffer, you want security, you are uncertain, confused, arrogant, prideful, petty, dismissive, in agony, you lie to yourself, you lie to others, you can be manipulative, and so on. So you are not alone. You are anything but alone. You are just like everyone else. What separates you from others is much less than what you have in common with others.
If we are to understand relationship we each must first come to know ourselves as we are, with no softeners, no bias, no distortions, no partiality. Self-knowledge is crucially important in relationship. If you don’t know yourself—what you are, all your troubles, your anxieties, insecurities, triggers, uncertainties, your desire for security—if you don’t understand all of this, then how can you hope to understand your wife or husband or children or neighbors? You will remain separate entities and you will just contribute more horror to this world.
We cannot possibly change society unless our relationship with each other is completely and radically changed. And we cannot change our relationship with each other unless our relationship with ourselves is completely and radically changed. To change this corrupt society we each must change ourselves radically. And this is what we are concerned only about right now—how to bring about that very mutation in our very minds, in the very cells of our brains. How to develop real emotional self-control and insight that works, that actuaklly affects our lives for the better and doesn’t create even more of a divide within us, because as people are living right now, they are all divided against themselves internally.
But we always want to change the outer without changing the inner structure of the human mind.
Right now, together, we are looking, examining, being very sensitive, being very open and inquisitive so as to be keenly aware of what we are doing. This is a serious conversation; it is not something intellectual or emotional. We are seriously considering human relationships; we are seriously considering our own capacity for self-knowledge and our awareness of ourselves. So please do become truly serious—and not just for this moment—but become serious, become very sincere, throughout life. To be really deeply profoundly serious is to be truly religious—not the religion of going to temples, church services, and all that—that is not religion. Rather, the person who is mindful, sincere, diligent in his seriousness—that person is a truly religious person.
Life is relationship. Without relationship you cannot exist. And in your life, in your relationships, there is conflict, pain, misery, pettiness, ambition, frustration, anger, and there are also so-called pleasures. And we are looking at whether it is possible to radically change a relationship like this in which there is hardly any real love, and we are looking at this problem with great sincerity and sensitivity of awareness.
We are selfish, we are totally self-centered, and we are self-centered because it is our habit, it is tradition, it is part of our religious upbringing—“You are a separate soul, you must seek your own salvation,” and so on. This emphasis on being selfish, self-centered, through education, through pressure, has existed from time immeasurable. But realizing all of this, understanding all of this intellectually, does not seem to make any of us any less selfish.
All around you, in Europe, in America, people are going their own way, divorces are multiplying, gradually there is a world evolving in which hardly any real relationship with each other exists.
And so in response to this most of us become even more callous, self-centered, pursuing our own way, wanting more security, and so on.
Now you have just heard this. When you hear such a statement, what is your reaction to it? Do you accept it and say, “Yes, this is absolutely so,” but then just let it go or in some other way escape from the fact? Or do you hear it, see the truth of it, and remain with that truth so that it operates, without your operating, on selfishness? Do you understand what I’m saying? How do you look at that fact? Either you want to suppress it or run away from it, or you want to transcend it, which means you are really not facing the fact; you are trying to escape from it. Are you following all of this? So we are trying to remain with the fact, without translating the fact, without trying to run away and escape from the fact. Look at it, be with it, sit with it. Can you do that?
(Adapted from “On Relationship”)