"Fearlessness is the first requirement of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Krishnamurti: 'On Love'

"Love is a many splendoured thing," says the poet. "God is love," we read in the Bible. "Love means never having to say you are sorry," Ali McGraw told Ryan O'Neill in the film, version of "Love Story." And, not surprisingly, given that love is so fundamental to who we are as a man or woman - our greater or lesser ability to give and receive love defining who we are as individuals - all of the great spiritual teachers have weighed in on what love is and does.

To the modern enlightened teacher, Jiddu Krishnamurti, it was in the process of overcoming the 'self' or ordinary human ego in order to truly love another - with all the attendant pain and suffering beforehand - that the great utility of love proved itself. Or, as Jesus observed, on a metaphysical plane as well as literally, perhaps: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13). For it is in overcoming the ego, or by dying to 'self,' that we awaken into the higher consciousness and timeless eternity of this present moment.

"How easy it is," Krishnamurti observes in his book, Commentaries on Living, "to destroy the thing we love! How quickly a barrier comes between us, a word, a gesture, a smile! Health, mood and desire cast a shadow, and what was bright becomes dull and burdensome."
"Through usage we wear ourselves out," he notes, "and that which was sharp and clear becomes wearisome and confused. Through constant friction, hope and frustration, that which was beautiful and simple becomes fearful and expectant. Relationship is complex and difficult, and few can come out of it unscathed."

"Though we would like it to be static, enduring, continuous, relationship is a movement," Krishnamurti notes, "a process which must be deeply and fully understood and not made to conform to an inner or outer pattern. . . . Love in a relationship is a purifying process as it reveals the ways of the self. Without this revelation, relationship has little significance."
Who has not experienced this shift in a love affair, when the bliss of first being in love falls away, and the cruel caricature of the ego emerges either in one's self or the one that one loves, thereby tainting (perhaps permanently and fatally) one's perception of the beloved? It is, sadly, the inevitable failure of love to reach its full potential when love is bound by the all-too-human and egoic impulse.
"But how we struggle against this revelation! The struggle," Krishnamurti notes "takes many different forms; dominance and subservience, fear or hope, jealousy or acceptance, and so on and on."

"The difficulty," he observes, "is that we do not love; and if we do love we want it to function in a particular way, we do not give it freedom. We love with our minds and not with our hearts. Mind can modify itself, but love cannot. Mind can make itself invulnerable, but love cannot; mind can always withdraw, be exclusive, become personal or impersonal," he observes."

"Our difficulty," Krishnamurti points out, "lies in that which we call love, which is really of the mind. We fill our hearts with the things of the mind and so keep our hearts empty and expectant. It is the mind," he notes, "that clings, that is envious, that holds and destroys."

"Our life," he writes, "is dominated by the physical centers and by the mind. We do not love and let it alone, but crave to be loved, we give in order to receive, which is the generosity of the mind and not of the heart. The mind is ever seeking certainty, security; and can love be made certain by the mind?"

"Can the mind," asks Krishnamurti, "whose very essence is of time, catch love, which is its own eternity?"
[Krishnamurti, "Commentaries on Living: First Series," pp. 40-41]
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[Here, is Part One of Krishnamurti lecture on "Love and Freedom." Links to the remaining portions of his talk are attached, below.]

"Love and Freedom," Part Two.

"Love and Freedom," Part Three.

"Love and Freedom," Part Four.

"Love and Freedom," Part Five.

"Love and Freedom," Part Six.

"Love and Freedom," Part Seven.

"Love and Freedom," Part Eight.

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