Relationships between human beings is based on the image-forming defense mechanism.  In all our relationships each one of us builds an image about the other and these two images have (a) relationship, not the human beings themselves.  The wife has an image about the husband – perhaps not consciously but nevertheless it is there – and the husband has an image about his wife.  One has an image about one’s country and about oneself. and we are always strengthening these images by adding more and more to them…The actual relationship between two human beings or between many human beings completely ends when there is the formation of images. (page 57)

Krishnamurti doesn’t go on to tell us how we can form real relationships.  He doesn’t give us an answer.  I looked for one.  Quite damning isn’t it, to contemplate  or realise the non-existence of so many things we hold so dear.  Friendships and families, loves and enemies. Funnily enough, when I reached this particular chapter in Freedom from the Known, I was eager to get on with it.  Since returning to the UK, actually, since before departing the UK almost a year ago, I was struck by this sudden depletion of what I would have called a solid group of friends.  An environment that I would have confidently called, “home”.  An existence that seemed as real and as honest as the skin on the back of my hands.  I realise now that it was only ever as real as I imagined it to be…needed it to be.

I actually took comfort from reading the above passage by Krishnamurti.

Trying to “be” something, other than just being creates disharmony and discontent.  If I didn’t know myself, how could I expect others to?  Now that I’m beginning to feel closer and closer to that core, I feel frustrated and tired by the energy used in trying to maintain whatever it is that pre-existed.   As much as I’d like to be able to hit a refresh button on my life, it’s not as easy as that.  Untangling my own misconceptions and facades is difficult enough, let alone  the conceptions of others.   How entwined we all seem, and dependent, upon things and escapes.  Take it all away and what are you left with?  The vulnerability and bareness that allows people to resonate with each other honestly.  It doesn’t mean that we’ll all become best friends, it simply means that there are no longer any expectations, no disappointments.  A purity of emotion, a purity of response.  What resonates is the unshakable foundations of something real.

I’ve decided, consciously or unconsciously – its sometimes hard to tell, to choose vulnerability over escape.  I want to be able to stand by everything I say, without having the escape route of “I was drunk” or “I was having a bad day”.  I want to say what I feel.  I want to be who I feel, not who I think I should be, or say what I ought to.  I want to dismantle this elaborate piece of artwork I have created, and to do so, I have to suffer loss…of friendships, of ideals, of certain dreams.  I fear meeting old friends, in case the connection is no longer there…in case it was our images of each other that got on so well, not our true selves.  I feel shy in large groups, in case I’m not feeling happy in that moment.  I feel scared by all the things that have been stripped out of me, all the layers that have gone.  I am sad to have disappointed so many.

But above all, I feel an insurgence of energy.  As the conflicts of my many selves dissolve the connections that remain grow stronger, the friendships formed brighter, and for those that have darkened – I let go.