So one asks: is it possible not to have any image about another at all? So long as one has an image about her and she has about oneself, there must be conflict, because the cultivation of images destroys relationship. Through observation can one discover whether it is possible not to have an image about oneself or about another – completely not to have images? As long as one has an image about oneself, one is going to get hurt. It is one of the miseries in life, from childhood through school, college, university and right through life, one is constantly getting hurt, with all its consequences and the gradual process of isolation so as not to get hurt. And what is it that is hurt? It is the image that one has built about oneself. If one were to be totally free of all images, then there would be no hurt, no flattery.
Now most people find security in the image they have built for themselves, which is the image that thought has created. So we are asking, observing, whether this image built from childhood, put together by thought, a structure of words, a structure of reactions, a process of remembrances – long, deep, abiding incidents, hurts, ideas, pain – can end completely – for only then can you have any kind of relationship with another. In relationship, when there is no image, there is no conflict. This is not just a theory, an ideal; the speaker is saying it is a fact. If one goes into it very deeply, one finds that one can live in this monstrous world and not have a single image about oneself; then one’s relationships have a totally different meaning – there is no conflict whatsoever.
Now please, as you are listening to the speaker, are you aware of your own image and the ending of that image? Or are you going to ask: ‘How am I to end that image?’ When you ask ‘how’, see the implication in that word. The ‘how’ implies that someone will tell you what to do. Therefore that somebody, who is going to tell you what to do, becomes the specialist, the guru, the leader. But you have had leaders, specialists, psychologists, all your life; they have not changed you. So do not ask ‘how’ but find out for yourself whether you can become free of that image. You can be free of it when you give complete attention to what another says. If your wife or your friend says something ugly and if at that moment you pay complete attention, then in that attention there is no creation of images. Then life has a totally different meaning.
– Krishnamurti. The Flame of Attention. (1983, P 71-2)