Jiddu Krishnamurti on being aware of an Emotion with out Labelling
Question: How can one be aware of an emotion without naming or labelling it? If I am aware of a feeling, I seem to know what that feeling is almost immediately after it arises. Or do you mean something different when you say, ‘Do not name’?
Jiddu Krishnamurti : Why do we name anything? Why do we give a label to a flower, to a person, to a feeling? Either to communicate one’s feelings, to describe the flower and so on and so on; or to identify oneself with that feeling. Is not that so? I name something, a feeling, to communicate it. ‘I am angry.’ Or I identify myself with that feeling in order to strengthen it or to dissolve it or to do something about 1t. We give a name to something, to a rose, to communicate it to others or, by giving it a name, we think we have understood it.
We say, ”That is a rose”, rapidly look at it and go on. By giving it a name, we think we have understood it; we have classified it and think that thereby we have understood the whole content and beauty of that flower. By giving a name to something, we have merely put it into a category and we think we have understood it; we don’t look at it more closely. If we do not give it a name, however, we are forced to look at it. That is we approach the flower or whatever it is with a newness, with a new quality of examination; we look at it as though we had never looked at it before. Naming is a very convenient way of disposing of things and of people - by saying that they are Germans, Japanese, Americans, Hindus, you can give them a label and destroy the label. If you do not give a label to people you are forced to look at them and then it is much more difficult to kill somebody.
You can destroy the label with a bomb and feel righteous, but if you do not give a label and must therefore look at the individual thing - whether it is a man or a flower or an incident or an emotion - then you are forced to consider your relationship with it, and with the action following. So terming or giving a label is a very convenient way of disposing of anything, of denying, condemning or justifying it. That is one side of the question. What is the core from which you name, what is the centre which is always naming, choosing, labelling.
We all feel there is a centre, a core, do we not?,
from which we are acting, from which we are judging, from which we are
naming. What is that centre, that core? Some would like to think it
is a spiritual essence, God, or what you will. So let us find out what
is that core, that centre, which is naming, terming, judging. Surely
that core is memory, isn’t it? A series of sensations, identified and
enclosed - the past, given life through the present. That core, that
centre, feeds on the present through naming, labelling, remembering.
But we don’t know what that feeling is, because the
word has become important. When you call yourself a Buddhist, a
Christian, what does the word mean, what is the meaning behind that
word, which you have never examined? Our centre, the core is the word,
the label. If the label does not matter, if what matters is that which
is behind the label, then you are able to inquire but if you are
identified with the label and stuck with it, you cannot proceed. And we
are identified with the label: the house, the form, the name, the
furniture, the bank account, our opinions, our stimulants and so on and
so on. We are all those things - those things being represented by a
name. The things have become important, the names, the labels; and
therefore the centre, the core, is the word.
Therefore you stay fixed the moment you judge; the words ‘like’ and ‘dislike’ become important. But what happens when you do not name? You look at an emotion, at a sensation, more directly and therefore have quite a different relationship to it, just as you have to a flower when you do not name it. You are forced to look at it anew. When you do not name a group of people, you are compelled to look at each individual face and not treat them all as the mass. Therefore you are much more alert, much more observing, more understanding; you have a deeper sense of pity, love; but if you treat them all as the mass, it is over.
If you do not label, you have to regard every feeling
as it arises. When you label, is the feeling
different from the label? Or does the label awaken the feeling? Please
think it over. When we label, most of us intensify the feeling. The
feeling and the naming are instantaneous. If there were a gap between
naming and feeling, then you could find out if the feeling is different
from the naming and then you would be able to deal with the feeling
without naming it.
When the mind is no longer the centre, as the thinker made up of words, of past experiences - which are all memories, labels, stored up and put in categories, in pigeonholes - when it is not doing any of those things, then, obviously the mind is quiet. It is no longer bound, it has no longer a centre as the me - my house, my achievement, my work - which are still words, giving impetus to feeling and thereby strengthening memory. When none of these things is happening, the mind is very quiet. That state is not negation. On the contrary, to come to that point, you have to go through all this, which is an enormous undertaking; it is not merely learning a few sets of words and repeating them like a school-boy - ‘not to name’, ‘not to name’.
To follow through all its implications, to experience it, to see how the mind works and thereby come to that point when you are no longer naming, which means that there is no longer a centre apart from thought - surely this whole process is real meditation. When the mind is really tranquil, then it is possible for that which is immeasurable to come into being. Any other process, any other search for reality, is merely self-projected, homemade and therefore unreal. But this process is arduous and it means that the mind has to be constantly aware of everything that is inwardly happening to it. To come to this point, there can be no judgement or justification from the beginning to the end - not that this is an end.
There is no end, because there is something extraordinary still going on. This is no promise. It is for you to experiment, to go into yourself deeper and deeper and deeper, so that all the many layers of the centre are dissolved and you can do it rapidly or lazily. It is extraordinarily interesting to watch the process of the mind, how it depends on words, how the words stimulate memory or resuscitate the dead experience and give life to it. In that process the mind is living either in the future or in the past.
Therefore words have an enormous significance, neurologically as well as psychologically. And please do not learn all this from me or from a book. You cannot learn it from another or find it in a book. What you learn or find in a book will not be the real. But you can experience it, you can watch yourself in action, watch yourself thinking, see how you think, how rapidly you are naming the feeling as it arises - and watching the whole process frees the mind from its centre. Then the mind, being quiet, can receive that which is eternal.
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