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The Book of Life

Happiness That Is Not of the Mind

July 6th ~ We may move from one refinement to another, from one subtlety to another, from one enjoyment to another; but at the center of it all, there is “the me”–“the me” that is enjoying, that wants more happiness, “the me” that searches, looks for, longs for happiness, “the me” that struggles, “the me” that becomes more and more refined, but never likes to come to an end.  It is only when “the me” in all subtle forms comes to an end that there is a state of bliss that cannot be sought after, an ecstasy, a real joy without pain, without corruption . . . .

When the mind goes beyond the thought of the “me,” the experiencer, the observer, the thinker, then there is a possibility of a happiness that is incorruptible.  That happiness cannot be permanent, in the sense in which we use that word.  But our mind is seeking permanent happiness, something that will last, that will continue.  That very desire for continuity is corruption . . . 

If we can understand the process of life without condemning, without saying it is right or wrong, then, I think, there comes a creative happiness that is not “yours” or “mine.”   That creative happiness is like sunshine.  If you want to keep the sunshine to yourself, it is no longer the clear, warm, life-giving sun.  Similarly, if you want happiness because you are suffering, or because you have lost somebody, or because you have not been successful, then that is merely a reaction.   But when the mind can go beyond, then there is a happiness that is not of the mind.

 

December 31st, 2019 ~ Reaction–our normal response when we are suffering and want happiness, or when we are not successful or have lost a loved one.  As opposed to being with that suffering, staying with that suffering. . . . and going beyond.

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Understanding Suffering

July 9th ~ Why am I or why are you callous to another man’s suffering?  Why are we indifferent to the coolie who is carrying a heavy load, to the woman who is carrying a baby?  Why are we so callous?  To understand that, we must understand why suffering makes us dull.  Surely, it is suffering that makes us callous, because we don’t understand suffering, we become indifferent to it.  If I understand suffering, then I become sensitive to suffering, awake to everything, not only to myself, but to the people about me, to my wife, to my children, to an animal, to a beggar.  But we don’t want to understand suffering, and the escape from suffering makes us dull, and therefore we are callous.  Sir, the point is that suffering, when not understood, dulls the mind and heart, and we do not understand suffering because we want to escape from it, through the guru, through a savior, through mantras, through reincarnation, through ideas, through drink and every other kind of addiction–anything to escape what is . . . . 

Now, the understanding of suffering does not lie in finding out what the cause is.  Any man can know the cause of suffering; his own thoughtlessness, his stupidity, his narrowness, his brutality, and so on.  But if I look at the suffering itself without wanting an answer, then what happens?  Then, as I am not escaping, I begin to understand suffering; my mind is watchfully alert, keen, which means I become sensitive, and being sensitive, I am aware of other people’s suffering.

December 30th, 2019 ~ This reminds me of the story Steve Hagen talks about in one of his books.  It is about the man who is shot with an arrow.  We are obsessed with the arrow and who shot the arrow and why.  Rather than looking and dealing with the wound itself.

I know in the past, when I suffered, one of the things I noticed was how I held on to my suffering.  I wanted to know more about it so it wouldn’t happen again.  The wanting to know more about it is admirable, but if we hold onto it, it can’t grow and die away.  Like Krishnamurti says in “What is Guilt?”, if we tug at the roots of a flower, it can’t grow and wither away. 

The idea of not being sensitive to other people’s suffering is a real one.  Is it like a woman giving birth and forgets how painful it is.  Otherwise, why would she want to have another child and go through all that discomfort?  Has she become dull to the pain?  The difference might be that the woman’s pain is physical.  Our suffering is psychological.  Again, Krishnamurti in “What is Guilt?” says that if the pain is acute, we can’t stay with it.  But if it isn’t acute, we can stay with it.

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Acquiring Beliefs to Ward Off Pain

July 10th ~ Physical pain is a nervous response, but psychological pain arises when I hold on to things that give me satisfaction, for then I am afraid of anyone or anything that may take them away from me.  The psychological accumulations prevent psychological pain as long as they are undisturbed; that is, I am a bundle of accumulations, experiences, which prevent any serious form of disturbance–and I do not want to be disturbed.  Therefore, I am afraid of anyone who disturbs them.  Thus my fear is of the known; I am afraid of the accumulations, physical or psychological, that I have gathered as a means of warding off pain or preventing sorrow.  But sorrow is in the very process of accumulating to ward off psychological pain.  Knowledge also helps to prevent pain.  As medical knowledge helps to prevent physical pain, so beliefs help to prevent psychological pain, and that is why I am afraid of losing my beliefs, though I have no perfect knowledge or concrete proof of the reality of such beliefs.  I may reject some of the traditional beliefs that have been foisted on me because my own experience gives me strength, confidence, understanding; but such beliefs and the knowledge that I have acquired are basically the same–a means of warding off pain.

December 29th, 2019 ~ No argument here.

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Integrated Understanding

July 11th ~ What do we mean by “grief”?  Is it something apart from you?  Is it something outside of you, inwardly or outwardly, which you are observing, which you are experiencing?  Are you merely the observer experiencing?  Or, is it something different?  Surely that is an important point, is it not?  When I say “I suffer,” what do I mean by it?  Am I different from the suffering?  Surely  that is the question, is it not?  Let us find out.

There is sorrow–I am not loved, my son dies, what you will.  There is one part of me that is demanding why, demanding the explanation, the reasons, the causes.  The other part of me is in agony for various reasons.  And there is also another part of me that wants to be free from the sorrow, which wants to go beyond it.  We are all these things, are we not?  So, if one part of me is rejecting, resisting sorrow, another part of me is seeking an explanation, is caught up in theories, and another part of me is escaping from the fact–how then can I understand it totally?  It is only when I am capable of integrated understanding that there is a possibility of freedom from sorrow.  But if  I am torn in different directions, then I do not see the truth of it. . . .

Now, please listen carefully; and you will see that when there is a fact, a truth, there is understanding of it only when I can experience the whole thing without division–and not when there is the separation of the “me” observing suffering.  That is the truth.

December 28th, 2019 ~ Seeing the whole thing without division.  Although the idea of different parts of is not new–I remember talking that way in personal therapy and as a therapist intern during consulting sessions, I didn’t really feel comfortable saying it.  I don’t remember too many people saying it.  Another way is that we are in two, or more minds about it.  Seeing them as a whole is new.  Doing it is another matter.  

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You Are the Suffering

July 12th ~ When there is no observer who is suffering, is the suffering different from you?  You are the suffering, are you not?  You are not apart from the pain–you are the pain.  What happens?  There is no labeling, there is no giving it a name and thereby brushing it aside–you are merely that pain, that feeling, that sense of agony.  When you are that, what happens?  When you do not name it, when there is no fear with regard to it, is the center related to it?  If the center is related to it, then it is afraid of it.  Then it must act and do something about it.  But if the center is that, then what do you do?  There is nothing to be done, is there?  If you are that and you are not accepting it, not labeling it, not pushing it aside–if you are that thing, what happens?  Do you say you suffer then?  Surely, a fundamental transformation has taken place.  Then there is no longer “I suffer” because there is no center to suffer, and the center suffers because we have never examined what the center is.  We just live from word to word, from reaction to reaction.

December 27th, 2019 ~ When we have discomfort with a part of our body, say a burn on our finger from the stove when you were baking a pie on Christmas day, it hurts for a bit.  You might rub some aloe on it or run it under cold water.  But you go on.  Your finger is a part of you.  The pain is not separate from you.  You have other aches and pains, some of which may require a pain reliever.  Do you think that part of your body is separate from you?  Maybe not.  But, there is not much to be done.  It is not separate from you.  It is you.  It is difficult when the pain is acute.  But usually it is not.  What K says about fear is important: “. . . .when there is no fear with regard to it. . . .”  

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Is Suffering Essential

July 13th ~ There are so many varieties and complications and degrees of suffering.  We all know that.  You know it very well, and we carry this burden right through life, practically from the moment we are born until the moment we collapse into the grave . . . .

If we say that it is inevitable, then there is no answer, if you accept it, then you have stopped inquiring into it.  You have closed the door to further inquiry; if you escape from it, you have also closed the door.  You may escape into man or woman, into drink, amusement, into various forms of power, position, prestige and the internal chatter of nothingness.  Then your escapes become all-important; the objects to which you fly assume colossal importance.  So you have shut the door on sorrow also, and that is what most of us do. . . .  Now, can we stop escape of every kind and come back to suffering? . . . . That means not seeking a solution for suffering.  There is physical suffering–a toothache, stomachache, an operation, accidents, various forms of physical sufferings that have their own answer.  There is also the fear of future pain that would cause suffering.  Suffering is closely related to fear, and without comprehension of these two major factors in life, we shall never comprehend what it is to be compassionate, to love.  So a mind that is concerned with the comprehension of what is compassion, love, and all the rest of it must surely understand what is fear and what is sorrow.

December 27th, 2019 ~ Not seeking a solution to suffering, K says.  This is challenging.  Understanding suffering leads to understanding compassion and love.  We tend to focus on compassion and love first as a solution.  It feels like when we focus on suffering, we won’t come out of it.  That our society isn’t set up for us to suffer for too long.  We have to get back on the horse and be productive.  He talks about physical pain in the video “What is Guilt?.”  If our pain is too much, we can’t stay with it.  We seek help like with a toothache.  But with psychological pain, we ask ourselves can we stay with it.  Can we stay with our suffering and fear?  We will surprise ourselves.

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Conscious Sorrow & Unconscious Sorrow

July 14th ~ Sorrow is . . . . grief, uncertainty, the feeling of complete loneliness.  There is the sorrow of death, the sorrow of not being able to fulfill oneself, the sorrow of not being recognized, the sorrow of loving and not being loved in return.  There are innumerable forms of sorrow, and it seems to me that without understanding sorrow, there is no end to conflict, to misery, to the everyday travail of corruption and deterioration . . . . 

There is conscious sorrow, and there is also unconscious sorrow, the sorrow that seems to have no basis, no immediate cause.  Most of us know conscious sorrow, and we also know how to deal with it.  Either we run away from it through religious belief or we rationalize it, or we take some kind of drug, whether intellectual or physical; or we bemuse ourselves with words, with amusements, with superficial entertainment.  We do all this, and yet we cannot get away from conscious sorrow.

Then there is the unconscious sorrow that we have inherited through the centuries.  Man has always sought to overcome this extraordinary thing called sorrow, grief, misery; but even when we are superficially happy and have everything we want, deep down in the unconscious there are still the roots of sorrow.  So when we talk about the ending of sorrow, we mean the ending of all sorrow, both conscious and unconscious.  

To end sorrow one must have a very clear, very simple mind.  Simplicity is not a mere idea.  To be simple demands a great deal of intelligence and sensitivity.

December 25th, 2019 ~ Even when things go well, there is this nagging feeling that success won’t help.  It doesn’t do it for us.  

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Hurt Feelings

July 15th ~ How should we act in order not to trouble others?  Is that what you want to know?  I am afraid then we should not be acting at all.  If you live completely, your actions may cause trouble; but what is more important: finding out what is true, or not disturbing others?  This seems so simple that it hardly needs to be answered.  Why do you want to respect other people’s feelings and points of view?  Are you afraid of having your own feelings hurt, your point of view being changed?  If people have opinions that differ from yours, you can find out if they are true only by questioning them, by coming into active contact with them.  And if you find that those opinions and feelings are not true, your discovery may cause disturbance to those who cherish them.  Then what should you do?  Should you comply with them, or compromise with them in order not to hurt your friends?

December 24th, 2019 ~ We are so conditioned in not making waves that it is hard to see that common sense makes sense.  

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Self-Image Leads to Pain

July 16th ~ Why divide problems as major and minor?  Is not everything a problem?  Why make them little or big problems, essential or unessential problems?  If we could understand one problem, go into it very deeply however small or big it is, then we would uncover all problems.  This is not a rhetorical answer.  Take any problem: anger, jealousy, envy, hatred–we know them all very well.  If you go into anger very deeply, not just brush it aside, then what is involved?  Why is one angry?  Because one is hurt, someone has said an unkind thing; and when someone says a flattering thing you are pleased.  Why are you hurt?  Self-importance, is it not?  And why is there self-importance?

Because one has an idea, a symbol of oneself, an image of oneself, what one should be, what one is or what one should not be.  Why does one create an image about oneself?  Because one has never studied what one one is, actually.  We think we should be this or that, the ideal, the hero, the example.  What awakens anger is that our ideal, the idea we have of ourselves, is attacked.  And our idea about ourselves is our escape from the fact of what we are.  But when you are observing the actual fact of what you are, no one can hurt you.  Then, if one is a liar an is told that one is a liar it does not mean that one is hurt; it is a fact.  But when you are pretending you are not a liar and are told that you are, then you get angry, violent.  So we are always living in an ideational world, a world of myth, and never in the world of actuality.  To observe what is, to see it, actually be familiar with it, there must be no judgment, no evaluation, no opinion, no fear.

December 23rd, 2019 ~ Staying with what we are is a challenge.  It is arduous.  The challenge is staying with it.  We get distracted.  We look into ourselves and get some relief from the pain.  But if we stay with it, perhaps we can learn what we need to learn about ourselves.

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Perverted Pleasure

July 18th ~ There is such a thing as sadism.  Do you know what that word means?  An author called the Marquis de Sade once wrote a book about a man who enjoyed hurting people and seeing them suffer.  From that comes the word sadism, which means deriving pleasure from the suffering of others.  For certain people there is a peculiar satisfaction in seeing others suffer.  Watch yourself and see if you have this feeling.  It may not be obvious, but if it is there you will find that it expresses itself in the impulse to laugh when somebody falls.  You want those who are high to be pulled down; you criticize, gossip thoughtlessly about others, all of which is an expression of insensitivity, a form of wanting to hurt people.  One may injure another deliberately, with vengeance, or one may do it unconsciously with a word, with a gesture, with a look; but in either case the urge is to hurt somebody, and three are very few who radically set aside this perverted form of pleasure.

December 22nd, 2019 ~ This is a tough pill to swallow.  It is subtle, but it is there.  When fatigue sets in, it slips out. 

Here are a few instances that come up when reading this piece from Krishnamurti.

Not just in what I say but noticing when others gossip.  I have the thought or feeling about it before someone brings it up.  As if I expect someone to bring it up.  It is conditioning.  It is a conditioned response.  I like “Dark Humor.”  The movie Fargo was a red flag.  I was one of the few laughing in the wood chip scene.  It felt quite bad.   One time, I was in a coffee shop in San Francisco in the early 2000’s.  It was open mic night.  There was an older African-American women telling a story.  It felt masochistic in that she was talking about whipping and sharpening the piece of leather used for whipping.  It was hitting something deep in me.  My reaction was to laugh.  She didn’t stop.  A friend of mine told me the story of when she heard her father had died.  It was a shock, apparently.  She said she couldn’t stop laughing.  

It is re-assuring to hear K when he said: “. . . . there are very few who radically set aside this perverted form of pleasure.”  

One last thing.  In the video “What is Guilt?“, Krishnamurti talks about what you didn’t do.  I think when we are talking about guilt, people feel guilty about what they did.  However, looking at what we didn’t do is a different angle.  We didn’t behave in a way that didn’t represent who we are.  It is rather “regrettable,” he says.  Yes, it feels more like regret, than guilt when you look at it like that.