I feel that a mind which is not capable of seeing and feeling totally the beauty of the earth, the sky, the palm tree, the horizon, the beauty of a line, - a face, a gesture, will never comprehend that extraordinary thing which is beauty and freedom. For most of us freedom is merely the opposite of bondage, therefore merely a reaction. But to comprehend the feeling, the beauty, the loveliness, that extraordinary state which is not the opposite of bondage, requires a mind that is capable of seeing the totality of something. Most of us, surely, have lost or have never had real feeling. Our education, our way of life, our daily habits, traditions, customs have deprived the mind of feeling. If you observe, go into your own mind very diligently, you will find that feeling itself has no motive - the feeling for a tree, the sense of appreciation of a rich man driving a beautiful car, the sight of the villager starving, struggling, toiling day after day. If there is feeling, then from that feeling itself there is an action which is much more comprehensive, much more potent than the intellectual action of the do-gooders and the reformers because in it there is understanding, a feeling for both the ugly and the beautiful - but not as opposites. To have such feeling is essential if we are to understand this whole process of our existence and our ways of thinking.
But you see the difficulty is that unless you see this - unless you see the whole sky, the beauty of the night, of the morning and the evening, you can never do anything worth while under the heavens except your petty little activities of daily existence. Unless you grasp this whole thing your existence will remain miserable, sorrowful, but with the perception of this enormous thing called life, with the feeling for it, you can come to the practical with precision, with clarity, with depth. But most of us are merely concerned with immediate profit, with immediate results, the immediate pleasure or pain. So it seems to me it is very important in the pursuit of the understanding of the self that there be this feeling.
But most of our feelings are dead, because when you see every day the same poverty, the same squalor, the same misery and struggle, and the same customs and habits, the mind gets dull, deadened, insensitive and it becomes very difficult to feel. So, if I may, I would like to go into something which, if we can understand it very deeply, will help us to realize this feeling - the feeling which is quite different from sentimentality, from emotion, tears and devotion. If we can get this feeling then the heavens will open.
But without understanding all this you will merely say: “Let me have it” or “I have something I must do.” You are attached to action and you want the immediate answer. You have to decide what to do tomorrow and that is
much more compelling, much more urgent to you than this enquiry, than this search, than the feeling of this whole quality of comprehension, understanding, beauty and love. So your actions are always leading to death, death being confusion, misery, suffering and toil.
So if you and I have really truthfully and honestly asked ourselves how to awaken this feeling, then we shall have seen that any form of attachment is a dead thing, and that this deadly quality of attachment - to things, to people and to ideas, invariably leads to the grave. In perceiving this you will see that your desire for immediate action has an answer at a totally different level, and the answer will be true, and it will be practical.
I hope I have made myself clear because for most of us the day to day action of habit has become all-important, so that we never see the horizon but are always doing something. You can only have the explosion of feeling when you understand this whole process of yourself and your attachments. If you can explore, examine, look into this thing called attachment, then you will begin to learn, and it is learning that will break up the dead things; it is learning that will give the feeling to action.
Such a mind can go very deeply, and become that which is the Universe, the Timeless. From that state you will be able to act in time, but with a totally different feeling. All this requires not chronological time, days, weeks and years, but the understanding of yourself, which can be done immediately.
You never remain with any feeling, pure and simple, but always surround it with the paraphernalia of words. The word distorts it; thought, whirling round it, throws it into shadow, overpower it with mountainous fears and longings. You never remain with a feeling, and with nothing else: with hate, or with that strange feeling of beauty. When the feeling of hate arises, you say how bad it is; there is the compulsion, the struggle to overcome it, the turmoil of thought about it.
Try remaining with the feeling of hate, with the feeling of envy, jealousy, with the venom of ambition; for after all, that’s what you have in daily life, though you may want to live with love, or with the word ‘love’. Since you have the feeling of hate, of wanting to hurt somebody with a gesture or a burning word, see if you can stay with that feeling.
You will find it amazingly difficult. Your mind will not leave the feeling alone; it comes rushing in with its remembrances, its associations, its do’s and don’ts, its everlasting chatter. pick up a piece of shell.
Can you look without the movement of the mind? Can you live with the feeling behind the word, without the feeling that the word builds up? If you can, then you will discover an extraordinary thing, a movement beyond the measure of time, a spring that knows no summer.
1958 4th Public Talk, Bombay
Krishnamurti Articles & Quotes