Question: If I am perfectly honest, I have to admit that I resent, and at times hate, almost everybody. It makes my life very unhappy and painful. I understand intellectually that I am this resentment, this hatred; but I cannot cope with it. Can you show me a way?
Krishnamurti: What do we mean by “intellectually?” When we say that we understand something intellectually, what do we mean by that? Is there such a thing as intellectual understanding? Or is it that the mind merely understands the words, because that is our only way of communicating with each other? Can we, however, really understand anything merely verbally, mentally? That is the first thing we have to be clear about: whether so-called intellectual understanding is not an impediment to understanding. Surely understanding is integral, not divided, not partial? Either I understand something or I don’t. To say to oneself, “I understand something intellectually,” is surely a barrier to understanding. It is a partial process and therefore no understanding at all.
Now the question is this: “How am I, who am resentful, hateful, how am I to be free of, or cope with that problem?” How do we cope with a problem? What is a problem? Surely, a problem is something which is disturbing.
I am resentful, I am hateful; I hate people and it causes pain. And I am aware of it. What am I to do? It is a very disturbing factor in my life. What am I to do, how am I to be really free of it—not just momentarily slough it off but fundamentally be free of it? How am I to do it?
It is a problem to me because it disturbs me. If it were not a disturbing thing, it would not be a problem to me, would it? Because it causes pain, disturbance, anxiety, because I think it is ugly, I want to get rid of it. Therefore the thing that I am objecting to is the disturbance, isn’t it? I give it different names at different times, in different moods; one day I call it this and another something else, but the desire is, basically, not to be disturbed. Isn’t that it? Because pleasure is not disturbing, I accept it. I don’t want to be free from pleasure, because there is no disturbance—at least, not for the time being. But hate and resentment are very disturbing factors in my life and I want to get rid of them.
My concern is not to be disturbed and I am trying to find a way in which I shall never be disturbed. Why should I not be disturbed? I must be disturbed to find out, must I not? I must go through tremendous upheavals, turmoil, and anxiety to find out, must I not? If I am not disturbed, I shall remain asleep and perhaps that is what most of us do want: to be pacified, to be put to sleep, to get away from any disturbance, to find isolation, seclusion, security. If I do not mind being disturbed—really, not just superficially—if I don’t mind being disturbed, because I want to find out, then my attitude towards hate and towards resentment undergoes a change, doesn’t it? If I do not mind being disturbed, then the name is not important, is it? The word “hate” is not important, is it? Or “resentment” against people is not important, is it? Because then I am directly experiencing the state which I call resentment without verbalizing that experience.
Anger is a very disturbing quality, as hate and resentment are, and very few of us experience anger directly without verbalizing it. If we do not verbalize it, if we do not call it anger, surely there is a different experience, is there not? Because we term it, we reduce a new experience or fix it in the terms of the old, whereas, if we do not name it, then there is an experience that is directly understood and this understanding brings about a transformation in that experiencing. Take, for example, meanness. Most of us, if we are mean, are unaware of it—mean about money matters, mean about forgiving people, you know, just being mean. I am sure we are familiar with that. Now, being aware of it, how are we going to be free from that quality? Not to become generous, that is not the important point. To be free from meanness implies generosity, you haven’t got to become generous. Obviously one must be aware of it. You may be very generous in giving a large donation to your society, to your friends, but awfully mean about giving a bigger tip; you know what I mean by “mean.” One is unconscious of it. When one becomes aware of it, what happens? We exert our will to be generous; we try to overcome it; we discipline ourselves to be generous and so on and so on. But, after all, the exertion of will to be something is still part of meanness in a larger circle, so if we do not do any of those things but are merely aware of the implications of meanness, without giving it a term, then we will see that there takes place a radical transformation.
Please experiment with this. First, one must be disturbed, and it is obvious that most of us do not like to be disturbed. We think we have found a pattern of life—the Master, the belief, whatever it is—and there we settle down. It is like having a good bureaucratic job and functioning there for the rest of one’s life. With that same mentality, we approach various qualities of which we want to be rid. We do not see the importance of being disturbed, of being inwardly insecure, of not being dependent. Surely it is only in insecurity that you discover, that you see, that you understand. We want to be like a man with plenty of money: at ease. He will not be disturbed; he doesn’t want to be disturbed.
Disturbance is essential for understanding and any attempt to find security is a hindrance to understanding. When we want to get rid of something which is disturbing, it is surely a hindrance. If we can experience a feeling directly, without naming it, I think we shall find a great deal in it: then there is no longer a battle with it because the experiencer and the thing experienced are one, and that is essential. So long as the experiencer verbalizes the feeling, the experience, he separates himself from it and acts upon it; such action is an artificial, illusory action. But if there is no verbalization, then the experiencer and the thing experienced are one. That integration is necessary and has to be radically faced.
– J. Krishnamurti
From The First and Last Freedom, Question 13