The Origin of Suffering. {Alan Watts, Krishnamurti}

Via Benjamin Riggs
on Jun 7, 2011
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Thought creates the thinker.

“Thought is verbalized sensation; thought is the response of memory, the word, the experience, the image. Thought is transient, changing, impermanent, and it is seeking permanency. So thought creates the thinker, who then becomes the permanent; he assumes the role of the censor, the guide, the controller, the molder of thought. This illusory permanent entity is the product of thought, of the transient. The entity is thought; without thought he is not. The thinker is made up of qualities; his qualities cannot be separated from himself. The controller is the controlled, he is merely playing a deceptive game with himself. Till the false is seen as false, truth is not.” ~from The Book of Lifeby Jiddu Krishnamurti

“Thought is verbalized sensation…”

The modus operandi of the formed mind is conversational and semantic, taking the shape of an internal dialog, as consciousness is molded by language. Therefore, memory is transformed into thinking.

“…Thought creates the thinker, who then becomes the permanent…”

Language suggests that a complete sentence is dependent upon division and interaction between subject and object—self must be verbing with other. So, in a conceptual mind it would follow that in order to think there would need to be a thinker and something to think about. At this point a conceptual crack is imputed upon our experience of reality, and this crack is the genesis of our discontentment.

“…He assumes the role of the censor, the guide, the controller, the molder of thought.”

This points out the violent self-conscious tendency to think about thoughts. This process of cognitive inbreeding muffles the precision and clarity of direct experience, as thought becomes further and further removed from inspiration or direct experience. In point of fact, this is the systematic suppression of one’s own creative capacities.

“This illusory permanent entity is the product of thought…”

The personification of thought is called the ego. “I” is the common denominator in all thought. When thought works within the context of the grammatical formula, “I” is the only constant prerequisite for the completion of a given thought. “I”is the subject of every thought. So, “I” is installed as the central character in the drama that is Life. The thinker is an uber-concept created by thought. This primary concept solidifies the experience of a solid-separate self or the personification of thought, as it validates the belief that there is a thinker—“I think, therefore I am.”

“The entity is thought; without thought he is not. The thinker is made up of qualities; his qualities cannot be separated from himself.”

This bit requires an experiment: Observe your mind. When you notice thoughts arise, simply label them “thinking.” After your mind has settled, notice how the labeling thought, “thinking,” requires more thinking. Now, begin to work with this contradiction. Is the noticing that “thinking” is just more thinking not, in-&-of itself just more thinking? Is it possible to experience “I” without thought? In between thoughts where is this “I?”

“The controller is the controlled, he is merely playing a deceptive game with himself.”

What we have been describing up until this point is the imprisonment of freedom, our true nature. The truth is no one does it to us so, blame is pointless. We cannot look back and say it is the fault of society. We can’t blame it on our up bringing. Our problems cannot be solved by politicians or reformers. Placing blame elsewhere is just a way of ignoring the most frightening proposition; namely that we are responsible for the most atrocious act imaginable—the enslavement of ourselves. The most violent act ever carried out is man’s subjugation of himself. All other forms of evil arise from this one act.

The saddest thing about the whole situation is that we seem to suffer from Stockholm’s Syndrome, or the fear of freedom. We are so enslaved, so bound to this self-conscious image, that we cling to the ignor-ance that sustains it. Before we can ever hope to make any real progress toward freedom we must be willing to accept ourselves completely; even the part of us that holds us hostage. That is the curious twist: we are both prisoner and guard!

“Till the false is seen as false, truth is not.”

Before we can relate with our insanity we have to be willing to accept our neurotic tendencies. That is, we have to quit blaming our problems on others and/or the environment. We have to quit blaming our insanity on the past.We also have to stop rejecting ourselves, or saying, “This is silly. I shouldn’t be angry.” You are angry. So, stop and listen to the anger. Observe.

The observation of neurotic energy is the path and it starts right now. It doesn’t matter if right now is filled with a pristine awareness of life’s grandeur or neurotically preoccupied with trying to manipulate someone into fulfilling some selfish need. Right now is all you have. You will never have anything more. So, whatever arises–regardless  of how neurotic it might be—it is the path. It is all you have to work with. There is nothing else. So, listen to it. Find the intelligence which underlies your habitual commentary, because that intelligence is not only the path, it is the goal!

The observation of confusion is insight. Insight is the mother of sanity. So, when observation and confusion unite, the enlightened mind is re-born!

Alan Watts on What We Mean When We Say “I.”

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About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West. He is also the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA and a teacher at Explore Yoga. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist and Christian spirituality on Elephant Journal, and his blog. Click here to listen to the Finding God in the Body Podcast. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter.


5 Responses to “The Origin of Suffering. {Alan Watts, Krishnamurti}”

  1. Phenomenal, Ben. Thank you!

  2. […] epiphany. I realized that while this pain was not at all pleasant, I couldn’t honestly say that I was suffering. In that moment I experienced the difference between feeling pain and suffering from it. For me, […]

  3. […] other books by Krishnamurti are often considered his crowned jewels such as First and Last Freedom and Freedom from the Known, […]

  4. celestial elf says:

    Alan Watts is a wonderful inspiration, thank you.
    Here's my animation of his' account of Nirvana