You are sorrow

Krishnamurti says (I’m paraphrasing here):

Remain with the fact of sorrow. Don’t run away from sorrow or try to act upon it to change it.

You are sorrow.

The perception that you are sorrow, that one is not separate from one’s sorrow - that one is not divided from sorrow, but the observer of sorrow is himself/herself sorrow - brings about an change in the thing we have called ‘sorrow’.

That is, can there be an observation of sorrow without the ‘observer’, so that there is only that thing we have called ‘sorrow’?

In that total sorrow without a separate observer to act on or change that sorrow - in that state of complete attention to the fact of sorrow - sorrow ends.

And with the ending of sorrow comes passion, the passion of love and compassion.

What do people feel about this?

Some video extracts:

“Your sorrow is the sorrow of mankind. No words, no explanation, no escape, can wipe away that sorrow. You have to face it.” (9 mins)

“Can one remain with sorrow? Because sorrow is perhaps one of the greatest challenges, greatest demands, on the human mind.” (9 mins, 43 secs)

“With the ending of sorrow there is passion. And that passion is love… And to hold that sorrow in your hands as you would hold a beautiful flower, so that you see the whole depth and significance of it.” (11 mins)

“Is sorrow different from you? … When there is no division between you and that which you are observing - when that man who sheds tears, or that woman who cries, is that sorrow himself or herself - the very observation of that brings about a radical change in what is being observed. So, is there an observation of sorrow without the observer?” (14 mins, 51 secs)

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My feeling is that sorrow is one of the fundamental contents of consciousness that everyone has to face fundamentally. We may grasp bits and pieces of K’s teachings, we may have gained some clarity in a certain limited area. But until we have uncovered fully, and faced completely, this deep content of sorrow, we are still living on the surface of life, or are living in denial.

It is not that sorrow is sacred, or that through sorrow we learn about ourselves, or become better. But sorrow has been put there in our consciousness like a rock in midstream - so either we face it directly, or we try to go around it or go over it; but we have to face it somehow.

This is what the Buddhists seem to have intuited. Sorrow must be faced and resolved, even if the resolution of it requires changing one’s whole perspective on life, one’s whole identity (or giving up one’s identity). Because unless our suffering can end, then we will never have peace or silence or real compassion. We will always be held back, limited, by the subterranean energy of dark sorrow.

Krishnamurti sometimes talked about sorrow as being a jewel :gem:.

If one can remain with this jewel :gem: of sorrow, then the very remaining with it is the transformation of it - and not only the transformation of sorrow, but of the mind that is in sorrow, because the mind* in some fundamental sense is itself sorrow.

*By ‘mind’ here I mean the mind that is put together by thought, not the mind that is beyond thought.

Two more extracts on sorrow:

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…

The ending of sorrow begins with the facing of psychological facts within oneself and being totally aware of all the implications of those facts from moment to moment. This means never escaping from the fact that one is in sorrow, never rationalizing it, never offering an opinion about it, but living with that fact completely…

To understand sorrow, surely you must love it, must you not? That is, you must be in direct communion with it.

If you would understand something—your neighbor, your wife, or any relationship—if you would understand something completely, you must be near it. You must come to it without any objection, prejudice, condemnation, or repulsion; you must look at it, must you not? If I would understand you, I must have no prejudices about you. I must be capable of looking at you, not through barriers, screens of my prejudices and conditionings. I must be in communion with you, which means I must love you.

Similarly, if I would understand sorrow, I must love it, I must be in communion with it. I cannot do so because I am running away from it through explanations, through theories, through hopes, through postponements, which are all the process of verbalisation. So words prevent me from being in communion with sorrow. Words prevent me—words of explanations, rationalisations, which are still words, which are the mental process—from being directly in communion with sorrow. It is only when I am in communion with sorrow that I understand it…

The ending of sorrow is realised in sorrow itself, not away from sorrow. To move away from sorrow is merely to find an answer, a conclusion, an escape; but sorrow continues. Whereas, if you give it your complete attention, which is to be attentive with your whole being, then you will see that there is an immediate perception in which no time is involved, in which there is no effort, no conflict; and it is this immediate perception… that puts an end to sorrow.

(The Book of Life)

The speaker is not stimulating you to feel sorrow; the speaker is not telling you what sorrow is, it’s right in front of us, right inside you. Nobody needs to point it out, if you keep your eyes open, if you are sensitive, aware of what is happening in this monstrous world. So please ask yourself this question: whether sorrow can ever end. Because like hatred, when there is sorrow there is no love. When you are suffering, concerned with your own suffering, how can there be love? So one must ask this question, however difficult it is to find - not the answer, but the ending of sorrow.

What is sorrow? … Is sorrow self-pity? Please, investigate. We’re not saying it is or it is not, we’re asking, is sorrow brought about by self-pity, one of the factors? Sorrow brought about by loneliness? Feeling desperately alone, lonely; Not alone: the word ‘alone’ means ‘all one.’ But feeling isolated, having in that loneliness no relationship with anything.

Is sorrow merely an intellectual affair? To be rationalised, explained away? Or to live with it without any desire for comfort. You understand? To live with sorrow, not escape from it, not rationalise it, not find some illusive or exclusive comfort: religious or some illusory romantic escapes, but to live with something that has tremendous significance.

Sorrow is not only a physical shock, when one loses one’s son or husband, wife or girl, whatever it is, it’s a tremendous biological shock. One is almost paralysed with it. Don’t you know all this?

And there is also the sense of desperate loneliness. Can one look at sorrow as it is actually in us, and remain with it, hold it, and not move away from it?

Sorrow is not different from the one who suffers. The person who suffers wants to run away, escape, do all kinds of things. But to look at it as you look at a child, a beautiful child, to hold it, never escape from it. Then you will see for yourself, if you really do it deeply, that there is an end to sorrow. And when there is an end to sorrow there is passion - not lust, not sensory stimulation, but passion.

(Talk 2, Washington DC, 1985)

I think that at one level all that matters in life is sorrow and the ending of sorrow.

If one could really and truly dissolve psychological suffering in the mind, one would then be totally free psychologically speaking. One could live fearlessly and without limits.

But so long as sorrow is there in the background of one’s consciousness, one will always be a prisoner of that suffering.

So I think the Buddhists are somewhat correct to emphasise this point. It is not a pessimistic approach to life. It is not a stipulation or prescription of how to live. Rather, it is a straightforward factual diagnosis of what any human being must face up to and deal with, if they want to know what real psychological freedom is.