Jiddu Krishnamurti on Writing Down What One Thinks and Feels

"If you find it difficult to be aware, then experiment with writing down every thought and feeling that arises throughout the day; write down your reactions of jealousy, envy, vanity, sensuality, the intentions behind your words, and so on."

"Spend some time before breakfast in writing them down, which may necessitate going to bed earlier and putting aside some social affair. If you write these things down whenever you can, and in the evening before sleeping look over all that you have written during the day, study and examine it without judgment, without condemnation, you will begin to discover the hidden causes of your thoughts and feelings, desires and words."

"Now, the important thing in this is to study with free intelligence what you have written down, and in studying it you will become aware of your own state. In the flame of self-awareness, of self-knowledge, the causes of conflict are discovered and consumed. You should continue to write down your thoughts and feelings, intentions and reactions, not once or twice, but for a considerable number of days until you are able to be aware of them instantly."

"Meditation is not only constant self-awareness, but constant abandonment of the self. Out of right thinking there is meditation, from which there comes the tranquility of wisdom; and in that serenity the highest is realized."

"Writing down what one thinks and feels, one's desires and reactions, brings about an inward awareness, the cooperation of the unconscious with the conscious, and this in turn leads to integration and understanding."

-- J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

19 comments:

  1. It'd be interesting - and maybe scaring - to try.

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  2. MoR, if I ever do something like that, it certainly will not be for publication!

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  3. Jeez - I feel like I've done this type of thing, and I didn't experience enlightenment.

    But I didn't do it as rigorously as Krishamurti is suggesting.

    I've read a little of Krishnamurti (although not even a whole book). I felt like if there's a book that has some ultimate wisdom out there, I don't want to miss it. Reading a bit, I felt disappointed. But this was years ago. Have you read much of his writing? Do you recommend it?

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  4. I think the best way to read Krishnamurti, Jon, is to suspend judgment when reading him. I think when I first began reading him, I was too quick to apply his teachings as I understood them to my own life. Unfortunately, I my understanding was off the mark and incomplete.

    By the way, I tend to agree with Krishnamurti that there appears to be no fixed path to enlightenment. Like a breeze, it either comes or it doesn't. All you can do is make sure the windows are open so the breeze, if it comes, can come in.

    That's the point of the exercise Krishnamurti proposes. It is not to produce enlightenment, but to open us to the possibility of enlightenment.

    Of course, I'm curious what enlightenment is. But if there's no reliable path to it, it will probably not happen to me.

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  5. Perhaps, enlightenment is an act of Faith and Faith you have or you don't.
    At any rate the path to it seems tortuous and rough. But if it's a breeze then it will come without going to it since one can not know whence a breeze will blow.
    Maybe enlightenment is not seeking it but letting it happen?

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  6. Excellent post. I was thinking that for those of us who used to love prayer, journaling may be the answer.

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  7. I've been there,I've tried it for years and it didn't work for me.On the contrary I got mentally sick.Now I am recovering and have a lovely fiance,
    who understand what I've been through and are healing me with love. I think you could call that enlightenment.

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  8. This reminds me a bit of an old friend, which I picked up early this morning to thumb through in fact - Natalie Goldberg, and her "Writing Down The Bones."

    And I say old friend because for many years, when it feels as though the words are clogging or simply circling the wagons without venturing outward or inward to those deeper places of discovery, her writing practice and writing from first thoughts waking and just "doing it" always helps.

    Is it enlightening?

    Perhaps not. But it feels good, and it is often a process which ignites the beginning of small illuminations. And light is light.

    Wishing you a wonderful 2012.

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  9. I think this is the type of advice that works great for some people and not for others. I journaled for years and found it helpful to some extent but also found it caused obsessing. As a therapist, I have found this true for patients. One patient who tended toward OCD would document her thoughts so obsessively it made her much worse, much more anxious, and not more insightful at all. There is nothing special about journal writing just like nothing special about thinking meditation. You need more instruction than this to make it work for you.

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  10. I have done something like this... I called it "The Crap Journal". I was dealing with PTSD, and I had so much going on, my therapist told me to write. Everything. It was incredibly enlightening and very helpful... I learned a lot about myself, my past, my emotions, what drives me, what repels me...

    When I started blogging, it was to replace the "crap journal". I'm not as consistent (partially because I'm not willing to publish everything), but I'd still say writing things out is very enlightening. I come to know myself better by writing.

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  11. I ought to give another try to reading him.

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  12. @ Pjevs: I agree. Too much introspection has never helped me, and has sometimes led off a cliff. Good point!

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  13. @ Potsoc: It makes sense to me that enlightenment would be, as you say, something that you let happen -- rather than something you can make happen.

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  14. @ Lorena: That's a fascinating thought! The only thing I would urge is to take heed of Pjevs' warning that it can be done to excess -- with undesirable results.

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  15. @ BigLittleWolf: I love "Writing Down the Bones"! Great book!

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  16. @ The Querulous Squirrel: Good to have a professional opinion on this stuff. Thanks!

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  17. @ Jen: I'm so glad to hear it's worked for you!

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  18. @ Jon: If you take up Krishnamurti again, please let me know how that goes.

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Comments Welcome -- but no flaming. If you wish, you can email me at paul_sunstone@q.com