Don’t say, “I am angry.” Does the zoo-goer say, “I am a rhinoceros.”? Or the meteorologist, “I am a nimbus.”? Or the cancer patient, “I am cancer.”? Say instead, “I feel angry.” Or: “I am aware of anger.” When we label ourselves, we box ourselves. Here’s an example of double boxing: “Hello. My name is Keith Ashford. And I am an alcoholic.” Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous got sober by taking LSD. That’s so far out of the box that AA declines to talk about it. Krishnamurti said, “As soon as you know the name of the bird, you never see that bird again.”
The ignorant man is ignorant of the fact that he’s ignorant. The wise man knows that he doesn’t know. And he’s comfortable with that.
I’m always tickled when I hear the expression “hopping mad.” Of course, it has absolutely no clinical application. And one must never ask a person who is hopping mad if he’s hopping mad.
To borrow from the lexicon of Thomas Merton, old emotion sleeps in our paper flesh like dynamite. Inevitably, when the circumstances are precisely right, it blows up. And someone says, “That wasn’t me.”