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.”
Yes, be a space for emotions, rejecting only those that have been deliberately induced. The essential thing is not to identify with them—in effect, to become an emotion. The sky is not a cloud and we are not emotions. They come. They go.
For as long as I do not know myself, for as long as I think I’m a body, I will be fretful and problem plagued. If I know myself, I have no problems.
Emotions, no matter how intense and virulent, are not the problem. Our identification with emotions—that’s the problem. This Christmas we offer ourselves the gift of detachment.
Problems proliferate whenever we hang on to something, when we cling to it.