In the modern world where there are so many problems, one is apt to lose great feeling. I mean by that word feeling, not sentiment, not emotionalism, not mere excitement, but that quality of perception, the quality of hearing, listening, the quality of feeling -a bird singing on a tree, the movement of a leaf in the sun.
To feel things greatly, deeply, penetratingly, is very difficult for most of us because we have so many problems. Whatever we seem to touch turns into a problem. And, apparently, there is no end to man's problems, and he seems utterly incapable of resolving them because the more the problems exist, the less the feelings become.
I mean by "feeling" the appreciation of the curve of a branch, the squalor, the dirt on the road, to be sensitive to the sorrow of another, to be in a state of ecstasy when we see a sunset. These are not sentiments, these are not mere emotions. Emotion and sentiment or sentimentality turn to cruelty, they can be used by society; and when there is sentiment, sensation, then one becomes a slave to society. But one must have great feelings.
The feeling for beauty, the feeling for a word, the silence between two words, and the hearing of a sound clearly;all that generates feeling. And one must have strong feelings, because it is only the feelings that make the mind highly sensitive.
What is feeling? Feeling is like thought. Feeling is a sensation. I see a flower and I respond to that flower; I like it or dislike it. The like or the dislike is dictated by my thought, and the thought is the response of the background of memory.
So, I say, "I like that flower," or "I do not like that flower"; "I like this feeling" or "I do not like that feeling."
Now, is love related to feeling? Feeling is sensation, obviously, sensation of like and dislike, of good and bad, of good taste and all the rest of it. Is that feeling related to love? Have you watched your street, have you watched the way you live in your houses, the way you sit, the way you talk? And have you noticed all your saints whom you worship? For them passion is sex, and therefore they deny passion, therefore they deny beauty, deny in the sense of putting those aside.
So, with sensation you have put away love because you say, 'Sensation will make me a prisoner, I will be a slave to sex-desire; therefore I must cut it out.' Therefore you have made sex into an immense problem. When you have understood feeling completely, not partially, when you have really understood the totality of feeling, then you will know what love is.
When you can see the beauty of a tree, when you can see the beauty of a smile, when you can see the sun setting behind the walls of your town, see totally, then you will know what love is.
From “Book of Life”, by J. Krishnamurti.