November 30, 2021
Thoughts + emotions = mental
What is the difference between emotions and feelings ? What is thought ? In this article, I propose to dive into the heart of the dynamics of mental. According to Eckhart Tolle and Jiddu Krishnamurti’s teachings, it bases not only on emotions and thought, but also around knowledge and time.
The term emotion comes from the Latin « motio », which means « action of moving, movement ». The idea of movement is expressed by the fact that an emotion is above all a psychological and physical reaction to a situation. In this it differs from feeling, which is not of the order of reaction but rather of immediate knowledge. Thus, emotions belong to the mental world, while feelings emanate from the heart.
Emotions et feelings
There are only two feelings : love and fear. All emotions – ranging from joy to sadness to anger – flow from feelings. However, they end up no longer having a conscious link with heart and are attached only to mental. When our emotions are too overwhelming, our feelings are out of balance, usually to the advantage of fear. This is how working on our emotions to balance them can bring out more love in us.
This is a theme dear to Krishnamurti. For this philosopher of Indian origin, mental is conditioned by knowledge, and also by experience, because experience sooner or later becomes knowledge. According to him, knowledge is mechanical and hinders the freedom of the mind, including creativity. Krishnamurti speaks here of true creativity, that which does not have its source in mental, and which is not just the implementation of a knowledge.
It can be said that knowledge is useful up to a certain point, beyond which it becomes confining. Krishnamurti insists, among other things, that psychological knowledge – the ideas we have about ourselves – eventually becomes routine. For him, it is the accumulation of knowledge that represents the real danger. For it is becoming more and more difficult to detach oneself from it. And the more we use it to gain an understanding of ourselves and what surrounds us, the further we move away from true knowledge.
The accumulation of knowledge implies memory, and therefore a notion of time. It justifies, as it were, the psychological time, which nourishes and supports the mental.
What is thought ? According to Krishnamurti :
« Thought has engendered the ‘I’ which has become – in appearance – independent of thought ; and this ‘I’, which is always part of thought, constitutes our psychological structure. » 
Thought feeds separation. It is fragmentary because it has dissociated itself from the object it has created from scratch. In other words, it puts a distance, it creates a division between the object and its verbal denomination. For example, thinking of a flower automatically implies that we consider it outside of us. Thus, our basic consciousness has become, through thought, that of separation.
Thought, like knowledge, is not truly creative. It is useful only in practical life but does not want to stick to this role, it believes itself to be alive and self-justifies itself by perpetuating the « I » (the ego). In fact, it has created an artificial center, the Ego, around which it continually gravitates in various forms that are always limited, separative and contradictory, but which give it a reassuring – albeit illusory – perception of permanence.
Even when thought seeks to bring order to its own contradictions, it only creates more disorder. It is somehow condemned to live in contradiction. Thought believes that it expresses what is true, but being based on memory, knowledge and experience, it is only limited and repetitive. Through this repetition, it generates its own movement and energy.
Time is the mesh that maintains very strong and close links between emotions, knowledge, thought, experience and memory. This mesh interweaves these aspects into cause-and-effect relationships, thus supporting a deterministic dynamic of life (see the article Is the universe deterministic ? for a more detailed approach to the subject).
Time we are talking about here is not clock time – time that flows physically – but psychological time. The latter implies memory and anticipation, which call upon the past, present and future. Psychological time has nothing to do with the present moment. In fact, from the point of view of consciousness, it is completely artificial. On the other hand, it has a very close relationship with the mental, as Eckhart Tolle explains :
« Why does mental tend to deny or resist the present moment ? Because it cannot function and maintain control without time, i.e. without the past and the future. Therefore it perceives the timeless present moment as a threat. In fact, time and mental are inseparable. » 
Although these four aspects can be considered separately, they are in fact closely imbricate and interdependent. And this, sometimes, in a very subtle way, as a careful reading of Eckhart Tolle and Krishnamurti’s books can reveal.
Now that we have a little more insight into mental, let’s see if we can do the same with consciousness.
Can consciousness be defined ?
Attempting to define consciousness is perhaps a greater challenge than it seems. Because consciousness is involved as both subject and object of the quest.
One could ask the question this way : which consciousness seeks to define consciousness ? A question that can quickly find a limited answer if the researcher’s consciousness is identified with mental. From this point of view, a review of the different meanings, aspects and characteristics of consciousness could prove to be limited, if not sterile. However, starting from a few simple definitions, we can embark on a deeper questioning.
Consciousness and mental : a fusional link
The dictionary teaches us that consciousness is a « clear mental representation of the existence, the reality of this or that thing » . This simple statement brings into play two elements that I think are very questionable. Firstly, the mental representation corresponds to the image one has of consciousness and not to consciousness itself. And secondly, mental is then considered as the only way to approach consciousness.
Another definition : « Consciousness is, from the point of view of certain philosophies and psychology, the mental faculty that allows a subjective apprehension of external (for example, in the form of sensations) or internal (emotional states, thoughts) phenomena and more generally one’s own existence » . Again, there is a link between consciousness and mental, which can be confusing.
In my opinion, consciousness is the support of the mental faculty that tries to define it. However, it seems wrong to me to reduce consciousness to this mental faculty. I see it rather like this : without consciousness there could be no mental, and without mental there could be no definition.
In fact, the amalgam, installed from the beginning, between consciousness and mental excludes the possibility that consciousness can have its own existence, precisely outside of any mental attachment. And it is on this consensus established in particular in writings considered as references – the dictionary and the encyclopedia – that we base our reality.
Only experience can change perception
Before any experience of expanded consciousness, one could be content with this type of definition. One could, at worst, see oneself only through the eyes of mental, define consciousness only through its fusion with it. Or, at best, one could believe in the possibility that consciousness can exist on its own.
On the other hand, experiencing an expansion of consciousness transcends all belief (see Act 2 of my story). The experience invites us to look for a new approach, the subtlety of which lies in the gap that is created when consciousness dissociates itself from mental.
Let us also note that if « consciousness (…) is the mental faculty that allows one to apprehend (…) one’s own existence », defining it obviously implies defining « self-consciousness ». Why not. But how does one define the Self ? If we consider that the Self is engendered by thought, it brings us, once again, directly back to the mental… Thus, our way of looking at consciousness seems to depend, in a way, on its degree of fusion with mental.
My personal proof of this is the perception of consciousness that I had at the time of the aneurysm rupture, which is far removed from these definitions. From this statement, I have sought other points of view on the subject. The most immediate was that of medicine, since this discipline was invited itself into my life at that moment. I discovered that consciousness is a significant factor in both the diagnosis and prognosis of a meningeal hemorrhage. Therefore, I have tried to understand what is happening at the physiological level in order to detect at what precise moment a revelatory interaction with consciousness manifests itself. And this is what I invite you to discover in the article Brain, Science and Consciousness.
Notes and references
 KRISHNAMURTI Jiddu, Les limites de la pensée, Paris : Le livre de poche, 2006, p.151, free translation
 TOLLE Eckhart, Le pouvoir du moment présent, Québec : Ariane Editions, 2000, p.30, free translation
 LAROUSSE. Conscience, free translation
 WIKIPEDIA. Conscience, free translation