Jiddu Krishnamurti was an Indian philosopher and spiritual teacher who spent many years traveling the world and speaking on the nature of mind. While his teachings touched many lives, he often ironically suggested to his followers that they shouldn’t be wasting their time listening to spiritual talks.
Krishnamurti believed that any person or religion that claimed to be the way should be avoided. In fact, he asserted “truth is a pathless land”. Krishnamurti tells the story of the Devil and a friend walking down the street. Ahead of them they see a man bend over and pick something off the ground, examine it, and then put it in his pocket. The friend asks the Devil what it was that the man picked up. The Devil tells him, “It was a piece of Truth.” To which the friend replies, “That can’t be good business for you then.” The Devil replies, “Oh no, quite the contrary. I’m going to let him organize it.”
Once you try to “organize” truth – which is what you get with any religion, guru, or anointed guide – then you’ve lost it.
In hit latter years – just nine years before his death – Krishnamurti made an extraordinary statement in one of his discourses. Pausing in the middle of his talk, he leaned toward his audience and asked them, “Do you want to know my secret?”
What made this question particularly remarkable was that Krishnamurti rarely spoke in a personal manner. Everyone in the audience was waiting in excited anticipation. He then answered his question with, “I don’t mind what happens.”
What he meant by that statement was not a self-defeating passivity but rather a complete alignment with the present moment.
When we do mind what happens, we have judged the situation – typically as some form of not good – and are now reacting to it from that perspective and emotional state.
We really only have two options when it comes to what is. We can either be aligned with it or against it. And we know which choice we’ve made by how we feel. If there is any sort of fear, anger, expectation, anxiety, doubt, or remorse – then we know we chosen to mind what happened.
On the other hand, when we align with the present moment, our actions “become empowered by the intelligence of Life itself” – as Eckhart Tolle posits. The feeling of being so aligned is blissful because we’ve let go of all judgment. Our need to be right has been replaced with pure happiness – no matter what is going on. And our actions become infused with a loving energy that is most helpful for the matter at hand and for all involved.
The most challenging obstacle for understanding and accepting the present moment is self-awareness. Krishnamurti said, “Without self-knowledge there is no basis for right thought and action.”
When asked how to get started down a path of self-awareness, Krishnamurti replied, “Begin where you are. Read every word, every phrase, every paragraph of the mind, as it operates through thought.”
The key is observing our thoughts. They tell us exactly what choice we’ve made in the mind: either alignment with the present moment or opposition. It’s never the situation itself that matters. Ever. It is only our interpretation of it. As Marcus Aurelius said, “Things themselves have no natural power to form our judgements.”
By practicing thought observance we can see whether or not we’re aligned with the present moment. And when we find we’re not – as is most often the case – we can simply return to our mind and make a different, more helpful choice for peace.
Join me in Monday’s class where we’ll explore how to not mind what happens. I look forward to seeing you then.