The secret to never minding

Instead it’s a wake-up call, a reminder of how problems arise: by minding.

I WAS feeling edgy this morning. I’m sure you know the feeling; like all your components are somehow out of calibration; like the world is slightly tilted and every direction feels like uphill.

I chose to deal with it by losing my s--t over the driver in front of me travelling at five kilometres below the speed limit.

It’s definitely one of my least favourite qualities – the part of me that thinks launching a pointless tirade at the world will make a difference.

At least I’m getting better at finding ways to quickly talk myself back from the edge; plucking something from my bag of knowledge that might change my thinking.

Today I thought of a story I’d read a couple of days ago about J Krishnamurti, the Indian-born mystic who spent the best part of 50 years travelling the world trying to “convey in words, that which is beyond words.”

As far as mystics go, I’ve always had a soft spot for Krishnamurti.

As an adolescent he was taken under the wing of the Theosophical Society whose leaders pegged him early on as the messiah who’d save humankind.

Thankfully, Krishnamurti decided this was the worst kind of stupid. At a meeting of the society designed to prepare the planet for his arrival, he disbanded it.

Organised religion, spiritual gurus – he rejected the lot.

“Truth is a pathless land,” he told the assembly.

“If you’re following someone else, you’ll never find it.”

I like to imagine the looks on the faces in that room. It would be a bit like George Pell coming face to face with the penniless, dark-skinned Jewish socialist who founded his faith. Talk about feeling edgy.

But how does all this relate to me yelling at traffic?

At one of Krishnamurti’s talks in the latter part of his life, he surprised the audience by asking, “Do you want to know my secret?”.  

The story goes that everyone in the auditorium leaned forward in anticipation. Many had been coming to listen to him for 30 years and never really grasped the essence of his teaching. At last they would be given the key to understanding.

In a soft, almost shy voice Krishnamurti said, “You see, I don’t mind what happens.”

He didn’t elaborate, and I imagine most of his audience were more perplexed than ever. But the implications of his simple statement are profound.

It isn’t a statement about not caring.

It doesn’t mean we tolerate violence or inequality, or that we aren’t moved by the misfortunes of others.

Instead it’s a wake-up call, a reminder of how problems arise: by minding.

If I think about what makes me anxious or annoyed it’s invariably more paltry than war or disease. It's bad drivers, crazy jealousies, imagined slights.

It's liberating to remember that there's an alternative. Today I don’t mind what happens.

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