Thursday, May 28, 2009

What Happens

Another great bit from Eckhart Tolle.  He relays a story about the Indian sage Krishnamurti:
J. Krishnamurti, the great Indian philospher and spiritual teacher, spoke and travelled almost continually all over the world for more than fifty years attempting to convey through words...that which is beyond words. At one of his talks in the later part of his life, he surprised his audience by asking, "Do you want to know my secret?"

Everyone became very alert. Many people in the audience had been coming to listen to him for twenty or thirty years and still failed to grasp the essence of his teaching. Finally, after all these years, the master would give them the key to understanding.

"This is my secret," he said. "I don't mind what happens." (A New Earth, 198)
You can read an account by Jim Dreaver, one of the people present for this teaching, here.  He offers another quote from Krishnamurti that helps illuminate this simple but profound statement:
When you live with this awareness, this sensitivity, life has an astonishing way of taking care of you. Then there is no problem of security, of what people say or do not say, and that is the beauty of life.
I ran this by my grandmother, one of the wisest folks I know, and she immediately agreed without needing any further explanation.

Krishnamurti discouraged reliance on spiritual practices, which can easily become another source of ego building.  But nevertheless, I find that meditating on the breath is a very direct way to practice this "don't mind" attitude (equanimity might be a synonym.)  The breath is long, then it's short.  It's easy, then it's difficult.  You're alert, then you're sleepy.   You're peaceful, then you're agitated and angry.  The practice is to keep going, regardless.  Not minding what happens.

There comes a point in one's meditation practice when you get so fed up with your monkey mind that you just give up.  You stop trying to focus, to sit still, to do it right... and suddenly the mind gets quiet and concentrated.  I think this may be one of the core lessons we humans are supposed to learn before graduation.  Paradoxically, when we give up trying to "make something happen", that's when it happens.  But we're so programmed to believe that the only way to succeed is through working harder, staying vigilant, pushing through. 

Sages from across time and space have the same message for us: surrender to what is true, and the rest will work itself out.  Meditation shows this to be true first hand.  What a relief!  What a blessing!

(As a side note, Tenzin Palmo made a great comment about Krishnamurti when I saw her speak in Dharamsala.  To paraphrase: "I love Krishnamurti but he's very naughty.  He's like a baker that tells you in great detail about the wonders of fresh baked bread, but then refuses to give you instructions for making the bread.")  

1 comment:

  1. Nick,
    Hi, this is Kim from your class from this last Saturday. Thought I'd pop in for a visit. Love your post, especially the concept of not minding what happens. It is such a freeing stance. If it is a stance at all-
    I spent my whole life minding the details. Minding my manners. Minding my spiritual practice. Minding. It's a lot of work I tell you!

    But then in the last decade, I haven't minded so much. I let stuff go. (I had to, it all became very unmanageable). I stopped caring about what others thought of me. And as you probably know...Life is Now. The moment. Full color. Glorious. Needs are met. Delight is experienced. And as Jesus says "Peace that is above or beyond understanding or knowledge is present."

    By the way-I'm a fan (don't know how else to put it-) of Tolle. I read his book about a year after I started learning about living in the moment. He summed everything up gor me, so elegantly.