Thank you for all of the feedback on last week’s article about Krishnamurti’s “not minding what happens.” Today, I'd like to share a great question that I received from a patient about the article, along with my response:
How do you un-mind what you DO mind happening? For 37 years, I have NEVER minded any of my 36 moves from home to home. But this past year, after I turned 38 & was expecting a second child, and had to move my 37th time in my life, from LA to San Fran, I minded what had to happen for the first time. I DID NOT want to move. I'm slowly getting used to not minding again but in the thick of things for the last 6 months, I'm wondering, "How was I suppose to 'not mind' when I so very much minded the the changes happening at the time?"
It’s not so much that you are “supposed to" not mind what happens. A question that perhaps circuitously leads to an answer to your question is "How do the consequences of minding vs. not minding impact my life?" The truth is that “minding what happens”, which appears in the form of resistance, indignation and denial, does nothing to change the reality of the situation. Minding or not minding, the truth is that reality is as it is. When we argue with reality, we always lose. No exceptions.
The truth is also that we all experience ups and downs in life. When life presents us with a difficult situation, uncomfortable emotions tend to arise within us. We have the opportunity to either resist or accept the emotions. However, no matter what our reaction, things are as they are. But, to accept the emotions that arise when we have difficulty accepting a situation is in itself a form of “not minding what happens.” Then, after moving through these feelings we can respond from a place of greater clarity. When you were forced to move for the 37th time, it is understandable that you felt resistance to the situation. I know I would have. Can you give yourself the space to FULLY feel the emotions the move brought up for you? In my experience, when I recognize non-acceptance of some situation in my life, the cause is usually the presence of difficult emotions that I fear facing and moving through in order to arrive at a place of acceptance. Once I face these emotions, there is relief. It is hard enough to face the difficulty of being uprooted and everything that goes along with it. But when you add resistance to this, you magnify your pain. Father Anthony Demello, a Jesuit priest and another one of my favorite spiritual dudes, defined enlightenment as “cooperation with the inevitable.”
There is, however, another component to all of this. “Not minding what happens” does not suggest apathy and resignation. Those of you who know about Krishnamurti's life know that he was a radical who challenged the status quo of our society and held revolutionary ideas about how to live life. Krishnamurti was quite outspoken about his dissatisfaction with society, and led extensive humanitarian efforts to alleviate suffering and to initiate change. He did not mind what happened AND he spoke his truth AND he took action.
I don’t know the particulars of why you have had to move so many times in your life, but the pain that you experienced as a result of your last move may be a message from within urging you to find a new way of being that will influence “what happens” in a direction that requires less moving. I invite you to set your intention for what you would like to manifest in your life. Would you like to live in one place for a long period of time and establish roots there? If so, what changes in your life situation would you need to make for this to be a possibility? Where would that be? With whom? Get as specific as you can.
By going through this exercise, you set the wheels in motion to make your intention a reality. You also identify the obstacles that currently exist in your life that prevent this intention from manifesting. The obstacles may be very concrete, such as your or your spouses occupation, or they may be more subtle and appear in the form of limiting beliefs about yourself, your loved ones and the world.
We have immense power to shape our lives in so many ways, and yet live with the paradox that we have no control over most of what happens. I find the Serenity Prayer to be of immeasurable value in helping me to cope with this reality:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
I will close by reiterating what I said last week; It is a lot to expect of yourself to “not mind what happens” in every area of your life, but even a little more neutrality and a little less minding what happens may result in a lot more peace and happiness.
I urge you to be gentle with yourself. If you are resisting, don't beat yourself up for it. We all have tough situations we face, and sometimes it's impossible to be immediately neutral about them. Sometimes we just need to scream about them. Sometimes we just need to laugh about them. In any case, you are beautiful and whole, and you deserve peace. Be kind to yourself.
Yours in wellness,
Joe Curcio, L. Ac.