There’s a quote that’s been rolling around in my head for a few months. In his later years, the Indian sage and spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti gave a talk in which he offered to share his secret to living a joyful and fulfilled life. “This is my secret,” he told a rapt audience. “I don’t mind what happens.”
I’ve been embracing this non-attached approach to experiencing life, and it really does make more space for joy, and for equanimity.
As I release my own little petty attachments, I’ve noticed how silly some of them were. I observe people in my life getting upset about little things: the coffee is burnt, the milk was spilled, the car broke down. To me, these are nothing. They’re just the happenings of life.
It’s even true – or perhaps especially true – in the realm of games. I’ve never really cared if I win a board or card game or not. It’s not really the point, to me – I’m playing in order to spend time with people I like, and to share laughs together. When someone gets upset about not winning, it kind of sours the energy that could still be flowing freely.
I’ve seen an acknowledgement of the “I don’t mind what happens” philosophy in the realm of radical unschooling. Unschooling parents don’t tend to impose lots of arbitrary rules on their kids. You know, like bedtimes, grounding, allowances tied to chores, that sort of thing.
The reasoning behind this is that life already holds plenty of natural consequences to learn from. There’s no need to impose random ones on your kids, in order to “teach them a lesson.” Life will do that. I’m an advocate of letting kids learn by doing, with the exception, of course, of things that threaten their safety, like playing in a busy street.
I fully realize that this approach of not minding what happens can be much harder with the big things in life. When someone you love dies, or you lose your job unexpectedly, or there’s some other kind of crisis, it’s more challenging to “not mind.”
Even in those situations, though, there is usually a lesson or meaning behind what seems to be a random event. You may not discover it until much later. In these situations, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself the space and time to grieve.
If you can cultivate that sense of loving non-attachment as you move through life, even when it feels hard, you’ll be crafting a much more fulfilling life. Start with the small things. You spilled the oat milk? So what? Clean it up and drink something else, or give thanks that there’s more in the fridge.
Little by little, release your tight grip of control and allow life to unfold as it will. It’s going to anyway – and when you go with the flow, you’ll have a whole lot more fun. The sage was right.