Not minding what happens

There is a lovely story in Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth about a gathering of people who have gone to listen to Krishnamurti speak in order to gain some understanding of how to achieve peace and enlightenment.

“I will tell you my secret” says Krishnamurti as the crowd wait with bated breath. This is the moment they have all been waiting for. A chance, at last, to grasp the meaning of Krishnamurti’s lectures.

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“I don’t mind what happens” he tells them.

And that’s it! Can you imagine their disappointment? Their confusion? What did he mean? How can we not mind what happens?

Our car gets bumped. We mind. Our house is repossessed. We mind. A close family accident-152075__340member is ill or dies – of course we jolly well mind! So what was the message Krishnamurti was trying to convey?

I have thought about this on many occasions and believe I am finally getting an inkling of its meaning. Language is not always clear. Perhaps I misunderstand (along with many of those listening to Krishnamurti that day) what he meant by ‘not minding’.

There is a subtle difference between not minding what happens and not caring about what happens.

Was it possible, I wondered, to care without minding?

I decided it was. I replaced ‘not minding what happens’ with ‘accepting what happens’ and set about putting it into practise. Our leaking roof seemed a good place to start.

Our flat roof, after a heavy deluge, brings rain water into the house. I have spent many exasperating hours painting on layers of roof sealant and it stops leaking for a while, tricking me into believing that, finally, I’ve sorted it. Then the sealant cracks under the summer sun creating havoc again the following winter.

Each time it leaks I curse and swear and bring out the bucket until I can get back up there to repair it again. (Get a professional to fix it I hear you scream but that’s a whole other story which I will not bore you with right now. Suffice to say I am the current roof fixer – and clearly not a very good one!)

As I sat at my computer last week, trying to hash out my second novel, the drips began. I looked outside and knew that the dark, ominous  clouds would not allow me out on the roof for a day or two at least.-product-674998000

I ran for the bucket.

I tried to remain calm and continue working. After all, once the rain stopped it would dry up. Other than an unsightly brown patch on the ceiling (just don’t look up I kept telling myself) you would never know it had leaked.

During this internal monologue I began to understand Krishnamurti’s philosophy. I was able to accept the leak without getting stressed but I cared enough to get up on the roof and fix it as soon as it was dry. I had learned to accept what was happening.

Whether I will be able to apply this reasoning to other areas of my life only time will tell but I sense a breakthrough.

I have hope that when I return home from a weekend at my father’s to discover the sink full of dirty dishes I will not boil with rage and shriek at my husband and son like a fishwife…

I will let you know!