When I was younger and less confident, I used to take my phone out whenever I found myself waiting around. Whether in a line at the grocery store, the gas station, or waiting for dinner with a friend, waiting was simply an excuse to whip out my smartphone and doom scroll anxiously.
My body didn’t much like standing around when there was nothing immediate to be done, especially while waiting around strangers. It was only after stumbling across mindfulness and meditation that I began to notice what was happening. I was a waiter back then, and soon I began to notice it in other people.
As humans, we don’t really enjoy waiting that much, and soon I began to notice how impatient our rapid, constantly-in-flux world has made us be.
Standing alone became one of my biggest challenges, and I caught myself struggling in the back of a long line many times, trying to allow myself to relax when there was nothing else to do besides wait and look around.
“Patience is the art of conceiling your impatience.”Guy Kawasaki
After some struggle, I began to notice what was wrong: my body and mind were not in sync. That is, even though my body made a real, conscious effort to stay present without peeking at my phone, my mind was still racing. I was desperately looking for a way to appear cool and calm, but even my eyes gave me away, and so I noticed that although I tried to be cool and calm on the outside, I was strained and uneasy on the inside, which made it so much harder.
After a lot of trial and error, I’ve noticed that if I manage to arrive at my destination in a calm, relaxed way, it’s fairly easy to stay that way. So if I know I’m driving to an appointment and there will be a long wait time, I’ll usually prep myself along the way through breathing exercises, relaxing music, or vocal warmups. I’ll sometimes take something with me that can help me pass the time. It really goes a long way.
Throughout my mindfulness practice, I’ve come across a particular word many times: observation—and most recently after finding a small, tattered book that belonged to my late grandfather, Talks in Bangalore, 1948, by Jiddu Krishnamurti, a hidden gem on the art of observing one’s own consciousness, avoiding thought, and man’s avid search for greatness.
Krishnamurti: the Vehicle of the “World Teacher”
Jiddu Krishnamurti was an Indian philosopher, speaker, and writer who explored various aspects of human consciousness, self-understanding, and the nature of truth. His main teaching centered around the idea of self-inquiry, freedom from conditioning, and the exploration of one’s own consciousness.
For Krishnamurti, thought was the end result of memory and conditioning, a feature that contributed to man’s internal conflict with himself, as well as the world around him.
Krishnamurti explored the role of thought in forming and maintaining a sense of identity. He challenged the idea of a fixed, separate self, or the ego, as an illusion created by thought. According to him, the constant chatter in our minds shaped who we became in this world, and so it was our responsibility to inquire about our minds’ habitual ways of thinking and interpreting the world around us if we were to make sense of it at all.
The Topic of Self-Inquiry
Krishnamurti emphasized the importance of self-awareness and self-inquiry. He encouraged individuals to deeply examine and question their thoughts, beliefs, and conditioning in order to gain insight into the nature of the self and the illusions that can cloud our understanding.
For him, the revolution of the new world must begin inside of every man, for every man creates and therefore shapes the world.
Krishnamurti stressed the need to be free from societal, cultural, and psychological conditioning. He believed that true freedom and understanding could only arise when one is able to observe their conditioning without judgment and break free from its limitations. His way of achieving this was through the act of conscious thought, acceptance, and willingness to understand one’s own misconceptions of the world. Krishnamurti emphasized the practice of observing one’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences without judgment, analysis, or comparison. By cultivating a non-judgmental awareness, one can gain insight into the mind’s tendencies and patterns. Through meditation, one can learn to appreciate an almost scarce quality in today’s materialistic world, simplicity.
The simplest things in life are usually things that are deeply ingrained in the way we were nurtured as children or taught to behave as adults.
Non-Judgmental Awareness in the Present
Krishnamurti highlighted the significance of being fully present in the moment and not being preoccupied with regrets about the past or anxieties about the future. He believed that true understanding and transformation can only occur when one is fully attentive to the present moment. Almost effortlessly, we can see how this contrasts with modern man’s outlook on life, toiling in impatience, living a life of opulence with detachment and frivolity, knowing almost nothing of stillness, practicing too much hatred, and leaving almost nothing to God.
He emphasized the importance of understanding the dynamics of relationships, not just in personal interactions but also in the broader sense of human interconnectedness. He believed that the quality of our relationships reflects the quality of our inner being.
In essence, Krishnamurti’s philosophy invites us to embrace life as an ongoing journey of self-discovery and learning. He advocates for an open-minded, questioning stance, urging us to eschew rigid doctrines and instead engage in a continuous process of introspection and exploration. By rejecting the limitations of dogma and advocating for a direct experiential engagement with reality, Krishnamurti’s teachings illuminate a path toward personal transformation, holistic self-awareness, and a deeper connection with the world around us.