Jiddu Krishnamurti was one of the great Indian spiritual teachers of the 20th century. Hailing from southern India, Krishnamurti’s teachings influenced a wide panoply of consequential leaders including Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Aldous Huxley, the Dalai Lama and Eckhart Tolle.
Among many things I like about him is that he had no allegiance to any religion, philosophy or nationality because he felt such attachments fostered a sense of separateness. It was his version of proclaiming “Sub ek,” which means “All one,” in Sanskrit and is what my favorite human, Neem Karoli Baba, used to say to anybody who would listen.
Spells of stillness
In his 20s, Krishnamurti began to experience bouts of what he termed the process or the other.Although usually accompanied by physical pain, these spells were characterized by a sense of total ego loss and pure presence. They happened intermittently for the rest of his life.
I wholeheartedly recommend his seminal work, Krishnamurti’s Notebook. It’s essentially his travel diary over a long span. He didn’t mean for it to be published, but we should all be glad it was because it contains some of the most eloquent and powerful descriptions of deep inner stillness ever written.
One of the things he learned from these experiences he summed up like this:
“To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, still.”
What does he mean by this? Obviously, it is one of many assertions of the power to be gained through stillness.
What is stillness? And quiet? It’s the inner state achieved when the mind shuts up.
Think of a snow globe that gets shaken up, the falling snow eclipsing the ability to see clearly. When all of the snow is allowed to settle, there is clarity. We can see everything.
Reaching that state of stillness allows us, in Krishnamurti’s words, “To understand the immeasurable.” What does he mean by this? What is the immeasurable?
Understanding the immeasurable
I take it to mean the vast mystery of the universe. Everything from the fact there are trillions upon trillions of stars in the universe to understanding the One Source, God, the Tao, or whatever your belief system is.
The one word I don’t agree with in his quote is “understand.” Why? Because it connotes the knowing of these weighty matters. I don’t think stillness allows any of us to truly understand or know the complexities of the universe and God, etc.
I would replace understand with sense. When we block out the noise of our minds and become still, I believe we can sense these weighty, metaphysical things. We can’t put our hands on them, but we can sense their presence. At least that has been my experience.
In the end, I don’t think it matters whether stillness brings understanding, knowing or sensing these mysteries of life and the universe. What does matter?
That we devote ourselves to furthering stillness.
It’s the highest, most beneficial use of attention and effort that humans can undertake. Why?
Because achieving stillness, whether through meditation, mindfulness, yoga, praying, chanting, mantra, qi gong, walking in nature, or any combination thereof, maximizes our life potential in every way.
We become better parents, siblings, bosses, athletes, workers, students and, most important, human beings.