Jiddu Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher, writer, teacher, and raconteur, was known for telling his rapt audiences the secret to his seemingly boundless happiness:
"I don't mind what happens next."
Let that sink in. No matter what happens next -- no matter how horrible or how great -- Krishnamurti doesn't mind it. No matter what it is.
Far from being a nihilist or masochist, Krishnamurti would go on to explain that, because he learned to cultivate a sense of detachment from outcomes and expectations and desires, it became patently obvious to him that life is inherently and by definition unpredictable; entropy kicks in and shit breaks. All attempts on our part to control or manipulate how life unfolds, he said, are ultimately futile.
Accepting whatever happens with equanimity and grace is the game. This may sound like apathy or passivity or even hopelessness, but it isn't. A person who approaches life with openness and curiosity--especially when it doesn't go our way -- will lead a very different, and ultimately much happier, life from someone who gets mired in the sludge when things go wrong (which they pretty much always do, on some level).
"Not minding what happens next" -- It sounds so simple. Almost with a single stroke, Krishnamurti figures out a way to bypass most of the anxiety, stress, and disappointment that accompanies much of our lives.
By letting go of our need to focus on the future and letting it be whatever it's going to be -- with or without us -- we can focus our energy and attention on the real-time present, which is, when you think about it, the only place and time we can experience joy and contentment.
I think the sweet spot is splitting "not minding what happens next" with agency. We clearly and patently have some agency -- we're free to choose all kinds of paths in life, from the mundane of what we put inside our bodies everyday, to the sublime of consciously striving to reduce suffering in the world.
By embracing Krishnamurti's philosophy, we can find a sense of liberation from the constant striving for more, even as we consciously strive toward a healthier and more meaningful existence. Kind of tricky, but doable with some practice. Beginner's mind, and the extremely useful concept of beginning again, are great tools for remaining anchored in the present.
Try it today if you can. No matter what happens -- annoying traffic, bad driver behavior, an unexpected bill, neck pain, anything really -- turn your "I don't mind" dial up to 10 and notice how you feel when you do it.