For Day 4 of the 30 Days of Summer, I’d like to share a story from back in 2019. I was in San Francisco, and there was a company that I really wanted to work at. One day, I realized that the founder of that company was from Rishi Valley, a school based on the teachings of the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti. Krishnamurti’s teachings are about self-awareness and introspection, and I actually studied at a Krishnamurti school myself. It was surprising to learn this about the founder because it’s not that common to find people from Krishnamurti schools in Silicon Valley. For some reason I wanted to establish a connection with him, irrespective of whether I’d end up working at this company. So I messaged him on Twitter. But a few days passed and I hadn’t received a response, and I knew I didn’t want to give up there. So I decided I would try to meet him in-person. I searched for the address of the company office, traveled to the office, and walked into the building. I told the concierge that I wanted to visit floor 20. They called the company to ask if that would be okay. I took the phone and nervously explained the situation. They let me in. I went up the elevator and reached the office. It turned out that the founder was out of office, but his assistant said I could leave a note. So I left a note along with my email, asking for an answer to the question: “what impact did your Rishi valley education have on your career?” I left the building and went home. Then, a couple days later, I received an email:
hey abizar - got your note - good luck on the fellowship! re: your question abt rishi valley and career, i think it's jiddu 101, which is to have an unconditioned mind - there are very few 'rules' that are actually rules. most people seem to be conditioned to think of general norms as truths.
Before I received his response, I told some of my friends what I did, and they thought it was weird. And it definitely was weird, to walk in unannounced to talk to an important person, just to ask a casual question about life. But in some ways, by breaking the rules of expected social behavior, I had exemplified what his note suggested. I didn’t end up working at the company - not because I didn’t get to interview with them, but because I chose something else - but that’s not the point. The point is that I went ahead and did what I wanted to, without worrying about any unsaid rule.
Note: if anyone wants to read what Krishnamurti means by ‘unconditioned’ mind, this video is a good introduction, or at least better than the other two videos I watched.