Sunday, February 15, 2009

Krishnamurti and poker

In my opinion Krishnamurti is the most important spiritual teacher of the twentieth century. He was chosen at five years old to be the avatar and leader of the world Theosophical Society. He was taken from his family, trained and nurtured by a carefully selected group of teachers in all they key academic, spiritual, and artistic disciplines. He was groomed to lead the world to a higher state of consciousness.

Krishnamurti, groomed and ready

On the day, Annie Besant, his mentor and main advocate, introduced him as the new head of the Theosophical Society, which at that time had millions of followers worldwide, he rejected his role as teacher. He claimed what was needed was not teachers or teachings; individuals, he said, must find their own way. He then proceeded for the next sixty years to write, to express his thoughts about the mind, how we could potentially free ourselves from the bonds of our thoughts and find truth in our lives.

Pupul Jayakar, one of his main students and author of Krishnamurti A Biography was an addicted poker player who spent almost all of her free time when not meditating, writing, or studying Krishnamurti's complex philosophy in smoke filled poker rooms with other hard core gamblers.

Dostoyevsky, one of the great writers of all time, whose "Notes to the Underground" represents one of the clearest explanations of man's spiritual and psychological struggles, was an addicted gambler. His book, "The Gambler" presents one of the best depictions of the mindset of the gambling personality.

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to play poker and spend his time on what he considered to be more productive activities, like starting a small business.

I am not advocating gambling or poker as the path to enlightenment or business success but I personally am attracted to games of chance. I find no limit hold-em poker especially to be a challenging and interesting distraction. I also have found that the quality of the people and thought in poker rooms is a cut above what I find in most other venues.

Success in poker requires patience, discipline, flexibility and an ability to be present to the moment. Holding on to the past or worrying about the future doesn't work. In a world of chaos and confusion, where outcomes are not always clear cut, when it's hard to tell whether your decision making is accurate, poker provides an immediate result. The most difficult question is how to prevent yourself from going over the edge into the illusion that you can actually beat the system. No one escapes without payment.

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