Ants I didn’t Want



Emmett is three. Annie is one.

We are at the LA Zoo, making our way from the entrance to the animals.

Years ago, the entrance was moved, for better parking.

That made visitors, like us, pass through the main gates, climb a large hill, and walk about a quarter of a mile before getting to the prairie dogs and flamingos.

On the drive over, Emmett and I made all of the sounds of all the animals we were to see: tigers, elephants, and howler monkeys.

As we hike in, I tease him with a low, throaty hum, telling him that is the sound of tortoises.

“Noooooo,” he squeals with delight and then stops at the curb.

He bends at the waist, nose near the ground.

And stands there.


He is staring at ants.

“Emmett,” I say, “Let’s go. The tigers are this way.”

He ignores me.

“We have ants at home. Come on.” I say.

But, then, I realize, why do I care?

It’s not the plan I thought we’d follow.

Why do I care?

August 3, 1929, his first day leading the Theosophical Society known as The Order of the Star in the East, Jiddu Krishnamurti disbanded the group.

In front of 3,000 stunned attendees, he spoke plainly and told the group gathered for direction that there was no purpose for the group.

My introduction to him was when a carpenter fixing our garage said to me, “Truth is a pathless land.”

I wrote those words on an 8.5 x 11 page and taped it to the front of one of the newly-installed cabinets.

(Jane and I have negotiated that my office, the garage, and the inside of the kitchen cabinets are places I’m allowed to go Beautiful Mind.)

Cancelled comedian Louis C.K. used to do a routine about driving, interacting with the  driver on your left, and pleading to merge in front to make a right turn.

“What that person is really saying is….”

The comic switches to a whiney voice.

“I really wanted to go my favorite way, and if you don’t let me in, I’ll have to go my second favorite way, and that would be inconvenient, so please inconvenience yourself for me.”

Cancel culture is so binary. It forgets about the word some, the idea of both/and.

Let’s cancel some of cancel culture.


“I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.”

You can’t always get what you want.

You can’t always get what you want.

You can try sometimes. And you might find you get what you need.

—Rolling Stones

Krishnamurti moved to Ojai, CA—Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles.

He wrote. And spoke.

In long, long, beautifully crafted paragraphs.

Except once.

Various people in attendance that day reported slightly differently about what happened, but the basis of the story is the same.

Krishnamurti was in the middle of a long sentence, and stopped.

After a pause, he asked the group, “Do you want to know my secret?”

The silence of the room thickened until he said, simply, “Do you want to know what my secret is? I don’t mind what happens.”

Byron Katie, American speaker and author, wrote:

“When you argue with reality, you lose—but only 100% of the time.”

A moment of grace happened at the LA ZOO on that day.

I realized that what I wanted—what I thought would (or should) happen in the world—wasn’t so important.

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