Friday, 28 January 2011

Everything matters and nothing matters

One of the hardest things to learn is to just 'be.' That means no demands. Not even living a spiritual life; no demands, expectations, wants, desires, needs or goals. Just learning to be is something that we all need to do some of the time and most of us more of the time.

In truth, there is nothing other than just being. We only ever 'be' because we only ever 'are' it is just that it all gets whirled together into a maelstrom of demands, expectation, wants, desires, needs or goals. All of these things will create dissatisfaction with what and who you are and where you are.

Just being means accepting that everything matters and nothing matters. And that just means that whatever you are at any point in time is absolutely perfect; it matters and it doesn't matter. It matters because everything you experience is a part of your life and it doesn't matter because it doesn't commit or condemn you to anything in particular.

This world is what it is. We are what we are and if there is point and purpose to this life, what we are is just fine. That is not to say we will not be different tomorrow, or next week or next year and that difference may manifest as more fulfilling, more rewarding, more loving and more insightful but the reality is what we are, just now, is perfect. Take a moment to think about that. If what you are in this moment is perfect then there really is nothing to worry about. Worries are always about the future or the past; always about expectations, needs, desires, demands and goals. Peace of mind comes with the realisation that everything is just as it should be.

In the words of Hildegarde of Bingen: 'All is well and all is well and all manner of things are well.' That may be slightly paraphrased but it doesn't matter. It is the gist of what she was trying to say. That it doesn't matter what is; it is all fine, it is all well, it was all well and it will be all well.

It is a useful little phrase if you are feeling troubled. Somehow just repeating it is relaxing. It fits with the Let Go; Let God philosophy but is more neutral. God in a way is also a desire, a need, an expectation, a demand and perhaps a goal and all of those things create dissatisfaction with the now and draw us out of the Moment.

We will never understand everything and there are times when we should stop trying to understand. Trying to understand is another form of 'control.' When we can 'name' something or 'place' something it creates the illusion of being in control. In such a place we are very busy 'doing' whether mentally or physically and we are not experiencing our own 'beingness.'

In just 'being' is a level of calm acceptance. What is, is and will be until it no longer is. It reminds me of the line in the movie Zulu, when a very frightened young soldier says to his wise, solid and pragmatic (and possibly equally scared) Sergeant: 'Why me?'  The reply is equally simple: ' Because you're ere lad, because you're ere!' In other words there is no answer to the Why beyond the fact that it is what it is because it just is.

You are here and everything matters in that it all serves a point and a purpose, albeit one you may not understand, and nothing matters because it is all just part of a process of living your life. There are no mistakes, no wrong turnings, no errors.... just different paths, different opportunities and different ways to be.

It may all sound like waffle and perhaps it is because words are also a way to 'control' and 'order' our world,  but learning to 'just be' with absolute acceptance of what is brings you immediately into the Now and it also brings peace of mind. So often our lives are much harder than they need to be because we keep trying to hold on, trying to control, trying to do, trying to create, demand, expect and maintaining desires. That is not to say such things do not have a place because they do; but not all of the time.

Sometimes we don't want to think anything, do anything, follow anything, strive for anything or be anything in particular. I suspect that at a subconscious level people find ways to 'give up the burden of the desire for control' by 'creating' situations where they can hand it to someone else. Becoming ill, losing your job, becoming dependent in some way are all 'opportunities' to 'just be' by handing control over to someone else. But it does not have to be that way if we consciously recognise that we are not in control, we do not need to be in control and neither do we need anyone else to be in control. There is no real control; everything matters and nothing matters. It all just is because it is!

Letting go, letting things be, allowing yourself to 'be' gives 'time-out,' or a 'rest' from the demands of this world and this life. That time allows body, mind, soul and spirit to recuperate and, very often, to do what they are meant to be doing without interference from us, whether unconscious or conscious. We are so busy 'watching', demanding, expecting, needing and desiring that we often interfere with the otherwise seamless running of our body and mind. One presumes the Soul and Spirit can over-ride a lot of it but there is no doubt that body and mind need to rest at times.

In some ways we have lost the art of daydreaming or reverie. Our lives are too busy and the demands are too great. Even living a spiritual life is a demand and practising meditation can become more burden than joy because it too is a demand. I am sure meditation is important for many, crucial for some and good for body, mind and Soul but I find it hard to believe that human beings were created in such a way that without meditation they could not be spiritually fulfilled or developed.

That is just another expectation; demand. It does not make sense. Meditation, prayer and many of the religious and spiritual rituals which are used are simply methods which help some people, not all, to make a spiritual connection. Others do it through their lives; through their work, through gardening, caring for their children, cooking, painting or just being.

If seeking to live a spiritual life feels like a burden then give it up. Take time out. Days, weeks, months, years or forever. Anything which becomes burdensome is doing so because desire has turned into a need to control. It is the need for an outcome which reflects the underlying need to control. The spiritual path has then become just a 'tool' to be used to create an outcome. It is not meant to be a tool but an experience and an experience which is not controlled.

And in truth, so much that happens is beyond our control. Events often do dictate where we go, when we go, how we go, if we go, what we do, what we say, what we experience, what we think, what we feel and who and what we are. There is no doubt that self-mastery can introduce a greater element of 'control' although better words are influence and mastery and direction but even with all the self mastery a mere human being can muster we will never, ever be totally in control of ourselves or our lives.

And that is where learning to Let Go is so important. Give it to God if that works for you; give it to your Higher Self; give it to Cosmic Consciousness; give it to Fate or simply give it up and let it go for God, Cosmic consciousness, Higher Self, Fate and all the other 'powers that be' are all still a part of expectation, need, desire, demand and goal.

It is the need to control which has created religions, spiritual philosophies and spiritual 'paths' for that matter. Any structure will become a system and any system will create demands, needs, desires and expectations. There is no doubt that many if not most human beings feel better within a structure or system but within the 'gift' of the illusion of certainty is the 'curse' of need disguised by countless 'shoulds' and 'musts' and 'wants.'

The sixth lesson and one of the hardest,  is accepting that Everything Matters and Nothing Matters. Therein lies the paradox which both liberates and comforts.

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