Inquiring into “what matters” has been a fascinating and expansive process for me!
What matters? How many times have I experienced that something matters very much, only to discover later on that it really doesn’t matter?! Or that at first it appears not to matter, but it morphs into something that DOES matter!!
I’ve experienced times when there were also at least two extreme gauges – where it seemed that either EVERYTHING matters, or that NOTHING matters. (This could be the subject of a book!).
And perhaps the most significant understanding has come when the mind slows down and even disappears for a short time. In that space, “what matters” is irrelevant. Instead, everything just IS. And it is pure JOY!
So the mind and “what matters” seem to be deeply related!!
If you’re interested in exploring, take a look at what matters – or doesn’t matter – for you!
As I explore and inquire into my life, I understand the challenges I have faced and the amazing ways I have found to survive all that I have been through. And not only survive, but THRIVE in my life!
Knowing and understanding this, it is so much easier to be gentle and understanding with others and their ways of dealing with life.
So once again, I understand that everything starts at the source within me: it is an “inside-out” job! There is no way I can be understanding of others without the understandings I have gained of myself.
A Note on Comparison
One of the biggest thieves of joy in my life is when the mind starts comparing “me” and my actions to what would, could or should have been! It doesn’t seem to matter much WHAT is being compared. The very act of comparison has an inherent anxiety in it. Inquiry tells me that comparison is usually based on two things: the ideal and the real. The ideal is always something to attain, something better. And the real – what is actually happening – is relegated to a lesser status. So, in the comparison, “I” always come up short!
Further inquiry reveals the disturbing nature of this comparison: the “ideal” almost never can be attained! No matter how hard I try to achieve it, it eludes me! And those amazingly rare moments when I DO achieve it, the mind won’t let me hold on to that satisfaction. Instead, it insists I do it again, or do something BETTER!
Now, after many of these inquiries, when I step back and recognize that comparison is happening, usually the comparison just drops out of sight! It’s as if the mind – finding that it has been caught in this game – quietly slips away!
It seems that everyone worries about something.
When I became familiar with the worrying mind, I began asking, “What is the benefit of worrying?” That inquiry led me to some strange answers from a part of the mind that insists on worrying.
It said, “If I don’t worry, I won’t do anything about it.” Or: “Worrying about a loved one shows that I love them.”
Challenging those ideas helped them to crumble, especially in the light of the COST of worrying: anxiety, tension, fear….
It became clear that the cost FAR OUTWEIGHED any perceived benefit! I could certainly get things done WITHOUT worry bullying me to do it. And not worrying enhanced the feeling of love that I have…it didn’t REDUCE it!!
Still, the habit can remain in the mind. So, it is helpful to look at the benefit and cost each time I discover a worrying thought. And slowly, slowly the hold that these thoughts have has diminished. And that makes more room for enjoying life, not suffering through it!
Give it a try!