Many years ago, a retired Royal Air Force pilot lived across the road from me. He was widowed so we used to have tea now and then. I loved listening to his stories, told with a wry grin between puffs on his ever present cigarette.
Wanting to help, I’d offered to alter some curtains for him. He put them in black sacks and I took them home. Somehow before I got to them, they got mixed up with the bin bags and were taken away with the weekly rubbish. Mortified I confessed.
He chuckled and said,
“Ah don’t worry, everything matters; nothing matters very much”.
This phrase has stayed with me for more than 20 years. It pops up in odd moments.
It’s been like a particularly wise friend tapping me on the shoulder when I was getting lost.
- When my sense of humour has gone AWOL (absent without leave), this phrase can restore it.
- When I’m getting stuck, this phrase can remind me to relax allowing new ideas to emerge.
- When things look impossible, this phrase can shift something and hope rises again
What I find fascinating is the phrase gets richer and richer in meaning as times goes on.
Recently I saw the phrase points towards something profound.
Everything matters; i.e everything has matter, has form, everything out there in the world but also, everything inside our heads too. Every thought and feeling we experience, has matter, has form because it has arrived in our consciousness.
Yet it is all neutral, perfect and none of it, no one thing has more meaning than anything else, unless and until we give it meaning which we do, day in day out. Thoughts look real so we believe them and they feel true for us…. until they don’t, until we see ‘through them’ and then our world shifts. So they matter, until they don’t.
Yet there is something else, a place of nothingness, a space before thought. There, no form exists. THAT space matters very much, it is the source of creation, the source of all matter, yet it is formless. It is no-thing.
And just as this lovely phrase from a wise man, in a small village, allows me to hear more and more of my own wisdom, so every conversation, every interaction we have, every day of our lives, is pointing us towards deeper and deeper insight into what lies beyond our moment to moment experience of life.
What do you hear or see in this?