just be it It’s about the work involved in establishing a dedicated practice to feelings of a bigger belonging through practices aimed at increasing feelings of compassion, gratitude and forgiveness

On the Nature of Matter(ing)

Published on 19/12/09
by randy

The road of the heart is straight.

The road of the heart is straight.

Science has now shown that we’re just air…that everything has no concrete substance…even concrete.  Yet, when conditions were right, we somehow manifested into these bodies and eventually developed a sense of self-consciousness, developing a sense of mattering.  Many claim this ego happens with the cognitive stage of what’s been called ‘object permanence’.  This is recognized when you show an object to an infant, and when it’s taken away, they track to see where it’s gone, looking behind an obstacle to find it.  Up to this point (the first half year of life), if it’s out of direct experience, it’s gone.  You can show them the cutest rattle and when it’s taken away they’re on to the next perceptual experience.  In essence, when the ‘matter’ is taken from site, it simply didn’t ‘matter’.  It’s really quite a divine place to be and something many spiritual teachers espouse as a path to lasting happiness.  So what happens?

It seems that before we conclude that we’re separate, we live a wonderful life of being nobody, unaffected by ‘not mattering’ as long as our biological needs are met.  This level of consciousness is very rich and it’s why I relish the look of seven month old eyes.   Their gaze is intimate as they see you as not being separate from them.  And then, what many call a ‘pre-wired’ condition, we develop a sense of separateness (subject vs. object), the dualism of language and thought grows, and we work the rest of our lives stepping into our self consciousness, otherwise known as our ego or identity.  With the right support, we eventually develop a sense of mattering.  We’re driven to ‘make a difference’, ‘find our purpose’, ‘change the world’, ‘be the best’, ‘make the most’, and on and on it goes.  Yet, none of us escapes the doubt.  We’re continually looking for validation to our ‘mattering’.  We ask, “Am I enough?”, “Do you like me?”, “Am I good or better than the other?”, “Did I win?” and so it goes.  If we’ve grown our power over others through our material wealth or position, we will be surrounded by those who say we ‘matter’.  We’ve concluded that our success depends upon others’ approval.  And then we realize that our ‘mattering to them’ is conditional.  We somehow know that a lasting happiness can’t result from continual search from others for our sense of mattering.  Maybe if we get more power, more fame, more money, more friends, more recognition…then…then we’ll reach complete happiness.  And yet, if you’ve lived enough years you eventually discover that you simply can’t find lasting happiness through your notions of being ‘somebody’.  So how can we nurture a sense of well-being…a sense for having ‘lived the good life’, somehow ‘mattering’?

There is a sugar buzz high from giving to others and from feeling good about helping someone.  Yet, the real test of lasting happiness is found in how well we handle another’s rejection of our giving or helping.  How solid are we when we step forward, in hopes of feeding relationships, expressing how another matters to us, only to have it denied, rejected or ignored?  What happens to our sense of ‘mattering’ when the rest of the world seems to have a different view?  Previous cultures honored the elderly and used them as a valuable resource for wisdom circles.  Their life experience mattered.  Our American culture takes a different view, growing nursing homes and retirement communities.  Those who last in Congress have accumulated tremendous power and sometimes develop a deeper awareness to the stewardship of our country.  Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Byrd are two that come to mind.  Their sense of mattering seems to have come from the heart.  They both seemed to carry a deep sense of connection with more than their self interest.  The results of their ‘mattering’ will live in my heart as long as I’m matter.  And isn’t this all we can do…aim to be the best we can in alignment to our heart’s desire simply because we’ve been given the opportunity to participate?  It’s a movement beyond our limited self-consciousness.  It’s movement from feeling separate to feeling connected, from nobody to somebody to somebody else. We had lost contact with that ‘feeling’ of connection known previously as an infant.  And now, with that feeling rediscovered, we come to experience all things as us in what Buber called the “I-Thou” relationship.  The insecurity of living as somebody lessons as we move to this new ground. We’re much easier about insisting that we have the right answers.  We’re more courageous and willing to explore deeper questions.  We know that we matter, even when others don’t seem to think we do.  And when we’re no longer matter, we’re at peace with our life and the actions taken while we were in this functioning body.  We’ve paid attention to mindful speech, thought, action…taking care to leave a result that some day may matter.

So outside beginnings and endings, we all matter.  We’re connected and it’s just our realization of it that varies.  The extent to which we cling to our notions of being Somebody will determine the harm we’ve done.  The extent to which we’ve loved others as ourselves, particularly our enemies, will determine our contribution.  Belief systems that limit our level of belonging will cause harm.  Belief systems operating in unlimited circles of belonging will nurture our health.  God (Love) is a circle whose center is everywhere, whose circumference is infinite.  In short, the circle has no sides; everything matters.  While it’s difficult as we age and our matter dissipates along with our sense of ‘mattering’, our solidity and lasting happiness comes from this capacity to be in the infinite circle, outside notions of right and wrong, judgment, doing and non doing, having and not having, and artificial boundary.

Heart…Just Be it.

Soul…Just Be it.

Love…Just Be it.

Joy…Just Be it.

Grateful for the gift of opportunity to participate, in relief to know we all matter, no matter what, even when we’re no longer matter.  Poof….somebody else.  So what really happened to the caterpillar?  Did the wave disappear when it crashed on the shore?

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