Nothing Really Matters
It's not just fans of Freddie Mercury and Queen that find their song Bohemian Rhapsody somehow important. When they, or we, sing that Nothing Really Matters we're beginning to accept a fundamental truth about our live on earth. It's an ideal song to have as a backcloth to any personal development or spiritual growth path in life:
The more I endeavour to become my true self and live more naturally, more flowing with life and the world around me, the more I see that SO much of what we read and are taught, particularly in the name of spiritual principles, is a load of rubbish. Not all of it, I hasten to add. But that's part of our challenge . . . to identify the few grains of wheat and nuggets of truth in a morass of theories, mental creations and words that actually mean very little. But maybe this too is a deliberate part of our path . . . to learn to be discerning, to be able, for ourselves, to tell what's worthwhile and what isn't.
For example, I'd always had a problem with chakras. The idea that we had physical energy centres at the base of our spine, our sacrum (wherever that is!), etc.. and that we can reach enlightenment by suitable healing practices based on these seven specific locations just didn't ring true to me. The more anybody tried to tell me how useful they found them and how real these energy centres were, the more I found a vital bit of me saying No! If they work for you, fine, but this theory of chakras doesn't work for me.
It's only now, some ten or more years later that I know I was right not to take the conventional view of chakras on board. This certainty is triggered by reading a rather different explanation of chakras in Dan Millman's The Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior. In this valuable book, I read that chakras are not so much (or just) energy centres, but LEVELS . . . of awareness. They represent different levels of consciousness (from animal to enlightened being) that we can each (and as a species) work at and progress through.
This idea made my heart sing. This way of seeing chakras made SO much more sense to me. I'm now more than happy to embrace the concept. The work it suggests, as necessary on our personal journeys, was already what I was committed to: facing my past, dealing with conditioned reactions . . . rising above, without denying, my emotions and intellectual ideas.
This is but one example of many occasions where I've felt some particular practice, theory or approach wasn't really helping me. It can be hard to say NO when the path or wisdom or technique you're being offered is claimed to be the answer to everything . .. or is a top selling book . . . or is promoted by a charismatic, camera loving, guru. But I feel that we often need to say NO. Part of this journey to whole-ness, this path of self discovery is to find who WE are . . . and that means finding our own journey . . . not following a whole hoard of other truth seekers down their, perhaps well trodden, path. To do so is to take the easier path . . . which is probably why we take it! . . . but that doesn't make in the right path for us. Often, on the contrary.
You see, my experience is that we're very good at looking for easy answers and believing anyone who seems to be offering it. But that doesn't get us very far! I'd somehow got the idea that life is easy . . . so my big lesson has been that it isn't. On the contrary. More recently I've been having to admit that I'm basically rather spoilt, always expecting what I want. But life doesn't work like that. Neither can we improve ourselves by replacing one set of conditioning with another:
Some would argue that to pray, meditate or regularly engage in some spiritual practice will set us on the path to nirvana. Maybe . . . or least it will give us a technique to help our journey. But ANY path can itself become a block. As soon as something become a habit, as soon as we do something because we've always done it, it's probably lost its value . . . however 'spiritual' the practice and however meaningful it was when we started doing it. NOTHING really matters, not even regular meditation or listening to our guardian angel or ascended master.
Another way of saying nothing really matters is that anything and everything we might point to as important is NOTHING YET ALL. At some moments, in some circumstances it's amazing, wonderful, all we ever need . . . once that moment has passed, so that book, teaching, technique, place . . . is of no consequence whatever.
That's easy enough to say and not to difficult to understand intellectually, but unless we're really aware of what our mind's up to, all too often we'll be attached to an idea . . . such that it becomes a limiting belief . . . or a practise . . . such that it becomes a habit done repetitiveness not mindfully.
I've been actively working to 'sort myself out' now since 1987 and I can see that my progress has come in many strange and often wonderful ways. Yes, I've one particular practice (Reiki) which has stood my me since 1995 . . . but the strength of Reiki (at least as I practice it) IS it's flexibility and adaptability to any situation. It works for me . . . and continues to be important on my journey precisely because it has no rules.
It's probably by seeing how the limitations in other theories and practices (and other schools of Reiki) actually hold back those who pursue them that has made me very cautious about taking up, let alone committing to any particular tradition or technique. None matters more than any others . . . no matter what their followers might tell you. My own progress has touched upon religions from Christianity to Baha'i and from Pagan to Buddhist; science from Chaos Theory and String Theory to Capra and Sheldrake; therapies from reflexology to rebirthing; techniques and practices from Tai Chi & Yoga to Circle Dance and Morris Dancing; art from love poems to pebble puppets; books from Dan Millman to Luke Rhinehart; etc..
There is no common theme between the many and varied things I've read, heard or experienced . . . except that at the time I was engaged with them they were what I needed to do . . . and thus they helped me in whatever way I needed to. And sometimes they helped me to realise that what I read in books often wasn't worth reading! I know I needed to write this as part of my journey today . . . but that doesn't mean it's of any value to you . . . though it might be!
(Since writing this piece, my doctorate research has alerted me to the ground-breaking work of the philosopher Martin Heidegger. His 'take' on nothingness resonated with me to the extent that it was the basis for a chapter of my thesis}
More on the place of chakras, habits, etc. in our personal growth progress