Why does “it matter”? Why do we matter? What is this crazy thing called life anyway… Is it just a random moment in time… are we just a fleeting second out of a million or billion years? Are we one drop of water, one grain of sand that would not be missed if it never existed? Is this a mistake? Is it meaningless? Do we really have a purpose?
You may be coming from a cynical or skeptical place. You may be coming from a rational or what you believe to be pragmatic…even a scientifically-supported place. You may say that we are nothing much now…and will cease to exist at some point before very long. We will decompose or we will be preserved in a casket…But just the same we will be no more. You may say that our birth is by chance. We live for a number of years that are determined by the genes that we inherit; the environment and our choices. And then we die. The End.
My hope is that you will pause right now and ask yourself if that is truly what you think. You may attend a church or other religious establishment on a regular basis and still believe that with death of our bodies, we die. On the other hand you may profess to be agnostic or atheist…but have something in you that entertains the possibility that there might just be something more…that hopes that this it is not “all for naught”.
Let’s agree that we don’t have all of the answers…that no one does and no one ever has and no one ever will…at least until we have the capacity to move outside of the limitations of our body and mind… and, what about the answers to the questions that have not yet even been asked? What about answers that have never been fully explored? What about the answers that are held as truth…as fact…as common knowledge or common sense…THAT ARE WRONG?
What if the things that we hold fast and firm and that have made up our belief system about the world, each other and ourselves is built on partial truths, partial facts, partial knowledge…?
Let’s begin with that premise: That what we think that we know…the beliefs that we have that define who we are and how we think MAY be wrong…or at least partially wrong.
When we work out a difficult math problem on a sheet of paper incorrectly, there may be parts that we understood and answered right. But the final answer will still be wrong.
I think that in our ability to quick search for an answer about anything, that we feel very smart. And we may be even dangerously knowledgeable.
We have been “schooled” since we were old enough to walk or talk – maybe even before. Did your mother put headphones on her pregnant belly? Did she show you flashcards when you were in your bouncy seat or crib? Did you listen to Baby Einstein on car trips?
We should be impressed with the things that we can do. Just sit and think about the past 100 or 150 years of “progress”.
Think about it. It is amazing and over-whelming and mind-boggling.
But what have all of those inventions or technologies or discoveries told you about you? …About your inner you?
I am not talking about your preferences…what you like to do; where you like to go; your favorite foods, books, movies or games. What do you know about you? And why you are…
Why you are.
Not why you are: short; tall; black; white; skinny; chubby; brilliant; challenged; a worker; a slacker; a parent; a spouse; single; sporty; awkward; American; Christian.
Not why you have good skin; bad skin; high blood pressure; low blood pressure; muscles; mushiness; a second toe that is longer than the first…
I don’t care about your “description” of yourself…or how you “see” yourself. I care about and want you to care about how you think about yourself. “Who are you?” is not the question.
“Why are you?”
That is the question that I want to explore.
We are going to try to break down all of the things that we think that we know about ourselves…the parts of ourselves that matter…the parts of ourselves that matter more than anything else… That matter more than anything else in the world actually.
It is going to require that we “clean house”. We will have to possibly let go of those big boxes of meaningless junk that we keep toting with us everywhere we go. What needs to be sorted through and purged? How much lighter will the load be once we look to see what is inside… and then only keep what is needed? Will there be anything left? Hopefully what we will find after removing all of the spoiled, tainted, broken, outdated, dangerous, unnecessary items we see what matters.
When we start looking what are we going to find that is of value to you? Will everything inside be things that have belonged to others … that you have taken on as your own… put inside before they were thought about and found to be right for you? Let’s start over. Let’s take our time now.
Let’s start by dumping everything out… Let’s start over empty. And only after careful thought and reflection return anything back inside.
Why do I want to do this? Because… like the rest of the Earth and the people on it, I am covered up with clutter. And it is paralyzing. It restricts my movement and my focus and my productivity. It clouds my vision. It affects my relationships. It controls my emotions.
My hope is that once we clear away all that is not truly ours or truly us, then we can find out what is ours…who we really are… and much more than who… but why.
Start emptying yourself. Lay it all down. Spread it all out. And be ready and prepared to reject many things that you have been carrying with you…things that were snuck in or dumped on. There will be some things that you don’t even know that you are carrying and other things that you thought you needed to carry simply because you always have. We might find that many of the burdens and beliefs weighing us down and draining our energy are not only unnecessary but dangerous. We are being distracted. We are wasting time. We are looking in the wrong direction.
I am going to be dumping things out for a while. I want you to go through this process with me. I will get back to you soon about what I find…whether it seems worthy of holding on to…or not.
The goal is not for us to be like one another…not to discard the same things or keep the same things…but to be honest. It matters. We matter. Let’s find out why.