Nothing Matters, Everything Matters

Nothing matters…

If you’ve been around non-dual spiritual circles for any length of time, you’ve likely as not come across these two words. 

However, contrary to how many may hear it, to me the phrase is neither reflecting nor encouraging any sort of nihilistic philosophical stance or attitude of not caring about the welfare of oneself or others. Since everything is an expression or manifestation of a single reality, “nothing matters” is simply pointing to the fact that it isn’t possible to ever depart from reality. We can never be cast out of or removed from existence for there is only existence, the vast and incomprehensible mystery of life itself, shining forth as everything, one hundred percent whole and complete and lacking nothing, no matter how we might be characterizing it.

We may not like it when all hell seems to be breaking loose. And when those inner or outer storms are raging, it makes sense that we would seek out ways to calm the turmoil. But any way the flow of experiencing may look—calm or disturbed, happy or sad, clear or confused, healthy or ill—it remains what it is—the very presence of life itself. 

Nothing matters doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to make our lives and the world a saner, more harmonious and love-filled place. No, it simply points to the fact that whether or not we succeed in our efforts to improve the current state of affairs, we can never ever be cast out of the complete perfection and fullness that reality is. No matter what is happening, we remain as we are—free, awake and wholly divine—for that is the nature of reality, irrespective of whatever might be happening now or in some hoped for or imagined future. 

Something is always present, always appearing, even if that which is present and appearing is forever changing. And so presence doesn’t depend upon how it is looking for no matter what is appearing right now and how we might be describing it, it is present. Whether everything we want and love is given or taken away, presence remains. It can never be taken away. And it is in the fact of appearing itself rather than the descriptions of what it is that’s appearing where our ultimate freedom and well-being resides. 

And so you see, it matters not what happens because nothing can change that fact, the fact that no matter what is happening, presence remains as it is. Present. In other words, presence is independent of however it might be appearing.

Now, as true as it may be to say that nothing matters, we could just as well say that everything matters. Not just certain things, but everything! Why? Because as I’ve been saying, everything is presence, the simple yet unfathomable, inexplicable, miraculous presence of what is. This presence, or we could say “is-ness,” is the common denominator of everything. Every state, every experience, every circumstance shares in common, the fact that it is. No matter how what is may be appearing and being described, it is. It exists. And this that is ultimately transcends any and all notions we might have about it. 

However I might be describing this moment, it is beyond that. Our finite words and concepts are incapable of encapsulating that which is by nature, infinite and ultimately indefinable. And therein lies our freedom, the freedom from all the problems and limitations that our semantic systems seem to imply. The entire edifice we’ve constructed which leads us to believe our well-being depends upon things looking a particular way comes crumbling down as we discover this common element in everything, the sheer, indescribable liberating presence or is-ness of what is. This is why nothing matters and everything matters for that liberating is-ness or presence can never be gained or lost, no matter how many wonderful, extraordinary moments we might gain or lose. Paradoxically, presence can never be taken away, even as it is constantly slipping away and taking shape as the next instant!

Nothing matters and everything matters both point to the same thing, the fact that our freedom and well-being do not depend upon how experiences or circumstances may appear for there is only ever this transcendental freedom and liberation that shines forth as and is the fundamental basis of all experiences and circumstances, irrespective of how these might be characterized. 

We’re of course free to try to make the world and ourselves a better place. But our deepest freedom doesn’t depend upon how our efforts from moment-to-moment actually pan out. For whether or not anything ever changes, all remains immeasurably well, always and forever, regardless of what may be occurring. 

This is the natural perfection of everything, just as it is… 

John Astin