Every day, you are frustrated by events. You come up against people and events that don’t synchronise with your wishes. So you take actions which, according to you, are ways of correcting the world. You tell other people how and why they aren’t meeting your needs. You try to rearrange events so that they match what is going on for you.
Except that this is all upside down. It is you that is not sychronising with the universe’s wishes. So it takes actions which, according to it, are ways of correcting you. It tells you, through other people, how and why you aren’t meeting their needs. It tries to rerarrange events so that they realign you with how the universe is.
TWO OPPOSING WAYS OF VIEWING THE WORLD
The above two ways of looking at your world are, in a sense, both right. There is always a difference between you and the world, and this difference will always emerge as suffering. So either you will either tell the world how to change, or the world will tell you how to change.
Which method of change you use is up to you.
TELLERS AND HELPERS
You are either a teller or a helper.
If you are a teller, your reaction to difficulty is to speak out and tell the world how you want it to change. There are different words for this approach. If you approve of it, you will call it protest, challenge, standing up for yourself, calling behaviour out, activism. If you disapprove of it, you will call it moaning, being invasive, being selfish, taking the moral high ground, terrorism.
If you are a helper, your reaction to difficulty is to look inwards and see how you can pacify yourself. Again, there are different words for this. If you approve of it, you will call it adapting, patience, humility, acceptance, pacifism. If you disapprove of it, you will call it appeasement, passivity, low self-esteem, being a doormat, lack of courage.
WHATEVER YOU DO, LEARN
It doesn’t matter which response you choose. It doesn’t even matter which side of the argument you are on.
What matters is that you learn something from everything that happens. And there are really only two things that you can learn.
Firstly, eventually you will learn that nothing matters. Once you have finished defending (or adapting) yourself to the point of exhaustion, you will realise that none of it actually matters. The difference between you and the world will seem more and more artificial, until you fail to see the point of it. You will be able to rest easy in the fact that differences are only temporary symptoms of being alive.
Secondly, you will learn that everything matters. Once you have realised that there is no difference between this and that, except the temporary differences imposed by time, you will come to love everything in a strangely non-partisan way. Your attention will be equally engaged by a person or a tree, an animal or a star.
UNIVERSAL WISDOM AND UNIVERSAL COMPASSION
The ability to see that nothing matters is universal wisdom. It is the ability to understand, fully, that all perspectives are equally valid.
The ability to see that everything matters is universal compassion. It is the ability to understand, fully, that all things are equally valid.
SOLVE FOR YOURSELF, SOLVE FOR OTHERS
The nice thing about all this is that the knowledge creates happiness, and is transferable.
Once you are really able to understand that nothing matters, you can’t be anxious or hyperactive any more. And once you equally realise everything matters, it is hard to be bored or uninterested.
This kind of happiness is independent of what happens next, so it doesn’t depend on fighting any good fight, or arranging the world a certain way.
It’s just a bit of an art, that’s all. Once you have solved it for yourself, you might like to share the art with others, and help them out.