“What really matters?” asked a friend of mine to our group of friends recently. Here’s my take on it.
Philosophically or in a true sense the answer according to me is “Nothing really matters”.I think of myself on the verge of my death and ask this qn “What really matters?” and the answer I finally get is “Nothing really matters”. And for all the facade of certainty that I put up, the fact is life is uncertain and I can very well die before I even finish this post . So if I were to live every minute as my last minute, then answer is ‘Nothing really matters’ ever.
But I would not be able to do that. Because the life is uncertain I may still live even after I finish this post. But if I keep thinking of death every next instant then I would become insane. So I have to live with this facade of certainty or realise “Nothing really matters” and live like Ramana Maharishi.
So, since I am not Ramana now and I have to go on with my existence, What really matters?
To me what really matters is my integrity. By integrity I mean whether I am true to myself and I am free of any conflicts in mind. The conflict can be a small one as some disagreement I had with my Prof last week and want to let him know about my disagreement, or, it can be my behavior with someone which I regretted and want to convey my regrets about, or, it can be my fear that I may die and I need to take an insurance before it so that my parents will be financially secure in case that happens or it can be some job that I had to push myself to go to every morning..the conflict can be anything..If once aware of these conflicts I have taken steps to address them then I have retained my integrity or ‘mental peace’ as my friend K may like to call it.
However, sometimes it may happen that due to some circumstances I may have to live with that conflict. That cannot be avoided because we are social and emotional beings and no man/woman is an island. But as long as I am aware I have a conflict and take some steps to reduce the conflict given my constraint it is fine. But in the end if it turns out I need to compromise because of the constraint its fine too; then it means for me the constraint is more ‘important’ , so my integrity is intact again. So the essential thing is to be conscious of the choices I make at every point in my life and living it with integrity.
But am I living my life with integrity? Though I have realized the need for it and have been trying on and off to do so the answer would be No. But I hope to do so more in the future and go to sleep with less conflicts in my mind.
P.S.: My belief is that there is no life after death. But I were to believe in life in death, then ‘Nothing really matters’ may not not hold true.