How can everything be nothing but everything? This sounds rather strange and someone with such thoughts even stranger. But is it not the notion that constantly and consistently revolves around our lives from the beginning to the end? In fact, It is us, in the end, who associate value to things and events and even ideas. So it all depends on how we look at things. The beauty, or for that matter value, which is beauty itself; lies in the eyes of the beholder they say and in this context- it is just correct. This is also the reason why the intensity and meaning of beauty and value differ from one individual to another and from one thing to another. Something that I value high in life might be of literally no value at all for another and vice-versa.
In the said notion then, one cannot estimate the exact value of a thing of beauty for it would vary and have different estimations based on the beholders. Not only that but also it would largely depend on who is considering what. An artist might value Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ very high whereas another man who has no taste for art would consider it perhaps as just another painting. While this is a fitting case for reality being a relative concept, yet one wonders whether there is any meaning to it all together. Are we all not seeking the knowledge of the absolute in this immense, ever expanding universe of conditional reality. I personally believe we are fighting hard on a daily basis to do that. Truth changes significance as well as its intrinsic reality from one age to another. And similarly the beauty and value of things, events and ideas changes from one perspective to another. If all this is true then perhaps what we consider to be everything might as well be nothing and all that is nothing or of little value might as well be everything.
But how do we relate this thought to something as important as Money. Money is everything and we all accept that living in the world of today where, thanks to commercialism, money is literally everything. How can Money be nothing? I might say many rhetorical things in favour of this yet those might not be of any value to the reader. Money is actually everything and as somebody once said, ‘I don’t like money. But it is better to think about this in a Mercedes-Benz than on a bicycle.’ I have never been a fan of books that tell you about the top habits of famous people and all that but a friend of mine gave me Steven Covey’s 7 Habits and insisted that I read it. While the book turned out to be very interesting with many lessons, there was something in it that I would like to relate here: It tells of an experiment in which Covey asks you to lie down in your bed before sleeping, relax yourself, let go of all thoughts and stresses, close your eyes and imagine that you are witnessing your own funeral. You are in the coffin. Think about the things that you would want people to say about you at that time and also think about what things would you like to be remembered for.
I did that experiment and added another thing on my own and that is to imagine what things would you be proud of when they come for you. I imagined this and quite to my surprise I imagined being remembered for the man that I was. I thought I would be proud, at that moment, for what I have done and achieved in life. That I was a man of principles, a man of value and integrity who loved fellow beings unconditionally and shared love, mercy and kindness with all humanity. Hey, but hold on! Where on earth did money go? Here I am, struggling for it every night and day. Money and fame and position thinking that before my life ends I have a goal to achieve. However, why didn’t any of it matter to me at the end? All my dreams of a big house, cars and what not just vanished and when I opened my eyes I realised that the things that would matter the most to me in the end are the things which I can achieve in this world without a single penny.
Therefore, it depends on how we value things. We sometimes forget what really matters to us or what really should matter to us in life. We go crazy in this maddening race for being there on the top and forget down the line that this would not give us happiness for happiness is another concept that needs to be discussed, but let us leave that for another time. Happiness is something that you define in your life for yourself. Similarly, contentment and satisfaction are also things that one defines for oneself. A millionaire could be unhappy and unsatisfied as compared to a beggar depending on how they define it for themselves. On the contrary, we dive deep in to the abyss of a never-ending struggle that deprives us of our youthful innocence and renders us as ruthless machines trying to take over the world.
I was once looking at my three years old daughter struggling to keep her eyes open, as she fought with her sleep, and trying to smile at me and keep looking at me. I wondered at that moment as to what would it really be that I wouldn’t want to give up in order to see her do this to me every night. The answer was plain and simple- everything. What wouldn’t I give up to see the priceless expression of joy and pride that I see on my six years old son when I tell him, ‘Well done boy! Baba (Dad) is proud of you.’ In a similar notion, the happiness one derives by helping someone in need without demanding any help or favour in return is remarkably gratifying. Selflessness induces integrity in character and results in a dignified life. Money, wealth, status, fame and position might never be able to render any of this for such a struggle intensifies greed, selfishness and lack of self-control which darkens the soul. Yet we tend to forget what matters and continue to find tranquility in things that do not matter at all. What matters is beauty and value. It is us who define that for ourselves too.
Sometimes what we consider to be everything is actually nothing, if we take a moment to think over it, yet we go on happily being caught up in this vicious circle that eats us alive and ruins us from within. This is a continuous process that scars us from within and brings cruelty on our once innocent faces. Just give it a minute and think- the amount and quality of happiness one derives from little things in childhood is equal to none in adulthood. Is that not correct? When I close my eyes and imagine myself sitting on a green hilly field as a child letting the pleasant breeze brush my cheeks, listening to the birds tweet, I used to get a feel for what happiness is and now I yearn for that feeling but it is gone- lost somewhere deep in the midst of all my struggles and desires and miseries. Ironic how I wanted to grow up and do things and now I would give anything to get that feel of happiness of my childhood back. Not the childhood maybe, just how I felt happy in little things that have no value for me today; I wish I could feel that way today but even with all my achievements, I cannot.
I will end here before this article gets too long. Besides, I have to get back to my office and work hard as I still have a few years left in me and I still haven’t got a big house and my dream car. Need to work hard for that. Time is flying me by and I need to get all of that before I die. I need to have everything that will turn out to be nothing.