Being nothing means having no sense of self-importance. I do not speak of arrogance or conceit, though of course they are qualities of ego too, but of the human addiction to being focused on ourselves. This pattern of being may manifest in many forms such as anxiety, fear, melancholy, desire, defensiveness, greed, acquisitiveness, ambition, and vanity, all of which concern our perceived needs, lacks, and a desire to be recognised by the world as well as we ourselves. We want to be the centre of the narrative, and in so doing we fail to observe the narrative itself or the opportunities to influence the narrative wisely.
Ego goes beyond the individual, but taints institutions of power too. Politics is defined as “the actions or activities concerned with achieving and using power in a country or society”, and it can be altruistic or selfish depending on the people or parties involved. Looking around the world, at the proxy wars in the Middle East and Africa, at a self-interested Brexit and Trump’s riven America, at the crises in Venezuela and Argentina, at an increasingly unstable European Union, all the chaos has been created by political rivalry and hunger for personal gain. Politicians, such as Jeremy Corbyn and President Erdogan, for example, will say – and may believe – that they are acting out of a deeply held ideology, but that ideology may be subjective and blinkered, and ultimately harmful: Tony Blair’s determination on war in Iraq is an example in point.
Ideologies need to be balanced, flexible, and based on the highest values in life, and sometimes it can be achieved. Sir David Attenborough is driven by his love for the planet and his desire to make it better; everything about him exudes compassion and humanity, and he is able to see the big picture about us and our environment with discernment and fairness. Despite being one of the most respected and influential celebrities in the world, he is a modest man who prefers the centre of attention to be his subjects and not himself. His work is for the benefit of others not himself.
Imagine how it would be if everyone, whatever their status, was focused on living their life in order to help others, doing their best to be their best, to be kind and to have generosity of spirit. By so doing, there could not be war, there could not be abuse of people and animals and Earth, and there would be no debt, for all selfish desire would be gone. Our focus would be on looking outwards not inwards, and our everything would be in our nothingness.
I do not matter and nor do you: what is important is how I am, and how you are, in our selfless wish to do good for the highest good. This is true generosity of spirit, and it is our constant goal.