“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than hanging on or defending.” – Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose).
I must confess, I like nice things! I like to be comfortable and I do enjoy the finer things of life. In part to be able to obtain them, I’ve worked hard most of my life, starting with a paper route in the 5th grade and including working two jobs simultaneously all through college (I didn’t party at all, didn’t watch TV, and could only study so much before my brain got weary and needed a recovery break). When I hit 70, my standing joke was “I’m retired and I refuse to work more than 40 hours, max 50, a week.”
BUT… I never, ever wanted to be owned by my possessions and it is so, so easy for that to happen. You think you are the master, you kid yourself you are in control but it is a slippery slope to finding yourself possessed by your possessions, finding yourself twisted into a pretzel to buy what you can’t easy afford or to hang on to that which you should let go of.
Buddhism teaches us that the source of much of our sorrow is our attachments, our unwillingness to let go when the time comes, both to possessions and the various phases of life. Note that it is not our possessions that are the issue but our attachment to them, the practice of making them the center of our lives instead of keeping them at the periphery where they belong. PS: Buddhism is at its heart a philosophy, not a religion, there is no god in Buddhism, only an Enlightened One and a path any and all can follow to reach that state.
During the Great Recession of 2008 (and we have all so quickly forgotten how scary it truly was!) I faced towering economic challenges and I found great peace of mind creating a thought experiment where I let everything go and chose to live a much simpler life as a student and teacher. Knowing I could release and be happy/content freed up stores of emotional and spiritual energy that helped me cope better on a day-to-day basis.
“Love people, use things. The opposite never works.” – The Minimalists
“Every increased possession adds increased anxiety on to our lives.” – Randy Alcorn
“Your life is too valuable to waste chasing material possessions.” – Joshua Becker, writer on minimalism/intentional living
“People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don’t suffer anymore.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“You empower what you fight. You withdraw power from what you release.” – Alan Cohen, ‘The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore’, ‘Are You as Happy as Your Dog?’
“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.” – Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier