How True Self Uses Possessions
Yesterday we looked at how false self attaches itself to possessions. We heard about the way false self feels hurt when one of our possessions is damaged. We also started to get a feeling for the idea that we should view possessions as tools that we use while we are learning and growing.
Today we will take a closer look at how true self uses possessions. Are you ready? Let’s go!
True Self for Our Learning
We have seen how false self wants to attach to many things, especially possessions. True self is happy and self contained. When we are being our true self we realize that objects and possessions are temporary. They come into our lives when we need them and we should not get upset when they leave our lives.
True self views all objects as tools which it needs to do its job. What is that job? As we have stated many times on this site – we exist to learn and grow and share that learning and growth with each other. So the job of our true self is to continue to learn and grow.
True self evaluates all objects and possessions in the light of what it needs to learn and grow. When an object is no longer needed for our learning true self does not care if it leaves our life – true self just allows that object to leave. We will not hang on to the object because of attachment. We will maintain possession only if we anticipate needing that object.
True self does not care if an unneeded object leaves our possession. True self views this as one less thing we have to look after. True self also knows that if an object leaves our possession and we need it again – then we will acquire it again.
At first this might seem like a lot of work. First we acquire something and then we let it go. Then we acquire it again. However, once the object has ceased to be useful, how can we know if we are going to ever need it again? I view that the work required to maintain the object “just in case” is usually far more work than letting it go and then getting it back again. If we let it go and then get it back we might get a better one back or one that is more suited for the task.
Also, the fewer possessions we have the more simple our life becomes. The more simple our life becomes the more time we have to concentrate on our real job of learning and sharing that learning.
True Self and Status Symbols
Status symbols are just another way to describe attachments. A status symbol is supposed to convey a certain image about the person who possesses the status symbol. False self is concerned about identity so it seeks status symbols and other methods of conspicuous consumption. We will discuss false self and identity later this week. For now, let’s just accept that anytime we seek to purchase a status symbol we are acting from false self.
True self can purchase a status symbol and not do so from an attachment. Let’s take a look at the example of buying a watch. True self realizes that we need a watch in order to keep track of time. It is important that when we make a commitment to be somewhere on time that we honor that commitment.
So we need a watch – which one should we buy? If we look at simple functionality an inexpensive watch could be all that we need. However, an inexpensive watch may not be durable enough. True self recognizes that we will need to keep track of time for the rest of our lifetime. Now we consider a more expensive and more durable watch.
Next, true self looks at the social situations that it will be in while wearing the watch. If we will be in very formal situations then we will need a watch that is appropriate for those situations. That would mean we now need a durable and handsomely decorated watch.
True self is also able to afford an upscale watch without financial hardship. We have now worked ourselves into the territory of some watches that many people would consider as status symbols. However, true self is viewing this in a pragmatic manner. We need a watch. The correct watch for our needs is considered a status symbol. True self does not care about status symbols – it only cares about acquiring the correct watch. If the correct watch had been a $10 throw away watch, that is what true self would have acquired, even if we could have afforded a $100 watch.
It is all about acquiring the correct tool for the job. That is all true self cares about. It has much more important things to be doing than caring about a bunch of attachments to physical objects.
We Do Not Have to Renounce Possessions
Many spiritual and religious disciplines teach that we should renounce or severely limit our physical possessions. I do not see it that way.
My viewpoint is that we need to renounce our attachments to physical possessions and material things. There is a big difference between renouncing having the objects and renouncing the attachments to the objects.
When we renounce possessing physical objects we do not address the underlying attachments. We may renounce possessions except for just those few things we perceive that we need to live our life. Two things happen because of this.
First, we may pass up some very important learning opportunities because we have renounced possessions. If those learning opportunities require us to acquire some possessions then we will not be able to learn those lessons.
Second, we can still become very attached to the few objects remaining in our life. Renouncing possessions has not worked because we still have false self attachments.
To me, the better approach is to learn to approach possessions and physical objects as true self. We renounce our attachments, but recognize the importance that possessions and objects can have on the lessons we choose to learn.
Because we are not attached to the objects we do not care as the objects enter and leave our lives. We are concentrating on our learning and the appropriate objects are always there. Part of that learning is to know when and how to acquire the appropriate objects.
Well, that is all for today. We will see you again tomorrow when we will start to take a look at some of the facets of false self identity.
Until tomorrow –
Es kava turen hai
We work towards an identical goal.
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