I have an idea. I have a blog. I have a home country. I have a favorite song. I have memories. I have friends. When I say all these things to myself in my head, they sound right. But then I realize that none of those things are actually “mine.” The idea came from a book I read. The blog came as a suggestion from a friend. The country was there long before me, someone made that song, and those memories exist somewhere in my brain. So how is it possible for me to claim ownership of them?
“We have nothing” is a difficult concept for most of us to understand (maybe you’re still wondering at this point what the hell I’m talking about… have no fear, read on). It’s difficult for two major reasons. One, as far back as we can remember we have been using things to define ourselves. “I’m the person who is good at math, doesn’t like tomatoes, and makes people laugh,” for example. We don’t know how to tell someone who we are without using such descriptors. The second reason is “nothing” has such a bad connotation. We associate nothing with people who are homeless, hopeless, or sad. But that’s really not the case. So if you can push those two preconceptions aside for a moment, consider this.
What if we lived in a world where there was no such thing as possession. We all lived in a community that shared everything with everyone else and there was always enough. Since no one had any more than anyone else, every was happy, ready and willing to contribute their time and effort to the common good. We wouldn’t even need to use the word “mine” because it would have nothing to be applied to. Can you imagine a life like this? Can you imagine the freedom and joy that could be so easily shared from person to person? No one would be better than you, and you would be better than no one. The most valuable thing in this society is time, and who better to spend it with than the ones you love. Now, can you imagine how absurd it would be to steal something in a society like this? It would be impossible because nothing belongs to anyone. There’s nothing to steal! Everyone would be happy with what they have…. and what they have, would be nothing. Since they own nothing, they are happy with nothing. To have nothing is bliss.
THE TAKEAWAY: Let’s not get caught up in a life of have’s and have not’s. Comparing ourselves to one another is the root of all evil – greed derives from this comparison. Understanding that we really have nothing, possess nothing, and need nothing is one of the most freeing realizations I’ve had since I’ve been here. Now I’m not saying that we should just give up buying groceries, making car payments, or going to the post office. But what I am saying is that if we can learn to let go of the things that we think we possess, then we also free ourselves from the stress they can bring us. And once we are free of this stress, we can truly enjoy them for what they are – beautiful.