The Things You Own, End Up Owning You

It’s a line from ‘Fight Club’;

The things you own, end up owning you.”

I could just have easily gone with, “Mo money, mo problems.” Because it amounts to the same thing. The more you have, the more you need to do to maintain it.

living out the boot of your car

My car started acting up last week, so I put it in for a service. Turned out it needed a bit of work doing (which I expected). Bish bash bosh, £400 gone! That’s two extra days work I’ll have to do to pay it off. Or to put it another way, two more days I am unable to dedicate to my sadhana (spiritual practice).

shelf shrine

Swami Vishnudevananda tells a story in (I think) the book Upadesa:
(and I’m paraphrasing massively here as I don’t have the book with me)

“People ask me why it is important for a swami not to have any possessions? Well, just imagine, a student gives me a mug as a gift. It is a nice mug, I like the mug, and it becomes my special mug. No one else is allowed to use it. Then one day I see someone drinking out of my mug. I become angry, and I decide to lock my mug away. So I make a special box to keep my mug in. Now I worry that someone is going to steal my mug. I cannot sleep. My life is full or fear and anguish, all because someone gave me a mug as a gift.”


drying off

Owning things is hard work. Once you have obtained your possessions you have to maintain them, look after them, keep them in good working order. That costs money, so you have to work more. And even if you do everything right, eventually they will wear out, and you’ll have to buy something to replace it anyway.

Sorting out my car – researching garages, making sure I got a good deal, getting it there, getting it back, finding the money to pay for it – was a pain. It’s the price you pay for the convenience of owning a car, but I could have done without it to be honest.

It was so much aggro it made me wonder; If it’s like this owning a car, what must it be like owning a house?!

The things you own, end up owning you. The bigger the things, the bigger the burden. Unburden yourself as much as you can, and walk freely in the world.


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