The things we touch have no permanence. My master would say: there is nothing we can hold on to in this world. Only by letting go can we truly possess what is real. ~ Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Possession:~ the state of having, owning or controlling something
When we possess a thing, we have control over that thing. So, if I need to relinquish control in order to release creativity, is giving up possessions the next stage on my creative journey?
I’m not talking about adopting the life of an ascetic, I’ve still got to hold down a job, pay the mortgage and so on. I do don’t I? Well, it appears that there are a growing number of people in the world who would disagree. They’re giving up jobs, property and possessions to live a frugal, simple life. Bored with trying to fill an endless void with possessions, they are stripping their lives right back, working in reverse to get to the blank canvas on which to paint a new life, in fewer colours.
I considered this. It seemed something that I could try and I began to consider my possessions. What could I do without? As I thought about it the truth unfolded. There was very little I truly owned to begin with! My home belongs to the bank, my car belongs to the finance company, even certain hours of the day do not belong to me; the 9 to 5 belongs to my employer, the evening to household chores, family and TV sets. I sometimes think that I don’t truly possess my own thoughts; the constant chatter of my internal dialogue is a boring and banal distraction preventing me from tuning in to reality. Can I realistically give up that which I do not possess in the first place? And if I did, what would it achieve?
‘Only by letting go can we possess what is truly real.’ That ‘letting go’ is what is sought through the practice of meditation. My personal practice begins with an attempt to silence the internal chatter. I visualise my thoughts as balloons. I place each distracting thought into a balloon and release it, watch it float into the vast blue sky, as I do this the next thought has already come along and off it goes, and so on and so forth. There are times when I spend the whole meditation releasing balloons and not much else but that’s ok, it’s a start. I let go of these worldly possessions – my thoughts – in this way, releasing into a clear sky that which I must not hold on to ; anxieties about the future, regrets about past actions. What is left is real.
The least we can do for ourselves as we try and traverse the tricky, unpredictable terrain of our lives is develop an understanding and awareness of what our possessions mean to us. Anything that does not serve us on our journey needs to be decluttered and tossed out with the debris of our yesterdays, this will leave a path that is clear to us and one, in times of darkness that will inevitably come, we will be less likely to stumble from. If you do nothing else for yourself, gift yourself this. It is the greatest act of self love, one we all need and deserve.