Flavor #2: No ownership. Most of us live with the feeling that we call the shots in our personal lives, that we own our lives. But what does ownership really mean? In essence, it indicates that you control the destiny of a thing.
Let’s talk about how I came to “own” my spectacular home in the hills…say I inherited a nice chunk from my doting grandma, hunted high and low until I found my dream home, negotiated with a real estate shark to buy it, moved my family in, and threw the grandest housewarming party ever. This is my home, right?
But if I truly owned it, how come I lost it? If I accept that ownership implies control of destiny, the corollary is that I own nothing, not even my body or mind. If I did, I’d probably maintain my body in peak condition and suffuse my mind with constant blasts of ecstasy — instead of getting old and sick and being victim to a range of unpleasant moods.
Gawd Almighty, does this mean I don’t even own that shirt I picked up at that funky boutique last weekend? Come to think of it, someone could steal it right off the laundry line this afternoon while I take my forty winks, and then it would become her shirt!
So the invisible machinery of karma is busily at work, giving and taking according to immutable laws about which we ordinary humans don’t have a clue. The good news is that if I practice seeing all things as impermanent, and digest the truth that I don’t really own a thing, I’m bound to experience increasing freedom and peace.
So why do those who accept impermanence and the lack of ownership still get upset when they face loss? Because there’s a killer gap between what we can accept intellectually, and the corresponding lag in our emotions. As we close this gap through personal practice, our suffering decreases.
Master the art of accepting impermanence and the lack of ownership, and you turn into a really cool customer. Tragedy could strike, and while not discounting the initial shock factor, you’d soon learn to say, yes, of course, that’s the nature of relative reality — after all everything is impermanent and I don’t really own a damned thing, so let’s get a move on, next!