For a while now I have been interested in the idea of renunciation, and exploring it further.
This great post especially has brought it to the forefront of my mind.
Renunciation can be understood as a letting go of what we cling to. The Buddha taught that genuine renunciation requires thoroughly investigating and understanding how we make ourselves unhappy by grasping and greediness. When we do, renunciation naturally follows, and it is a positive and liberating act, not a punishment.
I’m very interested to explore renunciation in all areas of my life, however the one that I have had most practice with lately is in regards to my possessions.
My attitude towards my possessions really changed during the difficult period after my husband left.
At a time when I was literally surviving each day one minute at a time, my possessions really became meaningless to me.
What became important was my friends, the people around me, and my faith. These were the things that were going to get me through that time.
Not my TV. Nor my CD collection.
What also changed my perception was having to sell my house and move. I went from a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, to a 2 (and a bit) bedroom tiny cottage.
There was obviously going to be a lot that was going to have to be ‘shed’.
So I spent a great deal of time deciding what I truly needed. What brought me happiness. And the rest I gave away.
It’s amazing how much ‘stuff’ I really did not need.
Although this is not to say that I do not have possessions that I love. But they can be narrowed down to literally: my camera, my laptop, my iPod, and my Kindle.
Even now, 6 months after I sold my house, I am still giving away my possessions. I would really like to get back to just very basics.
This change has also extended to our TV habits. Although we still have a TV, we very rarely watch it. The other day I turned it on (after not watching it for 3 weeks) to find it wasn’t even working.
The time that we used to spend watching TV, we now spend outside.
We ride our scooters. We walk. We play with friends. We take photos.
Another area of my life where I have been exploring this further is in respect to my car.
2 months ago I had a serious car accident (car versus tree, tree won). My car was a complete write-off.
At first it was difficult to get used to the concept of not having a car. I had been so reliant on it.
So, because we didn’t have a car, my son and I started walking.
We walked to school, to the park, to the shops.
And it was honestly the best thing that has ever happened to us. We use that time now to enjoy nature, and take photos, and get fresh air and exercise.
It wasn’t intentional, but I also felt proud that I was not contributing to the pollution in our environment. And it felt very natural and ‘right’ to walk, instead of using a car.
It’s simpler, and less complicated.
Now we are at a point where I have to decide if I am going to get another car, and I am struggling with the decision.
I would love to hear your thoughts on it…
And of course renunciation is about much more than our physical possessions. It also extends to other things that we ‘cling to’. Our thoughts. Our food and eating patterns. Our concept of pleasure, and entertainment.
Think of all your possessions….
Which ones are most important to you?
Which ones bring you happiness?
Which ones could you live without?
Our possessions really are never ‘ours’. They are simply on loan.
They can be taken from us in an instant – through accident, fire, theft etc.
And we can’t take them with us when we die.