The less I’ve lived with over the past few years, the more I’ve realised I can live without. I never needed all those gaming figurines to prove I enjoyed videogames. I never needed a huge collection of memorabilia and mugs. I didn’t need shelves and shelves of books to prove I love reading, and I never lost the knowledge I’d gained from parting with them.
My identity was inside me, never on the outside.
Back when I relied on the objects I’d collected to express my identity, the irony was that I never got a real chance to be who I was because I spent most of my time cleaning, organising, maintaining, and shopping for more.
So caught up was I in proving who I was, I forgot to live. My truth was hidden under and behind everything I owned.
But there’s a more important truth I want to share about our stuff: almost none of it matters.
We will leave this Earth the same way as we were born.
Simply the essence of who we were.
Buddhism teaches that everything is temporary; nothing lasts forever. But you don’t have to be religious to see that. Everything that is new eventually loses its sheen. Even the heirlooms that are passed down through generations eventually degrade. Not to mention external events out of our control that can force us to abandon that which we thought was essential or held dear.
We cling to things for a sense of safety, belonging, and indentity, yet it’s all an illusion.
I’m not saying we should never own anything at all, rather we should learn to be detached from our stuff. To separate our emotions and memories from the objects and understand that most of everything we need beyond basic survival is already inside us.
The most important thing is living our light and playing our own part in the world, whatever that part may be.