We tend to claim ownership of many aspects of life and parts of ourselves or our experiences.
Listen to the language we use.
My home. My school. My personality. My thoughts. My emotions. My ideas.
We claim ownership even of things we don’t want.
My arthritis. My sciatica. My depression. My anxiety. My fear.
We get attached to these things. But they are not us.
The origins of Persona come from the masks worn in ancient plays. Your persona, your personality, is a mask.
It’s not you. It’s not yours. You don’t have to own it.
Every thought and idea has existed before.
Who owns it? Who originated it? It’s not yours. You may be thinking a thought but the thought is not you. You are not the thought.
The things we own end up owning us.
You Are the Witness
Spiritual teachers often talk about the concept of detachment, releasing our attachment to things, ideas, thoughts, emotions, beliefs.
It can feel hard to wrap our heads around this concept, especially because we live in an “ownership” culture.
I love the metaphor of sitting on a hilltop overlooking rolling hills. Down below is a road. You see a car come into your field of vision. It drives along the road coming into the center of your vision. Then it disappears.
The car may represent thoughts or emotions.
You are seeing the car. You are the witness. So if you are the witness, you can’t be the thoughts or emotions, or whatever else the car may represent. Pain. Physical sensation. Ideas. Personas.
We don’t have to own anything. We can rent or borrow. Try it on for size and see how it fits.
What happens when we detach from the ownership of these things?
Who Are We Without What We Own?
Titles. Roles. Homes. Sensations. Ailments. Personalities. Thoughts. Beliefs.
What is underneath all of that? Who is underneath all of that?
That’s the journey of a lifetime. If you’re willing to take it.
Two years ago today, I closed on the sale of my apartment. With no plan for where I’d live next, I embarked on a home-free adventure, a journey to experience, and therefore know, what it feels like to detach from ownership.
Leaving the life I knew behind, I found freedom to explore who I am without the ties to the things I owned.
You don’t have to go to that extreme. There are plenty of things you’re claiming ownership of that you can relinquish.
What’s one thing you claim ownership of that you can release this week?