Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I took a walk in the nearby forest yesterday. At some point, while I was enjoying nature around me, I thought "If I was mistress of this forest, if I owned it, I would be happy walking here all the time." Of course, a split second later I realized that how I feel while taking a walk is not related to whether I own the ground I walk on or not. I wonder why our first impulse is always to connect happiness with property, when usually it's the other way round. Owning property makes you afraid of losing it. On the other hand, you need to own enough to have a certain minimum living standard (which varies from person to person) to fulfil the basic human needs.
But since we're living in the Western world, I can assume that most people have more than they need. We could all do with less.
I'm guessing that it's a cultural thing. Buddhism seems to be strong on simplicity and non-attachment. As the article says, we're living in a culture that values property and urges people to consume. So we don't usually think in terms of getting rid of our property.
Later, when I came home in the evening, I discovered that about half of my internet bookmarks had somehow disappeared. I was annoyed at first, then wondered which bookmarks had actually gone - the ones I use on a daily basis were still there. It took me some time to remember that they were my reference bookmarks that I use occasionally to look something up (quite a lot for online shops, Fairtrade websites and living history pages). I was annoyed again, but then somehow relieved and ended up feeling quite positive. It's a bit like starting anew.
Of course, then I found a way to recover the bookmarks and was slightly disappointed at this failed opportunity. But I still remember that sense of relief I felt.
I'll take this as a sign to go through my cupboards, wardrobe and anything else and throw away what I don't need anymore. I used to do this every summer until two years ago. Time to start anew.



No comments: