There is a story of a traveller who visits a Zen master and on arrival finds a small dwelling with only a few objects such as a bed, table, and a handful of books. The traveller drops two large suitcases down and asks the Zen master:
“Where are all your possessions?”
The Zen master replies:
“Where are yours?”
The traveller looks at his two cases and says:
“Well, I am only a visitor here”
The Zen master says:
“So am I. So am I.”
We are all visitors here on this planet. For how long we don’t know for sure and when we leave nothing we have amassed over the years will go with us. The possessions that we think carry such importance are made of the same dust as us in different arrangements. Stuff comes, stuff goes and when we go stuff simply stays and changes hands.
It doesn’t mean you should not have “things”; it’s simply wise to recognise its all temporary. Your possessions are temporary even if you keep them your entire life. You have to let go sometime, so why not let go whilst you still own your items? It doesn’t mean giving everything away either, although you can if you want – it simply means enjoy your possessions in a non-attached manner.
Visualize your favourite possession and then imagine it as a pile of dust. Visualize yourself and then imagine your body as a pile of dust. That’s impermanence – the coming and going of all things including you. The only fear that results about the fact of impermanence (via your thinking) is your attachment to wanting it to be otherwise. What you think you lose if you lose a possession is not the possession – it’s your attachment to it. Your attachment to a possession is thoughts, so really you fret over losing your thoughts about the item. It’s not the item at all; it’s the feeling of incompleteness without the item – an illusion because you are already complete.
Here is a quote from Deepak Chopra in his book “Unconditional Life”
“So long as our happiness depends upon objects ‘out there’, we are their prisoner. We have given our freedom away to things”
You came to the planet with nothing and you’ll leave with nothing. Your possessions are visitors and you are a visitor. It makes sense to enjoy the stay whatever you have or don’t have without making “things” into conditions of or for your happiness 🙂