Unnecessary Possessions

EA237_Rush_Hour_on_Leith_St

Picture: Rush Hour On Leith Street  by John M. Boyd

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Do you really need it? Will you honour it?

These are the questions that I’ve been indirectly asking myself these cold autumn days while walking into the warmth of art shops. I love art and I can’t help but notice, in myself, that consumerist society has taught us to treat everything as if it was to buy and keep – or throw. Buying something means that you’re going to make use of it in the near or distant future. For example, I’ve been a book stasher for most of my University years, and of all those attractive books I might have positively read 30%. In the last few years, I’ve questioned many of my compulsive behaviours and slowly developed a higher degree of awareness. The other day, I went to a frame and print shop in Edinburgh and felt very attracted by some art postcards, checked the price and considered buying. Afterward, I started doing what I normally do in museums or galleries: observing the painting without mental labels; first the whole pictures, then the details. Therefore I chose to not buy any of those beautiful cards. However, and here’s the trickiest part of contemporary lifestyle, I saved their details on my smartphone – as if the paintings were going to die if I didn’t – for future use or appreciation. I understand that I could use those details to share the paintings with friends or on social media, thus adding value to these people. But, we have to be very aware of the energy behind our actions. Only through presence, and therefore awareness, we achieve a powerful level of freedom in our choices. We can shift our unconscious intention – usually stemming from the constant unsatisfaction of the ego – into a more selfless or creative one. The desire to possess, cumulate, keep or save for ourselves emanates from an illusory state of lack: our egoic identity deludes itself that it needs more stuff in order to survive.

I obviously didn’t need to possess those prints and attach them to the wall to appreciate them. Probably, I didn’t even need to save their details on my web browser, but I’ve made good use of them – the picture in this article is one of those. In the present moment, the only moment we actually have, I have the chance to merge with them, to enjoy their contemplation, naturally recognizing that I don’t need to possess any beauty in order to commune with it.

 

Herons

 

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