For many years we lived in an old house, ‘old’ by housing standards (500+ years), not so old by planet standards.
What I noticed for all the years I lived there was that I never felt as if i really ‘owned’ it. I mean, I had the mortgage papers and the stuff was mine, but I also felt the expanse of the generations who’d lived there before me, and who would after. It didn’t feel as if it was ‘mine’; it always felt more like I was a custodian, someone honoured to live there but only temporarily.
I’ve thought more about ownership, especially relating to property, since we moved into a town a couple of years ago and witnessed close up the mini-battles over parking spaces and gardens. At one level, understandable, but, at another, it seems totally weird to me that humans should be arguing over a few yards of pavement.
Who cares about the house I used to live in?
What does it matter what I think about these things other than it’s a reflection of my own personal weirdness?
Well nothing, of course.
Other than it highlights the malleability of a perspective like ‘ownership’.
I never really own anything. Even the money I think I’ve earnt, saved and spent, the things I’ve exchanged it for, are all temporarily in my life and I can choose to cherish them or to destroy them, to share them or to hide them.
I’m not suggesting anything here, I’m not suggesting we forget all our social norms, I’m quite happy keeping my pension fund to myself, thank you very much.
I am describing though, that even the perspectives that look solid to us may not be as solid as we think.
And that playing with them, throwing the stardust up into the air and seeing what aligns differently might open up a new way of looking at something and a new way of behaving towards something.
The house is only an example, one where it’s maybe easy to see the differences between feeling a responsibility of care-taking, compared to a greediness to possess.
But we can apply a change of perspective wherever we want.
Because one thing I do know to be true is that nothing the mind perceives is ever fixed.
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Originally published at https://cathypresland.com on April 1, 2021.