Think for a moment about how much ownership you claim in your life. Look at external things like your house, car, clothes, career, business, professional titles, kids, spouse, friends, other family members. Also peek at internal things like emotions, sensations, thoughts and beliefs. Begin to investigate your relationship with all of the things both internal and external in your life. How much do you think, feel or act in accordance with the thought that something is yours? Anything that you own or claim becomes your identity and something that you then attempt to manipulate or control. These are also the same things that we tend to worry about or that we say create stress in our lives.
If you take this all the way to the extreme end you will see that taking ownership of something as yours is the source of all suffering. Pause for a moment and simply feel what it feels like to give everything away. I am not talking about physical items here necessarily, though those could be included, but instead giving away everything inside your mind. The thoughts about the sensations in your body, your emotional state of being, the list of all the things you need to do this week, your beliefs about how things work in this world and the perspectives you hold so strongly onto. It is in these moments of relinquishment that you taste your true self, that which remains when all is left to be as it is.
Now you may think, isn’t it irresponsible, superficial or bypassing this reality to disown everything. The first thing I would say is to do a little self-experimentation. Disown those very thoughts and see how it feels. I’d imagine the peace that you desire to feel and the spiritual blissful nature of yourself is what you will instantly experience. However if that is too radical for you and you prefer to take smaller steps into peace, freedom and bliss then the second thing I’d say is to investigate what it is that you really want. Do you want to continue to interject, impose, manage, make sure everything turns out ok for everyone, feel stressed or exhausted, feel bad for extended periods of time because you think you need to keep holding onto a particular feeling state or a story about a sensation? Do you have a belief that being human means that you must suffer and that the human experience can’t be congruent with a permanent state of peace or bliss? Also investigate what it is that you think you will lose if you let go and radically relinquish. Perhaps respect, purpose, validation, worth, people’s opinions about you, your opinion of yourself, your stories about what life means and what matters, love. It is often our fear of loss, pain, and lack of self-worth that keeps us holding onto stationary concepts of life rather than living it. In this way we continue the cycle of suffering for ourselves because we insist on what life should look like rather than what it actually looks like.
What we give away
However paradoxical this might sound, disownment of everything is where your true power resides. It is where the personality you steps out of the way and you come to know the real you that has been ever present but masked behind the scenes of your busy mind. Most people have a misconception that the more they have, whether that having is physical possessions, relationships, fancy titles or roles, conceptual knowledge, respect, admiration, some special gift, etc., then the more powerful they become. Though this is the surface appearance, the underlying truth is that true power lives not it what you have but rather in the giving away of all.
Many people have a desire to get out of the way and allow spirit to become them, live through them, and yet simultaneously they feel like they don’t know how to do this. The one that feels like it doesn’t know what or how is the one that is trying to stay in control of and do life. This one will never be able to figure it out because it is the one that is the roadblock in the first place. It like a large rock in a stream. The rock can’t figure out how to allow the stream to move through it because from the rock’s perspective its solid and fixed in place. It has no idea how to move itself. It needs either a large force that is other then its perceived self to move it so that the stream can flow clearly through or the rock itself needs to realize its non-solid nature. Its the same with us. Our minds (which is what we think we are) can’t figure it out. Our larger awareness or consciousness must come in to move us and the only ways that it can do that is if we are either empty enough to be moved (having realized our own non-solidity) or the force is stronger than our rock like nature.
The power of personality and personal will can only go so far. It is an important driving force and also what ultimately must be suspended and transcended if we are to grow and evolve beyond it. Our personalities are very persistent. They like to be right. They hate feeling wrong. They look at life in linear and black and white ways. They are insistent on labelling, defining and making sense of everything they see. They take things personally because they are by their very nature personal. When we confuse our identity with the mind this is what becomes our perceived real reality.
When we boldly give away everything in our mind rather than accumulate, hold onto or take, we empty ourselves out so that the brighter, more luminescent consciousness that we are becomes more apparent to us. This loosens our hold on the small person centric world view and opens us into a broader, less personal awareness. With more and more tastes we come to know this as our self rather than the personal self we’ve assumed ourselves to be. Loss of individuality is nirvana. Though disownment may seem irresponsible and sometimes scary to our person, it actually feels so freeing when we do and gives us direct access to our beyond self.
Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado