Daily Meditation #186–8/27/2022
Driving to work this morning, I noticed some new construction alongside the highway.
Not 6 months past, an endless swath of forest had sat here.
Now, it was a long, narrow row of storage units, perhaps 50.
When I got home for a quick lunch, I glanced at my Alexa. She frequently promotes “helpful questions” to prompt you to ask her.
This time it was “What is a good gift to give a Zen Master?”
I only had to think of it for a brief moment and my conclusion was “Nothing.”
Why would a Zen Master desire anything physical?
Things are called possessions…
But who possesses who?
Do you “possess” your collection of shot glasses from the states you’ve visited?
Or, do they “possess” you?
Do you use them? Isn’t that what they’re “for?” Their purpose?
Do they collect dust?
Bring memories? How often?
Are the 10 seconds of memories “worth” the cost of the collection?
What is the “value” of those memories?
Objects are challenging.
We — very specifically Americans — suffer from an evolutionary vestige.
Hoarding and collecting that which is without purpose.
America is turning into “The Land of Storage Units.”
“I’m going to save this Greek Yogurt container for leftovers,” you tell yourself.
Okay. That makes sense.
But what about your 20 TupperWare bottoms and 27 lids?
How many of those match?
You already have 10 of the yogurt containers?
Are your 1980s Sports Illustrated issues really worth that much?
We could go on and on. But I am not here to judge you.
These meditations are to make you think.
So think. Think of your “stuff.”
One inevitable day you will die.
If you happened to know you would die in 3 days, would you go through your home clinging to and weeping over your collections?
No. You wouldn’t.
So, ask yourself — Do I need this thing? Do I need a bigger house because I need more space to enjoy making memories with those who I love most? Or do I need a bigger house because of my accumulations? Do I really need a storage unit?
“The things you own end up owning you.”
Follow for daily philosophical meditations.
These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”