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  • Writer's pictureLida Sherafatmand

Our Internal Experience, The Only Real Possession

During the revolution and war, as a child I saw how some people lost their social status, and wealth, as well as loved ones who got killed.

So if properties, social status, and loved ones, can be taken away from us, what do we actually possess at the end of the day? Having witnessed losses at a very young age, I did not want to become an adult who depends on possessions which can be taken away from me. It was a question how a life style or sense of identity and being can be built on things that are fragile in their existence.

Years of exploration and learning has brought me to the point that our really true possessions are actually our experiences inside, the quality of our experiences and our relation with the world outside us and inside us. That is the only possession which we take with us to bed at night, and that is also the only possession which no one can touch or take away from us.

Royal families can lose their status if there is a political change. Politicians can lose their prestige if there is common revolt. Houses are lost if there is an earthquake. Businesses can go bankrupt if markets evolve.  A partner can walk away, a loved one can die. Therefore an identity which is based in its core on any outside entity is a fragile identity in the core. Equally a sense of possession which depends on outside entities is also a fragile possession. This is not to say that any form of attachment with outside entities should be dismissed, but it is to say that the attachment with outside entities are beneficial to the level that they do not become our base definition of who we are, or what we possess.

Basing our sense of possession on our internal experience, creates the healthy space we need for building relations with the external entities and enjoy them for what or who they are. Equally basing our sense of identity on intrinsic qualities provides the healthy space for having better relations with others whereby we do not create pressure on others for our fear of losing them, or turning them into what we want to possess.

Having outside possessions is important for fulfilling needs, however they are not important in giving a sense of who one is, or one’s meaning in life. The level of ownership to outside possessions cannot be linked to one’s sense of self or meaning of life, because that creates a very shaky ground for one’s life to blossom from. When one builds a relationship with the outside, the experience of that relationship is the only real possession in one’s hand, and not the outside entity itself.  So let’s say if one owns a house, and that house is suddenly gone by an earthquake, that would not shake the sense of who the person is, nor his meaning of life. It would sure shake the physical comfort and need to find another place to live in, however the core of the person is not shaken.  In this case being a house-owner or a home-less, become ‘conditions’ rather than ‘identities’, because we would not have based our sense of self on that outside ownership. Just like being a ‘refugee’ is a ‘condition of citizenship status’ and not an identity of who a person is.

Outside conditions become identities only if we attach our sense of being to them. For example being wealthy, or poor, become ‘identities’ rather than ‘life conditions’ only if we attach our sense of self to them. Consequently getting rich or poor destabilize a person according to how much the core of the person is based on it. This is not to deny the disturbance that the fluctuation of a person’s income can create for the person, but it is to pinpoint the level of disturbance it creates. The quality of how we experience each condition (for example living in material wealth or material poverty) becomes our true possession at the end of the day, and what allows us to experience what human life can be like.

Indeed the larger the range of our experiences becomes, the larger the garden of our soul grows, and the larger our real possessions grow. From this point of view, any changes in outside conditions serve as a new possession of experience, in particular because outside conditions are rarely permanent in their status quo. One can always thrive to be in certain conditions and not in others, however basing the core of one’s sense of being on those external conditions or possessions creates shaky grounds inhibiting the flowering of the person into a more enriched being, one that transcends the different life conditions and its outside possessions.

Lida Sherafatmand


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