Saturday, 6 October 2007

Thanksgiving and the One Hundred Things

Back in the Summer, Pea at the Mustard Seed Journal wrote a post about what many of the people at the Riot for Austerity 90% Reduction group were doing as part of their efforts to reduce life's excesses. To really examine which possessions are necessary ones. The idea was to come up with a list of 100 versatile belongings, considered essential by that person to live one's life. One of the Rioters proposed some guidelines, and online discussion ensued.

I didn't partake in the discussion (I'm still more of a lurker in the 90% Reduction group, even though I'm also working on the 90% reduction goals), but after reading Pea's article the idea has been in the back of my mind. As Canadian Thanksgiving approaches, it's been much more in the front of my mind. I find myself looking at things here at home and asking myself, "Would that [insert doodad here] be on my list?" Most of the time I can quickly answer, "No."

I have so much stuff. We have so much stuff. Most of this stuff I/we do not need. I have over 100 books, let alone all the other stuff. I have a cozy home, food to eat, clothes to wear, a good job, and a family to love and love me back. For these things I am truly thankful. What do I need with all this other stuff?

As I looked around and saw all the things that wouldn't be on my list, my perspective shifted and suddenly I felt lighter, even relieved somehow. I like these things I have around me, but I don't need them. I became more detached from them, right then, in that moment. I need to find at least some of these things a better home.

I'll ask the same question Pea asked: What would be on your list? And my own question: what wouldn't be?
Chapter 48

Pursue knowledge, daily gain
Pursue Tao, daily loss

Loss and more loss
Until one reaches unattached action
With unattached action, there is nothing one cannot do

Take the world by constantly applying non-interference
The one who interferes is not qualified to take the world

Tao Te Ching, translated by Derek Lin
Image courtesy this flickr site

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