For time immemorial, man has been known as always ‘wanting’ and insatiable. The search for something new, different,exciting and attention-grabbing never evades us. The constant desire for power keeps the world feeding us with all its material possessions keeping our minds fascinated with acquisition,because we have equated worldly things to reputation. What you own equals who you are.
By nature we are materialistic beings, I am materialistic to be honest. I want to own everything, I just feel I need everything(which I don’t), it might make me feel better or worthier, even when I KNOW I CANNOT AFFORD it. The problem I have about materialism is the extent of attachment to the luxuries. Let us define attachment for a moment because it is a whole concept which involves psychological stuff in relationships between people that we cannot delve into in one post. In Buddhism it is referred to as Upādāna which compares it to ‘clinging’ or ‘grasping’. Most definitions of attached include having strong feelings of affection(emotional), and as human as we are we usually let our emotions override our better judgement. Our relationship with stuff starts as early as two, when a child can grasp onto the idea that he or she can possess an object,though their understanding of it does not breed evil as it does in adults.
Feeling angry because Grinch has what you do not have and you will do all in your power to acquire it. Should we honey glaze it as ‘positive competition’? Or is it just downright jealousy or envy? There is a difference between liking a dress on a friend and getting yours and wanting the dress all for youself,nursing feelings of hate and disgust as to why the person owns it and you do not. Beautiful things are good, gold,diamonds,silver,pearls,silk,lace,cars,shoes,art, etc and we eventually turn into HCHs (high class hoarders). Over 70% of the world have things they have not used in over two years and they are still keeping it for ‘a time might pop up’ moment when they will need it. I so believe in minimalism and how they live, by trying to give meaning to every moment of their lives and throwing out objects that do not serve them daily to be able to dedicate more time to actual people.Another thing they preach is gift giving. In order to reduce this surge for giving stuff which occupies space and will not be used,why not gift memories? A vacation, a visit to the less privileged, anything that will not collect dust on a shelf. this is a link to their site and what they preach
It is obvious why everyone wants recognition through property, when in real life someone wearing Alexander McQueen, or using iPhones makes you seem more reliable than someone else. Ladies as well as gentlemen will usually flock towards the flashiest thing, and if that thing is in the hands of a person, that is where they will go. People that own ‘nothing’ are considered unworthy alliances. Do not judge people for who they are from what they look like. Studies have shown that as we age our possessions start acting like a crutch for all self issues we might be dealing with. We lean on them because they give us temporary spikes of pleasure and feelings of reward. -you have worked hard enough;you dererve it;spoil yourself;reward yourself;selfcare- all the ways society tries to draw you into the whirlpool of constant consumption. You do not want to be left out because your agemates are presidents and you do not even own a Rav4. “The goal is to be rich, not to look rich”Moosa Rahat.
One last thing i want to talk about that we hold onto unknowingly which I am a victim of are Memories and the things that come with it. In Cameroon I had friends who had pictures that were faded and molded but they would not throw them away, even when you could only identify the shoes of the people in the picture. When someone dies, we hold onto almost all their stuff as if it would bring the person back. The earth cannot hold you as long, why do you hold onto material so? Imagine if the earth held onto people the way we hold onto material things, Jeez my great-great-great-great grandfathers great-great-great grandfathers great-great-great grandfather…I am sure you see where we are going with this. Sometimes people use pictures and things to justify what you did with or for another person. The true question is ‘Did you do it with your heart?’ With no desire for self-glorification or return? With pure joy knowing you might have made someone happy,no matter how slight? Let go of those things we cling onto, hoping it will keep the memory alive forever. It is not all memories that need to be translated into objects. As a mother, we have the tendency to want to keep our babys pictures and everything, but you need to let all that go and enjoy your precious moments with your child for most of the most precious are those unrecorded. That goes to for other relationships especially friendships.
Estimate how materialistic you are in all aspects , including emotionally and physically, and see how you acan improve and better your life, and those you serve. Jesus said to follow him we must leave everything behind…if you are too attached to material, this will be a hard one for you. What if disaster hit you like in the areas of fllood,tornadoes and wars where people lose everything? Will you rise and start over or will you dwell in your past sucking up remnants of a time lost?