Keeping costs

Last year I sold my upright piano. It was six months old, but I had owned a piano before that – one which I had known since I was seven.

There was only some financial pressure in this decision. The rest of the decision was a conscious choice to consolidate my areas of focus and skill; concentrating on fewer things but doing them better, and in some cases exploring new territories. In other words, growing.

I kept a list of what the money from the sold piano went on. One year later, and the money is almost all gone. But it is amazing to me just how much that fund permitted me to do. Purchasing my very own kimono. Attending a week-long sesshin. Buying a brand new guitar. Recording an album in a professional music studio.

I have realised that this list echoes something of the dharma. To paraphrase John Daido Loori’s way of putting it – unless we are engaged in the natural state of always giving, we are walking against our own nature. (I’m sure he puts it much better than that.)

I realise now that keeping hold of things bears a cost. A picture on my wall is not simply something that I have purchased for myself. It is something that I have not given to someone else to enjoy, or sold in order to be free to do something with the money.

I guess that’s only half the message. What’s really the illusion is the very idea of a constant unchanging self which needs to ‘own’ ‘things’ in the first place. To be a self that owns is to live in dualism. Me. It.

Hmm. Dharma unfolding. I guess it takes time!

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