Thursday, August 06, 2015

Possessions, Including Boats

Resin stains

The Eucalyptus stump now serves as a base for the bird bath

Garden furniture

Front garden tree was severely lopped - for less leaves and more light

I’ve owned a variety of boats, usually one a time, excluding tenders. The benefits of owning one boat at a time are clear: You can only sail one at a time. If you have two or more, you have to maintain them, store them and preferably use them. Your expenses increase with every extra boat you own. Unless you have free storage space, keeping more than one can seriously increase your expenses - worst of all, your anxieties increase. When a fierce gale rages, you wonder if moorings will hold, and you are not satisfied until you have seen for yourself.

The same principle of the less you have the better, not only applies to boat ownership, but to all possessions. Obviously, I’m not referring to the basic necessities of life. We all require, shelter, food and clothing, and in a country such as ours, the UK, we want warmth in our homes during the winter months.

Some would say a car is a necessity, especially if they want the freedom to come and go as they please; although today, with the volume of traffic on our roads, there is no guarantee that you are going to get to where you want without hindrance because of congestion. What has been happening in Kent recently, because of countless lorries parked on the M20 due to an immigrant crisis at Calais and striking French ferry crews, is a motorist’s nightmare.

Early this year, my wife and I set about getting rid of things we didn’t use* – the sort of rubbish that accumulates in our loft. That process of shedding possessions has been ongoing, but no sooner than we shed, we accumulate! We’ve recently gained a number of possessions – things like a new patio and garden furniture, and of course, ‘Pike’, my Iain Oughtred skiff. Yesterday, I explained how I cared for the boat and how I was working on her to make her watertight. She requires effort and attention, if she is not to deteriorate.

Today, we had the eucalyptus tree cut down and taken away to simply our lives. The tree was lovely to look at, but what a pain it was, because of falling leaves and detritus in the form of twigs and bark, not to mention birds’ whatsit! All of this muck had to be swept off the patio on a regular basis.

Would you believe it? The workmen made a horrendous mess by marking the patio with resin stains from branches as they dragged them away. In turn, these marks ruined the appearance of the patio; so they had to be removed. The only remedy that worked was to apply bleach, and wire brush the affected areas.

I go back to the principle stated in the second paragraph, “The less you have the better.” -  Not forgetting the qualification about having the basic necessities of shelter, food and clothing. Why are we never satisfied? Why do we always want more?

Related Links

Boat Ownership

Minimal Sailboats

*Disposal of Surplus Possessions

Pruning for a Rich Harvest

Vanity of the Sailor


Alden Smith said...

Bill, you ask a very important question here. "Why are we never satisfied? Why do we always want more?"

Buddhism deals very well with this question, in fact it is part of Buddhisms "Four Noble Truths"

There is a saying from the Pali canon, "upadhi dukkhassa mÅ«lanti," which means “Attachment is the root of suffering.”

Buddhism is not a religion as such, it is more a science of the mind. I have found great truth within its teachings and is in no way a threat to Christian belief, in fact I have found it complimentary and emphasis's many practises which were once part and parcel of Christian spirituality.

I call these practises "The tools of transformation". By making a paradigm shift in the way we approach spirituality, which means changing our emphasis slightly (NOT discarding anything in terms of Christian belief) we are able to make some inroads into changing transforming who we are.

What has disturbed me about Christian practise is 2000 years of war and persecution regarding what one 'Believes' rather than what one does (The fruits of the spirit).

Less emphasis on demanding that the rest of the world will be saved by believing in ones own religious ideas and more emphasis on transforming oneself first I think would go a long way to make Christs Church a more attractive proposition.

The tools of transformation as I seem them are:

Impeccable moral behaviour.
Meditation (or mind training).
Spiritual reading.

It is interesting that the Dalai Lama admonishes Christians who want to become Buddhists and tells them to go back to their own communities and churches and make their own inherited religion work - by work he is talking about personal transformation of the individual, not theological exclusiveness about "Belief". Believing in Gods love and compassion is very important, but we must transform ourselves first if we are going to take the delivery of this gift seriously.

I know many Christians for whom attendance in Churches doesn't seem to have changed them in any way at all. This is because all they hear in church is an admonishment to 'believe' and the exclusiveness of this belief - They are never taught the tools of transformation. I find this very sad indeed.

Unknown said...

I can only echo what Alden says. Very nicely put.