eckhart tolle teachings

The Illusion of Ownership

Traditionally, becoming a renunciate and letting go of all possessions seemed like a high spiritual path. But the life of the “vow-of-poverty” monk may give you a bigger ego than oil billionaires since you may now believe that you are more spiritual and superior to all others.

As the world watches in dismay as petrol prices rise every week, there is much talk about how they (oil companies, speculators, and the like) are stealing money from us.

Let’s talk a little bit about the illusion of ownership. Most people don’t realize until they are close to death that the whole concept of ownership begins to expose itself as empty and hollow. Whether you’re the oil minister of Saudi Arabia or the president of Exxon, it’s really true that “you can’t take it with you.”

Traditionally, becoming a renunciate and letting go of all possessions seemed like a high spiritual path. And most religious traditions have revered the ascetics and their begging bowls. Unfortunately, all you have done is replaced one set of ego ideals with another set that you are now identified with. You may in fact find that the life of the “vow-of-poverty” monk gives you a bigger ego than oil billionaires since you may now believe that you are more spiritual and superior to all others who have not embraced your radical path.

In the end it doesn’t matter what the ego identifies with, it’s the identity itself that needs to be called into question. If you’re against big business and obscene corporate profits you may have a valid point, but there is also the danger of making yourself right and others wrong. And the ego is strengthened and fortified by that kind of judgment.

And so while all of us wonder about gas prices, consequent inflation, and our future quality of life; remember, too, that this is all content. The content of the judging mind may mutate with the events of the world and your personal life, but it is your choice and totally up to you whether you identify with those same structures that keeps all this worry, upset, and suffering alive.

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