Why do we often attach our sense of well-being to stuff?
It’s an old question. And whenever I ask myself that, I always come back to the same thought: no matter how much material success I may have in this life, everything I see is temporary.
That certainly doesn’t stop us from attaching our sense of security to what we have attained, especially if it has taken us a significant amount of time and/or effort to achieve. Indeed, attaching our sense of safety to possessions or status is the epidemic of the modern age when, frankly, materialism is the status quo.
But when I think back on my time living on the Big Island of Hawaii, I must admit that even though I was, on paper, under the poverty line, I nonetheless felt quite secure and safe there.
Actually, it began even before Hawaii, when I’d exposed myself to the unpredictabilities, risks, and rewards of solo travel. If you’ve been reading this site for a few years, you’ve already read about many of my adventures. Thankfully, such experiences were overall quite enjoyable, not to mention provided me with plenty of growth-inducing stories that I share with you!
The Most Valuable Lesson
The point is, Hawaii taught me many valuable lessons, but as my time away from it grows, I’ve realized that perhaps the most valuable lesson of all was realizing the answer to another age-old question: “Are you really safe here?”
Well, are you?
I’ve seen so many people try to create a sense of security through outward possessions and attainments. But does it really work? Does it work in the long-term? What happens when rot sets in? What happens when the stock market takes a dip?
Circumstances can change rapidly in life, especially on a volcanic island, and living on Hawaii proved to be a crash-course in the non-permanence of all things. These days, possessions seem more like grains of sand on a beach to me than real objects: they flow in and out of my life at the perfect time.
I moved three times from 2013-2014. And yes, each time I changed spots on Hawaii was a little scary. Moving is never without stress. But I wasn’t alone.
Maybe it was because I’d cultivated good relationships, or maybe it was because the Universe itself was looking out for me, but something always worked out. Even when I decided to move on relatively short notice, a friend of mine was available in the right place at the right time to help me move the few possessions I had with her car. (To her, I am forever grateful.)
What does all this mean?
Well, if I can experience as much (or more) joy and security than someone in a more traditional situation, then is the feeling of well-being and security truly connected to money at all? Many people turn money into their sole power-source, but is that really true at the deepest level? Does the power come from the number or from the energy and set of beliefs that you bring to it? How many people do you know that are outwardly successful but are also worried about losing what they have gained? This is clinging, and it brings suffering.
Where does the true happiness lie?
The truth is, when you align with love, you know that you are safe.
Are you really safe here?
How you answer the question defines your attitude in every area of your life: all of your beliefs, thoughts, and actions.
As for me, I’ve experienced enough to know that I am safe here. What about you? How could your life change if you decided that you were at all times, safe, secure, and centered? There is a lot to consider here, and perhaps I’ll return to this topic at a later date.
Until then, just remember: possessions pass away, but sharing love and bringing light are eternal.