Leasing Your Life

It's okay to be different

Several years ago, I was reviewing my office’s lending library, and I discovered that a client hadn’t returned a book then several months overdue. So I wrote her a polite email which requested that she simply return the book.

A month later, a little miffed by the lack of reply, I wrote her another email reminding her that other clients were waiting to borrow the book. A few weeks later with still no acknowledgement, I sent yet another irritated email.

At some point later, angry over the apparent lack of consideration and contemplating yet another email, a realization struck me which caused me to laugh out loud heartily. It forever changed how I look at my possessions.

I realized that within a few short decades, I would be stripped of all my books. Yet not only would I lose my books, but also my car, house, clothes, savings, wife, family, friends… absolutely everything! I would return to the Mystery as naked as when I arrived.

Moreover with regard to possessions, I understood that what I thought of as possessions that I owned, such as the book, were simply objects leased to me. In a few years the term of my lease would expire, and my so-called possessions would be leased out to someone else.

The laughter which I felt was that of relief. Understanding that I “leased” my possessions relieved me of the tenacity with which I held the unreturned book and all my possessions. In my more conscious moments I could now hold all these lightly, for it seems ownership is an illusion.

In this material culture, we envy, fight, steal, and go to war over possessions, not remembering that whatever we could grab will slip through our tightly held grasp within due time. The “possessions” will remain to be leased by others, long after those who would presume to possess have passed.

I think it’s helpful to remember that all of us are leasing our lives. Some have long lease terms, others short. We possess nothing, not even the life that lives through us.

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