Not Really Yours

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“Don’t cling to things. Consider your property something that the universe has bestowed on you temporarily. Keep in mind that it can recoup this (and more) in the blink of an eye.” Rolf Dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly

Dobelli was writing about an economic quirk called the Endowment Effect. We tend to value things more highly when we own them. We don’t want to part with them, which can lead to bad investment decisions. His saying also reflects a spiritual truth. The Sufis say, “You have many endowments which are yours only in trust. When you understand this, you can give them to the rightful owners.”

Learning this wisdom can change people’s lives, as it did for Bishop William Greg Valentine of San Francisco. Valentine is Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Tabernacle Baptist Church in the Bayview District. Last month, a group of us from Jewish Voice for Peace joined the community in repairing the church after an attack by vandals, who had destroyed pews and carpets and spray painted walls with racist graffiti. While the work went on, Pastor Valentine told us a story.

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6 Responses to Not Really Yours

  1. Randy Peyser says:

    An insightful story. Enjoyed it! It helps me in the process of letting go of a heartbreak.

  2. Jim P says:

    Spellbound by belongings is only temporary. Things come and they go. Why mourn one thing’s loss when another is bound to come eventually. David, your writings inspire me to think more deeply and more long-term. Thank you and I look forward to the day we talk in person again.

  3. Tammy says:

    IT’s a good thing to reflect on. Since the recent fires in California, some people have lost everything. I thought about how devastating this would be and how much I covet my possessions–what would I save if I could? photos? art? my sheet music? clothing? it all seemed vital. Hmmmm.

  4. Nurse Tim of The Yukon says:

    Think of this: what do worldly possessions serve as? They give us a sense of attachment to this world, and moreover, to the future in this world. But this is false security, for this stuff and the cares of the world are ephemeral and fleeting.

    Ultimately, all we do have is today, and for that matter, all we really have is the here and now; the past is gone and the future is uncertain…

    What are you going to do with this moment you have been given?

  5. Pingback: Living in Crisis Time | The Inn by the Healing Path

  6. Mathias says:

    I REALLY like this piece. I’d guess you’d say you could still edit it some more, tighten it up a bit or something. But it feels good, natural, like a quick talk under some sort of roof while we wait for the rain to ease up. Mahalo nui!

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