Do we corrupt our lives by living to have?

Contributed by Isabel Hernández Negrin from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,

Spain.

I want to make the stipulation that having some things for basic survival is pretty normal and is in fact necessary. But here I would like to mention an attitude, that of desiring to have, to accumulate and to gather, and what it implies.

Perhaps we can reflect on the “having”, which often conflicts with the “being”. What gesture do you think corresponds with the “having”? To me, it suggests a closed fist, a pair of arms that grasp… What am I leaning towards in that case? I would say that I am leaning towards the exterior, looking at everything that attracts me with the intention of having it, of possessing it or perhaps just desiring it.

When I finally get what I have desired so much, do I end up being calm and satisfied? For how long? I think not much. The longing, the desire to have, seems to draw us away from ourselves and drives us to accumulate things, people, power and relationships. What for?

Maybe to feel some satisfaction, even if it is momentary. Maybe to feel safer, more accepted or admired.

Perhaps to reduce the anxiety that we feel and to relieve it with the satisfaction of hunting for something valuable for us.

Where does this take us?

To compete, to envy, to feel jealous, to separate ourselves from others and see them as adversaries… Is this what we seek?

All this comes with the desire to have; it is the complete package that we are buying.

Let’s go further back. I was saying earlier that maybe we are looking for satisfaction, to secure ourselves from the uncertainty, to feel accepted, powerful, admired.

Can we tackle this with a different attitude?

Can we feel satisfied, calm in the face of uncertainty, complete in ourselves without the longing to have?