Jesus Said, “Let Go of Your Stuff!”

My “literary license” has here been employed but I think that “let go of your stuff” is a good paraphrasing of the teachings of Jesus.  For example, this was conveyed in his observation that it would be easier for a rich man to enter the eye of a needle than to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And in another place, he responded to a query re what one must do to have eternal life with the response, “Sell all that you have and give it to the poor.”  Now, I don’t think these words were to be taken literally but were merely his ways of pointing out how deeply attached humans are to their possessions, their “stuff.”  And his teaching that we find our self only in losing our self is another example of the same them.  This detachment from the material world was, and is, a motif in Eastern spiritual teachings as eastern thought reveals less of an investment in the object world.

 

In my culture, interpreting the teachings of Jesus as “Let go of your stuff” would real ring dissonant with most people.  For, we are very attached to our “stuff” and attached to such a degree that we can’t understand the notion.  Asking anyone to see this attachment is like asking a fish to see water.  And this attachment issue also pertains to spirituality for in the West we tend to approach faith as just another item in the category of “stuff” and so we glom onto it and proceed to exploit the hell out of it just as if it were like any of the rest of the “stuff” that we are so attached to.  And, in most cases it is!  And this is actually just a form of addiction and even if the object of our addiction….the substance is something purportedly noble…it is still an “addictive substance” in our case and thus is used to avoid reality.  And this is the reason that so much of modern day religion appears to be absurd to anyone with a capacity for critical thought as they can readily see that it has nothing to do with anything other than practitioner himself.  This is what Karl Marx had in mind when he described religion as “the opiate of the masses.”

 

Shakespeare understood this sin of misplaced concreteness so well, that sin of taking for real that which is only ephemeral.  He saw that our investment in “stuff” reflected a disregard for our subjective experience…our heart…in preference for an inordinate investment in the object world.  His conclusion was “within be rich, without be fed no more.”

Here is the entire Shakespearean Sonnet:

 

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,

Thrall to these rebel powers that thee array?
Why dost thou pine within, and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? is this thy body’s end?
Then soul, live thou upon thy servant’s loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
And, Death once dead, there’s no more dying then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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