We put great credence in owning property, such as houses, land, and material things in general. On the whole Westerners are a rather possessive society. Our success as an upstanding person in the community is often measured by how much money or assets we have. Once we work hard to obtain these assets, we spend even more time and energy protecting our “hard earned” possessions. The death of a loved one or a grave illness stimulates us to face our immortality. We want to make certain the “right” person receives our possessions when we have passed on, so we hire lawyers to draw up elaborate wills. Sometimes we even include in these legal documents, instructions as to how our heir is to use our accumulated valuables. Frequently, a rather sad consequence of this obsession with inheritances is dissension among the chosen inheritors even before any death occurs. Many times, the portion of the inheritance that is received becomes a yardstick for their love.
This obsession with material possessions can even be a detriment to those who die. Through one of my therapy clients, I discovered that some people attempt to dictate the use of their money and possessions even after they are dead.
Marla, a forty-two year old, single, well-educated woman, came to me for help because she could not decide what occupation she wanted to pursue. She knew she was ready for a change from the corporate scene, but to what she could not decide. Everytime she made a decision she would later become anxious and filled with self-doubt. She had difficulty sleeping and as a result her health was starting to deteriorate.
I started her therapy session by showing her some breathing techniques designed to help her relax. Once she was relaxed I had the following dialogue with her.
Claudette: Marla, if you could choose any career, in what occupation do you see yourself?
Marla was silent for about a minute. I could see her eyes moving behind her closed eyelids.
Marla: I’ve always dreamed of owning my own business.
Claudette: Is there a specific business you’ve dreamed of owning?
Marla: Yes, I’ve always wanted a business where I could help people. Maybe a bookstore or healing center, one where people who are down could come and feel better about themselves. I want a place where people can share their hopes and dreams and have hope when they leave.
Claudette: Marla, now look at what obstacles are keeping you from having your dream become a reality. Name one obstacle that is stopping you.
Marla: I’m afraid the business would fail and I would lose all THE money.
Claudette: Of what money are you speaking?
Marla: The money I inherited from Grandma. I wanted to start a business with it but I’m afraid it’s a dumb idea and I will lose all her money.
I knew from past sessions with Marla that she had a very keen business sense as well as had an innate ability to prosper at what ever she did. For this reason, I suspected that her current self-doubt was connected to the fact that she would be using Grandma’s money.
Claudette: Marla, you have succeeded at everything you have set your mind to do. What would you do with Grandma’s money if you did not use it to start your own business?
After a few moments and much eye fluttering, Marla continued, but I immediately noticed there was a change in the tone of her voice.
Marla: She should forget that crazy idea and put the money in the bank.
Claudette: Who is this speaking?
Marla: I’m Marla’s grandma. She will just lose it on this hair-brained idea. I didn’t leave her my hard-earned money for her to throw it away.
As Grandma was speaking, I saw an older woman’s image take form behind Marla. I described her to Marla and she confirmed that it was her grandmother. At that point I suspected that Marla had inherited Grandma with her money and that the two at this point were inseparable. I continued the dialogue directing my questions, this time, to Grandma.
Claudette: Grandma, do you know you are dead?
Grandma through Marla: Yes.
Claudette: Why haven’t you gone into the Light, to Heaven?
Grandma through Marla: I need to make sure Marla doesn’t waste my money on some hair-brained idea like her father did.
I, then, asked for divine help in order to convince this confused and possessive “lost” soul to detach from her grand-daughter and go into the Light so that she might find peace and so that Marla would be free of her dominating influence. Two bright lights, angels or spirit guides came to either side of Grandma. Marla started to cry and shake slightly. After a few moments the bright lights and the image of Grandma started to get smaller and smaller. Eventually, they completely faded from my inter-dimentional vision. Grandma had at last gone home, into the Light.
When they were completely gone Marla’s body relaxed and I continued the dialogue.
Claudette: How do you feel now, Marla. Do notice anything different?
Marla: Yes, I feel calm, almost peaceful. My stomach doesn’t hurt any more.
We continued the session by together creating positive affirmations that she could use to establish a more positive mental attitude toward the upcoming change in her lifestyle.
Marla did start her own business, in fact several of them. Her inheritance money has grown and she is on her way to accumulating far more than Grandma could have dreamed of having. More importantly, from this experience Marla learned a great lesson. She learned that being obsessed with her manifestations was a fear, which could cause strife for the person whether alive or dead. Marla is now guiding her own life and working in a career she loves, in other words creating her own bliss.
Attachment, although more of a Western disease, is present else where as well. In Tibet, one of the New Year rituals is that each person gathers anything to which they have a deep attachment. On the day of the ritual, a huge fire is set in the village. After a spiritual and mental release of these attached objects, they are thrown into the fire so that a physical release may also be completed. If it is a certain person that is the attachment, a keepsake representing that person is thrown into the fire.
Similar to other ancient cultures, Tibetans believe we are only borrowing our physical manifestations, including our human bodies, while we exist on the Earth. They believe the only true possession we own is our spirit and that is all we take with us when we leave this planet. This belief may account for their ability to accept death as a natural processes without the fear that is so prevalent in Western Societies.
Through work with many clients, I have discovered that when people let go of their attachments that no longer serve a higher purpose in their lives, whether it is things or people, they become happier and more peaceful. Their energy increases and abundance of all types fills the space where fear and possessions existed before.
We are only leasing these earthly possessions and we should remain detached from them while they are under contract to us. We have been given the privilege of using and caring for them, but when the lease contract expires at our death, we must unconditionally relinquish them so someone else may lease them. Only then are we completing the cycle of life. As with any gift, we would be wise to show gratitude and appreciation for all of our earthly abundance, as the lease contract does not state that these physical gifts are ours for eternity. The only gift that is eternally ours is love, the essence of who we are.