January 14, 2024

How Secure Are You?

Jacques de Villiers writes about security

Article 5/365 of Jacques’s Writing Quest

One of our biggest drivers is to feel safe and secure. 

I remember a story by my teacher, Shaykh Ebrahim Schuitema, that completely changed my understanding of security.

He spoke about owning a house which is one of the cornerstones of feeling secure in our perception.

He asked me to imagine that vandals would come to my house and trash it. When I come home from work and see the damage they’ve done, I’m appalled and upset. 

I spring into action to make sure that this doesn’t happen again and that I protect my home. I sign up with my neighbourhood protection service, get an alarm and an electrified fence. And, for good measure, I bought an attack dog. 

He then asked me to imagine that I’m walking in the street and getting mugged. I put up a fight and got soundly beaten up. I limp home battered and bedraggled. As I enter my home, does my house say to me, “Good grief, Jacques, what happened?” “How can I help you?”  “I’m going to hunt down those muggers?”

Of course the house doesn’t say anything. In fact, if someone murdered me and slept in my bed, the house wouldn’t give two hoots. 

Who is protecting whom?

We live in an impermanent world. Nothing is secure and everything can be taken away from us in a heartbeat. No marriage is completely secure. No job is secure. Health is never guaranteed. Possessions aren’t secure. 

From one perspective, this is a depressing thought. From another perspective, this is liberating. 

Don’t take anything for granted. Live each second as if it’s your last. Appreciate every moment. Be grateful, generous, and kind.

I feel that the Buddhists have it right when they talk about non-attachment. Attaching to anything makes one feel less secure, that’s for sure. 

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