People often ask me for my thoughts on property ownership, both with respect to physical property and intellectual property. I feel inspired to write about this topic this morning, so I’ll share some of those thoughts with you now.
Do I think property ownership is a good thing, or is it an evil scourge?
For me, property ownership is about responsibility and sharing, not about control and security.
If you think that can truly own something, you’re mistaken. Your ownership of anything in the physical world is guaranteed to end eventually, either through loss or death. So how can you really own anything if your ownership will be taken away? You’re not really the owner of anything. You’re simply a temporary steward.
As a steward of your property, you’re responsible for it. It’s your job to take good care of that which is entrusted to you. It’s also up to you to define what “good care” means.
I see “good care” as meaning that I use my property responsibly and intelligently, in alignment with the principles of Truth, Love, and Power.
Truth – Am I honest in my property dealings? Do I lie or cheat to acquire? Or do I use my creativity to add new value to the world, such that I’m deserving of all the abundance that flows to me? I believe that the more honest and forthright I am, the more deserving I am property stewardship. I welcome property into my life because I know I’m a man who will take good care of it.
Do I live with the truth that all the property that flows through my life is temporary? Do I recognize and accept that I own nothing?
Love – Do I maintain property that truly connects with me? Do I feel good about what I’m responsible for? Do I love it and feel grateful for it? Recently I’ve been purging and donating items from my home that no longer connect with me. I feel someone else will be a better steward of those items.
Do I use my property lovingly? Do I care for it? Do I share it with others? Do I use it to add value to people’s lives?
Power – Is my property empowering? Or does that which I own end up owning me? Am I overburdened with stuff, or do I enjoy new freedoms as a result of my stewardship? Does property flow through my life as an expression of my power, or do I make the mistake of giving my power away to material possessions, money, etc? Do I practice detachment, or do I weaken myself by becoming attached and security-driven?
Do I use my property to empower others? Do I continually strive to direct it to the best possible use?
I own lots of intellectual “property” because most of my creative output, including the articles, audio files, and videos on this website, is copyrighted by default. I don’t do this out of a need to own everything I create. I don’t think I own the ideas I express anyway. But I do want to be a responsible steward for those forms of expression which I’ve created. I’m responsible for expressing the message clearly and for seeing that it gets shared wisely.
I’m willing to own intellectual property because I know that I’m a man who will take very good care of it. I think I’ve done an excellent job with the intellectual property that’s been entrusted to me so far. Most of it is now available freely worldwide, whereby the value has been received by millions of people in 150 different countries. And because of the system I set up for sharing this content, it continues to provide value to people 24/7 for little or no cost.
I don’t have any articles written that are just sitting on my hard drive, waiting to be published. I am not selfish with my content. When I get a good idea, I do my best to express it and share it quickly. In most cases I publish my ideas for free, as long as I believe that’s the best method to share them. I think this discipline is one of the reasons that so much intellectual property has been entrusted to me… as well as a never-ending flow of new ideas to express and share.
The universe constantly sends me new ideas because it knows I will express and share them responsibly. It knows I won’t dilute powerful messages or hesitate to express them. I will simply share what I receive. The universe also knows I can take a lot of criticism and still keep expressing new ideas without being swayed by the tides of public opinion. I believe all of these factors contribute to worthy stewardship.
When people suggest worthwhile ways I can be a better steward of my intellectual property, I listen. When I receive requests from people that I believe would muddle the message or use it for questionable purposes, I decline. I won’t always have the ability to direct my work in this fashion, but for now it’s like a child to me. It would be unwise to toss it out into the world haphazardly and hope for the best. There are many ways I can guide these ideas to reach the right people in the right ways, so as to stimulate responsible growth and positive change.
Upon my death I intend to release my intellectual property into either the care of the public domain (if I believe that’s the best option), or into the care of a highly conscious individual or group who can see that these messages remain available and accessible and are shared wisely. I’m not going to will everything to a relative who won’t know what to do with it.
You may disagree with my views on intellectual property, and that’s fine. I’ve heard all the pro-IP and anti-IP arguments many times over. This is the conscious choice I’ve made. If the universe disagrees with my choice and considers me an unworthy steward, it could send me lots of signals to that effect, such as blocking the flow of ideas. But so far it has been smooth sailing with a strong tailwind, so I take that as a sign I’m following the right course for now.
I also own a nice house, a car, cash, and various other possessions. But again, the idea of ownership seems a bit silly to me. I’m simply a steward of these items. They’ve flowed into my life because I’m a responsible man who will take good care of them. I know that I deserve to have these things in my life.
I keep my home neat and clean. I maintain it first as a private sanctuary to keep me at my best. It is a place that makes it easy for me to experience gratitude, relaxation, and abundance. I appreciate my home every day. When something breaks I repair or replace it.
My home empowers me, but I do not give my power away to it. I am not clingy or attached to it. I know that it’s all temporary, and so I treasure it more because of that. I often say to the universe, “Thank you for granting me such a beautiful home to live in. I am truly grateful.” But the words are not important. What matters is the feeling that goes with them.
I’m also responsible for sharing my home in a way that provides value to others. I frequently open my house to friends and strangers alike, whenever it intuitively feels right to do so. I share my beautiful kitchen with people who appreciate using it to make food. I offer my guest room to people who come to town as a place where they can stay for free. I make my home available for raw food potlucks for 30-40 people at a time.
When it feels good to enjoy my time alone, I do so. When it feels good to share, I do that too. I use my intuition to decide which modality feels right. I know that undue force has the ability to poison both solitude and sharing, preventing those gifts from being received with gratitude.
I even share my home with insects. If I see any walking around, I let them roam freely and do not harm them. I even say hi to them and let them know they’re safe here and that they needn’t fear me. Sometimes I warn them to stay outside when a friend who’s been known to eat bugs comes to visit.
Through the act of sharing, the flow keeps growing. When I share my home from a place of gratitude, the home improves. For example, one friend who stayed with me recently helped me plant some greens and herbs in my garden, which have already begun to sprout. Another friend taught me a new way to use a certain appliance to make creative raw dishes.
And of course sharing the jacuzzi is nice too… but not with insects.
By overcoming various struggles in my past, I’ve proven that I’m not going to give up, regardless of circumstances. If I could find a way to focus my energies on creating value for others even while going bankrupt, then what more testing do I need? Apparently the universe sees no more point in giving me tests that it knows I will pass. So it has surrendered to my will in those areas, providing me with financial abundance. But I had to become worthy of that abundance by passing the tests first. The universe had to determine whether or not I’d be a good steward.
I know that the reason I’m able to enjoy living in a beautiful home today is the result of a lesson I learned more than 10 years ago. I was broke, deep in debt, and going bankrupt. I had every reason to feel frustrated and resentful, and for a time that’s exactly what I did. But then one day, I sat on the beach for a while, and I decided to express gratitude for the unacknowledged gifts that were all around me. Partly I did this because I was fed up with feeling frustrated all the time, and I just wanted to feel something different, if only for a moment.
I expressed gratitude for the beauty of the ocean, the sound of the surf, and the warmth of the sun. I let go of my sense of clinginess and neediness. I decided to give thanks instead of asking for more for myself. I fully surrendered to the beauty that was all around me. That became a crucial turning point in my life. A year later all of my financial problems were gone, and they haven’t returned since.
November 2nd of this year was the 10-year anniversary of my bankruptcy discharge. Since I filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it stayed on my credit report for 10 years. Now it’s no longer on my credit report, and once again I have stellar credit — not that I need it now. Even so, it’s one more thing I can choose to be grateful for.
What about taxes? Should we resist paying taxes? What about the true nature of the Federal Reserve?
This question about whether or not to pay taxes isn’t new. It’s thousands of years old.
I especially love how Jesus answered this question: Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
That was a play on words because the caesar was the coin of the realm.
I pay all my taxes. It’s not a big deal to me. My money is not my money anyway. It’s simply something that flows through my life. The money belongs to Caesar. Caesar prints it and owns it, so I’m happy to let him have it when he asks for it. However, the abundance belongs to me.
I don’t care about the numbers. I pay little attention to them. I can’t even say how much money I make each month. I just know that it’s a lot. I spent as little time dealing with the numbers as possible. The numbers are the domain of Caesar.
I just know that whenever I check my bank account, there’s always plenty of money in it. That’s an effect, however, not a cause.
Money is not a power source. Money is in fact completely powerless. When I pay my taxes, I am giving away nothing of value. I am simply changing numbers in a computer somewhere. Some numbers go down while other numbers go up. It’s largely meaningless to me.
I could give money away to the most evil people on earth, and it means nothing to me. More money cannot increase their power. It’s only a number. Only human beings can choose to give their power away.
If you regard money as a power source, then you’re giving your power away. If you fear that evil people will become stronger with more money, then you’re using your power of intention to strengthen that delusion and to weaken yourself.
Do you think Bill Gates is more powerful than you because he has more money? If you do, then you’re giving your power away to an illusion. You are the most powerful being in your reality. Stop choosing to make yourself powerless.
Look within to notice how you spend your money. Do you empower that which you consider disempowering by your own relationship with money? Do you work for a soulless corporation to enrich greedy owners because you feel powerless to do otherwise? Does your need for financial security push you to make unwise choices that enslave you and rob you of freedom? Are you living as a coward, unwilling to make a bold leap into the place that stirs your soul?
Do you spend money on purchases that make you feel guilty? Are you honest about your feelings, or do you suppress them? Do you find it necessary to justify your purchases?
Money can only wield power over slaves. It cannot buy anything of real value, such as love or loyalty or honor. What money has the ability to control is not worth controlling. Money may flow through your life, but it cannot make you stronger.
The flow of money is simply part of the manifestation process. Sometimes abundance manifests with a greater flow of money; sometimes it doesn’t.
Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. Let those who want money have more of it. Let them succumb to the delusion that money is a power source. Let others choose to be their slaves if that’s the game they wish to play. And then you may sit on the sidelines of the money game and enjoy the drama of the show, occasionally reminding the willing players that it’s just a game and that they needn’t stress themselves out by taking it so seriously… and that they’re free to leave at any time and enjoy a life of simple abundance and flow.
Should we save up for retirement? Do we need to build a gigantic nest egg?
What’s the point? A fear-based need for security?
I don’t save up for retirement because I don’t see money as a power source. It can never be a source of security for me. I am content to die broke. I have so much abundance flowing through my life that I cannot fathom suffering from scarcity, with or without money. I don’t need a huge stockpile of cash and possessions to make me feel secure. A stockpile is still vulnerable (as many people discovered during the past few years), but my inner ability to create abundance is not vulnerable because that is a matter of conscious choice. As long as I’m conscious, I retain my ability to choose, and if I fall unconscious, I won’t care anyway.
I don’t see the point in retirement. I don’t have a job, so what is there to retire from? Life itself?
When it comes to my career and finances, I primarily focus on two things: (1) doing what I love, and (2) creating value for others. Ideally I look for ways to do both at the same time. Why on earth would I ever want to give that up? Why would I want to retire from that which leaves me feeling happy and fulfilled on a daily basis? Why would I want to stop doing what I love? Why would I want to stop sharing it?
If you think you’ll retire at some point, then you must see your work as a sacrifice on some level. And that means you’re giving your power away to something you don’t want. Why would you do that to yourself? Don’t you realize you don’t have to do that? You deserve better. Step up and claim it already.
If you have a career that you expect to retire from someday, then something is wrong with your career right now — in the present moment. You should retire from such silliness immediately, not decades from now. Just go to your boss and say, “I quit.”
If you were truly doing what you loved, you’d never want to retire. Don’t you deserve that kind of life right now? What’s the point in waiting? What are you waiting for anyway? For a miracle? For death? When will you be ready to start living? You do realize that it’s up to you to make it all happen, don’t you? As long as you’re willing to wait it out, life is happy to wait right along with you. But don’t be surprised when people like me stare at you like you’re an idiot for doing so.
Retirement is a funeral for people who’ve been dead inside for a long time. As long as I’m alive inside, I cannot retire. When I feel ready to retire, I will welcome death. I will not linger in that soulless half-life between life and death.
As Helen Keller wrote, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” If you aren’t consciously choosing to embrace the daring adventure on a daily basis, you’re unconsciously choosing the nothing.
What unacknowledged gifts have you been taking for granted? Do you expect more abundance to flow through your life when you’re unwilling to gratefully accept the abundance that is already there?
If you’re not expressing gratitude each day, you’re holding abundance at bay.
A friend of mine maintains a gratitude journal. She writes in it each day and has been doing so for years. I’m often impressed by the synchronistic flow of abundance through her life. When she expresses a clear intention, it manifests so quickly that it makes people’s heads spin.
For me gratitude has become an ingrained state of being. The feeling is triggered by so many things in my environment each day that I simply can’t help but feel thankful. After a deep conversation with a friend — which is something I enjoy pretty much every day — I often feel very fortunate to have such a person in my life. Sometimes I’ll say to myself, “Wow… what an amazing connection we share!” Or if I’m sitting in front of my fireplace, I notice how nice it feels to be by a warm fire. Or when I’m using my computer now or my new smartphone, I think about how cool it is to have access to such amazing technology. Even now as I’m writing this article, my eyes tear up from time to time as I feel stunned by how easily the words and ideas flow through me, and I anticipate how they may be of help to people who want to shift from scarcity to abundance.
I don’t need to say or write anything — it’s the feeling that’s important. I feel blessed every single day.
Today this is a habit, one that’s largely unconscious and automatic, but it began as a conscious choice. It was a choice I made after being notified that I was being kicked out of my apartment because I was behind on the rent. In that moment I finally learned to stop giving my power away and to create abundance by choice. After that it was only a matter of time before the external expression caught up to reflect the internal creation.
If you cannot choose to feel grateful NOW, regardless of your external circumstances, then you are prohibiting yourself from attracting abundance. Gratitude can only be experienced in the present. Thoughts like later, tonight, or tomorrow are decisions to continue attracting scarcity. Gratitude is either here and now, or it does not exist at all. Do not delude yourself into thinking that such a thing as later actually exists. Later is never.
I think stewardship is a great way to think about property ownership. We are the stewards of all the abundance that is entrusted to us.
It is not our place to try to claim and control as much as possible. Chasing security is a fool’s errand. We’re guaranteed to lose it all in the end. Security is a false, fear-based desire. If you pursue security through possessions, you will end up with neither. It’s only by letting go of neediness that we can experience abundance.
Nor is it our place to abdicate all responsibility for that which surrounds us. We must be responsible stewards of the land, the water, and the sky. In feng shui it’s said that even a chipped glass in your home is something you should repair or replace immediately; otherwise you’re shirking your duty to maintain a beautiful, stress-free living environment. You’re also signaling to the universe that you feel unworthy of non-broken items and that you only deserve that which is flawed.
If you learn to be a good steward, it is natural for more abundance to flow to you. If you’re a an irresponsible steward, scarcity will be your constant companion.
For all the possessions that have already been entrusted to you, including all your intellectual and physical property, what kind of steward have you been? Would you entrust more property to someone like you, or would you feel inclined to remove some of it? If you desire more, prove to the universe that you’re worthy of more. For another perspective on this topic, you may enjoy reading The Parable of the Talents.
What kind of steward have you been for all the gifts that life bestows? Are you a good steward of your body? Do you take good care of your living space and your work environment? Do you feel grateful on a daily basis for life’s many gifts? Would an objective observer easily conclude that you’re worthy of greater stewardship?
What kind of steward you become is an act of choice. This is where you can exercise the power of your consciousness. If you recognize that you’ve been a lousy steward and you wish to change that, you’re capable of doing so. A great place to start is by cherishing and accepting responsibility for all that has been entrusted to you already. Show the universe that you deserve more abundance by receiving its gifts with gratitude, and more will surely flow to you.