The basic concept in Native American culture is
“You should never own anything
that you couldn’t give away.
~ LaDonna Harris
Attorneys understand that you need to have a good memory when you lie. Likewise, you need to have good defenses when you own. The idea (mentioned above) of never owning anything that we couldn’t give away may be our only salvation from the paranoia that accompanies private ownership.
The Native American perspective was that we don’t own anything but we are stewards of everything. That could be described in a single word: responsibility.
Ownership is onerous. Interesting how coded our English language is with odd collisions of ironic meaning. Onerous is described on Wiki as “burdensome, arduous, strenuous, difficult, hard, severe, heavy, backbreaking, weighty, uphill, challenging, formidable, laborious, herculean, exhausting, tiring, taxing, demanding, punishing, grueling, exacting, wearing, wearisome, and fatiguing.”
Sounds like an accurate description of the situation we’ve gotten ourselves into in the twenty-first century with our ownership economy, conversely, Stewardship is defined online as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.” Sounds like a completely different paradigm.
Shifting paradigms from ownership to stewardship is a key to our human survival. It happens in consciousness, one individual at a time.
Here are some clues about the implications, framed as visionary strategies, and beginning with a single question that develops concrete realizations about how abundance populates the paradigm of stewardship.
Who would we need to become to make it as a species, to successfully navigate the immense challenges that threaten our survival beyond the twenty-first century?
We would need to reconnect with nature and the Divine and change our thinking from fixing problems to accessing genius, using imagery to grow our visions of a healthy future. That’s abundance.
Those visions would be holistic, highly attuned to the intelligence of Gaia herself, fulfilled by utilizing available, renewable resources just like other species do but leveraging them in ways that only humans can. That’s abundance.
We would abandon ego cleverness to become communal creative artists of life, instinctively doing the right thing, in harmony with all beings. Our will, Divine will — the same. That’s abundance.
We would reconnect with our neighbors, human and non-human alike. Our fundamental mindset would shift from independence to interdependence and we would learn how to function synergistically to fulfill larger, sustainable intentions for the well-being of kin and environment. That’s abundance.
The panic and fear that has generated our addiction to isolated security would dissolve into the comfort of belonging within the web of all life, secure in a new kind of faith that doesn’t depend on fortress defenses or religious disempowerment. That’s abundance.
“Me” would merge into “we,” creating a colorful society fundamentally dissimilar from those grim 1984 depictions of mind-numbed zombies enslaved in a spirit crushing socialist prison complex. That’s abundance.
Wealth would no longer be measured in accumulation but in balanced distribution, because the concept of protected private ownership would evolve into trusting, shared stewardship. Instead of owning things we would care for things and willingly, happily, redistribute excess to balance lack, not through humanitarian generosity but with common sense. That’s abundance.
Success would depend on cooperative teamwork, not on competitive individual manipulations. Our striving to achieve would become interpersonal and the power wielded by a handful of billionaire celebrities would be superseded by millions of local heroes collaborating together. That’s abundance.
We would understand and experience deep time -- cyclical, not linear -- and welcome all the seasons of our lives, enjoying the gestation of winter as much as the hope of spring, the pleasure of summer, and the abundance of autumn. We would develop patience, and experience abundance.
Death would not be the end, but a new beginning, rebirth and return, turning us into the third act of our life story to face with anticipation, not fear, whatever comes next. Abundance.
Copyright 2016. Natural Wisdom LLC.
Reprinted with permission of the author.
Now or Never: A Time Traveler's Guide to Personal and Global Transformation
by Will Wilkinson
Discover, learn, and master simple and powerful techniques for creating the future you prefer and healing past traumas, to improve the quality of your personal life and help create a thriving future for our great grandchildren.
Will Wilkinson is a senior consultant with Luminary Communications in Ashland, Oregon. He has written and delivered programs in conscious living for forty years, interviewed scores of leading edge change agents, and pioneered experiments in small scale alternative economies. Find out more at willtwilkinson.com/