Happiness: Precept 12-2

Reference: The Happiness Rundown

12-2. Take care of your own area

When people mess up their own possessions and area, it can slop over into your own. 

When people seem to be incapable of caring for their own things and places, it is a symptom of their feeling that they don’t really belong there and don’t really own their own things. When young, the things they were “given” had too many cautions and strings attached or were taken away from them by brothers, sisters or parents. And they possibly did not feel welcome. 

The possessions, the rooms and work spaces, the vehicles of such people advertise that they are not really the property of anyone. Worse, a sort of rage against possessions can sometimes be seen. Vandalismis a manifestation of it: the house or car “nobody owns” is soon ruined. 

Those who build and try to maintain low-income housing are often dismayed by the rapidity with which ruin can set in. The poor, by definition, own little or nothing. Harassed in various ways, they also come to feel they do not belong. 

But whether rich or poor, and for whatever reason, people who do not take care of their possessions and places can cause disorder to those about them. I am sure you can think of such instances. 

Ask such people what they really do own in life and if they really belong where they are and you will receive some surprising answers. And help them a great deal too. 

The skill of organizing possessions and places can be taught. It can come as a new idea to someone that an item, when picked up and used, should be put back in the same place so it can be found again: some spend half their time just looking for things. A little time spent getting organized can pay off in speeded work: it is not the waste of time some believe. 

To protect your own possessions and places, get others to take care of theirs. 



0. Make sure you have completed the exercise section at Happiness: Precept 12-1. Study the precept above.

1. Check the responses to the following questions for false data (see false data steps at Happiness: Prologue).

(a) “Have you been told or taught not to take care of your own area?”
(b) “Do you have any rules or ideas contrary to taking care of your own area?”
(c) “Have you been led to believe that you shouldn’t take care of your own area?”
(d) “Do you know of anything that conflicts with taking care of your own area?”
(e) “Do you have any false data about taking care of your own area?”


2. Go over each of the following questions repetitively, until there are no more answers: 

(a) “How have others transgressed against the precept: ‘Take care of your own area’?”
(b) “How have you transgressed against the precept: ‘Take care of your own area’?”

Do a quick review to see if you did not miss any answers on this step. You should be feeling good about this step.


3. See if the following question definitely brings up some name you know of:

“Is there any specific person in your past who really transgressed against the precept: ‘Take care of your own area’?”

If no name comes up then go to step 4. if a name has come up, then continue with step 3 as follows:

“Can you recall an exact moment when you observed ___(name)___ transgressing this precept?”

If there is a realization, go to step 4. Otherwise, continue contemplating as follows, until there is some realization.

“Is there any time when you wanted to be like ___(name)___ ?” 
“Is there any time when you decided that not taking care of your own area was a good thing?”
“Did you ever do anything bad to ___(name)___ ? 
(Get all possible answers)
“Are there any differences between ___(name)___ and yourself?”
“Are there any similarities between ___(name)___  and yourself?”


4. Handle any anomalies that come up on the following question by looking at the anomaly more closely. 

”Do you have any reservations about taking care of your own area?”

If the anomaly does not resolve then review the precept as well as all the exercise steps above to see if anything was missed. Then do step 4 again. When there is no anomaly go to step 5.


5. Contemplate on the following question.

“Do you have any reservations about getting someone else to take care of their own area?” 

If any reservation comes up, then consider the following: 

“How would that be a problem?” 

Get answers to this question until there are no reservations.


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