Non-Possession is One-Tenth of the Law

Do not travel over vast distances.
Stay home and contemplate your neighbor,
the old woman who roams up and down the street.
She can never remember who you are
or who she is, for that matter.
This way, you will protect
your precarious sense of self.

Ruin your appetite before dinner.
This will ensure that you’ll never feel hunger.
Play the same tune over and over,
driving everyone else crazy.
This protects you from unpredictability.

Find large articles of clothing
and wrap them around the trees,
so you will be as one with nature.
Fill your shoes with rocks
to ensure a suitable measure of gravitas.

Hide precious items from yourself,
then forget where you have hidden them.
This will promote non-attachment to things.
Make yourself dizzy by spinning around
so that the world will seem more steady.

Put all of your chairs in one room.
Sleep standing up. Move the refrigerator
into the bedroom and at night read
by its light. Rub with things,
not against them. Use pain to distract
a sore spirit. You will then be dreamier,
full of strength, able to bark at stars.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Terence Winch's poem Non-Possession is One-Tenth of the Law

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