In today’s world, the word own has become a dirty word. It has such a negative connotation that chances are, when you saw the title of this article, you felt a minor shock wave of fear and even offense.
Ownership is associated with possession. The problem with this is that possession is a concept that in and of itself has both a light side and a dark side. This dark side reflects the shadow of mankind’s limited consciousness. To possess something is to have that thing in that it belongs to you. This is actually the positive side of possession. It is an inclusion-based concept. To love something is to take it as part of yourself. This means it automatically belongs with and to you and so you have it.
Where possession goes dark is that the second meaning of possession is to have complete power over that thing that you have. This is the negative side of possession. But what if I told you that this second part of possession has nothing to do with possession or ownership in and of itself? Un-awakened men simply decided, at the mercy of their own fears and therefore impulse towards power, that to have something meant to control it completely. But this is in fact the opposite of true ownership.
If you have a negative association with ownership, it is because you suffered from being controlled, which is shadow ownership. Someone decided that you belonged to them like an object, but that you were not a part of them and so you were powerless and your best interests were never seen or cared for. You have never experienced true ownership.
To truly own something is to see it as part of yourself. If you see something as part of yourself, it becomes impossible to hurt that thing without hurting yourself. You cannot usurp its free will without harming yourself. Therefore, in true ownership, which is for something to be a part of you and therefore to belong to you, the best interests of that other thing is of the utmost concern.
So much damage has been done by us throwing out the concept of ownership in our relationships with one another. When we do not own other people as part of ourselves, we feel no responsibility to them. We take ourselves to be totally separate from each other, we think of them as ‘other’. We are in fact much more at risk of playing a zero sum game, where we are looking to win and for them to lose. We become self centered and are only in relationships as a transaction, a means to an end. We are not in relationships for connection itself, where to have that connection, we must see, feel, hear and understand the other person.
To explain this dynamic further, let’s look at an area within society that has been greatly impacted by the move away from ownership… Men and women. For thousands of years, women were considered to be the property of men. But most men did not take women as part of themselves in this ownership. They did not consider the best interests of their wives or daughters or even sons for that matter. They just took possession to mean they got to control them however they wanted. They were totally in the form of shadow possession. But when the feminist movement came through and demolished the idea that a woman is the property of a man, men were forced to relinquish possession of women. They let go of all ownership towards the women in their lives. This did not only mean the bad form of possession, it meant the good form too. Relationships between men and women have suffered immensely.
Women enjoyed the sense of containment, belonging and safety they got from being owned by men. Now, one of the top complaints you will see in couple therapy on the part of the woman is that a man takes no direct responsibility for anything. He doesn’t take direct responsibility for her wellbeing or the wellbeing of the kids. The man is “hands off”. Now to many women it feels like either being in a relationship alone or like the man is another child or like she is being exploited by him. It feels like instead of really owning her and the family as his own and therefore providing containment and taking care of them through his own volition, he lets her do it all and simply participates to the degree that he is either nagged to participate or whenever he can get something from her, like sex.
When women complain about where the cowboys went to or watch Jane Austin films and get turned on by them, this is the quality they are looking for and are missing in modern men. If you are interested in trying to understand the energy of true ownership, I suggest you watch a movie titled: Rob Roy, in which the main character, Rob Roy portrays positive masculine ownership and the villain, Archibald Cunningham portrays the exact opposite; non-ownership. Watch this movie with the idea of ownership of others specifically in mind. Simply keep in mind that at this time period, people did not understand the idea of ownership of all things, including one’s enemies, as part of themselves. This is a graduated, conscious understanding.
No one can tell you the negative side of no ownership quite like orphans, foster care kids, illegitimate children, family black sheep or the children that suffer emotional neglect in childhood. When children are in any one of these positions, no one owns them so as to become genuinely invested in their wellbeing. No one takes them as part of themselves and so they feel they do not belong. They feel pushed away. They are starved of so many emotional needs. Things like love, understanding, belonging, containment, emotional intimacy and protection. Regardless of what the physical dimension may look like, the truth is that they are exposed and alone, and must fend for themselves. Even if they are around people and even if they have caretakers, those caretakers do not provide genuine security. They simply make sure the kid does not physically die. To be genuinely owned is the desire of anyone who grew up with this trauma. They often are so hurt by the absence of ownership that they dream of even having the shadow form of possession, where someone is invested enough that they control their every action.
To be truly owned is also the desire of people who experienced the opposite trauma… Shadow possession. In shadow possession, it seems on the outside like the adult completely and entirely owns the child. This takes the form of total control. The child in this environment doesn’t get to have any boundaries. This person grows up with a HUGE aversion to ownership. They fight to have a sense of self and autonomy. What they don’t know is that they were never really owned either. What they desperately crave is to be able to have their own personal thoughts, needs, wants, preferences and feelings but also be able to belong with someone and be close to someone and have them. They desperately crave for their self hood to be acknowledged and their unique best interests to be considered. This is only possible with true ownership where you cannot take someone as part of yourself and therefore belonging to you, without genuinely considering them and capitalizing on their best interests. In true ownership, it can only ever be a win-win.
When we were not owned, or when we were shadow owned, we don’t own the people in our lives. We perpetuate the trauma of non-ownership. We either control them and don’t take their best interests into account or leave them in a constant state of insecurity and pressure because we treat them as totally separate to us. If you look at the most extreme forms of pain on our planet, you can trace it to a lack of genuine ownership. We do not own anything that we want to have be separate from us. Therefore, we refuse to own homeless people. So they die every day on the street. We refuse to own prisoners so we punish them and lock them away. We shadow own children, so we treat them as if they are dolls instead of people. We shadow own little girls and sell them in the sex trade. We refuse to own people of other colors, social classes, genders, cultures and religions as part of our collective humanity and so we feel no responsibility towards their wellbeing and in fact go to war against them. And we refuse to own the part of us that we don’t want to have be part of us, so we remain internally fragmented, which makes internal peace impossible.
A sense of ownership is what causes us to take care of the thing we feel that sense of ownership towards. We are committed to it. It makes that thing or that person’s best interests indivisible from our own best interests. It makes it so our commitment is to find a win-win scenario, which is the basis of trust. A sense of ownership is a divine responsibility. And so, it is with this in mind that I tell you. The time has some for us to separate the shadow form of possession from the light form of possession and start to really own each other. The utopia we have been dreaming of will not come to be unless we begin to own all things we see as “other” (human or otherwise) as part of ourselves. To truly integrate something is to truly own in. To truly love something is to truly own it.