Shahriar Shahriari

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Message of the Month

November, 1998


Recently I had the opportunity to spend some time in Southern California, working on a particular business project. While there, I had the privilege of living in a spacious house located in an affluent area of Los Angeles. I was also given a beautiful Mercedes Benz to have at my disposal in order to have mobility.

I very much enjoyed having these luxuries at my disposal. However, soon came time for me to return to Vancouver, and leave these pleasures behind. I was thinking about what had just taken place and I noticed that even though I was not the owner of any of these "things," I was their custodian and trustee.

I could have adopted the attitude that as a custodian of these items, I should look after them as carefully as I could, and that included not using any of them as much as possible. Alternatively I could have used them recklessly, without any regards or responsibility for their upkeep and well being. Or I could have used them fully with a sense of responsibility and care for maintaining them in at least as good a condition as I received them in.

I chose the later approach. I decided to make use of them as fully as I could, yet maintain my respect for these items as well as their owners.

And when it was time for me to return home, I left these "things" behind with a sense of gratitude and appreciation, without any remorse or attachment. I was happy that I had the opportunity to spend my time in Southern California, while having the privileges that I had. And I was just as happy to return home to my less luxurious surroundings.

I realized that at one point I began my journey, then I was given a number of things that I found useful and desirable. Finally, when it was time to leave, I left them all behind and returned home.

Then it occurred to me that what I just went through was a metaphor for life. We are born into our earthly journey, and things are put at our disposal for our use and enjoyment, and finally when it is time to leave, we must leave every single item behind and return home.

The only question remaining is what was our attitude during this earthly journey of ours. Were we such careful trustees that we dared not use any of the things that were put at our disposal? Were we reckless pleasure seekers without any regards for what we were given? Or were we responsible custodians of the physical items and our physical surroundings, endeavoring to use and enjoy them to the fullest, while at the same time leave them in at least as good a condition as we found them?

And finally when it is time to leave, do we end our earthly journey with an attitude of appreciation and gratitude for what we experienced, or do we choose to leave kicking and screaming and complaining and nagging?

Have we realized what is it that we truly own? and what are the things that we are simply custodians of? Have we understood that the only things that we truly own are the intangibles such as our attitude and our experiences? And anything that has a physical manifestation has been merely given to us in trust for some time?

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
November 1998

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