Why an Attitude of Trusteeship Liberates while Ownership Binds

Welcome to a new article by our regular contributor, Dr. Bina Nangia. Dr. Nangia is a long-time spiritual seeker who works with children.

To be a trustee, means taking care or looking after, for short period of time. It is a responsibility which is given considering some facts.

The one who gives the responsibility trusts completely and expects the best outcome from the relationship.

A trustee faithfully completes the responsibility.

We can live happily in this world, by adopting this trusteeship attitude. It means having wealth, relationships, careers and experiences with detachment. A trustee believes completely that this responsibility is short term and gives it his full attention and commitment.

When a trustee confuses trusteeship with ownership is when disillusion happens. Then there is involvement, attachment to people, situations, events and happenings. This leads to unhappiness, doubt, fear, guilt and various other negative emotions.

Ownership is binding, while trusteeship is liberating.

Every aspect of our lives can be lived with a trusteeship attitude.

My body, mind and intellect are not my possessions, I am a trustee of these equipments, with which I can interact with the world. I can then take care of these equipments with love, and detachment.

With ownership of my equipments, whatever happens to them happens to me. This can cause misery, pain and suffering. Yet a trusteeship will help me to watch as “witness” with dispassion. This awareness can help me function in every situation, event without being disturbed or involved.

An owner can become relaxed, since he/she is not answerable to anyone, while a trustee is aware of being answerable. It is this awareness, which keeps us on our toes and brings out the best in us. We would like to return to the owner, whatever has been trusted to us back in the same way, if not better.

This attitude shifts our perception and we can move from a gross understanding to a subtle one. When we’re conscious of maintenance and growth of what has been entrusted to us, it empowers us to understand things differently and helps us to move further on our journey of self growth. 

Trustees are able to interact, share and learn from other trustees, while owners can get egoistic with their possessions, and fail to see everything as a part of the whole.

They see themselves “apart”. So a shift in attitude towards being a trustee in this world also can make us carefree. We would do what we ought to do with a sense of obligation, and leave the results in the hands of totality. 

The worst form of attachment which comes from ownership is attachment to children. In words of Khalil Gibran “children are born from you, not for you”.

All relationship difficulties stem from trying to own children and lead their lives for them.

If trusteeship is applied in bringing up children, there would be fewer conflicts between parents and children. With sense of detachment, parents would be able to guide and motivate children better than when they think they own them and deserve their love and care in return.

A shift in perception of trusteeship versus ownership is liberation in the true sense.

Go forward and make it your own.

 About Dr. Bina Nangia


Dr. Nangia currently works with special kids. This is her calling and she has been working in this field for 20 years.

A grandmother of two boys, Dr. Nangia has been practising yoga since her younger days. Her keen interest in spirituality over many years has got her in touch with many masters. They have contributed to her growth tremendously. She shares her thoughts in magazines and newspaper articles.

Dr. Nangia is the author of Dyslexia Decoded, a handbook for special educators, which was recently published by Penguin and Hayhouse.

She shares her experiences about special education on various social networking sites, and is a trained therapist and family networker.

Dr. Nangia lives in Delhi, India. 

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2 replies
  1. Ball Of Foot
    Ball Of Foot says:

    Right here is the right site for anyone who hopes to find out about this topic.

    You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic which has
    been discussed for a long time. Great stuff, just excellent!

  2. iYogaprops | Yoga Bolsters
    iYogaprops | Yoga Bolsters says:

    Interesting points on “trustee” and “ownership.” A lot of parents think of their children as something to own, making it difficult for them to let go when the time comes. But by acting as a trustee, one takes on the responsibility of nurturing the child while still giving him freedom to grow and be what he needs to be.


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