How can I bring life in my consumption - or lack thereof?

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Seed2009 > Agenda > How can I bring life in my consumption - or lack thereof?

Contents

Conversants

  • Shelley - convener
  • Brenna
  • Kevin

Discussion

Ideas touched upon in no particular order:

Could there be a practice that we (the SolSeed community) do that helps us to move away from pointless consumption of stuff? In this society we have been trained to continually want products, and yet the accumulation of those things really does nothing to make us happy or fulfilled.

Contrary to this, there is purposeful consumption of stuff that we really do need.

There is a degree of just being satisfied that the things we have that actually (and counterintuitively) brings happiness.

Praxis

We would like to develop a series of SolSeed practices that help us to develop and deepen meaning in our lives.

Some examples of practices we could develop:

  • Spending fast – For a set period of time only make purchases that are clearly necessities.
  • Make a practice of an interaction, once per day that is a deepening interaction, or conversation, rather than a series of superficial interactions (such as talk about the weather, or television programs) that make up the day.
  • Mindfulness eating -- sit to eat. Attend to each bite. Have a fruit or vegetable at each sitting.
  • Reduce trash production -- weight trash weekly and record. Or reduce the trash pick-up frequency and slow trash production to match.

Could there be a place to share how these practices worked once we tried them?

Poetry

Oniomania by Peter Pereira


Not so much the desire
for owning things
as the inability to choose
between hunter or emerald
green, to buy
just roses, when there are birds
of paradise, dahlias,
delphinium, and baby's breath.
At center an emptiness
large as a half-off sale table.
What could be so wrong
with a little indulgence?
To wander the aisles of fresh
new good things knowing
any of them could be hers?
A closet full of shoes
unworn back home,
she's looking for love
but it's not for sale —
so she grabs three of
the next best thing.

Buddha's Dogs by Susan Browne

I'm at a day-long meditation retreat, eight hours of watching
my mind with my mind,
and I already fell asleep twice and nearly fell out of my chair,
and it's not even noon yet.


In the morning session, I learned to count my thoughts, ten in
one minute, and the longest
was to leave and go to San Anselmo and shop, then find an
outdoor cafe and order a glass


of Sancerre, smoked trout with roasted potatoes and baby
carrots and a bowl of gazpacho.
But I stayed and learned to name my thoughts; so far they are:
wanting, wanting, wanting,


wanting, wanting, wanting, wanting, wanting, judgment,
sadness. Don't identify with your
thoughts, the teacher says, you are not your personality, not your
ego-identification,


then he bangs the gong for lunch. Whoever, whatever I am is
given instruction
in the walking meditation and the eating meditation and walks
outside with the other


meditators, and we wobble across the lawn like The Night of the
Living Dead.
I meditate slowly, falling over a few times because I kept my
foot in the air too long,


towards a bench, sit slowly down, and slowly eat my sandwich,
noticing the bread,
(sourdough), noticing the taste, (tuna, sourdough), noticing
the smell, (sourdough, tuna),


thanking the sourdough, the tuna, the ocean, the boat, the
fisherman, the field, the grain,
the farmer, the Saran Wrap that kept this food fresh for this
body made of food and desire


and the hope of getting through the rest of this day without
dying of boredom.
Sun then cloud then sun. I notice a maple leaf on my sandwich.
It seems awfully large.


Slowly brushing it away, I feel so sad I can hardly stand it, so I
name my thoughts; they are:
sadness about my mother, judgment about my father, wanting
the child I never had.


I notice I've been chasing the same thoughts like dogs around
the same park most of my life,
notice the leaf tumbling gold to the grass. The gong sounds,
and back in the hall,


I decide to try lying down meditation, and let myself sleep. The
Buddha in my dream is me,
surrounded by dogs wagging their tails, licking my hands.
I wake up


for the forgiveness meditation, the teacher saying, never put
anyone out of your heart,
and the heart opens and knows it won't last and will have to
open again and again,


chasing those dogs around and around in the sun then cloud
then sun.
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