If it appears that we are living in a compulsively material era, it is easy to back up that gut feeling with the obvious fact that most advanced nations are consuming more than ever and are also sadly following America’s lead of wasting more than ever before. And with the emergence of new economic leaders, particularly China, also demanding a fair (or excessive) share of the consumption pie, fears of a near future economic meltdown are becoming more common among informed and concerned citizens worldwide.
Releasing the Need for Greed
The pursuit of material gain has become an alarming pastime that is reaching insatiable proportions. The idea of renting storage space to stuff the accumulation of past shopping sprees in order to make room for more recent sprees is no longer an uncommon occurrence. The obsession has even spawned television shows finding the most extreme cases so millions of other pack rats can gawk and declare, “At least I’m not that bad!”
The truth is we are all that bad; some are indeed worse than others but if we remember when we point a finger at another culprit we still have four fingers pointing back at us, it serves as an excellent reminder that we have all been groomed to believe the best things in life are really material things rather than good health, fulfilling relationships, and a peaceful heart and mind.
A New Mantra: Less is Best
While our logical mind can more quickly determine the folly and emptiness of the gnawing desire to build an empire of useless (and often unused!) junk as our testament to our ability to make more money than we need, what is ingrained within our gut and emotions takes more time to adapt. We have been groomed to believe that a good shopping spree can lift our spirits, when a walk along a beach or down a forest path could be even more inspiring and uplifting. While there is value in loitering among our own species, there is equal, if not greater, value in communing with nature and other creatures on this glorious planet.
A good start is to adopt this new mantra: “Less is Best.” It has a natural simple rhythm, it would fit nicely on a bracelet, it even fits more than 10 times on one tweet on Twitter! (Although repeating it 10 times could be considered more than less of the mantra!)
What the mind easily comprehends, the heart can bring to fruition with steady reminding of the new direction that the mantra offers. Over time, if you truly believe less is best, by gentle repetition your heart will accept and own this new and valuable concept, replacing that throbbing insatiable greed for more.
The Security of Less
Ironically, those who have more things, more stuff, even more money, have greater worries and problems than those with less. Even Bill Gates would likely admit that although he has billions of dollars more than most Americans, he cannot assert (or prove) that he is a billion times happier or a billion times more secure than the rest of us.
The fact that a person has more stuff that they spent a lot of time and energy acquiring would naturally lead them to want to protect their collection from possible loss. Security of all varieties must be deployed, sometimes at great expense, to keep their belongings safe. Which begs the question: who is the real owner, the human or the mountainous conglomeration of collected materials?
Your Yoga of Less
Just like yoga, you have a choice how deeply you want to develop and practice this new state of mind and being. With practice, we learn better and deeper that while things will flow in and out of our lives, it is the experiences and bonds we make with our world that convince us true riches lie in things we need not own or must keep from others. Chances are that, over time, just like the practice of traditional yoga for many, your yoga of less will become a greater and satisfying element in your life.
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