Spirituality

Conscious Consumption

C20706AA-F500-48CE-9A7B-BFF17D255365This week something very exciting happened. I found milk in a glass jar in my local supermarket. It was a little strange it was in a jar, it didn’t deter from the fact that the producer of the milk had made a conscious choice that they wanted to use a glass container as the receptacle for their product. I was excited. I have longed for the days of the old fashioned milk bottle since I started reducing my plastic consumption, milk has been a challenge. So when I find a product that meets my needs it enlivens me. As it frees up so much more time for my own personal brand of world healing.

As we attempt to satisfy 7 billion people, many of us grasp that drastic change is necessary. As we jump from one side of the boat to another trying to create balance we often find that we create further instability. Watching people plunge overboard in an attempt to save themselves, I have grown very self assure of my own approach. Softly softly catch the monkey. After all I come from a place with one of the worst diets in the world where even a few green vegetable might be considered radical.

I’m a flexitarian thank you very much. That means I retain the right to eat what I want when I want, if it’s appropriate.  My own inner work includes doing my best to stay happy and keeping my alignment stable, while doing my best for other earthlings and the planet.  My primary focus in my consumption is healing humans. I believe that if as humans we can heal ourselves, we are in the best position to create rich sustaining lives, that allow us to extend our joy to the people and communities around us. In turn we will then  find way of enhancing the environments that surround us, finding natural ways of enriching our lives here on planet Earth.

For this reason I do my best to shop locally, using the nearby health food store, local shops or local markets. My preference is to use outlets that I can walk or cycle too. This also does a great deal to reduce my carbon footprint. It also helps immensely in building a sense of community and exploring local geographies.

I want to invest my energy into the people around me that are creating good things. I believe that by doing this I also enhance local inter-personal connectivity helping to create resilient communities, supporting economic stability and enhancing my own geographical area.

I want to be able to connect with the people that live round me and indulge in the contributions they make. I believe that building connections is the best way that way have as humans of getting back to our original design. We were intended to live connected relationship based lives. Using our food consumption as a base for creating those connections is one of the best ways we have of connecting with our local environment.

 

 

The Disconnect

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Everyone is looking for a place to belong. Now more than ever with the advent of mega cities and the progression of the digital age. We are more connected than we are divided. Yet so many of us feel alone living isolated from the group unable to make meaningful connection. What’s even more troubling is that we don’t understand the reason why.

You’ll probably be amazed that the industrial revolution might be the cause. Before the advent of industrialised economies the truth of the matter is that most humans lived in pastoral communities living in something near to subsistence farming. We like to think that many of us were living in large manor houses with our own libraries. This was simply not the case for large swathes of the population.

Prior to the industrial revolution most of us were uneducated illiterate peasants who were depended on family bonds and tribal connections to ensure our survival. The advent of the industrial revolution and global land appropriation soon came to challenge the way that humans had been living together for millennia. People moved out of rural communities into cities in order to turn their hand to the machine based work of the steam age. Mass migration and land enclosure debased family dependency and dispersed communities. Many of us lost our connection to the land from which we came, the landscapes we occupied or even the seasons that surrounded us.

It was here in the 19th century that modern education came to the fore. Education was initiated as a form of social training that was designed to prepare children for the workforce and productivity in a highly mechanised and systemised work of the factory. The need for child workers and their education, corroded and removed children from their families, and diminished tribal influence. Education and the subsequent introduction to the work place offered an individual independence that many had never experienced before. Individual financial success paved the way out of poverty and minimized the need to maintain family ties and lead the way towards individualism. Financial success alone has been regarded the pinnacle of human existence and as humans misguided by a capitalistic agenda we have come to believe that our value is intrinsically related our financial productivity. Which is for the most part the biggest lie ever told.

It’s time to reconnect. The truth is that it is almost impossible to survive without some kind of human connection. In modern society, deep inter-human connections and long standing relationships are the key signifier of a long life beyond anything else. It turns out finding a tribe is essential to living a fulfilling and good life. Love really is the answer. This is why we don’t read out our bank statements at funerals.

Transported

IMG-7997I’ve spent the last few years really exploring what it is that as humans we have to do to in order to heal ourselves and embrace our soul journey, while still actively engaging with Earth the Human paradise the perfect place to grow.

It occurs to me that often in this life journey and particularly in the west that the route for many people and the way to spiritual growth is through travel. Travelling is a term that gets banded about without much thought to its actual meaning or even its implications in the most general of terms. The idea of travelling now to me also highlights how disconnected we have become from the idea of dharma and the experience of the human bodily experience. It also draws attention to the concept of bought experience, as our expanding idea of culture and how this is at odds with almost everything that we know about spirituality. This for me brings back into focus the idea of pilgrimage.

For a long time the idea of traveling in and of itself has perturbed me. I write this as someone who has lived in several different countries and find myself in my current incarnation living in Cape Town, South Africa very far from the country of my birth. At some time in the noughties two things happened; the travel bug lost its luster and it became quite clear that carbon fuels were destroying the planet, with any one plane journey rapidly burning through a full year’s allowance. It was obvious that if you were a conscientious world citizen plane travel was a big no no. In the meantime the Guardian still flouted climate change disaster headlines across its front cover, while still published the most exotic far flung and obscure destinations in its extensive travel segment.

Now for me when I think about travel and more specifically about journey’s I realise that most people aren’t interested in travelling. The want to be transported. We no longer want to be in our bodies and travail the earth. We want to be delivered to other worldly places in order to discover ourselves.

It’s the ultimate capitalistic pay off, many spend months working in bars, years even scraping together the cost for the trip of a life time. When all they really have to do is step on to the road outside their front door and make a decision. Often people go places and they have no idea why they are going there. Everybody else is doing it so why can’t we. In the current age the need for travel seems to be a quest for cheap beer. Escapism from escapism.

Yet we espouse stillness and mindfulness as a cure all for almost every spiritual ailment. In fact we fly thousands of miles to find stillness. When all the answers are here. Right within us.