Are we here at Ahimsa Meditation leaning towards ultra-minimalism or even asceticism? Are we trying to monetize meditation and create consumer products for this ever increasing market? Our stance is neither of these options. Let us disucuss consumerism, values of enough and how meditation for greed can help us all.
Whilst we think that healthy minimalism is great and our society’s insatiable nature of consumption should be addressed, we are also great advocates of human progress.
Humankind has evolved to live more peacefully and we should enjoy the results of such progress. One of the biggest examples is that we are now able to nourish our bodies with plant-based foods without the need for killing innocent animals.
We are also capable to diagnose and treat many diseases, we have environment-friendly cars and so on. Yet if you look into worldwide statistics, there are so many people who die from overconsumption and lavish lifestyles. Much more when compared to people who suffer from malnourishment and hunger. Mindful living starts with meditation for greed as a tool to take our insatiability.
It just shows that consumerism, being the driving force of a capitalist society, also steers us all in a very wrong direction. This destructing direction is clearly visible today. We are horrified that billions of innocent animals are slaughtered every year for our food. Global warming is not just a distant scare anymore. Violence is on the rise even in the most developed nations.
When it comes to our lifestyle, we are capable to live happy right at this moment provided that have “enough” of our basic needs.
What are those? Everyone should have enough food, shelter, clothing, and medicine. It would be irrational to ask a man to be virtuous if they cannot get at least these.
Healthy nutrition can also showcase how aiming for ‘enough’ benefits to our bodies. Plant-based whole foods provide enough protein for your balanced nutrition. You also can get enough fiber from whole grains, oats, pseudo grains like buckwheat and quinoa. Enough doesn’t mean bare minimum, you can nourish your body with enough nutrients and vitamins by eating food derived from non-violent sources.
As opposed to that, think about junk food. It simply doesn’t give us what we need from food. Instead, it fills us with toxins. Materialistic values fill us with psychological toxins. Junk values are distorting our minds. Materialism is KFC for the soul.
That’s how our current system trains us “there is never enough”.
Enough & Happiness
Thich Nhat Hahn in his book “The Art of Living” says that there are a few mindfulness trainings and one of them is directly focused on finding true happiness. He suggests the following mantra or contemplation can be added to your meditation routine: “I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude, not on external conditions, and that I can live in a present moment happily simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy.”
This allows us to forego that annoying thought that creeps in from time to time – ‘Am I good enough?’ It is not productive. You most probably already have enough of everything to be happy.
R. and E. Skidelsky in the book “How much is enough?” suggest at least three major building blocks of a strategy how to create a better world for everyone: reduce the desire to consume and distribute the fruits of productivity more evenly. They suggest that societies could introduce basic income, reduce the pressure to consume by creating a tax on consumption (i.e. luxury items) instead of on income, and significantly reduce the advertising. They hope that people can discover for themselves ways of life in which money-making is not central.
When greed is our ultimate motivation, it’s clear that no matter how much we have, it’s simply never enough.
Gandhi said something similar: “There is enough in this world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”
Meditation for greed
Meditation can provide an effective platform to deal with greed. Being a close observer of your own self allows us to see clearly own true inner needs and wants. And not the ones that are dictated by our consumerist society. You may then realize that the luxury items, that are merely some symbols of your status, are simply your ego’s desires, not yours. Values of enough come to the surface.
When you use our most simple way to meditate but add there a contemplation about your greed, you will be able to face it directly, observe it and understand it better.
What happens next is that your greed will lose its grip over you. You will live in an abundant place of plenty where you have enough of almost everything you need. It brings you an enormous amount of happiness and also clarity how to live your life.
And that’s a very good thing. You may call it simplicity or values of enough, your own kind of minimalism, but it is a journey of finding a better life.