Category Archives: Consumerism

Living Simply

Apr 2014 Living simply is one of the things I learned from my time in monasteries and retreat centers. Buddhist monastics are the masters of this, having only the possessions of one robe and one bowl. As lay people we accumulate more things, and may need more things, but the principle of living simply is one that we can also apply to our lives.

What stuff do we have that we do not need or use? Through generosity we can donate that to someone who might need it, and create more space in our life. The spaciousness that comes from having less and clinging less is a great benefit to one’s life.

One idea I heard to see what things you really need:  pack up all the things you have in one room, and then take them out as you use them. The things that remain in the boxes after a few months might be the things that you can part with now!

Renunciation and Ramadan

Aug 2012 We can learn a lot from different spiritual traditions. This the month of Ramadan in Islam, where Muslims fast during the daylight hours for a whole month, an admirable example of renunciation.

What is there that we can consider letting go of in our life? What possessions that we are hanging on to are unnecessary? What habits of mind and body can we let go of? Where can we simplify our life for greater focus and even enjoyment?


Generosity vs Consumerism

Dec 2011 It’s hard not to notice the holiday season is upon us, which includes the full court press of consumer culture. It is great to give (and get) gifts, but also to focus on the dimension of generosity involved (as much as the stuff itself). So some reflections for the season: in what way can I be more generous in my life? (Check out this study about the importance of generosity in creating happiness, in this case, happy relationships, recently posted in the New York Times). Is there some area where I can let go of something I am unnecessarily holding onto, whether material things (like clothes I don’t need), emotional patterns (like impatience or jealousy), or the act of clinging itself? The world will be a better place because of it, as will your own heart and mind 🙂