“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” ~ Henry Miller
What are the roots of our discontent?
In our current system, everything is driven by feeding a system with an insatiable appetite. Without demand, suppliers cannot survive, so it is imperative that demand is stoked, fueled, twisted, and ensured by whatever means ethical or not.
The system is so entrenched that it doesn’t know how to stop unless by raising production and consumption.
Consumption can only keep increasing via an ever-expanding population base, planned obsolesce in products that break down quickly, creating new fads and fashions, and constantly seeking to “fill the void” people feel from being consumers.
It’s a battle to keep this system going with marketing people more and more challenged to create more devious, delusional and empty promises to feed the insatiable spiritual hunger people feel. The more empty the consumption, the more that hunger grows. Eventually the whole system will implode. It has to. When the economic tsunami hits, what will you do?
What if I told you that that whole system was based on deception and the fundamental message being sold is “you are not enough?”
Call it the delusion of economics, or economics of delusion.
The whole system cannot survive if people keep consuming more and more of things they don’t need, ultimately spiritually depleting them. Many end up shallow and miserable because of chasing a false dream.
What if really all human beings are 100 percent worthy 100 percent of the time…
Most people have been misled to believe that happiness is outside of them, that there is some idealised destination, some material possession that if they can gain a hold of, then all will be well. If they can get this external “thing” and grab onto it, hold it tightly, then they will feel whole and complete. In fact, our whole society is geared towards consumerism.
Personal identity and self-esteem are linked to an external factor that may or not be achievable. Fortunately, most goals are achievable, they just take time, resources, circumstance and opportunity. Many give up when they face hurdles and worse, fall into despair when they “fail” to achieve their objectives.
It is virtually impossible to reach all goals, unless they are realistic. It is also impossible for life not to deal unpredictable cards, for the unexpected to occur.
That we should panic and self-destruct when something unexpected and uncalled for occurs, shows how naive and incomplete our education has been as human beings. It reflects our need for wisdom. It’s no accident that depression, anxiety and suicide are so common in our societies. We are seeking something external. We are seeking wholeness from something far out of reach.
Consider another way of viewing the world. Since 1971, Bhutan has promoted the idea of a Gross National Happiness index being used to replace Gross National Product as the most important criteria by which development is measured.
According to Guardian Weekly in 2012:
“The country has pledged itself to remain carbon-neutral and to ensure that at least 60% of its land mass will remain under forest cover in perpetuity. It has banned logging and has instigated a monthly pedestrian day that bars all private vehicles from its roads. In a world beset by collapsing financial systems, gross inequity and wide-scale environmental destruction, the tiny Buddhist state’s approach is attracting a lot of interest. Last year the UN adopted Bhutan’s call for a holistic approach to development, a move endorsed by 68 countries. A UN panel is considering ways for Bhutan’s GNH model to be replicated globally.”
In Carlos Castaneda’s book, “Tales of Power,” the sorcerer, Don Juan explains what perception and why it is so important:
“We are inside a bubble. It is a bubble into which we are placed at the moment of our birth. At first the bubble is open, but then it begins to close until it has sealed us in. The bubble is our perception. We live inside that bubble all our lives. And what we witness on its round walls is our reflection. The thing reflected is our view of the world. That view is first a description which is given to us from the moment of our birth until all our attention is caught by it and the description becomes a view.”
How does one change one’s perception and feel whole and complete in an increasingly noisy, confused, stressful and relentlessly out of balance work environment?
The answer, of course, is quiet time away from one’s routine.
This retreat time is a time to find peace, introspect and discover one’s own answers. Personal retreats are becoming more and more necessary as a way to relax and revitalise as well as rest and reflect. These don’t have to involve exotic locations; on the contrary, they can be created within the home.
The importance of having quiet is not to be under-estimated.
The true journey is within, and each person already has what he needs for this journey. Everyone is imbued with the necessary personal skills and ability to take this journey. Don’t look back…
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ Andre Gide.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Jason Scragz at Flickr