Monday, March 5, 2012

Daydream Believer

Dear Reader,

 Surprise!  Welcome to our  redesigned blog! We've given it a makeover in an attempt to make it faster for you to load and easier for you to get around with fewer distractions.

It's Monday and  I'm sure you were hoping to read a brilliant post by our resident professor but he's off someplace sunny and warm...working. You are disappointed, I know. I can't say I blame you. Never fear, he'll return soon to regale us with his insightful commentary on the final chapter of this book. (No pressure, Prof!)

This week the universe, the music industry, and Youtube seemed to conspire to inspire this post. Have you ever had that happen? There are times when God seems to be sprinkling bits of crumbled mortar down on you hoping you will catch on to what He's saying without having to shove over the wall. (I'm familiar with the brick wall method from painful experience.) Early in the week Professor J posted a link called The High Price of Materialism.   Mid week Davy Jones passed away, and a day or so later I read an article called Top Five Regrets of the Dying. 

 "Our profligate consumption is finished." (145)

When I watched The High Price of Materialism, I thought of this quote. When Hedges wrote this in 2009 the financial picture was bleak and apparent. It seemed that at last priorities might shift. The quest for a luxurious lifestyle might be put aside for prudence and a new kind of security. A security that comes with freedom from treating our wants as needs.  Perhaps some have learned their fearful lesson well, but as the Dow topped 13,000 recently the mania displayed tells us that old thinking dies hard. As the video points out our conspicuous consumption is bad for our spiritual and emotional well being, our society, and the environment, yet we persist in our materialistic habits.

"We started borrowing to maintain a lifestyle we could no longer afford." (151)

We trade peace of mind for the insecurity that comes with debt as individuals, as families, and as a nation. We've allowed advertising to keep us perpetually discontent. If we were ever really satisfied with what we have and felt good about ourselves, if we felt loved and whole, if we "esteemed others better than ourselves" we could release our grasping, greedy fists and allow our palms to open into the realization that maybe, just maybe...we have enough. Maybe we ARE enough. Are we even expressing gratitude for what we DO have? All great spiritual teaching recognizes the need for us to be stop striving for the futile. Our culture struggles mightily with this. Advertisers have a great stake in sweeping back any feelings of true fulfillment. What can you sell to a contented person?

"We eat corporate food. We buy corporate clothes. We drive corporate cars. We buy our fuel from corporations. We borrow from, invest our retirement savings with, and take out college loans with corporations and corporate banks. We are entertained, informed, and bombarded with advertising from corporations." (162)

While one of last year's catch phrases was "Occupy Wall Street" what more often happens is that Madison Avenue occupies our minds. We haven't even sold them that real estate. We've allowed them to be squatters by not being mindful of our choices. What do you say we reclaim that territory? What if we were to occupy contentment? Wonder? Gratitude? You'll notice that having more stuff didn't make the list of things people regretted as they neared death. How little would it cost you to do some of the things on that list? Expressing your true feelings and staying in touch with friends...what less important things are we letting crowd out those? In yoga at the beginning of our practice we set an intent for the session, some small goal maybe only known to us. How much more important to set an intent for our lives so we can minimize those regrets at the end.

I guess by now you are wondering how the death of the vintage pop idol Davy Jones fits into all this. It's because "Daydream Believer" has been running through my head all week.

"Oh and our good times start and end without dollar one to spend.
How much, baby do we really need?"

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