“Spend less, live more” was a slogan I recently saw related to an advertisement for a mega-chain super-store….the first thought to arrive in my mind was, at the expense of whom?
“The urge-to-separateness, or craving for independent and individualized existence, can manifest itself on all the levels of life, from the merely cellular and physiological, through instinctive to the fully conscious….it can be the urge of a part within an organism for an intensification of its own partial life as distinct from (and consequently at the expense of) the life of the organism as a whole….Let us consider first the suffering inflicted by living organisms on themselves and on other living organisms in the mere process of keeping alive…” - Huxley
As a society, we have become trapped in a perpetual pattern of consuming, which is driven by the need to fill a void. We have been conditioned to compartmentalize – an ambiance of separateness ensues. Possessions are subconsciously connected to power. Do we work jobs we hate in order to buy things we don't need to impress people who don't really matter? Our thought patterns have, in a way, been “trained” to flow a certain way, so as to not question much in order to be a conforming ‘well-behaved’ human of the world. After all, an agreeable mind is much less difficult to deal with, right?
It seems that at certain points a person may see no other way to survive other than abiding by what is socially acceptable as a means to traverse through life. What I mean by this is that one may feel a natural obligation to move through the motions of ‘normal’ human behavior as it functions best in the particular society in which they may reside – such as obtaining an education, establishing a form of stable income (career path), becoming a homeowner (supporting the economy) etc…. Because if you do not do this, what happens? Things may not flow as easily, one might say – met with resistance and a lack of resources.
Often, the most brilliant and creative ideas are held by those who have no financial means in order to transmit the idea – in fact, at times one may feel that the only thing between them and their dream is some cash flow. In this day and age, how is it exactly that one might ‘get ahead’? Many people work tirelessly to merely survive – eat, keep a roof over their head and breathe. What I am inquiring is that under said conditions, stress could potentially be rampant, which in turn may inhibit creativity – thriving of an individual. Therefore, is it possible to thrive when overwhelmed by merely trying to survive? And what impact does this have on populations experiencing this as a whole?
We know from science – the impact of stress on the human body – not only can overwhelming stress lead to serious mental and physical health problems, it can also disrupt your relationships at home, work, and school. There is a very long list of health outcomes related to body, mind and behavior, which have been correlated with chronic stress – diabetes, depression, anxiety, loss of libido, sleeping problems, quick to anger, headaches, substance abuse and hormonal disruptions such as increases in cortisol. How do we see this playing into the ‘sick care system’ health care model we see in America? For those who cannot afford health insurance for example even though they work full-time – waiting until the last moment possible to seek medical attention – usually at an emergency room or urgent care – as long as the model supports treatment instead of prevention we will always be upside down – because who ends up paying for those emergency visits? - Ultimately costing much more than preventative measures would have to begin with including education…
“For one minute, walk outside, stand there, in silence, look up at the sky, and contemplate how amazing life is” – said not very many single moms with 2-3 jobs and not a penny left at the end of the month or a full night’s sleep. Unfortunately, those without time, financial means or energy – more often than not – find it extremely difficult to mentally or physically seek pieces of life, which might bring fulfillment, joy or the ability to escape from the repetitive cycle they may be in. There is something tremendous to be said about doing a hobby vs. doing a hobby in which your survival depends upon it. Can one be enjoyed more than the other?
What I have found is, those who have experienced the most hardship in life often give the best advice – they emanate wisdom like light beams – that is if they chose to channel their energy in that way. Of course, some may choose to harbor an element of bitterness or cynicism, which is a misuse of the vital force and still – there is something to be learned from this reaction as well. There are plenty of people who have everything in the world, but are still miserable – and then plenty of people who have nothing and are extremely at peace. Is it then a matter of perspective and/or level of consciousness?
One thing that seems very clear to me is that, no matter the circumstance of life you might be in, you must find a way to make time, there’s that word again – a conscious effort to further oneself, to meditate, to move your body, to love yourself, to find connection, to breathe, to express gratitude, to think one thought at a time or none at all – even if only briefly each day – a way to find your center, to be grounded – even if the rest of your day is totally chaotic. It is inherent that we do this – in order to thrive and not merely survive as a robot on this rock orbiting through the universe.
Rose brought Zen Den Yoga to life with the intention of providing compassionate and professional yoga classes and yoga teacher training programs. Her educational background is in the holistic sciences in the areas of Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Nutrition, herbalism, reiki and consciousness studies. She is a registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance E-RYT500 and has taught yoga and meditation around the globe in yoga teacher training programs and retreats.
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