Monday, October 24, 2005

A morning walk on the head land with Edward and Prospero.

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I'm taking a course from the Benevolent Planet called Consciousness Cornflakes, a little bit of a wake up in the morning that follows you through the day.

Last week's Consciousness Cornflakes had to do with our consumer culture. I always thought that culture was the way we passed on good ideas and art, how we learn about who we are, and the way spiritual practices are handed down. I always thought culture was an inside-out kind of thing. But consumer culture is from the outside, from the market place. So here are some thought provoking questions for you from my bowl of cornflakes.
How much of your time and attention is drawn to advertising, shopping, earning money, acquiring more and better things? What have you been worrying about, or at least feeling concern about, because of various consumer messages? Do these things add meaning to your life? Do they merit the degree of mental and emotional energy you have been giving them? I find advertising tells me that I don't have enough of almost everything material, that I don't have enough status, and that my hair is the wrong color. Harumph I say.

To counter those messages, I tried a fun little exercise on my morning walk with Prospero and Edward on the Prospect's head land. I started counting sense experiences. 12 sounds, 12 colors, 12 tactile feelings, and what happened was the inner chatter of the consumer culture telling me I needed more this or that was completely stilled. I felt the wind, saw amazing snow buntings flying in a flock, heard the waves, felt the various kinds of ground beneath my feel; slurpy soft earth, gravel, rock, driftwood boards over the really wet bits. I found myself smiling a huge, big smile, like Alice Walker's panther Lara.

So now when my Consciousness Cornflakes email comes in and asks me on a scale of 1 to 10, to rate how closely the consumer culture's values are reflected in my life, my priorities, my morning walks, or what I believe is important and meaningful I can say 0. I don't have listen to those anxious messages any more, I can experience my life; the colors, scents, and sounds, and I can breathe deeply with freedom.


Anonymous said...

I feel that consumer cultuer plays a huge part in the average persons everyday life. I agree with you and myself have always thought that culture was passing down traditons from a specific culture. Now a days consumer culture seems to be taking over. I feel that consumer culture is based out of the market place, the mall, televison, magazines, and radio. There is a large amount of my time drawn to advertising. Looking at a magazine is no longer just looking at a magazine, it is now looking at all the advertisments that consume the magazine. The ads in the magazines of the skinny, beautiful models infulence people and make them feel that they need to look that same way. They advertise so many new styles of clothes that it makes the reader feel they are not keeping up with the "in" style and that they must go out and get the latest trends. These messages that are put out in the advertisments tend to make people feel that they are not good enough and that they need more. I know when I see all of the advertisments it makes me think of all the things I have and I think it's not enough, but at the same time I think of how annoying it is to not be able to do anything without seeing an advertisment. These days you can't even drive down the raod without passing a billboard. Consumer culture has changed everything and for some people has actually taken over their lives. Watching tv gets harder and harder everyday because it makes me feel as if I need more than what I already have. The advertisments are also very persuading. I give a lot of mental and emotional energy to the millions of advertisments that I see everyday. It is hard to not focus on advertisments when that is all that is around. I feel that no matter what consumer culture will always have a big effect on people and the way they live their lives. My life does not revolve arond consumer culture and advertising, but it is nearly impossible for it to not be a part of one's life. Everywhere we go whether it be to the mall or riding on a bus there are advertisments. It's sad to say, but our culture is stricly based on consumer culture and advertising and people in our culture let it affect their lives, but again it is hard not to.

Anonymous said...

your blog is a wonderful source of mindful purpose. thank you for the links and artwork!