I have put together a Zen calendar for 2019 for the Swiss magazine L’Illustré: one piece each month to accompany your year, to guide you along spiritual pathways for daily life.
The one for March is particularly close to my heart < Buy less, live more> as a way of giving back meaning to our lives outside of retail therapy.
An ode to voluntary cutting back, to free ourselves of excess and get used to less. Beware!! This piece is talking about a voluntary reduction, not a subtle form of cutting back, such as is imposed upon the the poorest in society. It’s pretty difficult to get used to less, to practice ‘happy sobriety’ when we already lack the necessities of life! ( Look at the present claims by the ‘gilets jaunes’ and the people who are forgotten and invisible in our consumer society.)
March – Buy less, live more.
Some words are floating around our society at present like so many little suns : cutting back, sobriety, simplicity, respect for nature. Bringing back to centre stage notions that had been put aside for thirty glorious years, in favour of the idols of consumerisim and accumulation of possessions. After having measured the value of a human being in terms of their material possessions, it looks as if the paradigm is in the process of deep change. And what if the human of the future was in fact this creature who is capable of harmonising with the rhythms of nature, to encounter their fellows with trust and arrive on tip toe in the heart of a forest, so as not to disturb the animals who live there?
A fairly mind – blowing perspective on evolution, capable of giving us back some faith in the future of the Earth. And as with all evolutions, it falls to some to set an example: we have chosen you, readers of L’Illustre, to be voluntary models (or nearly so) of this new being. To be , today, the human of the future. Do you like the idea? If so, follow the guide!
Boycott non-durable products.
The list of items produced by industrial society is long, immeasurable. All these little things made of petrol derivatives, or rare metals, which need to be gouged out of the earth’s crust by the little hands of child slaves, and their transportation huge and polluting. But of course,and you will have instantly thought this, it is almost impossible these days not to have many products made of plastic or a petroleum base. But we can also reflect deeply before acquiring an object.
The key : ask yourself before you buy something : do I really need this? How has it been made. What is its ecological footprint?
In addition : you will in future buy things with < full awareness> in terms of <enlightened sacrifice> and you will contribute to the care of the Earth.
Time to learn.
Time ( and money) saved by not shopping will allow you to do the small things that give meaning to life : learn something new, organise a dinner for neighbours , grow some plants, give some time at the SPA, read, look at the sky,make some bouquets of dried flowers etc
The key : gratitude as a new sign of wealth.
In addition: nothing else, just the simplicity of a life fully lived.
The author of this guide, Kankyo Tannier, is a Buddhist nun, a thousand miles removed from any spiritual cliché. An active blogger on social networks, she proposes an inner journey full of humour, optimism and simplicity. She is also the author of two best sellers : The gift of Silence, already translated into 14 languages, and In Search of the Present Moment. Kankyo Tannier is interested in anything that can give meaning to our lives: the little things of every day, rituals full of joy, magic moments that open the gateways to the sky. Her advice is available to all, with no dogma or beliefs. She subscribes to a modern spirituality, in touch with real life. Open up to the meaning of existence … but keep your feet on the ground.
Her website www.dailyzen.fr
YouTube channel www.youtube.com/DailyzenFr
The monastery where she lives : www.meditation-zen.org
DEEP THANKS TO HILARY MAC RAE for the translation !