If rampant consumption is the deepest desire then we have a degraded planet. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas – these special days are targeted by the captains of industry for optimal retail returns, and in the process mindless consumerism is fuelled to the max. At Christmas time we are far removed from remembering the significance of this spiritual celebration. Christmas products created by fossil fuel energy feeds consumerism and consumerism fuels Global Warming. The chain of interconnection is clear. Whether it is holidays, housing, transport, gifts and so on, our consumption requires the continuous use of fossil fuels. The mantra of western civilization – endless economic growth – provides a promise of expectations being met without any awareness of consequences for either our own health or the health of the planet. It is becoming clearer with every passing day that our current non-sustainable energy and economic systems are actually subsystems of a global ecology that is disintegrating before our very eyes.
Yet even those few policy makers who recognize this, rush to find energy alternatives to fossil fuels without addressing the root causes of rampant consumerism – the major behavioral manifestation of western industrial civilization. Biofuels are not the answer, as their production will destroy ecosystems rather than replenish them. New energy technology is certainly needed, but if placed within the existing paradigm of current values and consumption habits then the same vicious downward spiral of environmental degradation would occur. Until such time as the underlying causes of rampant consumerism have been understood and changed.
Consumerist addiction and craving, fostered to keep the wheels of industry turning, can take over our entire life with disastrous consequences. It is a state of consumption wherein we cannot be happy without the object of our cravings. We are then driven to search for, strive and even fight to obtain that “something” we crave. This makes us suffer all our lives, as we are never happy or present with what we get or achieve, as there is always that “want” for more. We need the insight that this kind of consumption is in fact the obstacle to true happiness, for we also have within us the capacity to “be”, to live fully in the present moment. Yet these capacities are obscured and covered up by habit energies, by acquired and inherited addictions. We must be prepared to release these obstacles rather than feed off and be held captive by them. We stop this process by meditating and looking deeply into the driving force of our deep desires. Then create an opportunity to transform them. Instead of lust, greed and fame we foster the desire to awaken at the highest level – to experience joy and happiness in the here and now – the desire to bring loving kindness to everything we connect with and the desire to alleviate all suffering. Just as addictive consumption provides food for our consciousness, the desire to awaken and be present is also a food for our consciousness.