It’s holiday time and most of us likely are shopping our hearts and wallets away. Or at least curiously watching the deals out there. One thing we do not do is try and understand what shopping can do to our spiritual ascent. Most people think that excessive shopping is a sign of being a shopaholic or indulging in material pursuits. But it’s much beyond that.
You pay more for your loss of attention than parting with your money
Many of us do not realize that our most precious asset is the power of our attention. In fact, our attention is the vehicle for our spiritual ascent because we evolve spiritually by raising our consciousness to a higher plane – a realm at which we’re detached, joyous and find complete contentment in experiencing the sheer spiritual depth and incessant vibrations. We can only do this elevation of our consciousness or rather allow it to happen effectively using our inner spiritual energy if our attention is in the right place.
Going by this, every minute of our attention spent on other things is a minute borrowed from our spiritual ascent.
But of course, we need a balance in our lives. No one and certainly we do not recommend that anyone should completely stop shopping or buying things. It’s good to buy gifts as an expression of love for our friends and family, as a means to express our gratitude and thanks. Anything beyond that and the buying that is strictly a necessity for ourselves creates an “attention debt”. Here’s how that debt multiplies –
- Time spent on buying more than what we need, that is, what we want only increases wants even more and leads to an endless, insatiable thirst for buying.
- Once bought, more distraction in receiving it, spending time with it even if it makes us temporarily happy
- Finally, the most dangerous – at some point, we lose control and become victims of a phenomenon known as “retailtainment”. No, we’re not kidding, it’s a legitimate new phrase that describes shopping for entertainment. Retailers try to make shopping an entertainment experience in order to entice buyers.
Very soon, we find even less time and attention for our spiritual growth.
We rarely consider the hidden impacts of our shopping
Recently there was an article that captured how online shopping is dreadful for our environment, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Yet, online shopping is growing rapidly each year. Online shopping is doubly easy but impacts our attention a lot more – the options are exponentially more because they are not limited by a specific location or to one type of shop. And so, with the available options exponentially increased, we waste even more time with online shopping. Greater negative environmental impact means upsetting the balance of nature even more and that directly impacts our subtle energy system – individually and collectively.
Shopping helps the economy but…
The argument that more shopping and more consumption helps the economy is unfortunately true, but we’re in an age of a completely distorted measure of prosperity and wealth. No one got richer or better by consuming or buying more. It’s a very temporary, rudimentary measure catering to a very baser instinct within us.
When we consume more and consequently there is more production, there is a greater impact on this earth and nature, unless what is produced is entirely harmless to the environment. If a lot of people stopped shopping or restricted their purchases just to their needs today, there would be an impact on the economy for sure. And jobs. But this is rather a short-term impact. Those people would eventually find better, higher, more elevating things to do or produce more green things in their lives. In doing so, their lives and attention would eventually focus on higher and better things resulting in their self-improvement too.
The collective attention then gets a boost in the right direction – by and large people begin to focus their attention more on higher things than mundane things to produce or buy. The paradigm of contentment and happiness shifts to a higher point in the evolutionary spiral.
How do meditators balance materialism and spiritual growth?
They buy and shop mostly for others and keep shopping for themselves to their needs. They find the greatest joy in giving and shopping for others.
They almost always buy things made of natural substances – these enhance the aura and vibrations of their and others homes. Decidedly, they avoid plastics and similar non-biodegradable things. Or at least keep them to a minimum.
They prefer works of art that encourage the growth of finer skills in this world and helps skilled workmanship survive and flourish. They rather avoid mass products made out of machines which only make industrialists and capitalists richer and contribute to taking more collective attention away from higher things.
Most important of all, they’re always monitoring their attention that gets spent on material things and shopping, they borrow only the right amount of time and attention away from their spiritual progress in life. And oh, they never borrow money to buy, because that doubles the attention debt – managing the borrowed money and the attention wasted due to unnecessary buying.
Most meditators have an uncanny way of finding that they already have too much in their lives and hardly need to buy more. That’s because they tune their inner self to be contented and happy with other things and for the most part, the appeal of shiny new things or possessing something hardly appeals to them.
How can you get there?
Don’t try to mentally condition yourself to shop less or try some form of mindfulness or mind control. The power to remain satisfied has to be innately established inside of you through regular meditation and your connection to the powerful energy of the universe. It’s a gradual and slow process of turning your attention inwards rather than allowing it to jump from one object to another that you want to possess.
Over time, developing the ability to distinguish the positive vibrations of simple, earth-friendly, natural, artistic things and materials from the mass produced cheap plastic will also happen once you’re connected to Nature.