I was away traveling for December and January. I learned a lot about myself. And the world. But I’m pretty happy to be home. A lot of things I wasn’t too happy about happened on the trip too.
Once Tuesdays I’ve been going to my temple for two different programs: first, a local Sangha that practices in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hant (Plum Village) and second, the Recovery Sangha which deals with recovering from addiction and compulsive behavior with a Buddhist vibe.
They have been going through the Five Mindfulness Trainings - but I missed the first three when I was traveling.
The most recent one we went over was the 5th Mindfulness Training - Nourishment and Healing:
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.
While this doesn’t directly relate to AA or Recovery, it definitely is in the same ballpark. And it really resonated with me. Particularly regarding some of my habits such as mindless consumption of food, eating out, social media and shopping with money I don’t have.
Some goals I’m putting into place this week (and the rest of the year) to address these issues are:
- No more compulsive buying on Amazon for things I don't need. If I see something I want, I'm going to stick it in my cart or wishlist, think about it for a week or so and then make sure I have the money before buying it. The problem with buying things we don't need is that the "high" from having new stuff generally wears off in about a week. Then you need to buy MORE to feel good again.
- Severely reducing the amount of waste I generate. Particularly paper and plastic waste with single use plates and cutlery. I'm taking my own reusable cup to coffee shops and requesting reusable plates and cutlery at restaurants. In grocery stores, I'm taking in my own reusable bags.
- Cutting back on the amount of time I spend on my phone and social media. Leaving my phone in the car or in my pocket when out with friends.
I don’t see these issues as being on the same level as alcoholism, but they are definitely issues that could cause problems in my life. I want to address them before they become a problem.