We have been falling deeper and deeper into the web of materialism. We live in a time where there is a frenzied concentration of our attention on materialistic values that are thrust upon us by the media, peer pressure and so on. How we are seen by others, what brands we buy and our physical appearance is valued greater than our sense of community, love, learning and spirituality. This realization has prompted several groups since quite some time now to go the ancient way and take up spiritual practice.
The shift towards spirituality views materialism as something to be transcended, to be left behind. However, what if we viewed materialism differently. What if we took a spiritual approach to materialism? Michael Stone, a Buddhist teacher and social activist, in this video below explains how spirituality is created by man, and therefore it’s understanding and application must change with time. It is important to keep re-observing and re-designing it.
We must remind ourselves that it is we who have also invented the duality that is materialism and spirituality. He warns against overlooking the environment, patterns and culture that makes us, by addressing the fact that the word ‘enlightenment’ itself takes us away from our experiences.
Issues concerning the health of our planet and all of us at this time in our reality are of utmost importance. The world we live in needs our help, our actions not our abstractions. He feels that it is time for a paradigm shift.
“What if we gave materialism more love?” By this he means not viewing our material reality as something to leave behind and ignore as we meditate deep within a mountain, rather engage more deeply with what is around us.
This is would be a step up from ‘vertical transcendence’ to ‘horizontal transcendence’, where loving our environment becomes paramount. When we can become more at one with our environment, we become proactive about change for the better.
This doesn’t mean we shun consumerism wholly, but think of a new system wherein the resources this beautiful planet has to share are not endangered. Spiritual and loving action is as important as non-attachment and meditative practice.