In the Garden of Mind…

Flowers of Consciousness Bloom


Today I was meditating on abundance and satiety, and the ethical implications of both. Abundance is the opposite of scarcity; it simply implies that needs are met, and perhaps there’s a little left over afterwards. Satiety is defined as “fullness to the point of excess,” which most observers would probably consider a fair description of a large portion of the North American population.

Abundance can be made of anything. The salient things aren’t things at all, but the way you perceive reality, your relationship with your environment. I see abundance as largely a matter of cognition, attitude and practice. Looking deeply into abundance, I see peace, shared prosperity and shared global responsibility.

Looking deeply into satiety, on the other hand, I see resource wars and terrorism playing on an endless loop. It isn’t sustainable for one part of the world to consume such an outsize portion of the world’s natural resources while comprising only a sliver of the planet’s population. While satiety is causing its own intrinsic problems in this culture, the impact of such patterns of consumption on parts of the developing world can be devastating. Boiled down to its essence, the never-ending cycle of war and terrorism — with devastation of the biosphere as collateral damage — is about patterns of consumption.

We know that craving and attachment cause suffering, and that seeking a never-ending surfeit of material possesions can feed both these mental formations. Most of us in this part of the world do have an overabundance of resources at our disposal. At the same time, there are members of our species all over the planet living subsistence-level lives, and many actually fall below that line on any given day. To the the humanist, the ethical philosopher and the peace practitioner, the correct course is obvious: redistribute our excess to those at the other end of the economic scale. Balance!

From a place of abundance, we know that we have all that we need and enough to share with those who need our help most. Our daily lives can be a reflection of our mindfulness of this fact, and of the interconnected nature of all beings.

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