Monday, February 23, 2009

The Art of Mindful Consumption

There is nothing like blogging to force you to clarify your thoughts is there? It really makes you collect your random thoughts and formless feelings into something that makes sense. Quite apart from anything else, I reckon blogging is worthwhile from this alone. Have any other bloggers out there found this?

Since I administered CPR to this blog a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking a bit more about what I would like its philosophy to be. I’ve already blogged here about how I believe that this skills I talk about using in this blog are part of what I believe is important if we, as citizens, are to take back our power, and become active participants who make active choices about how our lives are lived.

While skills such as gardening, preserving, cooking, sewing etc. are important in this process, the main skill I have come to conclude, which underpin all the other skills is what I think of as art of mindful consumption. It is this art that I hope this blog will foster.

Most consumption in our society seems to happen automatically, like breathing. I exist therefore I consume. Mindful consumption is consumption that doesn’t happen automatically, or without thought. Rather, consumption happens only after a conscious assessment of all the issues involved, like:

Do I really, really have to consume this? Really?
What is this consumption going to cost me in money and time?
What is this consumption going to cost the planet?
Given that I’ve established I need to consume to meet a need, what is the best possible way to consume?

Mindful consumption means you consume only after really making an effort to answer these questions. When you do consume, you do so knowing that you have considered everything, that you are aware what your consumption entails. You don’t consume lightly or mindlessly.

Once you have engaged in the process of mindful consumption, decisions to get skilled and grow, cook, preserve, sew just make sense. Decisions to recycle or reuse, or just plain going without are obvious ones.

This year I’ve decided to try to develop the skill of mindful consumption model every time I feel the urge to consume. It is not as easy as it sounds, but it is getting easier. Hopefully before long, it will become a reflex action.


Della Street Dreaming said...

I love the term, Mindful Consumption. I guess that's kind of what I am trying to do now - only buying used clothing & making most of my own jewels & going without v. often. I've had so much fun doing this, I can't believe it. It's miles more fun that the Mindless stuff!
Great Post!

Paola said...

I agree, mindful consumption can really test out your ingenuity..