I was grocery shopping last night, paying very close attention to the things that were on sale and sold out, and coming up on the cookie aisle, it really told me something about people in general right now:
1. They want their desert first.
2. They don't have their priorities in order.
3. Oreos are the most popular cookie ever.
Yes, I bought a package too, but the peanut butter cream variety; the original and double stuff were sold out, and I really didn't want the mint ones. Am I being presumptuous here? I just couldn't believe that there was NOT ONE package of the original OREO left! Is it effective marketing, or are people really that much asleep in their lives that they will buy anything the the mass media monolith tells them to?
Upon further analysis, the thing that was sold out of most in the store was junk food, milk, and bread. For me, it set a precedent of how people have their priorities in line. They see a big TV and "gotta have it!" They see a new car and "gotta have it!" They see a big honkin' wristwatch and "gotta have it!" How about a big house with a big BBQ grill? "Gotta have it!" Having things is the answer to a happy life, according to the media. I've been harping on them for years, and I was caught up in it all, without realizing it. I wanted me desert first too.
I grew up in a materialistic household; we always had "things." Things would keep us kids quiet and happy, at least for a little while. As we grew older, things we wanted cost more and required we give up some part of our time to acquire them; some more than others. We get said "thing" and it's all new and shiny for a while, but then as time goes on, it becomes old and the novelty has worn off. It goes on the shelf with the other "things," and so the quest begins for yet another "thing." Sometimes the cycle lasted a few weeks, sometimes a few months or years. I started to see a pattern and asked myself a very important question:
"IS THIS WHAT LIFE IS REALLY ALL ABOUT? THERE'S GOTTA BE MORE THAN THIS!"
This so-called "American Dream," where you get yourself into debt just to have a "happy typical American family life," just all seemed such a big lie to me. Too many folks are trying to live like or outdo their friends and family, and try to be like the people they see in the media; it doesn't make them good or bad, but it does make them one thing; LOST. They don't know who they truly are, so they try to emulate what they see and hear, at the cost of selling their souls.
Maybe they have asked that same question at some time in their lives, and they don't know how or where to look, so they resign themselves to a life of quite desperation and live the lie. They may be unhappy, but to go out into the unknown is far too scary. To leave their comfort zone is entirely too painful. I never quite achieved the American Dream, but I did find a comfort zone of my own. I did get to do the things I loved in life and follow my passion.
Several years later, I started to feel empty, and that my life held no meaning unless I was doing the things that I loved, or bought something to ease the pain, or got involved in another abusive impossible relationship. Once again, a pattern was revealing itself and more questions surfaced:
WHY DO I KEEP HURTING MYSELF?
WHY DO I HATE MY LIFE?
WHY DO I KEEP DOING THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER AGAIN?
Soon after, I had a heart-to-heart talk with myself, which brought on a mental meltdown. I didn't go to the hospital (although it might have been a good idea at the time) and just slowly lost grip with my perceived reality. I hurt deeper than I ever did before, and I was terrified. I felt I was lost in the dark, and that no one could help me. It was in that darkness that I discovered new teachings and began to adopt them (the ones I discussed in the previous post.) Slowly, the darkness lifted, and life began to have purpose and meaning, even on days where I felt under the weather.
Giving up the endless mindless pursuit of material things and seeking happiness from within was one of the best decisions that I've ever made in my life; I had to please no one else, it didn't cost money, and it's a gift that keeps on giving, with every breath. Learning to meditate and take care of my body was an important step in moving forward. Thoughts of the past and of the future were clouding my mind endlessly, showing me nothing but "bad movies" the entire time.
In this present moment, I am safe, everything is already here, and it's easy to just put a smile on my face, breathing deeply. I can smile and truly mean it, for once in my life...