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Guest Thinkers

Filling the Void, Feeling the Connection

What does over-consumption have to do with poverty? Is the economic divide rooted in Spiritual hunger? Here’s an explanation of why the West consumes at such an immense level, and how we can begin to change things.

There is a man who visits my dumpster every night. He rifles through the days collected treasure hoping to stumble upon something that might make his next day, his next moment, more bearable. He searchers for left-over food to quiet his hunger, or an old piece of clothing to add to his minimal collection. I sometimes leave my recycling by the dumpster for my neighbor, hoping that he can make use of the empty bottles and cans that I have already consumed the best of.

As I watched from my window last night, I realized how divinely connected I am to this man. We are both spiritual beings having a human experience, and as such, we have the same potential for enlightenment. I have love for this man. We share the same space called Earth.

My indulgence in this simple moment of inter-connectedness was cut short by the sound of a Lexus SUV speeding through our quite ally. Why, I thought, does anyone need that over-priced, gas guzzling, car?He’s up to his ears in debt, I think. I bet he doesn’t own any of his earthly luxuries – not his house, not his car, not his clothes, phone or furniture.

 I want to blame this man for the economic injustices in the world. I want to berate him for acquiring the kind of debt that has plummeted our society into economic collapse.

And then it hits me. He’s feel the connection too.

Throughout the past 100 years, we have acquired more wealth as a species that we have in our 10,000 year  domestic history. We have gone from subsistence farmers to billionaires in the blink of an eye. And at the same time, more than half of our Earthy brothers and sisters go hungry.  If you believe that we are all connected, (and for the sake of this article, let’s go with it) then it stands to reason that we can feel each other’s joy and sorrow. On a deep, spiritual level, we feel the hunger of our brothers and sisters. This is what the man in the lexis feels. This is a good thing.

What we have done with this feeling is not such a good thing. We are filling our spiritual starvation with things. The new car, the bigger house, the designer bags and the shoes we can’t afford are empty, hollow calories, and they’re killing us. We consume and throw away at a level that is unprecedented in human history. And despite this feeding frenzy, we are still starving, and will continue to starve until we recognize the core reason for our behavior. People are literally wasting away because of a lack of food, water and shelter. And we are spiritually wasting away as will “fill our bellies” with the wrong substances.

I am making a pledge to myself and my Earth family to dig deep before I dig into my wallet to buy the latest digs. What am I filling with the purchase?Where is this urge coming from? It’s only when I take a moment to connect with Spirit, to connect with the Earth and all who dwell here that I make the better choice of saying no to the hollow substance and say yes to humanity.


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