“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest–a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein
It takes tremendous courage and self assurance to go against the grain of hegemony and the prevalence of conformity and homogeneity that we see world wide. It also takes a certain level of critical thinking, applied experientially to ones life, to really understand the necessity to live more of a counter-culture or subversive lifestyle. What I am talking about is not merely to be who you are in all of your unique authenticity. Actually, the implication that I am asserting is the importance of realigning our focal point of being aware of the greater society surrounding us. Thus, the motives within the consumer based cultural currency, the true value of life, and how to live a life of greater awareness and intrinsic value. Of course, we can not be fully aware of everything that is going on in society or at a global level, yet with the advent of the internet, if you are open to knowing the facts; they are abruptly visible.
The paradigm that I mostly discuss is based on holistic lifestyle, not merely a physical based paradigm of what we see as the mainstream use of ‘holistic’, yet a deeper reality of living a truly holistic life. Thus, to embody holism entails realizing that we are interconnected to all the other beings in this world, we are interdependent on our earth’s natural resources, and we are interconnected with each other. There have been numerous scientists studying the actual phenomena of interconnectivity, proving that indeed we are all interconnected, as one entity in existence. This reality has been understood throughout history by numerous holistic medical systems, healers, and spiritual practitioners.
To choose a lifestyle based on the suffering of any being or animal, is not a holistic lifestyle, as when you support a culture of death and killing animals to sustain yourself; you are living a lower conscious lifestyle where you are creating more karma for yourself, to inevitably deal with later. This concept, has been historically a prevalent and intrinsic understanding within the majority of people seeking spiritual enlightenment. To continue to partake in the suffering of any other living being only adds to ones own karma. Hence, to choose a diet and lifestyle that is based on non-violent principles, local organic foods which support the local small scale organic farmers, and to understand the principles of our connection to the natural world is a lifestyle of great value. I personally only consume, mostly local organic produce purchased from my farmers market, then I go to a locally owned store to purchase other organic items and organic-fair trade items. I avoid ingredients such as palm oil, due to the massive slaughter of Orangoutangs throughout areas where they are commercially growing palm oil. In addition, I also stay away from most ‘organic’ produce from California or other organic mechanical agriculture that is not as high quality as what I can find locally.
In addition, food and diet is only so important. Other factors, that I deem much more important are how we interact with other fellow human beings and all other creature that we share this planet with. Again, to show others kindness is something seemingly so rare, not just regular people but the less fortunate. I often will purchase food for the obvious drug addicts who beg outside of stores I shop in. I try to treat them like anyone else, even if I am uncomfortable by their behavior or appearance. I still try to make an effort to treat less fortunate people, as the human beings that they are. The reason why I practice this type of action is that I see how self absorbed we are as a society, how selfish and indulgent almost everyone has become (myself included, to some degree), thus to try to act selflessly, even if we are not completely ‘selfless’ is still better than not acting at all. The truth of the matter is that anyone could find themselves in a less fortunate position, alone, and without anything.
To really understand that we are all interconnected and that our actions and choices have a tremendous impact on others and the larger world is important to consider in our daily choices. I am always aware of what my resources are supporting, through the simple choices that I am making on a daily basis. Even though I am not the perfect ‘green’ individual, almost everything I use is organic or supports the organic movement and is produced without harm to other living beings, from my food, toiletries, and most of my clothing. To use our critical thinking, experiential knowledge, and sense of humanity for the greater good has a far more powerful and fulfilling affect, than to live a life knowing the consequences of our actions and choices, yet doing nothing to change them. Inevitably, only our actions truly affect us, therefore to at least try to create continuous positive actions and choices not only benefits us, yet many other people and animals that may otherwise suffer due to our choices.
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