Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


What’s Right With America is Wrong with America

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

WelcomeToNewJerseySign-300x225People love to hate New Jersey. In Vermont, we have bumper stickers that say “Don’t Jersey Vermont.” I did most of my growing up in the Garden State and recently spent some time there. It is a place of contradictions to be certain.

Where I was, there is high population density and a culture oriented around consumption. I had the opportunity to go to Costco. Now to be fair, you can find Costco anywhere, even here in Vermont. But this Costco, was enormous, much bigger than the one we have here in Vermont. It was a vast expanse of opportunity to have things, including free samples of food as you walk through the store.

I have not been a member of Costco for two reasons. The first is that for most things, you can only buy them in large quantity and second selection is severely curtailed. You can get what they display. If you are lucky, you like the particular variation they are offering. For some things like nuts, there is no name brand at play–just large quanitieis. Brian Wansink’s reserach has demonstrated that larger containers of food lead to bigger portions and calories intake. But the lure of the bargain seems to be what motivates people in Costco. It’s not hard to see why there is an obesity epidemic growing in this country.

As I roamed bewildered by the sheer amount of stuff, I practiced noticing the arising of desire and the cessation of that same desire. I walked the entire store without buying anything. How unAmerican of me!

Greed and desire; having and not having. Why do we want so much stuff?

I also had the opportunity to go to an gigantic Wegmans supermarket–the biggest selection of food I’ve ever seen in a super market. It blew my mind. It was crowded on a Monday afternoon–the leisure class getting their grocers (the parking was full of Benz’s) and not a smile to be had in the vast expanse of calories. Miles of prepared foods, produce, cheeses, groceries. It was overwhelming. I wanted to pitch a tent there so I could start eating–everything! I am safe from Wegman’s. There is nothing appoaching that monolith here in cozy Vermont.

Ironically, as soon as I started writing this entry, someone offered me a Costco membership. Should I take it? It’s free? I accepted the offer and I will have to be mindful as I roam the spacious isles to be vigilant with desire and to only buy what makes sense to buy. When I come home with the huge packages, it would behoove me to separate it into smaller quantities because I will eat less that way.

What is more unfathomable than the incredible quantities (and high quality) of available food was the apparent taken-for-grantedness of it all. I saw no sense of wonder, no one genuflecting at the abundance. This is a shame. We are so fortunate to have so much. There was enough food in that Costco and Wegmens to feed a small nation.

The next time you gather food at a supermarket, see if you can bring a sense of gratitude, wonder, and awe to the bounty that is available to you. Eat what you acquire with mindfulness. Enjoy.

 



  • http://louellabryant.com Ell

    Thanks for this post. There’s a lot that’s good about New Jersey, and beautiful, too. If you’re going to shop big, Costco is a fine place to do it. Costco’s founder James Sinegal pays his employees a living wage ($40,000 after 4 years), and believes in capping his salary and bonus at about twice the level of a Costco store manager. He has high quality products, too, as you say. Julia Child used to buy her meats there. As for this writer? Costco has a better deal on computer paper than Staples. So, yeah, I’m a member (but I shop in Vermont).

  • http://www.simpleserenity.com Lorrie Jones

    Thank you thank you. I am a New Jersey lover and a Costco dis-liker. I appreciate this post very much and am inspired to bring even more mindfulness into how I shop and what I buy. I am grateful for this article.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Randie Rubenstein

    Seriously? With the strength and resiliency this state has shown in such unexpected adversity, over-consumption is what stands out?

Previous Posts

Getting Past the Tyranny of Should: A Timely Message for the Holiday Season
There are many things we "should" be doing around the holidays. We should be happy, merry, and jolly. We should be with family. We should be the consummate hosts. In the course of the day, we might impose expectations, rules, and agendas on ourselves tirelessly. This is the tyranny of should.

posted 10:36:45am Dec. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Finding the Fall Line: The Technique of Practice
As I was meditating this morning, I came up with a new practice metaphor. There were times when I was clearly in the flow of my body, very attuned the myriad body sensations and there were other moments where I was somewhere else or trying to manage some aspect of the moment, almost as if I was tryi

posted 10:13:53am Dec. 09, 2014 | read full post »

Prime Time, All the Time
An add for television streaming service Hulu states, "Every minute of every day should be considered prime time." This clever quip has a double meaning. On the one hand, it reflects the tyrannical notion that every experience that we have should be exciting, entertaining, and novel. On the other han

posted 9:31:08am Dec. 08, 2014 | read full post »

Giving Thanks 2014: Still a Lot to be Grateful For
There is not now, nor ever, a shortage of tragic, unjust, and violent events occurring around the world. The news media exploits these events and brings them into our brains 24/7 with an unrelenting insistence. Our nervous systems are vulnerable to these kinds of information. They signal danger and

posted 8:56:43am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Buddhist Icon--Thich Nhat Hanh Recovering in Hospital
Beloved Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh (TNH) has experienced a severe cerebral hemorrhage and remains in critical condition. He recently had his 88th Birthday. I surmise that he is, along with the Dalai, Lama, one of the two most readily recognized Buddhist figures in the world today. Af

posted 6:27:39am Nov. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.