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

A Chilling View Inside the Quiet Room: Electric Shocks Preferred to Sitting Still
A study recently published in Science provides a window into the restless soul of Americans and a compelling case of why we need mindfulness. University of Virginia psychologist Timothy Wilson and colleagues conducted a series of experiments where subjects spent time alone in an unadorned room. We

posted 8:53:12am Aug. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Drive by Shooting: Mindfulness on NPR
It's not surprising when a feature on mindfulness appears in a major media outlet. Mindfulness is popular. This time it is a sub-four minute interview on NPR. Tamara Keith spoke with Sharon Salzberg, one of the co-

posted 6:25:54pm Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

No More Fooling Around: Changing the World Through Mindfulness
Today I will start a series of posts about how we can change the world through mindfulness and the wisdom of the Buddha's teachings. This transformation starts with individuals and progresses through groups, corporations, and then societies. Ultimately, a global movement is possible and will be acco

posted 10:47:16am Jul. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Mindfulness for Introverts
Mindfulness is a natural fit for introverts. The act of meditation itself is an introverted activity and at the same time equips introverts to navigate their interior without getting stuck in rumination. I recently wrote an essay for the Kripalu Thrive blog entitled Mindfulness for Introverts.

posted 3:26:51pm Jul. 08, 2014 | read full post »

The transformative power of mindfulness . . .
As I mentioned last week, there is a special learning opportunity upcoming with Jack Kornfield. I hope you got a chance to look at his videos. Registration is now open to take advantage of studying mindfulness with one of the most beloved American teachers. When it comes to creating real, lasting

posted 11:28:48am Jun. 17, 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.