Spiral Eyes, from Team Pixie U.K.
Spiral Eyes, from Team Pixie U.K.

“The compulsion to acquire possessions has often been compared to an addiction.

Just as addicts need more and more of their drug to get the same level of pleasure, Americans buy more and more stuff to maintain the same level of satisfaction.

This is more than a clever metaphor. Addictions are deformations of a brain system that governs rewards and habits by releasing substances such as dopamine and the internal opioids that are responsible for cravings and “highs.” ~ Wise Brain Bulletin (5.7-8, 8/11)

The Rat Race, from fbcdn-sphotos via Leave the Rat Race (find it on Facebook)
The Rat Race, from fbcdn-sphotos via Leave the Rat Race (find it on Facebook)

It’s interesting that not all that long ago, ‘consumption’ was the street name for Tuberulosis.

My grandmother, Anabel, having come from those earlier times, called it “the con-some-damn-thing.” My fellow Berrett-Koehler authors called it Affluenza in their book of the same name.

Either way, the common theme is that it’s a disease, an imbalance. As in not wellness and wellbeing.

So, we might ask, is there a way off what psychologists call the “hedonic treadmill” and out of the “rat race” required to support the ever-burgeoning Consumption (and perhaps treadmill) addiction?

Shadow and Light in the Zen Garden Pool, San Francisco Botanical Garden (Photo by Jamie S. Walters. You're welcome to use it under Creative Commons License by including the source and byline and a link back to this post)
The Zen Garden Pool, San Francisco Botanical Garden (Photo by Jamie S. Walters, your Sophia’s Children blog creatrix).

The good folks at the Wise Brain Bulletin offer a more healthful, and as it turns out pretty pleasant and otherwise beneficial, option:

“Mindfulness generates novelty to excite the dopamine neurons not by covering a lot of ground fast, but by delving deeper into familiar turf. Unless we can learn to be mindful, we’ll be at the mercy of advertisers who crank up the consumer treadmill to run faster and faster.”

There are lots of ways to explore and experiment with contemplative (aka Inner Way) practices and simplifying your life (pruning what really doesn’t nourish you and reclaiming and prioritizing what does).

Ancient olive tree (photo from Medilico's Olive Facts)
Ancient olive tree (photo from Medilico’s Olive Facts)

Another powerful set of practices is what I’ve taken to calling re-rooting … re-establishing a sense of rootedness in our ancestral lineage — and it’s wisdom — that was (for many of us) severed long ago but can be re-connected now.

Stronger, deeper roots help us to withstand all kinds of storms, but when we’re uprooted and off-center? Yeah, not so much (you’ve been there too, right?).

Follow this link to continued inspiration from Out of the Fear-Spin and Into the Heart, Illuminated, which points to a few more Inner Way offerings to help keep your inspiration up and your thirst quenched.

Meander around through these Sophia’s Children posts for more inspiration on these topics, or post below if you’re feeling curious or vocal. If you prefer a more one-on-one conversation, send me an email (jwalters ‘at’ ivysea ‘dot’ com) – I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Big Love, and Be Well.