Why indeed. What’s behind our consumer behavior – be it consuming stuff or websites or fads or cookies or the latest hot speaker (oops, would that be me?)?
We say: it was my color, I heard such good things about him/it/them, I was hungry/bored/curious, it was for my PhD research/husband/recipe. Yes… but… let’s look deeper. Could it be that we “buy” it because of very human yet rarely spoken about emotions. Like envy, gluttony or regret. She had one and I wanted one too. I can have whatever I want and you can’t stop me. How can I fix the past?
While these are hard to admit, they are also keys to happiness… by turning them on their heads, looking for the possibilities for pleasure within the pain. Ugh. Masochism? Nope, read on.Soon a course on happiness will be a VeRA (Vicki Robin&Associates) Teleclass School offering. Amazing research and ancient wisdom and our collective effort to turn away from ecological ruin all point to happiness as a new bottom line.
Using myself as a happiness guinea pig I’ve been testing theories in the lab of my own life.
One key I teach to the happiness of “enough” is the Presence Principle. It says in effect: “No matter what you do, if you aren’t aware of it, it can’t make you happy.” You have to experience it – the pleasure of food, the pleasure of a visit with a friend, the pleasure the new car. The more you experience the pleasure of having, doing or being, the more satisfied you will be. You won’t race past your “enough point” -the moment of optimal fulfillment when more isn’t better, it’s burden. Debt comes from indulgence that doesn’t satisfy, because it actually doesn’t register on the pleasure meter.
Observing how I feed myself, for example, I notice three moments of pleasure:
Preparing, eating and fullness.
Preparing the food is a small interval of art for me. Chopping, frying, seasoning, catching the dish at the peak moment of doneness, arranging it on a plate to serve and eat. Smells, adjusting recipes, choosing the angle of my knife. If I never ate the food, I’d still have that pleasure – if I paid attention and didn’t hurry the process as if it were slopping the pigs.
Then I’m the eater. I sit and savor the flavors, the textures, the exquisite moments when intense hunger meets the first mouthfuls and my body lights up with satisfaction.
After eating, I feel pleasantly full. I have energy. The meal sustains me for hours. And the memory of the meal, when I remember to remember, gives me a feeling of being loved (someone cooked for me!), of having a good life.
Okay, enough about me and eating. The point is:
Awareness of your envy can become a reminder to give yourself what you really want, a reminder that you’re alive, you want things because humans want things, and you can be kind to yourself by asking yourself, “Hey, honey, what kind of happy experience would you like?
Awareness of your gluttony can become a reminder to savor what you are consuming. Every bit and bite of it.
Awareness of your regrets can become a reminder to bring true pleasure to the next chocolate bar, the next date, the next new gadget.
All of this comes from turning hurry into pleasure. You can practice pleasure – anticipating, savoring, remembering – and actually make yourself happier. Registering pleasure can lead to fewer regrets.
What do you do for pure pleasure? What do you take pleasure in? Do you even think pleasure is a worthy focus for life?