Monday, December 08, 2008

Battening Down the Hatches

As I mentioned in an earlier post I am being forced by circumstance to "batten down the hatches". I have spent the last few days taking a hard look at where I am financially, we my money is going and what I plan to do going forward. The job market really sucks and even though my resume is pretty good, the possibility of finding employment, at least making the kind of money I have been, in the near term is pretty bleak. So be it.

The good news is that I have been living pretty 'high on the hog' and there is a lot I have done in just a few days to drastically reduce the cost of day to day living. The other good news is that I am already committed to lowering my 'carbon footprint' and that, in itself, makes things a lot easier. I may be rationalizing this but I have come to the conclusion that this whole adventure is actually a good opportunity to further refine my life, focus on what is important and try and live up to a more ideal covenant with the world.

In spite of the suggestion of one of the commenters I don't intend to fall back into 'Monk' mode or go to the extremes that seem so popular in the press these days. Some people are actually making a career out of 'doing without'. There have been recent books on doing without shopping, not buying anything made in China, having 'zero impact, living on $5000 a year, getting rid of the private car, eating nothing but organic or home grown food, and on an on. We are not going to go to the extreme but it will be interesting to see how I can make changes in my life that lower my cost/impact and yet don't necessarily turn life into some kind 'Walden Pond' challenge.

The first steps are done but some of it will be more philosophical in nature. Way back I used to have a little better handle on the the philosophy side of this but I have not forgotten the lessons. In Arthur Koestler’s “The Act of Creation” there is a comment about Western civilization:

“The child is taught petitionary prayer instead of meditation, religious dogma instead of contemplation of the infinite; the mysteries of nature are drummed into his head as if they were paragraphs in the penal code.”

The reality is that without constant awareness of our place and connection to the universe we begin to behave as if it were something outside us and begin to regard it primarily as a thing to be dealt with, we externalize “it”, and objectify it. That's wrong thinking and it causes us to behave badly. Save it, nurture it and live in it but stop thinking of it as a thing apart.

I need to remember how to 'live intentionally'. The good thing is I know how but just need to remember how.

No comments: