Our habits to consume are very strong. They are reinforced by our culture that tells us that our happiness is dependent on owning the latest gadget, product, or experience. To break this consumerist habit, we need to become aware of this internal energy to consume, so that we don’t blindly follow it. This is a contemplative practice–to begin to see how the market and cultural forces shape our interior world.
1. Notice your internal impulse to buy more, to eat more, to do more things that are not essential. This can be owning the latest electronic gadgets and buying the trendiest clothes. It can also be over-consuming more information or social media than is necessary, eating (and often wasting) too much food, or trying to pack in too many activities. It might feel like a subtle tug or pull in the body which we are conditioned to give into. This is normal and natural, but it doesn’t mean you have to follow the tug to consume more than you need.
2. Pause and take a breath. Then find a phrase to ground you such as “Less is more”, “Jesus is the reason” or even “Do I need to get/do this?” in order to remind you of your commitment to not over-consume and to keep your eyes on Jesus.
3. Make a choice based on your commitment to live simply, in order to create space and time to focus on what is essential: God, relationships, service, and caring for our earth community.