This quote from A Course in Miracles has been ringing over and over again in my mind these days like an ominously wonderful death knell.
I spent these first stay-at-home weeks finding ways to protect my sanity by maintaining my normal busyness. I now find myself losing interest in that effort. I’m tired of constantly eating. I’m tired of watching TV. I’m tired of constantly eating while watching TV. I’m tired of browsing the latest news updates, surfing social media, and playing video games.
Don’t get me wrong – I am working from home. I’m one of the lucky ones who still has some work. Curiously, I’ve found I’m far more efficient working from home, and when you add to that the time saved by not commuting, I’m left with a lot more time on my hands to do … what?
That must explain the “ominous” tone – that scary “lost” feeling. I’ve been like a hamster running on a wheel going nowhere, yet desperate for that wheel to start turning again so I can at least run, run, run! I guess all that running made me feel “normal” and “safe.”
But was all that running truly “normal” and “safe” just because everyone was doing it, or was it a symptom that we were all actually living in crazy, harmful ways? What if everybody was running on the same nameless wheel, taking a senseless journey to nowhere? Perhaps now that the wheel has stopped turning, and we’ve stopped running, we can clearly see that wheel and give it a name.
It is called “consumerism.”
With businesses closing, demand skyrocketing, and supply plummeting, many are beginning to realize that we can live just fine without certain “pleasures” and without much of the “stuff” we thought we couldn’t live without – and we can certainly live without all the misery that comes with the “mad careers” needed to pay for it all.
The spell of consumerism is beginning to wear off. The artificial values we’ve all been taught to believe in are proving false. Consumerism can never make us happy because there’s always bigger and better pleasures and stuff to go after. It’s an insatiable beast.
If an economy built on that insatiable beast can be so easily destroyed by a virus, perhaps we need to figure out a more resilient foundation for a new economy.
That might be why many politicians are crying out for businesses to reopen without much regard to the toll on human lives. “We’ve got to get back to ‘business as usual’ – profit before people – before it’s too late!’” Perhaps what they really mean is, “… before people wake up.”
Before people wake up to what truly makes us happy – developing and nurturing caring relationships, gratitude for what we do have, giving to those in need, and above all – connecting with something within us far greater than our little selves.
Julio Gambuto, in his article “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting,” warns us that very powerful forces are going to do everything they can to try to convince us to get back on that wheel. They’re going to try very hard to convince us that we weren’t really happier and healthier off the wheel. It was just our imagination – along with the Earth’s ozone layer starting to heal and improved air quality around the globe. They will try to make us doubt our newfound sanity.
Let’s make a promise now to ourselves and to our fellow human beings not to step back on that wheel –to not fall back under the spell of consumerism. We know now it doesn’t make us happy or healthy. This is a perfect opportunity, while we are shut in, to go through our fear – though that ominous tone – to that wonderful tone within, where indestructible happiness lies – and begin to envision a new life filled with love, peace, and joy.
“All quotes are from A Course in Miracles, copyright ©1992, 1999, 2007 by the Foundation for Inner Peace, 448 Ignacio Blvd., #306, Novato, CA 94949, www.acim.org and firstname.lastname@example.org, used with permission.”
Gambuto, Julio V. “Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting: You are not crazy, my friends.” Forge.medium.com, 10 Apr. 2020, forge.medium.com/prepare-for-the-ultimate-gaslighting-6a8ce3f0a0e0