On Consumerism’s Reduction of Happiness

Consumerism reduces happiness to consumption. It tells us ‘you are happy so long as you keep buying.’ It worries us that we will ‘fall behind’ our peers. Well, this is utter nonsense. So long as we postpone our happiness until we purchase the next new thing, we will never be happy. So long as we feel a constant need to ‘keep up’ we will feel neither satisfied nor at ease.

Happiness is found in finding peace within oneself by becoming aware of the things that make us suffer: as the Buddha pointed out in his teaching of the Three Poisons, clinging to impermanent things, aversion to things, and holding illusions about the way things are never fails to make us suffer. Happiness is found through contentment, acceptance,and spending time with those we care about. Happiness is found in the calm, peaceful, stillness of awareness itself; simply being gratefully aware, quietly aware, can make us happy. Happiness is found in doing things that are fulfilling and meaningful to us. Whether we buy things in the process or not is immaterial.

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