Spirituality

I’m a tree hugging, lentil eating, sandal wearing hippy!

I wrote the premise of this post as a comment on the missus’ blog. This is her post. The environment is something I feel very passionately about and I feel like this should be more than just a passing comment and have a post of its own.

I’m surrounded by yoga and in particular, I have a lot of exposure to yoga blogs. I’m seeing an increase in an underlying attitude as people get in to yoga. It’s one of “I do yoga so I’m better than everyone else and can do no wrong”. I’m simplifying obviously, but you get the point.

By “doing” yoga, and I use that term loosely, there’s a tendency to think that it’s a counter action for any of the bad stuff we’ve ever done, are currently doing or may do in the future.

“Oh, I spoke to the office junior like I found her on my shoe, but it’s ok because I’m spiritually balanced”

“Oh, I’m inconsiderate of other peoples feelings, but it’s ok because I’ll practice a heart based meditation tonight”

“Oh, I just killed a tiny kitten, but it’s cool because I’ve got yoga class in half an hour”

Ahem…

What I’m getting at, is that “doing” yoga is so much more than just doing yoga. Living a yogic life off the mat is just as important as being on your mat. I haven’t been to a class in months but I maintain a well grounded lifestyle.

So coming back to the article, I’m currently having an issue with a whole host of bloggers who are undertaking what’s called a simplicity project. Basically, they’re throwing out all their shit, but it’s cool because it’s in the name of yoga.

My comment was this:

The other side of simplifying your life is the environmental impact.

Where does all your stuff go?

You can send most of it to charity. Great, your conscience is clear. But there are strict guidelines around what charities can accept and then pass on to other people. You’d be surprised by just how much ends up going to landfill.

So is it a good thing to get rid? I’d rather see this “junk” lying around in garages and cupboards than in landfill.

Also, life is full of phases. Millions of people opt to simplify in their early twenties and go travelling with a backpack and then life gets in the way and by 30 they’ve re-accumulated all that stuff again. I’m not saying it’s right or 100% true, but it’s usually what happens for most. This means all your stuff gets dumped to charity and then landfill and then ten years later you go and re-purchase everything which is hitting the environment again with the resource strains. Sure you can buy from charity the second time round but most probably won’t.

Not swanning around in cars and planes and opting instead to set up home with stuff is far better for the environment and as Rachel points out, as long is it’s done without attachment then this is perfectly ok. Sure it’s a rite of passage in your twenties to travel but is it actually a right? Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

It’s a great concept in theory but it requires more thought.

I just think we should/can all be a little more mindful about the environment with every action we take. As part of my job, I’m burning three computers for 9 hours a day. It’s unavoidable. I can’t do my job to the best of my ability without this kind of setup. I could downgrade to one eco friendly laptop but my productivity would die a death.

So on the flipside, I make sure my energy settings are setup correctly. I make sure old parts go to the right place and are made use of. I only buy energy approved devices. My blog is green hosted. I turn everything off unless I’m using it. I travel everywhere via public transport. I don’t drive. I separate all my packaging out into individual parts and recycle everything I can and keep what I think can be used again. I’m the kind of person who used to go to the effort of ripping out the windows in envelopes just so I could recycle the paper. Luckily this is handled by a big machine in Cambridge now.

I guess this is a personal plea to anyone thinking of taking on this project (should they read my blog) to just take a step back and think is this really what I should be doing? Are there any other yogic practices I can undertake that will help me simplify my life without destroying the world?

And with that, I bid you farewell. I’m going to plant a tree. And hug it. Tightly.

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