Trying to find yourself through things doesn’t work: The ego satisfaction is short-lived and so you keep looking for more, keep buying, keep consuming…We cannot really honor things if we use them as a means to self-enhancement, that is to say, if we try to find ourselves through them. That is exactly what the ego does. Ego-identification with things creates attachment to things, obsession with things, which in turn creates our consumer society and economic structures where the only measure of progress is always more. The unchecked striving for more, for endless growth is a dysfunction and a disease…When you can no longer feel the life that you are, you are likely to try to fill up your life with things. As a spiritual practice I suggest you investigate your relationship with the world of things through self-observation, and in particular, things that are designated with the word ‘my.’ You need to be alert and honest to find out, for example, whether your sense of self-worth is bound up with things you possess…Is it wrong to be proud of one’s possessions or to feel resentful toward people who have more than you? Not at all. That sense of pride, of needing to stand out, the apparent enhancement of one’s self through ‘more than’ and diminishment through ‘less than’ is neither right nor wrong—it is the ego. The ego isn’t wrong, it’s just unconscious. When you observe the ego in yourself, you are beginning to go beyond it. Don’t take the ego seriously…Above all, know that the ego isn’t personal. It isn’t who you are.
I never thought I’d be an Eckhart Tolle kind of reader much less quote his book (A New Earth) publicly, but there you have it. Guess a person who’s education was based in science (Microbiology then Epidemiology) can still understand and buy into the fluffy world of new age spiritualism. But there’s just something about this book that makes sense to me (though I did get a great introduction to meditation and secular spirituality through my favorite book 10% Happier. I definitely could not have jumped straight into this book without some kind of introduction to the “monkey mind”, or what Mr. Tolle calls the ego here). Anyway with this book I’m beginning to see that I’ve wrapped up a lot of my self-worth through things and money, and really it’s only been feeding an always-unsatisfied ego. Recently, I’ve felt like I needed to cut back on my consumption, and that more things were in fact making me more unhappy (thus my new rule of no more free gifted items for semi-sponsored posts on this blog). For most of 2018 I viewed reviewing more things as a way of growing this blog to an even greater readership. But then again, why do I want to grow this blog? To feed the ego even more? No the whole point of this blog is because I really enjoy writing and communicating with all those I’m lucky enough to count on as readers. Also I love sharing my ideas in a mostly one way manner lol.
Anyway instead of trying to make more money/buy more stuff I’ve decided to take a different route. Yes, I’m sticking to my resolution of letting myself get one new item a month (which I’m sure I’ll be reviewing here), but I’m also going to be focusing on FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). Have you heard of this movement? I just learned about it through this NYT article and my husband and I are obsessed. We definitely want to make our money work for us so that we can stop working just for the money sooner. We’re still newbies in the subject but we’re going to start tracking our expenses and putting our extra capital into investments. I also recently just finished reading Your Money or Your Life where they describe a Crossover Point where your monthly expenses meet or are below your monthly investment income. Sounds impossible I know, but we’re going to try (our crossover point will probably be over a decade from now, but even then retirement at 45-50 doesn’t sound so shabby). Or once we’re comfortable, we might try Barista Fire and I’d love to work part-time in ethical fashion.
Anyway I don’t really foresee this blog to turn into a financial blog but I will probably be talking about our journey towards FIRE and trying to make better choices about money. Probably most of it will be contained in my weekly updates but who knows how obsessed I get with this topic? Just curious though, would this be of interest to you guys?