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    Dharma Glimpse by Frankie

    This isn’t a meditation on death and my preparedness or otherwise for it, but about the lessons I am taught as I go about my every day mundane life. Shopping!

    I do a lot of my shopping on Amazon. Yes I know for many people this is objectionable but perhaps those people live in priviliged areas, near big cities in privileged countries and have access to big one stop supermarkets, enormous discount white goods retailers, all manner and style of household accessory suppliers, furniture shops, internation food stores, art supply discount stores, chainstores for just about everything – not to mention the infrastructure of public and private transport to access them. Blessed are they.

    However not having much of any of the above by choosing to live on a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean with barely functioning public transport and no car, I thank every deity there is for Amazon.
    The one-click button is a wonderful thing – when I’ve finished a book on my Kindle at 2.00am, I can access the Kindle shop immediately and buy the follow up – but there’s also a great lesson to be learned from putting stuff in the trolley. And leaving it there.

    I have a rule. I leave it at least three days before I proceed to the checkout. And what happens? At my leisure I can look at the contents of the trolley again and what I find is that after that three days of a sort of sacred shopping pause, I am better able discern the difference between want and need. What is in that trolley thanks to dissatisfaction and grasping, monkey mind, someone else’s greener grass? What is there as a result of windowshopping, fleeting pleasure, fantasy? What do I really need? And what do I already have that I am not making use of?

    I’d say that at least 90% of what I might have accumulated goes back on the shelf. Some of it will go in the ‘save for later’ pile, which will also eventually get weeded through in the same way.
    I see this not so much as an exercise of willpower or a triumph over capriciousness, but dharma in action right there in the midst of life. It’s about response rather than reaction. It’s about that sacred pause; those three days are like the three sacred breaths we can take before speaking or acting carelessly or in anger. It’s about discernment and clarity. It’s about grasping and dukkha. It’s about learning to be content with what I have. It’s about everything!

    Today I have two items in my trolley – I’ve just removed one to the save for later list, and I’ve also removed two items from that list. The one remaining item is a book on Japanese Calligraphy, I’ll let it stay just a little while longer…

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