When I interviewed for a potential sublet the woman asked me what is most important to me in terms of living with someone else. My immediate answer was, "being considerate." That's really the heart of it for me. Being considerate means thinking of other people, means selflessness instead of selfishness. My absolute pet peeve is when someone is being inconsiderate. I'm getting up in arms just thinking about it.
It occurred to me this week just how important it is to think of other people. We (in the West) often have this view of the world and how it's "dog eat dog." There's this idea you have to take what's yours, be selfish, get your own needs met. That's true to a degree but it's imbalanced. You know where "dog eat dog" gets us? Just watch this video on the distribution of wealth in the U.S.
There's a concept in yoga, a social norm, called aparigraha. It means living with the minimum necessities. I've struggled with this concept for years. My parents and I would talk about what it meant. Does getting a flat-screen T.V. fall under a minimum necessity? We would agonize over this, somehow believing it was an internal thing to live by. It's not. What I mean is aparigraha is a way of ensuring everyone gets their needs met. It's the opposite of hording. It's freeing up resources. When aparigraha is not followed we end up with the inequitable distribution of wealth in the U.S.
I've been hesitant to talk about this because I don't want to offend anyone, but part of the problem is this law of attraction idea that if you think about becoming a millionaire then you will. Well, yes, you may attract all that money to you, but the idea everyone can be a billionaire is a load of phooey. Energy is unlimited but money is not. Money comes from trees, or silver, or gold, or nickel, or whatever, and that means it's finite. There is a limit to how much money can be printed. So no, everyone cannot be a billionaire. And everyone cannot be a billionaire because while someone is practically wiping their butt with money, there's someone else who's scrimping for change. That's just the way it is.
Other people far more intelligent than me have written about solutions to all this, but a great place to start on the individual level is with the notion we live in a dog-eat-dog world. We don't have to you know. We blame society but we forget we are society. We change all this. Sure, we change our policies and the like, but it's also important to change the underlying mentality. There is enough for all of us but it starts with being considerate of other people. Of noticing what's going on around us. Of compromising to ensure not only my needs get met but those of the people around me as well. I don't know about you but I'd much rather live in a dog-help-dog world.
I dream of a world where every single person gets all of their needs met. A world where there is a more equal distribution of resources. A world where we think about the people around us, which means you're thinking of someone else, but they're also thinking of you. A world where we share what we have without differentiation as we all move as one together.
Another world is not only possible, it's probable.