Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Back to Basics

Back to basics. That phrase seems to be in vogue right now. What does that mean exactly and why is it becoming so popular? Americans everywhere are waking up and realizing that we can't keep going in the direction we are going without hitting a brick wall. Somethings got to give. Not only at the national level but at the personal level as well.

What are the basics of life? Our needs. For me it is God, people to love, good food, a roof over head, and medicine when I am sick. Everything else is extra. As Americans we seem to focus a lot of our time and energy on that extra stuff. 

We are time starved. You never get any more time. When it's gone that is it. Yet,we spend it in persuit of things that will never make us truly happy. And everything suffers because of it. We are too tired on Sunday mornings to get up and go to church. We're too tired to pray. We're to tired to learn. So, our faith suffers. We don't have time to spend with our families, so our marriages suffer. Because our marriages fail our children suffer. We don't have time to cook a good home cooked meal so our health suffers. We don't have time to clean our homes so they suffer. We don't have time to garden or cultivate good relationships with produce stands, butchers, and farmers so our food supply suffers. We don't have time to volunteer so our communities suffer. We're too tired to think and we don't have time to care. Our time is wasted.

Because we are unhappy we try to throw money at the problem. We try to feel happy by seeking entertainment. We give money to different industries that have been created just for this purpose. Cable T.V., the movie industry, the music industry, the porn industry, the video game industry. When were done with that we try to relax with some retail therapy and a quick bite (because we don't have time for much else) from the food industry. We pay for pills for depression and therapy. Then it's back to bed because we have to get up in the morning and earn some money so we can start all over again. Money (and the entertainment it buys) is not evil. But, mistaking it for happiness will cause you grief. This is the "extra stuff."

Since we've already wasted our time and we have all this "extra stuff" all of our resources are tied up in maintaining the lives we have created. Why am I a part of the back to basics movement? Because I realized that I was suffering.

We have to learn to embrace our suffering and let it move us onto a new path. People are afraid of suffering. But, without suffering there would be no reason for us to change. It helps us to better ourselves and to shed bad habits. It helps us to learn new things. It teaches us to empathize with the suffering of others. Because it teaches us it is o.k. to reach out to others when we are in need and in turn we help them when they need us. In short, it helps us to grow up.

Think of the people who lived through the Great Depression or the Second World War. They were strong people. All at once self reliant and they had a strong sense of family and community. They were "the greatest generation". But, they didn't start out that way. They were wounded and their scars healed and made them tough. They grew up and learned. And when they got knocked down they got up and stood taller then ever before.

The back to basic movement is going strong because like our great-grandparents. We've learned from our suffering. We've found a need to reassess things. We need to change the ideas of what it means to be happy and secure. 

We're getting back to basics. 

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