(For my readers in other countries, do you have something like Black Friday? If not, read on to learn about this crazy American custom.)
Spend Black Friday Meditating? Heck No, There’s Shopping to Do!
Are you ready for Black Friday? It seems like the rest of the United States is.
The holidays can be a stressful time of year, a time when we’d all rather be shopping than worrying about the troubles of the world. Seriously, when you look at the world around you, do you think, “Time to meditate,” or, “Time to practice more compassion”? Or do you think, “Time to shop!”?
Does Retail “Therapy” Work?
How often have you felt an urge to go out and buy something, only to find that after you’d bought it, there was still a hollow place inside?
Have you ever been really stressed out and felt like a little “retail therapy” was just the thing that you needed to remove your negative thinking? I’ve done it, and sometimes it seems to work…for a short while.
What we find as we begin to explore our mind and our “meditative self” is that there’s a happiness inside of us that’s not dependent upon our outer circumstances, what we have in our closets, what we do for a living, or what we watch on TV. We begin to find a happiness that’s always present within our mind, that for the most part, has nothing to do with what’s going on “out there”and that’s not dependent on our outer circumstances.
This state of mind is one that can bring us genuine happiness whether we’re healthy or sick, rich or poor, or wearing some expensive clothing or a second-hand jacket.
Meditating on Shopping…Really?
A while ago, I was shopping for some household items and decided to check out the clothing section; I’m a sucker for clothes! This time, no matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find anything that I liked. I searched the aisles, looking for something perfect that would make me feel better.
Finally I stopped in an aisle and asked myself, “what the hell are you looking for?!” At that moment, I took a breath and meditated in the moment, realizing that I was feeling stressed out by other things that were going on in my life. As soon as I walked out of the store and took a look at the clear blue sky, and felt the cool air on my face, I realized that I wasn’t going to find happiness inside a store.
What I experienced in that moment was to witness my mind go from a state of confusion to clarity. The confusion was the belief that I could somehow take care of the turmoil that I was feeling by buying something. The clarity that I experienced by meditating on the moment was that realized that I’d lost touch with my own inner happiness and that I could easily return to that inner happiness by simply taking a moment to check in with myself.
Meditate While You Shop…It’s Fun!
Black Friday is the shopping day of the year in the US. It’s a day of intense consumerism, a day for all-out buying! And in a way, that’s okay. But, wouldn’t the experience be even better if we could have calm within our mind so that whatever we purchased was chosen and purchased from a sane state of mind?
Here are a few tips for how to “meditatively” shop, ways to bring mindfulness even to our consuming. Give it a try and see if you’re shopping experience is different:
- First, before you even leave the house, settle your mind and make a list of what you really need, what you really want, and what is simply a luxury. Maybe even set up a system to know which is which.
- Next, before you enter the store, maybe when you’re sitting in your car, or getting off the bus, or walking to the store, practice a little meditation. Take a deep breath, center your mind, check in with your mind. Are you nervous? Excited? Anxious? Blissed out? Calm yourself. Center. Breathe.
- When you enter the store, see what changes happen within your body and mind. Do you begin to feel distracted? Does your attention flit from one item to another? Do you find yourself forgetting what you came into the store for?
- Before you pay for your item(s), even if you’re on line at the register, ask yourself these questions: “Do I really need this?” “Does the person who I’m buying this for really need this?” “Will I be happier with this item?” “What if I didn’t have this, would I still be happy?” “Where is the happiness that is already inside of me?”
- Check in with yourself frequently when shopping. Remember, stores and retailers are designed to build the craving and desire within your mind. They’re not your friends. They want you to spend money, and the more that you spend, the happier they are (even if their happiness is also dependent upon outer circumstances.)
- Remember that mindfulness and meditative awareness are skills that we develop formally to use informally in any situation, even while shopping!
I’ve found that over the years, as I’ve meditated more and I’ve become aware of what’s going on within my mind and my body, my tendency to buy impulsively has decreased dramatically! You could almost say that meditation and knowing one’s mind isn’t good for a consumerist society…but it is very good for the people in that society!
Try it out. Practice meditation. Use it in everyday life. Take breaks to meditate. And, see if your shopping habits change when you meditate. You may find that you spend less of your vital resources on “stuff,” and more of your vital presence within the natural state of your mind.
How To Meditate
Maybe you’ve already got a meditation practice. If that’s the case, great! Keep it up. And feel free to use all of the content from this site to support you in your efforts. If you haven’t started to meditate, begin now.
Many people don’t meditate because they believe that they need to do “something special” in order to meditate, maybe you’re one of them. “Doing something” special isn’t the case. All you need is your breath, and a few minutes of time set aside to begin your practice. Here are some tools to get you started:
- Meditation audio for using your breath as the anchor of your attention during meditation.
- Ebook and two chapters from the book, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind, on how to meditate.
- Even though my book was written with nurses in mind, I continue to get feedback from those who have bought it who aren’t nurses that they find it useful in their lives. So, check out the book, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind. It’s really written for anyone. You can even buy it in a Kindle version!
This site has tons of tools for learning how to meditate.
I encourage you to look through the HUNDREDS of articles that I’ve written and especially check out my weekly meditation tips and other useful meditation materials provided for your health and well being. And please let me know if you’d like to discuss anything with me, have any questions or need clarification regarding anything that I’ve written about.
Thanks for visiting and have a mindful day.