Money and Obesity

by Mayuri on July 26, 2010

Over-Consumption and the Bloating of America

My husband and I just took a road trip from here is the San Francisco Bay area up through Oregon, Washington, Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and camped on the way home down the coast. What was remarkable was the amount of obesity we encountered.  Some of these encounters were more memorable than other. On a ferry, we saw an overweight couple eating ice cream and feeding a young child under one year its own ice cream cup. Another at a rest stop was seeing a family arrive in two vehicles because they couldn’t fir in one vehicle- not because of numbers but because of size. My husband once exclaimed “look at that poor tiny woman!” which caused me to turn around and see this very small-boned woman with a giant belly protruding and an apron of fat descending.

In the San Francisco Chronicle pink pages( Sunday Datebook) from yesterday, a question to movie critic Mick Lasalle included “Do you think movies reflect their times not only in their content, but in the way they’re produced? For example, too many of us eat too much, drink too much, spend more than we can afford. And too many of today’s filmmakers seem to think that if they just throw money at a film it makes up for lack of craft.” Mick LaSalle’s response included ” Your question introduces an idea I’ve never considered, that the bloat in our films is related to the bloat in our people”. He goes on to add that when he travels outside tha Bay area he is astounded by how fat American are these days (like 60, 70 or 80 ponds overweight).He suggests “if they are related, that means they are springing from a single cause (or at least share a cause in common).” and concludes with “I think you might be on to something”. I agree.

My friend, Geenen Roth‘s latest book, Women, Food and God, is wildly successful and should be. It has been top of the new York Times and Amazon best seller list for weeks now and she has recently been on Oprah, not once, but twice. She doesn’t have the new best diet or fad solution. Those just address symptoms. In my view,  the phenomenal success of her book is based on the fact that she is addressing underlying causes for people  and is bringing consciousness into the equation. Her book, which is the culmination of thirty years of work in the field, is coming at the exact moment that people are being called to wake up. Every American should read this book. Even if you aren’t overweight, you have been over-consuming.

We have been living on the surface of life in out-of-control consumption, and this is reflected not only in our size, but in the state of our economy. Some believe not just the American economy, but the whole world consumer-driven bubble has crashed because it is not sustainable. So, not only has our physical health been demolished, but so has our financial health.

We have been chasing “more is better”, not only in food, but in everything. The world economy has been based on American and their consumption. We used credit, not to get something for serious needs, but to satisfy all our superficial desires. And we’ve had a diminishing quality of life experience. We could HAVE everything and BE nothing.

Jacob Needleman says it like this in his book, Money And The Meaning Of Life:

“Plastic credit cards, masses of debt, enormous rates of interest, equaling massive inflation impersonal finances, continuous production of ever new and superfluous information  exactly like the continuous production of new consumer goods that satisfy artificially created needs, easy credit, borrowing money, electronic transfers of millions —ALL ON THE SURFACE OF LIFE.”

We want to be fulfilled, but this consumption never gratifies us. Our animal lust, is part of our survival instinct,  has an intense desire for food, sex, objects and  its activities align with the body for pleasure. When that animal part of ourselves is separate from our beingness, our spiritual self, lust becomes excessive and focused outside of ourselves. We have been we defining ourselves by external and financial achievements rather than who we are, our depth, our relationships, our love. Rather than fulfillment we have been trying to fill our deficiencies.

Imagine if we had angelic lust rather than animal lust. That we could find pleasure in truth, meaning, depth and profundity. Wholeness comes from balance. We need beingness, not more stuff. What we really want is connection with the earth, with other, with our own deeper underlying true nature.

Assessing the causes of this separation between our inner and our outer, our spiritual and our humanness is interesting. There are macro and micro causes. On the spiritual level, you might take it as far back as the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Or the 4000 years of the partriarchal denial  of the feminine, which is really the creative force that brings spirit into matter. The miracle of each fetus, each baby is that it is the embodiment of spirit. So the loss of the feminine has created financial systems separated from our humaness. Or, as Jacob Needleman makes a great case for in his aformentioned book, the cultural impact of the history of the our western church.

Regardless of the cause, what is important is for us to recognize what is needed is a movement toward our beingness.  The solutions are not going to come from solving world problems externally. That is still a focus outward.  Wholeness requires a different kind of movement.Imagine if we had angelic rather than animal lust. Imagine if we took more pleasure in love, truth, meaning, depth and profundity.

Our mass consumption has been built based on the loneliness and hurt at the bottom of our ego structures. Instead of trying to fill that hole with more stuff, if we feel the underlying pain and hurt of the human heart, it will open into love. And when we have experiences of that, we will recognize that is what we have been longing for. What it  requires is for each of us to look inward, and be with that pain and hurt. That is the beginning. That is the doorway to new spiritual responsibility that we are all being called to.

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