The trouble with a being a consumer is not consuming, but mindless consuming. Take your body as an example. When we eat, our bodies take what we eat and “metabolize” it. This means that the nutrients found in the consumed food are put to good use. Our bodies convert what we consume into fuel, as well as the building blocks of things like proteins and fats.
The food we take in, we then convert into helpful elements that sustain our physical bodies. This is the process of metabolism.
Now think of what you consume with your mind. Think of what you watch, read and listen to on a daily basis. Using the process of metabolism as a metaphor, the question is this:
Am I converting what I consume with my mind into useful nutrients (ideas, concepts, aspirations and practices) that enhance my life and the lives of others?
I I read something, I should consume the words, and even enjoy them. But at some point, I should also convert (metabolize) those words so they help me live a better life. This would include sharing the words and ideas with others. The same could be said of watching TV, going to a play, listening to music and so forth. When we consume in a mindless way, we pay little to no attention to this conversion process. I suppose a little mindless consuming now and then is no big deal. But too much mindless consuming, over time, produces a life of little substance.
The question then is, how can I consume in more mindful ways? Exploring that question should occupy more than the space of this blog. Suffice to say for this post however, consuming in a mindful way begins when I reflect on that which I consume. I question it, consider it, draw conclusions and lessons from it, and share that with others. Doing these things would at least begin the process of metabolizing ideas and concepts. It would help us consume in a more mindful manner.
So…next time you consume, don’t forget to metabolize.