Each holiday season there is an unwritten list in people’s minds about what gifts absolutely have to find their way under the tree. These lists are comprised of toys, gadgets and the new-fangled craze of the moment. These are the “Must-Haves” of the season. Advertising and marketing have a lot to do with what gets placed on the list, but people have been trained to buy into the advertising hype and follow the crowds .¨ we don’t want to get left out or left behind. Additionally, the marketing and advertising makes it nearly impossible to get the true picture of anything that is being sold.
Marketing and advertising play a large role in the success of products and services.
I have seen my share of television over the years as most of us have. In a thirty minute program there are only twenty minutes of actual programming, if that.
And if you pay close attention you will see the same advertisements repeated over and over to the point where you practically have the words and actions in the commercial memorized. This is exactly what is expected.
In advertising, the picture that is painted for us while companies sell their product or service is enough to invoke a large belly laugh. But, we aren’t laughing. The majority of us take it all in, thinking it’s real so we go out, hunt down and buy whatever we see on television. We eat this stuff up, rarely questioning it. All we see is the idyllic picture that is portrayed for us and we focus on that. Often, the reality is that the product or service is much less exciting or gratifying than what is portrayed.
If we do find it exciting or gratifying, this sensation is short-lived and the stuff soon get set aside for something else. Our attention span is also short-lived.
The “Must-Have” of the season varies depending on age and interest. There are many “Top 10 Must Have” lists compiled on the internet now and those range from stuff for kids to stuff especially suited for “Big Kids”. Depending on your age, actual or perceived, you may ask for a Furby, a tablet of some sort or the hottest new Wii DVD.
How will you act trying to acquire that stuff and how will you act if you get left out and don’t manage to get it?
Driven by Fear
Gratification is an amazing mechanism to observe. Most of us are set up for instant gratification, based in the need to have more, faster, bigger and better. Needing more originates from the fear of not being enough that was instilled in us when we were young. The basic premise here is that we, in our egoic state of mind, mistakenly think there is something wrong with us or that there is something missing in us. And because we are taught that what we have makes us who we are, we want more stuff so that we can be better than we think we are.
We will believe almost anything to feel better about ourselves. We will buy into any advertising that shows people “living the dream” while using a particular product. We see the happiness, the status, the envy of others .¨ all painted for us .¨ and we latch on hook, line and sinker. We will climb over each other, get nasty and even attack someone to get whatever it takes to obtain that thing we think we must have to feel better. It doesn’t work for us, but we keep doing the same thing year after year.
What can we do? We can become aware of this game that is being played with our emotions in our vulnerable state by the corporations who focus mainly on profit at all cost. The cost is often to our health and our piggy banks as well as our relationships. With this wisdom we can review all options with an open mind and then decide for ourselves if we want what is being sold. We can realize that what we have doesn’t make us more of anything. We are already fully amazing without any stuff. That doesn’t mean we can’t have material items. It just means we need to understand that things do not make us who we are.
Back to Basics
We are overdue for change. Can we go back to the old days when life was simpler and there wasn’t as much crime.a time when married people on TV slept in single beds? No. Those days are over. However, we can go back to the basics. The basics go beyond anything we have been taught here. In fact, the basics can’t really be taught since the foundation of this concept is already part of each one of us. So, just what are the basics and how do we go back there?
Going back to the basics means going back to a time that we remember in our hearts rather than in our minds. It’s a time where we remember the interconnectedness of all beings, that there is no separation between us and anything else. In some way, we are all part of each other and everything. It is a time where we remember that peace is our natural state. This means that being healthy is also our natural state since peace brings health. It is a time that is infinite with endless possibilities that work in our favor if we will just choose that option.
How do we get back to this time? First, realize that this is an ancient time that’s part of the fabric of who we really are beyond all of the roles and labels we have been assigned and that we assign to ourselves.
This ancient time isn’t a past life .¨ it’s our soul energy .¨ the deepest and truest part of us. This part can be remembered and experienced when we practice kindness without expectation of anything in return. We can remember and experience this when we are compassionate without jealousy or when we understand without resentment. These are the true “Must-Have” gifts of the season and they all start with love.
If we are going to create a new “Must-Have” list, we need to let go of the ways of the ego and the things we have been taught about the world. It is time to remember how our heart feels when we are staring into the eyes of our little puppy singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, lighthearted and full of unconditional love. This is what is meant by getting back to the basics this holiday season. It’s all about love. Take some time out of your typical holiday routine, take a deep breath and find that care-free, gentle time that exists deep inside each of you. It is in there. All you need is to do is remember.
Wishing everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday full of joy, peace and, of course, lots of love.