Greed and generosity have been the topics in the forefront of my mind over the past few days as my peers and I participate in and discuss Occupy Toronto and the Occupy movement around the world. In Patanjali’s Yoga-Sutras, the first of yoga’s Eight Limbs are the yama (often translated as restraints). The yama are the ethical foundation that serve to carry practice off of the mat and cushion out into daily life. Included in these five restraints is the teaching of non-greed.
Merriam-Webster defines greed as “a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed“. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do have some questions (and how better to begin to see clearly than to question, question, question everything).
How often in our day-to-day lives do we pause to explore this idea of what is needed? What could a society look like that valued the ethic of non-greed or generosity? How can we be generous with our attention, ideas, energy, bodies, smiles?
I am talking about changing the underlying values that govern our society. That is hard to fit into a single media-friendly demand, and it’s also hard to figure out how to do it. But it is no less urgent for being difficult . . . My favorite sign here says “I care about you.” In a culture that trains people to avoid each other’s gaze, to say, “Let them die,” that is a deeply radical statement. – Naomi Klein, Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now
We’re demanding a fundamental change of our system. Yes, we all need to work through our individual capacity for greed, anger and confusion. This is an endless human task. We also have to stop cooperating with the system that breeds greed and confusion as it shapes our lives and our choices. This movement is the beginning of bringing that system to a halt. – Michael Stone, Remaining Human: A Buddhist Perspective on Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Silence – Let’s occupy silence together: A morning of sitting and walking meditation in support of the occupy movement around the world.