How to shop intentionally
I want to talk about how to use the art of intentional shopping on to deepen your meditation practice.
We use meditation to enhance our spiritual journey. It’s not a fashion parade. Though let’s be honest boho fashion is beautiful #bohostyleforlife.
Firstly, what is intentional shopping?
Intentional shopping is about buying for a purpose. It’s about being mindful and thoughtful in the purchasing process. All too often we buy from a place of emotion and impulse #guilty! However, when we buy from a place of intention we not only have less clutter but we learn to appreciate better the things that we buy.
Intentional shopping is also about acknowledging that our purchasing choices have power. You want to learn a little bit about the company you want to buy from, then ask yourself questions like:
- Do I want to support this company?
- Does buying this item add value to my life and the lives of others?
- Does this company align with my values?
For example, choose meditation suppliers that give back to charities. Ask yourself, is this something that you think is important and you want to support or is there another charity that better fits you?
You always have a choice. You could head to the big chains like Target and buy a meditation pillow for $10, or you could take some time to find one you love from a company that aligns with your values. This is the idea behind intentional shopping. You have a choice, and your choice has power!
Related: Flow State and How To Enter It
Benefits of Intentional Shopping
Less stuff = less stress! (and less back pain to move it all).
Previously, I wrote about how I am currently traveling out of a carry-on bag only. For someone who has had an extravagantly overflowing wardrobe all my life and an obsession with comfort shopping, this is impressive. If you want to cure your obsession with stuff, I encourage you to pack a suitcase of what you ‘think’ are the essentials then hike up and down Tokyo subway stations and over Kyoto cobblestone roads for approximately six weeks. After that, you will be cured. You will be over it within two weeks but the extra month enforces your new love of minimalism.
I now live out of a 28 L backpack and a small day-pack. I miss having pretty things but when I do get something I now appreciate it so much more. The thought of going home to my reduced, yet still extravagant wardrobe daunts me! Especially as I am not the most organized person and can’t count how many times I have lost my keys in a pile of clothes. The shame is real. Less stuff = less stress! (and less back pain to move it all).
Appreciate the adventure and discovery of shopping
I am in a place where if I buy something new I have to get rid of another item to replace it. Therefore, when I need something, I don’t just buy the first thing I see. I look around. I carefully examine it. Does it truly fit my needs? I have developed a greater appreciation for the hunt, the adventure, and the discovery of shopping. After all, it is much more fun wandering around a market when you have a quest. It’s always fun seeing the local crafts, but there is only so much shopping one can do when you know you can’t buy anything. I don’t shop for the sake of shopping anymore. I have to really like it and literally, want to carry the weight of it around on my back. Then I appreciate my purchases even more.
Have more beautiful things
This is not to say I don’t have frivolous beautiful things. I have a shawl that apart from being handy in covering my arms it is also beautiful, and I get complimented on it nearly every time I wear it. Here’s my sneaky trick for finding things you genuinely love: Walk away, look in other stores, have lunch, sleep on it, etc. Then if you really feel like you want it in your life go back and get it. If it is still there, it was meant to be.
This trick has probably saved me thousands of dollars on clothes I would have only worn once, maybe a few times, sometimes never. It has also left me with gorgeous items that people compliment frequently and who doesn’t want to be flattered regularly?
Summary of the benefits of intentional shopping:
- Less stuff = less stress
- You enjoy shopping more.
- Appreciate what you own more.
- Save money.
- End up with items that are truly worth your money.
- Support communities by purchasing from companies that align with our values.
How to shop intentionally for meditation supplies:
Spirituality and materialistic things sound a bit contradictory at first, but when we shop intentionally, we can wisely use products to deepen our spiritual and meditation practices.
- First, we want to choose companies that align with our values, so we feel good about what we are buying.
- Secondly, we want to consider how this item will help us.
Now, just because it is a purely aesthetic item like a wall-hanging or statue doesn’t mean it won’t help us! Does the image mean something to you? Does it remind you to be calm, lighten up or smile? Does it tell you to set your daily intentions? Does it make you feel more at home?
It can be fun to go out and buy smudges, singing bowls, and mini zen desk gardens but stop for a moment and consider if you are going to use these items? Are they going to bring you to value, joy, help calm you and invigorate the senses or are they just going to sit on a cluttered desk collecting dust?
If the answer is that they will probably sit on a cluttered desk then maybe you should wait and start with a comfortable meditation cushion and some mala beads before you are ready to deepen your practice with more advanced meditation items.
Thinking about animism & consumerism
Animism is the belief that inanimate objects have souls or spiritual essence. It is a belief that has been infused into many indigenous belief systems around the world, including Shinto, the traditional Japanese religion. Though it is an idea that is practiced less today, especially with mass consumerism, I think it is nice to think of items as being useful and getting the chance to fulfill their purpose. Why keep a beautiful singing bowl collecting dust in a cupboard when someone else could be using it to create beautiful sounds that help them to relax?
In our consumeristic society, we tend to forget that resources are limited. Everything we make uses resources from our planet. We have a choice to hoard resources or share them around. When I was clearing my stuff before I went traveling, I sent a lot to the op-shops that yes maybe I would use one day, but ultimately it might be sitting in a box for the next two years taking up space. Unless it has a special meaning to you why keep it when someone else might find great value in it? Nothing lasts forever.
The same can apply to shopping. Are you going to find this item useful or is it OK to leave it for someone who will appreciate it more?