Sunday, October 26, 2008


It has been a while since I have posted, but last night I picked up the book "Silence, Song and Shadows" by Tom Bender and the page I read was so meaningful to me that I thought it would be good to include in my blog, for no other reason other that it will be a way for me to remember what I read. With the current economics it seemed like a good time for this reminder:

"All economics, and all cultures and communities derive from distinctive assertions of value. If the values chosen reflect consumption, greed, and violence, they create a far different world than if those values derive from the sacred. E.F. Schumacher, in his path-breaking "Buddhist Economics" remarked on the characteristic kind of economics which arise from the values of Buddhism - on the role and importance of enriching work, of obtaining the maximum well-being from minimum consumption, and of the importance of non-attachment to wealth. He has shown also its effectiveness in creating successful life, culture, and tools.

Reestablishing a value base to our communities involves discovery of the real meaning of a whole range of sustainable values tied to the sacred. Austerity, for example, is important. It does not, as we might think, exclude richness or enjoyment. What it does do is help us be aware of things which distract us from our real goals in life.

When we understand austerity, we see that affluence has a great hidden cost. Its endless possibilities demand impossible commitments of time and energy. It fails to discriminate between what is wise and useful and what is merely possible. We end up foregoing things necessary for a truly satisfying life to make time and space for trivia. As we relearn the value of austerity, along with stewardship, permanence, responsibility, enoughness, work, and interdependence, we create a new and enduring kind of community."

The shades of green and play of light on this leaf are so beautiful, but often there is too much going on for me to notice things like this when I am in the garden. I am grateful to have a camera that allows me to isolate these spots of beauty and to reflect on them. I think this is the austerity that is referred to by Tom Bender - austerity that focuses us on the wonder and beauty in the simple.