11/19/2012 12:51 pm ET Updated Jan 19, 2013

Are You Stuff ed Enough?

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"That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff, while you go out and get more... stuff." -- George Carlin

The holiday season can be a time when we realize just how "stuffed" our lives are.

First we get stuffed over a Thanksgiving feast, which usually fills us up with a rich diet of tasty treats that includes something actually called "stuffing." Next comes Black Friday, where we trade in food consumption for material goods and appropriate stocking "stuffers."  Then comes a three- to four-week sprint through December, with more "stuff" to do than usual -- holiday parties to plan, prepare and or attend, travel or hosting arrangements to set up -- and more "stuff" to get -- cards, presents, trees, wrapping paper, you name it.

And this year, in tough economic times, we have the added worry that perhaps we can't afford as much "stuff" to pass around, which might lead to a more empty celebration, so what "stuff" can we do to make up for it?

Our culture is very focused on acquisition of both things and experiences.  There is an underlying assumption at work that freedom lies out there somewhere, if only we can own more of our environment so we can control it more and thus be happy and free.

But there is also an underlying reality at work, which is that the more "stuffed" we become, the more weighed down we are, both physically and emotionally.  Now we need bigger places to put all our "stuff," more insurance to protect it, and more time to do more "stuff" in order to maintain it all.

Peace practitioners throughout the centuries have experienced a different kind of freedom, one gained by moving against the prevailing momentum of our culture.  For example, yogis seek freedom by turning in, by really feeling, experiencing what is going on inside their bodies as they are toned and stretched, twisted and squeezed.  In time, through this process, there is a great letting go of all the accumulated stuff -- physical, mental, and emotional tension -- that has come between us and our true natures.

As you begin to get glimpses of this original state of inner peace and spaciousness, all that other "stuff" that dominated our lives comes into perspective, and we begin to experience true freedom.

So if there is less stuff to be accumulated this season, that is not a bad thing.  Ultimately, it matters less how much stuff you have, or have to do, and more about how little space it all occupies in your mind.

May you have a healthy, safe, and peaceful holiday.


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