The idea of taking only what one needs may sounds a lot like communism to the Western capitalist ear. Let me assure you it is not what this post is about.
Years ago, someone introduced this concept to me; the notion that even in abundance there is no need for us to take more than we must. Sometime later I remember seeing a documentary about monks in a remote monastery. One particular scene stuck with me all these years. Even though the convent was located in an area rich in running water, when the inhabitants of that place washed their faces to snow-cold running water in the morning, they only used the smallest amount possible.
More than learning to do with less, it represents an approach towards the ego. The ego wants more. Left unguarded it will run amok. By regularly and methodically reminding oneself of our true necessities, our perspective starts to shift.
For me there is still a long path to walk. I try to apply this principal in how I use water, electricity and paper. But I fear I still consume much more than I really need.
Still, recognizing where I am along this road, and not ignoring it altogether, is, I wish to believe, better than oblivion.
Learned from: an email exchange with a friend