Bringing an alignment between the new education and a new sense of purpose and priority, I find myself in a new avatar embedded in an immediate environment — the ecosystem of my personal space.
to change the behavior of a system, I must first offer a new protocol of interaction. a change in the actors within that system will then more naturally follow.
The word avatar is derived from the ancient sanskrit words ava meaning down and tar- meaning to cross. In sanskrit, these words combine to form the word avatara which means descent. An avatar is a hindu concept of a deity descended from heaven, or as the manifestation of soul in bodily form on earth, an incarnate divine teacher. In modern parlance an avatar is the physical embodiment of an idea or concept. It is perhaps more widely known as being a digital representation or personification of a person on the internet or in gaming. In the end — as with all old words with multiple definitions — an Avatar is the totality of these aspects and different people will interpret it in their own ways.
My avatar is the personification of my knowledge and actions. As I behave now, that behavior is my avatar. How I see myself may not be in alignment with my avatar; by adopting the processes and knowledge of mindful consumption and focusing my attention upon this greater awareness I can create an alignment between my mind, body and environment. The result is a new avatar, a change in behavior that is better equipped to blend and harmonize with the unfolding situation.
The new avatar recognizes abundance, that this Earth is bursting with renewable — or regenerative — resources. Abundance is the antithesis of scarcity. As I look about my society, within its centers of commerce, a great abundance is put on display. An abundance of resources, packaging and advertising. The new avatar recognizes that it is not a scarcity of resources that afflicts the people of this world, it is a scarcity of access and a mismanagement of resources.
The new avatar is an active steward of ecology. The Old English words stig meaning house and weard meaning ward combine in the modern English word steward. Here, stewardship stands for an ethic that personifies responsible planning and management of resources. Accessing resources is often destructive to life and ecosystems, but the stewardship and use of resources can be a regenerative force on life and ecosystems instead. By creating the mindset and cultivating the habits of a steward of ecology, I become a prime mover in my own personal factory. I then realize that the ecosystem is not simply everything “out-there” in a rainforest, it is “right-here” in my personal space. The steward of ecology sees that ecosystems can be designed and built, as though it were technology. The steward of ecology craves the knowledge to design their ecosystem in the form of resources, recipes and rituals. To what end? To construct a regenerative living system capable of producing an abundance of access in a world of post-scarcity.
The new avatar is knowledge-able, or able and willing to learn. I am able to know what I need to know when I need to know it. I can and do share knowledge freely, and acquire knowledge from others. I know up front that I don’t have to be an expert on everything, I can draw upon the strengths of others and lend my strengths as they are needed.
The new avatar is industrious. By following the criteria of mindful consumption I can gather the resources and recipes, follow the directions, and put something together. What to put together is key: the regenerative living system — a well-being machine. I recognize that a system of objects and resources in the ecosystem of my personal space can be combined in a particular way to embody processes that produce an abundance of well-being.
The new avatar is ingenious. Through mindful practice I can use resources and tools to enhance or iterate the designs for this well-being machine — the regenerative living system. I am someone who can learn through invention and I can contribute improvements to this system for the benefit of myself and those of like mind.
The new avatar is not merely a state of mind because a new state of mind also leads to a change in behavior. This change in my interactions within my ecosystem combined with those of like mind is a change in system dynamics. The new avatar is a low level system behavior and adopting its mindset transforms my own behavior allowing me to participate as an agent in catalysis of this new system dynamic.
On the fringes of society, within the consumerism debate, on one side it looks like I have very little power. It looks as though I am at the mercy of what corporations are inclined to make, and they are inclined to make only that which increases their profit in perpetuity. It is as though I am locked into this system without breathing room, trading my time in exchange for the means to purchase basic survival while hopefully having something left over to experience living. However, listening to the other side of the debate, it looks as though consumers are the most powerful force on earth. Corporations are constantly shaping their agendas as they respond to trends and desires of the consumer market. It appears that the forces of consumerism have created the greatest amount of prosperity in the history of humanity. On this side of the debate it looks like I am done then, this is as good as it gets.
Perhaps both sides of this debate are correct. I have not been sophisticated enough in my desire to shape my own purchasing habits thereby shaping corporate agendas. Maybe I don’t know what I want, and I have to be told what to want. Perhaps if I were told to want a system to produce well-being in abundance in accordance with a designed ecology then consumerism would implode, and that would be very bad. Or perhaps it would instead lead to an even greater amount of authentic well-being for everyone. I don’t know what the future holds, but I have heard that the best way to predict the future is to build it.
When you effect your ecosystem it affects your mind and body; but your knowledge, the foundation of your freewill, can change your mind. Your mind compels your body to behave as a steward of your ecosystem, the new avatar: the designer of your personal space.