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Moving From Being a Consumer to a Producer

Dear Integral Meditators,

Is your life a product of your own creative and independent thinking, or is it merely a pastiche of the ideas that you have received from others around you? Possibly it is a mixture of both. This weeks article examines the idea of the ‘mindful producer’ and how we can start to use it to become more of a creative producer in our lives and choices.

In the spirit of mindful production,


Moving From Being a Consumer to a Producer

To be a consumer in this context means to consume the creative ideas of other people, of society, of your culture, and become a ‘product’ of that consumption. To be a producer means that you are a creative producer of your own choices and ideas in your life; You are actively creating ‘products’ in your life, rather than consuming other peoples.

To be a mindfulness practitioner means to be actively interested in using your awareness, attention and intelligence to become an active producer of your own life, rather than allowing it to become merely a product of what other people around you think it should be.

Let’s take a simple example. If my group of friends are all wearing the latest pair of branded jeans, and in order to become an accepted member of that social group (and their ideas) I am told that I really should be getting a pair of jeans like this, in order to be one of the ‘cool set’. If I am a ‘consumer’, then really I have no choice but to get a pair of trendy jeans because that is the only way I can see to keep on belonging to that group. If I am a ‘mindful producer’ then I might choose not to get the pair of jeans because they might cost more that I’m willing to pay, and/or I don’t personally like the design, and/or I have other fashion ideas that I like better and want to express. Because I am mindfully considering what it is that I want to do with my life, I cease becoming merely a consumer of the culture around me, and instead become a creative producer of my own life path and direction.
Here we are talking about jeans, but we could be talk about your career path, relationship choices and other fundamentals in the same way.

Becoming a mindful producer is not easy
Early on in life we are taught to jump through hoops and play the game others created;

  • ‘If I can just pass this exam then I’ll be accepted to the next level of school’
  • The advert suggests to us that by buying their product we will become a successful member of society – no need to think about it for yourself, just possess the object
  • Well established patterns and ideas of success and happiness seem to be so certain and solid, why would I think to challenge them?
  • By stepping outside of other people’s ideas of what I want and what I do I’m taking risk, stepping into uncertainty, courting disapproval, why would I want to do that?

And of course market forces in the world have an active interest in keeping us merely consumers, buying into and digesting products that they have designed.

What do you have to gain from becoming a producer?
Becoming a producer takes a type of engaged mindfulness where we are taking responsibility for our choices and for articulating our deepest needs and wants and expressing our individuality in a benevolent and creative way. It is a challenging and sometimes difficult habit that we are creating so as to find deeper levels of fulfillment, enjoyment and meaning in our day to day life.

You can still enjoy being a consumer
Of course we cannot avoid being consumers, but we can enjoy being conscious consumers; digesting only the things that are useful, healthy and supportive to the life that we wish to live and express!

If you were to express 5% more of you ‘mindful producer’ today, and each day for the rest of this month, what might change?

© Toby Ouvry 2016, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website

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