May 29, 2008
Aging, illness, and death are inevitable. Many Buddhists deal with this truth by meditating and contemplating such concepts as emptiness, impermanence, and interconnectedness. Another way people often handle thoughts of these pillars of suffering? Delicious cookies. In a study published in New Scientist , participants with low self-esteem who were assigned to ponder their own deaths ate more cookies (thoughts of death had little impact on those with high self-esteem). Ruminations of mortality also inclined them to spend more money. "When you indulge in shopping or eating, it helps you forget yourself," notes Dirk "Captain Obvious" Smeesters of Erasmus University in Rotterdam.