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Austerity is practiced by people on a spiritual path. It involves turning inward, seeking the source of creation within one's self. In meditation and yoga, the attachment to external sensory inputs is dropped. The "outside world" is accepted as it is, but no particular importance is given to it.
Austerities such as a simple diet and clothing, an unadorned living space, fasting, or sitting motionless for prolonged time periods may be helpful in attaining a deeper inner calm.
Related rabble.ca story:
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) opened its 17th triennial convention this week in Quebec City with a militant speech from National President Robyn Benson. PSAC is in the midst of bargaining with the Harper Conservatives. But, President Benson went beyond putting the Harper Conservatives on guard against breaking its word and overturning signed agreements.