Friday, October 22, 2010

Why Minimalism...

I've been talking an awful lot about my personal foray into minimalism. It may seem out of place on a blog that is primarily intended to deal with spirituality, but it really isn't.

Some of the greatest figures in our collective spiritual history followed a path of minimalism. Jesus. Buddha. Ghandi. and so many more...

When you give everything up, you enable yourself to truly trust in the world around you, to trust in God and Karma. You no longer have anything left that can be stolen from you or that you will fear being destroyed in a fire, or fear leaving behind. You learn that there is no posession that is worth strife or war. You learn that the true joys in life cannot be manufactured or bought.

It's about giving up the false security that having stuff gives us... having your home and posessions gives one the feeling that you are prepared for things that may come... whether it's a nice set of china you may use for a big family dinner or the instance that your coffee maker could break and you have that extra one tucked away, we take comfort in the things that we own.

Simultaneously, these things can give us pain that we don't even recognize. Knowing that those things are there can hold you back from moving... becuase you'd have to move them all. It may keep you tied to a job you don't like because you need the money to upkeep the home and maintain the stuff. It might even harm you in emotional ways - you have an item that was given by a family member, but you didn't want it and you can't part with it because of the guilt, and every time you see it you feel that guilt all over again because you don't want it and don't know what to do with it. It becomes a burden, and it is depressing.

That depression plagues many people who have no idea that it is the true source of their depression. It may not be the whole of it, but it is a contributing factor for a lot of people. The burden of owning things is tremendous, and it is a burden we lash to our own backs out of greed, fear and guilt.

Giving up that security blanket is an effort, but it is also a gesture of true faith. Trust that if you are in desperate need of something, the universe will provide it. Trust that you can survive on a lot less than you may think. Trust that God (or whatever you believe in) has your back.

That, my friends, is true faith. Letting go of all you hold on to, letting go of the physical things that you think you need to have in order to be safe. Letting go of your fear and your guilt, and allowing them to be replaced with joy and a lighter load to carry.

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