Friday, November 23, 2012

Minimalsim and Peace of Mind

Practitioners of minimalism vary in their degree of extremity - with sadhus and monks being it's most loyal adherants.  I've felt drawn to ths way of life for quite some time. I think living without excess all these years helped bring it about. Was I resentful of it? To some degree I was but that waned a bit as I got older. I experienced how free-ing it was.

As the economy continues to weaken some of the people I'm aquainted with (of all income levels) have also realized how shallow and unfullfilling excessive materialism is. This seems to be happening on a collective level and as much as one's ego might find pleasure in thinking that they're "unique" and "special" in their ability to see through all this pettiness; it's simply not true. 

 Just imagine letting it all go OR at least most of it. Not being attached to it. Having little to weigh you down.. Most people take for granted the impoirtant stuff until it's gone. Meaningful relationships,good 
health,the ability to communicate with others,peace of mind and the ability to up and go with ease - now that's freedom.

 Time is way too short for these restrictions and all too often we feel obligated to a job,paying bills,and to other people who often aren't that fond of us. It's sad.

Adopting a life of minimalism isn't necessarily limited to places or things but to people as well. It's easier to let others go that are constantly putting us down - leaving us in a sour mood. It's those we cherish (and likewise bring joy to our life) who are harder to let go of. Sometimes they're the very people we have to release - especially if they don't feel the same way for us as we do for them. It's painful but in situations like this it's for the best. I know this to be true. When people don't want your companionship (romantically or otherwise) it's best to let them go.

Here's some quotes of famous minimalists:

1954. Sandra Cisneros. “But I deal with this by meditating and by understanding I’ve been put on the planet to serve humanity. I have to remind myself to live simply and not overindulge, which is a constant battle in a material world.”
1948. Jackie French Koller. “There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.”
1947. Linda Breen Pierce. “Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual.”
1943. Tenzin Palmo. “One of the advantages of being born in an affluent society is that if one has any intelligence at all, one will realize that having more and more won’t solve the problem, and happiness does not lie in possessions, or even relationships: The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness there, it’s not going to come from the outside.”
1940s. Duane Elgin. “The intention of voluntary simplicity is not to dogmatically live with less. It’s a more demanding intention of living with balance. This is a middle way that moves between the extremes of poverty and indulgence.”
1940s. Richard Foster. “We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy.”
1940. Doris Janzen Longacre. “The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple.”
1936. Tom Robbins. “Any half-awake materialist well knows – that which you hold holds you.”
1936. Richard Bach. “The simplest things are often the truest.”
1935. Harold Kushner. “Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.”
1935. The Dalai Lama. “If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness. Having few desires, feeling satisfied with what you have, is very vital: satisfaction with just enough food, clothing, and shelter to protect yourself from the elements.”
1926. Thich Nhat Hanh. “Smile, breathe and go slowly.”
1920. Elise Boulding. “The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”
1918. Vernon Howard. “You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.”
1911. E.F. Schumacher. “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”
1900. Antoine de Saint-Exupery. “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
1899. Edwin Way Teale. “Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.”
1895. Lin Yutang. “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone.  The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”
1886. Mies Van Der Rohe. “Less is more.”
1879. Albert Einstein. “Make things as simple as possible but no simpler.”
1879. Will Rogers“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”
1879. Katharine Fullerton Gerould. “Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.”
1876. Francis Jourdain. “One can furnish a room very luxuriously by taking out furniture rather than putting it in.”
1872. Bertrand Russell. “It is preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.”
1836. Anna C. Brackett. “We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties.”
1834. William Morris. “Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
1834. Charles Spurgeon. “You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”
1828. Leo Tolstoy. “There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth.”
1817. Henry David Thoreau. “Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.”
1817. Baha’u'llah. “Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.”
1813. Henry Ward Beecher. “It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich according to what he is, not according to what he has.”
1804. George Sand. “Simplicity is the most difficult thing to secure in this world; it is the last limit experience and the last effort of genius.”
1783. Joseph Brotherton. “My riches consist, not in the extent of my possessions, but in the fewness of my wants.”
1774. Elizabeth Ann Seton“Live simply so that others may simply live.”
1771. Hosea Ballou. “Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit.”
1562. Lope de Vega. “With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy.”
1452. Leonardo da Vinci. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
1380. Thomas a Kempis. “Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature.”
864. Wu-Men“If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, then this is the best season of your life.”
570. Muhammed. “Poverty is my pride.”
330. Saint Basil. “If one had taken what is necessary to cover one’s needs and had left the rest to those who are in need, no one would be rich, no one would be poor, no one would be in need.”
55. Epictetus. “Contentment comes not so much from great wealth as from few wants.”

1 BCE. Seneca. “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.”
5 BCE. Jesus Christ. “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.”
6 BCE. John the Baptist. “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”
341 BCE. Epicurus. “Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.”
469 BCE. Socrates. “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
500 BCE. Lao Tzu. “Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
551 BCE. Confucious. “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
563 BCE. Buddha. “To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.”

 So what are you waiting for? A life of simplicity is yours if you want it and it doesn't necessarily equate a life of doing without. It just means not feeling like you have to have more than you need. If you're honest with yourself - you really don't want much more than you need anyhow. Remember when you were a kid and you got a shiney new toy and how much you enjoyed for a few days before growing bored of it and not touching it for weeks,months,years,or ever?

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." - 1 Corinthians 13:11


C.J. Colwell said...

Great post friend. The video was great!

Ben said...

Thanks C.J. I'm glad you enjoyed the video. I hope you had a great days of thanks yesterday.

Ricky Lentz said...

Cool posting man!