When we think of a certain segment of people such as the Stoics, the minimalists, and the yogis, we naturally assume that we they are content with living with the basic essentials and have insulated themselves from any wants or materialistic desires that the rest of population pursue in their “normal” lives. As we see the minimalists warning against hoarding stuff, the Stoics explaining the perils of comfort and luxury, and the yogis advocating a life that transcends material consciousness, we start thinking that these people are simply cut from a different cloth, that they don’t care about money and are more inclined to living like paupers and penniless gypsies.
As tempting, fascinating and borderline-inspiring it is to think that all this is true, the reality is that it’s not. No matter what group of people you look at, whether they be minimalists, yogis or Stoics, they all have wants and desires. Yes, they use philosophy, spirituality and essentialism to ground their lives, but that doesn’t mean that they start living bizarre lives rooted in poverty and lack. They are all regular people — they all feel pleasure, they all dread pain, and they are as human as the rest of the population.
The common denominator among all these groups of people is that they are all working towards cultivating the virtue of detachment. In simple words, they want to empower themselves to be able to both survive and thrive under any conditions and circumstances. They want to immune themselves from needing hundreds of thousands of dollars to live a lavish lifestyle or to travel to new, exotic destinations. They want to develop the ability to not crave for trendy digital gadgets or supercool luxury cars. They want to be bold enough to take the road less traveled and endure judgments, criticism and snarky remarks from others. They want to not give a f*ck when others throw barbs at them for how they look or dress, or what decisions or choices they make.
But here’s an important insight: detachment is unbiased and not limited to one particular way of living. If you are training yourself to be able to endure poverty and lack, you should also equip yourself to accept the wealth and abundance that comes your way with grace.
A person can be a minimalist, a yogi or a Stoic, and still own a nice, big mansion. There’s nothing wrong with that. Of course, if the house caught fire and collapsed, it would be definitely tragic but the person would be grateful for what remained intact and undamaged and be content with it. Yet, this doesn’t mean that they’d want to lose any of those possessions.
Here’s the bottom line: Whether you have something or don’t have something, no matter how important it is for you, it’s best to cultivate detachment towards it. The best way to live is to enjoy the present moment and embrace what the Universe brings into your life without getting attached to it. Yes, we must train and prepare ourselves to endure whatever circumstances that may come in our lives, but at the same time, we must also be open to the abundance around us and know that it’s always better to have than to not have. After all, life is all about expansion and striving to become better every day in every way possible.