“Ask yourself which of your items would truly be necessary if you were to start with zero belongings. What if everything you owned was stolen? What if you had to move next week? Which items would you take with you? There are probably a lot of things we have sitting around in our homes for no particular reason. Think about starting from scratch, and it will become clear which items are essential.”― Fumio Sasaki, Goodbye, Things
Think about all the objects, freebies and accoutrements that you have right now in your home and workplace. Then pay attention to the guilt that you feel of not using them at all. You may also regret having bought and brought those things along with you in the first place. Most of us have a garage, spare room, or basement space jammed with stuff that we no longer use. Some objects are remains of our deceased hobbies that we no longer even think about. Some are just there, taking space and doing nothing. For example, that expensive treadmill that we bought to keep us fit is now retired and instead used for clothes to dry.
We spend a lot of our money in buying furniture, souvenirs, books, DVDs, wall paintings and then if we’re lucky, it hits us that the accumulating stuff provides us very little contentment. We start realizing that these objects are our wants, not our needs, and are not truly making us happy. Getting more resources and possessions is futile as it is robbing us of our time, money, energy and freedom.
The consumerist slogan “Whoever ends up with the most toys wins.” is ripping us and our lives apart. Our worth is not measured by our possessions and the shiny objects that we have around us. We can look up to minimalists such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama and how they have impacted countless lives around the world.
As we simplify our lives, we will be able to finally let go of the burdens of obligations and complications. We will empower ourselves to dodge the traps of competition and comparisons. Through a minimalist life, we will be able to get rid of our bad habits, stress and all the self-sabotaging behaviors that rob us of our energy that we can put to better use. As Edwin Way Teale has advised, “Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.”
PS: If you enjoyed this essay, I’d encourage you to read my book Daily Minimalism (The Daily Learner, Book 4). The condensed timeless knowledge in the daily meditations will help you navigate through the complexities that come with modern living and guide you in your quest to living a happy and meaningful life.
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