I’m quite enjoying learning about the so-called “Minimalism” movement. I’ve already thrown a few things away, and I’m keen to keep whittling things down.
Is anyone else a “minimalist” out there on Discourse.SC? What noteworthy extents (other than ordaining) have you gone to make your life more open and free by minimizing your stuff? I know several monks who have taken great strides here, but how about the nuns and laypeople?
I have aspired to minimalism for a number of years now. I think the book that really got me thinking about it was ‘Your Money or Your Life’. But like a ship at sea, it can take some time to get things going in a new direction.
For a period of about 7 years I lived in an odd state of personal minimalism immersed in a sea of stuff. My wife and I moved into my ageing Mothers home to take care of her. She was resistant to changing anything or getting rid of anything and there were lots of things. So we ended up putting almost all of our own stuff in storage and ended up living out of one bedroom essentially.
She passed away a couple of years ago and thus began the task of working through a lifetime of someone else’s stuff (learn about the role of a trustee before you agree to be one). Anyway, by the end of last summer we had gone through everything and sold the house and along with all that we also got rid of most all the things we had kept in storage because we realized we hadn’t needed them anyway (and the fact that we were moving overseas and shipping costs make you really think about how important something is).
So now we are building a tiny house (about 30 sq meters) and it will be - I hope - sparsely populated. I love being free from all that junk that I thought was so important.
But I am taking this further next week as I plan to spend the next 6 months or so living in a minivan out in the wilds of the western us. Last fall I tested this idea out for a couple of weeks by living in my 1999 Toyota Corolla (you think they are small now…) and hanging out in the desert. I took out the back seat, removed the divider between the back and the trunk, and built a platform that allowed me to sleep in it. Truly one of the most comfortable beds I have ever had - and it was a 2 inch pad on top of a piece of plywood.
I found getting rid of my treasures most challenging but once started it gets easier - the hardest part was getting started - there is a growing sense of lightness that comes with the process.
My first exposures to what we are calling Minimalism was via Quakerism which call it Living Simply or Simplicity; there is a wealth of inspirational and practical advice on the practice in that trafition, for those interested. I will post an example for purusal…
Some quakers are also buddhist; one has to have high tolerance for god-centric speech however, even though some quakers are agnostic or atheistic. But the ideas about simplicity resonate.
I too have read that book, loved it, and would highly recommend it. That was a game changer for me when it described how after the point of having “enough”, then everything above and beyond that, in the way of material posessions, just saps time and energy unnecessarily, and becomes high maintenance.