I was asked “What does minimalism do for you?”
I live a pretty simple, minimal life. At last count I owned 83 items for my personal use, and with the items I’m planning to donate or sell we’re looking somewhere nearer 74.
This is still a far cry from one of my heroes, Diogenes of Athens who lived with a blanket and a bowl.
But what does this ascetism do for me?
Just like meditation does nothing.
We get conned into thinking that outcomes are all-important. I go to work so I can earn money. I earn money so I can buy things. I buy things so I can be happy.
We fail to realise that it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.
Set your goals! Make a vision board! Decide what you want!
(I am as guilty as anyone for falling for this in the embarrassingly recent past, as well as teaching it when I thought it was truly the way to happiness).
Then I realised the truth. Happiness isn’t “out there”. Happiness doesn’t come “later”. It’s either here, now, or it isn’t anywhere.
Because when you get to that future point? Well, then you’re “here, now”.
We have to get used to being content now. Wanting what we have (not having what we want).
Seeing the joy in the very journey, no matter how difficult, frustrating, annoying (or exhilarating) it is.
What does minimalism do for me?
Nothing. It’s simply part of my journey. A ‘letting go’ of the material things that I spent so much of my life attached to.
But I don’t think there’s some magical happiness at the ‘end’ of it. Nor do I think anyone else ‘should’ follow the path.
But if it is part of someone’s path and they’re holding back, latching on to the things out of fear… well, that’s when they might begin to do the inner work.
And the inner work is where the rewards are.