The Buddha was born a Prince, he could have spent his life in a palace enjoying the best lifestyle his status had to offer. But he didn’t. When he realized the frustrating nature of materialism, he abandoned everything to focus on spiritual attainment. 2300 years later, Buddhist monks still adopt this conduct by keeping material possessions to the bare minimum.
If we look at Buddhist monks possessions we can see that are minimal and yet efficient:
- a bowl
- three robes
- a bathing cloth
- an umbrella tent
- a mosquito net
- a kettle of water
- a water filter
- some small candles
- a candle lantern
That’s all, it fits just right in a small backpack. Needless to say that owing nothing is a time-saver, you don’t have to worry about cleaning your swimming pool or fixing the garage door, it’s a hell of a relief. Now for us non-monks and families we may need to consider our possessions in this world a bit more carefully but we can still embrace and maintain the spirit and energy of minimalism. As with anything, getting rid of clutter can be made incredibly simple: just go through your stuff, one section, closet, drawer, or shelf at a time, and get rid of everything that isn’t absolutely essential, that you don’t love and use often.
The best tip I can offer for physical outer decluttering is straight forward whether you are buddhist or not – Don’t allow things into the house in the first place. Whether you’ve begun decluttering the living space, or you’ve just completed it, stop bringing in new stuff NOW. Even if that’s ALL you do and don’t start decluttering immediately, if you can only establish one habit at a time, establish the no-more-stuff habit first. This way, when you do get to decluttering the existing stuff, you’ve already stopped making it worse. Think of bailing out a boat with a hole in it. You can bail and bail, but it won’t do anything for the leak!
When we clear the physical clutter from our lives, we literally make way for inspiration and ‘good, orderly direction’ to enter.
Peace and Love, Jim