I'm a 'minimalist'. I don't like to have many things that don't immediately serve a need. I have empty spaces on my shelves because I like to see empty space. In short, as far as possessions are concerned I live by a 'less is more' philosophy, and I find I feel more in control because of it. But I have recently decided to take the concept a bit further and apply it to my very being.
I researched the idea of minimalism a bit to find some sort of definition and also to make sure I wasn't stepping on any toes. Is there an actual group out there who view people like me as minimalist posers in the way communists or vegans view outsiders who try to live up to the label but are just seen as fence-sitters and shouldn't be grouped with the diehards at all? I didn't know! So I did what we all do when faced with our deepest, soul-defining questions; I googled it.
I found a bunch of blogs on how to live simply. I learned that Minimalism is a trendy style aesthetic. I got distracted when I learned that I can't spell 'aesthetic' without dictionary.com. I got back on course and hit the jackpot.
Wikipedia: Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design, especially visual art and music, where the work is set out to expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts.
This is the definition I liked the best, so it won my attention and efforts. And in honor of my favorite author, Jules Verne, I've decided to view this undertaking as an expedition.
Leaving daylight behind, I'll follow the winding walls down through the Earth's (oops, I mean, my own) many layers. I'll approach paths blocked by 'ideas I'd been taught that I later discovered to be false'. I'll have to blast them into rubble and sweep them aside like rocks from a cave-in, eliminating them from my path.
I'll find cobwebs of regret taking up an extra foot of space all along the sides of the already precariously narrow ledge-like walkway of my identity. I'll have to clear them out in order to take another step forward. Each cleared step will offer surer footing upon which to steady myself.
My ears will begin to ring from the constant din of public opinion, the screeching pitch of pressures from colleagues and peers and the low bass of voices from the past, all of which reverberate against the background of my thoughts. I'll have to locate the sound system and tear it down. Speaker by speaker for possibly miles ahead of me will have to be torn from their mounts that have been firmly secured to the rocky walls.
My goal is to make it to the core. There I can rest in the knowledge that I have taken control. There I will find the parts of me that are most worthy of cultivation. There I can sit alone with a clearer understanding of in whom I should place my trust, who I need to let walk away, and from whom I myself need to depart.
'...expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential ...'
'Journey To The Center', November's challenge at www.inspiringchallenges.blogspot.com is inspired by this definition.
What? You didn't think I came up with this idea just for myself, did you?!
Check it out for some valuable introspection.
It's the undertaking of a lifetime, and it may just last that long, but I assure you that you won't regret a minute of working toward a 'less is more' approach toward yourself.
Let's start this post by cutting straight through a deception, shall we?
Resources, education, spirituality : none of these are required to have a complete relationship with God. It's what makes Him so worthy to know! Therefore, if you're having trouble finding God it can't be what you DON'T have yet that is standing in your way, so let's find out what you have already, and take it from there.
As a Christian writer I recognize that one of the touchiest subjects to address, outside of its conventional guidelines, is faith. This stands out as a red flag to me considering faith is practiced to some degree by everyone, everywhere. And although 'people of faith' implies those individuals practicing within a religious order, no one grouping of people owns the copyright on this natural concept of 'belief by trust'. Our childhood is based on faith in the wisdom of our parents' advice to use the bathroom before we put on our snowsuits and not to eat bugs even if the birds do. Granted, some of us had to learn these lessons by testing them out for ourselves (you know who you are!) and in doing so, the faith aspect of that trust evolved. Trial and error were applied and the lessons learned in having to get out of the snowsuit only to have to re-bundle or getting an upset stomach by testing to see if fireflies would make your belly glow in the dark took the place of faith. Your belief in what your parents said is no longer based on trust but in experience. Apparently, they do know a thing or two.
Here's an example that almost all of us share in faith. As we gaze up at the moon we have faith in what we see. For those of us who didn't get the chance to look out the window on the journey or set foot on its surface we take on faith that our moon landing astronauts are telling us the truth about their discoveries. When we look up, we see what we have been told. And, to an extent, this is good. And even more importantly, this is necessary. And tomorrow, should our astronauts release 'never before seen' footage that shows the moon not be be a moon at all but a much larger galactic space station that needed to be concealed from the general public until now for this reason or that, most of us would huddle around our various screens to learn all we could about this new development. And the majority of us would still take it on faith that the truth was being told.
But do you know who doesn't take these events and updates on faith? The astronauts. They have seen, felt, and discovered firsthand so faith was only required of them until they 'knew'. Now, if you try to tell them something that contradicts what they've experienced they have no more reason to listen to you than you would if someone tried to lecture you on your area of expertise.
Some of you know where I'm going and this post is all you need to recalibrate your perspective a bit. I hope it serves you well. For those who need more, I ask that you think on this definition of faith for a bit. I'll post 'Part 2' and elaborate on this issue but for now, take what I've written and let it simmer. This part is important.