Before the recent move, I diligently went through my house, decluttering everywhere I could. My desire for simplicity really came out in anticipation of having to pack everything that my family and I own. I watched with satisfaction the growing piles designated for donation and discarding.
After the move, as I began unpacking at the new house, to my surprise I encountered a number of boxes with content that I simply had no need or desire to unpack or use again. What was odd about this, is that only a week prior, I considered these items valuable enough to bring with us.
This led me to question, how much is really enough? Where to draw the line between what we want and what we need. I thought of ancient times, when monks traveled the land with nothing more but an occasional bedroll strapped to their backs.
One may take this a step further, suggesting that we are given all that we really need in life at birth. And that anything more, is only needed to play out the roles that we assume during our lives. I believe that all of these theories hold truth.
However, in modern times we play many roles and wear many different hats (no pun intended). Our responsibilities include everything from our personal interests to family matters, to jobs and careers. Each facet of life requiring its own unique set of objects.
Giving up all of our material possessions and travelling the world may not work for everyone. The way I approached the question of how much is enough for me, is by bringing into the house just the bare essentials that I absolutely use each day.
For instance, such objects as the bed to sleep in, my laptop for work, and items of personal hygiene. For clothing, I brought what I need for cold weather (it’s winter were I am) and a few pairs of shoes. I also brought my meditation bench and a few favorite books.
The rest I left in boxes in the garage. I will try to make do with what I have now. If I find in the future that I need something else, I will bring those items into the house. This made the house somewhat more bare than even what I am used to.
It also made it spacious, clean and very well organized. There is not a single item in it that I don’t use. I find the atmosphere in it to be conducive for creating, writing and resting when needed. I decided that in six months, I will dispose of those items that I haven’t had to use. I’ll try not to even look inside the boxes.
Can I do it? I hope so. I want to see for myself, what my true needs are. I am not an ancient monk, but I suspect that we are not that different from one another. And I suspect, that I’m not that different from you. Who knows, one day this trend may grow, and material accumulation may get replaced by practical necessities.
On that day, we may find ourselves free from bondage of our possessions. On that day, instead of renting a 26’ moving truck, we can throw a bedroll over our backs and wonder the world. Or, simply enjoy life were the emphasis is not on what we own, but on who we are. That’s when we’ll truly know, how much is enough.
Live well. Vlad