Minimalism - The New Way to Live Peacefully
15 April 2020 - "Conformity is the drug with which many self-medicate. Not happy? Buy this. Buy that. Keep up with the Joneses, the Trumps, the Kardashians. After all, you can be just like them, right?" 15
Minimalism: Living a Meaningful Life By Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus.
Minimalism is living consciously without any excessive possessions; material, physical, financial, mental. It is about practising self-sufficiency and living with less. We are all surrounded by capitalist needs, offers, discounts, temptations, sales, desires, the most, the largest, the highest, the richest, the fastest. Minimalism looks over all the prerequisites the world has led us to and inspires the individual to a life of intentionality and value.
This lifestyle is not a recent option. The rise and popularity and most importantly, the need for a conscious living have been recognised and shared more due to many factors. The internet and social media had led the world to excessive consumerism and for us to become hoarders, brought on by mass production, conformity and blandishment. There is surplus of everything today, excessive clothes, excessive shoes, excessive food in the pantry, excessive rooms in the house, maxed out credit cards, extra cars and excessive wants and needs brought on by bourgeois marketers. Minimalism is being embraced by many people around the world. What began as an aesthetic, is a lifestyle option. There are no rules to follow, people are free to be minimalist in their fields, be it money spending, be it material possessions, be it eating habits or even goal-setting. Minimalism can be subjective and personal. Celebrities and commoners alike, are discontinuing the rat race and wish to find comfort essentials and enough to be satisfied with.
Makes one wonder if minimalism only applies to the rich and wealthy? No, when it comes to living in a self-sufficient and intentional circle, many minimalists feel connected regardless of their income. The quantity of life isn't given as much importance as the quality of life. The financial strain of having to strive for more is replaced by satisfaction in the basics. This is a way to regain control over the extravagancy of existing on the other extreme of the graph.
India has also joined the minimalist bandwagon and simple living is on the rise today due to various factors; a rise in over-fatigued consumers realising the dark side of a lifetime of possessions, exemplary living of people who do not need material wealth to inspire others, constantly changing lifestyles and trends that don't require a quicker upgrade-update cycle, consciousness toward the environment and healthier, wholesome living. The reasons may be many, but the solution for minimalists seems simple. The search for happiness seems hollow to those on the other side of the fence who "have it all".
Vinanti Kothari opted minimalism after living a life of maximalism as she comes from a family of hoarders. Her OCD and consciousness led her to adapt to a more informed, intentional lifestyle today.
Hardik Nagar felt lost trying to climb the corporate ladder, create a life for himself and to over suffice for something he had no idea he was running after, embraced minimalism in search of peace and self-sufficiency.
Vyshnavi Gudivada runs a blog by the name "The Indian Minimalist" wherein, she takes on the task of educating her readers on how to live a life of minimalism and how to apply it to various facets of everyday life. She maintains advice and experiences on minimal living, minimal cooking, minimal possessions and explains how to declutter.
All instances have their own definitions and applcation of minimalism in their lives, although the main objective is the same. "DECLUTTER".
Marie Kondo, a Japanese author and entrepreneur has written about Minimalism and is famed for the "spark joy" method, emphasizes on the emotions that worldly possessions give. Termed as the KonMari method, a path for minimalists to declutter their lives, their homes and their minds.
Minimalism is often mistaken with frugality and sainthood. it does indeed mean to remove the exorbitance, but it does not mean deprivation and abandonment. The point is to allow it to add value to one's life. More peace, more freedom, more time, more space. A minimal mindset is to uncomplicate and not restrict. Another point to add is that a minimalist is not devoid of any desires and hobbies. If you love something, it does not necessarily mean to let go of it all. The point is to cut down on the excess of it all. Designating a place for something desirable makes it even more valuable. Minimalism also does not restrict itself to material possessions. It is a lifestyle of choice. Aforementioned Vaishnavi Gudivada of The Indian Minimalist is one example to apply the principle to multiple facets of one's life. Veganism, conscious living or organic food can be incorporated into this conduct (or not!) as long as it makes you happy.
Although Minimalism may not be an innovative way to live, but it certainly is gaining momentum as more and more individuals are not falling prey to the vicious circle of living as is dictated by the world over centuries. The capitalism that lives among us does find a way to dominate our lifestyles and cause chaos and it is recommended to step away, prioritise and focus all your energy into things that make for a wholesome individual.
As the Islamic quote by the Prophet Muhammed goes, "True wealth is not having an abundance of possessions. True wealth is a contended heart."