Can we achieve self-actualization through minimalism?

Have you ever sat in a meditative state, which suddenly provided you with the clarity you needed to realize an important insight?

Maybe it was something big: You do want to have children after all! Or perhaps you recognized it was time to finally break up with a long term partner. It could have been a simpler realization, such as what the present moment required of you – finish that overdue essay; walk the dog.

Either way – you gave yourself the time and space to experience that epiphany.

Cluttered Space, Cluttered Mind

Now imagine you are sitting in your home surrounded by old and new things; clutter in the form of things kept, treasured, and forgotten. You come home to a sink full of dirty dishes, a carpet sprawled with toys, and desk full of paperwork – that may or may not be from this decade.

What do you do with all that stuff? You think about it, rearrange it, clean it, sort it, store it, manage it, organize it, move it, repair it, use it, lose it, find it, lend it, keep track of it – once the pricetag is long gone, you are constantly still paying for it. How so? With your time, energy, and space.

Making Way for Self-Actualization

Self-actualization – noun: the realization or fulfilment of one’s potential.

Personally, I believe that we are all connected to a source of divine, cosmic, whatever-you-want-to-call it inspiration. When we clear our heads and quiet our mind, we are making room for ‘God’ – whatever you imagine that to be – to come in.

This heavenly inspiration can be cited as the source of all great artists and musicians’ work – from Beethoven to Picasso. Many famous artists would agree: to harness their creative potential, they only needed to get out of their own way and let a higher power flow through them.

“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” ~André Gide

I like to think of this divine channel as the whole of consciousness funneling itself into me. The widest part of the funnel is infinite and all-encompassing. The tip of the funnel is my waking life experience – including my body, mind, personality, etc.

When we have too much stuff in our lives – try to imagine that as our funnels being blocked. There is a heavy flow of cosmic consciousness, awareness; of all-knowingness, wisdom, creative light and love funneling down towards us – through us! And what do we do? We effectively put our hand over the opening – preventing all that goodness from being realized and utilized for the betterment of ourselves and the world.

Instead of being productive, blissful, and creative; we block ourselves from our true potential by cluttering our lives with unimportant things.

Clear your Channel with Minimalism

By eliminating what no longer serves us; and in a more radical way, by recognizing that your possessions can and will never define you and thus release our attachments to them, we can make space in our lives for our divine energy to flow.

Take those old books sitting on your shelf for example. Do those books reflect who you are now or perhaps the version of yourself that you were several years ago? Why do you keep them? To remind you of a personality, a set of preferences (that are constantly changing anyway)? Are the books you hold on to just a desire to cling to an older version of yourself? 

If so, I invite you to consider the possibility that this could be thwarting your possibility for growth.

Imagine if the only books you kept were the ones you are currently reading; the ones that are relevant to the you of this moment. Suddenly, what’s important to you might become a whole lot clearer and you may find yourself having an easier time making difficult decisions that pertain to the here & now.

Another good example: if I have 20 houseplants, I may forget to water some, let one or two die by accident or forget to clean up their fallen leaves. Contrastly, if I have only one or two plants, I will take better care of them, give them a better share of my attention, appreciate their presence and the value they add to my life.

The Fear of Lack

Why do we hold on to items that no longer serve us any useful purpose?

I want to go out on a limb here and suggest that it is out of a sense of deep-rooted fear of lack. Subconsciously, we are afraid that if we don’t keep that old blanket our brother gave us years ago, that we never liked – that at some point we will have to go without.

We’re afraid of losing the material possessions that we’ve amassed; as if they somehow assure us that we will be loved, kept warm, nourished and housed.

Waking up to Abundance

What if you took a chance on abundance? What if you woke up every morning, with the belief that everything you need will be provided for you? That everything exists in plentitude, and there is no lack whatsoever.

Now don’t be fooled. If you want to have a cat, the universe may not just throw a cat on your lap, sorry. However as you begin to live with awareness, you will notice that cats are everywhere – there are cats who need a home, which you could adopt, there are cats that can be found and played with on the street, and there are millions of people, who can already call themselves cat owners and are getting immense joy from their cats right now! Isn’t that rich?

Everything you could ever want or need exists somewhere in this vacuum we call life. You only have to see it and recognize that it’s there to feel its potential manifest in you.

And when you give up that blanket, that vase, that book – no need to worry. Don’t feel guilty for giving up something that is perfectly good (that you never use). Donate it to your local thrift store, or sell it. Let go of an old part of yourself to make way for new growth.

Another soul will find it, and it may speak to them in a way that resonates perfectly with their present moment – what goes around comes around. In this way we can all take care of each other’s needs.

If you liked this post so far, you may enjoy the following poem (which was inspiration for this piece):

A Poem

I sit in my small room
Contemplating my stuff;
Beloved and resented
It’s existence a fixture
Of my waking state.

These books that
Sit upon their throne;
Physical remnants of
A sense of myself:
I’ve since departed

An ego in paperback form.
Pages unturned
Dust accumulating.

Meanwhile a young girl somewhere,
Somewhere like my city;
Might be feeling as I did
Years ago; lonely; poetic; wanting
Waiting for an answer to appear
In the form of a paperback
In her local thrift store.

And as I let go of these possessions;
As I release these holding-onto hands of mine
As I return all forms back to the
Endless ebb and flow
to which they belong:

I wake up to
My truest self
In every moment
And beyond.

How great it is that we already have everything we need to grow into the best versions of ourselves! You only have to clear the path. Share this post with your friends to spread the joy of minimalism and an abundance mindset.

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