Have you ever felt this omnipresent burden of being alive?
This constant necessity to maintain life in your body: feed it, water it, shelter it from dangers, rest it regularly—all this just so that you could feel this burden evermore?
I’ve thought of numerous ways of how to get rid of this burden but unfortunately none of them felt to be compatible with life.
“If you can’t get rid of it—try to minimise it,” I thought to myself.
This is how I came across minimalism.
Long story short, my journey into minimalism can be described as a journey from “I don’t want to own anything that doesn’t fit my coffin” to “I don’t want to own anything that doesn’t fit my backpack”.
The “coffin” part included:
- donating most of my clothes and simplifying my wardrobe;
- letting go of all of my books and buying a Kindle;
- giving away all my CDs and storing all my music on Google Music;
- throwing away all items that didn’t serve any purpose;
- borrowing/substituting things instead of buying them;
- avoiding buying expensive things necessitating complex maintenance;
- simplifying my cooking with introducing raw vegetables, fruits and nuts to my diet;
- drinking solely water when thirsty;
- filtering incoming information;
- opting for quality over quantity.
The “backpack” part followed the “coffin” part when I started to travel. This went under the motto “if I can’t carry it, I don’t need it”. Such approach allowed me to walk the Camino de Santiago (over 1650 km) with a 10-litre backpack and to travel to Nepal for half a year with a 20-litre backpack.
Minimalism did not liberate me from this omnipresent burden—though it helped a lot. Mostly, it helped me unclutter my life (both physically and spiritually) so that I could focus more on things that felt to be important.
It only failed me in one department—in answering a question that was (and still is) bugging me a lot: why do I long for things so much?
What is it inside of me that craves so interminably and desperately?
Why is it that when I break my thing it feels like a tragedy and yet when the same thing is broken and is not mine it does not feel like the end of the world? Why when something funny is said about someone else I laugh but when the same is said about me I feel unease? Why my family, my nation, my country, my city, my favourite football team, my career, my smartphone, my opinion, my whatever feels so much more important?
Why does this thing that I call “I” have such a strong attachment to its “my”? Why does this “I” constantly pretend as if it was going to live forever and so would its “my”? When did this “I” sign a contract that it is going to own its “my” for eternity?
In the true sense “I” never owns anything—it is a temporary keeper at best.
Yet it keeps forgetting that.
And so do I.