Although the word has a stark connotation, I think the general trend toward minimalism is a smart one. You can indeed “be more with less.”
However, minimalism does not guarantee happiness.
As Gail Brenner from A Flourishing Life wisely said in her recent comment on this blog, “…it’s not stuff that is the problem, but our attachment to it. Attachments start with a sense of desire and lack.”
You may have less than 50 or 100 possessions and still be prone to attachment. You may still suffer from worry about your possessions, however few you may have.
Attachment comes in many other guises too – to people, beliefs, emotions.
Reflection: Is Attachment Destroying Your Happiness?
For our reflection this week, I’ve chosen the theme of attachment and one my favorite stories about the 17th century spiritual master Yukhok Chatralwa Choying Rangdrol.
“Chatralwa had a rather big, comfortable house with lots of sunlight, filled with religious objects and books.
One day a well-known lama called Rinchen Dargye visited him. After entering Chatralwa’s room, the lama kept looking around instead of sitting down. Chatralwa sharply asked him, “A-we! What did you lose?” The lama answered, ” I heard you are a Chatralwa, a hermit. But in fact, you have collected enough to be a rich man.”
Chatralwa replied, “Chatralwa means someone who has got rid of his or her emotional attachments to worldly materials or to life itself. It does not mean being poor and hankering for them, as many do.”
– from Masters of Meditation and Miracles by Tulku Thondop
I’m not suggesting giving free reign to consumption. Over-consumption is ruining our health, our peace of mind, and our planet.
But let’s take a deeper look into the root of the problem: attachment.
I invite you to take a moment to explore your own attachments today – to possessions, to people, to beliefs, to emotional states, to habits and patterns. Do you find attachment giving rise to discontent and unhappiness? Let us know what you discover!
I’ll start off with one of my attachments. I love books! I love well-tuned information! But I’m sensitive to the musty, mildew smell of older books. Still, it’s hard to resist the urge to revisit one of my tried and true book friends, even though I know it’s not healthy for me. It’s simply attachment rising up in one of its many forms, bring along its buddy – suffering.
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