The beauty of simplification

March 30, 2010

Philosophy

In the book Walden, Henry David Thoreau went into the woods to live by himself and document his experiences there.   First published in 1854, Walden still remains a great piece of American literature which still has application to life today.  Thoreau was the type of person who was able to fully appreciate nature in all its glory.  He found joy in the simple things that life provided.  One of the main concepts espoused in his book was the idea of life simplification.  For example, he constructed a cabin that measured 10′ X 15′.  In it, he had a fireplace, a bed, a few chairs, and a desk.  Because of his uncanny ability to be completely immersed in his surroundings, this was all he needed to be content.  While such a meager lifestyle would be difficult for the average person, there are still many ways in which his ideas and concepts can be applied to everyday life.

1) Look around your house.  How much stuff do you really need?  I’m kind of weird in the fact that I feel better every time I get rid of something rather than purchase an item that will add clutter into my life.  Everything that you own should be used regularly or serve a functional purpose.  If not, it is better to sell it or give it away.

2) It is not enough to simplify if you don’t attack the problem at the source.  Consumerism, left unchecked, continues to add useless items to our lives that we somehow managed to live without for many years, but all of a sudden believe that we need.  In addition to adding to the clutter, it also puts us into debt when we cannot curb the urge to buy things that we can’t afford.  Although buying these things cause momentary happiness, material possessions do not provide us with any measure of long-term happiness.

3) Once you start to live the concepts of  #1 and 2, the feeling is quite liberating.  It is the freedom of having less.  Freedom of knowing that what you have is all that you need.  You know exactly where each of your possessions is located because each one serves a purpose.  You can move with minimal anxiety and frustration.

It is a constant process, but one that is worth it.

One Comment on “The beauty of simplification”

  1. Zelda Says:

    Yes!!! I agree with you. My room feels less chaotic than it was couple years ago. Got rid of old text books and unnecessary H.S junk. I don’t think I can get rid of some clothes, because vintage is coming back into style 🙂

    Reply

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