Thoughts, Musings, and Meditations

I am a just a human being who is trying to navigate the tangled and confused world of humility and expectation while trying to discover all that is good and beautiful about our world in spite of its imperfection.

Minimalism

I’ve been toying with the idea of living as simply as I possibly can. In a world such as ours, we are constantly subjected to an onslaught of advertisements telling us that we should want more and that we should buy more. This is clearly not true (as well as not sustainable but that is a conversation for another time). After some thought, I have come upon several important conclusions. First of all, I have too much stuff. Besides necessities as well as my allowed indulgences (books, and music), I have amassed a collection of absolutely useless items that I have acquired in some non-intentional fashion. However, I know not what to do with these items. Its seems a waste to simply throw them away, yet they take up space and have no practical application. Useless items aside, there are several more important conclusions I have arrived at.

Minimalism isn’t simply about material objects; minimalism is a way of living holistically. It is a way of organizing one’s life and one’s mind. For myself, I strive for minimalism in material objects as well as in my overall lifestyle. I only buy what food I need and will eat; I recycle all I can and along with that, do my best to make as little of an impact on my environment as I possibly can. Admittedly, in living in a city known for its conscientiousness towards such matters, it is much easier to live this way. However, it is nonetheless a life that I can be proud of.

minimal life is one that strives to live while affecting the world as little as possible in ways which lead to harm, while affecting the world greatly in ways that lead to benefit or goodness.

Earlier, I mentioned that minimalism is also about organizing one’s mind. For me, this is an especially attractive feature. Living as we do, in a hectic world, we often find ourselves spread thin, thoughts racing, and becoming more cynical by every social interaction. I propose that mental minimalism seeks to weed through the minutiae of everyday life to hold onto what is truly important and necessary. For example, if I have a particularly awkward interaction with a person, it is of no use to either of us to spend energy worrying about, and over analyzing what has transpired. Instead, we should both recognize the situation for what it was, and move on with our lives. We must invest our mental energy in worthwhile pursuits, and we must allow ourselves to sift through our mental contents to remove what is harmful and unnecessary to us.

Thus minimalism, at its core, is all about recognizing what is important and necessary and putting that recognition into practice.

Accepting the Unknown

Last night I noticed that the sky was clear and I could see the stars. As the weather is getting warmer in the Bay Area, the amount of fog also increases. I made a prediction to my boss that the fog would come in overnight and would linger on into the morning. I woke up at 6 AM to such thick fog, that even the nearest streetlights were seemingly surrounded by a halo of light. Thinking back on this experience, I realized that I had predicted an outcome based on past experiences. When I interrogate that thought further, I realize that I take comfort in predictability and knowing; I like to have some accurate sense of what is going to happen. I also realize now, that I need to be comfortable with not knowing, because there are somethings that cannot be predicted at all, and among those things/events that are predictable, they are only predictable to a certain degree. This unpredictability and unknowing is an essential and unnerving part of life that we must learn to live with and grow with. Accepting these uncertain elements of life strengthens us and allows us to adapt with as little stress as possible. Of course, it is not easy to accept what we cannot know. Our entire academic institutional system is prefaced on discovering what is unknown. However, I believe that if we step back and accept what is unpredictable and what we do not know, we will be happier beings who are more in touch with the ever-changing world around us.