Minimalism

Minimalism is about more than getting rid of stuff. It’s a mindset, a way of life. These two qoutes say it well.

At its core, being a minimalist means investing your time in the important things in life.

The first step in crafting a life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t. — Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist

The next quote comes from 7 Ways to Live a Simpler Life in a Modern World

Time and money are two of the most valuable resources people have. When life gets simpler, the amount of these two things that a person has available will rise. That is the benefit of a simpler life in today’s world.

Designing a simple life

Despite the how in the title, How to Design a Simple Life is as much about why. There’s good advice in that post (the quote below is just a small part of it).

Designing a simple life doesn’t just mean throwing out all the things. It’s not about a life of most, it’s not about a life of least, it’s about the life that’s right for you.

You don’t have to get rid of things just for the sake of getting rid of them. You remove what you don’t need (in your home, in your thoughts, in your schedule) to make room for the life you want to live.

Designing a simple life means having fewer distractions in your life, so you can focus on what matters. It’s about saying no to everything that gets in the way, but saying yes to what’s right for you.

It means having more of some things: more time, more energy, more space, more flex in your budget, more peace of mind. It means having less of others: less distractions, less frustration, less clutter, less drain on your resources.

Sites about minimalism

Two interesting sites about minimalism are No Sidebar – Design a simple life by Brian Gardiner (has a free weekly newsletter) and Becoming Minimalist by Joshua Becker.

Beginner’s Mind as my mantra

I have worked with key words and recently mantra words in order to easier focus on what truly matters to me. During the weekend I realized that what I’m striving for is the concept of Beginner’s Mind. My current three mantra words are open-mindedness, presence (here and now) and gratitude. These words can, at least to me, easily be included in the concept of a beginner’s mind.

Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind”. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.

The phrase is also used in the title of the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by the Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki, who says the following about the correct approach to Zen practice: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

Source: Shoshin (Wikipedia)

Life is not about good answers, it is about interesting questions is a quote by Paulo Coelho that has the same mindset.

Now all I have to do is stick to the Beginner’s mind. I’m well aware of that it’s easier said than done. Still, it’s within reach and I’ll do my best.

Read more

Your teacup is full (Empty your cup)
Beginner’s Mind

Beginner’s Mind

Linda Eskin links to my post Your teacup is full (Empty your cup) from her post Beginner’s Mind – The Power of the Empty Teacup. Linda places the story in an Aikido context. I like her conclusions.

Beginner’s Mind is a sense of wonder, about skills, places, things, people, and even about ourselves. Practice it in all you do, whether learning Aikido techniques or talking to a friend, and you will find more depth and richness in your experience.

Keeping an open Beginner’s Mind is a good practice both on the mat and out in the world. Whenever you catch yourself thinking “Oh, this again,” pause and take a fresh look. Stay actively engaged with what you are doing. Ask yourself what about this situation could I be missing? What could I see in a different way? What does this teacher have to say that I have not heard from other teachers? What have I been assuming about this person that might not actually be so?

Beginner's mind
Beginner’s mind

Zen Brush

I have bought Zen Brush and I really enjoy it.

Enjoy performing zen art on your iPad or iPhone.
Zen Brush is an app that allows you to easily enjoy the feeling of using an ink brush to write or to paint. It allows anyone to easily perform fluent strokes while not compromising on the fascinating texture of a real ink brush. Create works that radiate the right atmosphere by choosing the best background template from our large collection. You can even post your works easily on twitter.

So far what I do is more like doodle with a brush but it’s fascinating. It’s mindfulness, full focus on what you are doing, and work as a tool for meditation too. Since it’s digital it’s easy to erase and start over again. I practice with my non-dominant hand too, it’s good to use both hands.

Living Naked (eBook)

Dayne Herren over at TheHappySelf.com has released a free eBook titled Living Naked: Personal Transformation Through Bare Simplicity.

“Living Naked” is a philosophy of living that strips down living to reveal our natural state of happiness. It is about “getting naked” or simply, back to the basics of BEING. The aim of this philosophy is invigorate your life, your senses, and most of all…your GENUINE and NATURAL HAPPINESS. Living naked is living naturally mentally and physically to unleash your inner joy and happiness.

It’s a nicely formated 40-page eBook that gives good advice on simplifying life. The book has eleven short chapters covering topics such as:
• Strip away life-added toxicity.
• Bring forth clarity to the mind.
• Listen to your internal navigation. Feel. Follow its lead.
• Inject your personal passions.
• Succeed at failing.
• Live happy and be content.

LESS – Accomplishing More by Doing Less

I got a copy of LESS – Accomplishing More by Doing Less by Marc Lesser at Øredev 2009. The book is described like this:

Discusses the benefits of doing less in a world that has increasingly embraced more – more desire, more activity, more things, more exhaustion. This book is about stopping, as well as the possibility of finding composure in the midst of activity. It is also about the power of accomplishing more by doing less.

I like this book, it is well written and it’s summed up nicely in the epilogue:

This book is a collection of tools as well as a manual for doing more of what is important and less of what isn’t.

Another quote from the book that descibes what it’s about:

You will accomplish more of what matters to you. Doing less and accomplishing more is about aligning your actions with your values and your particular passions.

The book is about the Less Manifesto and has chapters on its five categories:
• fear
• assumptions
• distractions
• resistance
• busyness

I like the way Marc writes about these categories, I found inspiration and tools to work with. Marc brings up meditation and mindfulness as useful tools. The book also has some interesting exercises, questions to work with. Under busyness Marc writes that:

A life of busyness is often the result of trying to escape facing our fears.

One part of the book that stuck with me is about paradoxes, like Marc’s own example “I am shy and solitary, and I love speaking in front of people.” It’s an interesting way of seeing that it’s not either-or, we can be both without conflicts.

Embrace paradox and you increase self-acceptance, tolerance of others and your own possibilities.

A question from the book that’s worth thinking about:

What is one change you could make in your life today that would have an impact on the quality of your day?

Read more:
An 18 Minute Plan That Keeps You Focused
The jar of life – stones, pebbles and sand
Start Managing Your Attention

Your teacup is full (Empty your cup)

The teacup story is around in different versions, here is one version:

Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen. He seldom turned any away.

One day an important man, a man used to command and obedience came to visit the master. “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way.

The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”

The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind.”

Here is another version:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

Like this cup, Nan-in said, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?

I like the tea story a lot, it is a great reminder that in order to learn we have to be humble, to empty our mind and make room for the new.

Here are some quotes about learning, I love the one about beginner’s mind.

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few. – Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn – Alvin Toffler

When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before. – Henry David Thoreau

Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting something go every day. – Zen Proverb

This was originally posted at Zen And More, another blog of mine.

What The Bleep Do We Know!?

I know I am late on this but last night I watched the movie What The Bleep Do We Know!? and I loved it. The movie is an interesting mix, sharing knowledge and ideas but also raising questions.

The following quote stuck in my mind, it fits perfectly with my inquisitive mind.

Don’t be in the know, be in the mystery.

I got so interested that I have ordered the book which is an extension to the movie. In this case the movie came first.

This was originally posted at another (now extinct) blog of mine.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑