As you take steps to minimalize the things around you, and endure the ‘shopping mall’ mentality of self-worth, meaning, nature and purpose, you will discover a mind-set of idolatry. The human soul is always in pursuit something that will please us… there is an appetite longing to be satisfied in some way… a need to be met. We have hunger.
Often times, after I have entered into a fast of some sort, I am taken aback that much of whatever I am giving up for a time is so readily accessible.
Knock food out of your life for a couple days, and all of the sudden the fast food restaurant commercials on the television begin to stick out with a vengeance. The plethora of cookies and snacks that line the counters and cupboards of your home begin to make you realize that food is usually just within arm’s reach.
Knock unnecessary technology and noise out of your life by dropping the iPod or television out of your life, and you begin to consider how much of an assault your eyes, ears, and mind are under at so many moments of the day.
It doesn’t take long until these small moments of realization cause you to begin asking questions like, ‘Is all of this really necessary?’… ‘Could I live with less?’
When you begin to intentionally examine your surroundings in such a way that you are looking for ways in which to condense all of the ‘stuff’ that you believe added meaning and purpose to your nature as a human being… and then take the necessary steps to begin eliminating the clutter, what you find is that you have more space to become more… you.
I prided myself for a long time in the extensive library of books that I was able to acquire. Many of these books were purchased with a specific intention in mind. I love to be mentally stimulated and have always lived with a sense of wonder of all of the magnificent stories there were out there to discover… all of the mysteries to uncover. And so, I would gather books to surround myself with as a way to be immersed in other worlds and other lives. So often, I would begin reading them, and never finish. But they got put on the shelf, and over time quite a diverse collection.
What I found… was that over the years, I would actually only make my way back to about a dozen of them on a regular basis. I was then faced with the challenge to allow myself to let a smaller shelf of books not only be a sense of pride… but also box hundreds of others up for donation or sale.
It sounds simple to some I am sure… but if you consider the things in your life that you take pride in… and have collected through the years, you can understand that this was not an easy task.
What I discovered in the process is that as I grew into more of who I was, not having the distraction of so many peripheral books to explore created a space for me to dive deeper and deeper into the real places of the soul that I wanted to explore. The landscape of who I was became clearer and clearer as I learned to live with less and less… of a seemingly good thing.