Introduction: The Problem with Stuff and How Emptiness is a Necessary Part of Good Life
You are probably a person who spends much of his or her time acquiring stuff. Stuff takes up a significant amount of space in our lives, and eventually the size of your closets and the amount of things you have become too large to contain. You have become too full of stuff. Stuff, you will discover, is the opposite of emptiness.
Most of the things we acquire are not useful. Stuff is like digital information in that it serves no purpose. “A shoe is a very good and serious thing,” said Albert Einstein, “but I believe the stars will say to us that no matter how small our life may be, it is still their home.”
The problem with stuff is that it becomes overwhelming. Stuff ends up consuming a lot of time and energy. It also makes us feel uneasy and empty….
When I was growing up, my mother always kept a small sewing kit by the front door, which contained needles and thread, some scissors and a button kit. This little bag was routinely used to fix things that were broken, and it saved a lot of money compared to buying me new things. Later in life I learned how to repair everything from laptops, cameras and cell phones to my own footwear.
How to Find Meaning in the Everyday
This exercise, I feel, can help you acquire a more humble and full life. This is especially important when it comes to realizing what you do not have. Simply make a list of all the things you have that you would like to have. Now, for each thing on the list, write about how your life might be if you had the thing. You can write down two to five things per page, or twenty to thirty. I suggest that you take the time to do this exercise at least one day per week, for a period of thirty days, up to one year.
Once you have finished your list, answer this final question: What did I learn? The answer will be specific and universal at the same time. And it will reveal what changes in your life you must make in order to find meaning.
Some of the answers might be:
“I will never have a loving family.”
“I will never be able to stop working.”
“I will be alone for my whole life.”
You might feel that your answer is better left unsaid. But, whatever it is, say it aloud. The “unknowingness” of this exercise can allow you to see what you have always known but did not know. This can be a very liberating experience.
Miguel Angel Ruiz, PHD.
“The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom”, Ruiz, iUniverse, Inc., pp :105-108
How to Eliminate Clutter from Your Life
My mother had a habit of accumulating old photographs. She would look at old photographs and feel nostalgic as if the day went back to the past. The day did not go back to the past. It never will. Things that were once useful to one person become useless to another person later on in life. Things that were once valuable become worthless when the person gets tired of it. Things that were once necessary for life become unnecessary for life when death approaches. Dearest mother, your memories will fade away before you even have time to enjoy them. It is a waste of time to retain useless things.
I also had a habit of accumulating useless things. I kept getting more and more useless things in my life that were not really meaningful to me anyway. I have been trying to throw away the useless objects in my life, but they keep coming back again so quickly that I can’t get rid of them all at once. I realized that I have to work at ‘getting rid’ of things.
Conclusion: The Path Towards Finding Meaning in Every Day Without Leaving Anything Behind
If you try to put everything you have into your backpack, there will be no room for you in your backpack. If you leave everything behind and take only yourself, can you put yourself in a backpack? No. Everything is heavy. You are heavier than everything else that you have ever had in your entire life combined. So if leaving everything behind is not an option, what is the solution? Everything is heavy. If you look at a cup and think that it is an illusion, the cup makes you feel like you are carrying air. Emptiness is the only way to achieve lightness. You will realize that by letting go of everything else, you let go of everything inside of you like anger, resentment, greed, and revenge. If you let go of everything inside of you, what is there that you can have? You reach a point where you feel like you are completely empty inside, as if nothing ever existed or ever will exist. You feel lighter than air. When you feel like that, if you take out your backpack from home, it will not be very heavy because it contains only what is necessary for your life. It contains only your wallet and a single shirt. If you take out everything that is inside of your backpack, your backpack becomes lighter. The pack is the only thing that weighs you down the most; when you have less than your backpack, it feels like you have everything. But when you have less than your backpack, there is nothing for which to feel proud, because there is nothing to fill up the void: You are empty inside. When you are filled up with emptiness, all that lingers in your mind is emptiness.