Living Life through the Twin Prism of MINIMALISM & MINDFULNESS
Anthony Bourdain, American celebrity chef, famous television personality and a person who redefined the way the confluence of travel, food and culture across the world is symbiotically packaged and presented. He was passionately showcasing us a brand new perspective of life and the art of living. When we look at his life and living as a viewer, he had everything, his life and lifestyle was a dream for us. And when we thought he is having the best time of his life and he was thoroughly enjoying his travel life and he was about to show us a new facet of the world through his award winning series “Parts Unknown”. The story abruptly ended. He was handsome. He was successful. He was rich. He was globetrotter. Ironically, he ended his life on his travel journey without giving his journey of life the freedom to decide the end.
What drove him to end life?
We are all constantly on the haunt, to discovery the purpose of our life. We are looking for different means, to innovate methods to improve our living. We are searching for new ways to make our life much more meaningful. We want to be happy. We want our life to be fulfilling and we want to make it wholesome. That’s what we want. Life has its own ways to confront us. We are doggedly tested. There is this periodical litmus test. It is not about being full but is about being complete and whole as a person.
There’s such a big chasm of difference in the interpretation of being full in life and making life fulfilling.
There are many rich people who are full in every conceivable aspects of life but their life is not yet fulfilling. There are successful people who have achieved many things in life what they had set for in setting the living standard but they aren’t really happy. It is contrary to our belief, the common perception in which happiness has got everything to do with richness and as we climb the ladder of success in life we become happy, in fact it is on the ground, the higher we climb quicker we realize how empty and isolated the top, it has very little to do with happiness. The grounded we are the happier we become in life.
The joy of life is subtly hidden in the little things that we do in life. Just that we are unmindful of it. The bliss is within and we keep knocking the door outside. The window to the world of joy and happiness is sublimely inside us. Life is inherently simple but we are garrulous and hell-bent in making it complicated. When we are profoundly questioned we simply don’t have an answer.
We are confused.
We are puzzled.
The pulse of bliss is silently ensconced in the simple things of life. Literally, the heaven is in the simplicity. There is so much around us, we are encircled, we are engulfed and everything around us makes us bonded and we get often blinded. We get overwhelmed with the sudden glitter and spike of glamour. We get obsessed with materialistic things and gradually we have become excessively possessive of many mindless thoughts. We lack mindfulness.
Just take the case of the food we eat…the junk that jams us. The dress we wear…the funk that fans us. The work we do…the grind that halts us.
Is it the things we keep doing to live our life or are we just living to do things?
Is there a real purpose?
Or we merely do it because society wants us to do that way it has been prescribed. All these intriguing aspects of life cumulatively add up to form the food for thought but ironically we are distracted, we stay focused on the food only and our thoughts that matters get aren’t focused.
The clutter and the platter…
The stress and the dress…
The pace and the race…
The right and the fight…
Mind is bridged between the left and the right. The two hemispheres of our brain are in loggerhead. Nothing seems right for us. We are on the run. The track is planted with mines. The finish line is an irony, it factually finishes us if we tread in a state of unmindfulness and we are literally left with nothing. There is this sudden void. This nothingness is not the one we are searching for in the disguise of discovering the true purpose of living and meaning of our life. The food we eat. The dress we wear. The work we do. The stiff competition that we are in this crazy world, it’s the game of survival of the fittest and the cacophony that follows has plainly left us in a lurch and we are looking for that elusive outlet to escape. There is a mirage. This is an ambush. We are clueless. We are unknowingly fallen a steady prey to the illusions and the predators on the prowl. It is about the game of life and death. We are constantly on tenterhooks. There is bait and it is tempting and we are naïvely trapped. It is a materialistic world around us. The consumerism is constantly tempting us and we are highly vulnerable.
Consumption has become fashionable and the glitter of advertisement is there to anchor and hammer us, and we are dazzled by the glamorous gratification. The world of indulgence seems to be the ultimate path to salvation…
Materialism is haunting us from all corners and we are making money, loads of money and capital to consume more and collate more materials…our house is in deep clutter. We keep dumping. The hose is gasping for breath. We still keep buying. We still keep stuffing things. The new age product life span has curtailed considerably from years to months to mere weeks and now we count in days. We get bored pretty quickly. The mind is packed still it wants to pack up more. We are questioned for things which have longer than few weeks and we need new display and we need new talking points. There are people around us with microscopic eyes questioning us for everything and we feel the pressure and the easy way to realize such pressure is changing the façade of our materialistic possession. It is easy to change the fabric, change color, and change the space but not the thoughts circulating in our mind. Our mind suddenly goes for a whirlwind tour. Life’s discussion has got tied with things we possess not the thoughts we pursue. Atrociously in our life it is the quantity of things that is mindlessly replacing the quality of good thoughts. There is an ugly war of words going on between the things in our house and the thoughts in our mind. Both are jostling for the right space, the pace is on but unfortunately the good ones getting left out in the journey of life.
Things being tangible give thoughts a tough competition, thoughts are intangible and thoughts are fungible.
Things are instrumental in nature and thoughts are intrinsic in nature.
Nurturing our nature needs more of thoughts…good thoughts and less of things…unnecessary things.
Materialism has slowly but surely has entered into our houses, rooms are getting cramped and we are fighting for open space and we are constantly in search for bigger living space when we are yet to learn the basic art of living life, expansion of space is an eternal quest and we keep expanding our span of aspiration, expecting bigger is better and we get unknowingly burden with the syndrome of getting big and bigger. There are many things beyond the world of materials…the nature that nurtures us. There are these small things other than the materials that matter to us. There are these little spaces that count where material is of little value. There are so many things that occupy our surrounding and we are passively locked with our limited space. The race is on. We keep pressing the acceleration. The fight tightens. We start playing the game of thrones. Hands keep itching. House looks dull. One house is not enough. Staying is incidental. One phone is not enough. Communication is incidental. One car is not enough. Transportation is incidental. Social status is the driver. Every day our dress needs to carry a brand new look. The brand matters.
The look is pumped.
The outlook is dumped.
It is tumultuous tussle between the look and the outlook.
The space is important.
The time is important.
We have been on a hoarding spree. We have been on a race track. Space is misused and time is abused. We all need little space inside our home and more space outside our home; we need less time with the outsider and more time with self. We all striving live life in a bigger house and we rarely use the sumptuous space that we already have, and we are invariably cramped on our cozy sofas close to our television or hooked to the computer. Dining room has suddenly lost its relevance. Bed rooms have become a visitor’s room. We are in that one room that is digitally connected and the virtual world takes over us the moment we land from our office. So many things are stuffed inside our house that there are certain things which we have rarely used or have used years back and usability of stuff is thrown out of our dictionary. There is this false power of possession that truly empowers us…
Minimalism and Mindfulness is pitted against Materialism and Consumerism.
It has become a matter of consumption when mind needs the freedom from the maximum things that are cluttering our thoughts. We have weaved a vicious cycle and we are confounded and pounded by the magnetic forces of materialistic consumption.
Materialism and Consumerism is negatively intertwined whereas Minimalism and Mindfulness is positively intertwined.
The real question; are we unknowingly complicating or not knowing how to simplifying our life. The equation of life, yet to be proven…the assumption and deductions are being hypothetically tested. Though it is assumed that simplification is through the mechanism of subtraction and division not through the methods of addition and multiplication, mathematics plays its part in every part of our life and the principles that govern the operation of numbers also has its role in simplifying our life. There is so much on the menu card when we scan our past and when see our future, and while doing so we generally miss the stuff that are there in front of us…the present moment.
We need to be mindful of things that are now and here, not of things that are there and somewhere to emerge in the future. Things means ownership and attachment and people means association and relationships, nothing is permanent and nothing stays with us forever but we want to hold and we have that nostalgia with the old. Thoughts are there and cannot be without the emotional coating. Emotions are what make us meek and weak; we get trapped in the emotional conundrum. Possessing whole of things are about emotions and feelings. Pursuing every broken relationships and regretting is about emotions and feelings.
Mindfulness is about being mindful of little things that matters in life. It is about discovering our self. It is about pursuing our passion. It is about creation not destruction. It is about nurturing thoughts not about negating things. It is about unraveling the power of appreciation not about the value of depreciation. It is about experiencing the moment. It is truly about the journey of life the way we live our life not about the destination, the inevitable death where everything ends.
The mind matters…
The space matters…
Minimalism is about the small things that make up the space in life. It is not about the big things and not about the things at all that doesn’t matter to us and we need to be mindful of those smaller things. It is about how less is more. Life is a function of various things that makes life easy and only when certain things that makes life easy going, we fumble, thereafter our dependency that we lose our fundamental freedom and life become imprisoned in the intricacies of complex things.
Kate Spade, American fashion designer and highly successful businesswoman, her designer handbags, clothing range, jewelry designs to fashion accessories, she had carved out her niche in New York fashion scene with her signature brand “Kate Spade New York” and soon her product became a symbol of sophistication and affordability. She has gone through the grid to set the business model in place, not easy and achieving the business success, it is such a satisfaction seeing the success surrounding her life and that’s what we all as outsider to her life saw in her life and living. She was beautiful. She was successful. She was rich. Paradoxically, she had called fashion as a love not an obsession and she fashioned a death virtually a contradiction to the love for life.
What drove her to end life?
The answer simply perhaps lies in rigorously following the principles of Minimalism and religiously adhering to the path of Mindfulness.
Just by being reckless and careless we get confounded.
Then we don’t know what to do…the reality confronts.
The puzzle of life becomes perilously complicated.
We get helplessly trapped.
We soon lose the plot of life
The story of life abruptly ends.
The sudden silence, leaving many of us to ponder on what is life all about and how should we live our life.
The art of living becomes the heart of all matter…nothing else matters.
Nihar R Pradhan