Once upon a time it was only dippy hippies or rampant communists who spoke out against having too many possessions. (Not that I’ve got anything against either – we need our dippy and rampant people.) But now, hot on the heels of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s excellent campaign on food waste (see previous post) comes another group of Totally Ordinary people who are beginning to see where we’re headed – and they don’t like it.
I only caught the tail-end of this item on ‘You and Yours’ but the gist of it is that we are suffocating from Too Much Stuff. Shopping is not fun but we can’t stop doing it (those of us with money, that is), we throw out far too much and buy stuff we neither need nor enjoy. It prevents us from being creative and from just Being; contemplating, thinking, imagining, spending time with people. Spending time with ourselves.
There’s a lot of attention being paid to ‘mindfulness’ in the media. But mindfulness is not new; it’s as old as yoga and older than the Buddha – and yoga goes back thousands of years. It’s not about sitting cross-legged and contemplating your navel; it’s about being in the moment and focussing on what you’re doing, whatever it may be.
Someone at Quaker Meeting said recently that one of the most expensive holidays on earth is also the most minimalist. Apparently businessmen (and women, perhaps) pay thousands to be tipped over a cliff in a basket with minimal possessions so that they can be out of touch for a week. This is entirely necessary in a world where, no matter where you go, you cannot be out of touch. People get work emails on holiday nowadays. You’re never really away.
Anyway, here’s the link:
Now we can all be dippy and rampant. Or maybe we can be dippy one day and rampant the next?