How Spiritual Minimalism Helps Create Space and Purpose

How Spiritual Minimalism Helps Create Space and Purpose

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One meditation teacher shares his thoughts on how to streamline your life to create more meaning through the simple practice of spiritual minimalism.

Spiritual minimalism is not the get-rid-of-my-stuff-to-be-happy approach to minimalism. Rather, it’s the get-happy-inside-first-and-see-what-happens-after-that approach.

A Spiritual Minimalist makes the majority of their decisions from their own inner guidance. And the best way to make sure your inner guidance is providing you with the highest quality information is to turn up the volume on what I call your “heart voice” through practices like daily meditation.

Conversely, the less connected you are to your heart voice, the more likely you are to make the majority of your decisions based on logic and external factors. This approach is not wrong. It’s just not as efficient, because your heart voice is like your very own internal GPS. And not listening to it is a lot like ignoring the GPS in your car while it’s attempting to guide you to your destination. You can still find your way using external signs, but it’s going to take you longer, and you’ll potentially make more mistakes along the way.

So, while your closet may be tidy, if you’re clinging tightly to a toxic relationship because you’re afraid of being on your own for a while, then you may look like a minimalist in appearances, but you won’t feel like one emotionally or spiritually. And which is more important? Looking like a minimalist, or actually embodying the principles of minimalism?

A Spiritual Minimalist becomes a specialist in listening to their heart voice, not because they were born with some unique ability to hear it, but because they invest sufficient time and effort to cultivate a reliable connection to it. And as a result, the Spiritual Minimalist will have an easier time letting go of whatever’s been holding them back personally, professionally, or even spiritually, in order to create space for new experiences that are more aligned with their values and purpose.

Here are some of the qualities you’re looking for to identify your true heart voice:

Your heart voice won’t tell you what not to do, only what to do. Example: your heart voice won’t say, “Don’t talk to that person.” Instead, it may say, “Just be a good listener right now.”

It will nudge you to be more courageous. Example: While in a group setting, you may be asked to stand up and share a personal experience that you’ve had that could help others, and your heart voice is the one saying, “Go ahead and just speak from your heart,” while your fear voice may be urging you not to speak because what if you sound stupid.

It’s the opposite of aversion. If you feel repelled by or afraid of a potentially embarrassing possibility, usually your heart voice is the one that’s nudging you to face it. Left unchecked, the fear voice can run your life, because you’ve heeded its advice for so long. So if you’re feeling the urge to run away from something that could be useful, helpful, or motivational (due to fear), try doing the opposite.

As a Spiritual Minimalist, you don’t need to get rid of anything. What matters more than clearing out your closets is how much trust you have in your inner guidance, and that you treat life as if there are no throwaway moments, give what you want to receive, follow your curiosity, are able to find comfort in discomfort, and embrace the freedom of choicelessness whenever possible.

An adapted excerpt from Travel Light: Spiritual Minimalism to Live a More Fulfilled Life by Light Watkins. Learn more about the book. Illustration by Simona von Woikowsky.

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