Spiritual Freedom – Less is More
We know the old saying, the outer world is a representation of our inner one. Any scatterbrained person like me would dream of de-cluttering the home and showing the signs of inner peace that demonstrate truth to this non-contextual nugget. It's just that I have so much stuff, so many things. My artistic lifestyle means that I am constantly dropping everything to follow an idea that has sparked into being and so it means that over time things just get left.
It occurred to me that if I could just be a bit more conscious in my daily activities and take a few moments to truly think about what it is I must do, once my initial flurries of creativity are over I can begin on making the place resemble my tranquil inner world. Perhaps because I spend so much time tidying up on the inside, I leave little effort left for the outside of me.
Emotional attachment to stuff is one of the problems in our society, we lose things and replace them, we shop for things and then we lose interest, we buy more than we need and we allow our homes to become storage places for all sorts of life's collectables. I am not suggesting we chuck it all out, not in the slightest, but I do feel that if we can consciously re-arrange our outer world to be more like the tranquil and mindful realm of sanctuary we wish it could be, then things for us would be simply more comfortable.
Elegant Simplicity at Home by Tricia Foley is an inspiring hardback book destined for the coffee table. It serves to continually remind us that behind the piles of papers and stacks of DVDs are beautiful spaces which when used to a minimal yet thought out and interesting way, can create and inspiring and truly spiritually satisfying place to be in. Even if one room, or one side of one room can be set aside for a haven in the home, this is where to start.
Of course with all that stuff, you can always find some neat storage solutions that can cosy away any necessity or keep-safe that you may have. It's all about communication and compromise. Your home can be and deserves to be a temple. Elegant Simplicity at Home is there for the taking.
It was only a few moments earlier when I was cleaning my kitchen side of the daily build up of stains and crumbs that no one on Earth is immune to. If you're out there, tell me your secret! I was wiping around all the bits and bobs, moving them out of the way and doing the undersides, where the most mess typically resides. It was the same old routine, the bog standard daily action that I'd got used to many years previously. Then, it occurred to me to move the coffee machine. It's been there for a while, and I simply couldn't remember the last time I'd moved it.
I am glad I did as once I'd picked it up from the side, a job in which contained its own unforeseen requirement of effort, I discovered a good millimetre layer of grime. Astonished at how I had allowed this to build up, I realised that moving the coffee machine was not in my routine. Admittedly, cleanliness is not my strong point and the kitchen surfaces are about as far as it goes for multiple daily cleaning, however I had not envisaged this. I had been unconscious of the build up, and so in reality, I'd not been cleaning, I'd been following a routine designed for cleaning. I had not been present. As soon as I became present in my activity and knew that the coffee machine was there and it had to be moved, it became a part of the routine. Goodness knows for how long I had neglected it for, but my point is that it was my attitude towards the work which suddenly aligned me to the flaws in my thinking.
Often when we are children, our natural tendency to question and explore what we are told is extinguished. Those of us who are confident in our ability to make imaginative judgements and then act accordingly turn out are much more likely to be empowered individuals. We all like to feel secure, and having good teaching and instruction is a wonderful thing for everyone but there are times when a person will wish to test their strength, showing signs of confidence by adapting is not always a bad thing.
Unfortunately, for many of us, that inner sense of wonder is all too often stifled by society. We are sometimes made to feel bad for having our own ideas and beliefs even when we are being good wholesome people. The Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson and Photography by Nick Kelsh is a great book about how the author nourished her sense of wonder while out walking in the wilderness with her young nephew. With loads of four and five star reviews, it is clearly helping others to rekindle that sensation in their lives too.
That sense of wonder, the feeling of curiosity and the speculations of imagination are what allowed me to break my program and look under the coffee machine. Granted, this example is far from important and makes no difference outside that of my kitchen but we're doing it all the time. We are given instructions and we follow them, at some point the instructions are learned and we can repeat them without referring back. Because we're human, we're prone to forgetfulness or misunderstandings and this means our procedures change, lose parts and become distorted over time. The solution to this is our ability to think for ourselves and make changes, in principle, we are able to rewrite our own instructions at will. Our sense of curiosity and questioning wonder is the basis for that ability. "What is under the coffee machine?".
But wait, it doesn't stop with us. Think back to school when we were being taught about evolution. Adaptations in life on a genetic level cause change, those changes which are successful for the organism are continued through reproduction and over time are distributed. When you consider many changes and geographical distributions over significant periods of generational time, evolution can be seen to occur through this process. It seems that on some level, nature is also just as curious as we are and just as excited to try new things. If we take nature as our muse we can see that through the evolution of something so basic as a fundamental particle, several times over, the universe can be formed. So your fundamental ideas and thoughts, your creative twist on the world around you is your nature, and with your sense of wonder and ability to bring change you can also build stars.