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Thread: Minimalism is the new monasticism?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    Minimalism is the new monasticism?

    I was thinking that, in a secular world where monks' cloisters are rare... exceedingly rare, those with a monk's or a nun's spiritual urge or mentality might "convert" to minimalism.

    Thoughts?

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    Senior Member Ultralight's Avatar
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    It is actually this gal that made me think of this...


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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    An interesting question to me, since one of my earliest aspirations was to be a nun, and to this day my most admired spiritual leaders or those of the ascetic kind...Buddha, St. Francis, Peace Pilgrim.

    But your question suggests that minimalism may replace spirituality and that minimalism alone would be enough to satisfy an urge for a monk's life. I'm not sure that's the case, at least for me.

    I do think there's an inherent truth to your question though--that the purgation advised by many spiritual leaders manifests itself both spiritually and materially--they kind of go hand in hand. In my very humble case, because I never made it to the convent, I do have urges for material simplicity, which is why I find my new home many steps closer to that than my former home.

    One of my favorite books is "Poustinia" by Catherine Dougherty. The definition of the Russian word "poustinia" is "a small sparsely furnished cabin or room where a person goes to pray and fast alone in the presence of God. The word poustinia has its origin in the Russian word for desert (пустыня)." I love the idea of that kind of stripped down simplicity (minimalism).

    But, again, I don't think minimalism is a spiritual end in itself. I think some mystics would say that when the urge for a relationship with God is strong, the desire becomes to clear the path to God as much as possible.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Today I had a small to do list that involved running a few errands. As the morning unfolded I found solutions to each of the needs represented by those errands, and in the end I didnít even have to leave the house. To me this is a spiritual experience because it simplified my life and it saved some additional stressors on our planet.

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    When I first read the topic, my first thought was that minimalism isn't the new monasticism, but rather monasticism is the old minimalism.

    I like how catherine put it "I don't think minimalism is a spiritual end in itself. I think some mystics would say that when the urge for a relationship with God is strong, the desire becomes to clear the path to God as much as possible.". I agree that when someone finds something of importance to themselves, everything else will tend to fall by the wayside. When that something is non-material, I would think that the obtaining of stuff is not important, which results in less stuff, hence, minimalism.

    While I think there are many perspectives to approach this topic and I may have to think on it more before attempting anything further.

    Interesting question!!!
    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. - Anon.

    Be nice whenever possible. It's always possible. - Dalai Lama

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    I first of all don't think anything is new, but in the spirit of it I will say that is exactly my minimalism. I could work harder and get stuff and take care of stuff, but instead I choose to stay super simple and do more meditation, take time for retreat and make those things a priority. Although there are a lot of circumstances, it has been a conscious choice over the years. I don't think I care enough about money to collect a lot of it (and I read an article about people with my diagnoses having a fear of money, I definitely do based on how many times I have messed it up).

    Anyway, yes. A lot of people I know in the Buddhist world live quite simply and it is connected to the focus on spiritual matters.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    It is actually this gal that made me think of this...

    This is interesting, I like that she spends time talking about how this works for her. I know my work and life style would not support such a small wardrobe. Also my climate! I wonder what type of work people do that they can wear the same basic outfit all the time. I need a week worth of any season, which changes quite often here.

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    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    We have 4 seasons although mild so need more clothes. Plus I don’t want to wash all the time.

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