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Minimalism & Meditation

Brian Crain
Brian Crain
1 min read

Yesterday, I watched the Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things.

It mostly follows Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, who run the website 'The Minimalists' and interviews a bunch of experts including Sam Harris and Leo Babauta.

The idea of the movie is that most people follow a default life template: Happiness comes from having more, consuming more, earning more.

What stands out to me is that meditation and minimalism are taking different approaches to solving the same problem. In meditation, you work on developing your mind so that you are less subject to urges and cravings. As a result, you'd expect that compulsive consumption decreases. And if you look at serious meditators that is generally the case.

In minimalism, you focus on the consumption piece and try to reduce that to an absolute minimum. Examples include living in tiny apartments or just owning 50 items. The expectation is that the urge for consumption gradually subsides and greater contentment comes about.

Both approaches seem reasonable to me and seem to work. Of course, it's very common to combine both. For example, quality and constant reduction to the essential are the most notable characteristics of Zen's aesthetic.