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By Marta Czajkowska

“You may have occasion to possess or use material things, but the secret of life lies in never missing them.” ~ Gandhi

A watch, spectacles, sandals, a copy of the Bhagavad Gita and eating bowl – are about all the earthly possessions Gandhi left behind. Wow.

Born into a prosperous family, Gandhi grew up privileged, obtaining a prestigious education in England: Law at University College in London. He did not follow the path of many other british lawyers. He eventually took a vow of poverty, much like Saint Francis, with the concept of aparigraha, non-possession.

Through the course of his life he managed to let go of material trappings. He gave away or auctioned any gift that was ever given to him. Imagine cutting your possessions down to bare basics. Recycle, give things away, or auction them. Free yourself from stuff, and save a lot of time and energy by not looking after your possessions.

Gandhi followed a strict vegetarian diet and frequently cooked his own local simple food. He used a small bowl – which reminded him to eat moderately. Put your attention on enjoying the meal by eating mindfully, rather than spending big bills in fancy restaurants.

To a meeting with the King of Great Britain Gandhi wore his simple cloth. Asked by a journalist “Mr Gandhi, did you feel under-dressed when you met the King?” he replied “The King was wearing enough clothes for both of us!”

You can simplify your life, closet and spending by owning a few clothing items that are functional, comfortable and simple.

Gandhi meditated daily and spent hours in reflection and prayer. Though he was a world leader, he continued to lead a simple life with few distractions and commitments. He was known to interrupt his political meetings to go off and play with children.

By reducing his involvement possessions and need for money, Gandhi was able to totally focus on his commitment to his people and the world, to live his higher purpose. Prolific writer and powerful speaker, in private Gandhi spoke very quietly and only when necessary. His writing is punchy and concise. He preferred that his life do the talking for him.

“If one has wealth, it does not mean that it should be thrown away and wife and children should be turned out of doors. It simply means that one must give up attachment of these things!” ~ Gandhi

By living a simpler life today – you will release a lot of time, money and energy. In this free space you can create the life you really want to live.

Yeah but all this is not realistic today… is it?

I’d like to volunteer to be an example of this: I live in my van. I have a bed, sink fridge and storage in it. I own a computer and phone, have 5 pairs of pants and a couple nicer outfits put away. I have 2 towels. My camera gear, my climbing gear, a bike. Solar panel setup, and a battery to store my energy. Every item has its place. I have a 2 burner gas stove and a pot and a pan. I own 8 plates, 4 cups and some forks and spoons. I shop at thrift stores if I need to replace any of those things. To get this level of simplicity, I organized a clothing swap and auctioned off my unwanted camera and clothing. I also give a lot back to the thrift stores. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a clothing item out there in the world that I bought a thrift store, then donated to another thrift store in my travels, and now is being happily worn by someone else!

I am obviously far from Gandhi’s minimalism, yet I never give up trying!!!

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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)