Minimalism: Where “Practical” Meets “Practice”

For many people, the term “minimalism” implies living with clean white walls, nearly-empty shelves, and nary a pile of magazines or unfolded laundry in sight. While that may work for some people, it’s not the only way to embrace this concept.

In fact, for some, it’s become less about the practical aspects of having less, and more about the spiritual opportunities the lifestyle opens up. Buddhists are known for embracing minimalism as a core principle. Their practice centers around owning less, spending wisely, and finding value in things they already have. This aligns with a philosophy of impermanence, how everything is continually changing. In other words, “attachment” to material objects is a huge waste of time and energy.

Joshua Becker is a former pastor who has experienced — firsthand — how minimalism has enriched his life and the life of his family. Through his blog and his popular books, he’s revealing his own Western way of practicing what the Buddhists preach.

Cleaning out his overcrowded garage while his little son played alone in the yard gave him an epiphany. He was spending his time with stuff instead of his child. For Becker, having fewer things allows space to focus on what makes life worth living, namely experiences, time with loved ones, and less worry and stress. That also extends to the intangibles that clutter our days, such as social media and screen time. The idea is to free ourselves from what takes our focus off of our personal priorities.

Becker notes that those interested in trying it out must find their own style; minimalism is not  “one size fits all.” When you strike the right balance, centering your time and attention around what matters the most to you, you’ll find it deeply soul-satisfying. Especially when clutter isn’t blocking the view.

We recently helped to produce a TV series for Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK. “Less Really Is More” reveals smart ways to downsize and experience a richer life. The full episode features some other cool stuff we think you’ll like. Please have a look and let us know what you think.

-Cindy Grogan

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok (

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