In the last few years pop culture has experienced a boom in spirituality that would make our 1970’s flower children proud! This spiritual awakening has made ideals such as manifesting, self-care, vibes, herbalism and even witchcraft popular.
Minimalism and spirituality
While these ideas aren’t novel, they’ve been encouraging people to see the light in others as well as themselves. Admittedly, the modern day spiritual movement has had quite the positive impact on the way people view themselves as a part of this world.
It’s now common to hear people now describe themselves as “spiritual” rather than religious. But some still misconstrue the two. So what’s the difference?
What is spirituality? What does it mean to be spiritual?
The modern day concept of spirituality consists of a few different parts. As opposed to religion, spirituality emphasizes the idea that you yourself are a soul—a divine, boundless, cosmic entity—experiencing being a human.
You’re made entirely of energy. Everything else around you is made of energy as well: from the trees to the fire hydrant to the planet Jupiter, all things in the Universe are made of energy. With the base knowledge that we’re all made of energy, and so is everything else, we can more easily understand a few more things.
The law of attraction has exploded among millennials and Gen Z as more people are using it to manifest the life they want. The law of attraction, simply put, is the philosophy that thoughts become physical things, and what you think about is what comes into your life. This is because thoughts are also energy.
Energy is constant vibration; positive (good) energy vibrates higher than negative (bad) energy. Hence, when you think positively and expect great things, you attract things into your life that also have that high, positive vibration.
Likewise, when you entertain feelings of worry and fear or think negative thoughts, you’ll encounter more reasons to be worried, scared, upset, or sad. The idea is that you can literally change your life by simply changing the way you think. That’s why you’ll hear people speak of “raising their vibration” (vibes is short for vibrations).
An emphasis has been put on the importance of connecting with nature as well. Crystals are popularly used for a myriad of reasons including staying focused, raising vibrations, protection from negative influences and energy, and creativity flow.
The sun is seen as medicine and the moon as an instrument for manifestation. Herbs and holistic forms of treatment are preferred. Yoga, meditation, candles and incense are approved tools for maintaining spiritual health and alignment.
People who describe themselves as spiritual often give praise to natural forces, the Universe of which we are all part, and/or themselves as the creators of their own reality. However, this doesn’t mean spiritual people can’t be religious. Whether you worship or not, you can engage in spiritual practices all the same.
Akin to the minimalism journey, the spiritual journey is unique to the individual and will mean different things for different people. People often pursue a heightened spirituality to achieve balance in their lives, to help them cope with feelings or trauma, or to master the art of manifesting.
While you’re increasing your inner peace is a great, why not take steps towards your outer peace as well!
The Spiritual Minimalist
Spiritual principles place an inherent significance on the Self. Spiritual minimalism centers around the idea that we are in charge of our lives more than we think. Spirituality includes the recognition of the energy constantly flowing around you and highlights the importance in the mindful regulation of that energy.
We know minimalism is linked to productivity – minimalism reinforces the urgency of regulatiing your energy. And when the two are paired together, life can quickly become a blissfully simple existence.
There is a special subset of minimalists that pursue minimalism for spiritual purposes! We affectionately refer to them as spiritual minimalists. They’re very discerning of what they allow around them because they acknowledge how it affects them energetically. They live peaceful, fruitful lives, trading the artificial love that is our attachment with things for the authentic love of Self.
There are several ways that spirituality and minimalism compliment each other. Living minimally helps enhance the spiritual experience as it naturally aids in the execution of several spiritual principles.
Next we’ll dive into the ways that minimalism and spiritualism innately align.
Minimalist Lifestyle and the Spiritual Movement
A primary goal of the spiritual journey is to surround yourself with only things that are positively serving you. For your spiritual development, it’s in your best interest to cull your possessions.
But in the process of defining what to and what not to keep, ask yourself, “Does this make me feel good? Does this serve my higher purpose?” rather than, “What is its function? Do I need it?”. Spiritual individuals prioritize maintaining a peaceful, happy atmosphere where they can lead a harmonious, balanced life.
When you’re decluttering, be honest about how whatever you’re considering makes you feel. You’ll only want to keep things that increase feelings of comfort, joy, and success. When you’re surrounded by things that exude positive energy, or make you feel these good feelings, it attracts more good things into your life (as dictated by the law of attraction).
Discarding things that make you feel sad, anxious, or worrisome is a vital step to creating an environment in which you can emotionally and energetically thrive. At the very least, you’ll love being home!
This principle applies to people too. Only individuals who make you laugh, make you feel confident, and have your best interest at heart should be in your bubble. These meaningful relationships cultivate a life full of love and support.
On the other hand, being around people who exhibit traits of toxicity, inconsistency, or lack of aspirations lowers your vibration which affects the way you see the world and the things you attract.
The less space that’s taken up, the more space there is to engage in mindful activities. Mindful activities are activities that increase awareness and focus and encourage relaxation such as a comfortable meditation, light exercise, aligning your chakras with crystals, or yoga.
A space where we have to scrunch and squeeze to complete these activities is less inviting and makes it less likely that we’ll do them.
When you stick as close to the necessities as possible, you minimize the things that take away from your spiritual experience. Especially when you’re starting (before these activities become an absolute joy to do) entertainment devices present a temptation that makes it less likely that you’ll engage in these mindful activities regularly.
Spiritual development requires a considerable amount of concentration, which is more manageable when you have less to dissuade you from reaching your spiritual goals—be it manifestation or balance.
Detaching from material things heightens our focus on the internal. Your attachment to a possession is an attachment to something outside of yourself. That attachment gives these things a certain level of power over you, be it a little or a lot. So when, say, your favorite water bottle goes missing, something as inconsequential as that throws off the rest of your day.
The majority of citizens are desensitized to how much our outside circumstances do (but shouldn’t) affect how we feel. One thing you’ll note on your spiritual journey and in the process of separating yourself from these objects is how much power you regain over your own thoughts and feelings.
When you’re constantly going after the latest trend and gadget you’ll always be in competition. Whether we admit it or not, the root of our need for the latest things is to impress and feel like we’re doing better than others.
Hence we’re always comparing ourselves with someone else, especially since the introduction of social media. And that’s, again, dimming your light by handing the power over how you feel to outside influences. Your essence will radiate brightly on its own once you become the true source of your own happiness.
Living with only what we need breeds appreciation for what we have. And any spiritual or religious person will tell you how imperative it is to practice gratitude, or counting your blessings, on a daily basis.
You value something more for its function and contribution to your life when you don’t have several other things that serve the same function. Contrarily, the majority of the consumerist population constantly chase more, but are never satisfied. This is because we’re constantly exposed to what we could have, so much so that it doesn’t occur to us to stop and be grateful for all that we do have.
When each item you own is something you need in order to flourish, you’re so much happier that it’s there!
To live spiritually and minimally both require that you constantly be conscious. Minimalism is about being conscious of what you bring into your living space, in a physical sense.
Spirituality is about being conscious of what you bring into your personal space, such as the information you absorb and the company you keep.
Engaging both forms of consciousness is very conducive to a fulfilling life, better decision-making, and decisive action-taking. Being in a constant state of awareness of what’s around you keeps you grounded and encourages you to live in the moment.
Cutting down on our devices naturally limits our exposure to negativity that’s being pushed by the media. The truth is that our society makes their money off of misfortune. Bad news gets people’s attention.
Headlines that ignite fear, anger, worry, and controversy; stunts that go “viral” when people get hurt; and rumors that humiliate people and ruin lives get millions of views a day. Constant exposure to these things can easily pollute your mental space and cause you to believe that the world is a cold and dangerous place which (as we’ve learned) isn’t the kind of thinking we want to be aligned with.
You’ll have to make some hard decisions. No matter why you’re doing it, parting with things and people that you never imagined having to part with isn’t the most comfortable process. Not only is it vital to your minimalist journey but it’s spiritually fulfilling to release yourself of things that don’t add to your life.
A healthy part of the spiritual minimalist journey is uncovering some unhealthy habits. We all have them. Minimalist principles reveal negative spending and social habits by reconnecting us with the world and what’s important. Discoveries you might make on your spiritual journey are limiting beliefs and predisposed negative thoughts.
Acknowledging these internal and external habits is the first step before addressing and overcoming them. Both processes require a bit of reprogramming from what most of us were raised to believe.
Final Thoughts on Spiritual Growth
The spiritual journey is a self-centered process. Minimalism is just as much a self-centered process, and learning how to become a minimalist is often intertwined with spirtual practice. What makes a spiritual minimalist is the process by which they go about deciding what to discard and what to keep.
You’re going to want to keep things around that promote a comfortable, happy, and harmonious atmosphere.
Some things you might find in a spiritual minimalist’s home that you might not find in the conventional minimalist’s home are crystals, plants/flowers, candles, essential oils/diffuser, tapestries, and happy visuals such pictures of loved ones or vacations.
A minimalist lifestyle gives you the space to stretch your energy and focus on evolving into your Higher Self. The foundation of both living minimally and spiritually is doing away with all the junk in our lives so we can be more attentive to what’s important.
Spiritual minimalism is very therapeutic and uplifting in a profound way that is the product of freeing ourselves from conventional ways of thinking and behaving. Look at it simply as decluttering the inside and the outside at the same time.
Whichever way you choose to do it, prioritize your health and happiness in a way that speaks to you!