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Saturday, 3 September 2011

How much stuff is enough?

This post from Gina Stoner - our resident lifestyle expert. Today she's exposing the time-trap of possessions - both personal and individual...

Collectors collect anything - from vintage cars to Murano glass - and their particular  obsession can be rationalised as a hobby or interest.

But  what about people who are not "collectors" but "unable to throw outers"?


While to have only what is necessary is the first rule of morality, most people surround themselves with a pile of unnecessary things. Forgivable if looking at them gives joy or if they are a back-up for some item that may break down. But despite all the excuses, we are still surrounded by unnecessary STUFF.

The problems with stuff are many:
  • It occupies needed space.
  • needs to be dusted.
  • needs to be protected and insured.
  • complicates life.
  • is a cause of dull care.
Stuff, in short, is a worry - and dispensing with it frees the psyche.  

For instance, is it necessary to keep all your dead mother's bibs and bobs - just because she cherished them?  And what about those fifteen albums of her overseas tours?  Can you bear to throw them out? They were, after all, her security blanket - not yours.

What about your late father's  rather bad attempts at oil paintings? You detest them but he did them and you want to be loyal to his memory don't you? As for their cherished dinosaur lounge suite and tizzy lamps!

We suffer from stuff. Reducing it to the simplest statement, freedom consists in having no more than you need.

And inner freedom?

The analogy continues....

If you have a lot of unnecessary emotions, you are chewing up the energy of your life. So anxiety, fear, resentment and the rest are hugely costly impediments.  Stress  depresses the immune system, stimulates the fight/flight mechanism, interferes with sleep patterns and makes the body work overtime. Stress, as studies prove, significantly shortens  life. 

Then, if you spend your days in a whirl of thoughts - snatches of tunes, daydreaming, concern about what others think of you, the endless churning over trifles, the whole associative mess that usually occupies our heads - that also takes enormous life energy. Remember that your brain is an expensive organ requiring 20% of the body's output. And you are not only losing nervous energy, you're also too occupied to face life simply because every decision you take is encumbered by a subjective screen of thoughts.

Then there are the physical tensions. We're always tensing to face the next challenge, frowning to cope with the next problem, flinching at every shadow, using more effort than we need to accomplish the simplest of tasks. The body has forgotten how to relax and this is compounded by our churning mind and emotions.

So "too much stuff"  is a problem on the inside as well. 

The solution? 
Funny, isn't it, how we are convinced there is always a solution?

A wise man once said that the Government isn't the solution but the problem. And, of course, the problem can't fix the problem. So you see the dilemma?

If we imagine there's a solution, we're the problem trying to fix the problem. Because we are the problem. And the solution, if it exists, is outside us and inaccessible to us.

So what is to be done?

There is nothing to be done. But simplify, simplify is the message that comes from Stuff.

Hard enough on the outside. But the inside? My God! Because, what is needed there is almost equivalent to suicide!

Curiously,  some people find their way past this heavily barricaded door that leads, apparently, to nowhere.

Again, how?

A good beginning could be to take a moment to let everything go - including ourselves with all our wants. And to realise that I am not the centre of the world, as everyone imagines themselves to be, but a totally irrelevant momentary occurrence on an insignificant planet, that is less than a speck of dust in its own galaxy.

Who the hell do I think I am?

Now there's a question for a lifetime.

Gina's book, Talks With Al is available on Buzzwords for just $2.99

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