Having less is better than stress

Like the previous article, this one is going to be about mindfulness. This piece of wisdom comes from Eckhart Tolle.

One time, the woman from the audience asked Eckhart Tolle how to keep the peace of mind she acquired during an illness, when now she needs to go back to the busyness of life.

Eckhart advised her not to take on the duties which have the possibility of stressing her out.

This resonates with me for sure. That’s the wisdom I live by.

I think long and hard before committing to anything, and I make sure I have an exit strategy for the commitments I do make. This I learnt from reading the books on having your own business (exit strategy is a must before any important business decision).

I never quickly jump into any commitment. It took me six months to find the right dog. It would take me much longer for an even bigger commitment.

Buying land was the biggest commitment I’ve made so far. It turned out to be the right investment. I’ve already lived there for around three months. Not only did I enjoy living in nature, but I saved a great deal, not having to pay any bills except electricity and waste removal.

Having children, on the other hand, would be a commitment far too great for me. Not only have I no mothering instinct, but children are expensive and very difficult to deal with when they are small. This would produce misery and stress, would I have them.

When you know yourself, you know which commitments you can make and which ones are unsuitable or too great. But if you’ve already made a commitment you regret, you should not try to escape from it if doing this would create misery for others, in my opinion.

You can keep it to strengthen your character, and as a reminder not to make big commitments easily.

Now, refusing the pretty-much-untested shot (if you know what I mean), foreign travels will probably be out of the question. Having a dog and maybe even permanently moving to live on my land are the commitments I have never had before. Gone are the days of spontaneous travel.

But I’m looking forward to this new chapter of my life, as these commitments will teach me new lessons, and develop the personality in ways I had no chance to develop before.

Of course, I know that further commitments would be too much for me, at least for now. So I’m not even going to take an annual internet plan. (In Lithuania, it’s very hard to end such plans prematurely, in case there’s a need for that.) I will be okay with pay-as-you-go mobile internet.

I’m also not going to get more animals (chickens and goats, for example), until I really get established on my land and I know that this living situation is long-term. Knowing how fast my life can change, it would be irresponsible to make such further commitments, especially where living beings are involved.

Though for moral strength and personal growth it’s good to keep big commitments you regret making (such as having children), for the sake of greater happiness and freedom, free yourself from useless commitments. Maybe your quality of life would be impacted without some extra bill to pay, but if freedom is more important than looking good before the world, ending unnecessary duties as such is a wise choice.

When you have more time for yourself (by not needing to work so much to pay unnecessary bills, for example), you will be able to also spend time on things that you love, things that make you feel fulfilled, and to express your creativity. You will also have the time to deepen your mindfulness practice.

Such things will create more happiness in your life, and deepening mindfulness not only will assure more happiness, but it will make the transition to death easy.

People hypnotized by the trinkets of the world have their priorities wrong. Headless, running hither and thither, focusing only on money-making to buy more useless stuff and to look good to neighbors, what all this will matter when you are dying?

What will matter is the people that you loved and how well you treated them, whether you lived a life with no regrets and full of meaning. How much you had and how good you looked to the world will not matter, unless a dying person is still totally in the grip of the ego.

Preparing to experience the inevitable transitions of life, such as old age, disease and death, is as important as living a moral and happy life.

Such preparations don’t happen quickly. Sometimes the whole life is required to be okay with such transitions. It’s immature to think such things will be escaped, yet the way most of humanity lives indicates that they put no thought into such transitions. If a disease doesn’t get you, then old age and death surely will.

By reducing your responsibilities, you will have more time to prepare for these inevitable changes. Though the shiny things of the world can look tempting, for the awakened soul they appear less and less important, until the focus is placed only on things that really matter.