Breaking The Silence - We Need Less Than We Think

I try to refrain from writing about myself too much. However, to understand where I am coming from, here is a little update:


There has been a lot of change for me in the past six months. I went from living in New York City with a steady Sales job, to quitting, moving out and taking an epic adventure. Three weeks backpacking in Thailand, seven weeks studying yoga in India, and ending in sunny Hawaii. The reactions were varied when I told others of my plans.


”You are crazy!”

“That’s great, travel while you are young.”

 “Don’t get sick in India…”


For six months, my head was in an unusually fog. The thought of lifting one finger to write was unbearable. Things to prepare, people to say goodbye to, forms and vaccinations. Never before have I felt so sure about a decision. Oh, but how challenging it was (and has been). Everything I ever lived and learned was being thrown out the window. Security, comfort, certainty. I took a giant leap into the unknown. Believing that if I did not try now, I never would.


So here I am, officially four weeks in. Thailand came and went in the blink of an eye. Now I sit in a small library in India. Sticky from a hot morning filled with yoga. Belly full of lentils and tea. A fan ticks on the ceiling and cows moo as they wander by my window. Dirty streets weave through modest buildings and small shacks. Monkeys climb on the balconies as colorful sheets wave in the breeze.


Rishikesh, India is vibrant and modest. To be honest, I was in a bit of shock when I first arrived. India was just SO different than anything I had ever experienced before.  I was a New Yorker, used to getting whatever I wanted with the snap of my fingers. Here, we are given just enough to get by. Cold showers compliment hot rooms. Two small metal bowls to fill at meals. No toilet paper or sheets (don’t worry, I ended up finding both!) There are no Starbucks to run and grab a coffee when you are tired. No corner bodegas to grab a pack of gum. You adapt and learn to live with less. Happy and grateful for all that you are given. Realizing it is still more than enough.


So, to come to a point…a lesson per se. We do not need as much as we think to be happy.


In the Western World, many of us grow up with so much. Shelter, food, education. Yet we are stuck in a vicious circle of wanting. Once we get one thing, the mind wants more. On and on we go trying to please the mind as it asks for more. Can you identify a time in your life when you wanted something SO badly, then once you got it, you moved on…fixating on the next thing?  I know I have. It is in our human nature to attach to things to gain satisfaction. Consumerism certainly does not help. We are constantly tantalized by attractive advertisements that lead us to believe we can fill our personal voids with products. However, I am sure many of you know, this is not the case. No matter how many things you acquire, happiness will always reside from within. Validation and satisfaction fed through external purchases are only temporary.


I write this with one purpose in mind –self awareness. The next time you go to purchase something, can you ask yourself, “Do I really NEED this? Or do I just WANT it?”


There is no right or wrong answer. Just assess. Understand your thought patterns. With a deeper understanding of ourselves and our actions, we can make better decisions in our lives. Led by an inner voice instead of an outside advertisement. We can find more contentment, more simplicity, and more for others. When we let go of attachments, we have less to lose.


Ah, the freedom we can find when we have less to attach to…

Laxman Jhula, India


To close, I would like to share one of my favorite quotes from Michael A Singer, author of The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself:


“Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky. You are sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Though you can only see a few thousand stars, there are hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy alone. In fact, it is estimated that there are over a trillion stars in the Spiral Galaxy. And that galaxy would look like one star to us, if we could even see it. You’re just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars. From that perspective, do you really care what people think about your clothes or your car? Do you really need to feel embarrassed if you forget someone’s name? How can you let these meaningless things cause pain? If you want out, if you want a decent life, you had better not devote your life to avoiding psychological pain. You had better not spend your life worrying about whether people like you or whether your car impresses people. What kind of life is that? It is a life of pain. You may not think that you feel pain that often, but you really do. To spend your life avoiding pain means it’s always right behind you.”


We have everything we want and need already within us. Look within and there is less to lose. Today, fill up your cup with simplicity, knowing we do not need as much as we think to be happy. Many others have much less...