In a world of simplicity, the biggest threats are desires and expectations. If you get down to it, we all believe things that may not be true. For instance, that money equals more happiness for our families, that variety is the spice of life, and that we are our thoughts. Our parents wanted more for us – more house and car and accomplishment, and we thought these worthy goals and made them a part of our goals or desires we have for our children. To become attached to titles, like court reporter or minimalist or Christian, we can become self-centered. It becomes us and them, not we. We are better than they because we save money or we pay taxes or we are more considerate. This causes ego, which causes all the problems we have now because we are better than certain circumstances and certain drama to have to endure these and so we cannot live in the now, appreciating everything equally (even the suffering and drama) or appreciate everyone as we can ourselves.
In pursuing ultimate simplicity, we HAVE to let go of desire and expectation. In other words, everything that you think life should have been, every goal or desire you think you thought of and chose yourself, you have to let go. I used to think that I was my own man, until I realized that oftentimes, I took on the dreams and desires of people I looked up to: They liked travel, so I liked travel; they liked the speed contest, so I liked the speed contest. They were not my own, but their respect and admiration is most valuable to me. After many years of thinking about those things they talked about, holding on to every word, I was convinced these dreams were my own.
On desire, desire for variety, image, excitement, intelligence – these things complicate life the most. Oftentimes, if you have a woman who seeks ultimate beauty or ultimate hospitality, she will have many beauty products and many cookbooks/house furnishings. If you have a person seeking ultimate knowledge, they will have many seminar information and books. If you have a person seeking image, they will own a big house, many certifications, or many tech things that bring in many cords, booklets, and boxes. Each will think they are better than others or at least have a purpose to life – but the purpose of life is not image or popularity. It is helping others. When we chip away at the image, we can help others more.
Many believe you can have image and still help others – yes, we can. But we will never be able to help others as much as we could if we hold on to what we want others to think of us. We should not worry what other will say about us when we die or how others will think of us if we live or think differently in every way – we should, rather, concern ourselves with fulfilling our purpose. Another mistruth that people believe is everything in moderation is fine – this is how we can justify the things we eat and the bad habits we have, instead of pulling them out at the root as best we can, if they are bad for us and for society.
Everything in life has a purpose. A kitchen counter is for cooking, not storing. A book is for reading, not for showcasing. A gift is to convey love, nothing more. Everything has a purpose – even you. Oftentimes, we start adding on extra expectations to each thing, but things have a sole purpose. We add storing to kitchen counter or decor to books, instead of focusing on its true purpose. If you store things on the counter, it will be less good for its sole purpose – cooking. So it is when we focus on things we were not meant to focus on, things that will die with us – our looks, our intelligence, our achievements – we are less effective as the difference we were supposed to make in many people’s lives.