Oct 6, 2010

Minimalism and Passion: Raam Dev

As I move towards a minimalist lifestyle, I’ve found I learn more from listening to others share their unique journeys than I have from books and impersonal articles. Everyone has their own take on minimalism, and in hearing those stories I find myself more open to exploring my own minimalist journey.

Almost every Wednesday I post short interviews with passionate people, digging into their thoughts on minimalism.

Today's interview is with Raam Dev. Raam Dev is a writer, changemaker, and digital nomad. He writes about sustainable abundance and practical minimalism on raamdev.com, and has an amzing six-part e-mail series Six Steps To Practical Minimalism that I love!

MK: How did your passions inspire or move you towards minimalism?

RD: My passions have always been learning and exploration. As a child, I had an endless thirst for knowledge; I wanted to learn everything there was to know. I still feel that way today, but I've discovered there is a secret to having more than seems possible.

In my quest to learn as much as possible, I was forced to focus only on the things that really mattered. I needed to eliminate everything from my life that didn't directly contribute to my goals. That led to a natural progression towards minimalism.

But as I adopted more and more minimalist philosophies, I discovered that the true beauty and value of minimalism is the way it makes us feel like we already have everything we need. Less really is more.

When we drop the scarcity mentality and adopt an abundance mentality, the entire world instantly becomes ours. Suddenly, the entire world with all its wisdom and knowledge becomes our playground where there are no restrictions or barriers, only challenges.

I no longer see the world as full of "knowledge I need to gain", but rather as "challenges that can teach me something". All I need to do is pick the challenges and hang on for the ride!

MK: Did you find anything change or shift with your passion once you began your minimalist journey?

RD: Absolutely. The more I eliminated unnecessary things from my life, the more I started searching for a greater purpose. As I began to feel a growing sense of abundance surrounding me, I seemed to instinctively feel the need to share it, the need to redistribute and spread the abundance around to those who need it.

Earlier this year, I left the United States for the first time and spent six months backpacking in India, Vietnam, and Nepal. I traveled with just one small backpack; it was the most minimalistic lifestyle I had ever lived. I really felt as if the entire world was my home.

When I witnessed firsthand the extreme poverty, suffering, and inequality -- when I witnessed the extreme imbalance of abundance -- I suddenly knew what I was supposed to do: I needed to work towards a world of sustainable abundance.

My passions for learning and exploration are still there, but they no longer feel one-sided or only driven by self-interest.

MK: How do you nurture your creative spirit within the boundaries of the “do more with less” mentality of minimalism?

RD: The "do more with less" mentality is really the abundance mentality in motion. When we're attached to less and we feel the abundance surrounding us, we have more freedom maneuver through life. We don't feel like we have less, and that empowers us to do more.

Instead of looking at things as either mine or not mine, I see the entire world as if it's available to me whenever I need it. That feeling of abundance and freedom makes me feel like a kid in a playground. I don't need to ask permission to create, dream, or innovate. My creative spirit is only limited by my imagination. Nothing feels lacking or missing, so my creative spirit always feels invigorated and alive.

We really don't own anything in this world. Even our own body is on loan for a certain amount of time (and even then, our contract can end abruptly without notice). Every single physical possession will cease to be ours when this life ends, so why should we worry about owning things and becoming attached?

Let go of the scarcity mentality and your creative spirit will soar freely.

MK: What is one thing that consistently trips you up on your minimalist journey?

RD: Minimalism for me is a way of life and I try to apply minimalist principles to every thought, decision, choice, and challenge. However, the thing that constantly trips me up is finding ways to live with minimalist principles in a materialist world.

I would love to possess nothing, but that wouldn't give me much freedom to navigate the world, gain new experiences, and share my knowledge. There are certain systems in place that directly conflict with minimalism and finding ways to work around those is an ongoing challenge.

If we want to apply minimalist principles to our own thought processes and internal development, the only thing holding us back is ourselves. But to apply those same principles to the world around us, we need to take into account the motivations and desires of everybody else. That's a challenge.

MK: What is one piece of advice you’d share with others who share your passion and are exploring minimalism?

RD: Try to see the life as abundant and full of opportunity instead of looking at what you already have and then comparing it to everything else. Recognize that you're already complete and that objects add very little value to your life. Experiences, on the other hand, add enormous value.

You can only do so many things at once. Likewise, you can only make use of so many physical objects at once. How many of the things you currently possess are actually adding value to your life? If they're not adding value, they're watering down the value of everything else.

Looking for more Passionate Minimalists? The Minimalism and Passion interview archives are full of great stories!

Want to share your story of Minimalism and Passion? Shoot me an e-mail {rmcdevine@gmail.com} with your answers to the questions in this interview, and I’ll share it on the blog!

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