Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Subtract—don't add

I really love being exposed to the ideas from many sources and many centuries. So much growth and discovery comes from that, at least for me. This thought comes from 13th century German theologian, philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart: The process of enlightenment is one of subtraction, not addition.

That is, growth and transformation result more from letting go than from adding new things into our lives. Sometimes we spend immense amounts of time and energy searching for that new idea, that new practice, that perfect answer to what's troubling us—when we could better look at what needs to be shed from our lives. That shedding includes old baggage, resentments, fears, anger, limiting beliefs about ourselves and the way we see others and the world "out there" and so much more. It's good to let go of of illusions and beliefs that no longer work (or perhaps never did).

I know I talk a lot about the process of letting go. It just seems essential to authenticity—to traveling light as we age. We seem to spend much of the first half of our lives adding things on as we seek to become the best we can be. And then at a certain age, we realize that it's far more important to boil down to the core of who we truly are. It's essential to become authentic and to stay grounded in what really reflects our values and beliefs. And we realize that we've collected a lot of unnecessary baggage along the way, so it's time to do some clearing out and letting go. Time for decluttering our lives.

This could be the new math for aging: up with subtracting and down with adding.

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