Thoughts on Minimalism & Henry David Thoreau

 

 

I’m fascinated how a century and a half later, Henry David Thoreau’s words resonate as vividly as if he were sitting across from me!

“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.”

— Henry David Thoreau

In 1854, Henry David Thoreau published a book titled Walden; or Life in the Woods. It’s not a book I read from cover to cover. Instead, it’s like an old friend. I pick it up to be reminded of the values that are dear to me.

At age 37, Thoreau became a forefather of minimalism. Thoreau was among the first contemporaries to experiment, reflect and write about minimalism. A creative, a writer, he wanted to see what was important in life and to distill his experiences to the bare essence. He left his material possessions and with his own two hands built a tiny cabin in the Massachusetts woodland by the Walden Pond. With nothing but a bed, a table, a chair, and a cooking stove, Thoreau lived in solitude and simplicity for a couple of years. He tended to a garden that sustained his body — while books, writing, nature and occasional conversations nourished his heart and mind.

160+ years later, a deliberate meaningful life is what motivates minimalists around the world to discard unnecessary possessions and simplify.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

— Thoreau

Whether we get rid of excess thoughts, material clutter, stagnant emotions or other life-wasters — the objective is to simplify and come in contact with the essence of life.

Minimalism and nature have infiltrated my day to day life and of course my music. Musically, nothing satisfies me more than listing to a solo instrument or a singer and a simple accompaniment. When it comes to my own songwriting I also prefer natural acoustic arrangements, and sometimes just the accompaniment of the nylon strings.

On my journey towards a minimalist life, I follow Thoreau’s footsteps. I see minimalism as an opportunity to get rid of the non-essential and step up as a partner and carer of nature. But most importantly, like Thoreau, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to learn what is truly important in life.