By Leo Babauta
In the last week, two separate men told me they fantasize about leaving everything behind and living on a mountain.
I can relate to this fantasy, because I’ve had it myself—live a simple life, away from the chaos and burden of this crazy world. What we (and many others) crave is not really the mountain, but freedom. Simplicity and space and the liberating feeling of freedom.
We think if we simplify and let everything go and get our lives free of the burdens, we’ll feel free.
But what I’ve found is that getting rid of everything and living a simple life doesn’t necessarily give you that freedom. You’ll find a way to experience life as burden and trapped. That’s because we create the feeling of burden and trappedness for ourselves. It’s not the external circumstances, but something we create with our minds.
A teacher a few years ago gifted me with a liberating idea: find the freedom in your current life, without having to change a thing. I’ve found that it’s completely possible. And also that I forget to do it, a lot!
If you’re interested in playing with this, you can try it now. In this moment, can you find a freeing of freedom? Can you experience this moment as if you were living a simple burden-free life on a mountaintop? Can you create this feeling of freedom for yourself right now?
It’s a relaxing of the mind, a feeling of openness and liberation, of joy and space. And we create it.
If you can do that, try this practice:
- In anything you do today and for the next few days, try to remember to practice creating freedom. You might be washing a dish, answering an email, talking to someone, driving, anything.
- Notice in the moment the feeling of burden and closedness that you’ve created for yourself.
- See if you can create a feeling of freedom without changing what you’re doing externally.
- Enjoy this joyous feeling of freedom!
- And repeat, all day long.
What is it like to live freedom without having to change anything? This doesn’t mean you never change anything externally, but it means you’re liberated from having to do so.
Leo Babauta is a regular guy, a father of six kids, a husband, a writer from Guam (now living in San Francisco). He eats vegan food, writes, runs, and reads. He is the founder of Zen Habits which is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.
This article was originally published on Zen Habits and re-published with author’s permission.
Editor: Dana Gornall