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Wardrobe Purge as a Spiritual Practice

Zen Threads

Have you ever looked into your wardrobe with zen-glasses on? Whether you see a cluttered mess, a mishmash of styles and garments bought on impulse, or tidy rows of the latest fashion… it is a reflection of your mind.

Zen is a spiritual practice, focused on returning to the actual right-now-in-this-moment self, back to the naturalness and simplicity of our true nature. It’s rooted in the idea that clearing our mind is vital in order to achieve a greater level of awareness and see what is essential.

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. Tao Te Ching

The idea of a simpler life with few personal belongings is partly inspired by zen buddism and its tradition of a simple and ascetic life style. More and more people question if happiness really is a lot of things.

Downsizing isn’t only for our own sake, it also has great positive impact on the environment. The effects of our extreme consumption is terrifying. The way we consume clothes in particular is really something we need to change. It is not sustainable.

We all know that we don’t need an excess of clothes in order to thrive. Most of us have a wardrobe full of clothes already and don’t really need to buy anything new for years. Yet we do. Usually it’s just a short rush. It’s not at all about needing more clothes, but maybe a need to be seen, to belong… a need that is about something entirely different.

Regardless of which, all the things we own make us prisoners.

Too many possessions steal time we could use in other ways. There is probably even a connection between an excess of things and stress.

Since the most ordinary day-to-day things can provide an opportunity for insight and understanding in the zen approach to life, we can easily apply it to clothes. Clearing out our wardrobe, for instance, can free us from confusion and distraction, and help us become more finely tuned to our true needs.

You might want to rethink your entire wardrobe, considering colors, patterns and materials. This will add a dimension of pleasure. Maybe you will settle for replacing a few garments. Or, you might just adopt a shift of attitude and a new awareness.

We can all do something to add a touch of zen into our wardrobes.

Go through everything. Be present in the moment. Find visual and sensual joy in colors, patterns, textures and materials. Figure out how it makes you feel and what is for keeps!

Reduce the amount of clothes you own to create more space for the things you like. It will release a lot of energy and bring a sense of freedom. Sell or give away the clothes you don’t need.

If you want something new, write it on a list and wait at least one month while you ponder if it's a garment you really need. And, when you buy new clothes, go for high quality garments made out of organically grown materials.

The true spirit of Zen is rooted in the idea that clearing our mind is vital in order to achieve a greater level of awareness and discover what is essential in our lives.

Letting go of the stuff that’s cluttering our space will restore a sense of balance to our lives. Every day that passes strengthens my conviction that we feel best when we succeed in simplifying our lives. Succeed in being content and feeling joy. In appreciating the small gestures.

So simplify. Downsize. The world needs more Zen right now.

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