July 3

  

Today's quotation:

You were trying to be simple for the sake of being simple.  I wonder if true simplicity is ever anything but a by-product.  If we aim directly for it, it eludes us; but if we are on fire with some great interest that absorbs our lives to the uttermost, we forget ourselves into simplicity.  Everything falls into simple lines around us, like a worn garment.

David Grayson

Today's Meditation:

There are those who claim that a return to simplicity is a challenging task, and I tend to agree with them.  Returning to a simple lifestyle can be very difficult, especially given the amount of conditioning that we've been exposed to that has tried to convince us to complicate our lives at each step.

But a lack of simplicity-- a lack of an ability to get by without the most basic of things in our lives-- often arises from people having too much time on their hands.  If we don't have something to do that we feel is important, we look for other things to keep us occupied, entertained, and amused.  It's easier that way, as the more complicated our lives are, the less likely we are to examine ourselves and our lives to see how we are truly doing.  We don't have to reflect if we have to spend all our time maintaining our things.

I've traveled to Spain for six weeks for each of the last five years, and during that time I get by on the clothes and other things that I can carry in a large backpack.  The job is very intense and it keeps me very busy; I don't need anything else to get by, and I truly enjoy my time there.  If the time were extended to three years, for example, there's no reason to think that I couldn't continue to get by with the same amount of stuff, just replacing clothes as they wore out.

But the reality is that after three years, I most likely would have complicated my life significantly by acquiring more and more things that I "need," even though that word is truly relative-- we "need" almost none of the things that we have.

If I continued to be as busy for those three years, though, as I am for the six weeks, the chances are that I would have less time to go about complicating my life, and I probably would continue to live as simply as I could.

Questions to consider:

Why do we tend to make our lives more and more complicated each day?  Does doing so help us to be happier people?

How do you define "simplicity"?

Could a "simpler" life help us to be happier?  How?

For further thought:

If you wish to give happiness, do not multiply possessions, but reduce wants.  It is not the person who has too little, but the one who craves more, that is poor.


Seneca

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