October 28

  

Today's Quotation:

It's possible to have too much in life.  Too many clothes jade our appreciation for new ones; too much money can put us out of touch with life; too much free time can dull the edge of the soul.  We need sometimes to come very near the bone so that we can taste the marrow of life rather than its superfluities.


Joan Chittister

Today's Meditation:

Much of the movement towards simplifying our lives is based on the principal that Joan talks about here.  Having too much definitely can make us jaded and make us lose our appreciation for the things we do have.  I know that in my life, one of the nicest years I've ever spent was the one in Salamanca, Spain, earning about $200 a month.  The room I was renting cost $50, and I was able to live on the rest and even save some.  But because I had almost nothing, my wants were incredibly simple, also-- I wanted almost nothing.

I don't say that we should live poor or live poorly, but I do know that as I've started earning more money in life, I've started wanting more things.  And the more things I have, the more complicated my life is.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I do want to find a balance before I ever reach the "too much" stage.  Every once in a while I have to go through my books and music and clothes and be completely honest-- if I haven't touched something for a long time, I give it to someone who might.

When I travel, I like to take the bare minimum with me to remind myself of how simple life can be when I have only a few changes of clothing and nothing else really to burden me.  My hunch-- and hope-- is that if I ever reach seventy years old, I'll have almost nothing by then.

Life does have marrow-- it does have a deeper essence that's invisible to us when we're caught up in the material things and possessions that keep us distracted.  There's a lot to be said for trying to find that essence and allowing ourselves to embrace simplicity as a way of life.

Questions to ponder:

1.  Can you think of times when you've experienced what you would call the true essence of life?

2.  Where do we get the tendency to gather up "too much"?

3.  What can be some of the benefits of getting rid of some of our possessions?

For further thought:

Do you know the more I look into life, the more things it seems to me I can successfully lack-- and continue to grow happier.  How many kinds of food I do not need, or cooks to cook them, how much curious clothing or tailors to make it, how many books I have never read, and pictures that are not worthwhile!  The farther I run, the more I feel like casting aside all such impediments-- lest I fail to arrive at the far goal of my endeavor.

David Grayson

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