Human life is, and will always be, complex. Psychology, ideologies and advancement in technologies, human life is becoming more complex than it ever has been.
Today, consumerism, the need to fit in and praise from the external world makes our lives extremely complex. Dealing with a miserable boss, living within your means and obsessing over your selfies is literally driving people insane.
Many years ago in my early twenties, I got so excited for this new age. I couldn’t wait for people to “wake up” and realize how beautiful life is. Now, in my thirties, I see a completely different life, and it scares me. I experienced a shift because of living in Germany.
Our European brothers, sisters & ancestors live(d) differently, most of them peasants, work, live and eat their way through simple living. America, the capitalist society that is, is so damn complex because we think everyone else lives the same way we do. Everyone feels that they need the latest technology to stay relevant in the work force, follow the edgiest diet trend and no one can have a balanced approach to politics without labeling or judging people.
There are many reasons why people live a complex life, some of it is societal desires and pressures, but most of our issues are caused from our own actions. Consumerism, I believe drives people to become shopaholics, or addicts to either fulfill their emotions temporarily or to boost their ego while flaunting their new hairdo and handbag.
From an outsider’s perspective, our world is driven by this self-obsessed, “look at me” and “got ya” attitude that strives for perfection. Deep down we know that we are imperfect but wave our hands at, and blast our twitter account, shouting “asshole” to the person, peasant or politician who messes up in their personal life. We want to be redeemed for our sins but lack forgiveness to others.
The first step to simple living is through detachment. Detachment from your ego. Detachment from external praise. And detachment from material goods.
This doesn’t mean that everyone should to live in a cardboard box, we can still enjoy nice things, especially because these goods last longer, but there is a difference between being hooked to consumerism and the practical necessities of things that last. Some industries like legalities are driven by external appearances. Would you rather see your lawyer in a Primark or a Gucci suit? Would you trust your dentist if he or she had crooked and stained teeth?
Most people need to downscale their life in order to find the happiness that they seek.
Technology & Consumerism
Technology is getting insane. In some ways, my soul is bleeding because I love things all natural. I love nature. I love going to a bakery and picking out fresh bread and I enjoy disconnecting from technology.
There is a need to stay up with technology for work, say via Microsoft office and understanding all of its functions. But is getting an Alexa or an Amazon prime account necessary for human living?
No. Absolutely not. Understanding Alexa is not part of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s a consumerist fad that gives power to the elites to drive our lives to be more complex. First it’s Alexa, but what’s next?
In fact, I believe Amazon services are making people MORE lazy and MORE like brain-dead-idiot drones. Not only do you have to rewire your house for Alexa to work (more dollars and time going to corporate), if Alexa has a malfunction, most people will spend more time figuring out why the fuck it’s not working than actually researching the question on the Internet.
Technology is making life quicker, but it's disconnecting people from research and survival skills. People love the one-two hour delivery, but fail to realize that if they got in their car and went to the store - you can get everything you need in 30-minutes or less.
Living within Your Means
Most people live at, or above, their means and income levels. Most of us middle class people want a caviar lifestyle on a sardine budget. The world is shifting and loyalty is going out the door.
Many companies are no longer loyal to employees and when raises, benefits or their job is put on the chopping block, people freak out because they either have no money in the bank or their lifestyle is so expensive (technology adds expenses) that they are stuck with large bills (on top of debt they may already have). They can’t afford a pay cut, though they know they’d be happier with a lower job title (or less responsibility).
When you live within your means, you are giving your happiness away. Your employer owns your happiness. Your bank that gives you your mortgage holds your checkbook by purse strings. Your Facebook likes fulfills your inner world.
The people who suffer the most are the poor and the lower middle class. In terms of today’s changing demographic, people can’t escape changing or bad neighborhoods because they are stuck. Some of it is not their fault because they work a low-paid skilled job, but humans naturally want what they can’t have and many people are stuck in the consumerism cycle.
In my book, Finding Om, I discuss my frustrations about this very subject. Even at 22 while traveling India, I knew the American Dream was absolute bullshit unless one was wealthy. It’s a debt sentence and most Americans swim in a swamp of college debt, and will be dead before they ever escape.
Many people appear rich on the outer world, but spiritually poor and depleted.
The Art of Simple Living
How many people live in a home where the basement (or second bedroom) is basically a storage unit?
I learned the value of simplicity by living out of a suitcase when I lived abroad four times. I brought one to two suitcases and still wore 25-percent of the clothes in my bag.
Simple living is “living in a way that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich. This way of life embraces frugality of consumption, a strong sense of environmental urgency, and a desire to return to living and working environments which are of a more human scale." (Duane S. Elgin and Arnold Mitchell)
Simplicity changes your perceptions on life. You appreciate the sound of fine music or the way a butterfly soars through a field of wildflowers. You see nature and it’s natural creations as beautiful, not just as something that is there.
I believe with my heart that the global elites have always wanted us to be spiritually poor, so we are addicted to their products. I am not against capitalism, but one must have a sound mind to determine what they actually need versus pissing their paycheck down the drain for retail therapy. This also interplays with our emotions and mental state. When we let external things drive our happiness, we are not in control of our ourselves. Yes, we will all shop at some points to make ourselves feel better, that is normal, but how many more jeans or pairs of shoes do you really need?
Simple living does not mean boring living. Simply put, when shit hits the fan in life, it’s much easier to navigate change when you don’t have as much baggage weighing you down.
Since this blog post is long enough, stay posted to my next blog with further thoughts about simple living.
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com