In my previous The Art of Simple Living Blog, I share thoughts on how societal changes contribute to life’s complexities. Simple living is not a new concept, but rooted to historical and religious figures like St. Paul, Jesus, Gandhi and Mother Theresa. Simple living is even expressed through the writings of Thoreau.
“Our life is fritted away by detail. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify,” said Henry David Thoreau.
Another Thoreau favorite is, “I make myself rich by making my wants few.”
The teachings of traditional yoga preach the notion of simple living. My yoga guru in India spoke about how our minds are much more clear when we are free of clutter, internally and externally. Not only does this speak about the clutter in our homes, but also our inside clutter. When we abuse our systems with food, alcohol and substances, one’s vessel is not well maintained. It is difficult to think and focus clearly when our minds and body are clogged.
I don’t really know in what direction humanity is heading, but I believe we are hitting a peak. If a person can hit rock bottom, and ascend from their situation, the opposite is exactly true.
Even a mountain has its peak. And on the opposite side of the peak is a trail that leads down the mountain. Humanity has hit a peak in terms of wealth, population, sophistication and boredom.
We no longer enjoy the simple pleasures in life, but strive to be entertained 24-7. How many of us “watch” a movie on our laptops while playing on our phones?
Humans are distracted and cannot focus on one thing. It seems impossible, but remember anything is possible. When things turn south, individually or collectively, how many of us are emotionally, mentally and spiritually stable enough to push through hard times?
Why should you consider simple living?
Simple living means that you have a clear understanding of who you are and your life’s purpose. Those who know this, live life holistically rather than trying to be someone they’re not.
Simple living is intentional. An intention means “on-purpose.” Whether it’s through a yoga class, developing your career or trying to eat more mindfully, intentions are commitments. Most who live simply, are more aware of how they use the world’s resources.
Simple living paints a broader picture on how you want to spend your time and live your life. Most people realize there is more to life than work and material goods. Your happiness doesn’t thrive on what you own, but with what you do in your life. The fundamentals of yoga teach us that.
Simple living is creational. Since we are aware of how we live our lives, most people care more about the wellbeing of our future generations and the care to our land and environment.
Simple living is abundant and appreciates the small things in life. This is where God’s work comes to life. Instead of being impressed by a brand new white BMW, we “see” life through a wiser lens. We appreciate how a bee pollinates flowers or the sounds of beautiful music. You see that life and the planet is abundant rather than seeing life through the “poverty” lens of mindless materialism.
Simple living is harmonious. Like the connection to the mind, body and soul, simple living connects our minds, bodies and environment. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about eliminating as much stress as possible because life is already stressful. When we live simply, we eat simply and we transform to “being” simple.
Simple living distinguishes the differences between wants and needs. We need a home, but we want a mansion. Detaching from certain life expectations, like materialism to bring us happiness, can give us the freedom and the real life that many of us are searching for.
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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