“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden and Other Writings
But we refuse to keep things simple.
In fact, we seem, nowadays, to thrive on chaos, disorder and, most especially of all, doing.
What’s wrong with a simple life?
But we don’t want it.
For the majority of people, if they see anything (in living simply), it’s hardship.
Indulge me for a moment, please. When I talk about a simple life, I mean just that. Less of everything and that includes the long list of things we feel we’ve got to do, in order to be seen as fully human. I mean, these days if you can’t record on your CV a plethora of extra-curricular jobs, miles and miles of travel and interests that most people in the third world would think totally frivolous, you can see just how bloated our lives have become.
To be who you are?
I don’t think so.
In fact, the more the veil of materialism masks true self, the more misery there is.
When I say true self, I mean something devoid of ego, something close to the person you were born of, of your mother and not some superhuman species hard-wired to take from the earth as if were some never-ending resource.
But sadly, with so many of these exhortations of mine, they normally end up the same way.
Let’s face it, if we were intent on making things simpler we’d do so. We wouldn’t be adding to our collection of things — including the latest green products. Instead, we’d be getting rid of everything, looking at a life of service and asking ourselves what really is enough (in a global sense) to be happy.
In all seriousness, if you’re only willing to question one or two of your assumptions that have brought you to this point, you’ll quickly discover how ethereal they are or have become. The classic paradigm is that money doesn’t equal happiness. If that’s right, and you know what brings you joy — living with nature in my case — then the next step, surely, is to do something to turn your life around
In the case of Thoreau — one of those people who I’d say was a long way ahead of his time — he took himself off and lived in hermitage. In that way, he came to see the world through a simpler, more spiritual lens. Whilst it’s almost impossible for us to take a year out to do that amount of navel-gazing, even a week off with no agenda could be enough to change your life from the current chaos to something simpler, more resonant of your soul.
Blessings and deep bows.