Today I’m exploring the second of these core values: simplicity.
What is simplicity?
Simplicity is about removing the unnecessary from your life: physical, mental and spiritual.
It’s about identifying the clutter and choosing, with discernment, to let it go.
It’s about creating space.
It’s about taking what you need and leaving the rest.
When I look back on my life it is clear that life was simple when I was very young. As the years rolled by though life became more complex and complicated. In school I was taught and believed that the more complicated the concept the more intelligent I was. In adulthood this journey of complexity and complication continued as I entered the work place and was drawn in by a world filled with advertising that said more is better.
Fast forwarding to more recent times I woke up to this fact. I looked at my life filled with countless things, I looked at my job and how complicated it was, I looked at my spiritual and mental condition (again to find it filled with complex theories and thoughts).
How much of this was necessary I asked myself?
And the journey began.
Inspired by the minimalist movement, and rejecting the notion that the more things you have the more successful you are, I started looking at all the physical things in my life, removing the unnecessary. The physical was a great place to start and I quickly sold and donated much of my clutter. I cleared my desk at work leaving only those tools essential for doing my job.
I found space, space to breathe.
Turning my attention to the spiritual I again rejected the notion that the more complex the spiritual teaching and practice the more awakened one becomes. I focussed on the necessary. I focussed on a simple spiritual practice: prayer, meditation and mindfulness.
I found peace, peace to be.
The mind can be a like a war zone if we let it. Thoughts flying everywhere leading to anxiety, worry, judgement, fear (the list is endless). By removing the physical clutter from my life and by adopting a simple spiritual practice I found that the mind quietened.
Adopting the principle of simplicity in terms of thinking can be tricky. I use mindfulness techniques (simple ones of course) like stopping for a moment and taking a conscious breathe to refocus on the now and what’s in front of me. I try to avoid sitting and procrastinating. I say ‘no’ when I need to.
I found that my mind quietened, I found focus and clarity, I began to pay attention.
Having begun the journey towards simplicity it became clear that this (journey) was for me. It also became clear that the results of the simple life were something that I valued.
And so simplicity, in all things, became one of my core values.
A journey without end
There is no end to this journey which makes it all the more appealing. Keeping things simple is a daily endeavour. It’s also important not to over-simplify things. Mr Einstein summed this up beautifully when he said:
Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.
The journey towards simplicity is not always an easy one. The rewards however are worth the effort. I experiment and try new things: some work, some don’t. I discard the ones that don’t (the unnecessary) and keep the ones that do (the necessary). I am able to apply discernment in the choices that I make.
It’s also important to ensure that the journey towards simplicity itself doesn’t become a complicated one. This can be avoided by looking at one thing at a time i.e. don’t try to do it all overnight, it simply won’t happen. As time goes by you’ll become more adept at spotting the unnecessary in your life and detaching from it.
Ultimately simplicity is about learning to let go, day by day.
Simplicity is a core value for me, right now. I live it and value it in others.
Simplicity brings clarity, focus and attention to life. It brings consciousness.
Simplicity creates space to just be.