The Benefits of Simplicity

Richard Pettinger

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In Modern Life there are a seemingly endless series of options and avenues. At each turn, life seems to present numerous complications. It becomes hard to resist the allure of doing more things and trying to solve a myriad of problems. However, often we are consciously or unconsciously yearning for a more simple approach to life. If we can make an effort to bring more simplicity into our lives, we will find many benefits arise.

Peace of Mind. Simplicity doesn’t necessarily involve living in a Spartan hut. Real simplicity begins in the mind. If we have numerous anxieties and problems it is not possible to have peace of mind. Simplicity means we learn to clear the mind and not allow ourselves to be bombarded by an endless stream of needless thoughts.

Living in the present. Complication in life arises because often we are worrying and planning about the future. We can become so concerned about what may happen tomorrow or next year that we forget to enjoy the present moment. To have one’s focus on the here and now, is to encompass life as it is supposed to be. As Sri Chinmoy says: “Simplicity is our natural or conscious awareness of reality. ”

When we complicate life through our endless planning we bring tomorrow’s problems into today. Yet it is always worth remembering that our worries and fears about the future often prove to be groundless.

Avoid Judgement. It is part of human nature to criticise and judge other people. It is very easy to make a long list of complaints and suggestions about other people. But does it help us when we highlight the faults of others? We should feel that we are not responsible for other people’s thoughts and behaviour. If we feel it is our bounden duty to change others, there can be no simplicity and peace in our life. Rather than try to change others, let us just try to focus on changing ourselves. Our own weaknesses are probably more than enough to deal with.

Simplicity enables more to be achieved. Simplicity means that we are focused on one thing at a time. Simplicity means we can put all our concentration on just one thing. If we perform an action with no distractions then we can fulfil it quicker and more successfully. Often when we simplify our life we find we can actually achieve more than when we juggled several things at once.

“The simpler we can become, the sooner we shall reach our destination. A life of simplicity is a life of constant progress. It is in simplicity that we can make the fastest progress, progress which is everlasting. ”

Simplicity and Beauty. Simplicity is often synonymous with beauty. For example, Zen gardens are at once simple, yet in that simplicity there is a beauty, which appeals to our soul. It is the same with Mother Nature; the essence of nature is its unspoilt beauty. Has man ever been able to improve on the beauty and simplicity of nature?

Be Happy with what we have. As George Bernard Shaw aptly said “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire; the other is to get it. " The nature of desire is that the more we get the more we want. When we get a new car, often after a while we are not satisfied and want to get something better. However real happiness comes when we are content with what we have and are free of desire.

Richard practices and teaches Meditation classes in his home town of Oxford. He writes on issues of spirituality and self development and contributes to a website on Spirituality. He is a meditation student of Sri Chinmoy


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