There was simplicity of a crisp, stark January morning of my youth that I miss, today. It was not that mornings on a WI dairy farm of the fifties were easy, for life held to a thread of shelter from the cold. It was that necessity simplified the choices: Certain things had to be done without exception or equivocation. We simply did them.
Note: This blog series investigates twelve attributes I see as conducive to recovery from PTSD (and other past stress) which has become part of our ethos or basic belief system. January reflects upon simplicity.
It has been my goal since youth to simplify my worldview (long before I knew I had one) to a form I could understand. I do not wish to simplify the universe. I choose to simplify my model of the universe so that it makes sense to me. I have done the same with the meaning of life.
“The meaning of life is choice.” To the dismay of many students and the amusement of others, this statement has appeared and continues to appear on many of my exams. Students are free to choose “true” or “false” for their answer, and therein resides the meaning of the test item.
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” (Henry David Thoreau)
Simplicity is not easy and the choice of simplicity is not often the easy choice to make. It is routinely easier to choose the common, culturally accepted, trendy way of material complication and social drama. It is easier because we do not have to dare individuality. That is where the complication begins.
The laws of the universe are simple. We make them complicated looking for ways around them. We waste the years of our lives searching for ways to extend the years of our lives. We waste time and material trying to protect time and material. We waste our passion looking for the passionate.
Simple, yes. Easy, no. That is our choice.
There is profound simplicity in acceptance of the personal reality of our present. Acceptance is abundance, and abundance is absence of poverty.
A spiritual person is never alone. Solitude is grandeur, Nature is cathedral, and reality is blessing.
Solitude and people are not mutually exclusive. By simple choice, I can enjoy solitude in a crowd. Also by choice, I can share the peace of solitude with willing others.
Simplicity undefines poverty for simplicity is its own abundance. There is need for neither material complication nor social drama.
Acceptance of simplicity undefines strength as competition for status and stuff evaporate. There we realize power—true, personal power.
Can you ignore the still, small voice inside you that mutters agreement with my claims?
Can you deny the tracks and traces of joys remembered of simpler times?
Seek the evidence within.