As an engineer by training, I deal with a lot of technical complexity (or so it seems) in my daily life at work. I am sure a lot of you reading this have your own versions of complexity – at work and at home. In today’s world, complexity seems to follow us wherever we go. We are surrounded with, and sometimes immersed in, all kinds of technological gadgets which promise to make our lives more convenient, if not better in some way.
We also have all kinds of other material complexity in our lives which we explain or justify as the “stuff” that we need to live a “happy” life – homes, cars, closets full of shoes and clothes and (gasp!) cosmetics, kitchen pantries full of foods and spices, basements and garages and attics full of stuff that we may need some day. And then there are bookshelves and books (yes, I am guilty!) that we are attached to. Some may have their favorite DVD or music collections (guilty, again!). The list can go on and on. You get the idea.
Do you ever wonder – how did our lives get to be so complex? Is all this material complexity an unavoidable price that we have to pay in order to feel “prosperous”? How much of all our “stuff” do we really need? Perhaps, the better question is – should we try and return to a modicum of simplicity? If so, how do we shed some of our material load and move towards voluntary simplicity? Are there any disadvantages to adopting simplicity?
In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Another aspect of complexity seems to arise from our relationships with other human beings. Let’s face it – we are complex because of our diverse backgrounds, life experiences, emotions, beliefs and so on. In addition, let us not overlook the fact that our greatest challenges may lie in our attempts to relate to our own complex inner nature. How do we untangle our inner complexity and arrive at simplicity? What is more important for spiritual growth – inner or outer simplicity?
There is no greatness where there is no simplicity, goodness and truth.
~ Leo Tolstoy
We discussed the spirit of equanimity last Sunday. It seems logical that simplicity and equanimity would be interconnected. Or are they? Come share with us in the #SpiritChat weekly chat at 9am ET on Sunday, August 12th, as we discuss the subject of simplicity.
Be well – keep it simple!
Update: Transcript link: http://bit.ly/sc-tr-0812 and questions asked during the live twitter chat –
Q1. What does "simple living" or "voluntary simplicity" mean to you? #SpiritChat Q2. What are some possible obstacles to the practice of #simplicity? #SpiritChat Q3. Are there disadvantages to adoption of #simplicity? Too much compromise? #SpiritChat Q4. What does mother nature teach us about #simplicity? #SpiritChat Q5. How does simplifying our external life affect our inner life? #SpiritChat Q6. Can an attitude of simplicity improve our relationships with others? How? #SpiritChat Q7. What is the connection between simplicity and freedom? #SpiritChat Q8. What action steps will you take towards greater simplicity in the future? #SpiritChat
Feel free to add your responses to the questions in the comments below. Thank you.