“Behave simply and hold onto purity”
Tribesmen walked the path of simplicity. They lived basic but free lives. The same is true of the monk who gives up all in the search of enlightenment.
Modern life is a high-speed roller-coaster which is quite often lacking in simplicity. Almost everything is on the clock.
Our alarms wake us up. We drive to work in our cars that took X amount of our time to accumulate. We have to clock in at work and when we finish rush home to our houses, which can take twenty plus years of droning the 40hr work week to call our own. Then we quickly cook (or microwave) our food so that we can finally relax, which for many is a T.V dinner!
The path of simplicity is somewhat lost to us, lost to modern society. Does the path of simplicity still exist? How can we enjoy more freedom, more serenity?
Simplicity of time
I have recently returned to the city after spending seven months working on a nature reserve. The difference in the tempo takes one some time to adjust. It’s almost the difference between a sober person and someone who has snorted a ten gram rock.
In the city everything seems to be rushed, attention to detail in a variety of situations is forsaken for getting “the job” done faster. If we compare our modern lives to that of the tribesmen, it is evident most of us have much less free time. Part of the process of Rewilding Humans is freeing up our time so we can pursue that which holds meaning to us (like being outdoors).
The tribesmen lived a slow-paced life which was in sync with nature. Man woke before sun rise, hunted or gathered his food, and spent the rest of his time socializing or contemplating the meaning of his existence. Once his survival needs were taken care of he was free to do as he pleased.
Learning to slow things down and enjoy moment can bring serenity. We only have so much time in our days so best to fill them with things that are important to us, but also leave time for space. Space so we can be, relax, recover.
By defining what we value spending our time on most, we our able to begin to let go of that which is distracting us, and thus fins more simplicity. This is a gradual process but one that is absolutely necessary in order to gain more freedom to do the things we enjoy.
Start today, make a list of what you enjoy spending your time on. Begin to arrange your free time around the list you made, but remember to leave some time for doing nothing. This may mean saying no, and turning down offers, but it frees up time for things that are imported to you.
We have all been indoctrinated to believe we need a big house, an expensive car and the 2.2 children, and the Labrador that accompanies them. What is worse is there is an ideal time frame to achieve this story book vision by. This is the societal norm, and to not strive for these things is seen as strange.
Intelligent advertising has us pursuing materials that are of much less personal value than a house, at least a house provides shelter (one of your survival needs). How about all those other paid for items that you never use? The treadmill you haven’t seen for five years, or that obscure piece of kitchen ware?
The path of simplicity is hard to see because clever marketers have obscured its view with the latest products. Everywhere we look we are being sold. Without the right compass it’s easy to get lost.
The monk and the tribesmen both lead lives of material simplicity. For the most part they only own what they can carry, and sometimes much less. How peaceful it must be to only have to think about what you can carry on your back. A turtle doesn’t think about its shell.
I’m not saying we should all sell everything we own, but what’s the point in keeping anything that doesn’t have a role or hold any meaning to us.
If you haven’t used it in the last six weeks, chances are you probably won’t use it for a long time to come. Why keep it? The less we own, the less we have to think about. Rememeber the part of the Rewilding Humans process is about questioning societal norms!
Why not try to get rid of those things you never use. Start with your attic if you have one. Sell all your un-used items or give them to charity so someone else may find a purpose for them. Failing that recycle them so that your unwanted product doesn’t sit in landfill instead of your house.
Once you begin the path of material simplicity do not be swayed back to the road of consumption. Keep an eye out for that clever salesman, that advertising banner, those T.V commercials. Why do I need an appliance that cuts the perfect lime slice, what’s the matter with a knife?
A life of material simplicity allows you more free time, as you are not working for the salesman’s commission. More free time equates to better life experiences, more freedom, and more serenity.
Simplicity of Mind
By being conscious of our decisions and letting go of anything that does not add any significance to our lives we are able to simplify our minds. This can be connected to our material possessions, the less we own the less we have to think about owning.
For example if you don’t own a car you don’t have to think about cleaning and maintaining a car, you don’t need to worry about tax, MOT, insurance, and finding money for fuel. That is a lot of things to think about and that is only a single material possession. If your car gets used and gives you freedom, keep it. This is just an example to illustrate there is always a trade-off with everything we own.
Simplicity of mind can also relate to simplifying our time, if we are busy every hour of every day that leaves little time for us to slow down, to meditate, or to really relax.
By simplifying our time commitments and our material possessions we are in turn simplifying our minds. There is time to switch off, rest, and recuperate. The mind cannot be still if it always has something to do.
The same is true the other way round. If we are conscious of our thoughts it helps us to simplify our time and our material possessions. Catching a thought impulse can prevent physical action, the desire for us to buy something we don’t need, or say “yes” to something we don’t want to do.
The path of simplicity has many side roads (too many to discuss in one article) but at the same time they are all connected. Begin your path of simplicity today; be conscious of your thoughts, what you own, and how you spend your time. Allow yourself more freedom and more serenity.