First, we have to acknowledge that our whole culture is caught in the grip of unnecessary desires and recognize the poison of accumulation for what it is. We are conditioned and pressured to want more and more–this is the myth of continual economic progress. This myth has become a monster destroying our ecosystem, taking our money and our life energy.
Second, we have to have the strength to say no. To go against this toxic flow, to resist the power of its empty promises and the corporation behind them, we have to regain an essential simplicity, return to what we need rather than what we think we want. Only then can we begin to hear the music of life, be attentive to the inner and outer need of the earth. Only then can we become alive with what is sacred and true.
Third, we have to learn to discriminate, to clear our inner and outer clutter. As we clear more space in our inner and outer lives, we become more attuned to what is necessary, more aware of the deceptions and false promises of unnecessary “stuff”.
The practice of meditation and mindfulness can clear the clutter of our minds. A few trips to Goodwill can clear the clutter from our homes. And then continual attention is needed so that the currents of accumulation do not fill the empty space we have created. Do we need more in our lives than love?
Practicing simplicity doesn’t mean giving away all our things, quitting our demanding jobs, and moving to a mountain hut or living off the grid. It simply means being very honest about what we value within our lives, what sustains us, brings us joy and meaning, and devoting ourselves to those activities, people or things. While we might end up having fewer possessions or changing some of our habits, simplicity compels a return, not a rejection–a seeing through and within, rater than looking somewhere else. When we live from a place of simplicity, we naturally find we need less and instead are more open to life.
excerpts from an article in Common Ground magazine by LLEWELLYN VAUGHAN-LEE