Simple Living

“Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.” 
― Paramahansa Yogananda

Simple. An easy word and a lovely thought. How do we simplify our lives? It’s actually, well, simple.

Accepting what is without fighting it gets us to a place where we are not “willing” something to happen or anxiety-ridden trying to keep bad things from happening. We can imagine all sorts of outcomes in the world-confusion, because all sorts of outcomes are in front of us, on the world stage.

I am a recovering worrier. I used to worry about everything. All day long, doing nothing but worrying, even while I was doing something enjoyable. The worrying absorbed any joy I might have experienced while I was doing those enjoyable things. I was not living in the present, the only state that exists. I was not mindful.

Since I no longer work in the world-confusion, my anxiety lessened, but it was still there. Worry about my husband’s health the 4 years prior to his death, worries about the lack of money, my inability to leave him so that I could work, worries that there was nowhere for me to get help. I reacted to these worries in my typical manner of preparing for battle. I am good at battle. I will take on any fight going. I must have enjoyed fighting but I do not now.

I started reading. I read everything I could get that would lessen my anxiety. The Book of Secrets by Deepak Chopra started me off, although I’d read almost all of his previous books. In it I found ways to live, ways to cope with life’s battles and ways to get out of battling everyone and everything.

While I was living on PEI, I had one true friend. I had acquaintances but this man was different. He was spiritual, he believed in the Divine and the presence of God on earth. We had only one disagreement and that was being vegetarian. He said there was nothing written in any spiritual text that demanded we not eat animals. He said that he believed there was only one cow, one pig, one chicken and that they had agreed to be food for us. I looked at him and said “Oh yes, like there’s only One person.” He looked at me like I was completely nuts. One cow, but not One person?

Getting away from worry is as easy as bringing yourself to the moment. What are you doing? Are you drinking coffee, reading a book, going for a walk? Then be there while you are doing those things. Don’t be somewhere else, in the past or the future. Just be wherever you are, now.

This is a habit, this being mindful, in the moment. The more you do it, the more you will do it. You will catch yourself not being present, rushing through chores to get to something else – and you will think, I am doing the dishes. I will do the dishes totally, mindfully. Or even making your bed, cleaning your home, brushing your teeth – these can all be done mindfully and become a meditation on living in the moment.

Once you train yourself to live in the moment and leave the past alone and the future to its own determination, you will have a simple life. It is easy to live simply when you do not project your worries on the future. After all, the future does not exist. The only moment you have is NOW.

As Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now, has said

The quieter you become, the more you can hear.