Voluntary Simplicity

A lot of us are living with less these days because of circumstance. But did you know we may be better off in many ways as a result? I mean, what is the real need to keep up with the proverbial Joneses? Why must we kill ourselves working for The Man for 50, 60, 80 or more hours a week? What — beyond needless trinkets — makes this sort of life attractive and rewarding?

That’s the subject Second Nature’s Steve Glover covers in “Voluntary Simplicity.” Here is an excerpt:

When I think of simplicity, I think of “being in the groove”; that is, being in a state of harmony with the flow of life. I am able to deal with issues naturally, in a relatively stress-free way. Life is an ongoing string of revelations, and I experience the awe of them unfolding…

Whoa… reality check. I can get so wrapped up in resentment over a $2.50 overcharge on my phone bill that I don’t even notice the stoplight has changed to green, until someone honks. Then I’m pissed that I’ve been honked at, and over the phone bill. And so it goes. So, simplicity isn’t a merely a state of euphoria.

I also think of minimalist living. Three hots and a cot. Prisoners get three hots and a cot, so are prisoners living a life of simplicity? Certainly not voluntary simplicity, and certainly not one where they have the freedom to enjoy it.

Many years ago, I heard the saying “If it isn’t practical, it isn’t spiritual”. This sounded very meaningful to me. I had no idea what it meant, but it sounded damn good. So I started looking at my purchases in this light. If I wanted a radio, I would get a very basic radio, and bypass the $2,000 hyperbalanced optimized system. When I bought cars, I would pop the hood – if I couldn’t see the engine under all the emissions components, it was too complicated and I would move on.

Eventually, I realized that I was surrounded by stuff that was practical, but hardly satisfying. I came to question the wisdom I had chosen. I started making changes along the lines of “what I wanted most”, in keeping with what I could afford, while balancing it with the “practical” question. In this, I found satisfaction.

Everything is about balance. Read the full article and give some thought to the way in which you live your life.