An idea of simplicity for a powerful life.6, Dec, 2012, by Seema
In today's world where people are bombarded with umpteen choices for almost every aspect of life, understanding definition of simplicity absolutely looks like an uphill task. The dilemma is, many people want to simplify life but they find themselves at sea about the proper understanding of this word and they find it quite hard to imagine that life is possible living with simplicity. In the age of consumerism, this is quite understandable as majority of people are living with survival mindset and for them, living a simple life is hard to imagine.
People who live life with simplicity are more focused in their life and feel more power inside. Simplicity is one of the core attributes of world class leaders and individuals who have left an indelible mark in the history.
What is Simplicity?
For millions, the definition of simplicity is as complex as rocket science. If it is difficult to understand, it is equally difficult to define also. For the sake of understanding it better let's make an attempt to define it first.
A very plain definition of simplicity would be, it is an exact opposite of chaos. In a more subtle context, it is that quality of an individual, things or situation which reflects the purest form, shape or layer. It is probably the honest reflection of a thing or individual in context. These definitions might not be perfect ones but, surely these are very close to actual meaning. Nature is a perfect and ultimate example of simplicity; it produces everything in its truest form.
To understand it better, choose any leader who had changed the course of history; on reading about his/her personality more in depth, you would find that because of simple life style and powerful thoughts, that individual could focus on the very purpose of life. My favorite example is M.K Gandhi, the whole world knows about his contribution and this could have been possible because he consciously chose the path of simplicity in actions, deeds and thoughts. He led a simplest possible life, when he had all the things of comfort available to him but he consciously embraced simplicity in order to invigorate his will power to work towards the bigger purpose in life.
Why living with simplicity is so difficult?
"Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual. You will find people living simply in large cities, rural areas and everything in between." ~Linda Breen Pierce
The common mindset of society says, living with simplicity is a compulsion because of lack of money and it is a Hobson's choice for poor. This mindset makes difficult for people to embrace simplicity because they feel it is a direct threat to their social image, reputation and respect which ultimately means fear of rejection by society. Actually, this mindset is evolved from consumerism mindset.
If simplicity means a truest form of personality, what if a person has flaws in the personality. In that case, an individual cannot afford to live with simplicity because it may invite acceptance problems. In that fear of showing true self and in order to avoid any trouble, an individual prefers to wear layers of complexity. This layer of complexity may make an individual to use costly gadgets, wear designer clothes, wear layers of make-up or some may pretend good behavior or there could be n number of ways through which a person may hide true self.
People who venture to embark on the path of simplicity, have to face immense social pressure and they
often become laughing stock. It is especially, extremely difficult for today's teenagers to live with
simplicity because they are deeply conditioned by consumerism mindset and have a constant peer pressure
to look their best. Men and women, who have crossed their prime, are relentlessly searching for ways to hide
any sign of age visible on face or on body. No wonder, the hair dye and cosmetic companies are making millions
out of this weakness.
If somebody musters courage to go against society, it takes indomitable will and inviolable personal values to continue on the path of simplicity.
Why simplicity is important in life?
Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art." ~Richard Holloway
Simplicity in its truest form means one lives with his/her true nature, which includes dressing style, food preferences, thoughts and behaviors. But, in our daily life there are so many inessential things and compelling situations which take away focus from our true nature and we start believing that we must comply with external situations in order to prove self or rather, to survive well. With constant occurrences of such situations in life, unknowingly we lose our true nature. Our insecurities and lack of purpose in life are the major driving forces behind losing our true nature. A point is reached when it becomes almost impossible to afford to be our true self or to live with simplicity.
In the age of technology and consumerism where one is constantly exposed to thousands of choices, our mind is always busy in making choices, sometimes it is really not worth investing that much time on inessential thing but we feel helpless in the sea of choices available. With every choice you make, right from buying a tooth brush to buying a home, just calculate how much time you invest in reaching to a decision. We do not wish to invest that much time but the environment makes us to do that because there are multiple choices available for every single product. Since we do not know about our self so well, so most of the times, we are either influenced/impressed by our friends or peers or by advertisements and make decisions accordingly without giving a heed what suits us.
Media and advertising makes you constantly feel that you could become the most beautiful/desired person on earth if you buy a particular brand of cosmetics or a particular shaving cream, perfume, nail paint etc. You may feel good momentarily but these are the thoughts which take away your power to be your true self. Each and every choice which has been influenced by media or any compulsion cannot be a true part of your personality. More such choices means more extra baggage you carry in your personality.
On not knowing self very well, an individual feel weak and insecure from inside and is always looking for ways which can mask these weaknesses and ensure acceptance by others. In pursuit of getting accepted by others, people start wearing layers of artificiality which takes them away from their true self.
For every aspect of life, reaching to a simplified solution is an implicit goal, because human mind loves clarity of all forms; it is something which is our natural tendency. History is full of instances where discovery and inventions started with a simple thought in mind. In everyday life, for business, technology, science etc. there is an innate search for simplified solutions.
The immediate soothing effect of embracing simplicity is mental peace and harmony because it acts upon chaos. Once mind is calm, it is able to perform better and can handle complex situations better in everyday life.
Living with simplicity means, you are more focused on your true self, more focused on a larger purpose of life and other important goals rather than getting influenced by any external force.
Doesn't matter at what stage of life you are, living with simplicity always comes with advantages. If you are a student, you would be able to focus more in your studies, if you are working; you would be able to focus better on your work and can deliver better. Similarly, in all walks of life, simplicity helps you to bring focus and precision.
With every simple choice, you are saving time and energy which otherwise would have got spent on either impressing others or probably resulting in insignificant or damaging results.
A simple person would be unpretentious, ready to admit mistakes, a good learner, self-respecting and respecting towards others, motivated, not choosy about things, loving towards others, least concerned about looks and physical features, a childlike innocence in expressing emotions and inability of manipulating others. This is not a formula, but these are some of the dominant features of simple personalities.
Simplicity in daily life
"Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves." ~Edwin Way Teale
Many are confused about the meaning and practicing simplicity in daily life. How simplicity can be practiced in daily life so that it can become an integral part of one's personality. Simplicity is not just about wearing simple clothes and no make-up but it is much deeper. It is reflected in each and every choice we make every day for food, thoughts, actions and relationships.
Vegetarian food non-fried, with less of spices and condiments is a simple food because it takes less amount of energy to get digested in the system and hence it creates less disturbance in the system and one can focus more on work than feeling lethargic after having meal.
Non violent thoughts minus anger, jealous and egotism are simple thoughts. Having simple thoughts means, mind is serene and can focus on more meaningful tasks; energy and emotions are not wasted on constant worry of retaliation and vengeance.
Helping others in problems and helping other to overcome hardships with no expectations of rewards are simple actions.
Simplicity in relationships is about accepting each other with personal faults and flaws, forgiveness and having an open and truthful communication.
My personal experience
Simplicity is one of my personal core values and I adhere to it with my level best in everyday situations of life. It is a value which helps me to live powerfully and consciously, because I do not have to waste my precious energy on inessential things. I have experienced that once individual starts living with simplicity s/he feel more focused and can utilize energy more efficiently on more important areas of life.
I feel fortunate, because since my childhood I have seen simplicity around me. My parents and siblings in my first family and my cousins, far family members are very simple people and fortunately my very close friends are also very simple beings. In fact, my father and some of my very close friends have left an indelible mark of simplicity on me and I guess, probably it will take me too long to reach to that level of simplicity which they attained.
Despite being blessed with simplicity at home, like many others, my life was also cluttered with multiple choices and suboptimal habits. There were habits which could have been replaced with simpler ones but probably my ignorance fogged this realization. Slowly, with more experience in life, the idea of living with simplicity in life started sounding more appealing and made me to think about simplifying habits and choices. It is a long story but cutting it to short.
I started with food habits, instead of eating junk food and non-vegetarian food; I have chosen homemade vegetarian food. Sometimes, if it feels, I have overeaten; I would compensate by skipping next meal and would walk/exercise extra. Check out my Raw Vegan diet experiment, this has become my yearly detoxification regime which I have been following since last 2 years.
Earlier, I used to lose my temper very quickly and I used to feel that others are constantly working against me, a typical survival mindset. In all those situations, I felt, as if I am burning from inside due to which I could not focus on my work and my mind was simply thinking ways to retaliate. Ultimately, it impacted my relationships with others and didn't help me much in any way. This made me to think about simplifying my thoughts too, I am still working on it and I guess, it will continue forever. After working on it for the last four years, now while dealing with others, instead of losing my temper, I try to be humble, patient, and more empathetic and keep my ego aside. But still, there are situations which sometimes get on my nerves; I am slowly learning to handle that also keeping in mind that different people have different levels of maturity and everybody cannot be alike.
For relationships, earlier I used to believe in transactional relationships i.e. if I have done this then other person should also do that in return, this was again my survival mindset probably. But now, I have no expectations from others as I have understood the fact that simplicity in action and thoughts is the ultimate sophistication to achieve and it is not everybody's cup of tea. So, I do my actions without expecting any returns from others and this has really made me feel very powerful from inside.
With constant practice of living with simplicity, I have made changes to many habits and routines, like, I have stopped coloring my hair and it feels absolutely comfortable if my grey strands add beauty to my hair, not in race of impressing others and I drink water of room temperature(irrespective of season) kept in copper vessel. Now, it just doesn't matter to me if I am dressing up in vogue, carrying the latest gadgets or driving a big car, what matters to me is, if this choice is really matching my true self and how essential that particular need is, can I live without it or not.
The story does not end here, it is my ongoing journey and I am aspiring to reach the highest possible level of simplicity where I am truly aligned to self.
How to practice simplicity in daily life?
If you are truly motivated to bring the best and truest out of you, simplifying your life is the first step to take. Moreover, any habit is worth giving a try once, if it promises to bring you inner power. You may start with practicing one day of simplicity a week. On that day,
- Wear simple clothes (simpler to what you wear regularly).
- Wear no make-up or least possible to start with.
- Eat vegetarian food (raw or boiled would be better) for all meals.
- Talk less and control your anger.
- Find fewer faults in others.
- Raise no complaints.
- Appreciate others for any good work done.
- Focus on your work.
- Enjoy nature, go for a walk.
- Look for presence of simplicity in people and things around you.
THIS IS JUST FOR A DAY.
Practicing simplicity, might feel painful initially but remember, to experience some level of pleasure;
it is worth to go through some level of pain. Once you are comfortable with one day a week of practicing
simplicity, increase it to more and more.
Start assessing your needs on daily basis, for every choice you make, ask yourself, if you can live without it and how it is going to enhance the quality of your life and how sustainable that option is in proportion to your income.
You would gradually start feeling that it really doesn't matter what other people comment about you, what matter most is what you are feeling about yourself. People who are genuine and really likes you, would not mind interacting with you if you are looking and behaving simple.
Simplicity is the source of positive energy in your life. Living with simplicity is another way of enhancing will power, which in itself is a guiding force in the most difficult moments of life. If you are a parent and follow simplicity, it would help your children to adopt simplicity in life with less fear and they can live more powerfully right from their childhood.
Believe me, if you practice simplicity in life, you will attract more simple and powerful people in your life because people prefer to trust simple beings than those who wear layers of complexity. In relationships,if you practice simplicity, it can help you to bring your truest form forward which would make your bonds of love stronger and more powerful. Make simple choices without fearing what others would say about you and your taste, it is your life and you must live it powerfully.
Once you are on the path of simplicity, your life will really get simple and powerful, that too at no cost.
Isn't it the best deal of the world, where nothing comes for free? :-)
Wish you a simple and powerful life.