July 4, 2009

Voluntary Simplicity

Jon Kabat-Zinn speaks of Voluntary Simplicity in Wherever You Go There You Are:

“Voluntary Simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more…It involves intentionally doing only one thing at a time and making sure I am here for it…I practice saying no to keep my life simple, and I find I never do it enough…You don’t get to control it all. But choosing simplicity whenever possible adds to life an element of deepest freedom which so easily eludes us, and many opportunities to discover that less may actually be more.”

What in this moment is truly worth my time? Being where I am, with who I am with, loving people important to me, being honest, kind and helpful and enjoying my life is far better than worrying, watching advertising or talking just to talk. Truly enjoying my life doesn’t involve wishing for some other moment to replace this one or trying to fit as many things into this moment as possible. It involves being present, appreciating where I am and making the most of it.

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” wrote Thoreau in Walden, “I say let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen…In the midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the clouds and storms and quicksands and the thousand-and-one items to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed who succeeds. Simplify, Simplify.”