SYNOPSIS: This article is an original approach to encourage people to get into much talked about but less practiced life style of simple living. Most people are already enjoying simple pleasures in their day-to-day lives, and that is encouraging signs to make them realize that the traits of simple living are already there. The article does not make a list of things as what to do or what not to do, rather it is left to the reader to work out his or her own simple living life style and make changes as they go along on this path. The basis of the article is disciplined enjoyment of life while being sincere, honest, humble and compassionate toward environment and fellow human beings.
By Promod Puri
Understanding the concept of simple living is quite simple.
The nature of simple living if willingly explored, accepted and experienced is certainly the most blissful and satisfying way of living. This exercise promotes effortless discipline leading toward ethical and guilt-free living.
While rejecting some or most of society’s apparently artificial and exhibiting norms, the adaptation to simple living is plain and instinctively natural.
In simple living the only expression which matters most is the word simple. It is an adjective, whereas the word living is a noun.
The term simple, being a descriptive adjective, describes, defines and give character to the word living. The latter is vague and empty unless it is preceded by an adjective. For example, we say good living, healthy living, peaceful living and so on.
So in order to make our understanding of simple living easy, let us take the help of dictionary to find out different meanings and definitions of the word simple.
· Simple means easy to understand or deal with;
· Simple means not elaborate just plain, unmixed;
· Simple means not decorate, luxurious, grand or sophisticated;
· Simple means modest;
· Simple means free of deceit;
· Simple means lucid, natural, neat, unadulterated and fundamental; and finally
· Simple means sincere.
All the above attributions to the expression simple form a complete package to help us get into simple living which is clean, transparent, modest and familiarly real. In fact these meanings are the fundamentals to this subsistence; understanding and following them is an effort which is worth striving for.
In our endeavor to dwell in this fascinating environment it is comforting to note that we are already practicing and experiencing simple living in some form or degree at one time or the other. It is a natural trait embedded in us the day we are born. And as we age life becomes more complicated, adulterated with greed and ego, and contracted with “affluenza” . Still the good bug of simple living is within us. And the moment it is realized from any of its aspects, we feel good.
There are mainly four aspects which attract people to simple living. Spirituality, health, environmental or economics are the reasons people seek this lifestyle to have some quality and goodness value in their lives.
It is interesting to note that whatever the reason or reasons one picks to lodge into this habitat, ultimately one gets into all of its aspects and achieves the wholesome goal of contended, happy and peaceful life.
The essence of simple living is the disciplined enjoyment of life while caring for fellow beings and environment. In this regard simple and ordinary pleasures of life are the major contributing factors which need more attention and stimulation to experience the joy of simple living. In fact these personal pleasures provide the initiation to this doctrine.
Based on personal choices there are numerous recreational pleasures people are having occasionally or regularly to enjoy the simple living experiences. Affluent celebrities, powerful politicians and dictators, millionaires and billionaires beside their wealth and status, in their private lives do indulge in simple pleasures. Casual dressing up in their jeans or working in their mansion gardens are signs of basic simple traits which people have in common despite their disparities.
However, simple living demands more than simple pleasures. It is the change of attitude, change of lifestyle in harmony with consciousness. The life which is outwardly rich and inwardly poor has to be significantly reversed to get the feel of simple living. The intent is an awakening straight from the heart.
No doubt, the most popular form of simple living is to comfortably and “voluntarily” adjusting life to basic minimum needs; seeking or possessing more than that is pure wastage and ego pleasing. After all, “wealth consists of not having great possessions, but in having few wants”. Still, if somebody wants to feel rich then the “shortcut to riches is to subtract from one’s desires”.
Getting away from the consumerist mentality and reducing needs for purchased goods are the entry points for simple living and how far an individual goes into this domain is a matter of practicality. In our social and cultural environment, it is although possible, but looks somewhat abnormal ,to live in an abstract bare-minimum-materialistic world. Moreover extreme frugal living is damaging to economy, though good for the environment.
Sure, simple living is a substitute for people in the upper and middle classes, the poor in society all crave for some upgrading. And it is here enough economic activity has to be maintained to bring along these unfortunate people to the minimum standards of living or to the luxury of simple living when opted for “volunteer simplicity”.
No doubt, living with minimum basic materialistic needs is the hallmark of simple living but its pillars of strength are conscious living with sincerity, honesty, humbleness and compassion.
Based on these principles one can simply explore, write and practice one’s own ever evolving guidelines of simple living and enjoying every moment of it.