I often wonder what living life simply really means. Is it living with only life’s necessities, is it an ordered life, is it taking each day, hour, and minute one by one, or is it living life to the full, extracting each small beauty and pleasure. Or perhaps it is a combination of all the four.
In my home we are trying our best to get back to the basics of a simple life, but then one always comes to the juncture, what about that stamp collection, or that beautiful silver vase. Is it not in line with that goal of simplicity to have and to enjoy those things, or is enjoying those things the very essence of simplicity? I like this quote of Hans Hofmann –
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
I think that today our lives are to focused around things and their attainment. What would life be like living in the wilderness with no cable, no internet access, and no electronics?
Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a burden, and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it. ~Robert Brault
Yes we do add to it and constantly. Always buying new stuff and things. Perhaps beautiful things but still things.
What about knowledge or what we call going to school. In my opinion children and young adults attending school are really not being educated and instead of being helped in a search for knowledge, they are hindered by long, wearisome, and boring days with the uncertainty of finding friends and good teachers. But that should be saved for another day. I would say that pure and unsullied knowledge is simplicity but where is that to be found? Is knowing or teaching a horde of facts and dates teaching knowledge? Is it of any use whatsoever?
It seems to me that simplicity is –
1. Not collecting hordes – even small hordes – of things.
Living with only our basic human needs is a goal, but most often an unattainable goal. All of us have heard about people talking about de-cluttering. A sort of new thing. Living with few things is what they should really say. And those few things should be either necessities, things of beauty, and items that help the owner to gain knowledge. Only things that you have the room and space for. Things that will be used and loved. Things that will create a beautiful atmosphere. What is the point of a set of china that is only looked at with awe and never eaten upon. What is there to love about a crystal vase that although beautiful, is carefully wrapped up and boxed away lest it be broken. If it is a thing of beauty let it enhance your home by being used everyday. One has only so many uses for beautiful things. So, instead of only keeping those things that you have room for, only keep those things which you will be able to use.
2. Leading a well ordered life.
The more things that you have the more untidy your living spaces will become and the more unordered will your life be.
3. Taking each moment as it comes and enjoying every second of it.
TIme is not forever. Time is always passing. God has given us one life span and a whole world full of things to see, hear, smell, taste, feel, learn, and people to help. We can only achieve those things that God has set out for us as a part of his plan. Take each moment God has given as it comes. Extract everything you can from each and every one, taking the beautiful and the ugly, the wonderful and the hurtful side by side. There is always something to learn, always something to do, always someone to help. God created a perfect world ruined by sin and although no beauty is perfect that also means no ugliness is perfect. If we look hard enough God will always show us beauty in everything – in the ugly and hurtful, in the boring and plain, and in the simple and everyday. But I am deviating.
I would say that simplicity is a combination of those four things I first mentioned.
I have rather been writing the thoughts passing through my head as opposed to an orderly essay.
I know that everyone has their own opinions and thoughts. Please let me know what you think. I am very interested in everything anyone has to say, as I know that what I have said is perhaps not all or even to much of what is really simplicity.