Simplicity

by: Sara on 12/01/2019

Welcome to the first day of our Winter sale!

Over the next week we will share excerpts from our books on; ways you can live simply, (yes, even during this busy season), yummy recipes for all those holiday celebrations, activities with family, and ways to give to those less fortunate.

We start off with an excerpt from Elegant Simplicity: The Art of Living Well by long-time peace and environment activist and former monk, Satish Kumar. Enter code Cheer50 at check out for a 50% discount until December 7th.

I walked from the grave of Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi, to Moscow, Paris, London, and Washington, D.C. It was an eight-thousand-mile pilgrimage. To make the journey even simpler, I walked (with my friend E. P. Menon) without a penny in my pocket. No money, no food, and on foot. We were on the road for about eight hundred days. These were the simplest and best eight hundred days of my life, and they changed my whole view of existence.

I became utterly convinced that to live a good, imaginative, and inspiring life we need very little in the way of manufactured material possessions. We can live by the sun, soil, and water, which are all gifts of the benevolent universe. We can live by mutuality and reciprocity, which are gifts of humanity. We can live by our hands, our legs, and our labor, none of which need to be bought from a supermarket or department store. 

Living by love and generosity begets love and generosity. To live simply is to live in freedom and to trust that “all will be well and all manner of things will be well,” as St. Julian of Norwich said. Simplicity brings us closer to the sublime truth, sustained goodness, and subtle beauty. 

Living simply is neither laziness nor inaction. Actually, it is our consumer lifestyle which makes us lazy, deskilled, and inactive. We become dependent on mechanization, industrialization, and mass production. The ideal of elegant simplicity is connected with the arts and crafts, with the process of making, and with the art of living well on less. Simplicity focuses on the quality of life rather than the quantity of material possessions. Being rather than having, as Eric Fromm puts it.

When I live a life of simplicity, I celebrate the intrinsic value of making and let go of focusing on results or outcomes, achievements or accomplishments. Through arts and crafts, I am able to meet my needs and avoid being a victim of my greed. By being a maker, a creator, and a producer, I am able to find a sense of joy, fulfillment, and pleasure. 

Simple living is its own reward. It is also skillful living — learning not only to use our heads and hands, but also to cultivate our heart qualities of love, forgiveness, and the understanding of the unity of all life. As Lao Tzu said, “simplicity, patience, and compassion are our greatest treasures.”

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