Does this season look different for you? For many of us, it's a season that will be much simpler than those past. In Elegant Simplicity: The Art of Living Well, Satish Kumar reminds us that life does not always go as planned. The holidays are typically characterized by meticulous planning, busy social schedules, and lists of presents to buy. However, with all that’s happening right now, we likely find ourselves with more free time, clearer agendas, and perhaps less money to purchase gifts. Today we use Kumar's outlook on elegant simplicity, and how being open to the present moment can offer a deep feeling of abundance this season.
Excerpt from the Book
When we live mostly in the present, we can move easily, step by step. We can respond to events with an open heart and an open mind. Worrying about the past or the future saps our energy, and we can’t respond fully to the situation in front of us. The present moment is the potent moment. Let’s live it as well as we can! To do this we need to trust. Trust that we are capable of dealing with the future when it arrives. We don’t have to worry about it now. We need not anticipate problems. They may or may not arise. We have the potential to deal with the future, whatever it may hold, good or bad, negative or positive. We have imagination, we have ability. Remember, whatever we plan, that plan may not work out. So why do so much planning? Just have a little bit of an idea of the future. If we have excessive planning and the plan doesn’t work out, we will be disappointed. Instead of so much planning, let us have vision. A vision is like a dream. Let the planning evolve step by step from your vision. Let the future emerge as it will. As Joseph Campbell said, ‘We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.’ Not being fixed and dogmatic with plans has its own magic, its own energy. When we allow things to emerge, miracles can happen. When we plan too much in advance, miracles may be blocked. When everything is planned, there is no room for something new to emerge. It is easier to embrace simplicity when we follow the way of minimal planning and maximum improvisation.
The meaning of elegant simplicity goes deep and has nothing to do with harsh austerity, scarcity, deprivation, or self-denial. It may seem paradoxical, but the gift of simplicity is the gift of abundance. When we know enough is enough, we have more than enough. Simplicity offers sufficiency over extravagance, comfort over convenience, contentment over cravings, reconciliation over resentment.
Elegant Simplicity is a life guide for everyone wanting off the relentless treadmill of competition and consumption, and seeking a life that prioritizes the ecological integrity of the Earth, social equity, and personal tranquility and happiness. For more information on how to live with more elegant simplicity, check out Elegant Simplicity: The Art of Living Well by Satish Kumar available now.
About the Author
Satish Kumar is long-time peace and environment activist and former monk who has been quietly setting the global agenda of change for over 50 years. He settled in the United Kingdom after an 8,000-mile peace pilgrimage and became editor of Resurgence magazine, a position he held from 1973-2016. During this time, he founded Devon's Schumacher College, authored several books, and presented the successful documentary Earth Pilgrim. He lives in Devon, UK.