There is an understated power to simplicity.
When we live a life of simplicity, we strip away the barriers inhibiting us from living out of our true self. We’re freed from the complex web of distractions and false needs we’ve built into our relationships, routines, and expectations. This freedom then resonates throughout our life, built upon a strong sense of steadiness and vision.
Simplicity begins with letting go. Monks express this tangibly by pairing down to the essentials—both emotionally and physically—liberating themselves from the things that weigh down their mind, body, and spirit. What appears to be a form of stark privation under the surface becomes a form of tending, a gardening to make room for the most important seeds of the coming season. As we slowly become aware of the unnecessary complexities taking up too much real estate in our mind—from resentments, to habitual worry, to gossip, or frustrations —we find ourselves lighter, more focused, and more capable of engaging the abundant opportunity that flows all around us.
To stay clear-headed and clear-sighted, consider establishing boundaries. Your boundaries needn’t be the same as monks—but these demarcations—these refusals—these “noes” create space for a deeper “yes”. Rather than living a shallow experience of life, hyperactively tasting a little bit of everything, boundaries force us to focus, empowering us to go deep. These structures and rules give us a designated space to live in.
When these rules are made with wisdom and sound reason, they provide a refuge from the noise and a strong sense of purpose and freedom. They allow us to focus our energy on our true priorities: the moments that bring us joy, the tasks that bring us meaning, and the essentials that allow us to thrive.
WAYS TO INCORPORATE THIS PRACTICE
Simplify • Say no • Detachment
Spend a month doing some inner decluttering. You can do this by limiting the news and information you consume via the radio, podcasts, television and online to certain times of the day—while simultaneously carving out time for silence and solitude.
Spend a month doing some outer decluttering. Spend 15 minutes a day focused on simplifying clutter on your desk, on your walls and in your drawers.
For one month, don’t spend money on anything that isn’t truly an absolute need. At the end of the month reflect on your experience.
“What appears to be a form of stark privation under the surface becomes a form of tending, a gardening to make room for the most important seeds of the coming season.”
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