Happiness isn’t one-dimensional.
There are many things which contribute to us being happy.
As many which detract from our happiness.
Simplicity definately contributes to our happiness.
This too is something we could pursue, but will eventually discover, to be a gift from the Gift.
This morning I read an article posted by a friend: “Why I told my husband he could Walk Away“.
I posted it to Facebook.
Within an hour it had been shared by friends & commented on.
The article tells the story of a couple who chose to give up the rat race & trappings of capitalistic consumerism, to pursue a simpler life.
It tells the story of how they found greater happiness, through greater fulfilment, in this simplicity.
He says: ” In an increasingly complex world ‘simplicity’ is going to be a key value. The pace of change is not going to stop so we have to make a conscious effort to make things simpler.”
It wasn’t the first time I encountered this idea.
In 1992 I read Richard Foster’s ‘Celebration of Discipline‘.
Chapter 6: The Discipline of Simplicity.
He start with a quote from François Fénelon: ” When we are truly in this interior simplicity our whole appearance is franker, more natural. This true simplicity . . . makes us conscious of a certain openness, gentleness, innocence, gaiety, and serenity, which is charming when we see it near to and continually, with pure eyes. O, how amiable this simplicity is! Who will give it to me? I leave all for this. It is the Pearl of the Gospel.”
For Foster, simplicity is something spiritual.
For De Bono, it is practical & necessary.
For both, it is key to happiness.
By 2011 these thoughts had germinated in my own being, and as I published, what one reader called “one of those (very rare) big “little” books”, sevenCITIES, with only seven chapters, the first of which is entitled ‘simpliCITY’, I suggested: “simpliCITY is to be found in the way we choose to live and not the location where the living takes place.”
Hesitantly I shared a discovery, which is just a little shred of my truth: ” only once we have chosen to simplify from within, do we truly find simplicity in any location”.
Today, as I write this, realising that life is gift, I understand that we cannot ‘choose’ to simplify from within.
Not if it isn’t given to us.
The ability to choose.
Before the ability, or along with it, the desire to choose.
This is such an essential little bit of awakening.
To know there is a Gift and a Way.
A Source and Sourceror.
Who enables us to desire and choose that which will fulfill our deepest desire.
To live a happy life.
Not just simplicity.
And all the other little gifts we receive along 礼品之路 ( Lǐpǐn zhī lù ) – ‘The Way of the Gift’.
Along this way, nothing is just practical, or just spiritual.
Along this way, everything is perfect synergy.
Earth and Wind, combined.
And now I have to revise myself, as I hope I’ll do many times more, as time is given me.
We need the gift of simplifying within & without.
They go together.
In bringing us a little more of the gift of the happy life.
At the end of 2014 we live in a simple apartment on the outskirts of Northern Siberian China.
We gave up our exquisite little wooden house on the not so little hill with its views of oceans and forests.
We walk where we need to be, or if it is too far, we take a bus.
We gave up the Defender with which we criss-crossed Africa and the Eastern Cape.
I teach English.
I gave up the manager’s office, the budget-meetings, the sales-projections, the supplier-invoices & payroll.
I have time.
To breathe in the presence of our Sourceror.
To be with our children, as they enjoy the final moments of their childhood.
We did not, however, just give up things.
There is no gift in that.
We gave up fear.
We gave up hesitation.
We gave up guilt.
We embraced this moment.
We embraced our own being.
Our desire to see new, completely foreign places.
To experience a culture so different, we would be lost.
And we embraced our Origin.
In a new way.
Believing that (s)He is more than our Origin and Sourceror.
Believing that (s)He is our Companion.
Journeying with us.
Helping us see proximity.
Helping us find hidden pathways, overgrown with misconceptions.
Perhaps receiving any of the gifts along 礼品之路 ( Lǐpǐn zhī lù ) – ‘The Way of the Gift’ – is receiving faith.
And the faith to see our Origin, stripped of the ornate masks with which religion has hidden (s)He who cannot be hidden.
To see the Gift.
To be received.
To be becomed.
I imagine, somewhere, in the future, we might have more than we have now.
I know, tomorrow, we will have more than we have now.
That is the nature of 礼品之路 ( Lǐpǐn zhī lù ).
I also know, once received, the gift of simplicity is infectious.
And as our receiving of it is greater now than it was in 2000 or 1992 or 2011, so it will be greater in 2015 and 2020, regardless of whether we own more or less stuff.
We don’t own anyway.
And I am grateful.
For receiving this gift, as we receive faith to see.
I am grateful for the gift of the ability and the desire and the bravery to choose to simplify within and without.
For we are happier.
Our happiness framed by deepening love and peace.
For you, I hope the same.
That you would receive this gift.
In all its simple splendour.
It isn’t complex.
As simple as breathing.
And as you breathe, the silent whisper of your being: thank you for the desire and ability to receive simplicity.
It is in your hands already.
You’re reading this, aren’t you?
And over time, the extraordinarily exciting adventure of seeing this gift unfold.
In your little bit of world.
And through you.
For this I ask our Origin, in those precious moments I now have, to breathe and ask and listen.