Sunday, August 20, 2006

simple living in 95 sq ft




Simplicity is making our way through life with just enough baggage. Life can be pretty easy if we don’t complicate it by striving towards excess. Greater simplicity frees time, energy, and attention for personal growth and other satisfying activities. It’s like renewing one's appreciation of life.

You have succeeded in life
when all you really want is only what you really need.
Vernon Howard


We need little when we are directly in touch with life. It is when we remove ourselves from direct and wholehearted participation in life that emptiness and boredom can creep in. Getting rid of things that one does not need is participating in a symbolic act of releasing everything one does not need in one's life. One can have a hard time reducing one’s needs if one does not have something more fulfilling inside—life is lived from within.

Besides the noble art of getting things done,
there is the noble art of leaving things undone.
The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
Lin Yutang


I’ve scaled down from houses to large apartments to a fifth wheel (my Jayco on the left), to presently, this 17’ Casita travel trailer that is pulled with a Jeep Cherokee. At each reduction, I thought it was not possible to do with any less to live comfortably. I have always been wrong in this.

The sculptor produces the beautiful statue
by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed—
it is a process of elimination.
Elbert Hubbard


Simplicity is how one actually lives. I spend most of my time camping in secluded spots out in national forests or on BLM and state lands. My ‘yard’ is always changing. Living in a small trailer enables me to get down all kinds of narrow dirt roads for some absolutely stellar camping spots. And the small size is not restrictive if one is of the mindset that he does not so much live in the camper as just outside of it. But then, one needs to follow the geese—or you are going to freeze or roast your butt off.
To live successfully anywhere outside the mainstream it helps to have an unconventional spirit coupled with down-to-earth practicality and the ability to balance these.
Simple living entails quieting the mind. Tune into what one is presently doing, not thinking about what else needs to get done, what friends you need to touch base with, what to add to the town-run list, or whatever. Solitude helps. It’s easy if one is living with only pets but it’s important to find time for it when living with another. Solitude in and of itself is cleansing to the soul.

We tend to ‘run on automatic’, acting in habitual and preprogrammed ways along with the habitual and preprogrammed ways of perceiving and responding. It can be difficult to tune into this since we live in an almost constant state of mental distraction. First we need to develop an awareness—a waking up—and then we can see the practical relevance of living more consciously. It can feel like letting go—letting go of old ideas and old ways of doing things. Letting go of old ways of thinking enables us to see things in new ways. One needs to learn how to enjoy the simple things and to appreciate what you already have. It takes time but as one becomes more conscious of it, you’ll find more contentment and less need to be entertained.

To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter...
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird's nest or a wildflower in spring—
these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
John Burroughs


Being too wrapped up in our things and busyness leads us away from ourselves and our experience in the moment. We can learn to live more in tune with the earth, which, in itself, opens up a new world if we are not already into the Outdoors. Living simply is also more conducive to personal and spiritual growth. Like the old Eastern saying, ‘Simplicity reveals the master’. Penetrating behind our continuous stream of thought is stressed by every major consciousness tradition in the world: Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, Sufi, Zen, etc. We can begin a process of learning a natural quietness of mind and openness of heart. Something that I would like to develop but probably won’t attain in this life. If I come to believe in reincarnation—I can then shoot for two out of three.

Abraham Yehoshua Heschel said, ‘There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord.’ Sounds good.

live simply, be healthy and fit, and live the life you love


FOR INDEX OF POSTINGS GO TO JULY 2006

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