In this fast paced, high tech cyberspace world we now live in, few of us can truly comprehend simplicity or the idea of living a simple life. Granted, there are those living off the grid and growing gardens that are pursuing this goal, but most have no idea what the word “simplicity” even means. We seem to be making our lives more complicated with all the technological breakthroughs, not any simpler. Simply stated, simplicity is living within your means. But it is so much more than that too. True simplicity is real freedom from so much that burdens us in life. I’ve been living simply, for a very long time. For me, it all began back in 1971, when I began practicing Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self-Realization Fellowship lessons. I became an active vegetarian, sprouting greens and growing wheatgrass long before it became popular and mainstream vogue. And I stayed that way for thirty years, until an aggravated DUI put me in prison for two years, where I accepted meat again as part of my diet. I had to, to stay alive on all levels. And it was time to realize that moderation, in all things, is really the key. I had become too attached to being a vegetarian and it was time to break that mold. I could now take or leave meat, my choice. But vegetarianism taught me to live on foods that nourished my body and mind, as well as how to live on far less- money wise and calorie wise.
Prison taught me simplicity real fast, as everything I considered mine was stripped away from me instantly. When everything is gone who are you? That is what I found out in prison. But losing everything wasn’t new to me, as I’d lost it all before in a tragic house fire in 1987, when I was living simply in the woods, on a 12 volt battery system with a rain water system for drinking and bathing. Foreign travel in nineteen countries taught me to live out of a backpack, and living with the villagers in rural Fiji really showed me how simple life can be. We don’t need a lot to survive, but we sure seem to think we need a lot to live! Wrong. When you have less, you actually have more- more time to enjoy the present, instead of worrying about getting more. There is no more; only the same old thing packaged differently! You also have less stress, when you own less. Everything carries a price with it, in some form or another, usually disguised as added responsibility.
On the diet front, when you eat simply to live and not live to simply eat, you’ve got a healthy body that can handle stress better. Stress can be greatly reduced through living a simple life, where you own only what you really need, without a lot of extras. Be grateful for all you have, as it can be easily taken away from you in the wink of the eye. When you’ve lost everything and are forced to start over, as I have been many times in my life, you’ll know the value of gratitude- of being grateful, every moment of your life, for all that you have right now. If you have too much stress, consider simplifying your life. Many people are being taught this lesson now through natural disasters. Why not learn simplicity before it is forced upon you? It’s better than you can imagine!