'Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.'– Confucius
My Quest for a Simpler Life: The Story I must Tell
How Pursuing a Quest Can Bring Purpose to Your Life
'Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.'-Confucius
A Simple Manifesto for a Simpler Life: Why Simple Life Matters
Simpler life, Simpler times: How we got from there, being nothing, to where we are today, being us: in the hope that all who desire a life of quality and meaning and who are willing to meet the cost for such a life will receive what they long for.
‘I gave away our stuff’: the minimalists doing more with less- The Observer, Sunday 29 September 2019*
‘Growing numbers of people, partly inspired by Marie Kondo, are ditching consumerism for a simpler life’. More on this later.
I relate to a lot of this article. The words and sentiments resonates with me. Why, you may ask? To answer this question, I need to go back in time, when, over twenty years or so ago, I faced, possibly, the biggest challenge to my way of life. It could have been very disastrous. But now looking back, one consequence of that very sad time, was the fact that ‘Simplicity’, ‘Living Simply’ which was forced on us, has turned out to be the biggest gift we could have ever had.
Let me recall, what I had noted about this awhile back:
Life is so full of unpredictable beauty and strange surprises
As many people, wiser than me have noted, our lives and the world in which we all live, are so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we're not ... Life, it can bring you so much joy and yet at the same time cause so much pain.
I was so devastated that after this wonderful journey, full of joy and happiness, achievements and success, due to some reasons beyond my control, I started to feel unwell, unhappy, not enjoying what I was doing and teaching, especially when I lost all confidence in the value of moral-free economics that I was teaching my students, and more.
In 1999 I voluntarily resigned from my post at Coventry University. It goes without saying that, I was heartbroken and extremely hurt that I was unable to nurture and develop further what I had envisioned and built.
Looking back, reflecting on what has happened, I think, somehow, somebody, somewhere, had planned it so that I, too, should have a life, similar to the life of Coventry itself: fall and rise again,...Continue to read
Yes, I left my employment. I lost my income. But, in the process, I discovered more about myself. I rediscovered the love of my wife, my children, family and a few friends that had decided to remain with me. My wife and myself were pushed into opting a far more simpler life that we had ever imagined before. This has encouraged us to become more aware of who we are, what we are and also what the most important and precious in life are. For all these, I cannot be more grateful and thankful.
All in all, for the last couple of decades, we have been living a (relatively) simple life, or to put it another way, we have been living a simpler life, that we may have not been living, if life had not played the card, as it did, all those years ago, as I noted above.
Thus, as the complexity of my life grew, and I renewed my commitments, I chose to lead my life more simply. I could, I suppose, have found solace in artificial lift-ups, drugs and alcohol. I am grateful I did not. I chose love, I chose mother nature, volunteerism, taking action in the interest of the common good. I chose to share and tell my story. I founded the GCGI and in the process found the best, most beautiful friends I could have ever imagined I could have.
Living a simple life is about paring back, so that you have space to breathe. It’s about doing with less, because you realize that having more and doing more doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s about finding joy in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savoring the moment.
Of course, these are not the only gifts you’ll receive for living a simpler life. The best ones are the ones you will discover yourself. Try simpler life and see what happens — I think you’ll find out something beautiful about yourself, and about life.
In short, the best kind of simplicity is that which exposes the raw beauty, joy and heartbreak of life as it is; not the Facebook and Instagram life, but life as it should be: real, authentic, ups and downs, love and being loved. Carpe Diem!
Below, for your interest I have noted a few Blogs I have written in praise of the simpler life:
But, before that, I very much wish to share an email I sent to our GCGI Friends, whilst on holiday in the Greek Island, Crete, last May, very relevant to our story today:
‘So often, we exhaust ourselves and the planet in a search for very large pleasures - while all around us lies a wealth of small pleasures, which - if only we paid more attention - could daily bring us solace and joy at little cost and effort. But we need some encouragement to focus our gaze…’
A Simple Manifesto for a Simpler Life
(4 May 2019-Crete)
Greetings and love from the very beautiful and lovely Island of Crete, Greece. In the last week or so Annie and I have been traveling in Athens and a couple of days ago we arrived here in Crete. Very beautiful, warm and blue skies and calm seas.
Whilst travelling, I picked up, once again, a fascinating book I have been reading. I cannot put it down! I want to read it again and again. And knowing me, I cannot settle until I have shared it with you all.
Given the short term tenure of life, and the littleness of human existence, why is it that we spend so much time and effort on things that are not really important?
Our collective model of a good life tends to focus exclusively on material side of our existence, whilst ignoring the more important side, namely, the spiritual aspect of our being.
The biggest tasks of civilisation is to teach us how to better enjoy this journey we call life and this is why the book I am reading again and again- Small Pleasures- so beautifully fulfills that function.
Please click on the link below and scroll down to the bottom of the page and see more about this book. Get the book and read it. You will not be disappointed, believe me.
And now more links for your interest:
A Simple Manifesto for a Simpler Life: Why Simple Life Matters
‘We live in a time when many people experience their lives as empty and lacking in fulfillment. The decline of religion and the collapse of communism have left but the ideology of the free market whose only message is: consume, and work hard so you can earn money to consume more. Yet even those who do reasonably well in this race for material goods do not find that they are satisfied with their way of life. We now have good scientific evidence for what philosophers have said throughout the ages: once we have enough to satisfy our basic needs, gaining more wealth does not bring us more happiness.’- Peter Singer
Simple Living Promotes Virtue, Which Promotes Happiness
Simple Living is Guided by Economic Prudence, ‘Waste not, Want not.’
Simple Living Allows One to Work in order to Satisfy the Basic Needs and Thus, Enjoy More of life’s Experiences which Suffices for Happiness
Simple Living Promotes Serenity Through Detachment
Living Frugally Prepares One for Tough Times
Simple Living Enhances One’s Capacity for True Pleasures of Life, When Less is More!
Frugality Fosters Self-Sufficiency and Independence
Simple Living Keeps One Close to Nature and the Natural, when one is Guided and Inspired by the Wisest Teacher: The Mother Nature
Simple Living Promotes Good Health and Spiritual Purity
Simple Living Allows us to Speak of Global Responsibility and a Global Community. It Encourages us to Take Action in the Interest of the Common Good.