Make 2019 the year of simplicity, so that all may live better
- Kamran Mofid
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May you find joy in the simple pleasures of life and may the light of the holiday season fill your heart with the hope for a better world.
In this season of light and hope, we wish to give thanks for the best of the gifts life has to offer, which is: The Gift of Friendship. Thank you for being a part of our global family and embodying the vision of what it means to be for the common good with us. Thank you for all your support, assisting us to uphold the values of the GCGI. Thank you for who you are and what you do.
...And now, are you still in search of a new year resolution? Why not Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity?
“Nature is what we know - yet have not art to say – so impotent our wisdom is to her simplicity” ~Emily Dickinson
As it has been observed, again and again, by many around the world, in all and every culture, civilisations and faiths, we live in times of unprecedented evolution. Technology is accelerating at a pace our minds and bodies can’t keep up with. Our world is becoming more and more materialistic by the day. Consumerism has embraced all aspects of our lives, who we are and what we do; what we value and what our worth has become to be.
We are swimming in possessions, but are still not satisfied. Our ancestors would probably scoff at the amount of gadgets we carry today, though we genuinely believe that each of those has an important function in our daily life.
Moreover, in our effort to advance, we’re moving towards more complexity at unsurpassed speed. Complexity clouds our thoughts and impairs our inner vision. And with more complexity, more and more of us are yearning for simplicity. We want to move at a pace that feels right for us—that allows us to catch our breath and enjoy the ride.
However, while change is an inevitable part of life and evolution, complexity isn’t. We can live in simpler ways and at a slower pace.
And when I think of this, the words of Henry David Thoreau come to mind:
“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.”
In today’s era of overlapping ecological, economic, moral, spiritual and cultural crises, Thoreau’s wisdom is more relevant than ever before. As well as providing early insight into the destructive and oppressive nature of many processes of industrialisation, he also warns us of the self-imposed slavery that can flow from mindlessly dedicating one’s life to the never-ending pursuit of consumerism and materialistic life, the never ending desire of having and owning ‘nice/awesome things’.
If nothing else, Thoreau’s life and work serve as a fiery, poetic reminder that there are alternative, simpler ways to live – ways which are far freer and indeed more fulfilling than those governed by consumerist values and practices. Thoreau’s message, in short, is that a simple life is a good life, and in our age of ecological overshoot, this is a message deserving of our closest attention.
All in all, and cutting a very long story short, one wonders ‘how many human enterprises and noble causes have failed due to unnecessary complications. We need to simplify our thoughts, simplify our words, and simplify our actions. We need to avoid falling into circular mental rumination, pointless chatter, and vain activities that waste our precious time and engender all kinds of dysfunctional situations.
Having a simple mind is not the same as being simple-minded. Simplicity of mind is reflected in lucidity, inner strength, buoyancy, and a healthy contentment that withstands the tribulations of life with a light heart. Simplicity reveals the nature of the mind behind the veil of restless thoughts. It reduces the exacerbated feeling of self-importance and opens our heart to genuine altruism.’
I’d like to share with you my take on simplicity from life and nature’s perspective and what it means to us today:
According to a recent report by Ofcom: “Most people in the UK are dependent on their digital devices and need a constant connection to the internet.” It found that 78% of us now own a smartphone – rising to 95% of 16- to 24-year-olds. We check these phones on average every 12 minutes of our waking lives, with 54% of us feeling that the devices interrupt our conversations with friends and family, and 43% of us feeling that we spend too much time online. We can’t relax with them, and we don’t know how to relax without them. Seven in 10 of us never turn them off."
The clinical psychologist Rachel Andrew says she sees the problem every day in her consulting room, and it is getting worse. “I’ve noticed a rise in my practice, certainly over the last three to five years, of people finding it increasingly difficult to switch off and relax. And it’s across the lifespan, from age 12 to 70,” she says. The same issues come up again and again: technology, phones, work emails and social media.
So, what the answer might be? The answer to these unfolding global crises to my mind is really very simple. It is what Henry David Thoreau told us all those years ago: Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!
Thus, let us come together and Make 2019 the year of Simplicity, so that all may live better
Have you ever stopped and thought about what this life is all about? Have you ever asked yourself questions such as these: How fast is your life moving? Do you ever wish you could slow it down? Ever wish you had a few more hours in the day so you could get everything done you need to get finished? What if, instead of always trying to do more, we slowed down a little and embraced a slower paced life. What if we didn’t try to do everything, but slowed down and concentrated only on the things that are truly valuable and important to us.
We’re discovering the big meaning of simplicity in our lives. In the past, there were times when no one wanted simplicity. Few people had enough, stimulation was in short supply, dull routine was the norm. Simplicity could look like deprivation, boredom or lack of opportunity. Now it’s so different. We’ve got too much to do, we’re constantly assailed by demands and offers, we’re brought up against too much complexity all the time. We’re realising we positively need simplicity: it’s a guide to a better life.
And finally, all said and done, to my mind, striving for simplicity, practicing gratitude, compassion and an authentic pride (as opposed to hubris) in pursuing our goals and resolutions, binds you to others, and in so doing, makes certain that we will look back on 2019 not only as a year where we reached a personal goal, but also made a difference in the lives of those around us.
Simplicity is in short supply. We need a lot more of it.
"Simplicity is the sign of mastery. You’ve not avoided the difficulties, you’ve solved them. And then everything falls neatly (and with apparent ease) into place. True work, we might say, is making the simple feel easy."
"When we say we’d love a simple life, part of what we’re saying is we’d like to be confident enough to have a simple life, confident not to mind the sarcasm and judgements of others. Simplicity is the opposite of pretension, where we must pretend we are more than we are in order to please others; here we can take the risk of being very minimal, sure that we don’t need the approval of the crowd."