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How to Find Simplicity in a Complicated World
Page 2: What's Really Important?

Remembering the essence is the first step in welcoming simplicity into your life. Staying in the moment and doing whatever you're doing is the next. The instant your mind starts calculating the potential outcomes of your actions (often imagining impending disaster), you start adding unnecessary stress to your life. You also add stress when you mentally judge your actions - "I'm not getting this done quickly enough!" or "This will never please my boss-husband-mother." The truth is that you are doing the best you can at any given moment. If you really aren't doing the best you can, there's an easy solution to that - do the best you can! If you can't do any better, you're already doing your best and there's no need for an internal dialogue about it. Just keep on going along and accept it.

(Article continued below.)

So focus on the task at hand. Don't project into the future or linger in past memories. Be here now - that's another way to bring simplicity into your life. Zen monks have used this technique for ages and they're famous for their longevity and stress-free lives. Not all of them live cloistered in hilltop monasteries anymore, either. For all you know, you may be in line with one the next time to go to the supermarket. After all, they've got to eat, too.

Once you've given yourself some breathing room by bringing yourself back to basics - living in the moment and remembering why you're here - you can really enjoy the most delightful aspect of simplicity: taking time for the important things in life. You probably already know that by important we don't mean getting that big promotion or being able to afford that shiny new car. The smell of freshly made pancakes on a Sunday morning - that's important. Giving the neighbor's friendly cat a scratch behind the ears... playing ball with your dog... listening to your child's latest adventure - that one's very important. The soft feel of a mohair sweater is important too. The way the earth smells after a rainstorm and the sight of the puffy clouds moving away - if you miss that you're really cheating yourself. All these things (and you can surely come up with a few thousand more) don't just add richness to your life - they're necessary if you really want to live. In this complicated, overstuffed world, we all too often starve our souls. And the best way to feed our souls is by learning how to live within simplicity.

Back to the Beginning >> The Need for Simplicity

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