Reflection on Simplicity and Life: Gandhi & Thoreau

November 15, 2009 - 2:30 pm 13 Comments

A Reflection on Simplicity and Life
” the Great soul, Mahatma Gandhi once commented on the pace of Western life with these words-He said:There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

I agree. There is more to life that all the rush and push and fast talk we seem to have to endure… There is more to life than all the endless mental gymnastics and endless chatter of “he said, she said”… There is more to life that all the running around, all the spending of energy, time and effort on maintaining an image in the culture; or spending more and more time with red tape while doing less with the time and energy that really matters. Why not learn to slow down, to simplify, and give quietness a chance to teach you about truly listening and tuning in? Why not simplify and give a sense of peace a chance to show us how it is that we should live?
Thoreau is still the one who said this best. In his reflection on how and where I live he made this statement:
To effect the quality of each day, that is the highest of the arts. Every [man] is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of contemplation …
Still, we live meanly, like ants… like pygmies we fight with cranes… Our lives are frittered away by details. An honest man has hardly need to count more than ten fingers or in extreme cases, he may add his ten toes… and lump the rest! Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, not as a hundred or a thousand. Instead of a million, count a half a dozen and keep those accounts on your thumbnail… Simplify, Simplify!
Reduce all other things into their proper proportion…
Simplicity in life leads to an elevation of its purpose.

A collection of advice from Thoreau on simplicity:
Believe, that you do not have to live out the endless days your lives in quiet desperation; You do have choices. You need not sacrifice your life to make a living. You have within you to achieve something more satisfying than wasting your energies acquiring things… You can, if you will, imbibe in the beauty of nature, the meaning of the universe… You can start living now, instead of tomorrow or next year… Simplify, Simplify, simplify!

FROM WALDEN SOUNDS
For I cannot sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or the hands. I love a broad margin to my life…
A [ man] must find occasions in himself… Follow your genius closely enough, and it will not fail to show you a fresh prospect( a new perspective) every hour ( of each day.)

SOLITUDE

Society is commonly too cheap. We meet at very short intervals, not having the time to acquire any new value for each other. We meet at meals, 3X a day, and manage to give each other only another taste of the same , old moldy cheese that we are.
We live thick and are in each other’s way; we stumble over each other and I think that we lose some respect for one another

WHERE I LIVE

To effect the quality of each day, that is the highest of the arts. Every [man] is tasked to make his life , even in its details, worthy of contemplation …
Still, we live meanly, like ants… like pygmies we fight with cranes… Our lives are frittered away by details. An honest man has hardly need to count more than ten fingers or in extreme cases, he may add his ten toes… and lump the rest! Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity!
I say, let your affairs be as two or three, not as a hundred or a thousand. Instead of a million, count a half a dozen and keep those accounts on your thumbnail… Simplify, Simplify! Reduce all other things into proportion… Simplicity in life leads to an elevation of its purpose.
Why should we live with such hurry and waste of life? We are determined to be starved before we are hungry. … I perceive that we inhabitants (of New England) of this society live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate [beyond] the surface of things. We think that what is that what appears to be…
In eternity there is indeed something deep, and true, and sublime. But all these times and places and occasions are now and here… Let us spend our lives conceiving of them- be it life or death, we crave only its realities.

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