Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Simple Life

Misty Mountains

Our lives run through the world like white water rapids, fast and furious. Focused solely on the end goal, and never noticing the calm and serenity of the shores on either side. If ever you decide to step on to the shore and observe, then you will realize that this world is bat shit crazy.

There is nothing wrong with having goals and living a fast paced life. Having goals and striving to achieve them gives a purpose to life, leading to happiness. However, the path to achieving these goals should not be at the expense of others. By others, it doesn’t mean just your fellow human beings, but the entire eco system that surrounds us. If the price of your success is the destructions of your fellow man, then that is not real success at all.

Sadly the situation is such in the world that success at any cost has become a necessity. Resources available for our consumption are limited and dwindling day by day. Competition to acquire these limited resources is fierce. There are many people out there who are unable even to satisfy their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. On the other hand, our levels of satisfaction have also increased. Now it is not just about satisfying our need, but pursuing our wants as well. Our materialistic possessions have become the standards to which our lives are measured. So it is natural that people will want to have more of these materialistic possessions, sometimes by any means necessary.

The idea of simple living covers several different voluntary practices to simplify one’s lifestyle. It is characterized by the fact that individuals are satisfied by their needs, rather than their wants. This doesn’t mean that one has to be an ascetic. An ascetic life is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various form of worldly pleasure, often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals. This can be considered as an extreme form of simple living. It is also not forced poverty, because it’s a voluntary life style. The basic idea of simple living is to control oneself so that satisfying your needs and wants doesn’t lead to a harmful existence to yourself and others.

The following are some common reasons why people opt for a simple living lifestyle.

  • Spirituality

  • Health

  • Increase in “quality time” with family and friends

  • Reducing their personal ecological footprint

  • Stress reduction

  • Personal taste

  • Frugality

  • Socio-political goals aligned with the anti-consumerist movement

  • Conservation

  • De-growth

  • Social justice

  • Ethnic diversity

  • Sustainable development

There are several ways to achieve a state of simple living. The following can be considered as the main ones.

Reducing expenditure, income and possessions
Reduce expenditure on goods and services, in doing so it is possible to live on less income, to reduce income and the time spent on earning money. This time saved can be used in other ways, like spending with family and friends.

Unfortunately the present prices of even the basic commodities are high, and to people need higher incomes to survive.

Increasing self-sufficiency
Simply put, grow your own food. Self-sufficiency will reduce dependency on money and the economy. Although a large plot of land will produce more crops, pot gardens and miniature indoor greenhouses can also provide fresh home grown fruit and vegetables for city dwellers.

Not everybody can do this. To make it successful, you have to love gardening in the first place. Otherwise you won’t have the patience or the interest to grow your own food.

Reconsidering technology
Some technology can help you to live simply. Some people see the Internet as a key component of simple living in the future, including the reduction of an individual's carbon footprint through telecommuting and less reliance on paper.

Simplifying diet
Eat food with nutrition value, and give up junk food. If you want to take it further, become a vegan.

You don’t have to do all of these, or go to extreme forms of simple living. First, take an analytical look into you lifestyle see what are the unimportant things that you can give up. Then you can start to reduce them and finally eliminate them. This will ultimately help you lead a stress free and happy life.


Source: Wikipedia

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