Principled Simplicity

What do we do when we fall sick? Of course, we could visit the doctor and get a lengthy prescription of powerful drugs that hold the promise of relief from the illness or better still, cure us completely so that we may resume our normal activities.

Ever wondered what we would do if we got sick of living our lives? Sick from the daily stress, from irate clients and bosses to traffic jams that last an eternity, from losses in business to strained relationships, stock market eccentricities and global regression to fast food fads and fashion must-haves, soaring oil and gas prices to corrupt politics, the list is endless. So, do we have a prescription for this kind of sickness, one miracle dose that would relieve or cure us of all these ills; real or imagined as they may be.

Well, even if there was one such cure to a life free from these pressures then, who holds the secret formula? A good bet would be the sage who has renounced worldly comfort to live in the mountains or the happy man in a family commercial who has insured everything from his Mercedes to a chipped toenail and smiles content from his hammock, holidaying in Honolulu. Perhaps, they could give the directions to a stress free life; or is the proverbial key to a happy and content life actually, a real key to a locker in the Swiss bank? Or could it just be the latest mobile phone cum personal computer which has every conceivable accessory and feature to run your whole life from your fingertips, that would make your life perfect forever, well, at least until the battery runs out.

It's hard to tell, especially in a world where stress and complexity is more the norm than an option. It's neither accidental nor incidental but omnipresent and omnipotent. Like God, you may ask, so, no one has actually seen God, yet many have different forms for Him and believe that faith in him would solve their problems. So it is with complexity and voracity, people believe these attributes are essential for survival and that a religious obedience to them would provide for their needs.

Scores of people over centuries, including psychologists, sociologists, economists to spiritual gurus, lifestyle experts and the likes of them have attempted to play the game of seek and find through observation, logic or even divine intervention, to know the real and somewhat elusive answer to true contentment in life. What's more, they have taken the trouble or rather the intellectual liberty to delve into the recesses of intricate human nature and behaviour to come up with more complex theories and concepts to decipher fairly simple actions of ours, like for instance why we think.

To you and me, thoughts and thinking are almost a natural state of being. Like the famous quote goes; “I think therefore I am”, which makes us quite like philosophers, if we would like to believe. But to the scientists and the psychologists, the human mind and its thoughts is quite like Disneyland with emotions taking rollercoaster rides and impulses zipping through neurons and a plethora of other fancy mechanisms and processes that go into creating a single thought. And to make sure they don't get lost like Alice in this wonderland; they have even mapped it, so they know where the spark originated, where it's headed and to take it a step further even predict your possible response. All this while we regard no mapping system as valid, other than the GPS and it's ‘oh so cool' characteristics, almost oblivious to the real big thing inside our own heads.

Given a hundred daily activities and aspects of your life, and you would either want to change or simplify ninety of them. We spend a good measure of our time complaining about how good life could be if, it were just a little less complex.

So, let's postpone, at least temporarily, the search for happiness and contentment. We will leave that to the movie makers, who unlike their relatively dull academic counterparts, bring stories alive on screen, that explore this inevitable human pursuit in more colorful ways, to an attention deficit populace that thrives on entertainment and not research. Let's instead wander, and by wander, I do not mean an aimless ramble in the woods of our imagination, but a purposeful stride on the road of practicality, in the quest for a more fundamental answer. A way out, to free ourselves from the pressures of living life like it was some frenzied balancing act, by getting safeguards for every expensive or valuable addition, so we would not lose it and become unhappy again.

Why complain and fret about life's complexities and the challenges to overcome them, when we knew just what to do all along. The answer went unseen and disregarded as it was too simple. And, it was Simplicity itself.

Simplicity can mean different things to different people. To the rich man, although he finds it difficult to even comprehend a word like simplicity, he may have been forced, most often under his doctor's strict orders to reduce his flamboyant lifestyle of excesses if he wished to live long enough to enjoy his riches. The holy men on the other extreme take on this virtue in its highest form, with a complete abstinence from luxuries of every kind. But what does simplicity really mean to the common man. To the one who is caught between desire and necessity, to the one who has to make choices and works hard to rise above the simple lifestyle of barely enough to more than enough, in order to survive in the furiously competitive world.
Is it really so hard to be simple, one may doubt. After all, with economic recessions and global shortages of basic resources, it does not seem impossible and we would probably be forced to eventually succumb to living the simple life. But most often, people take the narrow and dark bypasses of ignorance following the extreme paths by masking their attempts at simplicity under claims of self-martyrdom, sacrifice and compromise instead of taking the broader and more enlightened road of true simplicity that leads to realization and contentment. Embracing simplicity whether partially or totally can bring about unprecedented changes and make a positive difference to one's life. These basic tenets of prudent and conscious consumption, making safer and wiser choices, economic and ecological awareness and above all the individual's personal growth occupy a prime place in one's quest to a simpler and saner lifestyle.

Acharya Vinoba Bhave
Anna and Periyar
Baba Amte & Dalia Lama Bahá'u'lláh- founder of the Bahá'í Faith
Buddha C.Achuthamenon
Confucius Dr.Radhakrishnan
Ems.Naboothiripad Gulzarilal Nanda
Guru Gobind Singh Guru Nanak
Jesus Dr. APJ Abdul kalam
Kamarajar Lee Kuan Yew
Abraham Lincoln Mahakavi Bharathiar
Mahatma Gandhiji Mahavir
Martin Luther King Jr Medha Padkar & Aruna Roy
Mother Teresa Muhammad Yunus
Nelson Mandela Sharada devi & Sri Rama Krishna Paramahamsar
sr Iaurobindo Einstein and Rabindranath Tagore
Vallabhai Patel Vallalar
Valluvar Vedatri Mahirshi
Swami Vivekananda
The above are the greatest men and women in the history of the planet. They may be different by their race, religion, colour, nation and language. But they were all ONE and the SAME in leading a simple life and were indeed personification of a great virtue called SIMPLICITY. What about you ? Join today right now the Principled Simplicity Movement and spread the fragrance of living and leading a simple life …………………!
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