“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 thumbnail.”

― Henry David Thoreau

We live in a seriously complicated world where, everything is entangled like a ball of wool, which makes it uncomfortable to thrive in. Global market, technology, complex relationships and various other forces work out there, to increase human wants, which eventually leads to a complicated life style. The unavoidable conundrum here is that more the opportunities and facilities are, more complicated the life is; the very technology invented to improve the living standards has unnoticeably and irreversibly made the life more complicated. Nevertheless it is not totally avoidable. So, we are basically entrapped in a world of complications. In fact, that is why we should occasionally step out of this mess and let the selves relax. The growing complexities could cause distress and anxiety otherwise.

World Simplicity Day, celebrated on 12 July, hence, is very crucial as it promotes awareness and practices towards a simple living. The day honours and commemorates the life and work of American philosopher, writer, and proponent of simple living, Henry David Thoreau. He has written several books around the subject, of which the most popular book is Walden which is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. He was born on 12 July 1817.

“Children, old people, vagabonds laugh easily and heartily: they have nothing to lose and hope for little. In renunciation lies a delicious taste of simplicity and deep peace” says Matthieu Ricard, the Tibetan monk, who is considered to be the world’s happiest person. He doesn’t have many belongings, doesn’t use much technology and isn’t bothered by anyone’s business as he lives away from the crowds. It’s not only hm. Most of the happy and stress-free people in the world are leading simpler lives. Ergo, if you feel that it is impossible to lead simple lives in the modern day, let me tell you, it is not difficult as you think. All you need is to practice it. There are pretty basic and simple ways to kick start your simple living and here they are!

Get away from the technology

The computers, phones, internet and all sorts of electronic gadgets in a way have make the communication and life efficient but at the same time are causing distress. Too many superficial relationships, maintaining personalities on social media and so on burden our minds in ways we don’t think of. So getting away from them for a while is always a good choice. Just set voicemail, turn of your devices and see.

Get into nature

Nature is the best venue to learn simplicity. Henry David Thoreau, himself spent many years in woods while developing his ideology of simple living. Nature teaches us to live with the minimal and be contended with it. Observe a bird that flies down and catches a warm, satisfy and sing with joy. Exposing oneself to nature, in fact, can heal many diseases and re-establish mental equilibrium.

Admire little things

Try to admire the tiny things you come across with it. If there’s a good amount of sun, go out and enjoy its warmth. If it rains, make yourself cosy inside and feel the soothing coldness of raindrops while listening to its music. Celebrate when a flower blooms in your newly brought plant and admire how beautiful it is. In the same code, when someone just hugs you and wish a happy birthday without any present, admire how lovely and warm the hug despite worrying about presents. Eventually, this practice will make you able to easily be happy.

Reduce consumption

Over consumption can bring about many issues and make the life complicated. Ergo, list out the essential and basic things you need in your life and prevent impulsive buying. Work out on a balanced, simple eating pattern. Also, try following simple recipes that are not particularly time consuming to reduce the amount of energy necessary for cooking. Then, you can avoid many complications related over consumption and maintain a good economic status. Add to that a good diet always has health benefits too.

Going simple will save energy, time and money also. Since, then, people have enough time and do not need to worry over the superfluous social-media relationships, one can connect deeply with their beloved ones and create stronger bonds which promotes mental health. Especially, in the present context of Sri Lanka, leading a simple life can be really beneficial and thoughtful as the on-going crisis will go on for some more time. Simplicity would answer the scarcity of fuel, gas and other goods as well as heal the souls amidst these trying times.

By Induwara Athapattu