Author Topic: Living Simply  (Read 2524 times)


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Living Simply
« on: February 11, 2009, 07:20:48 PM »
Lately, my current friend and I have been working on a space for the both of us.  We both like an uncluttered "Zen" atmosphere.  But, just try and let go of the stuff accumulated from our lives.  Not being able to let go of things brings up many interesting ideas of who we imagine we are and how we define ourselves.  It seems like as much a practice, maybe an even more practical one, than sitting on the cushion.

I found this page on the web about people trying to live simply and pasted one story that resonated strongly for me.

by Deena Metzger

The changes in my life have been modest, but serious. And each day, I look for something small that I can do in my environment. I live at the end of a dirt road in one of the only remaining rural canyons near Los Angeles. I once lived in a four bedroom house, but this cottage has four small rooms. They are sufficient. I work in my home. My office - I am a psychotherapist as well as a writer - is also the living room and kitchen. I think most of the healing occurs when my clients come up and walk on the land before or after their appointments. It is exceedingly important for the spirit when one sees a bobcat or listens to the yip of coyotes. Any encounter with life heals.

I don't have a television. After my fourth car radio was stolen in one year, I gave up car radios. I order the air edition of the New York Times because it has the least advertising and is the thinnest of the decent papers. I don't get a Sunday paper. I feel passionate about the compost pile and about recycling. I like buying used clothes - it also limits the number of stores I visit when shopping. This year I'm installing solar power for heating water, and putting the gray water into the garden. I use a wood-burning stove for most heat and plant at least two trees a year for each one I've burned. (Watching a fire is far more engaging than television.) In these days of drought, I make certain the wild creatures have water. The fruit trees are also for the birds.

Recently, I read an article which said that sun flares interfered with psychics' ability to see. The clutter of modern life interferes in the same way with our ability to see, to be connected to the spirit. Though I know this, I don't always have time to meditate or to walk. Those days I feel as if I've forgotten everything, have lost myself, have fallen into density. Everything I don't buy is a gift to myself. Every unessential task which I avoid is an offering to my life and the lives of others.

Last year, I married a couple, was present at a birth, led a client through her death. I saw a shift in my work from psychotherapist to minister. My work was coming closer to being essential. Of course, in order to be with these people in this way, I had to give up much professional posturing; something simpler is required. I go toward it eagerly. Simplicity and being present are twin stars.

I do not pretend to live a life yet of integrity, but I do aspire in that direction. A life in which each gesture cuts through all the layers of existence cleanly, in which heart, politics, spirit, and land are attended in the economy of a single movement. I find that business and affluence are terrible shackles; I cut each link in those chains with relief.

Deena Metzger lives, works and writes in Southern California. Her most recent book is What Dinah Thought.
The best type of meditation is the one that you'll do


Re: Living Simply
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2009, 10:24:53 AM »
Hi Joey,

Excellent post, that also resonates strongly with me too.  I completely agree with what you say about the practical side of practice too, I definitely learn more in everyday life than I do on the cushion.

It seems that dharma life leads inexorably in this direction - simplify life, consume less, live in a small space etc.  I'm in the process of downsizing, the goal being to live in the smallest house possible (minimizing both running costs and my consumption of the world's resources).  Once I do that I'm aiming to find a different job that pays less than the one I do now but enables me to live with integrity, hopefully it will be something outdoors and related to nature.  Its going to take time because I can't just uproot my family and go, but the whole process of doing this is a rich learning experience anyway.  There seem to be a lot of people doing this type of thing, who knows perhaps we are seeing the beginning of the end of the consumer society, I really hope so.

Please will you keep us updated on how your uncluttering goes?  I think its an excellent idea, and I'm sure the process will be a rich experience.


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