Though the apartment had exquisite views and resided on a sleepy bougainvillea laden alley, it has less of the trappings and supplies than I was used to at home. However, I can recall that all throughout the stay, I kept marveling at how content I was with what I had in that apartment. I managed in the kitchen without a hitch and made everything work. I was profoundly aware that I could live with less and that when I got home, I would be doing some serious purging of my belongings. This simplicity was intoxicating and I longed to bring that taste of simpler living home with me. The children were thrilled with their simpler surroundings and I realized it was possible to live with less.
If there is anything that trips us up in life, it's all the clutter we put in our path: unhealthy attachments and relationships, pain-producing beliefs, fears, anxiety, desires and physical stuff. This clutter can truly confuse and trouble our journey and purpose in life.
The Hebrew word for simplicity is histap'kut. It is drawing contentment from less. Living with less possessions is only one path to simplicity. The concept of non-hoarding is something that can be applied to many areas of our lives. For each one of us, it is identifying the "clutter" that we need to let loose in order to have a lighter load. I've often heart the quote, "travel light, live light." If our journey is to take us anywhere, we need to let go of the things that weigh us down unnecessarily. It spoils the journey and takes away our energy.
Practice this simple meditation to help you to become aware of how you can simplify your life and let go of unnecessary and/or unhealthy aspects in your life: whether they are relationships, possessions, commitments, beliefs, or feelings.
(Note: For more information on meditative techniques, see the source Jewish Meditation by Aryeh Kaplan.)
Find a comfortable seat in a quiet place. Close your eyes. Breathing in slowly, allow your stomach to completely inflate which in turn helps your lungs to competely inflate. As you exhale, gently pull your stomach in, squeezing all the air out of your lungs. Deep breathing brings oxygen to your brain and helps clear the mind. Continue breathing until you feel relaxed and feel little or no distractions. Let the noises around you, no matter how small, filter out. Focus on your breath.
Continue breathing and choose a focus where you know you feel cluttered.
- your home (material possessions, yard, etc..)
- your finances
Once you have found a focal point, allow this meditative phrase to linger in the background of your mind.
A plain and simple life is a full life. --Mishlei 13:7
Continue slowly inhaling and exhaling and analyze in your mind how it is a hindrance. Assess how you can simplify this aspect of your life, either through reorganization, reprioritization, elimination, or taking a break. Carefully focus on only one bullet point above during a meditation until you feel you have clarity on how to employ measures to simplify this area.
The goal is to create an awareness of the areas in your life that need simplicity. If you properly focus during meditation and allow yourself to dig deeply into your life and employ simplistic measures, over time you will achieve a higher level of simplicity in your life. This simplicity will not only aid in your journey and purpose, but allow your light of Mashiach to shine more brightly to those around you.