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By Brianna Wiest
Learn to like what doesn’t cost much. Those are the things worth your time. You can buy your way into things and places, but you can’t actually buy the experience of them. It’s not what you do, it’s what you perceive. A meaningful life isn’t how often you can saturate your senses, but how you grow to think of even the simplest, most unassuming daily things.
Learn to like reading, whatever it is you like to read. Learn to like talking and people, even when they’re not the same as you. Learn that truths can coexist. That’s the one thing that will set you free in this world.
Learn to like simple foods and cooking them. Learn to like fields, trees, camping, walking, fires, watching the day break and end. Learn to like writing and burning candles on rainy summer early evenings. Learn to like clean linens and washing dishes and hot baths and drinking water and long meandering drives.
Learn to keep your needs simple and your wants small.
Learn to breathe deeply. To taste food when you eat it, to sleep deeply when you sleep. When you laugh, let it carry on until you’re sweating and out of breath. When you get angry, get really angry, just let things burn through you. The less you push these things away, the less they come out in inappropriate and debilitating ways. It’s not anger or the sadness that controls you, it’s the resistance of it that keeps them tucked in their place in your soul.
Learn to let negative thoughts drift back to where they came from – nowhere.
Do the things that are effortless. Let them be effortless. Find love that’s effortless. You’ll be instructed to believe that success comes from grueling, soul-bending hard work, but that’s more something we impose on ourselves because letting effortless things also be successful ones makes them feel unmerited. That’s how we create problems where there are none.
Decide to keep nothing but what is meaningful and purposeful. When you cycle and circle around your space, touching, seeing and using only things that evoke a feeling of security, purpose, meaning, joy… your everyday life becomes grounded in happiness. When there’s not enough to make a mess, no more than you can clean and wash and handle, everything feels settled.
Complexity is often the easiest choice. It’s easy to let ourselves get wound up and bound down to the ways we let our thoughts and fears run narratives into story-lines into realities we live out.
Simplicity is difficult because it requires clean thinking. It’s the long, hard way to a cleansed perception (that is: not shadowed by conditioning, or negative thoughts.) But it’s yours, and yours always. You can keep all of one hundred belongings for the rest of your life, and every one of them will be used, broken, replaced, taken, thrown out, rendered obsolete. But your perception of how meaningful and useful those temporary things were, how much you appreciated and enjoyed them, that’s yours. And that is what choosing a life rooted in simplicity does: makes the ordinary miraculous.
People like to make big claims of what will bring you happiness. And happiness, in some form, is what we’re all seeking, even if we don’t place that word on it. Stability, love, money. Happy psychology, the phenomenon of the last 25+ years, has come about really for the fact that we pioneered a country for the sake of unbridled, radical happiness: religious liberation, freedom, democracy.
Yet, these things, these houses that hold us and companies we run, these relationships we fail at because we’re constantly expecting them to be more –the desire to max out pleasure – has not made us happier.
Because we have not changed how we think – and that’s the only real change that ever happens, because it’s the basis of how we feel. The magnitude of one’s life is directly parallel to how deep their perception of it is. Your life grows as you do. What you experience is a reflection of what you are.
Do not forget that you do not have forever to do this, to change this.
It’s easy to let another day, week, month, year slip by, letting yourself keep seeking the light in people and money and more and more and more. It’s easier to spend that time seeking the light in yourself because you think that’s the right thing to do. You don’t find the light – the ability to perceive – because you already are it. The work is getting rid of everything that stands in the way.