“Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify, simplify! … Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.”
– Henry David Thoreau
It is a good question whether modern society has led to an improvement in living standards. We have an unprecedented level of material prosperity, but often it seems to come at the price of increased complexity and stress. However, there is no reason why we cannot have the best of both worlds; taking advantage of modern technology and enjoying the simplicity of living in the present moment. If you feel life is too stressful and complicated these are some tips to simplify your life.
Give Priority to the essentials of life.
Sometimes we can allow small problems to escalate and dominate our lives. If we get overcharged a few cents, it is irritating, but don’t allow it to ruin your day. There will always be small issues to irritate us, the secret is to be able to give them the importance they deserve. The essentials of life is cultivating happiness; if small unimportant things overwhelm us, then we will not be able to enjoy life as it should be.
Don’t Worry about Pleasing everyone.
If you try to please everyone, you will undoubtedly fail, plus you will not make yourself happy. Consider what is the right thing to do, rather than what other people expect you to do. Don’t feel guilty if people are disappointed with how you act and choose. It is not your responsibility to please their unreasonable expectations.
Happiness is not Found is fulfilling All Desires
It is a useful exercise, to write down how many desires and wishes that we have. If we are honest, we will find the list to be very long. Often it involves a hope that other people will behave in a certain way. Alternatively, we think that if we can gain greater financial security all our problems will dissipate. However, fulfilling all our desires is not the way to gain happiness. The fulfillment of all desires is inevitably impossible and creates a sense of frustration because we cannot get what we want. Instead, minimise the list of desires and be content with what we have.
Don’t listen to the fears of the mind.
It is our own mind that can create fears and complications in life. If we give importance to these self generated problems, life will feel complex and troublesome. Furthermore, most worries are based on false fears; simplify your life by suspending disbelief and anxiety. Live in the present moment, leave the problems of tomorrow for another day.
Life can feel like a never ending soap opera, there are always problems for us to deal with. Detachment doesn’t mean aloofness, detachment means we will offer service to others without expectation of reward or expectation of a certain outcome. Don’t feel personally responsible for other people’s lives. Do what you think is the right thing, but be detached from the outcome.
Avoid Unnecessary Conflict
If we value harmony in relationships, life will be immeasurably simpler. The nature of relationships with others, is that there is always the potential for getting involved in minor personality conflicts. Instead of arguing with others, we need to be detached and willing to be tolerant of others. If you feel disharmony with others, just try looking for some of their good qualities. If we can avoid conflict and argument life will be more simple.
” In the spiritual life, the higher we go, the deeper we go; the farther we go, the more we will see that Reality is only the song of simplicity and nothing else. The entire cosmic Game is extremely simple, but we look at it from a different angle in an obscure way. That is why we feel it is very complex, but everything is simple.”
– Sri Chinmoy 
Clear Out the Clutter
Don’t keep things just for the sake of it. To simplify life, it is important to simplify our material possessions. Keep what you need and throw away what you never use. Clearing out the clutter means you can be more organised and find things you need quicker, but another advantage is that if you have a simple and clutter free living environment it helps create an inner calmness. If we have mess in our living environment it is hard to appreciate the benefits of simple lifestyle.
Don’t Live in the Past
Life is simple if we can just live in the present moment. There are many reasons to regret the past and wish things had been done differently. But, what is done cannot be undone, we need to forget the mistakes of the past and consider what we can do now.
Quieten the Mind
To simplify our life, it is vital to be able to control our unruly thoughts and give them less prominence. Meditation is the most effective way to quieten the mind. Many thoughts that come through our mind are unnecessary and often useless. To have a clear and calm mind gives us a tremendous benefit. See: How To Control Your Thoughts
Don’t Let Technology Control You.
If you are at the beck and call of technology, you will always be hectic. We managed to live quite effectively before the invention of mobile phones and emails. By all means use them, but give them their proper place. Don’t be constantly bombarded by their demands.
photo by John Paul Gillespie