I rebooted my meditation practice for the 57th time last week and was reminded of the power of simplicity. We read quotes from great artists all the time celebrating the simple life as the ideal. We smile, imagine ourselves on a beach watching the waves crash in. We imagine not having to do anything.
At least that’s what I do. Which, of course, is all wrong.
Simplicity is about doing instead of thinking. It’s about consistent, deliberate action.
Simplicity is literally found in action.
Let’s consider examples from across life:
A simple mind isn’t dull, slow, or stupid. It’s responsive instead of reactive. It considers a longer timeline and wider perspective instead of only the immediate circumstances. Simple thinking is focused and so it is deeper and more nuanced.
Your anxious mind fights simplicity. It fights focus. It’s scared of not knowing more useless facts, not knowing the exact reason something happened, and uncertainty. This is our default mind. The only way to solve this is meditation.
When I was severely depressed I committed to meditating for 20 minutes each morning. I sat and watched my breath. It felt useless, sitting and not thinking. Then, after a week, my rumination was cut by at least 50% and my depression suddenly became just that much more bearable.
I am constantly hit by new research showing that they were wrong. That the thing they said was healthy is now going to kill me of cancer. I got really into brussel sprouts and then some scientist told me I couldn’t eat them anymore. Same thing with protein. Some study was just released that said high-protein diets cause cancer. They don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know all the different ways protein can be cooked. Maybe it’s just one cancerous cooking technique, not protein.
The thing is. You don’t need anymore information about health. You don’t.
You know exactly how you should be eating. Or, at least, you know when you mess it up big-time. Before you read another headline about GMOs or some book about how ancient people ate or what some lab-suit freak thinks about eating fix what you know should be fixed.
95% of the health issues in your life can be fixed by what you already know. Stop smoking, stop binge drinking, stop eating processed shit, stop eating fast-food, stop drinking soda, stop eating sugar… You know these things. You know you should be in the gym 4-5 times a week. You know you need more sleep, that sitting all day is killing you, that you shove shit in your mouth all day.
You know. Simplicity is acting on what you already know and not worrying about the last 5%.
This may be the single most complex areas of our lives. We have great expectations thanks to poems, movies, and T&A filled romance novel covers. We have distorted expectations. For our love relationships and the others.
There is no way two humans can be perfectly aligned on everything. There is no way someone will be able to read your mind every time.
All relationships can be simplified into this: give love.
This is for lovers mostly but also for business partners and clients.
Like they sing, “All You Need Is Love.”
“Love is all you need.”
Focusing on the petty things creates a petty relationship.
Focusing on the core issue creates a solid relationship.
4. Dreams & Goals
When you want something you have the option to move toward it.
It does’t need to make sense in abstraction. You don’t need to be convinced that you can achieve it. You don’t need some great amount of courage.
You certainly don’t need to have all your ducks in a row.
All you need to do is move towards it.
Every day take actions that push you in the direction you want to be. Consistent pulls all your ducks in a row, it creates courage in it’s wake, and it shows you whether it was actually your dream or somebody else’s that you adopted.
Grand plans always fall apart. Don’t wait.
Abstraction is the tragic hiding place for everyone who wants to be doing something different.
Thinking about it creates a complex logical argument for paralysis that can last a lifetime.
Action creates a simple (stupid-looking) proof that you are willing to move in the direction you want despite fear and uncertainty.
In all things, I hope you allow yourself to take the simple path before you look for more information.