Geneva, Switzerland - I love what is simple. It reminds me of the bareness and majesty of Zen monasteries - of the beauty of peaceful gardens and creative art.
Simplicity gives me space to do what I really want to do.
It sets me free.
In daily life is makes things beautiful and usually easy and healthy! When we eat good and simple food the body can find the space and time to care for and heal itself.
And also, in spiritual terms, there is a space, a spiritual dimension, accessible to all, where joy is a limitless treasure and when you tap into this amazing richness, whenever you want, it can never diminish.
I would say from my relationship with him that God is both incredibly subtle and deep and yet also amazingly simple. And living with this presence brings to one’s life a sense of contentment that prevails independently from physical riches. It is conducive to the conscious choice of simple living, creating a natural harmonious attitude to life.
Teaching meditation for over 30 years to people from many walks of life I have often felt very surprised at some people’s mindset regarding opulence and scarcity. I have observed that many individuals living in opulence still have a very anxious sense of fear regarding scarcity. And this equation of simplicity = poverty and scarcity is not far from many people’s subconscious minds.
To many, simplicity often feels too simple, not attractive or not sophisticated enough.
In my experience one of the worse things to deal with in life are complications. And fear of complications. It can even become an inner habit or attitude.
Whether they are the result of past or present challenges, when facing these complications you always wonder about all the different parameters and circumstances you have to take into account. And, also, you never really feel satisfied with the solutions you find. No matter how hard you try to please everyone, think ahead, or manage sensitive issues, the result often feels like something could go wrong, that people might not appreciate the thinking and the work you put into things and there is always something else they might be expecting you to have thought about.
When you need to find ways to deal with all these uncomfortable or difficult things, simplicity is often the easy way out. But simplicity is not just a default position. It can and should come out of the sense of fullness and plenty that exists in nature. In this way my simplicity allows others to have a better and fairer share. It means that I do not contribute to the overexploitation of resources thus leaving the earth bare.
Also, when living in voluntary simplicity due to feeling plentiful, one feels happy to be in harmony with nature and glad to enjoy nature’s amazing simplicity. Then one starts finding one’s sense of joy from resonating with appreciation and gratitude - i.e. being in a space of inner satisfaction, at which point one’s whole relationship with the earth, people and nature changes. There is elegance in justice. And living in a sense of fairness and harmony with nature then brings a sweet resonance to my life… Desires and the feelings of neediness, expectation and comparisons might be very good for business and marketing but are not very compatible with inner joy and harmony. Being in the constant race of fulfilling one’s own and other people’s needs and cravings creates in the mind and spirit an endless stress and anxiety to attain and obtain all the things that are supposed to bring pleasure and satisfaction - but this kind of inner attitude is definitely not conducive to a state of fulfilment.
It is for each one of us to find his or her sense of inner contentment and harmony and in my experience simplicity is often at the heart of this inner work.
Valériane Bernard is the UN Representative of Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University