“If we know how to consume less, we don’t have to work as hard; we don’t need a bigger salary and a more expensive car to be happy. If we know the art of simple living, then we have much more time to live our lives happily and to help other people.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Answers from the Heart
I love that quote. The “art of simple living” just sounds more relaxing even before you start to live it! It makes me think of my “big TV buying” episode.
A few years ago we decided to get a new TV. I spent about a month scouring internet forums, reading reviews, agonising over which was the best TV to get. It nearly drove me mad. Seriously. I had to make the right decision. It seemed like the most important thing in the world.
Eventually, after many, many painful hours or research, the decision was made, and the big new flat-screen TV arrived.
Then I spent weeks (as I used to whenever anything new arrived) agonising over protecting it from damage, in this case from visiting kids for example, who would slap greasy hands on it!
Eventually, within about 18 months, the TV fell into disuse – after our son was born we had little time for watching TV – and eventually we just lost all interest in it. After a year of not having used it once, we decided that the big black empty panel in our living room wasn’t very pretty, and we gave the TV away to a relative last May.
All that agonising for nothing.
I’ve worked out that my life is much easier without too many new things, and the constant mind-bending search for them. The art of simple living…
Nothing beats a walk outside, or a quiet cup of tea.
5 thoughts on “The Art of Simple Living”
I enjoyed the comparison of two points in the past and how differently you felt at each moment about the same TV. Reflecting on that change seems to be part of the process of learning the “art of simple living.” That art comes as much through experiences and reflections like your own as it does through reading Hanh’s beautiful prose.
Yes, I learnt an awful lot from that TV (but not much from watching it!), I should be thankful for it I suppose!
I’ve recently started to receive and enjoy your “being happiness” e-mails,Ben; I have been receiving free help from you for some time with my Spanish !
I’d just like to say “power to your elbow”, you’re doing a great job in both camps. Tremendous respect to both you and your wife for what comes across as a caring,spiritual,mature attitude not often found in such young people.
Thanks for your kind comment Diane.
I liked the quote by Thich Nhat Hanh, but there is something to be said about the value of work too. I love my job and working. I do balance my life with time off and fun, but for me work is fulfilling.
Having clutter around the house causes me stress. That is why I try to keep new things from coming in. It is challenging with two little boys, oh the toys!
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