The Power of Simplicity

Photo by: Ranjit Swanson
Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries (from Nepal)

In Modern Life there are a seemingly endless series of options and avenues. At each turn, life seems to present numerous complications. It becomes hard to resist the allure of doing more things and trying to solve a myriad of problems. However,  we are often, consciously or unconsciously, yearning for a more simple approach to life. If we can make an effort to bring more simplicity into our lives, we will find many benefits arise.

1. Peace of Mind. 
Simplicity doesn’t necessarily involve living in a Spartan hut. Real simplicity begins in the mind. If we have numerous anxieties and problems it is not possible to have peace of mind. Simplicity means we learn to clear the mind and not allow ourselves to be bombarded by an endless stream of needless thoughts.

2. Living in the present. 
Complication in life often arises because  we are worrying and planning about the future. We can become so concerned about what may happen tomorrow or next year that we forget to enjoy the present moment. To have one’s focus on the here and now, is to encompass life as it is supposed to be.

3. Less Planning and Thinking
When we complicate life through our endless planning we bring tomorrow’s problems into today. Yet it is always worth remembering that our worries and fears about the future often prove to be groundless.

4. Avoiding Judgement.
It is part of human nature to criticise and judge other people. It is very easy to make a long list of complaints and suggestions about other people. But does it help us when we highlight the faults of others? We should feel that we are not responsible for other people’s thoughts and behaviour. If we feel it is our bounden duty to change others, there can be no simplicity and peace in our life. Rather than try to change others, let us just try to focus on changing ourselves. Our own weaknesses are probably more than enough to deal with.

5. Focus and Achievement
Simplicity enables more to be achieved. Simplicity means that we are focused on one thing at a time. Simplicity means we can put all our concentration on just one thing. If we perform an action with no distractions then we can fulfil it quicker and more successfully. Often, when we simplify our life, we find we can actually achieve more than when we juggled several things at once.

    “The simpler we can become, the sooner we shall reach our destination. A life of simplicity is a life of constant progress. It is in simplicity that we can make the fastest progress, progress which is everlasting.”
    – Sri Chinmoy

6. Simplicity and Beauty. 
Simplicity is often synonymous with beauty. For example, Zen gardens are uncluttered and simple, yet in that simplicity there is a beauty which appeals to our soul. It is the same with Mother Nature; the essence of nature is its unspoilt beauty. Has man ever been able to improve on the beauty and simplicity of nature?

7. Happiness
Be happy with what we have. As George Bernard Shaw aptly said

    “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire; the other is to get it.”
    The nature of desire is that the more we get the more we want. When we get a new car, often after a while we are not satisfied and want to get something better. However real happiness comes when we are content with what we have and are free of desire.

    The Conscious Lifestyle: Short-Term Desires (Part 2)

    The following article and its first part have been written by one of the most inspired and inspirational people: Dr. Deepak Chopra. I read the article and resolved I needed to share it with you.
    I therefore integrally report the article as it has been issued by the author, as it inspired me.
    – * – * –

    We’ve been discussing the obstacles to living a conscious lifestyle by focusing on the torrent of small things that will fill your day unless you consciously free yourself. The future unfolds one day at a time, so unless you make time for the future before it arrives, a year from now you will be doing basically the same as what you’re doing today.

    Making time for the future comes down to five steps. Let me repeat them since they lay the groundwork for fulfilling long-range goals.
    1. Write down a single vision, project, or mission.
    2. Set time aside to work on it every day.
    3. Work consists of doing research, making connections, investigating your target audience or market, learning from projects similar to yours, challenging your assumptions, writing a proposal, seeking a mentor, partner, or confidant to bounce your ideas off, and raising capital if needed.
    4. Set interim deadlines that you can reasonably meet every month.
    5. Be adaptable about changing your project as it unfolds.
    As you see, some real commitment is involved. It’s important therefore to think about what your vision or mission should be. Let me propose an idea that runs counter to a certain school of thought. That school focuses on the pursuit of excellence, climbing from “good to great,” or adopting the habits of highly successful achievers. In other words, you are urged to concentrate on external goals and the means to achieve them.
    In my experience teaching high achievers in business school courses, the one thing they point to as the cause of their achievement is luck. They look back and realize that they were in the right place at the right time. A vision that can only succeed on the basis of luck only works for the tiniest sliver of the work force. Behind every CEO who makes the cover of Fortune magazine there is a trail of frustration littered with everyone who didn’t make it to the top. Luck is the exact opposite of consciousness.
    The most fulfilled people in any profession, regardless of who climbs to the top, are those who followed an inner vision. They consciously shaped their futures from the inside, which is the only place you have any real control.  A large percentage of these people had highly successful careers, but that was secondary. First and foremost came the freedom to write their own scenario. The externals of your life fall in line with your internal values and the atmosphere you create around yourself.
    So when you sit down to write your long-range vision or mission, consider these criteria.
    1.  I will be satisfied with the work at every stage.
    2.  I will benefit everyone around me.
    3.  The effect on my family will be positive.
    4.  I will feel creative.
    5.  I will take pride in my accomplishment.
    6.  I will be smarter, better, and wiser the more I pursue my vision.
    7.  I will head into the unknown, a place I want to discover and explore.
    Every vision brings setbacks and frustrations; there is inherent stress whenever you step out to accomplish something no one else has tried before.  No amount of self-discipline can control the stress. Only if you are centered, self-confident, and secure in the values you are sacrificing for will the journey become conscious.
    In the current environment, inner visions are celebrated only after someone has struggled to reach the top. Along the way, there is more competition than collaboration, and if you don’t enter the dog-eat-dog fray, people will call you weak.  We live in the midst of huge abundance.  Ruthless, soul-killing tactics are rewarded, but so is moving upward through consciousness. Sit down with yourself, your family, your closest confidants, and work through the seven criteria I’ve outlined. They will serve you well if you truly dedicate yourself to inner fulfillment ahead of material rewards.
    Written by
    Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 65 books with numerous New York Times bestsellers and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

    Found here
    The Conscious Lifestyle: Short-Term Desires (Part 2) | LinkedIn

    The Conscious Lifestyle: Short-Term Desires (Part 1)

    Deepak Chopra

    The following article and its second part have been written by one of the most inspired and inspirational people: Dr. Deepak Chopra.
    I read the article and resolved I needed to share it with you.
    I therefore integrally report the article as it has been issued by the author, as it inspired me.

    – * – * –

    To fashion a conscious life for yourself, you must address the unconscious way that most people spend their days.  Activity automatically fills the time you devote to it.  Unconscious living is the same as having constricted awareness.  Conscious living is a process of expanding your mind instead.  This may sound a bit lofty, but in reality you can make great progress by examining how you fill your day, as we’ve seen in the last few posts.

    We started out with three activities that are universally used to fill time:
    1. Following a set routine
    2. Coping with challenges as they come up
    3. Fulfilling short-term desire.

      The first two have been covered in some detail, so now let’s address the third.

      In everyone’s life short-term desires compete with long-term desires, and whoever finds the right balance will reap the greatest success.  If you focus too much on short-term gratification, the following things become too important: eating, drinking, running errands, keeping everything neat and tidy, micro-managing others, perfectionism, gossip, and trivial distractions.  Experts in time management point out that all of these are inefficient and wasteful, which is certainly true.

      But the larger point is that none of these activities challenges your mind. They require a short attention span, and in place of long-term gratification, you are settling for tiny hits of pleasure.  A stream of short-term gratification is like eating a candy bar every half hour instead of cooking and enjoying a banquet.

      Long-term desires are emotionally more mature, because they delay gratification in the service of a bigger reward.  People realize this, which is why they plan for their retirement. Years of hard work lead to a payoff down the road. But too often those years are not gratifying. They are more like putting in your time at the salt mines. The trick is to derive the right kind of short-term fulfillment.  The right kind isn’t hard to define. It consists of what you do today to make next year better.

      Think of it like writing a book. If you write a page every day, your manuscript will be done next year. A page doesn’t sound like much, but the catch is that it must fit into the final product. Ernest Hemingway set himself a daily goal of half a page only.  If you can do anything today that consciously goes toward fulfilling a long-range vision, plan, project, or mission, you will become the Hemingway of your own life.
      Here are some suggestions:
      1. Set down a single vision, project, or mission.
      2. Set time aside to work on it every day.
      3. Work consists of doing research, making connections, investigating your target audience or market, learning from projects similar to yours, challenging your assumptions, writing a proposal, seeking a mentor, partner, or confidant to bounce your ideas off, and raising capital if needed.
      4. Set interim deadlines that you can reasonably meet every month.
      5. Be adaptable about changing your project as it unfolds.
      Each of these steps should be interesting and, one hopes, exciting to you.  Consciousness expands whenever a person feels creative, passionate, and joyful.  If you don’t have these qualities, you won’t wake up every morning eager to fulfill your long-range goal.  The value of following the five steps I’ve suggested is that you become action oriented; your goal doesn’t drift or become an empty dream.
      In the next post we’ll discuss the most productive and valuable long-range goals. Hint: they begin on the inside and work outward.
      (To be cont.)
      written by
      Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 65 books with numerous New York Times bestsellers and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

      Found here
      The Conscious Lifestyle: Short-Term Desires | LinkedIn

      How to Make Mindfulness a Habit With Only a Tiny Commitment

      When you sit back and reminisce about your life, it’s almost a given that the most enjoyable and memorable moments are the ones in which you were completely present. Do you look back with fondness all the times you spent thinking about work while you drove home, or pondered dinner while you wheeled down the frozen aisle?

      Unfortunately most of life passes that way for most of us. We’re in one place doing one thing, thinking of things we aren’t doing and places we aren’t at.
      The bottom line of almost all self-help, spiritual, or religious literature is that our ability to be happy is determined by our ability to stay in the present moment. The Buddhists, the Toltecs, the Bible, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Dass, Emerson, Thoreau — anyone at all who is known for having found a path to consistent, recurring joy — cites staying present as the essential teaching.
      Only when we’re present do we see beauty, enjoy gratitude, and experience happiness. It’s the moments we’re present for that make life good, so it only stands to reason that being present is something we’d do well to get better at.
      We all know this already. Yet most of us — normal people with errands, work and to-do lists — spend most of our time considering the past and future rather than the present. Why doesn’t it click?
      The problem is most of us are extremely habituated to living in our thoughts. The remembered past and the imagined future steal our attention most of the time. Whywe are so strongly predisposed this way is a huge discussion involving culture, biology, psychology and a host of other factors that we don’t need to get into right now. Suffice it to say that most of us have a serious habit of being mentally absent from the present moment most of the time.
      Unless you make a serious commitment to taking on the biggest of human dilemmas — taming the rowdy mind once and for all — mindfulness will probably not establish itself as a habit for you. Some people do make a life’s work of it with daily meditation or monastery life, but if you’re unwilling to do that, can you still cultivate mindfulness on a consistent basis?
      The rule about habits is that whatever you do most takes over. If you want to be a daily runner, and you miss more days than you actually go running, you’ve only made a habit of skipping running, and you’re back at square one.
      To suddenly “go mindful” and try to be present all the time is about as easy as running a marathon when you’ve never even run around the block. Since most of us are not present the vast majority of the time, occasional stabs at “being in the moment” are quickly overrun by the colossal momentum of a lifetime of being lost in thought.
      Baby steps seem to be in order. And many of us do try it this way. We make repeated resolutions to “notice the little things more” or “live in the now,” but these are too vague to be helpful in any practical sense. You may find yourself being present when you’ve just read an inspirational book or when someone mentions mindfulness, but in the long run it won’t take. The habit of preoccupation is so unbelievably strong that mindfulness just won’t be on your mind for long. It’s too subtle, too delicate — too light and vulnerable to withstand the swirling winds of the preoccupied mind.

      Establishing a Foothold

      First of all, forget about staying mindful 24-7. That’s an extremely tall order, and it isn’t necessary to be present all the time in order to experience great benefits from it.
      What we want to do is get familiar with the sensation of becoming present, and do it on a regular basis. Since the preoccupied mind is never going to remind you to be mindful — that would be like a french fry vendor reminding you to buy spinach — we need something else to remind us.
      So instead of trying to Be Here Now all the time, just commit to becoming mindful every time you find yourself doing one of these two simple actions:
      • Opening a door
      • Sitting down in a chair
      That’s it. You’re off the hook for everything else.
      Let the rest of the things you do slip away to the restless mind if you want. Let your mind glaze over during meetings at work. Fantasize about winning Powerball while you wait for the bus. But do give your attention wholeheartedly to these two simple actions. You owe yourself that much.
      When you open a door, drop your train of thought outright (you can pick it up again shortly) and watch your hand grasp the doorknob. Pull the door open with purpose and patience. Feel its weight. Watch as a new scene is revealed. Feel the new air of the room you are entering. Listen to the sound of the first room give way to the sound of the new room. Feel this transition with undivided attention.
      Then your work is done. You can go back to pondering dinner or thinking of what you should have said to that guy who cut you in line in the cafeteria last Friday. If you want.
      When you sit down in a chair, lower yourself down, don’t just drop in it. Listen to any creaks or in the wood or upholstery. Feel as it takes on the weight of your body and relieves your legs of their duties for the moment. Pay attention to the sensation of being parked on this new perch. Wherever the chair is, let yourself become comfortable in it. Survey the room from your new angle.
      After you’ve paid diligent attention to the sitting experience for the five or ten seconds it takes, you’re off duty again. You can resume whatever train of thought you had going before it came time to sit — wishing you had worn different shoes, or quietly disapproving of the state of today’s pop music or whatever.
      Most of the time we don’t put our attention anywhere specific, so it gets sucked into our incessant mind-chatter, not unlike a kid who can’t help staring at the television. You can actually put your attention somewhere on purpose, it just doesn’t often occur to us. Pay it to the door or the chair.
      If you can commit to giving your undivided attention to these two things, you will begin to see the incredible clarity that is available to you when your mind isn’t wrapped up in thoughts.
      After doing this on purpose a few times, it will start to become automatic. The mere feel of a doorknob, or sensation of moving to sit will remind you to pay attention. It will be nearly impossible to open a door or sit down without snapping back into the present moment.
      I must reiterate how small a commitment you have to actually make here. The dividends it pays are incredible. We’re talking maybe five seconds at a time, a handful of times a day, to plant one foot firmly in the realm of greater ease, happiness and gratitude. If you’ve been looking for an easy and powerful way to love yourself, there it is.
      You will soon find that the trains of thought you have to interrupt to be mindful are seldom interesting or useful. Most of it is just noise, perpetuating itself only because you’re not putting your intention anywhere on purpose. Junk food for your mind. With these simple rituals, mindfulness — and the bliss that comes with it — will establish a sturdy foothold in your behavior, which you can expand as far as you want to take it.
      You’ll begin to notice what it feels like to catch yourself mind-blathering about irrelevant things, and soon you’ll be bringing yourself back to the moment more often, and not just when you encounter a door or a chair. You probably won’t want to let yourself off the hook for everything else.
      But you do have to actually do it, not just nod your head as you read this post and think it will happen by itself. These are easy, minuscule amounts of work which yield great rewards over time. But they don’t pay off if you don’t do them.
      When you open a door, open the door.
      When you sit, take your seat.
      You’re going to do it anyway. Make it count.

      Found here
      How to Make Mindfulness a Habit With Only a Tiny Commitment

      Effective Ways To Get Out of a Negative Mindset

      It is too easy to get into a negative mindset which invariably leads to unhappiness and depression. To avoid being overwhelmed by negativity we need to make a conscious effort to avoid the experience. When life seems like a perpetual dark tunnel these are some suggestions to change your outlook on life.

      Don’t Cherish Destructive Thoughts.

      Often we don’t realise how much we subconsciously cherish negative thoughts. It may seem counter intuitive, but often a negative frame of mind occurs because we won’t let go of the negative thoughts and ideas. Sometimes the mind clings on to these thoughts with a feeling of self pity or injured pride. We don’t like the negative frame of mind, but at the same time are we consciously trying to overcome it? The problem is that if the negative thoughts go round and round in our mind they can become powerful and we lose a sense of perspective. Just make a conscious decision to ignore the negative flow of thoughts and sentiments and be persistent in these attempts.

      Do You want to be Happy or Miserable?

      We should feel a negative mindset is a choice. If we feel a victim to our own emotions and thoughts, nobody else will be able to help us. We should feel that by holding on to a negative frame of mind, we are inevitably choosing to be unhappy; each negative is a conscious decision to be miserable. If we really value the importance of our own inner peace and happiness, we will aspire to cultivate this through good, uplifting thoughts. Next time you feel the onset of a depressed state of mind, just ask yourself the question: Do I want to be happy or Miserable?

      Spend Time With Positive People

      The best antidote to negativity is simply to spend time doing positive, uplifting activities. Sometimes if we analyse and examine our own negativity it does nothing to reduce it. By engaging in useful fun activities, we forget about the reasons for our negativity; this is often the most powerful way to overcome a depressed state of mind.

      Don’t Accept Negativity from Other People

      We live in a world where there are no shortage of pessimists, critics and doomongers. There will always be people who can find the negative in life; but, there is no reason why we have to ascribe to their world view. For example, often in an office environment there is a negative attitude to the workplace, but, even if there are faults and limitations we don’t have to allow them to make us a negative person.

      Let Go of Thoughts

      If you can learn to control your thoughts, you can control the experience and emotions of life. The best antidote to negativity is learning the art of meditation. Meditation is more than just relaxation; it is a change in consciousness. We move from the limited perspective of our mind and discover an inner source of happiness.

      Live in the Heart

      The nature of the mind is to be suspicious and critical. If someone does 99 good things and 1 bad thing, the mind will invariably remember the bad thing. If we allow ourselves to be drawn into highlighting the mistakes of others we will invite a negative mindset. However, if we live in the heart we are not drawn to the faults of others (even if they are insignificant). It is in the heart that we can have a true sense of oneness with others, their faults seem insignificance and we can feel a sense of identity with the achievements of others.

      Don’t Sit Around Doing Nothing

      The worst thing for a negative frame of mind is to mope around feeling sorry for ourselves. Ruminating on our bad luck / worries / fears will not diminish them in any way. Exercise can be a powerful way to bring about a new consciousness. Negativity is often associated with boredom and lack of purpose. Stop endlessly checking emails and surfing web, look for something good to do.

      Force Yourself to Think of 3 Positive Thoughts.

      If you are feeling really miserable and have a low sense of self esteem, try thinking of 3 good things that you have done. At time our own mind can be our worst enemy and very self critical. It is important not to lose a sense of balance; for the various bad things we have done, we have also done some good things.

      Don’t Think Anything You Wouldn’t Say in Front of People

      We often think things we would never say in front of people. If you are annoyed, disappointed with someone else, imagine what you would say to them in person. Sometimes when we are with people we are forced to behave; even if we are not particularly sincere the effort to avoid negativity can help us to overcome our bad mood.

      Found here
      Effective Ways To Get Out of a Negative Mindset | Sri Chinmoy Inspiration