Here we are, almost at the end of our Covid Homestay. I wonder as you look back whether you will regret losing the opportunity for solitude.
Simplicity, which we have been thinking about through the whole of this experience – exemplified in the Bible, (The “lillies of the field”), is dependent on solitude. Being a slave to the opinions of others is the cause of many wrongs in this materialistic society. How often have you discovered your actions to be initiated not by your heart centred connection, but by what others may think of you. Sadly, all too often we must admit that our responses are generated by our need for approval from others. We need to know they don’t think badly of us – whatever that means.
This problem rears its ugly head even more violently when we attempt to live a simpler lifestyle. Before the isolation we where held to ransom by the need to look affluent, now, to fit in with the rest of our neighbours, we need to look “less”. Perhaps we think if we can diminish our needs somewhat, and look like that is what we are doing, then perhaps others will think we are living more simply . Doing the “right thing”.
Sadly this too can backfire. We KNOW we are too dependent on the approval of others. At the heart of it we want to do what is right, but our distorted sense of self betrays (even just to ourselves) our lack of true simplicity. This inward struggle proves the observation of the philosopher Francois Fenelon “These people are sincere, but they are not “simple”). THE GRACE OF SOLITUDE (and it is a GRACE), must be deeply rooted, must be a PART OF US if we are to know simplicity of heart.
For 7 almost 8 weeks we have been living an artificial isolation. We didn’t ask for it, and we didn’t set the rules. Maybe we have been fighting against it the whole time, wishing, wanting, waiting for it to be lifted. Marking time without a plan. Living close to God through any experience – happy, sad, or isolated – wherever we find ourselves, is seamless; and that one-pointedness Buddha spoke of, is the essence of simplicity and the cause of complexity.
I would like to bring you a word of encouragement. This sense of overwhelm at the immensity of the task is the first step, the first requirement for entering the grace of simplicity. “Do what you can, WHERE YOU ARE…with what you have”, once again the words of the Buddha. Those who don’t know what they have, and don’t know where they are, and always want more than what they have today, thinking it will solve the first two requirements. Those who rush at it don’t find simplicity – they find arrogance, and dissatisfaction (suffering).
Simplicity is much more tangled when we are continuously thinking about doing it, than it is in practice. As with any yogic path, it is better to practice it than to define it. It is interesting how that plays out in yoga teacher training. Those who are most eloquent and voluptuous in their presentations on paper, often struggle with the reality of “just doing” without the need to impress or direct. Simplicity of living is not about quantity – it is about quality – about “doing”, about RIGHT living. The complexity and simplicity of the YAMAS is key. Our present century longs for the authenticity of simplicity .
May we all be a model of that kind of authentic living.
PS. I do want to encourage you to sign up to my YOGA classes NOW. Some classes are full, and you need to register. No casuals, no walk ins, and only 3 per class at the moment.. Look at “Classes” above to sign up for times etc. If you want a Tarot/TeaLeaf reading, please email in the first instance and book ahead. firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a lovely, happy SIMPLE day. Take time to just SIT.