|Living The Simple Life|
Bhagawan Baba has said: "You say ‘I want Peace’
Remove ‘I’ and ‘Want’. You have only Peace!" The validity and
value of this simple but profound prescription for Peace is beautifully
demonstrated by the life of the Peace Pilgrim. "Less luggage is more
The simplification of life is one of the
steps to inner
Some people seem to think that my life dedicated to simplicity and service is austere and joyless, but they do not know the freedom of simplicity. I am thankful to God every moment of my life for the great riches that have been showered upon me.
My life had been bogged down: I felt greedy before I took my vow of simplicity: Now I shall not accept more than I need while others in the world have less than they need.
You also may have come out of a life where you had too many things. When you have simplified your life, I’m sure you will feel as free as I feel. If your motive is one of giving them you will be given whatever you need.
In my life, what I want and what I need are exactly the same. Anything in excess of needs is burdensome to me. You couldn’t give me anything I don’t need.
I am not a slave to comfort and convenience. I wouldn’t be a pilgrim if I were. We cannot allow false beliefs to govern our lives and be enslaved by them. Most people do not wish to be free. They would prefer to moan and chafe about how impossible it is to give up their various enslavements to possessions, food, drink, smoking, and so forth. It is not that they can’t give them up — they don’t really want to give them up.
Our physical needs depend somewhat on the climate in which we live, the state of our health, etc., In general we need a shelter to protect us from the elements; a fire, a blanket, some clothing for warmth; pure air and water and sufficient food for sustenance. There are, of course, needs beyond the physical. These often involve little or no expenditure of money, but this is not always so. For instance, there are some people whose lives are not complete unless they can listen to good music or play some musical instrument. While suggestions may be made as to simple living, simplifying our lives is an individual problem for every one of us.
I learned about forty years ago that money and things wouldn’t make people happy. And this has been confirmed many times. I realize that if you don’t have enough you won’t be happy. Neither are you happy if you have too much. It is those who have enough but not too much who are the happiest. Because of our preoccupation with materialism we often miss the best things in life, which are free. Unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. If you have them, you have to take care of them.
|If you are free, I recommend a hiking trip on a wilderness foot-path. How inspiring it is to walk all day in the sunshine and sleep all night under the stars. What a wonderful experience in simple, natural living. Since you carry your food, sleeping equipment, etc., on your back, you learn quickly that unnecessary possessions are unnecessary burdens. You soon realize what the essentials of life are — such as warmth when you are cold, a dry spot on a rainy day, the simplest food when you are hungry, pure cool water when you are thirsty. You soon put material for use, but relinquishing them when they are not useful. You soon experience and learn to appreciate the great freedom of simplicity.|
From May to October of 1952, before the pilgrimage, I walked the 2,000 miles the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine, with 500 additional miles for side trips to points of special beauty.
I lived out-of-doors completely, supplied with only one pair of slacks and shorts, one blouse and sweater, a light weight blanket, and two double plastic sheets, into which I sometimes stuffed leaves. I was not always completely dry and warm, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. My menu, morning and evening, was two cups of uncooked oatmeal soaked in water and flavoured with brown sugar, at noon two cups of double strength dried milk, plus any berries, nuts or greens found in the woods.
I had been thoroughly prepared for my pilgrimage by this toughening process. A walk along the highway seemed easy by comparison.
How good it is to eat fruit tasty and ripe from the tree and vegetables fresh and crisp from the field. And how good it would be for the farming of the future to concentrate on the non-use of poisonous substances, such as sprays, so food would be fit to go from farm to table.
One morning for breakfast I had blue-berries covered with dew, picking them from the bushes as I journeyed through the New England mountains. I thought of my fellow human beings eating various kinds of processed and flavoured foods, and I realize that if I could choose my breakfast from all the foods in the world I could not make a better choice than blueberries covered with dew.
In the spring and summer when the days are long, how good it is to get up with the sun and go to bed with the sun. In the fall and winter when the days are shorter you can enjoy some of the night. I am inclined to agree that there is a substance in the air, left there by the sun, which diminishes after the sun goes down and can be absorbed only while you sleep. Sleeping from nine to five is about right for me.
How good it is to work in the invigorating fresh air under the life-giving sun amid the inspiring beauty of nature. There are many who recognize this, like the young man I met whose life had been interrupted by the peacetime draft. While he was away, his father who was in poor health, was not able to keep up the farm and so it was sold. The young man then undertook to do years of distasteful work in order to be able to buy another farm. How good it is to earn your livelihood helping plants to grow, how good it is to earn your livelihood by contributing constructively to the society in which you live-everyone should, of course, and in a healthy society everyone would.
The simplified life is a sanctified life,
Much more calm, much less strife.
Oh, what wondrous truths are unveiled –
Projects succeed which had
Oh, how beautiful life can be,
Beautiful simplicity.The Peace Pilgrim