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Keep It Simple, Simon

Did you know that you can have a super-amount of stuff, but still lead a simple life?

That you can have a multitude of accounts and businesses and assets, yet still not feel overburdened?

That you can even be at the hub of a network of thousands of connections – even tens of thousands – and yet still not feel pulled in every which direction?

Of course you can. Why?

Because the complexity of life – or lack thereof – is all in your head. It truly is.

Mother DOES Know Best.

So says Marcus Aurelius, one of our main guides in practical philosophy. Here is a quote on this topic from his Meditations:

“From my mother: Her reverence for the divine, her generosity, her inability not only to do wrong but even to conceive of doing it. And the simple way she lived – not in the least like the rich.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations I.3

There you have it: simplicity can lead to generosity and doing good.

And the payoff for such a life is: FREEDOM.

Feeling FREE!

Clean mind = clean hands. That is what it comes down to.

Everybody thinks that the “good life” is comprised of externals: the toys, the status, the achievements.

Nope. That stuff binds you down unless mentally you have risen above it all and take it for what it is: just stuff.

And so you remain free of it. You use it, but it doesn’t not use you.

Consider the wisdom of Marcus Aurelius

  • All good comes from the divine. What else is really worthy of our reverence? With feelings of reverence we can really – I mean really and truly – see the good in our lives. And feel obligated to do good ourselves. Pay it back.
  • Doing good comes from thinking good. People grow “from the inside out,” (like a plant!) If you don’t think bad thoughts, how can you do bad things? All our actions are fertilized in the mind. Where else would they grow?
  • Living simply can help you appreciate what you have. You know you don’t NEED that much. And even the stuff you WANT doesn’t add up to all that much, does it? So when you have MORE you can really appreciate it because you are already content. You know it is extra.

MORE for good.

So what do you do when you have more? You share it.

You become a giving, generous, helpful, do-gooder.

You give of your time and money.

(And you also buy a lot of life insurance to benefit your favorite charity, because that is a great way to leverage your dollars for future generations.)

FREEDOM is a state of mind.

You can have it all.

And you can share it.

And do great things with it – be a real cause for good.

You just have to keep your head above it all.

Do you feel free? Or are you stuck in all your stuff? Is it time to simplify things in your mind?