STILLNESS SILENCE SOLITUDE SIMPLICITY
DETACHMENT DISCERNMENT DEVOTION DELIGHT
HUMILITY HEALING HOLINESS HEAVENLINESS

| ABUNDANCE | JOY | WISDOM |
| BEAUTY | LOVE | TRUTH |
| PEACE | JUSTICE | FREEDOM |

... are the nine attributes of heaven
which we experience and enjoy
as we embrace our fantastic journey,
the ...

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Our planet's survival is tied to the practice of simplicity. This can not be emphasized too much.

Our lives are often too complicated. We need to discipline ourselves to "simplify, simplify, simplify" as Thoreau put it in Walden. The first three disciplines of stillness, silence and solitude all create simplicity. The more diligently we practice these disciplines, the more we can simplify our lives. When we simplify, we are awake, aware and connected. We become more aware of our intimate and intricate connection to God and everything God has created. We become aware of the glorious fact that we are heavenly beings created simply by love and for love.

The Zen Buddhist discipline of zazen (sitting, centering, meditating), if practiced properly, leads to the natural, simple realization of our daily and glorious heavenly existence. In the introduction to ZEN MIND, BEGINNER'S MIND, Shunryu Suzuki says: "The practice of Zen mind is beginner's mind. The innocence of the first inquiry - what am I? - is needed throughout Zen practice. The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities."

The abundance of heaven can only be experienced by those who have learned how to simplify their lives.

I like the approach of Sallie McFague, a brilliant contemporary theologian. She emphasizes our need to simplify our lives in LIFE ABUNDANT: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril. She emphasizes our need to embrace sustainability. In "A Manifesto to North American Middle Class Christians," she advocates some "new house rules" for our house, the planet. "The basic rules are: Take only your share, clean up after yourself, and keep the house in good repair for future occupants." She points out that "ecology" and "economics" both come from the same word root which has to do with the laws for living in a household. She refers to the famous quote of Charles Birch: "The rich must live more simply, so that the poor may simply live." This responsibility applies to most of us living in the planet's 20 to 30 highly developed countries.

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John@abundancetrek.com

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RESOURCES ON THE WEB:

  • Desiderata is the famous poem by Max Ehrmann offering revered wisdom for those who decide to simplify their lives and find true meaning and joy.

  • Tilden Edwards has offered us a powerful approach to living simply every day in his book Living Simply Through the Day: Spiritual Survival in a Complex Age. He writes: "Firm commitment, deep acceptance, and naked confidence are three vital prerequisites of the simple way. Each of these attitudes has endlessly subtle layers of awareness. At the bottom of each lies the divine image in us, reflecting the very nature of God." Don't you want that? I know I do. Edwards quotes Ram Dass: "We must really want God, which is far more (and far simpler) than merely wanting to want God."

  • Simple Living offers alternatives to our hurried, scattered, complex way of life.

  • New American Dream offers "resources that make it easier to live consciously, buy wisely, and join with others in the New Dream Community trying to make a difference."

  • Resurgence offers articles by David Cadman. Here is an excerpt from "A Necessary Simplicity": "Take, for example, the lessons of sufficiency of the Jains, the Middle Way of Buddhism and the teachings of selflessness given to us by Christ. In all of this there is a code that can lead us along the path of simplicity. At its root are qualities that contrast markedly with our present culture: co-operation instead of competition, generosity instead of greed, patience instead of haste, and sufficiency instead of indulgence. And, of course, underlying it all there is the mysterious and awesome teaching of Love as being not just virtue or emotion, but of the very essence, being with, not apart from: a teaching of the very connectedness of life."

  • Simple Abundance is the name of a bestselling book of daily suggestions by Sarah Ban Breathnach. While I like the basic theme, I tend to agree with the Amazon.com reviewer who describes her as "Martha Stewart on prozac." In other words, her approach doesn't work for me but it might work for you.

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