KEEPING IT SIMPLE
An eccentric philosophy professor gave a one-question final exam after a semester dealing with a broad array of topics. The class was already seated and ready to go when the professor picked up his chair, plopped it on his desk and wrote on the board: “Using everything we have learned this semester, prove that this chair does not exist.”
Fingers flew, erasers erased, notebooks were filled in furious fashion. Some students wrote over 30 pages in one hour attempting to refute the existence of the chair. One member of the class however, was up and finished in less than a minute.
Weeks later when the grades were posted, the rest of the group wondered how he could have gotten an A when he had barely written anything at all.
His answer consisted of two words:
Wish life could be that simple? Maybe…. maybe not. Sometimes the complications are intriguing, even exciting as we wander through the possibilities. And then, maybe not. Maybe we want a life of easy come, easy go?
There is a part of your life that can be simpler…your Spiritual life.
It may not seem that things are getting simpler as we grow in spiritual awareness, but in fact they are. We can still choose to experience life as a complicated series of intricate challenges – and if that is our choice, that will be our experience.
Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom … and all these things shall be yours as well” (Mt. 6:33 RSV). This is the foundation of the simple life. It is God we want, and when we find our Creator, we find joy and contentment.
The things that happen to us, our memories, and our possessions are significant, but nothing is as important as our relationship with Spirit. When the simple life is lived, the earthly experience flows from our oneness with God. The Divine is the source of life and its many experiences.
But because of our conscious spiritual unfoldment, another choice presents itself. We can choose to allow only God’s will to express in our lives – not out of a sense of sacrificing our own will, but out of a clear recognition that God’s will for us and our own will for ourselves are one and the same.
What is God’s will you may ask? That is simple also…good. If it is good for all involved, that is God’s will.
The Power of God is a Power devoted to our highest and greatest good in all things. What more could we possibly want for ourselves? And since that Power knows more of ‘good’ than we do, why would we not simply allow that Power to lead us forward?
We find that that real happiness—true fulfillment—does not come from the accumulation of things. A simple, contented life flows from our oneness with God.
Once that commitment is made, we can relax, knowing that we are where we’re meant to be, experiencing what we are meant to experience, guided clearly, joyfully and lovingly every step of the way. And yes, as ‘growth opportunities’ inevitably arise, we can relax in the certainty that they are our challenges, opportunities to create even greater good.
Every good cook has a few tried and true recipes that can be relied on when all else fails. And musicians have a repertoire of pieces that can be adapted for a variety of situations.
All of us will find the challenges of life easier to deal with if we develop a spiritual repertoire as well. Whatever the situation, we know that love is the answer.
Jesus – and, indeed, every great spiritual teacher – has so assured us. But when we find ourselves caught up in anger, fear, resentment or other negative emotions, it can be difficult to find anything to love in the situation at hand.
That’s when having a toolbox is most effective. Think of people, places, images that easily suggest some of the many aspects of love you have known in your life. Children, nature scenes, pets, friends, partners – any or all of these will do to put us in touch with the deep wells of love that exist within us.
Can you think of other tools of love?
The kingdom is ours when we embrace love, health, companionship and peace of mind as the riches of an abundant life.
The process, then, is simple. Release the situation at hand,
shift your inner focus from head to heart,
call up from your ‘love repertoire’ an evocative image,
and feel the energy of love flowing through you as a result.
Take this love back to the Now moment,
and see how your perspective has changed.
Life is simplified when we are more willing to express love than to get love.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But when we are in the thick of things, so to speak, it can be difficult.
The simplicity comes in when our lives are already free of those things, people, events that no longer serve us. We forgive anyone, including ourselves, and allow the Lesson learned to sink in.
Then we analyze or review our lessons, our Truths and we come up with our Integrity.
Our integrity is our guide, our direct link to Heart Wisdom. It’s our intuition speaking to us. When we have our integrity guiding us, it’s very simple to make good choices when choice points are presented.
What’s a choice point? That’s is when you get to choose between two or more growth opportunities. It could be the choice between what to eat, where to use your money energy, or whether to let the act of being cut off in traffic get you upset.
Think of the choices you have made already today. Some were easy, habits, routine. If you took a second and thought them through…and that is all it takes…were they all good choices?
The simple life is a life of prayer—more listening and waiting than speaking and asking. We seek the kingdom by seeking an awareness of God, for we know this consciousness is the fountain of life and the answer to any human need.
We can think of prayer as a meeting between God and ourselves. God, of course, knows us well, but we know little about our Creator. There are times when we speak, but we do not let our every word be about our needs and what is happening in our world.
Friendships do not develop when one person does all the talking and is constantly asking for assistance. Powerful relationships unfold when we listen.
When you are working with Divine Spirit, they will always be good choices. You will always treat your spouse and children well. You will drive consciously. You will interact with others from your heart.
You will always be conscious in your choices.
The simple life is a life of thanksgiving, because our joy does not depend upon the world. Our joy and gratitude do not originate in conditions, but rise from our relationship with God.
By learning to say, “Thank You” to every experience we have, we move from a place of resistance, where we feel like a victim, to a place of acceptance, where we can be okay with change and eventually even embrace it.
This simple act allows us to move forward with our lives in leaps and bounds.
Unfortunately, most of the time we’re so caught up in either avoiding pain or just getting through the day that we forget to say to ourselves, Wow! Nature is crazy beautiful. Food tastes delicious. I can be the person I want to be right now. What do I want to experience next?
Here’s an affirmation I found as I was researching for this Lesson:
The externals of my life may sometimes still seem chaotic, but I am centered and at peace, knowing that in surrendering to the Power of God, I am always where I’m meant to be. Thank you, God!