What if we only ever had one problem?
“[…]tout le malheur des hommes vient d’une seule chose, qui est de ne pas savoir demeurer en repos dans une chambre.”
“All of humanity’s misfortune comes from
one thing: not knowing how to sit quietly
in a room.”
~ Blaise Pascal
How many problems do you feel you have at the moment?
A Course in Miracles tells us “The temptation to regard problems as many is the temptation to keep the problem of separation unsolved…. All this complexity is but a desperate attempt not to recognize the problem, and therefore not to let it be resolved…. Perceiving the underlying constancy in all the problems that seem to confront you, you would understand that you have the means to solve them all.”
In other words, what fundamentally disturbs our peace is our inability to recognise, be with, and act from our true nature. Our separation from our higher self is our greatest problem – all else is a distraction.
These days, there is a lot of competition for our energy and attention. It takes a conscious commitment to staying centred and calm in order to do so with any success!
Unconsciously, we might look for peace and happiness through gratification from food, alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping and risky behaviour, but the gratification never lasts and leaves us looking for more.
Moreover, we bargain with our own healing, holding on to past hurts (and even ancestral pain) as if releasing them would strip us of our identity, or take away our one “legitimate” justification for our lack of peace. This adds to our sense of life as a problem to be resolved and prevents us fully living in the present.
Although sitting quietly in a room alone is certainly a worthy intention, practising simplicity brings the sense of peace and happiness that we are constantly seeking through other means.
Here are a few ways to simplify your life this summer, and perhaps beyond!
- Buy less – of everything! Avoid impulse buying (crappy toys, junk food, cheap clothes) and buying anything that come with too much packaging. You will not only support the environment but also save time organising, recycling and disposing of all of it later!
- Eat simply. Eating natural, unprocessed food is the best way to maintain good health. Eating fewer types of food at once eases the digestive burden of combining lots of different things – especially if those foods don’t combine well (such as fruit with other foods, or animal proteins with grains).
- Eliminate unnecessary belongings. A few years ago – despite trying to maintain a “one new thing in, one old thing out” policy – I was in a downsizing frenzy and when I asked my daughter to help me get rid of some of her things along with mine since we had accumulated way too much stuff, she replied “We’re stuffocating!”. So if you and your family are stuffocating, lighten your load as often as you can – you can benefit those who need the clothing or other objects, and save time cleaning and organising things you don’t even need or want anymore!
- Live simply. Practice “being bored”. Notice how the constant urge to watch TV or videos, or check emails or social media is actually making you a bit crazy, and even stressed and numbed out! Enjoy silence whenver possible, and going for simple walks or sitting under a tree for 20 minutes without multi-tasking.
- Let go of yesterday’s traumas and injustices. Don’t drag your old problems – or your ancestor’s suffering – with you into the future. Doing so doesn’t provide any resolution of the past, nor can it provide healing now – it only increases and perpetuates suffering. Yesterday’s victims are today’s perpetrators. If you want to right old wrongs, seek out those who are suffering today like you or your elders suffered in the past, and provide them with loving support or seek justice for their plight in whatever way you can. Heal yourself, move on, and embrace yourself in this moment.
I’m also planning to simplify my life by changing the way I work as of this Autumn. As of the end of October, I look forward to handing over the management of our little yoga centre to Laura Prigogine, who will continue what I started three years ago with her own talents and enthusiasm. That way, I can get back to focusing on the teaching and therapeutic work that I so love to do, and continue to develop my work in new and more effective ways.
To allow more flexibility in my schedule, I’m also cutting back to one evening group hatha yoga class per week, every Tuesday, and my Thursday class will be taken over by Elisabeth Rivasseau, who is also a yoga therapist and a kindered soul.
I will of course send out further details of all this and more in the weeks ahead, and in the meantime, I wish you a wonderful summer of relaxing and regenerating yourself, your relationships and your dreams!
Much love and light as ever,