Back safely from travels to India, I continually take inspiration from the simplicity of life in the villages there, the pure-hearted contentment of its inhabitants, and the inspiring examples of the great saints who once graced this Earth. In one ancient town, every afternoon at 4pm, all the little children climb up onto the roof tops to gleefully fly their kites. The sky becomes a feast of hundreds of brightly coloured flags, dancing high with the clouds and the birds. The strings are coated with ground glass thus they play trying to cut each other’s kite strings using great skill. And then, at 8pm after dinner the older kids emerge for enthusiastic games of cricket along the Ganges ghats. There is such charm about seeing places where kids still do these things. Not an iPhone or iPad in sight. In the villages of India, happiness is found in simple ways.
For me personally there is great joy in dressing simply, eating simply and living simply. It is something that only emerged much later in my life, and I am grateful for it. My journeys to India remind me of this motto: Simple living, high thinking!
Studying the biographies of some personal heroes through the ages, it seems that simplicity was a trait they all shared in common. Einstein had scant regard for his dress, remarking pithily to his despairing wife one day: “It would be a sad thing if the bag was better than the meat wrapped in it!”. Gandhi and Mandela, secure in their characters and inner worth, dressed simply too. And Steve Jobs simply wore a change of black polo neck and jeans every day to avoid having to trouble his mind with such mundane thoughts of what to wear. Dress is just one example approach to simplicity. In the monasteries, one experiences the freedom of simplicity each day in various ways, from no wi-fi to simple daily routines and the resultant contentment of that. It is not always easy to accomplish simplicity in a world that tries to trick us into thinking we need to live in such complex ways!
So if your own Highest Wisdom agrees, let’s resolve to see how we can bring more simplicity into our lives for 2018. Spending our precious time in a way that really matters! Thank you so much as always for your support over the years. It is a privilege to have clients and friends like you—your shining characters and leadership are an inspiration to me in many ways. Wishing you all a very safe and blessed Christmas and New Year!