A Simple Lifestyle Can Enhance Life Quality and Longevity
by Ralph Teller
Plato used the expression techne tou biou which means 'the craft of life' and refers to the art of crafting and shaping life.
Modern culture and excess stress has (i) caused many to loose control over their life, (ii) dulled peoples skills and ability to craft their life mission, and (iii) dampened the spirits of many. Loss of control and dampened spirits can cause depression. See How to Beat Depression Naturally. Also, two new studies firmly establish anxiety as an independent predictor for subsequent coronary heart disease years down the line.
Crafting a simple lifestyle helps people gain control over their life and is a recipe for good, long, quality living. Lifestyle simplicity offers a practicle down-to-earth philosophy of life that values caring for the soul or spirit. Lifestyle simplicity helps us achieve our goals and reach an inner harmony, peace and a state of grace.
A simple lifestyle does not at all mean a boring or dull life or a life of little quantity or accomplishment. Note though that quantity will not make up for a lack of quality. Nor is a simple life a perfect life. It might turn out the more simple one's lifestyle, the more we may accomplish.
A simple lifestyle is having a singleness of eye in achieving one's life mission and goals. Lifestyle simplicity is achieved through (i) caring for the spirit and soul (ii) establishing worthy lifetime missions, (ii) setting priorities to work toward those missions (iii) regular genuine rest, (iv) humbleness, and (v) development of appreciation for the simple pleasures.
Care of the Spirit
When life becomes too busy we usually don't take the time to nourish our soul and spirit.
But first, what is our soul or spirit? Soul or spirit is not a thing, but a quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has a lot to do with depth, value, relatedness, heart, and personal substance. It also has a lot to do with self-knowledge and self-acceptance which is possible after we come in tune with our being, needs and nature.
Cultivation and care of our spirit takes time, effort and some skill. It's like a lifelong husbanding of raw materials like the farmers who cultivates their fields to produce excellent crops.
Care of the spirit starts first with a humble approach that accepts our human foibles. Care of our soul is a process that concerns itself not so much with 'fixing' a central flaw as with attending to the small details of everyday life, as well as to major changes and decisions. However, the spiritually disturbing feelings of envy and jealousy are not to be left raw wallowing in them for long periods of time.
Our goal is not to make life problem-free, but to give ordinary life the depth and value that comes with cultivating our spirit. The result is a richly elaborated life connected to our important relationships, society and nature.
Care of the soul requires that we sustain the experiences of absence, wandering, longing, melancholy, separation, chaos and deep adventure.
Fulfilling work, rewarding relationships, personal power and relief from symptoms of distress are all gifts from the soul . . . . from the soul that has been well cared for!
Power of the Soul
In the soul, power doesn't work the same way as it does in the ego and will, where we garner our strength, develop a strategy and apply every effort.
The power of the soul, in contrast, is more like a great reservoir and more like the force of water in a fast moving river. The power of the soul is natural, not manipulated, and seemingly stems from from an unknown source. A powerful soul enriches our love of life.
Tips to a Simple Life - Establishing a Mission and Setting Lifetime Goals
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Oliver Wendell Holmes
It is our artful task to find artful means for articulating and structuring the power of the soul and to thrust this power into life for the purpose of achieving our missions and life goals.
Here's a good exercise to help you develop your missions and lifetime goals. Imagine yourself going to a funeral for a loved one. As you walk to the front of the room and look inside the casket, you suddenly come face to face with yourself. This is your funeral three years from now. As you look around the room to the people attending your service, what would you like each of the speakers to say about you and your life? Think deeply! What kind of husband, wife, father or mother would you like their words to reflect? What type of son or daughter? What kind of friend? What kind of work associate. What kind of community member? What type of character, contributions, achievements would you like them to remember? Now, establish your missions and life goals! . . . . . . . . . . and set priorities and maintain a simple lifestyle to accomplish this dream.
Genuine Rest and Rejuvenation
When we become to busy often we do not achieve genuine rest and may forget how to achieve genuine rest. Genuine rest is achievable through a simple lifestyle.
The rhythmn of work and rest is the natural order nature and in the human condition. Rest is at the base of healthy living. Rest gives us an opportunity to fill our private world with vigor and joy.
Meaning and Purpose of Genuine Rest. The meaning and purpose of genuine rest is to help us maintain order in our private worlds. This rest in not a luxury, but rather a necessity for those who want good health, growth and maturity.
Genuine Rest. Genuine rest is the cessation of the routine of our lives. Rest is not leisure or amusement, as leisure and amusement do not provide order to our lives. Fun filled moments, diversion, laughter, recreation, leisure and amusement are necessary, but they alone will not restore the soul as genuine rest. Genuine rest penetrates to the deepest levels of fatique in our inner world so that we can be physically and spiritually renewed and rejuvenated. See here for 12 Tips to Good Sleep Naturally.
Genuine rest is a time of looking backward and of closing the loop to survey what has been accomplished by our work. Rest is a necessary exercise for the appreciation and dedication of our routines. Rest is meant first and foremost to provide us an opportunity to (i) interpret our work and relationships, (ii) give meaning to our work and relationships, and (iii) make sure we know whom or for what it is properly dedicated. Rest helps us sort out the truth and commitments by which we live. Rest keeps us on course to achieve our Missions.
Tools to help us Achieve Genuine Rest.There are a few questions we can ask ourselves to help us achieve genuine rest and provide meaning to our lives relationships and work:
1. What does my work mean?
2. For whom did I do this work?
3. How well was the work done?
4. Why did I do this?
5. What results did I expect?
6. What did I receive?
7. How and why is a particular relationship important?
8. How has a relationship been improved?
9. How does my work and relationships relate to the larger community?
We need to take time from our busy and frantic pace to take inventory of the significance of our work, relationships and the purpose and mission of our life.
The person who establishes a block of time for genuine rest on a regular basis is more than likely to keep all of life in proper perspective and remain free from burnout and breakdown.
Use of Time
The essence of the best thinking in the area of time management can be captured in a single phrase: Organize and execute around priorities
There are important questions to ask yourself regarding the use of your time. Take time for that purpose as it is a valuable inquiry. Follow-up periodically with the same inquiry. Then, establish your priorities so that your missions are accomplished.
How are you allocating sufficient time with to reflect to achieving your Mission? How are you allocating your time for the purpose of personal growth and service to others? Are you taking the time to meditate and reflect upon your actions over the past week. What are you doing with your mind and though process? Are you allocating your responsibilities and 'project's to enable genuine rest.
Some people find unique solitude and quiet while Running, Cycling, Hiking, Swimming and Climbing. Typically these athletes have reached a relative level of proficiency and skill that they are able to participate in their sport and yet find the quiet space for quality reflection.
Some find the quiet time to meditate through prayer. Other's have developed mediation skills through the mental and physical disciplines such as Yoga or Qigong. While others find this peace while taking long walks.<-- back to top