My husband and I live a simple life, and we love it. A simple life is not a poor life. It is a life that is not complicated by having too many things or too much to do. Years ago I learned to live simply and joyfully by letting go of things I did not need or enjoy. That level of detachment made it easy to live the life we do now–a life of simplicity, joy, and ease.
Blessed are the Simple
In the book of Matthew in The Bible, Jesus teaches the disciples what are known as the beatitudes. The first beatitude states: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. However, The Bible was translated from the original Aramaic to Greek to Latin to the various modern languages. Oh, how much can be lost in translation?
Many scholars have dedicated hours of time to reversing the modern translation of The Bible to get a more accurate understanding of the original words of Master Jesus. After all, Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Greek.
Going back to Aramaic gives us a different perspective on the intensions of The Christ as taught through Jesus. One of those is the – beatitude. The word the Greeks translated as poor also means simple. I do not believe The Christ taught that poverty was holy. Jesus was not poor. He came from what we call a middle-class family and was an accomplished carpenter. He did, however, live a simple life. The first beatitude would more accurately read:
Blessed are the simple in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Lord of the Rings fans will remember that, at the beginning of the movie version, Bilbo Baggins describes the lifestyle of Hobbits and the joy they experience from living a simple life. They tend their crops and livestock, they meet their basic needs, they party and make merry, and they live very happy lives. Only the people searching for the power to rule the world disturb the peace and joy of a Hobbit’s simple life. Yes, the Hobbits are fictional, but I am not.
Life in a 20×8 Foot Box
Most readers know that my husband and I have been traveling in our trailer for six years. No, we do not have a 45’ motorhome with five slideouts and lots of storage. I am not saying that a large unit is not a good way to go. It is just not our choice. We like small and simple.
Our trailer is 23’ 9” from hitch to bumper which means we have about 20×8 feet of living space plus a dining room slideout. The trailer has everything we need for living, including a walk-around queen bed with underneath storage. We are big fans of the tiny house movement, but we also laugh a little…RVs have been around for how long?
Everything we need to live full-time must fit into our limited space. We have a rule: something in, something out. However, house cleaning is a breeze. I can sweep, dust, clean the kitchen and bathroom, and wash the windows in about an hour. I can do my deeper “spring cleaning” in less than 3 hours. Not bad for a simple life.
We still have chores. The truck and trailer have to be washed and waxed and repairs have to be made. Extra clothing and miscellaneous items are stored in the back of the truck so we have to shuffle things around. We have work to do but no big house or yard to take up our time.
Most Americans are obsessed with their stuff. My husband and I do not need much to be happy. We do not have a TV. We do have computers, smartphones, and a hotspot so we can stay connected and informed. However, our things have no significance to us except for how they serve us in our chosen lifestyle. Life is good.
What is a Simple Life?
My friend and mentor, Kris Duffy, taught that success is not defined by how much you have but by how little you need. She did not mean one cannot have nice things! She did not mean that one had to live in poverty to be a spiritual being. However, the need to have things, and more things, to define yourself is not the spiritual path or the path to a good life.
Buddha and The Bible are most often misquoted and misunderstood. Buddha did not say that the material world is the root of all sorrow. He said the attachment to the material world is the root of all sorrow. St. Paul did not write that money is the root of all evil. He wrote that attachment to money is the root of all evil.
A simple life is an unencumbered life. It is a life free from the attachment to things, to job titles, to where one lives, to money and power, or to how one looks to others. A simple life is finding joy in the moment no matter what. It is a life free of concern over self-image–what I do, what I have, how I live. The finer things in life are wonderful. They are to be enjoyed but not pursued as the means to happiness. They are the perks but not the destination.
Can You Simplify Your Life?
I am not suggesting that you quit your job, sell your possessions, and run away to join the Hobbits. But, can you make your live easier and more joyful by simplifying what you have and what you do? Examine your life and ask some of these questions:
- Why do I have the things that I have?
- Why are they important to me?
- Do I use them with purpose or just have them?
- How much time and energy do I spend taking care of my “things,” especially those that are not very important?
- What should I keep and what should I get rid of?
- How do I spend my time and why?
- Does the effort to do these things truly serve me? Why or why not?
- What am I doing that I love to do?
- What am I doing that I do not like to do?
- How can I let go of what does not serve me or bring me joy?
We are not meant to live in poverty or struggle through life. We are meant to live in joy and abundance. However, that does not mean life should be complicated. Joy comes in the simplicity of living a good life. Learn to let go and create the simple life that you deserve.
Photo from pixaby.com