“Simple Living – does not mean poverty or poverty consciousness. There are destitute people whose lives are miserable: whose lives are miserable; this is not the ideal of simple living. Simplicity means to be free of desires and attachments and to be supremely happy within.” Paramahamsa Yogananda
Simple living is not living like a hermit in a hut, or heading for the hills to live alone, it is not about hardship or denial. It is working with our innate wisdom to work for and be content with what we truly need. We come into this world in a body that demands it be looked after, therefore we must do our best to do this. However, the habit of hoarding possessions, acceptable practice in our current social paradigm could be considered the antithesis of simple living.
A materially busy life is not a truly wealthy life, if, it is devoid of the wisdom that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. All the bus–i-ness will likely accumulate stress, constant worry, loss of real freedom, rather than the experience of peace, health, happiness and contentment. To spend more that what we earn, to compound ownership of lands, to make money for the sake of making money is not prosperity.
It is slavery.
Sri Yogananda says that –“true wealth is determined by the power to acquire what we need – when we need it. If we don’t have this power we are poor now matter how much we own.”
This statement is not limited to the physical or material, rather he is referring to our ability to cultivate health & happiness, a kind of inner contentment – that enables us to be happy with what ever we have. And that whatever we have ensures we don’t suffer as a consequence of it. For all possessions owned, in what attitude were they cultivated? If happiness is determined by possessions then there will always the looming reality that it may be lost. From this perspective no amount of money or possession can assure health or happiness. Yogananda says- “prosperity means uniform fulfillment for body, mind and soul. Just as a millionaire is not excited to receive the first of a dollar, so the possessor of immeasurable, all-satisfying divine wealth does not feel elated by overt offerings of the senses.”
Once we have mastered our true prosperity, we no longer seek to adore ourselves with “stuff” or own anything, to compensate for that which we are truly seeking, our true wealth – inner contentment.