“Tis the Gift to be Simple”

An old Quaker song states “Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free”. In our modern culture, however, there is the feeling we “never have enough”, and we are encouraged to want more.

Recently I was looking through a catalog showing the latest technical gadgets, and I found myself wanting them, even though I didn’t know what some of them were designed to do! I began to see it was as “wanting to want”, a disease our culture keeps nourishing and our advertisements encourage us to maintain.

From the moment our alarm sounds in the morning to the wee hours of late night TV, these mental pollutants in the form of commercial advertising flood into our brain. Marketers skillfully exploit us by what is fundamental to our human nature – desire.

Desire takes many forms. It is the ceaseless striving for some new state or feeling, for a satisfaction that cannot be found otherwise, and for some assurance of permanence in our lives. Because of the ever-changing nature of reality, this striving is always frustrated. Once we see the impermanence of everything in the physical world, we are no longer attached to what comes and goes throughout our life.

With this awareness, we realize that what we are so worried about today will be completely forgotten tomorrow. As we see that our world as we know it will be changed in a very short period of time, we will be released from the tension of the wanting mind. We will be freed from the conditioned belief that possessions bring fulfillment, that things or even people bring security. Then we will be able to experience the ease of relatively unencumbered living. Each day, one day at a time, we find ourselves more fully present for our living in that day. We understand the words to “Tis the Gift to be Simple”.

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