Living simply is not about living in poverty or self-inflicted deprivation. It's about living an examined life where one has determined what is truly important and enough... and then just let go of all the rest.
Compassion will no longer be seen as a spiritual luxury for a contemplative few; rather it will be viewed as a social necessity for the entire human family.
Satisfactions are fulfillment of the heart. Dissatisfactions are the rumblings of the mind.
It is the example of each person's life, much more than his or her words, that speaks with power. Even the smallest action done with a loving appreciation of life can profoundly touch other human beings.
We live almost completely immersed in a socially constructed reality which so fully absorbs our energy and attention that virtually none remains to experience the wonder of our existence.
I remember I heard this in my very first year of coming to Alcoholics Anonymous, and a surprised laugh burst out of me when I did.
I felt that giddy combination of unexpected enlightenment and embarrassing identification so common in the beginning of my AA journey. (And in the middle of my journey. And recently, too. I guess it's kind of bullshit to position that experience as something which happens to "new" people and that I've somehow outgrown it. It might not happen a half dozen times a meeting any more, but a half dozen times a month? Absolutely.)
So I identified, and realized that my attitude of entitlement and performance-art-level, self-created drama was at work, and that I did indeed need to "drop the rock."
By realizing that pretty much everything I thought was a burden was actually a blessing.
By substituting the words "get to" for the words "have to" whenever I start dressing up whatever I have to be grateful for in the false widow's weeds of obligation or affliction.
It goes like this:
I have to go to 90 meetings in 90 days.
No, Mr. SponsorPants, you get to go to 90 meetings in 90 days.
I have to go to work today.
No, Mr. SponsorPants, you get to go to work today.
I have to go to the dentist.
No, Mr. SponsorPants, you get to go to the dentist.
It's astonishing and a little disgusting how easily -- even today -- I can complain about my privileges.
I love the AsapSCIENCE Channel on YouTube. They put together quick, smart-but-easy-to-follow videos on a huge variety of science-related subject matter. Very recently they did one on "The Scientific Power of Meditation:"
The video is all of three minutes and two seconds long. Well worth the time.
One of my big take-aways:
"... studies found that after 8 weeks of a meditation program gray matter was more dense in areas associated with learning, memory processing and emotion regulation, and yet the amygdala which deals with stress, blood pressure and fear had decreased gray matter..."
The Eleventh Step says "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him..." It does not say "Sought through prayer and meditation except when we think we can't sit still, don't have time or secretly think we'll be bored..."
Bust yourself on your bullshit, find a meditation practice and get started. There is not an alcoholic -- hell, there is not a person -- to be found who has a regular practice who doesn't name it as an incredibly powerful healing and transformational tool.