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The Simplicity Movement



True spirituality is predicated upon an inner awakening to a realm deep within us and above our normal human consciousness; an awareness of the Higher Self. Once one becomes aware of the Higher Self one is driven to unite with it in a realm of light, peace, power, joy and freedom. Freedom only exists above, in the higher realm which is accessed within. This is a life long practice and forms the basis of all spiritual work.


Importantly, everything in the world that we perceive to be outside ourselves conspires to keep us bound. The primary tool of bondage, spiritual and psychological, is attachment/desire. This is the second Noble Truth taught by the Buddha. Our entire day to day world exists to keep us bound because of the persistent delusion described as everyday reality. We are naturally designed to flow our attention outside of ourselves and seek to satisfy ourselves through sensory and psychological stimulation from the outside world. Sex and food become the primary drivers of sensory satisfaction but there is also the entire panoply of desired objects foisted upon us by the corporate machine that rules this world. We are constantly being told what to want, when to want it and why so many unnecessary things are essential for our lives. And thus, as Thoreau said “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”.


One of the greatest and most effective forms of spiritual activism today is something we prefer to call the simplicity movement. This is a spiritual movement arising spontaneously throughout the globe as a direct reaction to the wonton waste of Western cultures and the disrespect that our species demonstrates to the rest of our planetary co-inhabitants. There are moderate and radical expressions of this movement but the gist is that we must learn to live with less in order to have more. The more we can limit our demands upon the outer environment the greater sense of peace and well-being we will experience in our lives. The global warming advocates call this lessening our carbon footprint, but it is much more profound than that. The key point is that all true satisfaction comes from within us. It is not only not practical but it is not possible to get our needs met outwardly; except, of course, as pertains to food, clothing and shelter. That is the paradox. It is this point which requires a complete spiritual awakening because our everyday ordinary perspective needs to be reversed. If we can do this, then we will begin to understand the message of all great spiritual masters. More specifically, the revolutionary teachings of Jesus begin to make sense. The Christian message can not be understood as long as we buy in to the worldly ordinary mindset. More on this later.


The simplicity movement is a natural evolution in the lives of true spiritual seekers. As we awaken to the treasures that exist within ourselves, we learn to rely more upon an inner joy and satisfaction that becomes available to us. As this occurs within our souls, we will also discover new forms of creativity and self expression that do not rely upon taking too much from our external environment. Also we, as a species, will learn to work in greater harmony with the natural laws that we do understand, and also to discover hitherto unknown natural laws that will help us solve the global crisis we are in the midst of. It has never been our lot to succumb to nature. Rather it has always been our destiny to rise above nature and to control nature by expressing our innate consciousness and higher consciousness. That is why we believe that we are entirely capable of solving our global crisis. It is our destiny to do so. The problem up until now, is that as we have come to understand nature, we have had a tendency to use our understanding to manipulate the world and to make this understanding serve selfish economic interests. We have taken this approach about as far as we can and, it seems, everything must change. This is why there is such a palpable sense of spiritual and social awakening happening everywhere.


Another important aspect of the simplicity movement is the shift in ideals and idealism that is happening among the more awakened. This, too, is an inevitable byproduct of this shift toward inwardness. We are learning to care more about the collective. This is a key political shift because the gist of capitalism, as it is currently practiced in America is enlightened self interest, which ought to flow back into society as a social good. The problem with this view is that it is mostly person-centric and selfishly motivated. Any social good is a byproduct of the good wishes of individuals who are encouraged to look after themselves and their families first, and often only. As we awaken to a more socially conscious world view, the collective good will achieve parity with individual good and we will begin to see ourselves in the context of a broader social fabric, reflecting our intrinsic oneness. The ideal of the collective is a higher spiritual perspective, but like everything on the spiritual path, following this path is like walking the razor’s edge. We need to be cognizant of the group without having to totally sacrifice our own personal well-being, Rather, we must come to understand that our own personal and family well-being is best served by considering the collective good, economically, environmentally and socially. Then our system of laws will evolve out of this implicit sense of oneness among all humanity. We won’t harm the “other” because they are a part of ourselves. Social laws will flow out of a deeper sense of Cosmic Moral Laws that are eternal and exist as an implicit part of what we are in our Higher natures. As we awaken to our higher natures, and follow the dictates of our souls, the need for many societal laws will diminish. Most laws are unnecessary for the following reasons, those who gladly obey them are disinclined to violate them in the first place; and those who are inclined to break them are not really deterred by them anyway. This is not a call for anarchy but rather a call to reevaluate greater social libertarianism in the context of our current US constitutional system.


Furthermore, as more people become moved by this pervasive awakening happening everywhere, a new type of spiritual culture will naturally evolve, and is naturally evolving, based upon universal acceptance of the divine impulse in humankind. We do not accept the abolition of religion or the acceptance of a universal religion that blends everything into one belief. Rather, inspired by the profound message of Sri Ramakrishna, we hark back to the old Vedantic truth that “Truth is one, sages call it by various names”, that all paths are valid for the sincere seeker and should be honored. That does not, however, give free reign to the adherents of a particular path to impose their will on others through force and coercion.


As Truth is one, then in accordance with our inner transformation we will find new ways to express our gratitude, joy and enthusiasm for the Divine Being, as we perceive It everywhere. Many will be perfectly satisfied with time honored traditional ways of worship and others will be inspired to worship in new forms. The point is that, as we awaken to the inner light, we will experience life as a perpetual sacrament. All of life will become holy and all of life will be perceived as yoga- a journey of divine union. We will reawaken to the sacredness of life as we attune to the universal Higher Self. No longer will our existence be measured by the ordinary, prosaic bondage of darkness; rather we will begin to sense, anew, that there is something very special and important about being alive! Thus we will truly come to understand that the best things in life are free; freely available to us if we turn within. And thus we will begin to get what the simplicity movement is all about.


We can be free from the daily grind. We can be free from this constant frustration of working hard to acquire things that we are being brainwashed to want. We don’t have to keep up with the “Jones’s” by struggling so hard to get “things” which won’t bring happiness. Rather we will learn to cultivate inner qualities of peace, contentment, kindness, patience, etc. which will bring us true joy and learn to devote our energies to the development of our souls. It is a shift of focus from solely valuing our outer lives to re-valuing and cherishing our inner lives.


Yet the simplicity movement, also, does not require us to get off the grid, move into the country and renounce the world. Some may want to, but that is not what this is all about. This is about calming down and making a point, a political and spiritual point. We can vote with our dollars by opting out of the advertising machine. We are not to be relegated to the status of mere consumers. No! We are creators taking responsibility for the type of world we wish to live in. By opting out of the current system, psychologically and spiritually, we are free to opt in to a new world. A world that reflects our highest ideals and principals. This is a lofty ideal and one that is not easily achieved. What, of true value is? We must go against the grain and make conscious choices to participate in the new world of our own making. We will garner the scorn and disbelief of those not willing to make to leap into this new world.


Over the past century, we have seen various expressions of this urge, from the concept of Brotherhood Colonies put forth by Paramahansa Yogananda in the 1920’s and 30’s, to the Kibbutz movement in Israel, to the communes of the 1960’s and to the various conscious communities being founded throughout the world today. Still this movement is nascent and we are struggling against a machine, a system, that uses all it’s power to stamp it out. Just as the early christians were persecuted by Rome, until Rome co-opted the Movement by institutionalizing it, thereby mollifying it; so our current culture, the New Rome, is trying to kill this new outpouring of Spirit. Spirit has no economic value and as such is beyond the comprehension of our world. That is partly what Jesus meant when he said” My kingdom is not of this world”. Spiritual consciousness, Christ consciousness, is way beyond the reach of materialism. It expresses Itself from the inner depths of the being, not without. And this is the point of the simplicity movement. Simplify, simplify, simplify... And be Happy.


There are many ways to participate in this new spiritual movement, this profound political statement. We can be as careful or as aggressive as we want. It all comes down to our readiness for it. For those who are eminently ready, it may take the form of a complete revolution in their personal lives. For others, it may mean as moderate a task as not buying a new pair of shoes, or of not eating out at fancy restaurants as much, or whatever. Each person will simplify according to their own inner guidance. The point is to recognize that we want to make a change for our own betterment and the betterment of the world. This is a universal movement where all are welcome, none are rejected and there is enough for everyone. We make no distinctions of race, gender, economic bracket, marital status, anything. The movement accepts you where you are, having perfect faith that as you begin to grasp the principals upon which this movement is based, there will be a natural progression to deeper levels of understanding and expression.`


Spiritual growth encourages moral transformation. The moral principal of the simplicity movement is that whatever causes us to move closer to our understanding of intrinsic unity amongst all of life, creates a revolution of morality. We reject all which separates us from ourselves and each other and accept what brings us together. This is the foundation of Cosmic Moral Law. The joy of the Higher Self is the goal of human life. Rejecting the constant hankering for things naturally brings us closer to this goal. As we attune to our innate higher nature, we will naturally reject the enticements of the outer for the enticements of the inner. Thus we participate in a virtuous cycle moving us along the path.


The simplicity movement is the political and economic expression of this activity. We opt out because we begin to see that there truly is corruption in high places. The forces that govern our most powerful and pervasive industries, food, energy, financial services and pharmaceuticals, do not have our best interests at heart. The driving force of all industry is the almighty dollar. Without money we can’t survive in this culture. We all must bow down at the altar of money. And this is slavery. Unfortunately a new way has not made itself known, yet. Communism leads to despotism; the despotism of the State. We are always assailed by the forces of external control. The current state of capitalism in the US along with its sham democracy has also failed us and has degenerated into a “Corporatocracy”. Our politicians are governed by special interests, as we all know. In spite of this, because of the inherent rights afforded to US citizens in the Constitution, there is a real opportunity for the new way to express itself in this country. These rights are inherent in what it means to be a US citizen and even though they have been systematically chipped away at over the past generation, it won’t take much to reawaken a fervor for freedom once it becomes very apparent that we are about to lose it. Regardless of all resistance from the current global culture of materialism, the new Spirit of transformation will make Itself known.


Since this movement has not reached any type of critical mass to begin to really effect the status quo, we can’t know how our culture will react when this movement picks up steam . To date, any movement of idealism has been absorbed into the economic machine. The idealism of the sixties has either become the mainstream of today because an economic value was discerned and exploited or simply rejected. However, if enough conscious people wake up within the system, perhaps the system will be transformed. It is being transformed already and this simplicity movement is an expression of that. Either way, significant change is in the air. Any serious study of system theory makes it clear that the old order must pass away before the new one begins. We are in the transition phase. These are very interesting times, indeed.