In Voluntary Simplicity groups, many different views and aspects of simplicity come up.
There is outer simplicity, in terms of uncluttered living/working space, fewer things to caretake, reduced working hours, more time for family, friends and community engagement. And there is inner simplicity, in terms of a more uncluttered and clear mind. This is the obvious and more conventional way of looking at simplicity, and both valuable and needed in our culture.
At some point – often early in the process, someone typically mentions the following: It seems that living a meaningful life is what it is about, and the term simplicity does not quite cover it. It is OK with complexity as long as it is chosen and in a meaningful context. This reflects a more thorough exploration of what is behind voluntary simplicity.
If we explore the second insight a little further, we come full circle and the term simplicity again seems appropriate.
Here, I realize that through aligning my life with my values, there is a new simplicity arising.
One aspect is aligning my outer world with my view. I make changes in the outer life of living and work situation so they are more aligned with my values, and this gives an inner sense of clarity and meaning. This is similar to the first two approaches to simplicity.
The other aspect is aligning my view with the inner and outer world. I explore how I can relate to any inner/outer situation in a way that is meaningful and helps me come in harmony with existence. This approach allows for a sense of simplicity – or harmony – independent of inner/outer complexity or simplicity.
When our life is not aligned with our values, or we are in conflict with Existence as it manifests, there is a sense of struggle and complexity. When our life is aligned with our values, or we are in harmony with Existence as it manifests, there is a sense of ease, clarity and simplicity.
The ultimate simplicity is Big Mind. When awareness awakens as Big Mind, there is no struggle because there is nothing to struggle against. There is only Existence as it fluidly manifests here/now.