One of the Quaker testimonies is Simplicity. In musing about the frantic holiday season, Liz Opp blogs about the practice.
One topic I hear about at this time of year, almost as a surrogate for the larger topic, is that of simplifying. Simplifying is not the same as practicing simplicity, but it seems as if the former has also nearly become a surrogate for the latter.
Simplifying does not address the same question as What distractions might I remove, especially at this time of year, so that I might better hear God and God’s guidance for me?
In the Pendle Hill pamphlet 194, Quakerism of the Future, John Yungblut writes about how simplicity can open the door to mystical encounters with the divine.
The mystical experience comes by grace. But we can at least engage in that first classic step on the steep ascent, the process of purging. We can, bay an effort of the will, resolve to move toward the simple life in which we are not encumbered with possessions nor driven by an over-scheduled daily program.
With the rapid close of 2005 I think about the ways that I seek to practice simplicity and how this practice has enriched my life.
I do not have a TV or Internet access at home. Also, this summer I got rid of my car and now live without one. I am not better than anyone else for doing these things, but my pace has changed significantly.
I can be more intentional about when I go on-line, what I watch on TV, where I go and how I get there. Surprisingly my relationships with others have opened up along with my openness to God (and to my work). I have hewn out a space for myself to create, commune and center.
As I go into 2006 and set my goals for the new year (resolutions never work for me!), I will consider other ways that I can practice simplicity–not so that I can be a better person or a super Christian, (Betty Bowers is already the world’s best Christian) but so that I have more space to live and love.