At one time or another, most of us have found beauty in simplicity. We've opened to the wonder of seeing gems of clarity amidst complications. Usually, we have the luxury of doing this by choice. We select simplicity from an abundance of options. Spare shapes, muted colors and quiet thoughts become preferences within louder possibilities. The zen of their peace and order are mixed with the sense of being in control.
Simplicity imposed upon us by life's circumstances is another matter altogether. Lack of money, poor health or other restrictions beyond our control can force us into narrow lives we do not want. In contrast to the spaciousness and balance of chosen simplicity, imposed simplicity can be constricting and stressful. When our survival is put in danger by uncertain supplies of food, shelter and clothing, sensing beauty and calm can be the last thing on our minds.
These moments, however, offer access to the real power of simplicity. That power is not entered by making things simple through our will. It is experienced by surrendering to the flow of life energy that carries us through times of limitation. Such times of uncertainty challenge our assumptions about life. They rattle our relationships. They tear at the fabric of our world. If we resist, we suffer in fear. If we somehow embrace what is happening, a shake-up can open us up. Expanded beyond our control, we are humbled enough to appreciate the beauty of humble things. Imposed simplicity breaks our pretenses and makes keen our senses. A bowl of rice can become a feast. A bench beneath a shady tree can become a sanctuary.
I'm not romanticizing poverty. We all want to live in abundance. It's just that these days of economic restriction can test our limits. They can push us into hopelessness with no end in sight. If we are crossing such a time of drought, each sip of water is a blessing. Savoring the depths of the simple blessings we find, we can be strengthened by their miraculous beauty and power. Finding strength in simplicity we can access the wealth hidden with each step of our way.