In a way, one of the most basic understandings in eastern philosophies has been lost in the “Age of Energy.” As a result of all our technology, we spend more time on cell phones, the internet, watching TV, and in cars running around like high tech chickens with our heads cut off. The art of slowing down, taking time to enjoy the moment, and being present is pushed aside in the name of efficiency. Why? One answer is; because we think this will lead to our happiness.
Some of us think that if we are more efficient with our time, then we will have more time to do the things we enjoy. But at the end of the day, with all the time that was saved, how many of us actually did something joyful, or self-fulfilling? Yes, there are some exceptions, but over all many of us think that our joy will come from outside ourselves. I used to think that I would find joy once I had a little more money, which would give me a little more time. Not so.
Our experiences these past couple years have truly shown us what it means to have quality time. For months at a time we were without cell phone, internet, television, or any basic communication with the outside world. Our time was spent in nature, sourcing natural materials from the land, the forest, and neighbors in order to build natural buildings that would be enjoyed by all.
When we were not building, or sourcing materials, we spent our time in community taking turns cooking for each other, having great conversations, and playing with our children. It wasn’t that we weren’t busy, or that we had surplus time. In fact we were easily as busy as when we lived in the city, working all the time, driving the kids around, and doing endless errands. The difference was that we were busy doing something that was fulfilling to our spirits.
The idea of simple living doesn’t mean to give up all your possessions and move to the country, or to the wilderness, it simply means to evaluate your time and expenses so that you’re doing something that feeds your soul. It helps to lower your expenses, to grow some of your own food, and to have a low housing cost, but it’s not a requirement to be poor. Some of the happiest people I know in South America are looked upon as poor, but in my eyes, they are rich in spirit, love, and joy. They were always willing to share what little they had, with joyful abundance.
Thank you Betty, Tatacho, Levi and all the friends we made at Spirit Pine Sanctuary. It was wonderful working, living, and playing with you all.