The Balm of Simplicity

“Our life is frittered away by detail… Simplify, simplify.” wrote the American moralist Henry David Thoreau.

Having a simple mind is not the same as being simple-minded. On the contrary, simplicity of mind is reflected in clarity of thought. Like clear water that lets us see all the way to the lake bottom, simplicity reveals the nature of the mind behind the veil of restless thought.

Andre Comte-Sponville has found an inspiring way to of describing it:

The simple person lives the way he breathes, with no more effort or glory, with no more affection and without shame… Simplicity is freedom, buoyancy, transparency. As simple as the air, as free as the air…. The simple person does not take himself too seriously or too tragically. He goes on his merry way, his heart light, his soul at peace, without a goal, without nostalgia, without impatience. The world is his kingdom, and suffices him. The present is his eternity, and delights him. He has nothing to prove, since he has no appearances to keep up, and nothing to seek, since everything is before him. What is more simple than simplicity? What lighter? It is the virtue of wise men and the wisdom of saints.

– Happiness by Matthieu Ricard


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