Spiritual Simplicity

September 13, 2010 by  

(Photo credit)
This is a continuation of my last post on addiction, in a sense. At the base of all addictions lies compulsive thinking and so practically all of us are addicted — unless you can stop your thoughts at will and are completely free of inner conflicts, this is the article for you.

Compulsive thinking

Compulsive thinking drives us to do more, effectively diverting our attention from our true nature, which is one with God, or Source. And no amount of “doing” is enough to satisfy our longing to feel one with God. Rather, the thought-driven actions derail us further and further from the feeling of Oneness, leaving us in self-imposed isolation.

This is the mechanism of all addictions and compulsive behaviors. Anything and any behaviors can be the distracting “doing”, whether it is eating, drinking, twittering, working, working for charities, sex, reading, exercising. . . you name it.

So the solution is quite obvious: Quit thinking. Ignore the urge to think and do more. Instead, be still and know who you really are.

If totally quit thinking is difficult, learn to observe your thoughts as you do in meditation. Just observe without reacting to it. The ego, which is doing this compulsive thinking, hates getting direct attention — it likes to hide and manipulate you from there.

Waking up from the human dream

There is an even deeper meaning to this. The “reality” as we know it is not real at all. It’s like a computer simulation game, a virtual reality. Or I might say we are in the collective dream. It feels very real, but it’s not.

So the ultimate purpose of life is not about improving this dream but to wake up. The ego hates this waking up, however, because it cannot exist in the true world.

What I’m figuring out is that the “true world” is right here. Or at least, the gateway to it is right here and now. It’s not about traveling to a wonderful land where life forms glow with brilliant aura and we use psychic powers like telepathy, teleportation and telekinesis — well, actually it is, but then, life forms are glowing and we all have psychic powers already. We just don’t notice it.

Simplifying my life

When I think of this, I notice there really aren’t so many things I need to do. The majority of the things that is taking up my time are unnecessary. Sure, I need to care for my physical body by sleeping for several hours and feeding it occasionally. And I’m happy to do some work.

But beyond that? Everything is optional and I’d like to do things only when that inspires me and brings me genuine joy.

For me personally, this means cutting down my reading time considerably, both online and reading books. I’m also tempted to simplify my diet big time. I want to eat basically the same thing every day, like green smoothie for breakfast, soup or steamed vegs with complex carbs (sweet potatoes or brown rice, maybe) for lunch, and blended soup again for dinner. Minimal variations in the type of greens and other produce.

And I’m attracted to do more physical exercises everyday, like walking and yoga. “Everyday” is a key — no thinking involved if I want to do it today or not. Just walk first thing in the morning — simple and little variations. I think it helps me empty my mind.

Basically, I want to live like a monk while staying at home.

It’s not restriction, it’s freedom

I am not saying these changes are necessary to end compulsive thinking. Someone may be able to stop thinking at will and be completely free of inner conflicts while drinking, smoking, pigging junk foods, and gambling. Fine. I just don’t think I can do that. (Please note being free of inner conflicts is not the same with denial.)

Although my new simplified lifestyle might sound restrictive, it’s really about freedom. From excessive and compulsive thinking and all the mess that thinking has created.

This may also mean I post less frequently on this blog. My apologies. I don’t think I quit blogging like my respectable friend Ariel Bravy did, however.

“We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” -Tao Te Ching

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Please check About page to learn more about this blog and the author, Akemi Gaines.


6 Responses to “Spiritual Simplicity”

  1. Merry on September 13th, 2010 3:48 pm

    Thank-you again for these posts. They have really helped me figure things out for myself. ;)


  2. Robin Easton on September 26th, 2010 11:31 am

    Dear Akemi, I love this post. I relate to it sooooo powerfully. I find your writing very refreshing. You are very much a free thinker. I responded to your comment on my blog and have also added your site to my RSS feed. You are quite amazing. I am so glad to connect with you again. HUGE hugs, Robin

    PS I also do Kiva and am trying to work out how to put their logo and link on my own sidebar like you have. Wonderful idea that you did that.

  3. Akemi on September 26th, 2010 6:27 pm

    Merry and Robin,

    Thank you for your kind words.

  4. arina nikitina on September 28th, 2010 5:30 am

    It’s amazing that such insightful lifestyle could be considered as limited or restrictive. I do praise you, Akemi, for choosing a path of simplicity. Others may call it wanting of many life essentials, but that’s their opinion, being used to media, gadgets, wide range of choices in food, fashion and ideas of fun.
    As for me, I truly agree with you, Akemi. Such simplicity brings in higher spirituality in us. I could readily say the same. Having shifted to a much healthier lifestyle, doing yoga and all other simpler stuff, life had become filled with meaningful undertakings. Instead of the hectic daily routines, confusion over so many products, attractive flashes of fun and all that, the choice I made led me to greater discoveries about myself.
    It turned out that the things in my “little world” actually are what I hold most valuable. On the other hand, the kind of life in the “real, modern” world I have experienced turned out to be pointless and unsatisfying.

    Keep writing about stuff like these, Akemi! I am confident many more people would be provoked into re-thinking the lives they live, and would pave their roads ahead in much more simple, healthier and meaningful composition. Thanks for the wisdom and do keep it up!

  5. Akemi on September 28th, 2010 6:49 am


    Thank you. I think the important part is this simplicity comes voluntarily. Forcing certain lifestyle is futile even if it’s good or healthy or whatever.
    Heck, I might embracing tons of “decorations” one day — if that feels fit at the time, for me the point is to reduce thinking.

  6. What Does It Mean To Grow Spiritually? | Real Life Spirituality on December 1st, 2010 10:46 am

    [...] To me, spirituality means to be free from all these craps. Spirit over mind. So calm the mind and be free from the compulsive thinking. [...]