By Andy Puddicombe
Most of us have wished for a simpler life at some stage or other. No surprise really, given how hectic our tech-fueled, multitasking lives can be and the speed at which everything seems to happen these days.
When I set off to become a Buddhist monk back in the day, I was definitely searching for a simpler way of life. Sure, in retrospect, perhaps it was a little drastic, and you’ll be relieved to know that’s certainly not what I’m recommending here. But, there were some really useful lessons that relate just as much to here and now as they did to there and then.
One monastery I lived in took simplicity to a whole new level. It was entirely dedicated to the practice of meditation. There was little or no reading and no discussion of any philosophy or psychology — it was all about the practice itself, sitting with the mind without distraction. There was no TV, no Internet, no games, no phones, and no visitors. The only thing on the agenda was meditation, 24/7, 365 days a year.
To some that will sound like heaven; to others, perhaps more like a terrifying nightmare. But, there is no question that once we strip away all of the noise and activity of everyday life, the mind appears in a whole new way. As a direct consequence, our perspective shifts, and our experience of life appears in a whole new way.
In some respects, it doesn’t matter whether we meditate for 10 minutes or one hour, for one week or one year — the principle is the same: to put down the baggage from our past, to let go of our anxieties and fear of the future, and instead to be present with the extraordinary beauty and simplicity of the present moment. It doesn’t require a change of life, just a change of mind.