So many people think that happiness is extraordinary. Since they were young they have learned to believe that they can be happy only if they manage to obtain things that they don’t have, and only few people can have. This may be a job, fame, respectability, or money, amongst other things. Certainly for them life as it is, is lifeless.
Yet when they manage to achieve all they desired, they usually end up finding themselves empty and miserable – even more than they were before. And then they start seeking after new things – and this goes on for an entire life.
Only a few people have come out of this mental trap and realize that happiness is not somewhere far and away from ourselves to be sought and found, but resides within ourselves and our close environment: we only need to take a closer look.
To be happy is to be ordinary and simple. It is not to possess more things, but to be able to enjoy things you already have.
Men and women of wisdom choose to live The Simple Life. They just live in the present moment, enjoying whatever life brings to them, appreciating the good and the bad. They are so overflowing with joy by appreciating simple things that even in times of apparent trouble, they are able to focus only on what is truly important for them, without being affected by superficialities.
There is a Zen story that vividly describes this way of life:
Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal.
Ryokan returned and caught him. “You may have come a long way to visit me, ” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.”
The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.
Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, “I wish I could give him this beautiful moon.”
The more you complicate things in your life, the more confused you become. And in that state of confusion you may take actions without understanding what consequences they may have in your life.
Being simple in a world where everybody is striving to become extraordinary, is truly extra-ordinary.