Keep it Simple

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary, so the necessary may speak

Hans Hofmann


Of the many things that we have lost out to this humanity starved progression, the one thing which is the most underrated and yet very elusive in its own right is ‘Simplicity’! The way our psyches have evolved, we try to find all the solutions by falling prey to the complex web of speculative thoughts, rather than looking for simpler obvious pastures.


Great trouble comes from not knowing what is enough. Great conflict arises from wanting too much. When we know enough is enough; There will always be enough.


This can be explained with the help of an analogy. Whenever there is a fire in a huge building, the first and foremost security measure is to run towards the fire exit which almost every time leads you to the ground level that has been tactfully secured as an “Emergency Assembly Point” since fire has a tendency to travel faster uphill. The second thing the evacuation team tells us is that ‘Do not take the lift’, use the staircase; Third and most important is “Do no Run, Rush or Panic’. Three simple steps and lives are saved.


Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulties lie opportunities

Albert Einstein


Now if we apply these three in case of a personal situational emergency that robs our intellect to think clearer, a simple mind evacuation process can help us gain back our mental lucidity:

  1. Emergency Assembly Point: Whenever you feel down in the dumps and are not able to think clearer, look for an inner hypothetical assembly point. In case of any such emotional or perceptual emergencies, when it is hard to think rational, an assembly point is a metaphor for a grounding anchor, a ‘safe’ point. Imagine such a point in your mind and think of yourself sitting there to get back control on your clarity. Or indulge in something that calms your mind and is constructive at the same time. It is essential to first calm the mind.
  2. Do not take Lift: Do not take any shortcuts or look for any quick fix solutions to get rid of the problem. Nip the problem in the bud so that either it never occurs or if it is something you do not have control over, you become fearless and face it in the face. But never try to find an easy way out. The biggest challenge in life is to owning up to all the occurrences in life both fortunate and unfortunate. Think of the worst case possible and if it is under your direct control, try your best to resolve it.
  3. Do not panic: Panic resolves nothing; rather it causes even more damage. The biggest one being that it starts affecting everyone around us, even those who are trying their best to help. Our anger and frustrations are our own, they stem from our own chaos and inability to find a resolution of any problem. Things that are not under our direct control should not punish us, rather they should be taken as a stepping stone to something better and worthy in life. Everything has a hidden learning treasure in itself.


Here we are first entering a place of inner calm, carefully stepping down and ultimately out of the stresful mode and ultimately reaching our safe point. And from there, simply watching the problem from a distance as an observer and we will find that the best of solutions are wrapped up in simplicity. Like the best of meals are the ones that are simple, the best of times are the ones that are unplanned yet productive.


Here is a short Zen story that explains the power or simplicity and how we take it for granted!

Once there was a monk who was an expert on the Diamond Sutra, and as books were very valuable in his day, he carried the only copy in his part of the world on his back. He was widely sought after for his readings and insight into the Diamond Sutra, and very successful at propounding its profundities to not only monks and masters but to the lay people as well. Thus the people of that region came to know of the Diamond Sutra, and as the monk was traveling on a mountain road, he came upon an old woman selling tea and cakes. The hungry monk would have loved to refresh himself, but alas, he had no money. He told the old woman, "I have upon my back a treasure beyond knowing — the Diamond Sutra. If you will give me some tea and cakes, I will tell you of this great treasure of knowledge."

The old woman knew something of the Diamond Sutra herself, and proposed her own bargain. She said, "Oh learned monk, if you will answer a simple question, I will give you tea and cakes." To this the monk readily agreed. The woman then said, "When you eat these cakes, are you eating with the mind of the past, the mind of the present or the mind of the future?" No answer occurred to the monk, so he took the pack from his back and got out the text of the Diamond Sutra, hoping he could find the answer. As he studied and pondered, the day grew late and the old woman packed up her things to go home for the day.

"You are a foolish monk indeed," said the old woman as she left the hungry monk in his quandary. "You eat the tea and cakes with your mouth."


Source: A lighter side of Buddhism


Make Clever Simple and Simple Clever


One thing that has led to all our collective entangling in the grips of stress and mental stiffness is the lack of trust on each other and ourselves. We complicate stuff by thinking what the other person might be thinking in a situation, rather than focusing on our own best interests. So every once in a while, take a pause and listen to yourself; there is nothing that you don’t know and there is nothing that you can’t do. You have all the keys as you yourself have created the lock. Give others an honest piece of your mind and above all “Just keep it Simple”!



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