Training your mind in the art of simplicity
If you get caught in the anxiety of overwhelming thoughts more often than you like, you are not alone. In fact, you and 40 million other Americans share this problem. And it IS a problem.
These are some of the symptoms:
- You go through life feeling more and more stretched.
- You wonder how you’ll get everything done.
- You feel disconnected from the purpose you feel you should be living.
- You constantly relive old hurts.
- You suffer from insomnia.
- You spend far more time in your head than you do in the moment.
I’m sure you could add some of your own, there, too.
It’s awful to feel any of those things, and it’s not your fault. It’s not your failure as a human being that causes this to happen, but rather, a combination of ancient (fight or flight) programming and modern (busy busy busy) conditions.
It’s a perfect storm, really. And we’re all caught in it.
Finding a reprieve
What do you do to take respite from all that noise? It’s a rare person these days who doesn’t seek out a form of relaxation, like meditation, yoga, mindfulness practice, arts and crafts, hobbies of some sort, and so on. Good for you if you have developed a practice in any of these areas!
I do many of those, too, and have since I was a teenager. They calm me down, give me outlets, and feed my inner life.
But there is one thing I do that helps me practice the art of simplicity more than any other.
The first haiku I read was by Japanese haiku master, Kobayashi Issa (1763 - 1827):
in this world
we walk on the roof of hell
gazing at flowers
My mind exploded, and continues to do so every time I read it. What a deep and confounding view, expressed so simply and beautifully.
Its simplicity is what I love most. To say so much with so few words is an act of reducing things to their essence; bringing heart, mind, body and soul through the point of one's pen.
The daily practice I have developed over the past 10+ years doesn’t just simplify my thoughts. It simplifies my experiences, my view of the world, my appreciation of beauty, my angst with the dilemmas of life.
I have changed because I write haiku. I want to see everything, feel everything, taste everything, know everything. I want to stop my racing thoughts to capture it all and savor it all.
For simplicity’s sake.
That is all.
I invite you to join me and hundreds of others who have stepped out of the perfect storm and onto this path of beauty, self-exploration and healing. Our conversations happen in haiku, and they are richer than you can imagine. We’d love to hear what you have to say.