Making Life Less Complicated

It’s often said in the mindfulness field that life is generally simple, but we over-complicate it. That is difficult to accept of course when we are going through a very difficult time. I prefer to see this teaching as mainly applicable to everyday life when things are not so challenging.

Take, for example, the act of going for a walk in the countryside. In essence this is a very simple act. We plan our journey, travel to our destination, locate the path, and then just walk.

However, at each of these stages, we may make it more difficult than it needs to be. When planning, we may worry about the weather, how much food we need, what will happen if we have an accident. On the journey there we may get irritated at other drivers and anxious about how long it will take to arrive. When locating the path, we may get agitated about which one to take. A few hundred yards into the walk, we may moan about the comfort of our shoes, that it is more challenging than we thought, or that the views aren’t like the picture on the internet.

This is just one example of how we can turn what is essentially uncomplicated into a series of challenges. This can come from a place of non-acceptance and the need to control our experiences. Such a mindset can strip the enjoyment out of what we do and make it into a chore, in what could otherwise be an enjoyable and meaningful experience.

Regular mindfulness meditation practice helps us to avoid unnecessary judgment of our experience, accept things as they are, and let go of control. It reminds us that, although life can be unpredictable at times, it is often more straightforward than we think, and there to be enjoyed.

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