Simplification

Ghostwriter's full-screen distraction free interface does actually create the closest experience to writing with pen on paper. I wasn't thinking of this as a need when looking at plain text processors. Writing is useful to me as a process for developing thoughts and ideas, for self-questioning, for looking at what's important. Not every developed flow of thought constitutes something that is eventually meaningful, or is necessarily a call to action. Sometimes, one can write down something that seems completely true and self-evident, and the process helps one to discover the fallacy of it. Just as if one would go to a psychologist and s/he might allow one to flow with a certain fantasy in order to then look at it critically and discover that this thing is not what one really wants... is that something that psychologists do? I've no idea. But they might. Following a thought process to a logical conclusion is sometimes better than nursing it while thinking one shouldn't.

The journey towards simplicity is sometimes a circuitous route. One of my early heroes was Swami Sivananda, who gave up a fairly well-to-do life and went to live in Rishikesh, at a time when it was mainly just a pilgrim stop and dharamshala on the way up to Gangotri. Gandhi describes the place as a fairly squalid collection of tin roofed huts, or something similar. Sivananda used to string together bits of scrap paper in order to create notebooks, where he would write spiritual instructions to himself. One of these injunctions of his that I have always liked most is "Simplify your life, purify your heart."

It is often difficult through external means to actually simplify even when the desire is there. I'm sure that Maria Konto's students ditch the majority of their possessions eventually only to reacquire them. People who are natural managers or leaders may head off for the caves, in order to leave behind their business empires but eventually will turn these into large ashrams, carry their ambitions with them into a new sphere of interest, and end up building an empire of a different kind. In such a way, Mira Alfassa ended up buying most of the property in Pondicherry, while the French authorities looked on in a growing alarm, and then she went on to begin a new project in Auroville, which aimed to be a community of 50,000.

With the majority of us, these tendencies do not go so far, but do end up stymieing our simple ambition to simplify life. I see it in myself, but do occasionally have some successes.