The “rat race” is a major obstacle to the spiritual life. Being “too busy” to pray, think, serve, or even enjoy life is a curse of our modern, consumer-driven course down the fast lane. Although our activities may be done on behalf of our children or other seemingly good causes, we must find a balance. If nothing else, we must avoid burn out for ourselves and our children.
Simple living means different things. It can mean reducing stressful activities, doing more reading, walking or enjoying music, gardening, playing with our children, or simply spending time alone — or with God. It may also mean learning to realize that we don’t need all the “stuff”: the toys, foods and accessories that advertisers tell us are enablers of happiness. This can lead to actually making do with less — and finding that we get more enjoyment from simpler pleasures and have more time to live, as opposed to shop.
People who take simple living seriously usually develop a strong sense of ecological responsibility. They consume less, use natural products, eat more nutritious foods, exercise more, and in general enjoy better health and less stress. They also contribute less to pollution and waste. They become aware of how lifestyle impacts others and how everything interconnects.
Simple living is becoming recognized as producing the ground in which Faith can flourish. There are two reasons. One is that we must free ourselves from the oppressive demands of modern life in order to have time, readjust our priorities, and turn toward others. The other reason is that simple living encourages us to recognize our connectedness to everyone else and to all of creation. These are both prerequisites to an authentic spirituality.