December 31, 2013

Is it difficult to be simple?

I am sure you have heard of this ... “It is simple to be happy but it is difficult to be simple”.

Errrrr, let’s see ... to be happy, it is simple but to be simple, it is difficult ... what is it really? The way I see it ... it is really about being simple ... right? So what is being simple and why is it so difficult to be simple?

First, let’s not be mistaken ... I am not talking in the context that by being simple, one have to live in poverty and getting by with very little or being simple is living as a hermit, cast away from the material world ... agree ya?

Well, here are a few of my thoughts and opinions, my two cents worth about what is being simple and why it is difficult to be simple in a regular setting. 

Being simple is not to worry about how people look at you
It doesn’t matter if you are successful or still struggling to make a living but if you are worried about how others look at what you are doing, what you have (or don’t have) and where you are at, then it is difficult for you to be simple. Because being simple is being able to be confident with what you are doing, contented with whatever you have and comfortable in wherever you are at. 

Being simple is not to worry about having less
You see, the sad fact is people are always chasing for more ... even though they already have more than enough. Why? They are worried about having less (than others) so they are constantly comparing for they must have what others have. So, they are always chasing at a pace that is getting more and more stressful. They don’t want to be simple because being simple means they will have less (than others). It is difficult for them to be simple ... much more difficult than the stressful pace of chasing and getting more. 

Being simple is not to worry about going back to your past
Many people comes a long way from a humble beginning and made it in life. The sad thing is too many were spoilt by abundance that came with their successes and somehow they find it difficult to relate to their humble past ... some conveniently forgotten about it, some don’t want be reminded and some refuse to acknowledge where they begin. So, it is not easy for these people to be simple because being simple is being able to roll up your sleeves and walk barefooted along the way where you came from. 

Being simple is not to worry about letting go.
Many people refuse to let go ... not even when they are at a point in life where they really need to let go ... why? Not because there is no one capable of succeeding them but because they are afraid of losing the absolute control of being in the driver seat, losing the addictive power of being the “Numero Uno” and  losing the supreme authority of being the one who call all the shots. So, it is very difficult for them to be simple because being simple is being able to let go and say ... “It is OK, I have been there, done that” ... it is time to take a back seat and enjoy the rest of the journey. 

Being simple is not to worry about what comes naturally
People worry about getting old. Yes, they don’t want to get old ... many are constantly at war against aging ... some using common cosmetic surgeries and supplements while others resort to bizarre rituals and practices. Maybe they think they can delay it but they know very well that they are fighting a more and more difficult war that they cannot win. It is not going to be simple for them because being simple is being able to accept what comes naturally ... gray hair, wrinkles, menopause, memory loss, disability, deteriorating eyesight, sickness and finally, death.

So, those are my thoughts of being simple. I am sure others will have their own views and opinions on being simple but I think many will share the few same thoughts I have mentioned above.

OK, let’s look at it again ... to be happy, it is simple but to be simple, it is difficult ... do you agree?

For me, I always say that I am a simple man and I am still working on being simple. I agree that it is simple to be happy but I don't think it is difficult to be simple.

What say you?

December 11, 2013

Let go, move on

Let me tell you a story of a young monk and his old master. One day, while the two monks were walking back to their monastery, they came across a lady waiting beside a bridge. As they approach the bridge, the lady asked the old monk if he can carry her across the narrow bridge and the old monk immediately offered to help. And so he carried the lady across the bridge and then let her go.

Now the young monk was quite annoyed because according to their teachings, they are supposed to avoid direct contact with the opposite sex but he kept quiet because he did not want to confront his master then. They continued walking and all the while the young monk was thinking why his master had direct contact with the opposite sex ... the more he thought about it, the angrier he became. The young monk was really disturbed throughout the whole journey back to the monastery.

When they reached the monastery, the young monk was still very unhappy and he was unable to sleep the whole night. The next morning he can no longer suppress his anger, so he went to his master and ask his master why did he carry the lady across bridge? And the master said to the young monk ... “I have already let go of the lady a long time ago. It seems like you are still hanging on to it and letting it makes you unhappy and angry. Why don’t you let it go?”

The moral of the story ... we have to learn to let go. Not just letting go the feeling of detest, despise or dislike but as we move along with our lives, we have to be able to let go of many other things too. Now, many people will deny it ... but really, one of the hardest things to do in life is letting go.

For example ... when people grow older especially when they are moving towards midlife, many will try to look younger... some do it subtly by the way they dress, some a bit obvious like dyeing their hair while others may go a bit further with cosmetic procedures. And a large majority of these people suddenly develop the urge to engage in various endurance and performance sports trying to be as robust as those many years younger than them.

Why? Simply because they refuse to let go of their youth ... they want to hang on to it for as long as they can. But really, they know that dressing up to look younger doesn’t make them any younger ... neither will dyeing their hair black. And maybe they can still compete in endurance and performance sports but I am sure they realize that it takes whole lot more to get themselves to it and way much longer to recover afterwards. That is a fact that they cannot deny.

Like I said earlier ... one of the hardest thing in to do in life is to let go. Maybe that is why many find it hard to let go of their youth and accept the fact that they are growing old.

I have met many who have stopped working (they have reached retirement age) but they are so afraid to say that they are retired. They always say that they are some sort of consultants or freelance specialists or what not ... seems like they still cannot let go of the ‘working phase’ of their lives. Or maybe, it is their way of saying ... “Hey, I am no that old OK?” Somehow they don’t like the word ‘retired’ ... to them ‘retired’ is like sitting at home waiting for death to come.

I beg to differ ... I don’t try to look younger or more youthful because I am not ... mentally not, perceptually not and physically not. I don’t hang on to my youth ... as a matter of fact, I let it go quite some time ago and already moved on to another phase of my life. I can accept the fact that I am growing old, my hair is turning grey, wrinkles are fast appearing and I am lacking behind in my physical capabilities  ... that is OK with me.

The way I see it ... it is OK to slow down and take things easy. Take a back seat and say ... “Hey, I have come this far ... time to let go and move on”. It is not that bad really ... on the contrary, there are new things to learn, new friends to make and new environments to explore.

Really, need not worry about letting go and moving on ... there are still plenty of exciting things in the later phases of our lives.