It's a Sunday morning and my day begins under a mosquito net, as I woke to remembering a dream of being lost between two worlds, and having wild sensations of being in Asia and in Africa. The content of the dream reminded me of one of the many reasons I joined the Peace Corps----to find simplicity!
In the USA, we are taught to think, we are taught to do and produce, we are always moving, but we are not taught on how to stop relying on thinking. We're trained that lots of ideas are a sign of being clever, another notch to be valued, earning points with others when you have the fastest mouth. In fact, we keep calling our own intelligence the best thing sinced sliced bread! But how much lasting happiness does it get you? How much toll does the body and mind take when we are always doing? The mind is fogged by emotion, bias, fear, anger, disillusionment, and so on. Because of these emotions, most cannot possibly see it's way clearly to any real solutions or any deep peace. We wind up fighting the natural order of things, we get lost in words, the misdirections of language, and we get led around in circles by words. I think of all the endless meetings I've sat in during my work days, and all the words spoken that meant nothing, or nothing got accomplished! I think of the years not being able to quiet my mind because of all the words and stressors around me.
Having much free time and some isolation here, I am relishing my quiet time. I find myself recalling the nuances of change I'm experiencing---realizing that my mind churns, then finds something to settle on. I ponder and reconstruct my past and my future, decisions I've made, appreciating my life, and then meditating to quiet myself. The quiet time and quiet nature of this village are opening up avenues to give me a deeper understanding of the world around me. Having time to go deeper into my body, as well, with my tai chi, qigong, and yoga is helping cultivate what I think life should be. Some may think that cultivating ones own silence is a waste of time, but rather, it's a way to enrich the improvement of spirit and mind. Monks and Philosophers have learned to harness the unlimited power of free time and transform it from boredom to insightful thought. My aim is not to be monk like, but it is to strive for a more quiet existence in my mind and body, and to take pleasure in the simple things around me.
I think that Buddha had a very special understanding of what life is. He made it very simple---just bring your mind back to this moment, don't let it go any further than this...then your mind will be clear. When your mind is in meditation---you can handl hardship more than you know! Exactly, it's all called Simplicity!