A day to take a moment
‘A field of water betrays the spirit that is in the air. It is continually receiving new life and motion from above. It is intermediate between land and sky.’ So Henry David Thoreau immortalized Walden Pond, but he could have been describing this calming image of Ežezers Lake in Latvia. Today, the birthday of that famous American advocate for pursuing a simple life is also National Simplicity Day, an annual reminder to unplug, slow down, step back, and consider your life. Thoreau’s most famous work (that you probably haven’t read since high school), ‘Walden,’ is his account of the two years, two months, and two days he spent away from society in a cabin near the shore of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Through this work he encourages us to take a step back and look for ways to simplify our lives. ‘Our life is frittered away by detail,’ Thoreau observed. ‘Simplify, simplify.’
This advice is as sound today as it was 165 years ago when it first appeared in print. Some things you can do to mark the day are unplug from your devices (even this one—eventually); declutter your house; take a walk in the woods; and maybe even reread ‘Walden.’
In the Indian tradition, the purpose of life involves the discovery of the true or real ‘Self’. This discovery process demands the use of ‘simplicity’ as a tool to explore one’s own mind by removing its insatiable desires and cravings.
Rudra Narasimham Rebbapragada