Spiritual Simplicity – Andrew Huff

Spiritual Simplicity – Andrew Huff

Here’s what it looked like for me by the end of my one‐bin challenge: my home was physically neat and in order, but I still acted emotionally sloppy with my family. I had consolidated my wardrobe but still held onto my grudges. I organized and curated my memory box but let my judgmental thoughts about others go unexamined. I discarded old books with the same frivolity that I had discarded old friends and lovers. I had dutifully made more room for that of God in my life, only to realize that God isn’t looking for extra shelving space in my room. God is looking for open space, yes—but primarily in my mind. Unfortunately, when I began to look at that space, I found it to be largely a messy, tangled, egotistical thought system. I was spiritually lopsided.

Image © egudinka.

I had dutifully made more room for that of God in my life, only to realize that God isn’t looking for extra shelving space in my room. God is looking for open space, yes—but primarily in my mind.

I began to wonder about the ways that simplicity is both physical and metaphysical. Material simplicity is the work on our homes, but the work of spiritual simplicity is on ourselves—literally, our multiple selves, the ones we carry around in our minds: the greedy self, the vengeful self, the critical self, the egotistical self. They are our habitual thoughts, unexamined beliefs, grievances, judgments, stories, and excuses. These are our psychological and spiritual possessions. This neglected second arm of simplicity is the process of learning to let go of these possessions—these selves—so that only one remains: the loving self. Metaphysical simplicity in action consists of being able to confront any situation as an integrated, coherent, and therefore wholly simple self: the self purified of all misperception and ego so that what remains is unconditional, unembellished, unequivocal love. What could be more complex than our egos? What could be more simple than love?

This same point is raised in the Christian metaphysical text called A Course in Miracles, which I discovered during my Quaker Voluntary Service year and which has since helped me more deeply access Christian theology. One of the most captivating points the text makes is that Christ doesn’t have anything I don’t have; the difference between us is that he doesn’t have anything else. The Christ mind is clear and simple; our minds, in comparison, are torturous. Within the Religious Society of Friends, we readily recognize and affirm that all people have that of God in them. But perhaps we less readily meditate on all the psychological junk we carry around in our minds that is not of God. In any given situation, instead of thinking about all the things that obscure that of God in others, do we reflect on all the things that make our perception more cluttered than Christ’s would be in that situation? It only takes a moment for us to say how Christ would respond to any difficult circumstance: “With love.” But when given permission to describe our thoughts about any difficult circumstance—well, cancel your afternoon because we might be here a few hours “processing.” Again, I ask myself: What could be more complex than our egos? What could be more simple than love?

via friendsjournal Spiritual Simplicity – Andrew Huff

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