Posts Tagged ‘Simple Living Network’

Mountain Spirit and Simple Living

10/12/2009

by Bob Stremba, PhD
MSI Board Member

TV- Not all it's cracked up to be

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled onto the Simple Living Network and was reminded about what’s important in life. I don’t think it’s Thanksgiving day football games on a bazillion inch widescreen flatscreen high def LCD 1080p 120 megahertz TiVo Wifi iPod-enabled TV. What’s important, I’m convinced, is authentic connections to self, others and the environment, and that happens to be what Mountain Spirit Institute (MSI) is all about.

The Simple Living Network has its roots in a movement, which began in the 1970’s with publication of the book, Voluntary Simplicity, by Duane Elgin and Arnold Mitchell. Simple living, according to their website, is about living an examined life—one in which you have determined what is important, or “enough,” for you, discarding or minimizing the rest. Living in a way that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich. So I recently cleaned out some closets, donated more clothes to the local thrift shop, and got rid of more clutter. More stuff brings more stress.

Weaving in Willoc, Peru

It struck me that Mountain Spirit Institute is doing today what voluntary simplicity launched over 30 years ago. The values at the heart of a simpler way of life are…

1.    Material simplicity: Owning and buying things that promote activity, self-reliance, and involvement, rather than items that induce passivity and dependence.
2.    Human scale: A preference for human-sized living and working environments, rather than institutions and living environments that are anonymous, incomprehensible, and artificial.
3.    Self-Determination: Less dependence upon large, complex institutions whether in the private sector (the economy) or public sector (the political processes); a desire to assume greater control over one’s personal destiny and not lead a life so tied to installment payments, maintenance costs and the expectations of others.

Field/Lake near Chinchero, Peru

4.    Ecological Awareness: The interconnectedness and interdependence of people and resources. This awareness often seems to extend beyond a concern for purely physical resources to include other human beings as well. A preference for living where there is ready access to nature.
5.    Personal Growth: For many persons taking up a materially simple way of life, the primary reason is to clear away external clutter so as to be freer to explore the “inner life.” (more…)