We’re doing so much, when really, the little we need is massive. And ignored.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” Albert Einstein.
I know that we need water, I know that we need air, I know we need to sleep, I know we need to eat, and I know that we are all the same, connected for having these same, simple needs.
Everything else about how I believe I should live, what it all should look like, all of that is just adding layers of stories to the facts. I am trying, every day, to disinvest my interest in those stories, and focus on the facts.
These are the simplest, most basic components of being a living creature. They are the bottom of our pyramid, the base of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Like any pyramid, you have to have a solid foundation. This isn’t philosophy, this is just simple science.
We all recognize that we need to have those basics covered in order to “move up,” but I propose that we have no real idea what “up” is, and insomuch, we have been giving short shrift to basics that are not basic. Because we’re terrible at them, really.
Water. I am made of it, you’re made of it, and the planet is made of it. It is the fuel that runs us, and we don’t work as well if we don’t regularly have enough. You wouldn’t try to run your car without fuel, and we are also predictable, systematic machines.
I have made water my top priority, my go-to. Drinking enough water is a responsibility, a right, and a sacred, daily ritual. Every intentional water break is a moment to take it in, to connect, to let my mind dissolve in the act of, truly, self-care. Drink water, make it special, because it is.
Air. We breathe. We can do a better job of it, if we take time, every day, to be intentional in our breath. Breathing feeds our cells, and it is also an exercise for our whole body.
Breathing is not something I used to think about, outside of meditation, and during times when I wasn’t meditating as much, it really suffered. These days, I sit and intentionally breath every day, more if I can. Regular practice of this has led to not only less migraines, less anxiety, and a crisper mind, but it also has toned and firmed my entire core.
Sleep. This one is two-fold, and is both sleep and rest. Your body needs enough sleep, to regenerate itself. Your brain needs it, too, for the same reason, and also because the subconscious and unconscious need time to process the billions of bits of information without that monkey-mind, and while limiting the intake of more information. We can all relate to the relief of falling asleep when you’re exhausted, the feeling of being rested, and how bad it feels to live perpetually tired or exhausted.
Sleep is a sanctuary, and we should honor it. Meditation is another such sanctuary, where our conscious mind can be intentionally quieted. The relief and feelings of renewal and regrowth, refreshment, that my brain gets from waking rest, alpha state, meditation, has been such a massive shift. My sleep has improved and I am rarely tired, except when I go to bed. I am intentionally committing to spend time I might spend worrying, making decisions, or feeling bad in any way immediately meditating.
Eat. Everything and everybody has to be nourished, but that’s where the facts stop. There are so many ways to eat on this planet, and so many choices that can me made about it. I don’t know the answers to any of it. What I do know, is that nothing is created or destroyed, and everything we could possibly need has been provided for us on this planet. If it’s not here, we don’t need it. And, this has always been true, even as so much else has changed.
Plants! Plants have always been here, and we can eat them to live. We can also use them to feel better, to soothe ourselves and heal ourselves inside and out. There is no doubt that modern medicine is amazing and has made use of the resources of this planet in inexplicable and amazing ways to created complex cures for a complex mess of maladies. I understand this, and, as I have a “go with the latest best idea” philosophy of life, I will definitely take the antibiotics when I need them, and get a flu shot, and take other modern pharmaceuticals when indicated.
I am talking about when it’s not indicated. I am talking about using plants that have always been with us in ways that we have always done, and using less more complex stuff for our simple needs.
To this end, I spend time meditating on plants, growing plants because it gives me energy, and using plants in simple, ancient ways, instead of complicated products. Water the plants is a magical ritual, where we share the profound joy in having the same need and the same source.
That’s it. That’s the end of the things I know for sure, but it doesn’t make for a simple or boring life. Simplicity is very complex, and, once again in the words of Albert Einstein, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”