Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why I LOVE Walden by Thoreau (Simplicity Advice)

Walden (Concord Library)Earlier I wrote about being happy with less from Thoreau's ideas in his famous book "Walden", but there are a lot more insights from this book then what I included there.

More advice gleaned from Walden by Henry David Thoreau:

1. Be involved in the building of your own small home. Create an open floor plan. Have just enough room for bare necessities, big ideas, and some guests. No fenced yard, just nature.

2. Cook outdoors whenever you can. Give the crumbs to the animals and birds instead of adding to your housework.

3. Spend time writing, reading, and visiting with interesting people. Share ideas, opinions and philosophies. Be open minded to new ways of thinking and doing.

4. Walk instead of driving whenever possible.

5. Own a small, simple home, few and simple clothes and a little bit of hardy furniture. Food, water, shelter, clothes, fuel and maybe some gardening tools, a few dishes and pans, some paper, books, a lamp and writing utensils are the necessities, everything else is superfluous (although I think a computer and a phone might be considered necessary today). Find beauty in you, in people and nature, not in things.

6. Think highly of yourself. Be happy and content with what you have. Don't hurry or rush. Enjoy the present moment. Life should be a pleasant past-time, not a hardship. Pursue your own way, not others ways for you.

7. Have a personal garden to eat from. Make your own bread. Eat vegetables and bread and a little fish. Eat simply.

8. Produce something that is useful to people and sell it (such as healthy food, inspirational writings, etc.). Impart your wisdom and courage.

9. It is better to be a good person yourself, than to take on a lot of outside personal charities and projects, while neglecting yourself. Begin where you are and who you are, without aiming to become more and go about with kindness, doing good. Set about being good. Give to the poor what they need most (support education, loans, stable government, protective laws, good friends and family, ways to support themselves through voting and donations). Don't be a pious slave-breeder (or sweat-shop supporter). Don't employ maids, clean your own house yourself. Morning housework can be very pleasant.

10. Consider spending 9/10ths of your money on worthwhile causes and charities instead of 1/10th.

11. Don't purchase a large home with a big mortgage. Remain free and unburdened.

12. Let your affairs be 2 or 3 per day, not 100,000. Simplicity! Details steal time.

13. Spend time at home. Be unhurried and wise. Discard petty fears and pleasures. Don't be deceived by what appears to be. Be like a child, see God in the present moment.

14. The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions. Let us spend our lives conceiving. Be as deliberate as nature.

15. Rise early.

16. Rid yourself of others' opinions, prejudices, traditions, delusions, appearance and allusion from philosophy to religion til you come to the hard rock bottom of reality. Stand face to face with fact and see the sun glimmer on its surface. Empty your mind and see the world clearly through your heart. Be as wise as infants.

17. All men should be students and observers. Read classical books deliberately, speak with interesting people. Hear all sides, but attach to none. Keep an open mind.

18. Reading and writing are the most important work. Writings are all that endure time. Read the best literature in the world- the best ideas ever thought. Learn also from the arts- paintings and music.

19. Be alert. Look at what is around. See what is before you. Sit in nature. Listen. Live in the present.

20. Expensive, excessive amusements are unecessary. Life at home or outside is amusement enough. Periodically go into the city or village just to observe. Talk to people. Find out what is on people's minds- the stories, world events. Visit people's homes and places where people congregate. Leave gifts of a flower, a leaf with your name, or a short note if they weren't there when you stopped by.

21. Return to nature, do nothing, toss sticks, play games, go berry picking, boating, walking, day dreaming, skipping stones, dig in the dirt, build something, listen, sit. Pluck your own fruit to truly experience it. Float in a rowboat or canoe, day dream, take a nap, soak in your surroundings. This is all time better spent then with "luxuries" or even in a classroom. Appreciate nature. Instead of visiting scholars, visit rare trees. Watch and listen to birds. Stare at a pond as it turns to a great crystal of light.

22. Accept visitors at home, but not too often. Have discussions, offer plain, simple food such as bread, nuts and fruit.

23. Notice the clouds, the stars and moon.

24. Loneliness is a state of mind. We are a part of nature. Does a blade of grass feel lonely? A stone? A lake? Its wholesome to be alone most of the time, engaged in working (writing or gardening or farming, etc.). We can feel lonelier in a crowd then alone engaged in work. After gardening, reading, writing and bathing, socialize in homeopathic doses.

25. Giving up so called "comforts" or "luxuries" is freedom. If you stop using/wearing/owning/eating unecessary luxuries you don't have to work for them. Don't purchase things you have to take care of, dust and clean. They are not worth your time. Rise free from care before dawn and seek adventures. Grow wild according to thy nature.

26. Don't judge others who are taking a nonconventional approach to life, who do not follow the path most people follow. Listen to other opinions and ideas. What is a good idea today, may prove folly tomorrow. Be optimistic and bring good cheer rather than judging and trying to change or disaprove of others.

27. In terms of gardening. Keep a mindset that the land nor the produce belongs to you, but to God, the earth, nature, animals, birds and insects. Relinquish all claim. Be grateful for your portion. Rejoice in the abundance of weeds.

28. Escape the dangers of advertisements by walking past without looking, keeping thoughts on high things and drown out those voices of the "Sirens".

29. Do not resist what you don't agree with in your world by protesting (their rules and requirements and expectations), let them resist you by not cooperating. Let them be the desperate party.

30. If all men lived simply, theiving and robbery would be unknown.

31. Embrace the poverty that enjoys true wealth. People who see everything in terms of profit are not interesting or respectable people.

32. Keep good records of your expenses. Figure out what you need to live and then decide how to spend your time.

33. There is a spiritual and a primitive/savage/wild man or woman inside each of us and both should be equally reverenced and loved.

34. Eat less meat. Most men/women would be caught with shame if caught preparing with their own hands precisely such a dinner as is every day prepared for them by others (the killing, cutting, gutting, and cleaning of the animal).

35. I believe water is the only drink for a wise man.

36. Goodness is the only investment that never fails. Although you may become indifferent, the laws of the universe are not indifferent. Seek wisemen that teach purity- a command over our passions and excesses. When the channel of purity is open man flows to God. Let the animal within fade, while the spirit grows. It doesn't matter if you claim to be religious, if you behave no better than the heathen.


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