“Perhaps this sounds very simple, but simple things are always the most difficult. In actual life it requires the greatest discipline to be simple, and the acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook upon life."
C. G. Jung – Modern Man in Search of a Soul
(I feel that I need to stretch myself as a writer, so I’m going to use writing prompts. That is, different quotes or ideas from others and my thoughts on them.)
I may have broached this topic before in my blog, “Is Life Complicated?” But one cannot go wrong commenting on a Carl Jung quote.
Simple things are the most difficult. First, what are the simple things that most of us want? For me, they’re very easy to define. I want, in no particular order, the following:
· Enough money to put my kids and grandkids through college
· A house on the beach
· Healthy loving relationships with the people in my life
· A healthy loving relationship with God
· To be able to read, write and speak for a living
That’s probably what most people want with some variation regarding careers or children. To make it more universal, I think most people want money, peace, meaning and love. Why then is it so hard to live simply? It may be for the following reasons:
· Some people don’t think about what they want. They simply go through each day and eventually each year with little variation or difference. They pay their bills and get through life, but they rarely get much from life. These people are usually good people who do what they are told. I was once one of them.
· Some people have vague ideas, but nothing specific. These are people who want to be “rich” or “successful” or “famous,” but they haven’t defined these terms with any real quantification. In addition, many of them don’t know why they want these things or what they would do if they had them. I was once one of them.
· Some people have more specific ideas, but they don’t know how or are afraid to get started. They go through weeks, months and sometimes years feeling trapped and hopeless. Because they want to please others, they rarely, if ever, follow the calling of their hearts. I was once one of them.
· Some people have moved forward in life with very specific goals, but then they encountered the inevitable problems and they gave up. These people are often bitter, depressed or hopeless. I was definitely one of them.
For all of the above, the answer is the same: Get Started and Keep Going. Find something, anything that is important and do it every day. Prayer can help. Wise counsel can help. Friends can help. But ultimately each of us must face our moment alone. Each of us must make the crucial decision alone. No one can do this for us. Not even God. There was, for me at least, that moment where nothing existed, not even God, and I had to make a decision to move forward or let life push me around. The good news is that even though I often made the wrong decision, or, more accurately, no decision at all, I was given another chance to make the right decision. In fact, every day, every moment was (and is) a new chance and I was given all of them.
So how does this make life simple? I know what I want and I move toward it. The more time I spend doing this, the simpler my life is. The problem is of course the Enemy, the Enemy outside of me and the Enemy within me. But even that is simple. I can expect opposition. I’m still surprised when it happens, but I needn’t be. As soon as I do my work the Enemy will appear.
The answer to that is also simple. Get Started and Keep Going. Get involved with as little as possible that deters or delays Purpose. This is where discipline comes in. It can only be self-discipline. I can’t discipline others and they can’t discipline me, not in a genuine way anyhow. Self-discipline means to Keep Going.
In a blog article, Jordan Rockwell said this:
Anyway, if you care about writing, you NEVER stop doing it. You write every day and take no days off, no exceptions (Stephen King even writes on the 4th of July, and the dude is going blind!).
That’s it. It’s really that simple. It’s not easy. It’s never easy, but it’s simple.
Get Started and Keep Going.