Recently, I wrote a sonnet entitled “Birthing Simplicity”. I knew then that I would have to expand on that with an article, even at the risk of undoing my purpose in it! For simplicity is something with which I have wrestled for many years — not in an aggressive manner but rather like what one does affectionately with a sibling as a child for fun.
The word ‘simple’ has actually come to have negative connotations rather than the pedigree of innocence and powerful common sense which is its true birthright. If a person is described as ‘a bit simple’ it generally implies that s/he is mentally retarded in some way and only ‘eleven-pence three farthings to the shilling’ (old British colloquialism). Very often, people who are labelled as such are just uncomplicated folks who are not enrolled in the societal thrust for ‘success’ in the conventional sense, and who eschew the accepted pathway of competition and material ‘achievement’. I remember as a teenager my parents wondered if I was retarded in some way because (as they saw it) I had ‘squandered a good education’ and instead of heading for being the professional they hoped I would become, I became a beach bum in Bournemouth learning my first three guitar chords! 🤣
We now live in an age in which increasing complexity has become the norm in all areas of life. This is the case even at a practical everyday level — whether it involves applying for something through bureaucratic channels (the clerks-in-charge will make it as tortuous and difficult as possible), filling out your annual tax returns, or just trying to live your life under over-the-top government controls during a virus epidemic which is quite mild by comparison to bubonic plague or smallpox. The constantly changing rules and regulations everywhere on so many levels could almost drive one crazy!
Meanwhile, over on a philosophical or spiritual level, the convoluted nonsense one has to go through on the so-called “pathway to enlightenment” is verging on the ridiculous. I know many septuagenarians who are still practising various yoga postures, meditating themselves into oblivion, reading huge works about karma and the “wheel of death” and are no nearer “enlightenment” than they were in their twenties, when they first naively traipsed into some exploitative guru’s ashram. And if you have ever tried to wade through occult or esoteric literature, there lies the pinnacle of obscurantist complexity. Even in the religious scene, so many spend their time working through vast theological tomes in order to understand what on earth their religion is all about. For many, religion seems to be a purely intellectual exercise masquerading as spirituality. The formulas created to explain theological conundrums are ridiculously and unnecessarily complex. Think of the doctrine of the Trinity, with its tiptoe-through-the-minefield wording (with heresy holes on all sides!) yet which doesn’t even begin to grapple with the reality of what lies behind the creation and sustainment of this cosmos (not because that creation and sustainment are too complex but because they are too simple for us needlessly complex idiots!). Talk about bending over backwards to try and explain something which is way beyond the paygrade of puny human understanding!
Volumes of Bla-Bla
It is not the complexity which is the problem but the fact that our minds are stuck in 3-D matter. So, in order to anchor mystery in rationality, complex systems are proposed and catechisms are formed to be recited by rote. Volume upon volume, institute upon institute, has been written which are then imbibed by students hoping to make some sense of the world in terms of their religion. But it is a false sense and it makes everything so much more complicated than it needs to be. I myself have been there. I used to have a vast library of books filling whole walls like tombstones. One day, they became irrelevant. Then, when I of necessity walked away from a marriage, I left what remained of the books behind too; and I haven’t missed them for one moment. You may also say, “Well haven’t you yourself written a 700-page book?” Hehehe, I have indeed. (In fact, I’ve written two!). You can read that book for fun if you like, entitled “Narrow Gate ~ Pathway Strait”; but in the end it essentially only expands on these words of Christ, one of the most challenging quotes from the Master:
“Enter through the narrow gate because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. How narrow is the gate and strait (afflicted) the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it!”
The Bible in a Sentence
Of course, someone may then respond by saying “But look at the Bible. Isn’t that complex?” Well, the Bible can be summed up in a simple sentence, for it is simply God saying to His human creatures: “You messed up, tried to go your own way, stupidly entertained demons who were massaging your ego; so I’ve dealt with it by sending my personal emissary to overthrow those demons and show you that without me you can do nothing; so stop being an asshole and be a lover instead!” But if someone had written that sentence down, few would have been impressed. And so many will feel cheated that they can’t read tomes about it instead! So, obviously to appeal to people’s crazy need for complexity, it was given in the longer form in which we have it now. 😉 But folks aren’t even satisfied with that. They have to write millions of books about it too. Yet nobody is ever really any the wiser, even though they think they are. None of us really knows anything. We are all complete ignoramuses; and the more we read the more we become out of touch with the simple essence of everything. In fact, I have noticed a distinct correlation between hyper-book-reading and a lack of genuinely loving spirituality.
The Narcissist’s Weakness for Complexity
Why do we have this need to make everything so complex? It is as if all this convolution, entanglement, complication, and tortuousness — whether practical, spiritual, or philosophical — has been specially designed to inveigle people into a labyrinth from which there is no exit. Actually, that is truer than you may believe, as archons/demons revel in making us lost in literature at the expense of discovering spiritual truth within. One could literally spend one’s whole life entangled in complexity of a fabulous nature… and still never get anywhere nearer whatever it is one is trying to understand. I remember reading about my favourite composer, Gustav Mahler, who was desperately reading Schopenhauer on his deathbed to try and make sense of his life and impending death. But genuine answers to such questions will never be found in philosophy and can only be revealed supernaturally. That isn’t because of any failure of words but because we are too narcissistically inclined to imagine that only if something is complex can it be true.
You may then say: “So why bother writing this article? Isn’t that complex too?” You’re right. That’s all I have to say. Goodbye.
Seriously though, 😊I am not quite done yet in my mission to make something complex simple. In an article, I recently wrote some words which I repeat with development for you here now:
Choosing that Little Old Lady Everytime!
“If I had to choose for spiritual mentorship between, on the one hand, a simple, quiet-living, people-loving, devout little old lady in awe of her Creator who knows little of what is going on in the world yet who understands the difference between Light and darkness and, on the other hand, some smartass celebrity-status know-it-all conspiracist / lifecoach / Goddess facilitator with a 200-video YouTube channel on everything from chemtrails to Sandy Hook to a 5G Apocalypse, a huge output of books and regular ($1000) weekend workshops on ‘Resisting the New World Order’, or ‘How to Meet your Guardian Angel’ or ‘How to Live in the Present Moment’, give me the little old lady every time!”
Her simple understanding and non-pretentious presentation would be my go-to hotspot. How we revel in complexity (which is very often merely falsehood masquerading as truth in some fancy clothes). We are suspicious of ‘simple’ and become intellectual and ideological prostitutes.
Our Real Business in Life (& it’s Simple)
However, our real business in life is so basic and so fundamentally simple that it seems to have escaped our attention. It is this: That we must love one another with the same degree of care that we lavish on ourselves and that we must have a love for the Power which created us with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. That is the simplicity of our commission, our mandate, even our natural duty as creatures and inhabitants on this earth in this life with which we have been gifted. You can write a thousand volumes about it if that is how you want to spend your time, but if you do so, yet do not carry out that commission, then you are just a hypocrite. In any case, there is no need for those thousand volumes as all you would be doing is making things unnecessarily complicated. And, boy, do we excel at that!
Now you may ask how I know that our essential commission in life is to love one another and to love our Creator with every bit of us. I am in fact loosely quoting an event in the Bible when an expert in Jewish law, asked the Christ (testing him, of course):
“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ And the Christ said to him: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind,’ this is the great and foremost commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. The whole Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”.[Gospel of Matthew, chapter 22, verses 34-40].
In other words, Christ was giving a pure summation in all its simplicity of what it really means to be a spiritual person. All those complex regulations and sacrifices in the Old Testament were there not as an end in themselves but to drive a person to see that there is no way that s/he can be ‘saved’ merely through practising them. A person could do them from morning to night till the cows come home but they would be no further down the line spiritually. They were there principally to drive a person to see the real spirituality which lies behind all that law, which could be found at its heart tucked away in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 6, verse 5, “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul, and your whole strength”, and in the Book of Leviticus, chapter 19, verse 18, “You must love your neighbour as yourself”. Forget all your religions and philosophies, sacrifices, rituals, festivals, so-called holy days, sabbaths, churches, cathedrals, temples, mantras, incantations, crystals & herbs, tomes, volumes, catechisms, confessions, statements of faith, belief systems, and all the other complicated nonsense that we have devised in order to avoid what we should really be doing. For all that matters is that we live out the life-commission which comes straight from the mouth of our Creator! What more could one need?
Love in All its Glorious and Dreadful Manifestations
Because the word “love” has been imbued with so many false connotations (for we never could accept the simplicity of it), I must add that it is not the kind of infatuation-based, pseudo-romantic love which one finds in pop songs and Mills and Boon (UK) or Harlequin (US) novels. Neither is it a sentimental, soppy, schmaltzy sort of love such as one finds in the world of rom-com movies. I mean love in all its glorious and dreadful manifestations. The kind of love which extols our duties to others rather than petulantly demanding “rights” for ourselves. The kind of love which would rather be bathed in profoundly uncomfortable Truth than wallow in empty pleasantries or platitudes. The kind of love which makes people lay down their lives for a genuinely higher cause or another human being. The kind of love which holds all the elements of this Universe together. The kind of love which motivates humans to wonder upon the true meaning of Divinity and the origin of life. The kind of love which hammers superficiality and frippery into an unrecognisable pulp, then remakes them into a beautifully unfathomable substance of worth. The kind of love which inspires people to put others before themselves unhesitatingly. The kind of love which demolishes falsehood with gusto and a grand bow. The kind of love which can turn a wilderness into a Palace garden with a mere glance. The kind of love which bursts into song at the sight of a sunset. The kind of love of which trees are made… and birds… and clouds… and squirrels… and puppy dogs… and everything in fact. The kind of love which envelops the death of the man or woman who has a good conscience, a love for Light and a heart of gold. The kind of love which dissolves unnatural divisions through the adhesive cement of integrity. The kind of love which is brave enough to create natural divisions simply through being love (for a genuinely loving human being deals in Truth and openness and will be hated for it by many). The kind of love which conquers fear in an instant with its tender certainty and an indulgence of ‘yes’. The kind of love which knows which are the right hills to die on for a cause and does not waste time on lesser ones. The kind of love which has infinite forgiveness even when it is at the “wrong” end of a bullet. The kind of love which is prepared to follow the Light to the ends of all Universes — even down the longest dark tunnels and across the most inaccessible terrain (and through the most terrible sufferings). The kind of love which welcomes mystery as an intrinsic part of knowledge in life, knowing it to be essential to matter in this dimension. The kind of love which enables a person to stand utterly alone for Truth and Light and never need to crave the solidarity and affections of others. The kind of love which spawns courage and transfiguration. The kind of love which makes it possible to write endless lists such as these! It may seem complex, but it is oh-so-simple. Let’s just do it!
The Sole Axis of Change to Love
Sometimes the savour of love needs to be tough, demanding, maybe even occasionally somewhat seemingly brutal — especially when it encounters the stench of resisted truth. The love of which I speak is challenging for us humans because we have lost our way at the most fundamental level and are by nature stupid outlaws with imaginary pretensions of autonomy. This is partly why we make everything so complicated. It is our way of avoiding the simple edict of love. For we are not capable of fulfilling it until we have asked our Creator for help, without whom we can do nothing. That is the sole axis of change upon which the fulfillment of our mandate to love depends. It is that moment when we stop thinking we can make it on our own, or even that we can become some kind of ‘god’ ourselves (the ultimate empty dream). It is so simple, yet it eludes us because we place ourselves on a pedestal which exists only in our deluded minds and ignore our need for dependence on the very Power from which we have received life itself. One can ride the imaginary autonomy bubble for a while, maybe even for decades; but sooner or later it is going to burst. When that happens, we will be left with emptiness and a nihilistic sense of anomie. However, when we give up our imaginary independence and admit that dependence on our Creator, then a transfiguration will take place and life will become so much more simple as epiphanies and synchronicities tumble into our lives — not to mention that much will fall into place which will bring peace to our restless hearts.
The Key to Achieving Simplicity
Regarding the achievement of that simplicity, the key lies in these words of the Christ: “I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven!” [Gospel of Matthew, chapter 18, verse 3]. That “turning around” is a vital precursor to the achievement of simplicity. It is a neat translation of the Koine Greek word, στρέφω (strepho), which means to do a complete swivel — in this context, it means to have a 180° change of heart and mind. The net result of that swivel is that we will “become like little children”. That does not mean going backwards in maturity or becoming childish or stupidly naive. It means adopting an uncomplicated childlike innocence of heart. It means eschewing any swaggering notions of autonomy, while having the same kind of trust towards our Creator as a child has towards its parents. When that happens, then simplicity begins… a simplicity which is way more than mere beauty, for it involves an openness, a purity of heart and a penetrating gaze into the souls of others. I am struggling to describe it here because simplicity really defies description. When you experience it, then you will have an unspoken description of it in your heart. Your very presence will then be like a delicate whirlwind which soothes the souls of those who long for ‘simple’, and yet disturbs the hearts of those who cling to complexity and complication.
The mission of simplicity — which is searingly super-alchemical, and infinitely more than mere beauty — is to shine a light on that which is hidden and to reveal its true nature, with all its potential for transformation. For simplicity is quite simply a diamond-like facet of love!
[The image accompanying this article is a flower in a tree that I came upon while out walking yesterday in the streets of Athens, Greece. One of those lovely unexpected displays of pure floral simplicity with which one is hit from time to time. Brings tears to the eyes]
© Alan Morrison, 2020