Voluntary Simplicity

One growing modern movement derived, almost certainly indirectly or unconsciously, from the eremitical tradition is voluntary simplicity or simple living.

“Voluntary simplicity, or simple living, is a way of life that rejects the high-consumption, materialistic lifestyles of consumer cultures and affirms what is often just called ‘the simple life’ or ‘downshifting.’ The rejection of consumerism arises from the recognition that ordinary Western-style consumption habits are degrading the planet; that lives of high consumption are unethical in a world of great human need; and that the meaning of life does not and cannot consist in the consumption or accumulation of material things. Extravagance and acquisitiveness are accordingly considered an unfortunate waste of life, certainly not deserving of the social status and admiration they seem to attract today. The affirmation of simplicity arises from the recognition that very little is needed to live well – that abundance is a state of mind, not a quantity of consumer products or attainable through them.”

From http://simplicitycollective.com/start-here/what-is-voluntary-simplicity-2

“Voluntary Simplicity involves liberating ourselves from the non-essential activities that permeate modern life in order to live in accordance with our most important goals and values. The priorities of our consumer and work-oriented culture often run counter to that which enriches and inspires us. These priorities include spending more time with family, building community, participating in a favorite sport or hobby, connecting with nature, and focusing on our spiritual development.
When we practice voluntary simplicity, we turn off “automatic pilot” and put ourselves in the driver’s seat. We make conscious decisions about how to spend our time and our money. As we make new choices, we have more energy to focus on what’s truly important to us. Simplifiers often find that decisions we make to enhance our own lives (e.g., reducing consumption, decreasing the amount of time at work) have positive benefits for the environment as well.

While individuals who practice voluntary simplicity are diverse, they share certain values and practices:

Essential Values that Characterize Voluntary Simplicity

• Appreciation of the interconnection and interdependence of all the earth’s inhabitants and systems.
• Personal authenticity, integrity, healthy autonomy, self-reliance.
• Sufficiency, minimalism; anti-consumerism; deliberate reduction of consumption, clutter, noise, social over-commitment and superfluous ornamentation.
• Mindfulness/Spirituality. Practitioners of Voluntary Simplicity value a consciously mindful and appreciative approach to living.”

From http://www.simplesandiego.org/pages/what_is_vs.html

http://simplicitycollective.com/start-here/what-is-voluntary-simplicity-2 http://www.choosingvoluntarysimplicity.com/
Duane Elgin “Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich” http://www.amazon.com/Voluntary-Simplicity-Outwardly-Inwardly-Revised/dp/B002QGSXJ6
Linda Breen Pierce “Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World” http://www.amazon.com/Linda-Breen-Pierce/e/B001KC8FZY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Janet Luhrs “The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living” http://www.amazon.com/The-Simple-Living-Guide-Sourcebook/dp/0553067966/ref=pd_sim_b_7

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