Excerpts from the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda
A Simpler Life Is a Happier Life
Happiness is not dependent on external circumstances; rather, it is to be found in the simpler joys of life, and most of all in the ever new bliss of deep meditation....Be happy by clinging to the simple, true, and lasting soul-joys. They come by deep thinking, introspection, spiritual inspiration, and meditation.
Modern life is becoming very unsatisfactory. It does not give you happiness. There are too many things, too many desires. More nice cars and dresses and entertainments — and more worries! Free yourself from these so-called “necessities” and spend more time with God. Make your life simple. Be happy in and by your Self.
The pleasure of modern man is in getting more and more, and what happens to anyone else doesn’t matter. But isn’t it better to live simply — without so many luxuries and with fewer worries? There is no pleasure in driving yourself until you cannot enjoy what you have....The time will come when mankind will begin to get away from the consciousness of needing so many material things. More security and peace will be found in the simple life.
Simplify Life to Reduce Stress and Financial Worries
A complex material life is only pleasing to the eyes and the status consciousness of the ego, but few realize “what price material comforts.” Economic slavery, nervousness, business worries, unfair competition, dissensions, lack of freedom, disease, misery, old age, and death are the harvest of a materially compacted existence. So much is missed when there is no time left for the appreciation of beauty, Nature, and God’s many expressions in life.
Choose a dwelling place that is adequate, but not larger than you really need, and if possible in an area where taxes and other living expenses are reasonable....Keep life simple and enjoy what God has provided, without seeking false and expensive pleasures. There is much in God’s hidden nature to fascinate the mind of man. Use your free time to read worthwhile books, meditate, and enjoy an uncomplicated life. Isn’t this better — simple living, fewer worries, and the time to seek God — than to have a huge house, two cars, and time payments and a mortgage you cannot meet?
God in His infinite mercy gives to us His joy, His inspiration, true life, true wisdom, true happiness, and true understanding through all the various experiences of our lives. But the glory of God is revealed only in the quietness of the soul, in the intensity of the inner effort of the mind to commune with Him. It is there that we find truth. Outside, delusion is very strong; very few people can get away from the influences of outer environment. The world goes on with its infinite complexities and diverse experiences. Each life is new and each life has to be lived differently. Yet underlying all life is the silent voice of God, ever calling to us through flowers, through scriptures, and through our conscience — through all things that are beautiful and that make life worth living.
Make Time for What Is Important
Waste not golden spiritual opportunities on the fool’s gold of material glitter. Where is the time for God if it is spent in constant fussing to satisfy the body’s wants for what I have termed “unnecessary necessities”? Rather simplify life and use that saved time in meditation for God-communion and real progress in attaining life’s necessary necessities of peace and happiness.
God is simple. Everything else is complex.
Be anchored in the Spirit of God, in the realization of the Infinite Being that flows like an ocean through all creation. It is worthwhile in this short season of life to make the effort to gain God-realization. Joy will flow constantly.