Simplicity and Elephants

Life is meant to be lived from a Center, a divine Center—”a life of unhurried peace and power. It is simple. It is serene. It takes no time, but it occupies all our time.

Thomas R. Kelly, Testament of Devotion, 1941 p.124

A life centered in God will be directed toward keeping communication with God open and unencumbered. Simplicity is best achieved through a right ordering of priorities, maintaining humility of spirit, avoiding self-indulgence, resisting the accumulation of unnecessary possessions, and avoiding over-busy lives.

From Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) 2001 Faith and Practice

I have recently been thinking about the elephant in the room. It interferes with simplicity, the ability to hear God’s voice, the ability to choose out of joy rather than out of fears and neediness.

It’s not just in the room but sitting on our chests, an elephant of fear, despair, grief, resentment, a cauldron of negativity. We know there is something wrong with the way we live in the US. You hear it all the time — what could I possibly do? No way I can change because— It’s not individual choices that will solve climate change, but changes in government policy. It’s in the tone of voice, the attempt to make what I say sound rational when I feel irrational with all that is happening.

It is true in part that government policy changes are a large part of the way to go, but new directions in government policy are much more likely to be pushed by people who are changing themselves. And we are pretty aware that changes in public policy alone will not suffice.

Most of us have the experience of resisting change, and finally we do it and what occurs is – joy! The relief of all that weight off our shoulders, the joy of becoming more a person we are happy with.

From Faith and Practice:

..over the margins of life comes a whisper, a faint call, a premonition of richer living which we know we are passing by. Strained by the very mad pace of our daily outer burdens, we are further strained by an inward uneasiness, because we have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip over into that Center! … There is a divine Abyss within us all, a holy Infinite Center, a Heart, a Life who speaks in us and through us to the world.

Thomas R. Kelly, 1941

For those wanting more Kelly, one of my favorites is Holy Obedience. He discusses the weight of and joy of obedience. It is time for me to reread.

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