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Simple Manifesto #42 – Find inner simplicity


This is part of our series on Leo Babauta’s Simple Living Manifesto. We invite you to join us on the journey.

The 42nd idea in the manifesto is:

Find inner simplicity. I’m not much of a spiritual person, but I have found that spending a little time with my inner self creates a peaceful simplicity rather than a chaotic confusion. This could be time praying or communing with God, or time spent meditating or journaling or getting to know yourself, or time spent in nature. However you do it, working on your inner self is worth the time.


This is a big area for me in my simple journey. I see my faith, spirituality and simplicity all wrapped up into one another — as part of a making me a whole being.

I only wish I was better at making time to find inner simplicity.

I’ve grown up knowing the value of communing with God, praying and enjoying moments of silent.

I know the value — I’ve seen it in my life — but (like most things) it’s a matter of simply slowing down and doing it.

I’ve found patterns and routines are the best bet for me — but routines can also become — well routine. I want my faith experiences to stay fresh, so I may move from pattern to pattern throughout the year.

A few patterns I’ve adopted from time to time to help simplify my soul…

  • Lectio divina. This ancient form of study is a great way to really chew on the ideas found in scriptures. My good friend Frank suggested this and so I’ve adopted a lectio divina with three simple steps:
    • reading
    • thinking
    • praying

    I like to find a short passage of scripture, read it, think about what it’s telling me (the application) and then pray that back to God. It helps me really dig into what the different passages may be telling me and helps remind me to apply it daily.

  • Symbol study. This is an idea my friend Aaron shared with me a while back and it’s been a great resource for me. It’s similar to lectio divina, in that you really chew on an idea, but end up doing more journaling with it. After reading/listening/thinking through an idea, you jot down your notes corresponding with each symbol:
    • arrow pointing up – write something theses verses tell us about God
    • arrow pointing down – write something these verses tell us about human nature
    • light bulb – write down any new discovery you have made in your reading
    • exclamation mark – write down the most exciting verse in your opinion and why
    • question mark – write anything you don’t understand or want to ask someone else about
    • arrow pointing to side – write down something these verses say we should do

    You can download a simple form/sheet here.

  • Enjoy the silence. This is one of the hardest for me to make the time to do. But when I can find 15-30 minutes and sit outdoors or in a favorite spot in pure silence and just listen — the world begins to right itself and new paths are charted out for me. It just takes the dedication and motivation to be still — and listen.
  • Practice Sabbath. This is something I’m learning more and more about and hope to put into even more practice. Growing up in a Christian church, Sundays were always revered, but I never saw it much beyond the legalistic “Because the Bible says so.” But as I’m growing and learning, I’m finding so many more benefits to practicing a Sabbath — any day of the week — beyond just “the Bible says so.” In one of my recent chats with Ragan Sutterfield he touches on this idea and its benefits even more. And as a result I’m working to find more times to unplug, rest and put my daily stresses aside.

Challenge: Find some time this weekend and try adding one of these practices to your own life. Then let us know how it went.

Also, Steve has some great ideas on this as well over at Treehouse Monastic — be sure you stop in and read what he has to say about The Simple Living Manifesto.

What patterns or practices have you adopted to help find inner simplicity and to help calm your soul?

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  1. Simple Manifesto #42 – Find inner simplicity 07 05 10
  2. Simple Manifesto #43 – Learn to decompress from stress 10 05 10
  3. Enjoying a day of rest 07 09 10

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