I touched on simplicity in my post The Little Prince: Questions On What’s Important In Life. In that post I posed the question,
Do I (as an adult) understand what is important in life?
I offered, among several answers, the following:
‘Possibly, simply, just to be? To sit with your ‘flower’ and watch the sunset. Is that it? Can it be that simple?
This week I want to explore a theme I have drawn from this wonderful book, although which I haven’t seen proffered consistently in other analyses of the book. That is the idea that maybe what is most important in life is just, simply, Simplicity.
In my first round of notes in analyzing The Little Prince I see clearly that the time you give to something (someone) is what makes it special. That’s pretty simple (and profound).
I noted also that grown-ups spend far too much time preoccupied with numbers and rules and mirrors, taking themselves (ourselves) too seriously. Missing the beauty in the little things, all things; when all that you are looking for might be found in a single rose.
The prince took time out of every day to watch at least one sunset. Because of this, his life was meaningful and worthwhile. It was a most sensible use of time, to pause to watch the sunset.
Adults aren’t disappointing simply because they have grown bigger, or obtained jobs, or taken on responsibilities. They are disappointing because, for many, their pursuits have taken on a disproportionate importance; when what matters most are the simple pleasures. A need to for simplicity, to simplify.
I found during further readings on The Little Prince the idea that within the story we adults might find deeper meaning to draw us back toward the simplicity of the existence we enjoyed as children. Further, suggesting that in the shared experience of life—in the sharing of life—we can learn again to be free.
No Dress Rehearsal
A quote from this same source offers that,
‘the destination of life is the end of life, so therefore it is the process of life—not the destination of life—which should most concern the living while they are alive.’
That hit me hard. The journey is the destination. Not a new idea, but phrased this way, that for each of us the ultimate destination of life is the end of life, it really cements the importance of living our lives in the here, the now. There is no dress rehearsal.
The fox in the The Little Prince states that,
“’It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’
So, follow your instincts to explore – do, don’t dream. Keep it simple, and be pausing to watch the sunset. Share it if you can.
A Perfect Day
One of the questions I have often asked myself has been; what is my perfect day? A modification would be; if I had only one day left to live how would I live it?
The answer. Simply.
Sunrise, coffee, nature, and adventure. Friends and family to share it with. Followed by the sunset, a fire, guitar and drinks. Build from there, but never pedantically.
“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. – Lao Tzu