It’s certainly true. One one level, I think it is a natural part of maturation. Childhood is, by nature, very simple. It doesn’t necessarily feel simple when you’re in it, but the reality of it is essentially, uncomplicated. We are presented with a paradigm and it doesn’t occur to us to question it. We are handed a set of rules and either follow them or don’t, and experience the results of that. The world exists in absolutes, and it’s easy to believe that adulthood will be the same – aren’t we, after all, indoctrinated with the idea of the “happily ever after”?
And then we grow up. We (hopefully!) learn to think critically; to question the status quo. We learn where the rules come from, and choose whether or not to recognize their authority. We start to figure out our own values. And when “happily ever after” doesn’t fall into our laps, we learn to find our own purpose; our own meaning in life.
And somewhere in the midst of this, our perspective on the world shifts from black and white to many, many shades of gray…plus a whole bunch of colors. This is natural, and beautiful, and in my life, an even more dramatic shift exacerbated by the fact that in the midst of maturing from a child into an adult, I was also paradigm jumping – from fundamentalist evangelical christianity (about as black and white as you can get) into consciousness seeking, pleasure valuing tantra (about as colorful as it gets).
So, of course things feel more complex.
But I think there’s something larger going on here. I think it’s not just me, and not just my generation, either. I think things are getting more complicated on a global scale. Seems like everyone I talk to lately is feeling it…and this excites me. I’m excited because I think it’s a sign of the maturation of consciousness. That just as the increasing complexity of my internal landscape is a reflection of my growing perspective as I mature, the increasing complexity of our global and interpersonal landscape is a reflection of a grand, growing perspective as WE mature. I firmly believe that we are evolving consciousness, and to me, this is one of the signs.
So, okay, awesome, hooray…we’re “growing up”. And everything is getting more complex, and it feels tricky, and it feels delicate, and what on earth are we supposed to do with it? It’s not exactly and easy wave to ride, you know?
And I’m not yet sure of the answer. But this morning, as I was driving through the trees, marvelling once again at the stunning fall foliage, I found a clue. I experienced a stunning moment of simplicity. Yes, there are a million things going on, competing for my attention. But for a moment there, in the car, staring at a breathtaking range of color, I was in the now. And all that mattered, for one moment, was that now is now, and I am I, and the trees (which are the trees) are gorgeous.
It felt like the eye of a storm: still and quiet and peaceful in the midst of all the movement of my thoughts and my body and my life. And I thought – what if I could live here? What if I could live in the still center of simplicity, while maintaining an awareness of the vast, swirling complexity moving around and through me?
I think, perhaps, it might be the way into finding balance.
There is a word for this way-of-life I’m describing. It was shared it with me by a dear friend a couple of years ago, and it has been working me in a variety of ways ever since. It popped into my head again this morning, in that simple moment of beauty, of trees and fog and driving, and reminded me that with this, there is also that…and that if complexity is increasing, so too must be simplicity, and if simplicity is increasing, then I can increasingly find my rest there.
The word is Simplexity…and this week, it is my number one experiment.