Energy healing for our world
Sanación energética para nuestro mundo

To live simply is to live well

Charlie Holles

Saturday, April 30, 2016


How much do we really need to fill our lives with either activity or ‘stuff’? I’ve just returned to live in Argentina after visiting the UK and Spain for a couple of months. After spending six months in Argentina, some deep changes have happened within me. Back in Europe I was struck by the vast gulf between the way people live here in Argentina in what is, as yet, a country not nearly as developed as the so-called first world countries. But please remember that what I write is always intensely personal. It applies to me and is in no way a judgement about others or how they should live.

I was busy with many things on my visit, including seeing many dear friends. They are my friends because we share values and beliefs about life. I can honestly say that none of my friends is into material acquisition and many of them are working in areas that are about promoting sustainable living, harmony with the planet and a more holistic approach to business and life in general.

But apart from my friends, the default way of life in Europe seems now to be one of considerable luxury and indulgence on many levels. So how come I was so taken aback? I believe I was picking up the background vibe that was all around me. Watching television, reading papers and chatting to folk in shops and cafes really shocked me. I think of the fact that in the UK, people are considered poor if they can’t afford a smart phone. People on social benefits expect and indeed do get allowance for such phones. OK so I am a dinosaur and I grew up in a world where many people in the 1950’s did not even have a fixed phone in their house.

But in a way it is not just the material aspect of life that I noticed but more the way people fill their time. I remember when I was a kid, a short homily that was often quoted by members of my family – ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ I think this was probably in reaction to the grinding life that many folk lived before the Second World War. The 1950’s was after all a time when much was changing and for example, labour saving devices, such as washing machines, were entering the lives of ordinary people. But does work have to be dull?

If you are stuck in a job you hate then I understand the need for play. Yet many now live for the weekend and their holidays. Going to the pub, eating out, cinema trips, lying on sunny beaches has become the raison d’être for people. Weekend nights are like a battle zone in most town and city centres. I’m certainly not claiming that nobody in Argentina wants or indulges in such things. There is no such thing as the perfect country or society. But my perspective has changed a lot; in part nurtured by being here. In general life here is much simpler.

Perhaps it is partly due to getting older or maybe I view life very differently as I go deeper into my spiritual practice. Life has become very simple. I rent a very basic cottage. My main heating is an open fire so organising firewood takes time – we are now into the winter here which can be very cold at night. I work as a permanent volunteer at the Pumakawa animal reserve. It is hard work and keeping myself fed and watered and well rested takes much time. I have no television and when I am at home I write, read and just try to feel closer to the world around me. I have two beautiful foxes sharing my garden. I have absolutely no idea where the nearest cinema is – probably in Cordoba, which is over 100 kilometres away. My little village of Villa Rumipal does have a couple of places where I can eat, but they are very simple and unsophisticated.

In a nutshell – I meditate, I work, I eat, I keep warm and I read, I sleep and then the process repeats the next day. I have no doubt that this would not be right for many and I really am not proclaiming that this is a life model to suit all. All I can say is that I feel much fulfilled, at peace and deeply loved by those with whom I work, both human and animal. It is a life that is light on the planet and which I hope contributes something of value. Having others as the main focus of my existence has given me a different perspective on why I am alive. As I said earlier this is very personal. Yet still I feel that life in the developed countries has become over indulgent. Simplicity of living has been lost. I believe that in that simplicity there is great richness and depth. If we can let go of the need for constant stimulus and relax into just ‘being’ in a quiet way, we can find great depth and fulfilment in our lives.