June 24, 2015

Follow Your Bliss

One of the most important aspects of living simply is having the time to develop self-awareness; to heed Joseph Campbell’s advise and “follow your bliss”.

With infinite consumer entertainments vying for our attention, developing self-awareness is difficult. Very few people will recommend it, and many will say you are wasting time ’navel-gazing’. Maybe they know that the system as we know it would change irrevocably if becoming our true selves were our top priority.

Ralph Waldo Emerson warned that “society is everywhere in conspiracy against the [individuality] of every one of its members.” How do we fight this conspiracy? Find and live out our “sacred integrity", which will lead to lasting happiness and fulfillment.

Susan Murphy says you have to “allow a kind of healing crisis of mind and heart that will yield a genuinely liberating glimpse of who you are and what reality is, minus all opinions about it.” Such a crisis leads us to our sacred integrity.

Or as the poet Basho says, “Cultivate a mind to follow nature and return to nature.”

In other words, the process of awareness that identifies who we are to ourselves is the same process that reveals reality, and is the same process that operates throughout nature.

How do we gain insight to these processes, and thus get to know ourselves and discover our bliss? The Buddhist mountain hermits in China have 3000 years of experience in this area. They would say, "Don't follow your old habits: Observe your mind."

While this may be a life long journey, the sooner we simplify and align ourselves with nature, the sooner we can get started.

First we change ourselves, then we change the world.


  1. I've been spending more time in nature lately. Hiking and picnicking, taking photographs, sitting and watching a river flow across the rocks. I notice that when I'm out there, outside, away from traffic, running air conditioners, and ambient human made noise, I am better. I am calm.

    I like Susan Murphy's words you quoted. It feels like I have been in a healing crisis for a long long time, a transition. I keep pausing and stalling it. Many reasons for that. It frustrates me nevertheless. The key word in the quote is "allowing..."

    You provide a meaningful path, simplify and align with nature, change ourselves first then the world. Much wisdom there. I'm finding that simplifying and aligning in nature alternately and simultaneously as you have stated works to energize both. A little time in nature, a little time simplifying, back and forth.

    1. Nature is where it is at. Everything we need to know about living on Earth we can learn from nature.

      The whole world is experiencing a healing crisis right now. My guess is that people who are sensitive to that are being affected. We have to remember to take care of ourselves - it sounds like you are doing this. Most important.


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