Wherever I go in the world, beyond the obvious cultural differences, it’s pretty clear that we humans all struggle with the same basic emotional challenges – sadness, anger, envy, greed, loneliness, addiction and so on.
It’s no different in the Chapada, in the high plains of central Brazil where Ashiyana Brazil is located. Most of the locals live their lives without the modern comforts that are enjoyed by many in Brazilian cities. There are also social problems brought about by poverty, lack of jobs, and very little government support.
The climate, too, brings challenges, with a defined wet season from October through to the end of March, and a correspondingly intense dry season for the rest of the year. This means that the dry, dust-filled air can be stifling. It also means that at the end of the dry season there are fires raging out of control, much like the fires in the Amazon that we’ve been reading about.
A simple life in harmony with Mother Nature
Whilst life is tough here for some, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to spend weeks or months at a time in the Chapada, as it allows me to live a very simple life that is in harmony with Mother Nature. I eat a diet of local fruit, nuts, vegetables, salad and the Brazilian staples, rice and beans; I ride my bike to and from town; I swim in the crystal clear river in our land; and I marvel at the sound of the multi-various birds of this region.
I’m aware of the sun, the wind and the clouds, I gaze at the various stages of the moon, and I love the first rains when they arrive, since they bring much needed moisture to the bone-dry land. It’s also a lot easier to think sustainably when living so close to the land - being aware of the need to protect water sources, to take care of rubbish, and to resist the onslaught of GMO which, sadly, is widespread in Brazil.
In the so-called ‘first world’, we live in the age of stress where almost everything is thrown into question, and there is increasing anxiety around each decision that we take. Unfortunately, our stress-filled states of mind are quickly spreading to the developing world, since almost everyone in these parts, however poor, has access to a television, and they are subject to the same fear-based programming that is propagated by the first world. In this world we’re constantly encouraged to believe that we need more, and we need it now, or we’re simply not good enough.
For this reason, whether we live in fear of the next fire, or with an obsessive regard for healthy living, I believe that our primary purpose is to always prioritise our own peace of mind. In the first world, we can do our best to buy organic and free range when possible, and yet not stress over every label and potentially harmful additive; and in the High Plains of Brazil we would perhaps do better to enjoy the simplicity of our lives, so long as we’re not suffering, rather than to strive for the excesses of the first world.
Peace of mind does more for the human race, and therefore the planet, than stressing over every decision, or pursuing the allure of having more. These things are easily said, and far from easy to practice. But nonetheless, the happiest people that I’ve ever met tend to live simple, uncomplicated lives. They constantly seek the path of least resistance, and make choices based on what flows most easily. Their thoughts are not populated with ideas of having, doing and being more, but rather with the simple notion of accepting what they already have and what is arising around them, and then listening to life’s gentle guidance (what we might also call ‘listening to their heart’) as to which step to take next.
With inner ease, we make wise decisions about our lifestyles and the way that we treat our environments and those around us. So whatever your daily worries and preoccupations, remember to slow down, focus inwardly and connect with your breath. See how this helps you to accept all that is arising within and without. This will help you to relax. From this place of calm, everything flows a little easier ☺
There’s a second part to this ‘Law of Magic’, as I call it, which is that when we’re calm and happy, and therefore vibrating with a calm and happy frequency, this is how we impact those around us, and the world as a whole. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world’. If you’d like to see a world that is filled with loving kindness, and less aggression and greed, then consider whether you might become more loving, kind and surrendered yourself. Consider whether perhaps your life needs more simplicity, rather than more material possessions.