The Art of Living Deliberately

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Nature, to Thoreau, was beautiful, rich, alive, and helpful. It provided him with all the aesthetic beauty and material goods that he could ever desire. How can we do the same?

 

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

The observations Henry David Thoreau penned in his book “Walden” runs deep. And even 164 years after the book was first published, its core message is still relevant - reconnecting with the outdoors is good for the soul.

Living more on less

“Walden” has become a bible for nonconformist and if we take a leaf from Thoreau’s observations, you only really need these few things to feed your soul: self-reliance, meditation and closeness to nature.

It’s essential to find your balance without relying too much on others, technology and material possessions. While he acknowledged the significance of the need for companionship, he deemed it unnecessary to want it. Instead, seek spiritual awakening, inner peace and contentment by looking inward, not outward.

In "The Ponds" section of Walden, Thoreau extols the water's physical properties.

He details its unparalleled water quality; its clarity, color, and temperature; its unique animal life (aquatic, bird, and mammal); its rock formations and bed; and especially, its mirror-like surface properties.

 
In "The Ponds" section of  Walden , Thoreau extols the water's physical properties.

In "The Ponds" section of Walden, Thoreau extols the water's physical properties.

 
He details its unparalleled water quality; its clarity, color, and temperature; its unique animal life (aquatic, bird, and mammal); its rock formations and bed; and especially, its mirror-like surface properties.

He details its unparalleled water quality; its clarity, color, and temperature; its unique animal life (aquatic, bird, and mammal); its rock formations and bed; and especially, its mirror-like surface properties.

 

"For a brief moment, I feel I am not myself but just one of a thousand sensations of the forest."

Thoreau believed that man is part of nature and it is important for us to reconnect and live a life of simplicity in natural surroundings with minimal consumer activity. Thoreau not only walked the talk, he lived it - he stayed in seclusion in a cabin near Walden Pond in Massachusetts (hence, “Walden”) a little over two years.

Reconnecting by disconnecting

While it may be hard to disconnect in our very connected world, it’s important to embrace the outdoors and make conscious efforts to reconnect with nature. Small acts like a short walk in the park, a weekend camping trip to the woods, an hour of meditation in the morning or a few minutes tending to your indoor garden can make a significant impact in rejuvenating your soul, allowing you to be feel more refreshed, energised and content.

We may not need to live in a cabin in the woods but maybe it's time to go off the grid, and live a little more deliberately.