Simplicity is the right ordering of our lives, placing God at the center. When we shed possessions, activities and behavior that distract us from that center, we can focus on what is important. Simplicity does not mean denying life’s pleasures, but being open to the promptings of the spirit.
We Friends seek to take no more than our share and to be sensitive to the needs of others, especially future generations.
Early Friends believed that the rituals and elaborate ceremony of the church were distractions from true religious experience. Seeking to emphasize substance rather than form, they gathered to worship simply in silence. To this day Friends in unprogrammed Meetings worship without outward sacraments.
Maintaining a simple life requires discipline and resolve to avoid getting lost in worldly distractions or undertaking too many activities, even in the service of good causes. When Friends truly practice simplicity, their lives and homes are orderly and they find time for prayer and service.
In earlier times, and in their concern to avoid frivolity, Friends devalued art and music. Later Friends recognized that music and art can enrich life in the Light. Simplicity need not entail meagerness or crudeness. A simple rendering of speech, writing, or artifacts often enhances that which is genuine and unmasks that which is not.
Source: Excerpted from Pacific Yearly Meeting, Faith and Practice, Simplicity Testimony, 2001