Living a simple life is often considered to be dreary. It seems to be a matter of perspective. If your life is teeming with activity then it seems appallingly slow to view a quiet, serene way of living. You many not even realize that you are filling your life with activities that merely give you a false sense of achievement, or activity that is ‘time-pass’ (as the Indian phrase goes).
Wake up. Meditate. Do chores. Meditate. Eat. Write or read. Give a talk. Meditate. Sleep. This would be the approximate schedule of most Buddhist monks who practice meditation. It is so simple and yet not at all easy to execute. Neither does it turn them into boring people who lead dreary lives. In fact monks are often very cheery people.
In an old TED talk, Robert Thurman talks about how people often think that Buddhism is depressing because of all the discussion and focus on suffering. But, he says, look at the Dalai Lama. He is one of the most joyous people around. (And, Thurman says in an aside, it is not because the Dalai Lama does not feel pain and suffering, he does so deeply, especially for Tibet). The joy comes, he says, because practicing compassion and generosity are such joy-generating activities.
And funnily enough you may find that practicing generosity and compassion guides you to a simpler way of living. The deeper one goes into simplicity the more depth it seems to have.