Less is More Brian Draper

Spirituality for Busy Lives Lion 2012 £7.99 ISBN 978-0-7459-5551-3 172

Life is to be spent not bought or earned or hoarded. There is a battle between the ego which would possess the world and the soul or spirit which would take us to what’s deep and lasting. Less is More is a resource to help cultivate that world of the spirit.

Brian Draper asks questions such as: How can we disrupt our deadening routines? How can we loosen our grip on what we possess (and what possesses us)? How can we become more present when we are so distracted? How can we make the difference that we alone were put on earth to make?  He also gives practical, applicable answers to these and other questions that arise in increasingly busy lives.

In profiling the unhurried perseverance and presence of a monk Draper illustrates the significance of living a life literally going nowhere. It is better to travel within in the spirit than to ego trip towards ‘more, bigger and faster’. The book’s trenchant analysis sees possessions, work, social status, physical appearance etc. as fashioning a superficial identity. We need to struggle for a true sense of self.

Ploys for getting our minds more into our bodies are presented, like stopping to breathe and take in the natural world. We need poise before pose. Poise is about balance and composure in striking contrast to striking a pose to survive as a successful business person or busy parent. Filling less diary time in advance is another recommended ploy that can help regain significance for spending our lives hour by hour. Thinking about the way people’s lives are recorded at their funeral can help us aim at being someone who has time for others.

This is not a Christian book but it draws on the author’s Christianity in its counsel about spiritual intelligence. There is one telling Scripture with advice about using less words being more effective in communication: ‘Many words rush along like rivers in flood, but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs’ (Proverbs 18.4 The Message).

Less is More is a good book to lend a stressed friend who is gaining the courage to do something about their admitted superficial living. I found it a helpful aid to self examination especially its optimism about the triumph of the human spirit ‘endlessly calling, pushing up like a flower through the cracks in the concrete pavement of our lives’ (Bill Plotkin).

The Revd Dr John Twisleton   St Giles, Horsted Keynes         7th April 2012

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