Living a tranquil life in our modern world requires thoughtfulness and choice. The reason is obvious; it’s because here in America we are constantly interrupted with information that is intended to spur us to action. The most common spur is to spend our money purchasing a provider’s product. Money of course is simply the medium of exchange of value we happen to own that they want transferred over into their ownership. They will do anything they can get away with, to convince us that what they have is more valuable to us than the money we own.
Most of the time their products and/or services to have some real value to us, but the problem arises when we spend more money than we have. That is easily remedied because “they” are willing to loan us money up to the limit of our credit. It is the limit of credit, as determined by private agencies, that determines what the majority of Americans own, or more precisely, what they believe they own. All they really need to do to determine who really owns their possessions is to miss a few payments. Then the various loaning agencies begin to make it clear. They don’t want the stuff you value so much that you went into debt to get, they want your money, but ultimately what is that? It is your labor; your labor to support the system of extracting labor from you. It is a system where they are the ones compelling you to work, and functionally you are their slave. I slipped over from the word we to the word you, because when it comes to paying debt it becomes very personal, it becomes you.
The first step to becoming tranquil is to be free of debt, and that means not to owe any money to anyone. That is the thoughtfulness that must precede the choice not to go into debt; or, at the bare minimum to purchase one’s minimal living quarters so you can avoid the debt of monthly rents, as soon as possible.
When your relationship to the external world is free of debt obligation there becomes the possibility of relieving the debts to oneself. These are similar to external debts, but they are internal, and they are in the form of fixed expectations of how you must perform. Functionally people with rigid expectations of their behavior are slaves to themselves, and their own inner slave driver can be just as demanding as an external creditor. Getting him off your back is similar to getting the creditor out of your personal world. You cover your basic necessities well, let the optional needs come as they will, and totally ignore the trivialities. Basic things are grocery-store food, basic living shelter, comfortable secondhand clothing, a few reliable friends; optional things are Trader Joe foods, a standard home, decent store-bought clothes, some social organizations; trivialities are eating at high-end restaurants, wearing designer clothes, choosing friends based on social status. Those are external things because they are easier to list, but the inner aspect of those things is the acceptance of yourself and others as being what they are and not demanding or even desiring them to be something that fits some preconceived idea.
Obtain tranquility by living fully with those things that are easily obtained.