4 Simple Things that Can Make a Great Difference

Recently someone asked, “What are some simple, but great things?”


Simplicity is great. As Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”


What great things can simply transform your life?


Being with Nature

Often times, in the hustle and bustle of life, we forget about the trees, the bees and the flowers that we walk by so frequently (and forgetfully). Just being in nature with your attention open to whatever you see can be healing and inspiring.


My current favorite natural setting is the night sky. I live in the woods on a mountaintop in a very natural setting with little disturbance from the lights of the nearby town. Just gazing at the stars has inspired a new sense of wonder at the breadth of the universe. There are so many stars, and we are on such a small planet i the big picture. I am reminded that people have been staring at the stars for thousands of years and have even tracked their movement to measure the passage of time. Observing this phenomenon, the rising and setting of the moon and other planets, is just fascinating.


The sunset view from nearby Elk's Know
The sunset view from nearby Elk’s Know


What did you see in nature today? I invite you to take 10 minutes today to be with nature, whether it’s a stroll through the park, star-gazing or simply watching the birds.



There is nothing simpler than meditation. As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of our time’s most prominent meditation teachers shares, meditation is the art of doing nothing. At the same time, there are few things less misunderstood. Meditation is simply being with yourself and resting deeply and consciously. It is a small act, which can take 15-20 minutes of your time, that delivers big results. When the mind is clear, there is a great difference in our perception, in our happiness and in our quality of life. When I started meditating, it didn’t take long to notice that I was calmer and more at ease, even with what would otherwise be nerve-wracking situations.

Meditation by the mountains in Boone at the Retreat Center


If you want to try a meditation, you could try one of these online guided meditations.


Do an act of service

In line with Mother Teresa’s quote, anyone can do acts of service, however small or great. And what seems small to us could be great to another person. You could surprise someone for their birthday, contribute to your favorite humanitarian project, spend an hour or two a week volunteering with the elderly or teaching your language to immigrants. Or just being available to people who need you in the whatever situation comes up can make a big difference to them.

Smiling can actually create feelings of happiness within and in your surroundings.

Smile More

smiling life art of living

Smiling is effortless (almost). It is said that frowning actually takes more effort than smiling! So simply smiling, even if it’s artificial, can make you happier and spread good feelings in your social circle. Sometimes we feel that an artificial smile may not be authentic. However, smiling can actually create feelings of happiness within and in your surroundings. In studies, people that were told to smile actually reported feeling happier. Similarly, people who made faces of anger, sadness and fear actually produced those same physical reactions. So I invite you to show the world your beautiful smile and make yours and someone else’s day simply great!


These are just a few simple things that have made great changes in my lifestyle. What inspires you? What simple things do you do that make your life great? Leave a note in the comments below.


Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.


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