Decluttering from the inside out

Junk breeds junk goes the saying. It is apt. I never realized the amount of junk we had accumulated over the last 4 years in our 1050 sqft apartment, until we moved yesterday. It took the packers – 5 of them – 8 hours to pack the stuff  and it took us another 4 to unpack it all today morning.  So imagine my surprise when I open the latest issue of the quarterly journal from Blue Mountain today afternoon, there choice of topic: Clutter!

Easwaran writes:

Junk has a way of  multiplying…you may have only a few things in your closet, but when you open the door after a year or two, you find that there has been a population explosion.

It starts so innocently. We get one thing, which leads to another. That leas to another, leads to another, leads to another, and we get entangled. And once we get entangled, we don’t know how to free ourselves. Clutter grows like an insidious vine, a bit at a time, untill finally the house doesn’t belong to people any more; it belongs to the Clutter family. The things we owned end up owning us.

Similarly, I would say, the mind – everybody’s mind – has a tendency to fill with junk, old thoughts and attitudes and impressions that have lost any value and just lie around getting in the way of thinking, acting, and loving in freedom. Malice, jealousy, hostility, resentment, all multiply quietly until sometimes they take over our lives. When you leave a pot in the rain, the Buddha says, the rain does not pour down in a stream and fill the pot in two seconds. The pot fills drop by drop. This is how we succumb to junk thinking: little by little, by dwelling on
innumerable negative thoughts.

When the mind is full of clutter, we can’t find our virtues. All of us have virtues, but often they are so covered by personal urges that we have to stop and search all over to find the one we need. We know we have a little compassion somewhere, but we can’t lay hands on it in that pile of resentments. We know we have put away some tenderness, but when we open the closet only hostilities tumble out. This is why the Buddha says we should keep the mind free from clutter, with the artistic simplicity of the Japanese home. The mind needs lots of room, plenty of walking space, with just one or two little closets for the few great qualities we need. The rest should be wide open, so that we can move about freely and feel at home. An uncluttered mind is a very comfortable mind to live in.


One thought on “Decluttering from the inside out

  1. Raj:

    That was a very good one. When I moved from Hyderabad to Bombay I had to decided what I could take with me. I had this option as I could leave the material at my parents place in Hyderabad.

    Due to time and space constraints I did not collect much junk in Bombay which helped in shipping the stuff easily to Hyderabad.

    Now if I do go to Australia for my MBA (visa permitting) I have to decide now seriously what to leave behind and what to take, I have only 30 kgs that I can take with me including cabin baggage.

    One of the heaviest stuff I moved from Hyd to Bombay was Books. I have to leave almost all the books back in Hyd…now it starts to show, what are the books which are important to me and why did I buy rest of the books. Was it worth it?

    I think Eswaran gave a fantastic explanation of clutter. More than the clutter from the home, I need to remove the clutter from my mind…I don’t know where to start?


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