It is mind boggling how much stuff one collects over the years. We simply put things away hoping for that day when we will use them. Such a day usually never arrives. And if we are honest we would recognize that we cannot step into the same river twice. We move on in life, yet we cling on to things that simply pile up and take over our space and encroach upon our lives.
But it is not only material things that crowd our lives. There are our filled-up diaries. When I first arrived in the Britain (1999) from the Caribbean, it took me over two years to get used to sorting out diary dates years in advance. I am certain that I am not better off now by claiming to master such a habit. I find myself buying a bigger-sized diary each year and presently I have an electronic one! Then, there is the matter of one’s overloaded brain – bombarded daily by loads of information. One simply needs a sabbatical every other year to go through the ritual of unclogging the mind.
Certainly a clogged up mind, filled up diary and cluttered space impoverishes one’s spirituality. And we are not short of coming up with ways to rationalising how the “cluttering” and “clogging” in fact nurture our souls. Purging, shedding, letting go and throwing away is never an easy act. Saying “no” even to our “no’s” and yielding to a de-cluttered life takes a lot of pain and sacrifice. It is costly.
Why the pain and sacrifice when in the end the unclogging and shedding serves us well? There are a number of blatant, as well as subliminal, cultural messages that urges us to possess, to expand and to secure things. We are encouraged to believe that we need all that we have and that we would be sad, afraid, fretful, and bereft without them. When faced with the prospect of letting go and throwing away, we fall into a kind of default mode that persuades us that if we do not seem to need them now, we will certainly need them later. The requirements of our desires, often framed in terms of needs and the illusion that we should be in control of our lives, exercise a powerful counterforce to the inclination or opportunity to let go.
Life, whatever we may think, is a process of living and dying, attaching and detaching – an ongoing process. Letting go is at the heart of living and the spiritual journey. Like breathing, it is not optional. We need to entrust more of our lives to the Divine.
copyright© April 24 2012