On Keeping Too Much Stuff
As people set new intentions at this time of year, what comes with that is the urge to purge and reorganize one's home. For some, the buildup of irrelevant items can seem completely overwhelming. This is a personal subject for me because I grew up with a hoarder as one of my parents, so I both simultaneously cannot stand clutter while also never learned at a young age how to manage my accumulated items. So I've thought a lot over the years about this one. Too much stuff = Stagnation As I've discussed before, according to the Vedas, all the universe is doing is evolving and the mechanic by which this happens is the creation cycle. Something is created, then maintained for a while. Once it becomes no longer relevant, it stagnates causing destruction which then clears the way for more creation. When we surround ourselves with irrelevant things, it is very unsettling for our deeper consciousness as that place in us knows doing so invites destruction. Even if you don't know why, it's very uncomfortable to be in a space like that. By clearing out items no longer needed, instantly the experience of the space is lighter and easier. Attachment to things Our culture tells us that gain is equal to success. More is better. We spend our lives acquiring things and then attach ourselves to them. Rather than finding the self within, we use our items as a way to define and represent us. And if we aren't living in the present, our minds are jumping between past and future. In which case, some items that come from our past have more meaning than what is relevant to right now. (For me, it's the old baby clothes). As well as some items that may be "useful someday," get kept needlessly. By ridding ourselves of many of those items that are kept which bring our minds to the past or future, it is more joyful to have the things that surround us relevant to life now. That said, keeping some sentimental things is perfectly fine so long as they are packed away with intention. Or better yet, are transformed or repurposed to become relevant again. For example, the girls' baby clothes I could not bear to give away, I had made into a quilt. Space = Time The Vedas (and physicists) tell us that time and space are one. This feels particularly true in your own home. When you get rid of irrelevant things and make space, you will find suddenly you have so much more time and are so much more creative with your time. Part of the reason why this happens is because everything in your house is vying for your attention, and each item drains just a bit more of that attention. When you let go of things, your attention and therefore energy is freed up. And you have caused destruction in a controlled way, which leads to creativity as mentioned above. Marie Kondo is very Vedic, though she probably doesn't know it I don't know if you've seen the new show on Netflix about Marie Kondo, the Japanese woman who wrote that book about tidying a few years ago and coined the "KonMari" method. Her method works on Vedic principles, though I doubt she realizes it. When she says to ask yourself if an item "sparks joy" as a way of keeping it or not, that is like when in group meditations I tell meditators to follow charm. When we meditate, our awareness is in touch with our intuition, the part of us that connects to everything and knows the big picture, and that intuition guides us through charm and aversion. She also instructs that your things are conscious and you should thank them as you let them go. This ties right into the Vedic tenant that everything is one consciousness displaying itself as different forms and phenomena. It can cause guilt to get rid of things, especially if they never got used or seemed to serve their purpose. But by thanking them as you let go, you can thank the item for teaching you how to let go. Thereby their purpose was to help you evolve, which is the ultimate purpose. So it ended up very useful indeed. I could practically write a book on this subject, so if you want to get into this more, I'd love to talk all things tidying and organizing at one of my group meditations.