Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Freeing up the (mental) space!

It is very interesting to see how freeing up space in the physical world appears to help freeing up the mind. Last weekend was my "clearance" time. After about a year or so, I decided to change gears and reclaim life!! Looks like once in a few years, I get into this mode and do a complete overhaul! Probably I am a true follower of Tholkappiar who said "பழையன கழிதலும் புதியன புகுதலும் வழுவல கால வகையினானே" (The passing of the old and the ascendance of the new are the unchanging order of time) :-)

I tossed several clothes, appliances, reference materials, notebooks etc. out! In India there is a festival for doing this. Every year on 13th of Jan, just a day before thanking the Sun God for all the good harvest, people toss out all old stuff, and refresh their houses with new items. In a few organizations, there is a process to review the documents & data for retention period and delete them as needed. In spite of all this, people keep stuff that are no longer needed. "We may need it at some point in time, especially the week after we throw the item out" is the view of most of the people I have met :-) they would call the chinese proverb that says "retain anything for seven years to see the real use of it" for help. Though I try to avoid this 7 year syndrome, I was not doing this "clearance" (please note, it is not cleaning up) for quite sometime now!

There were dresses I did not wear even once in the past several months… there were reference materials that I thought I would use sometime, but never even thought of those topics - leave alone the material! There were some tools and home appliances in the loft for the past 1.5 years! If I can survive without them for this long, I do not need them I thought! Wow… I got rid of about 30% of the stuff. I have one more weekend to go before I will be done with this!

What excites me more than acquiring the 30% more space is, I feel more in control! I could clearly see my  mind not thinking of some thoughts. It looked like there was some mental clearance too while I was doing the tossing business!! But more and more I think about it, this is more like the "cleaning up" we do - involuntary! Cleaning up helps; but then, for you to gain actual space, you need to do clearance! Is there a simpler way to do clearance and claim the mental space? I could not get a convincing answer even in "Kural" yet. Even the much talked about kural on "truth" also talks about cleaning (Purity of body is produced by water and purity of mind by truthfulness) but not clearance - may be both "மனத்துக்கண் மாசிலன் ஆதல் அனைத்தறன் ஆகுல நீர பிற" and " அழுக்காறு அவாவெகுளி இன்னாச்சொல் நான்கும் இழுக்கா இயன்றது அறம்." put together can give us the way for "clearance" - being away from jealous, malicious desire, uncontrollable anger, bitter speech - not only not expressing these but also not even touched mentally by any of the four can result in mental space being freed up! Hopefully, one day, I would achieve that!

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