Week 38 – Decluttering For Clarity
“Clarity is the consequence of handling you confusion and chaos consciously.” Sadhguru
“I can’t focus, my minds all over the place!” If I had a dime for every time I said this or had it said to me, I’d be a financially wealthy man. I hear friends say they take on a million tasks at once and they’re onto the next task before finishing the first one—which really means nothing ever gets completely done.
Our minds are moving so fast, and with the speed of technology, we’re not slowing down any time soon. The TV’s on, the radio’s blaring, the cell phone’s pinging with every new text, and Facebook’s open 24/7. Information is so readily accessible, it’s easy to get wrapped up in having to know it all. And after knowing it all, we try to do it all. An endless cycle that can go on forever as if we’re running on never ending treadmill.
We’re split and scattered between past, present and future, juggling roles and responsibilities. We’re caught up in regrets about yesterday and worries about tomorrow. It’s no wonder we struggle to fall asleep at night and struggle to wake in the mornings.
These are the effects of mental clutter. The head fog, the confusion, the chaos, the stress. And this “stuff” affects our environment. It leads to our messy desks, our overstocked cupboards, our overflowing closets and drawers. We get so busy, we don’t make time to slow the clutter buildup. So, instead we continue to forget where we put the keys, and leave mail unopened on the kitchen counter tops.
Clutter can have a tremendous impact on your ability to be in mental and spiritual alignment, and can affect you physical health as well. Imagine you sit down to work but you can’t concentrate. You wonder why you are so distracted. You feel energized, prepared to work, and excited about your task. However, you just keep getting distracted. You simply cannot focus. There is a chaos and clutter in your head that you really can’t explain. I mean everything from thoughts about last night’s dinner to how you’re going to pay your child’s college tuition. You look around you and find yourself surrounded by clutter.
Even if you did not consciously acknowledge the clutter around you, it impacted your mind. Your mind is constantly absorbing your environment. It picks up on millions of details that do not even register with you consciously. And what’s fascinating to me is how the outer world reflects the inner world. So usually if your living space is a mess, so is your work space, so is your life and inner person to some lesser or greater degree.
It is critically necessary to be in a calm, clean environment to experience clarity of mind. That means less clutter, less noise, and no other distractions (like music, television, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
This is why racehorse trainers place blinders on horses. The blinders keep the horse focused on what is in front of him, encouraging him to pay attention to the race rather than other distractions, such as crowds. Blinders are also used on driving horses, to keep them from being distracted or spooked, especially on crowded city streets. The same goes for you and I! We are far from horses but the principle still holds true. If you do not have on blinders (a distraction-free environment) you will not experience clarity of mind.
I have been purging and downsizing my living space for several monthly, decluttering, giving things away, throwing things away, etc. As I move along through this process of simplifying and minimizing my life and living space, I have found it to be more challenging than I anticipated. Do I throw this away, do I donate it, OR should I keep it. Why is it difficult to let go of “things”? Some of these possessions have been around since late teenage years; others from young adulthood to the present day. It is a daunting task. I have had to consider what items are of value to me and why. As I am in my closet (the most challenging of the areas), drawers, mail, office and other nooks and crannies I have to decide “What is the value of this?”
As I sit on my couch now and look out at the piles across the living room into the kitchen, I am first struck by the sheer amount of things I have amassed over the years. Secondly, and most importantly, by the enormous clarity I feel. Spiritual, mental, and physical clarity. I feel a tremendous sense of empowerment and clear vision. And tons and tons of energy!
Clarity of the mind.
Physical health. Clarity leads to alignment and peace. Alignment and peace will lower your blood pressure and stress level. Less stress means less illness, lower risk of sickness and dis-ease.
Mental health. Clutter is a distraction and clouds your mind. Decluttering your living space allows declutter of your mental space. And when your mind is decluttered you now have the mental space needed to create. Clarity improves your mental health. Whether you are thinking of picking it up, dreading picking it up, avoiding picking it up, or actually picking it up — you are wasting valuable mental time with which you could be doing something productive.
Spiritual health. One thing I learned along the decluttering for clarity journey is when you hold your possessions so near and dear, you lose track of yourself – spiritually. Whether it is a watch, a car, an album collection, a lucky t-shirt, or a pair of shoes — it is dangerous to rely on a material object for your happiness or contentment. Material objects are physical things and as such are subject to all sorts of tragedy — getting lost, destroyed, or stolen — to name a few.
The truth is that a material object is only as valuable as the value that you place on it. Sure, certain things will hold more sentimental value than others. If you inherit your great-grandmother’s wedding ring, for example, it will mean a lot to you. But if that ring gets destroyed in a flood, you will go on. The memory of your great-grandmother will live on and you will continue to honor her spirit — ring or no ring.
We must let go of so much of our attachments to material things. We are not those things. You are not your job or your business. You are not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. As you begin to declutter and eliminate your excessive material possessions, you will be forced to come face-to-face with your true self. You will no longer be able to hide behind the facade of your “things.” You will be revealed as you truly are. This will be a wonderful moment of self-realization.