So, suppose that you got to clean a room. Vacuum it, dust it, mop it and what not.
You also have all the needed equipments - vacuum cleaners (best quality), mops etc.
What do you think is the most effective way to complete the task?
How about if you empty the room first? Say, remove furniture, pictures etc.
Does it not become easier once you have enough working space? You can move the vacuum cleaner with ease, reach all corners, dust off easily. Overall, it seem to become easier.
I think most of us clean our places like this. We move the stuff temporarily to other rooms, clean one room and then bring it all back.
How about cleaning the mind?
Like the powerful vacuum cleaner, we have the most powerful tool - that is MEDITATION.
But, our mind is cluttered. So much junk is accumulated that there is hardly any working space at all. To make things worse, we can not easily chuck out the junk from our minds the way we can possibly move stuff out of our rooms when we need to clean.
So, we have a challenge.
We have a heavily cluttered mind full of junk - thoughts, feelings, opinions, prejudices etc. We have the equipment to clean but need to make some space.
Fortunately, meditation is more versatile than any vacuum cleaner. It really does not demand much space at all. Just a little space to enter into our mind and start cleaning. All meditation asks is to give our best for at least a few minutes a day. Say 30 minutes of dedication.
But, there is one thing to keep in mind. As said before, we can not easily chuck out junk from our minds. Our tool - meditation- is versatile that it not only cleans up the mind but also destroys all that junk slowly but surely. So, we do not have to worry about it any more. Takes several years to clean up the junk accumulated over our lifetime. Slowly but surely.
In the mean time, can we do ourselves a favor? That is to limit the new junk that we bring in. If the rate at which junk enters exceeds the rate at which our trusted tool - meditation - is working, it is not going to make much difference.
When we are practicing spiritual disciplines with all the sincerity, we need to do everything to limit external inputs especially tantalizing, sensationalizing inputs. We all take in a lot of external stimuli - news, movies, radio etc. Start reducing the amount of sensory inputs you take and see how better you start feeling.
Even if you want to take in sensory inputs, do it with discrimination and purpose. Let the radio not blare music or news unless you are able to pay full attention to listen to it. Same thing with news, movies etc.
As you reduce new mental clutter, meditation continues to slog relentlessly at cleaning up your old clutter. Accumulated over not just few years but few life times. So, its a process of slow but steady transformation.
It does not take years, even months to start seeing the differences. After limiting the amount of TV you watch, amount of time you spend on the Internet or talking to friends and family or doing other mental-clutter-generating activities and steadily practicing meditation and allied disciplines, you will start seeing the calmness and purpose in everything you do very soon.
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