The clutter in our life is a reflection of the clutter in our minds. We may have been trying to declutter our homes for ages, but without decluttering our minds we are missing at least half the picture. Our minds, much like our homes, are full of unnecessary objects that weigh us down, clutter our attention, and distract our awareness away from the present moment. We hold onto this “mind clutter” for many different reasons, even when it doesn’t serve us. Sometimes we are simply too busy, and don’t make the time to sit down and sort through the clutter. Most times we are emotionally attached to, or identified with the clutter – an idea, a belief… an old sweater. We feel we cannot let that belief, idea or sweater go because it seems to be “part of who I am”. Even if it is a limiting, negative and untrue idea – or a sweater that truly does not fit us anymore – we continue to hold onto it. And without our conscious permission, we are bombarded by that limiting belief over and over via our endlessly chatty mind; “I don’t like that about myself.” “I’m not ready yet.” “I don’t have enough.” “I am not good enough.”
We carry ideas and beliefs like these around, and they weigh us down, they complicate our lives and they can sabotage our relationships. Moreover, they distract us from what is truly important and truly precious, the present moment. When we make a conscious effort to sit and declutter our minds, that is release our identification with thoughts and beliefs, we can liberate ourselves to change and growth. We can become the person we want to be today, not who we were 20 years ago, not yesterday. By letting go of yesterday’s ideas, we can come into our ever evolving self, leaving behind outdated clutter.
Sit quietly in meditation, with a journal. Settle into your body and follow your breath without judgement. Take two metaphorical steps back in your mind and become the observer of any thoughts that arise. Thoughts that are pulling you in the past, or pushing you to the future, thoughts that are limiting, assaulting to your own being, thoughts that are benign and come up just to fill space and distract you from the present moment.
Ask yourself, “Do I truly need this thought? Is this thought truly a part of me? …or have I just been carrying it around for so long it feels like me now?” Know that you are not your thoughts, and when you are ready, let this thought go, then the next one … and the next one by saying, “Even though I think, I am not my thoughts.”
This is a practice that takes time, and consistency, because of the collecting and identifying nature of our minds. Our minds accumulate on autopilot, everyday, so it is important to declutter consciously, on a regular basis, just like we do for our homes. If we did not set aside time to clean and declutter our home, it would be overflowing with old junk – the same is true of our minds.
Yoga and meditation is time to “deep clean your mind”. Declutter the mind, destress the body, and bathe in the divine simplicity of the present moment.