Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cleaning Up This House

It is relatively easy to see and decide with clear mind, not this, not that.

A whole other matter is ridding the body from the accumulated imprints of years of hindrances, left unchecked. The causes of the original tensions are long gone, but their effects linger in the stomach, in the throat, the shoulders, the neck, the jaws . . . This is when the mind needs to help the body. Being with the discomfort, and little by little releasing the long held constrictions, the clinging against, or for something. 

The cleaning-up process, the purification process I have talked about, takes place in the mind. but you will also find you need to remove some old debris that has accumulated in the body because of our psychological responses. 
Imagine a person has been living in a room for the past twenty or thirty years and has never bothered to clean it. All the leftover food, all the dirty clothes, all the rubbish that's accumulated now reaches up to the ceiling. Trying to live among that rubbish is extremely unpleasant. But the room's inhabitant doesn't even notice it, until one day a friend comes along and says, "Why don't you clean up?" So together they clean up a little corner. Then our imaginary person finds that it's far more comfortable and easy to live in that clean corner. Now they start to clean out the whole room until eventually they can look out of the windows and get a better view and also find room enough to move. Feeling more comfortable, the person can use the mind freely without having to attend to any bodily discomfort. 
The house we live in is our body. It doesn't matter how many times we move from town to country, from apartment to home, from home to a room, or even from one country to another. We takes this body with us until it completely deteriorates, decays, and becomes a heap of bones, and then only dust. Until that happens, we carry it along with us wherever we move. Its' this house that we need to make a little more spacious and at ease. 
The psychological accumulation of obstructions and blockages has been deposited by our emotional responses. Mind has put them there, so mind can also remove them. In our meditative procedure this means "knowing the feeling, not reacting, then letting go of it."
~ Ayya Khema, Being Nobody, Going Nowhere ~
Retraining the mind, and consequently the body, one moment at a time. "Knowing the feeling, not reacting [in mind, and body], then letting go of it." The big challenge as I have experienced it, is having the courage to consciously explore the dirty old house, and feel the whole unpleasantness that's attached to it. 


  1. thanks for this wonderful reminder! "Mind has put them there, so mind can also remove them." And always a little bow to karma.

  2. Yes, Carole, you and I both cleaning away . . . :)

    Much metta,


  3. Thank you for mentioning "Being Nobody, Going Nowhere", I'm reading it now. Ayya Khema has so much insight and practical advice. She's wonderful and so are you for the work you do.

  4. Oh! good (that you are reading her). All of her books are real gems.