By Nayaswami Narayan
April 16, 2019
Have you seen “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo? She is a beautiful Japanese woman who exudes a contagious joy. Her medium of sharing joy is through teaching people how to tidy up their homes. It’s a real blessing that she is entering the mainstream. She helps people understand how to let go of things that are holding them back. Not only that but also she invites them to keep only the items that spark joy. Her simple advice is to ask the question, “Does this item spark joy for you?”
After watching one episode Dharmadevi and I emptied our closet and got rid a lot of old clothes. After episode two we organized the kitchen cabinets. But then, the big test came for me. After episode three Dharmadevi’s zeal for tidying up reached an acme. We went to The Container Store!
Even though I did find tidying up our home to be quite a joyful process, I must admit I hit a wall of unwillingness at The Container Store. If you’re feeling boxed in, The Container Store is not the place to visit! It’s floor to ceiling storage containers, jars, plastic boxes, and the like. The soul, it has been said, is metaphorically enclosed in three successive bottles (physical, astral, and causal). At The Container Store, there are boxes inside of boxes insides of boxes! And the store goes on and on. Depending on your state of willingness, it can be exhilarating or nightmarish.
I found myself pushing a cart around for Dharmadevi when a subconscious malaise type fog entered my being. My movements were slow and drab. Dharmadevi asked me to return a (you guessed it) container she did not want to purchase to the other side of the store. I was so slow to respond because of my low energy. ”There’s another side of the store?” I responded in dumbfoundment.
To get out of this funk, I’m embarrassed to say I did not call on God but watched a highlight of a soccer player who some people think is God (Lionel Messi). After watching Messi score a sublime goal on my phone, I felt a surge of energy in my being. “Goodness!”, I realized I had felt the energy simply because I was interested in soccer and not The Container Store. Once I shifted my awareness and interest to being with Dharmadevi, my natural energy and enthusiasm returned.
Like tidying up our home, we can become too fastidious with anything and forget the point of our practice. For example, rather than calling himself a vegetarian and being a food fanatic, Paramhansa Yogananda said he was a “Propereatrian.” He advised eating a balanced diet and not making a religion of food. I’m taking his advice and now call myself a “Proper Tidyarian”. This means I tidy up right after I make a mess. And I remember the real cleaning is within my own heart.
Swami Kriyananda gives some tidying up advice for us in meditation. He said, “Mundane thoughts do come up during meditation. Instead of being too concerned about them, be aware that the thought is there, bless it, and offer it up to Master.”
Similar to letting go of old clothing, we can discard thoughts and habits that no longer serve us and break out of all self-limitations. You can do this even while you’re at The Container Store.
Breaking all boxes of boundaries let us roam freely forever in the colossal container of God alone!
Narayan Proper Tidyarian