Objects Possessed by the Past

Crouched on the floor, I crumple up a piece of paper and toss it into the plastic sack. The cluttered room watches me, expectant. Perfume lingers in the air; I throw my head back as it seeps up my nose. My eyelids drop shut for a few seconds. I fall back onto the floor, legs crossed, as memories dance around my head.

What is a memory and why do we insist on hoarding objects that reek of the past?

On our desks at work, in our bedrooms, in our homes.

We stow away stuff in case it might be useful. In case we forget. In case we need to feel nostalgic and cry someday.

Yet, we can only grasp the past in the same way that an object can: As an imaginative creation in the moment. You think it happened. It seems real. You feel your body sag lower as you remember a person who is no longer in your life. A familiar tightness shrinks your throat; a few salty drops slip out of your eyes.

Nevertheless, that memory of that person does not exist anywhere that is physically real. What you are feeling results from the magnificent show your mind is putting on. A show that both makes us human and, at times, thwarts our human potential.

If our external environment is a reflection of our inner-world, the clutter fills up the breeding ground of new thoughts and ideas.

As long as you believe that the object is essential and the memory is real, you are cut off from the space where your life is taking place. In your infinitely creative mind, in this moment.

You can reconnect to yourself by recognizing that your thoughts and those objects are not as solid as they seem.  

I contemplate the bag of goodies that I haven’t touched for a year, scratching the back of my neck. “Put it in a cupboard, you can look through it later”….

Diving into the bag, I divide the contents into “give away”, plastics, paper and other rubbish. As they find various new homes, I begin to laugh. A tad demonically, I must admit…

Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to observe its secrets;
But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations. Lao Tzu.

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