Keep only that which gives you Joy.
A few months ago, sitting in my office contemplating death of self and how to achieve it I suddenly found myself regarding my walls with new eyes. I focused on my walls. covered as they were in a superfluity of certificates, maps of travels, images of friends long departed and squadrons long disbanded, deployments and memories, degrees, diplomas and professional designations, and it suddenly hit me that these walls were my own narcissism in action – on display in a place where few others would actually see them and understand what they signified to me. These walls were in fact my “I LOVE ME!” walls. After a week or so of thought I quietly boxed them up cleaned everything out and stored them away in a dark corner of my basement store-room. Maybe in a couple of years I will just consign them to the dump.
A week ago I was sitting at my laptop, thinking about my last post and editing and found myself regarding my several floor to ceiling bookcases and piles on the floor and piled on just about every flat surface I could see and realized these books were exactly the same sort of “I LOVE ME!” display, exhibited for anyone to look at and understand just how much I knew and how bright I was and why I knew what I was talking about – not just a pretty face, you see. Seven cases later and several trips to the library with well over a hundred books, I am looking anew at the bookcases in question and am somewhat amazed that while the books have changed and many are gone the bookcases are still full. Only a couple of empty spaces for a couple of items I read in the evening at my bedside.
The difference is that the books now on display give me joy. They are not books about problems in the world and some fellow traveler’s observations about what a screwed up place this world is and why, and how, and all this opinion finely articulated in elegant prose, brain candy, as I used to call it. Every one of those books used to leave me angry, somehow, at the state of the world, and the idiots who put us here … troublesome, aggravating, all problems, no solutions. Now all the books are about solutions – they bring me joy rather than reminding me of how we never seemed to be able to make a better world out of the Cluster F we were handed.
One of the mysteries of the rosary refers to Christ coming into the world in poverty to remind us to be detached from earthly things. How much “stuff” are we intimately attached to , so intimately that we don’t even notice the attachments, like the skin we live in, never noticed and yet informing every thought, opinion, and action. This whole “SELF” examination path is way more complex than I ever expected when I started a couple of years ago.
Sigh. time to go clean up the supper dishes.