Discard the Old

This is a practice from my latest book: Leap Before You Look.” This practice is chosen from the section “The Daily Grind.”


Take some time to discard what is no longer needed.

You could start with your clothes.

Be honest: if you have not worn it for a year,

Put it in a bag for the thrift store.

Look through your books: how many will you ever read again?

Go through your music, your movies, your knick-knacks.

If it is just taking up storage space, get it out of your life.

Take the things you can let go of to the garbage or the thrift store.

Then, sit quietly for a few minutes and

Feel the space you have created in your life.

Feel the space that has also been opened

Inside yourself.

Do this practice often,

Until all clutter is gone,

And you can enjoy simplicity.

In many ways, your immediate environment is a reflection of, as well as a cause of, how you feel inside yourself. Spring cleaning is a powerful way to provoke natural emptiness and presence. When you discard old photographs, papers, books or clothes, it allows you to also let go of structures in the mind and psyche associated with those things. Experiment for yourself, and see how differently this simple practice can allow you to feel in yourself.

You may experience some resistance to this practice, tinges of regret as you are on the way to the garbage can. We are born into the world empty-handed, and one day we will also leave that way. As a newborn baby, you have no identity. You have no style of dress, no preferred make of car, no favorite musicians or movies. As you collect all these things in a lifetime, so do you become seemingly more and more solid, defined and different from other people. In fact, that is all that makes you absolutely unique, a different set of likes and dislikes from other people.

Whenever you let go of something from the past, you pass through a small death. It hurts a little. When you throw away old sneakers you once loved, or a vinyl record you listened to in college, it can feel like a part of you is dying. And it is true, it is a small death of identity. But these small deaths can also be enjoyed; they are a death of the temporal identity, of that which must sooner or later die, but they are also the rebirth in you of something eternal, of that which can never die.

Remember, whenever you let go of the old, sit with yourself for a while afterwards and enjoy the space. Enjoy the taste of freedom.

You can discover 72 practices like this in Leap Before You LookBuy it now on Amazon.

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