ORGANIZING THE MIND


It
has taken me almost 67 years to realize what a clutter bug I am. I keep getting
new cabinets to store things and keep striving to attain the enviable talent of
having ‘a place for everything, and everything in its place.’ When I was a
child I had an ayah who was with us till I turned 35 and who was like a second
mother to me. Perhaps even a first mother, since I used to sleep and cuddle
with her. She fed me for many years past even puberty, put spoonful’s in my mouth
as I read, or even slept. I have many memories of falling asleep without
eating, and of her propping me up and putting loki hi sabzee (an Indian mashed up squash made in ghee, one of the
few Indian vegetables I loved because it tasted like a salty halwa) in my
mouth. I chewed it without disturbing my rest. She
would organize my littered room and put away my clothes, toys and books.  
This
sounds like a digression but I need to ramble a bit to get to the point,
starting with the literal and getting to the metaphoric. The two are intimately
connected. My thrust over the past few years to organize, organize, has brought
me to the realization that having a place for everything doesn’t mean a thing till
you develop the attention to put everything in its place. I have done a bit of
it unconsciously over the years, what I term putting away, but it became fully
conscious this morning when I brought up a tray of tea to the bedroom and found
no room to put it down. Generally, Raju, our cook, brings up the tray and makes
room for it, but I had woken up early and wanted to make some for myself.
Tek
Ram, our resident carpenter, has made me a lovely cedar cabinet by my bedside
to put all my things in, books, computer, medicines, supplements, tissues, etc
etc. Though I had organized it a bit, I wasn’t using it for the purposes I had
wanted to.
So,
decluttering has become a conscious intention. Now, let me get to the point of
organizing our brains, far more crucial than organizing our houses. An ayah
cannot do it for you and thought most of us do it automatically to some extent,
we need to develop the talent, if not the genius, of organizing it consciously: in brief, we have to put thoughts where they belong at moments when they take
us over and tyrannize us: corralling them like wild beasts. A thought where it
doesn’t belong is a wild beast, just like a flower where it doesn’t belong is a
weed. Thoughts are what determine our illness and health, our depressions and
joy.
This
is only touching the tip of the topic, which extends fathoms deep into the dark
waters. Perhaps I will chisel away at it more.  
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