Letting go of clutter

Elimination of mental disarray leads to clarity 

I once heard a professional organizer describe an orderly home as one in which every object has its own home—its own specific place. To me, as I’ve begun to see that each truly needful object in my home represents a useful spiritual idea, this makes perfect sense. But I didn’t always see it that way.

When I moved into my first home as an adult, I loved every little nook and cranny. But soon it seemed that every little nook and cranny was filled with stuff, such as unwashed clothes and dishes, unread books and magazines, and so on. The biggest issue, though, was unmade decisions—the things that hadn’t yet found a right place. 

It was an older home, and we were trying to steam off many layers of old wallpaper in our dining room, which was right at the front of the house. It looked like a bomb had exploded in that room. No matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to get control over the clutter and the dirt. I was frustrated, embarrassed, and filled with self-condemnation. 

Because I am God’s image, my consciousness is, like God, calm and orderly, and my home must reflect that. 

One day a friend from church came to my door unexpectedly. I was so embarrassed by my home that tears began to flow. With tender love and no trace of judgment, she put her arms around me and said, “Oh, Julie, this is not your consciousness!”

At that moment, I felt as if a great weight had been lifted from me. I realized that I had been thinking that if my home represented my consciousness, then my consciousness must be a terrible mess. I had been reasoning from effect to cause rather than cause to effect. My friend, though, had gotten it right. She saw that because I am God’s image, my consciousness is, like God, calm and orderly, and my home must reflect that. 

Did my home turn into a model of order and cleanliness right away? No, but my thought began to shift. I realized that I loved beauty and order and desired to express those qualities in all that I said and did. I remembered a statement Mary Baker Eddy makes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds” (p. 1).

Praying to see myself as the reflection of the one perfect Mind, God, I trusted God with my desire for order. As I grew spiritually, I found greater clarity about how to organize the things that were useful in our home and to let go of the things that were no longer needed.

Is my home completely free of clutter today? Again, no, but clutter no longer rules my life. I’ve come to see that too much stuff and a lack of order go hand in hand. And I’m finding that the elimination of mental disarray leads to clarity about what is really needed in my home. I’ve become more resistant to advertising claims that this or that product is a must-have that will make life better or easier. It’s clear to me that an abundance of things—the result of too much focus on matter—actually imprisons rather than frees us. 

One definition of clutter is “a state or condition of confusion” (dictionary.com). Often, a buildup of too many things in our homes is the result of decisions we’ve put off, partly because we’re not clear about what constitutes fulfillment, happiness, and security.

As we begin to see God as the only Mind—as our only Mind—confusion and indecision are replaced by clarity. We discover fulfillment and security as the result of deeper spiritual understanding. We stop reasoning along the lines of “I might need this one day,” and trust that God will always meet our needs. We know the thoughts we need, so we can recognize the things we need and those we don’t, and can let the latter go.

Christ Jesus understood this. Because he perceived and acknowledged his oneness with his Father, he wasn’t hindered by mental clutter or burdened by material things. He said, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). And he trusted God, who is infinite Love, to supply each right idea precisely as it was needed.

God, infinite Principle, creates and maintains the relation of all of His ideas in perfect balance and order. Principle is utterly efficient. It doesn’t pass through cycles of accumulating and purging. It ensures that there can never be too much or too little of anything right or good. Each idea has its own true purpose and specific place.

As we identify ourselves more consistently as the expression of Principle, our thought is less disordered by fear, pride, or condemnation—valueless modes of thought. We find that our thoughts and actions become more stable and wise. We become less impulsive, more willing to pause and ask God about what to obtain and keep and what to reject or dispose of. We are satisfied. Then our homes become havens of joy and peace.

Our Life is God, and Life includes health, abundance, and freedom. Life is never stuck in the past or fearful about the future. Because of this, we can let go of mental and physical clutter. We can replace confusion with the clarity of perfect Mind. And we can do it today!

NEXT IN THIS ISSUE
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May 16, 2022
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