Thinning the Herd

Technology is wonderful – when it works. When it doesn’t, or when it seems to take on a mind of its own, it can be very frustrating.

Somehow, between ongoing problems with cell phones and changes from one phone to another to resolve them, I have accumulated almost six thousand contacts in my phone – the vast majority of which are duplicate entries. I have, despite swearing I never would, gone back to using an Android phone. That’s how I discovered just how many contacts there were. The night before, I decided that I had accumulated too many Facebook “friends” because of my policy to accept all comers. As a result, I have accumulated a number of Facebook friends with whom I don’t share a common language, much less a common point of view. I started eliminating people from that list as well, because in the age of Android apps every Facebook friend is a potential cell phone contact. I know that there are ways to avoid that through the settings on your phone, but I choose not to.

It occurs to me that the clutter on my technology is really a metaphor for life. Many of us have seen the television program “Hoarders,” which features people who can’t part with possessions. In a very real way, though, possessions aren’t the worst problem because we can see them. The bigger issues are presented by the clutter we don’t see – memories, relationships, past trauma, spiritual struggles, and a host of other pieces of our history that seem to reach forward through time to impact our lives today. While it certainly is important for reasons of physical health to clear out our physical clutter, it is even more important for our emotional and spiritual health to identify those pieces of history that we still cling to, even if only subconsciously.

Sometimes, that work requires the assistance of a qualified therapist, particularly if trauma is involved. For most of us, however, the issues will surface in the course of a meditation practice. If we spend enough time in the silence, there isn’t anything to distract us from ourselves. We may even discover that the monster we are afraid might be hiding there is really rather beautiful!

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