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Lions Roar : November 2014
who will. in the course of the last six weeks, i’ve handed over several hefty bundles to a local art center: crayons, markers, cardboard, paints, a stripy duvet cover. i took my grey eileen Fisher trousers to the Salvation army, along with my beat-up purple jacket and the orange-and-coral shawl my sister gave me thirty years ago. i left wreaths of computer leads on the table at our recycling center, along with a plug-in teakettle, a box of books, and a beautiful hand-painted coffee mug. it wasn’t always easy to prise these items loose from my own greedy, anxious grasp, but the fact is i’m relieved to see them go. there are some clear advantages to this new habit of mine. my shelves are far less crowded, and it’s easier to lay my hands on what i’m looking for. But what i mean by Slow Cleaning is not just old-fashioned housekeeping dressed up as New age efficiency—not just an exceptionally long-drawn-out method of spring cleaning. there’s something else at work here, something larger, one might almost say more Buddhist. in the practice of Slow Cleaning, i touch in on my own transience. everything i own is looked at with attention, handled, stroked. i have the chance to interrogate (and momentarily cherish) every tiny item i possess. once i’ve decided what to let go, what is left becomes chosen, radiant. my possessions become new to me. i greet each one with interest and warmth, a sudden rush of gratitude and appreciation. i realize, too, that by getting rid what i don’t really need, i am somehow making space for what’s to come. the six small rooms exhale: a slow deep breath. and off i waltz into the autumn morning, in search of five more things to give away. He who binds to himself a joy Doth the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies Lives in Eternity’s sunrise. —William Blake ♦ Be at ease... Different cushions. Different needs. dharma.net/monstore • 845.688.7993 Supporting your spiritual practice The Monastery Store Donate your old meditation cushions Memory foam Buckwheat hulls THE MOUNTAIN SEAT* *Made in the US exclusively for the Monastery Store SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2014 22