Clearing out the Garbage

Synopsis: Clearing out the Garbage — our minds are repositories of an incredible amount of crud — garbage. Maybe it’s time for a Spring Cleaning!

Of Wayne’s many books, the one closest to today’s topic is: Half Asleep in the Buddha Hall
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What a Mess!!!

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
~ Buddha


This is the situation of your head: I see cycle-handles and pedals and strange things that you have gathered from everywhere. Such a small head…and no space to live in! And that rubbish goes on moving in your head; your head goes on spinning and weaving — it keeps you occupied.
Just think what kind of thoughts go on inside your mind. One day just sit, close your doors, and write down for half an hour whatsoever is passing in your mind, and you will understand what I mean and you will be surprised what goes on inside your mind. It remains in the background, it is constantly there, it surrounds you like a cloud. With this cloud you cannot know reality; you cannot attain to spiritual perception.
This cloud has to be dropped. And it is just with your decision to drop it that it will disappear. You are clinging to it — the cloud is not interested in you, remember it.
~OSHO The Sun Rises in the Evening Chapter 9

I was catching up with a friend recently, and she said that:

  • She had been off work for a couple of months, with a bad back.
  • She had ended her marriage 2 years ago, and “dealt with it” by throwing herself into her job.
  • She is teary, but was brought up not to cry and never to get angry.
  • She will turn 40 in a month or so.

I looked her up and down, and said, “Lots of tension in your jaw. Seems like you don’t believe it’s OK to say what needs to be said, and you bite off your emotions.” She agreed, startled.

I continued, “Your back problem — is it at L5?” She agreed, now getting a bit pale.

I finished: “Now, tell me what’s wrong with your bowels.” In a quiet voice, she said: “I’ve developed spastic bowel. How do you know all of this?”

Those of you who have read the Bodywork section of the website will know the answer to that question. According to Bodywork theory, the lower back, bowel area is “all about” unresolved, unsatisfying relationships.

Now, get this: not all lower back pain is about relationships, but most relationship difficulties “become physical pain” in that region. Can you see the difference?

I’m using this as an illustration of the opening quotes from the Buddha and OSHO. The message is that we have many ways of not quite “getting” what is going on in our lives.

The Buddha quote is about how our heads get filled with rules and regulations and religions and philosophies, so that there is no room for observation and analysis (understanding.)

OSHO cuts to the chase, and says that our heads are full of rubbish — crap — and that our moronic meanderings that lead precisely nowhere.

Far from tidy, our brains are a mess. Doing mind-work is like endlessly spending time sifting through the junk in an overflowing attic.

I amaze myself at how many people practically swoon at the idea of weeding out their attic. I continually listen to people describing miserable existences and lousy relationships, and then they line up a truck-load of excuses for keeping their belief system intact — the very same belief system that got them in the mess in the first place.

And, of course, they want the “special exemption,” as in, “You don’t understand. My situation is different! There’s no way I can change it.”

My friend from the illustration, is typical.

She spent a miserable decade married to someone she quickly realized had been a poor choice, yet she stayed because society told her to. And her mother did the, “You made your bed” bit, so no support there. She finally left, and rather than deal with the pain of failure and the pain of realizing how badly she sucked at relationships, she threw herself into work. Same pattern with every other significant disappointment in her life. Lots of unresolved issues and pain, buried under her work-load.

I believe our body/mind/spirits are well designed, and continually nudge us toward letting go of our crap and finding a path to walk that leads to understanding. In general, the nudge we receive is in the form of a quiet voice, which is why Zen teaches Zazen (simple sitting) as a way of clearing the mind long enough for the quiet voice to speak.

One of my favourite Bible verses, from 1 Kings 19, speaks to this. Elijah, as he hides in a cave trying to escape his past, wants a meeting with God (to gripe and complain, of course, about how tough his life is).

Here’s the text:

9 And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

God, (*grin*) I love that question!!!

You see the pattern? Back story: Elijah had been going around doing what he considered to be “god’s work,” and it was going well. Then, he runs into opposition, and he crumbles like a house of cards, then runs for the hills. There, in a dark and dank cave, he complains and whines and wants to die.

God shows up, not dramatically, not in an earthquake, wind or fire, but in a gentle whisper.

He tells Elijah to pick himself up and get back to work.

Because… why hide?
There’s no place to run to, no place to hide.
All you can do is quiet the tumult inside your head
and listen for the whisper.

So, what happens if you “don’t wanna?” (Winge. Whine.) Your body gets involved.

Aches and pains, heartburn and heartache, so to speak. Things you “can’t stomach” keep happening, and your belly hurts. Shit you refuse to deal with backs up and turns to spastic bowel. And if that doesn’t get your attention, you’ll get really sick.

Because that little, quiet voice really, really wants your attention.

Now, this is not to say you can’t ignore all of this and go numb and deny the issue and confuse yourself and live with the pain and sickness and despair and hurt. Of course you can, and many of you are.

All I’m saying is you don’t have to.

OSHO says you can stop all of this by simply choosing to drop the cloud of confusion, noise and game playing. I would add that this “dropping” happens “again and again and again.” One step and one step and one step.

This week, try what OSHO suggested. Sit for a half hour and write down or record every thought that crosses your mind. If you’re not convinced at the end of the time that your attic is full of total garbage, maybe you should be writing The Pathless Path.

If you want to do things differently, find a good Therapist and a Bodyworker, and get going on with the attic cleaning.

It’s not going to be easier tomorrow. Do it today!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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