All of us keep carrying mental baggage through out our lives.
We carry thoughts, emotions and memories which are no longer useful. We are used to storing junk in our head and have no idea how to clean that junk.
We clean our room everyday, we clean our body everyday, we clean our desks everyday but when it comes to our own minds, we are ignorant. We don’t clean it, neither we try to replace a bad memory with a good one. We keep that bad memory inside our heads and let it stink.
This continuos dump of baggage causes stress and unhappiness. We don’t realize that the memories in our heads are stinking and that it should be removed, otherwise it will decay good thoughts as well. How will good thoughts flourish inside a head which is used to storing junk and doesn’t clean up mental dirt on a regular basis?
So here is a story of two Hindu sanyasins (ascetics).
The two ascetics were travelling and suddenly they hear someone screaming. To find out that this is all about, they see that someone is screaming from a well. They went near the well and see that a woman is trapped inside the well and screaming for help.
One sanyasin decides to help but the other sanyasin stops him saying
You cannot touch this woman. We are not allowed to do this, this will violate Dharma, we should call someone else for help or pass it on.
The second Sanyasin ignores the first one and decides to help the troubled woman. He gets inside the well, carries the woman and comes out of it. They leave the woman near the well and continue their journey.
After walking for a while, the sanyasin who had requested the other sanyasin not to help the woman said
I told you not to help that woman. You have forgotten the moral code of Sanyas. You are still trapped in desires, you got one chance and took advantage of it. Holy ascetics like us are not allowed to touch women and we should keep our desires in control. Alas, you are yet to win that weakness.
To this the other Sanyasin replied
Brother, I have left that woman near that well. But you have carried her all along the way.
I am following the code of Sanyas, which is to let go. You are clinging and cannot let go. I decided to help the woman because she needed help and my code of not touching a woman is to keep desires in check. However, if someone needs my help, I have to look beyond the code and help the needy. Don’t cling to that thought thinking that I have violated the moral code. If at all you think I have violated the code, forgive me and move on. Don’t cling to that thought, it will make both of us weak.
This incident shows us how we keep carrying specific thoughts in our heads which are our own interpretations of an event. This thought is basically our own perspective or interpretation which our own head has deduced based on the assumptions that it has, there is no point in storing that information or thought.
Mental baggage will keep on increasing if you have no check on how you think, what you think and why you are thinking. You will lie the entire day in your couch and keep thinking about useless things, events, people and add more weight to that baggage.
Activity is a good way to avoid mental baggage. If you run for an hour and sweat, there will be no mental baggage. But if you sit in your balcony and start thinking, you will slowly add baggage.Meditation and thoughtlessness are good ways to clean mental dirt – this loosens up your mind and creates a condition so that good thoughts can enter or prosper.
It is said that sleeping is the best form of meditation, it pacifies your brain and let’s the mind rest for a while. However, we all should learn the art of not thinking too much and neither thinking too little, it is an exercise to let the mind evolve without adding unnecessary baggage.
Spend 20-30 minutes of your day without thinking anything, without doing anything. Just sit somewhere and sit there, do nothing and think nothing. Initially, it will be impossible to be able to not think anything, the mind is continuously working and thinking about things, thoughts, people, events, what to do, what not to do, planning, conceptualising, making calculations etc.
Try to control this phenomena. This state is achieved easily though routine meditation but if you do not want to meditate, listen to very subtle music and sit for some time without thinking anything or doing anything.
You will note that all the anger inside you, the stress, the sorrows, the anxiety, the tensions will slowly melt away.The more you master the phenomena of not thinking, the more control you will have over useless thoughts. This is the point when good thoughts will be able to make its space in your head.