From the BlogMeet Ron


Honolulu folks –> Join us for meditation tomorrow, Thursday 8/25/16, at our place, 3241 Alani Drive, in Manoa, at the usual time: 6 to 7:30 PM. If you have a meditation cushion please bring; if not, no worries. The front door opens at 5:50.
Dear friends,

Our daughter left for the Mainland last week to attend Barnard College in NYC. I am reminded of this every night, as I set the table for dinner, and only set out three plates.

And when during dinner, if I hear a car pulling into a nearby driveway, I immediately think it’s Uilalani coming home from being out with friends.

We were at Costco the other day. While Katina was shopping my son Kupaianaha and I picked out books to read and headed over to the floor model couches. I didn’t see any Costco books that jumped out at me, asking to be perused.

So I settled on this small book on de-cluttering, by the Japanese “tidying consultant” Marie Kondo titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of De-cluttering and Organizing.

Like mindfulness, de-cluttering is all the rage these days. And they are similar in a way.

The noted German born Buddhist monk, the late Nyanaponika Thera, wrote in his classic The Heart of Buddhist Meditation: The Buddha’s Way of Mindfulness that mindfulness meditation has the effect of “tidying up the mental household.”

I think de-cluttering is such a popular topic because we are becoming a little more obsessive-compulsive, as our lives are more hectic, and we are clearly more stressed.

That we have more things we are unwilling to let go of, both material and emotional, I feel, has led to the DSM-5, the latest edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for the first time to identify hoarding as a distinct condition, a subset of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

There is a copy of this manual here at work. As I peruse the section on hoarding, I feel like it hits very close to home for me. It mentions some common underlying inner struggles: perfectionism, disorganization, compulsive buying (in my case, of Buddhist books!) and procrastination.

Holding on to things, the 1st Noble Truth tells us, is painful.

I remember when we moved to Alani Drive from the old place on Ferdinand Ave, we got rid of the previous 10 years of stuff we no longer needed – and it took many trips Goodwill in our filled up SUV.

Even then we needed several weeks for those charity organizations to come by and pick up large loads of stuff we left for them by our front door.

10 years: two childhoods full of memories crystalized in toys and stuffed animals and other things no one used anymore.

I can remember, and even taste today, the visceral sense of relief after the last load was picked up.

There we were, my son and I, at Costco, lying on a floor model couch, me feeling a little down as our daughter left (I miss her terribly) reading about letting go of stuff we no longer need that clutters up our living spaces.

Then I read in Mari Kondo’s poignant book that “resistance to de-cluttering is tied to nostalgia for the past and fear of the future.”

I saw that I was holding on, unwilling to fully let go of my daughter, waiting for her to come home every time I heard a car park on the street near our house.

And that this holding on, as the Buddha said, was creating a very real sadness.

What is so cool about mindfulness and tidying up is that they are both about being here and now.

Only in the present moment can I let go of stuff I don’t really need anymore.

As I read the following line in Mari Kondo’s book, I felt another huge wave of relief flow through me.

Freed from its physical form, your things will move about your world as energy letting other things know that you are a special person, and come back to you as the thing that will be of most use to who you are now.”

In knowing this, my daughter and I will never really leave each other, I am truly happy and free.

Tom, Katina, Kupaianaha .. and Uilalani

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