In a second you pack up all wasteful thinking about the past, present and future and remain positive, light-hearted and free of burdens and worries. So what is in your suitcase? Remember to travel light; less baggage in the mind makes for easy travel.
Before moving to Asia, my friend volunteered to check my suitcase; she is a veteran traveller but to my alarm, she advised me to cut it by half and then by half again. Convinced that I had been very clever in packing the minimum needs, I had to admit that those favourite CDs, clothes for interviews and nights out pushed the limits of necessity. But she said to me, “You can buy all that cheaply where you are going so leave it behind.”
Respecting her advice and massively trimming the suitcase contents, I put the rest of my belongings–my complete household–into storage knowing that it would still be there for me to pick up when I returned if my friend’s advice had been too strict.
So I headed overseas with one small case and a box of books (my professional library) sent ahead as unaccompanied baggage.
The sorting process had been time-consuming. My ‘things’ were precious and there was always a reason why they should stay in the suitcase; I just might need them, I reminded myself. However, my friend assured me that the object d’art or handbag had to stay behind.
Criteria such as the mix n’ match approach (one piece could serve several uses; a sarong could be worn, slept under, used as a towel or as a tablecloth) ensured that versatility was the name of the game when choosing what to take. The second litmus test was whether or not I could buy it in Asia. As most of the goods on our shop shelves are manufactured in Asia, the easy answer was ‘yes’, so item by item was discarded; I had to limit the weight because the new mantra was ‘travel light’.
Apart from that, this journey was for me to do new things. I was leaving behind years of work in the medical field to gain experience in publishing. This new and different perspective of myself was quite a gamble but in my heart I trusted that yes, this step was an important part of honouring the soul within, my essence. So the professional library was cut by half too.
A new perspective
I had to be open-minded like never before and the keys to success rested with what was inside me, those special qualities, plus years of work experience–and not what was in my bag!
Clearing the clutter
My friend brought me several cups of tea during the sorting process and helped me see that not only should I carry less baggage, but also some things just had to go; it was not even worth putting them in storage for later retrieval. That was the hard part. Many of my belongings were my mother’s until her recent death, and so they held special importance and relevance to my sense of connectedness and perhaps too, my identity. My mother had gone as if a free bird, and so that needed to be my lesson too; be free at all times. So item by item, they were mindfully blessed and then offered to another family member: with love, but definitely out of my life. I cannot say this “letting go” was a straightforward process but it was an important step.
Working my way through the bits and pieces I had accumulated, I could see clearly that each item brought with it a world of memories or a sense of ‘treasured love’. As this thought surfaced in my mind, I stood back and asked myself candidly, “Is the love bound to this object or is it something free and eternal and not bound by the shape, size or beauty?” I discovered the item was peripheral to the love.
Once I claimed this new inner space with a fresh enthusiasm, another unexpected gift came my way. As I let go of the past, I became free to think clearly and positively in the present. Resoundingly, I knew that “I am not my past”. Once I had embarked on this path of self-discovery and enlightenment, I sought fresh air, not the recycled air-conditioned stuff!
Meditation was working–I had found myself again and re-established a happy, loving connection with the “inner me” that was previously loaded with all manner of old baggage or negative messages from parenting, school, relationships, work, and travels.
This taste of the original self–the pristine inner core–tantalized me to go further and anchor my identity in the “soul”, away from the storms and winds of circumstances and people’s opinions.
I saw clearly that there were redundant messages inside that spoke of “how others saw you”, “how others wanted you to be”, “how you saw yourself” and “how you dreamt of being”, most of which were totally illusory. The dictates of traditions, culture, approval-seeking, and other influences were all there but not me. If any of those dictates were ever at odds with my inner truth, then I battled inside and spun off into discord, disagreements and culture clash.
Now that my inner suitcase has been packed so thoughtfully, I affirm daily that I am a small bundle of sparkling light–a soul–and that I am stronger than anything that that appears bigger me! The only thing I lose when I let go of something I am afraid to live without is fear.
By Rajyogini Dadi Janki