Mental Housekeeping

Author - Chithra Viswanathan

Mental housekeeping is the act of taking care of your mental home. Your mental home “houses” your mind, the seat of real authority that controls your total well-being. We often pay close attention to our physical home but little to the state of our mental home.

Most of us have an obsession to keep our house spick and span, “A place for everything and everything in its place” Every Sunday, I do “house cleaning” on my computer, mainly for my mail- delete spam mails, reply to necessary messages, saving important mails to a folder.....the list is long. I check my Google Drive to delete unwanted photos, already posted recipes etc. How does this translate to the main agenda of this blog? The same way we have to do “house cleaning” for our mind also very regularly.

Mind is a store house of many emotions, some stored over the years. I recently read that Buddhist monks have a motto “Live to clean; Clean to live”. As I was pondering over these words, I realised, how perfectly it applies to our mind. Cleaning up our psyche is necessary to remove compulsive hoardings of our thoughts. Clearing our negative thoughts definitely relieves us of anxiety and stress management. The state of our “head” reflects very often the state of our home.

Our mind is full of various emotions like - Regret of not being able to rise up to our own expectations on certain occasions; Secrets, most of which, we cannot share with even our closest person; Worries about finance and health which are perennial for, most of us; Our grudges against persons who have insulted us; Comparisons with our contemporaries, who are more blessed in life, than what we feel, they should be; To summarise, we feel tangled in our mind, at times. How to do this mind cleaning? This mind keeping has to be done entirely by us and only by us. We have to shift our thinking from a micro level to a macro level. It is not as difficult as you imagine! As you start thinking about - A friend who is stricken with a fatal disease, but continuing to live with hope; A friend whose child is falling sick often, her medical expenses soaring; A friend who is abused by spouse/ in laws, having to go through it because she is not independent, financially; A friend going through a financial crisis, on the verge of a depression; The list is long.

The best gift you can give anybody is a compliment. A prayer is equally powerful. I strongly believe in the latter. This habit has to be carefully developed over time. You will feel immensely calm and peaceful because “giving” is such a powerful tool to make you feel good about yourself. Personally, how I do this, is by prayer. Not the conventional method of going to the altar in our house or to a temple. When I send positive thoughts to a friend in difficulty, I feel, I am helping him. When I send healing energy to an ailing friend, I feel good that I am really helping her. When I go on my walk, I smile at an acquaintance, wishing them silently. The words “God bless you” - gives me such contentment, frankly. ( I learnt this from Deepak Chopra)

I strongly believe in the following Universal prayer, chanting this when I light morning lamp in puja room.

Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Niraamayaah |

Sarve Bhadraanni Pashyantu Maa Kashcid-Duhkha-Bhaag-Bhaveth |

Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Meaning: Om, May All be Happy, May all be Free from illness. May All See what is Auspicious, May no one suffer. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

As we start chanting this every morning, we feel a sense of satisfaction and happiness, enveloping us. We feel energised and our mind becomes clear. Calmness descends on us and we feel peaceful in mind.