In previous articles on this topic, we covered what the 4 kinds of clutter are, and shared some ways to create solutions for them. You can read the previous parts of this article here: Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four .Now let’s turn to one of the kinds of clutter that’s the most curious: spiritual clutter.
As Tim Olstead tells us in The Great Experiment, “We need to give up something. We can’t have it all. We can’t try to layer wisdom on top of confusion. The spiritual path is about what we give up, not what we get.” Letting go is what clearing clutter is all about. And yes, you CAN have spiritual clutter.
What do I mean by that? There are lots of ways you can be cluttered spiritually (and I won’t be able to touch on all of them in the scope of this short article). But here’s a short list. Perhaps you will identify with one or more:
- Confusion between what a religious or spiritual leader says, and how they behave. A really good example of this would be when you are taught that lying, stealing, cheating or killing is wrong — but then you hear the same person advise their congregation or followers to take actions in direct opposition to those teachings. What else but confusion could be the result?
- Teachings that don’t match your experience of how the world works. This one is really common. A good example here might be if you were taught that the world was created once upon a time and that’s the end of the story — but you observe that new things are being created all the time, and that creation is still ongoing. Automatic cognitive dissonance ensues. How do you resolve the discrepancy between what you were taught, and what you experience?
- Too many ways to think about a topic, without conclusions that are intellectually and emotionally satisfying. As Olmstead says, you can’t try to layer wisdom on top of confusion. It has to get sorted out somewhere, and made meaningful. You CAN have too much information (that isn’t useful) getting in the way of understanding.
- It’s too complicated. Sometimes you can hear or read so many details that it boggles the mind. I’ve studied most of the world’s major religions (first out of a spiritual quest to find something that made sense to me) and then out of curiosity about how other cultures think and operate; and along the way, I’ve been astonished at how many religions make it so challenging to discover what their true beliefs actually are — the teachings are either so esoteric or complicated that it takes years to get to the core truths buried within them. While I have enjoyed a great deal of the teachings from many Eastern religions, for instance, they have also confounded me with their intricacies and layers and sometimes obfuscations that have most definitely not been helpful.
The solution for spiritual clutter? SIMPLIFY! Cut to the chase. Get to the point. And reduce all the arguments and confusion to what is central about a teaching. If you can’t do that? It’s probably not worth keeping.
Just as we sometimes outwear our clothing, so too can we outgrow our beliefs — especially if they are not helping you stay in close touch with Source (or however you understand and experience The Divine.) This may sound like heresy if you were raised in a strict belief system that limits how much you can question what you were taught.
But you know what? Life is too short to live in confusion (or pain) about your spirituality. I believe it is your birthright to seek and find what makes sense to your soul — and follow it without shame. Discard what no longer fits for you, with respect and love — but firmly.
That is the best advice I can offer to you, about how to clear spiritual clutter. If you’re feeling confused and unsatisfied, DO something about it! Don’t just stay stuck. Any change might be better than suffering.
As we close this series about all the forms of clutter, how it can show up in your life, and what to do about it when it does, a very apt article came across my desk as I was writing this series, by Mikael Cho of Lifehacker. The article is all about how clutter affects your brain — and what to do about it. It’s a great read and offers some awesome tips, including what to do about ALL the forms of clutter you may encounter.
Read this. It’s one of the most clear articles I’ve ever read to describe how your brain either works for you — or against you — in trying to solve your clutter problems.
Finally, I do still recommend using flower essences and liquid smudge for clearing the energy and to help you make the mental and emotional shifts you need, to clear your clutter. For spiritual clutter I recommend the Blessing Formula — which helps you know that you have both gifts to offer the world, and can allow yourself to receive the gifts that the world holds for you. It allows you to open to the exchange of energy that makes for a peaceful, clear mind, heart and spirit. (Contact me for details about the Blessing Formula; it’s not online yet.)
Finally, whatever forms your clutter takes, you CAN deal with it. If it feels overwhelming to you, you may need help. Ask for the kind of help you need, and get started. If you break down the tasks into small doable steps it will be more fun — and get your world back into order again.