In this talk, Rama discusses how keeping your room clean is essential for a contented life. Your room is your physical room and also your mind. Rama compares the feeling of a clean room to the feeling he gets when he reads Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. In Walden, Thoreau talks about keeping life simple. The mind state Rama connects to when he reads Walden, is that clean room/clean mind feeling. Thoreau's mind is very clean.
Rama says it's important to not accumulate clutter. He talks about periodically going through his closets, books, etc., and throwing away everything he's not using. If he's not using it, why keep it? "Life is a room that we live in, " Rama says, "As Buddhists, our only task is to keep our room clean."
As Buddhists, our goal is to experience life, not self. When we experiene less self, and more life, we are content. When we experience more self, and less of life, we are quite unhappy. Self is clutter. Clutter in our lives is clutter in our minds.
Rama goes on to qualify, however, that lack of possessions does not imply a lack of clutter. Rama would sometimes enter an empty room in a monastery and have to leave - because there was so much clutter in the form of thoughts.
Everything in our room is a part of us. We see and feel our past, present and future in our room - this is why it's good to clean your room. Simplify it - then you can see eternity. A simple house creates a simple life. Everything is a reflection of one's mind. When your mind is clean, you can see the stars - it feels good when you can see the stars.
Rama says that Thoreau's Walden is an advertisement for a certain mental state. Thoreau is telling you about a place he found - and it's not Walden Pond. He was writing about when your mind is empty.
The mind is eternal - but you don't see it because of the clutter. Some Buddhist Monasteries are too cluttered with thoughts of Buddhism and ideas about Enlightenment. It doesn't matter where one is - what matters is life. Life is beautiful. If you don't see it that way, it's because your room needs cleaning. "No thought. Clean mind, clean room."
A Clean Room is talk 18 of 27 in the Tantric Buddhism series.
© ℗ 1990, The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism.