Lots of horrible things happen in our world, and it seems as though there are more and more of them lately. Climate change seems to be reflected in our societal behavior, with more frequent and severe storms surprising us every time we turn around. People seem to be more rude to each other and uncivil in everyday interactions, just as the average temperature rises. But we also have our hurricanes and tornadoes that show up in society as mass shootings and other terrorist attacks.
Now I am not suggesting that one is causing the other. Blowing up a mosque is not going to cause a tornado, and no matter what anyone claims, Hurricane Katrina was not caused by gays and shooting up a gay bar is not going to prevent another climatic travesty. I do believe that the ultimate cause of both, though, is the same. We have become a society that dismisses our spiritual needs. Instead of attending regular religious services, we stay home and watch TV, Instead of getting together with our friends and enjoying an evening of games and fun, we Snapchat and read through our Facebook feed. When we truly need real human interaction, we instead turn to our electronics.
On the material plane, we have become a nation of consumers, always trying to keep up with the Joneses. This leads to an incredible waste of resources, and huge amounts of trash piling up and leaving poisons in our land, water, and sky. This pollution destroys our environment and wreaks havoc on our climate, causing unnatural temperatures, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
The material consumerism rampant in our society also creates clutter in our homes. We have forgotten how to hold onto people, so we hold onto things. We measure our worth by how much stuff we have. Clutter begets clutter, leading, not only to the aforementioned environmental problems, but to psychological and spiritual problems as well. Clutter inevitably puts us in a bad mood. Bad moods interfere with our ability to make good decisions. This leads us to think it is okay to shoot up a church because you don’t like the color of their skin, or to shoot up a bar because you don’t like the people they kiss. For most of us, though, we tend to believe it is okay to scream at our kids, or flip off the driver who cut us off in traffic.
We need to get to the root of these problems if we are going to save ourselves. We need to make better decisions about our behavior. To do that, we need to create a better environment in which to do so. That means we need to get out and make human connections. Once we learn to connect with each other again and feed our souls with relationships, it will be easier to let go of the excess items in our homes. We will start to feel better about ourselves, and then we can feel better about other people. When someone cuts us off in traffic, we can then be more charitable and think, “I hope he isn’t racing to the hospital to be with a loved one who was just brought to the ER,” rather than, “What a f#$%ing jerk! I hope you crash!”
As we make more relationships with other people, we bring their experiences into our own life. We expand our horizons, and we are more compassionate. We feel more spiritually fulfilled and feel less need for material things. We can then let go of our clutter and make more room for people in our lives. It is a great circular effect. Spirals go both directions. The first step we need to take is to start building real relationships with real people. The internet can be a great tool for communication, but it can’t give you a hug, or play Apples to Apples with you. Use it to organize face-to-face meetings, not to substitute for them.
Do you struggle with a cluttered life? Have you noticed how it affects you?