DAden_SpringCleaning-2

Scientologist David Aden on the therapeutic value of discarding piles of old, worn-out no-longer-needed things.

It was time. We had planned our approach. We had prepared and trained the best we could. We got up early, ate a fortifying breakfast, donned our gear and strapped on our equipment. We were ready.

Marching out of the house into an unusually chill Florida morning, we trekked the short and well-marked path to the garage and cautiously inched the door open, exposing the yawning maw of this, the first target for our spring archeological spelunking.

Piled at the threshold of the cavity were the remnants of having shared our house for two months with our son, his wife and their family of four: a bassinet, multiple movable toddler play stations, scooters, pails and clothes. Sensed, but not clearly seen under the rumble of colors, other prizes and surprises lurked. Perhaps a bike or two, maybe an electric car for toddlers, more clothes, and if we were lucky, a long-lost, nearly mythical drum set.

Let the excavation begin!

For the next two hours we shoveled and burrowed, brushing each artifact off as meticulously as time allowed, placing them gently with other like-finds on the makeshift displays we had established at the mouth of the cave. Perhaps we should have cataloged and tagged every item as we went, but the discoveries came too fast and we just didn’t have time.

What’s more, other archeologists began arriving almost immediately, somehow discovering the site of our dig before we’d published even the first notice. They had their own stories to tell and saw, in our uncovered relics, matches to their most prized and priceless collections. We felt generous today and relinquished, for scant recompense, our rarities to them whenever requested.

Overall it was an active morning. Thankfully, there were no injuries and only a few tense moments, mostly having to do with misplaced fragments of one or another antiquity—their value being depressed if a vital feature is missing.

On the whole it was a successful first excursion. We clawed our way to the bottom of the cavern, removing the largest pieces, clearing a space for us to work but also exposing the task still to be done: sifting through the fragmented remnants of what seems like multiple lifetimes. We hope the site delivers on its promise to yield more treasures over time.

Whether one waxes melodramatic about it or calls it for what it is—spring cleaning—it is remarkably therapeutic to periodically review and dispense with the accumulated and no-longer-useful piles of things we carry with us through time.

Interestingly, the same principle applies to us as spiritual beings.

Some say that what we don’t know can’t hurt us, but that is so obviously false I can’t help but think it was first uttered as irony or a straight-ahead joke.

With piles of accumulated, uninspected and all-but-forgotten keepsakes, our garage was unusable. The cramped quarters made it impossible to move around, let alone find anything. Discovering again what was there and addressing it appropriately gave us back the freedom to move.

A fundamental Scientology belief, its jumping off point, is that we are spiritual beings who interact with and help define the world in which we live. In that living we accumulate experiences, some good, some troubling. Those experiences do not define the essence of who we are, but they color the way we view the world and, like the piles of physical things we carry with us, they restrict our freedom to move, to learn, to live the life we desire.

A central practice of Scientology—auditing—one-on-one spiritual counseling, is a learnable skill that allows us to help our friends and family review and appraise their own spiritual artifacts. The introductory text is the perennially popular Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health by L. Ron Hubbard. It is written for those of us who want to get something done, who live in the real world with real issues.

In the turbulent times and fast-paced world in which we live, it’s practically a necessity to have the tools available to help us look back, exhume those spiritual relics that restrict us, and gain back the freedom to live.

Spiritual spring cleaning expeditions have never been more vital than they are today.
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