I am feeling very quiet and reserved today. I am inclined to want to daydream, and can’t imagine doing anything too complex or focussed. I have been doing some professional organising work over the last couple of weeks and this seems to be my reaction the day after a big job.
The work I have been doing has been quite intensive sorting of a large volume of things in a home which is no longer occupied. The task at hand is sometimes heavy, as when emptying kitchen cupboards, and sometimes highly detailed, when sorting through small items like jewellery. The most demanding of all is the paperwork, as each item needs to be checked to see if it is relevant or important to keep. I become extremely focussed on the one small area that I am working on, and this tends to make me quiet and withdrawn, although others are around me.
Sorting through someone else’s belongings is an excellent lesson in impermanence. You encounter remnants from various aspects of life, at various times. You also see that things don’t wait. Its not a philosophical exercise, its something you experience in the sights and smells around you. Things go yellow or mouldy, they go hard in the jar, they disintegrate. In the meantime, nature abhors a vacuum, and little animals and insects are more than happy to fill the void left by humans and leave evidence of their activities.
There is a buddhist practice which involves sitting in a graveyard and contemplating death and the decay of the body. Its an advanced practice in understanding impermanence that most people would find very confronting. Clearing a house that has been left to its own devices for a few years is a gentler way of coming face to face with the impact of time and change. Even though the things were not my your own, or a loved ones, I found it is sobering to be so absorbed the evidence of the passage of time.