Week of 8/12/2019. This week's focus: Aparigraha. If you are one who watches television, and especially reality television, you might be familiar with a show about people who have let their hoarding get to an extreme level in their homes. The situation has usually gotten to the point where it is affecting the person's personal relationships, and sometimes even their professional lives. Looking from the outside in, we might question ,"How can this person live like this? Do they not see all the 'mess' around them? How can they choose this mess over their relationships?" As Carl Jung pointed out, it's so easy to analyze other's issues, as it keeps the focus off of ourselves. Just as an exercise, in our next meditation or mental quiet time, let's observe what's in our 'house.' What thoughts come to mind? Do particularly emotional times replay in our memories? Are we planning a conversation in our heads? Does our 'to do' list creep in when we are trying to focus on our breath? Without judgment or negative self-talking, just observe how often our 'hoarded' thoughts creep in when we are trying to get in touch with our serenity and a clear mind. Being overwhelmed with these thoughts might lead to an outside physical hoarding of our homes, our bodies, our emotions. The solution is simple, but not always easy: practice. A gentle nudge of the thought to the side, a nice send-off without berating ourselves, and returning back to our meditation...over and over and over. Our brains will eventually be trained to come more easily to a centered state where we can hear our breath, listen to our inner voice of wisdom, and increase our calm. Our cluttered 'houses' will eventually become more clean, and we will be free to increase the quality of our relationships with ourselves, our loved ones on the Earth, and with God.