It is the same as if all these traps were buckled to a man's belt, and he could not move over the rough country where our lines are cast without dragging them — dragging his trap. He was a lucky fox that left his tail in the trap. The muskrat will gnaw his third leg off to be free. ... If I have got to drag my trap, I will take care that it be a light one and do not nip me in a vital part. But perchance it would be wisest never to put one's paw into it.My sister laughs at me, because while when she's standing in line to buy something, she often finds herself picking up one of the "impulse buy" products lining the checkout as well. Meanwhile, I'm standing there fretting about whether I need the thing I am about to buy, half the time leave the line to go put it back, then leave the store with my wallet intact.
Possessions are a burden. You have to take care of them, think about what to do with them, house them, labor for them. They clutter your dwelling. There are people who will break themselves with a too-big apartment or house, just because they have all this furniture and stuffthat they need to do something with. Myself, I feel a relief every time I lighten my load, drop one more thing on the side of the road of life.
I believe one's outer reality mirrors one's inner reality. Possessions can clutter the mind, too. I try to apply this minimalism, this life of subtraction, to my mind as well as my physical world. Simplifying my surroundings helps me to simplify my inner life, and that then helps me to see things I can further simplify in my outer world. It goes back and forth, ideally at least, though more often in fits and starts, with moments of accumulation, and others of dissipation. Sometimes I live amid clutter, my few things in a chaotic jumble all over the floor, and it is at those times that I cannot be bothered to organize it, that I sometimes stop and notice that I'm currently stressed and unhappy, my life in as much chaos as my room.
I try to pay attention to these things. Like in a previous post, where I talked about the body and its messages, one's surroundings are also always are talking to you, giving you clues about your inner states, and often showing the way forward. And sometimes just tidying up can help clear the mind, since the two are basically one anyways.
I'll end with what the Tao Te Ching says in chapter 48:
In pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.