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This is something that I failed to include in the first article on Liberated Poverty.

If you have too much clutter in your tent, your vehicle, or your house, the answer is not always to tear down your barns and build bigger ones. I know that the system thinks that way. However, the problem is that no matter how big the barn is, the clutter always seems to grow until the same old problem rears its ugly head once again.

There is a tale from Asia which helps to illustrate the spiritual solution.

A man went to his guru and complained that his hut was too small for his family. The guru asked if he had a dog, and if the dog lived in the hut with the man and his family. The man said that he had a dog, but that the dog lived in the yard.

"Bring the dog inside the house with you," said the guru.

The man was surprised, but he knew that the guru was very wise, so he followed the instructions. A week later he returned for more help.

"It's worse than before," he said. "We really do need something bigger."

So the guru said that he should move his chickens into the house as well.

Of course, the following week, the man was even more desperate.

"Bring your cow inside the house too," the wise old guru said.

After a week with all of the animals in the house, the man was driven almost crazy. So the guru said, "Okay, now send all the animals back into the yard, and come back after one week to tell me how you feel."

On the final visit, the man spoke glowingly about how nice it was to just have the house to himself and his family.

"Your problem has been solved," said the guru. And so it had.

The lesson from this (with regard to clutter at least) is that it is only our attitude that creates the clutter. As long as our mind keeps craving something bigger, we will tend to overcrowd the accommodation that we presently have. But if we can become poor in spirit, i.e. imagine ourselves living in a poorer situation than the one we are in, then we will not abuse the space that we presently have, by overcrowding it with material possessions. And when we cut down on the material possessions, there will be more room for people.

If you are living in a house and it is crowded, imagine yourself moving to a small flat, and keep only those things which you would take with you if you were going to move to the flat. If you are living in a flat, then imagine yourself living in a bus or van. If you are living in a bus or van, then imagine yourself living in a tent. And if you are living in a tent, then imagine yourself sleeping out on the street and taking with you only those things which you would be happy to carry around with you all day long.

In each case, you will find that your present environment becomes more pleasant because you have more room to move, and you can find things when you want them.

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