For a long time, I have had a fantasy about a company with a tractor-trailer that comes around to your house, attaches a large hose to the open front door, opens the back door and then ... turns on its humongous vacuum cleaner that sucks everything out of the house. Everything!
Looking around the porch where I frequently sit ... well, it's the perfect example of why this fantasy refuses to die. There is stuff ... tons of stuff ... and that's just on the porch. Books, old writing, fishing rods, paint thinner, tools, photos, an air conditioner, mink oil, grade-school art, kindling in plastic boxes, a sleeping bag, a broken skate board, baseball bats and shoes, snow shovels, a filing cabinet, a kite, flower pots, dead wasps ... the crap goes on and on, some beloved, some emotion-neutral, some betokening a sheer laziness about the prospect of moving or discarding it.
Like anyone else, I have my excuses at the ready: Three kids grew up in this house and the results provide exculpatory evidence: If there hadn't been three kids, I wouldn't need the tractor-trailer. Yes, I know, it's limp reasoning, but the alternative -- getting to work on it all -- is too daunting. What I need is someone or something to override all my yes-but's and simply suck the stuff out the door. If I actually turn out to miss one thing or another, that pang will be worth the price of admission: Imagine! -- a clean floor, an open space, and no need to find a need for what was so badly needed in the past.
And if the porch could use a trailer-truck-mandatory spring cleaning, I really, really don't like considering all the moribund icons hanging around in my mind. It's not that they're bad in some goody-two-shoes spiritual-endeavor way, it's just that they're so ... well, messy and, if asked, I doubt if I could come up with very compelling reasons why I keep them around. Couldn't some firm force just arrive at the front door, or perhaps at my right ear, and suck all that shit out?
Maybe that's what Buddhist practice is secretly about ... the desire to have someone or something else clean up my mind's porch ... all those icons and meanings and beliefs .... suuuuuuuucccckkkk! Gone!
I didn't say any of this wasn't childish. It's just that the older I get, the more childish fantasies like tractor-trailers or Buddhism seem to make some sense. Fearing fantasies just emboldens them.