All of us suffer from Diogenes Syndrome in one form or another. We fill the house of our life from basement to attic with collectibles, gadgets, furniture, pictures, old food, valuables or just junk, which we will never be able to use, and we also eat, drink and smoke more than our body is able to cope with. Similarly we are surrounded top to toe with all our activities, sports, entertainments and other habits, addictions and amusements, personal and social,
The antidote and cure of this disease which creeps up and throttles us is to circulate and share the best of what we have - our accumulations will then dwindle to manageable proportions. We can discard the useless and harmful items.
My last project after retirement 16 years ago was to look into psychical research and the evidence and proof of the afterlife. For ten years I spent a small fortune acquiring books from bookstores, or requesting them from libraries, including: biographies of mediums, histories of movements, lives of saints, and different types of evidence. When I reached the figure of over 3000 books on my shelves, I stopped collecting, before the possibility of becoming bankrupt. George Meek also retired to make a similar study of the paranormal, setting aside half a million dollars for the purpose of travelling the world, and investigating the best healers and psychics in the business, and writing several books about them. In contrast,I stayed in one place, having family obligations, and a job in a public library, and so studied the literature I had at my fingertips.
I wondered at the time why I had collected so much material. Most of it is just the duplication of similar experiences and events taking place over the past 160 years together with texts and scriptures from earlier times. I suppose the Diogenes Syndrome, amassing such large collections, is basically due to insecurity, more than the need to acquire and possess. In my case, I wanted to be sure, and convinced of the authenticity of what I was studying.
However, just visits to a few mediums over the years, in different countries when on holiday and my own personal spiritual experiences have been enough to convince me of the eternal nature of the life of the spirit. Now, after sifting through all the books available, I have a vast amount of information from many different sources, which I have been sharing and circulating in articles written in journals and reviews on the Internet since 2005. I will continue to do so as long as I have the time and energy to do so. Even in our eighties we have the urge to do something useful and practical in the world, to justify our existence, and contribute to the economy of the country. Not having the energy now for physical work, farming, teaching classes (one of my former professions) driving, undertaking administrative work or even cooking or serving tables, I only have the strength to serve up ideas, in the written form.
Looking further afield at the vast amount of unrest, insecurity, inequality, suicidal terrorism and destruction around the world, I wonder what else any of us can do, individually, to alleviate the suffering. Comparatively well-off, compared with those living on the street, starving and barely surviving, I could soon dispense with what I possess in '' hand-outs.'' But what good would that do, because then I and my family would be out on the street too, to exacerbate the problem !
Many years ago we as a family were legal immigrants to another continent, so we understand the present situation in the world, with so many evacuees and illegal immigrants, as well as legal migration. We lived through World War II, and know the devastating effects of warfare, which has never really ceased since then. More caring and understanding is needed, toleration and cooperation, not just food banks.
The solution is to be found in a spiritual attitude to life. It needs to be known that there is a world of spirit behind life, which is our true home, and source of life. There is no death to fear. So the killing of fellow human beings for any reason such as to make space for ourselves is futile as well as monstrous. We must control our population growth, and share our resources. Peace and goodwill towards all will come from the realisation that each and every one of us is a living spirit with an eternal life ahead. So we need to value and respect all living creatures and the living environment, some of which are creations of our combined minds, and the rest the evolution and materialisation of a high power.
When I was practising my profession as a musician I collected the whole repertoire of the instruments I played, ( Clarinet, Bassoon, Piano, Organ and Classical Guitar, ) and attempted to master what I could for performance. One instrument alone takes more than a lifetime's study, so I bit off more than I could chew,, working as Chorister, then Organist and Choirmaster occasionally, and as instrumental soloist and member of various orchestras and bands, and sometimes conducting.
It is rarely physically possible to take up all the opportunities presented to us during a lifetime, and so these skills and interests can often be carried over into future lives, or at least be taken with us into the next world, in spirit. So in old age, it is good to continue to be involved with our interests, since they will be ongoing. This is in no way to return to the Diogenes Syndrome, amassing more Stuff ! In my case, I continue to study orchestration, composition and work at the keyboard,. Otherwise, I keep in contact with extended family, sharing my interests with my beloved and devoted wife, and vice-versa. It makes all the difference having someone close to love and share one's life with, and then there's the close family, daughters, grand-children and great-grandchildren, and beyond, almost too many other relatives to try and keep in touch with. At least we belong there, with our family, in our own country, on this over-crowded planet. We have a future, both in ourselves, and in our family.
In old age there is just not the energy to get up and travel a lot, and start new projects. We just have to take on what is at hand, deal with the everyday bureaucracy of living, and prepare for the future.
Knowing that we are eternal spirits puts worries about health, insurance and other legal matters on the back burner. Sooner or later our body will be laid to rest in peace, but our spirit will soar back into eternity. The accumulated dross and junk of material living will be recycled or passed onto the next generations, but our spirit will never die. Rather, it will continue to evolve.
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