Sunday, June 08, 2008

The doves challenged me

In the middle of my sitting session, these doves flew on my balcony. And theay cooed so loudly. There was the impulse to shoo them away. On the other side I didn't like to interrupt my meditation by some intrusive doves. I deepened my breath, ayam, ayam, ayam, I pronounced silently. Meditation deepened. Doves became unimportant. Only the breath and ayam counted. And then they flew away before my meditation clock buzzed.

I like animals, but doves on my balcony goes too far.

Also today I started my spiritual practices with pranayama - alternate nostril breathing. I understand now why the yoga texts explain how to clean the nose. I live in a big city and big cities have dirty air. Pollution is everywhere, the nose filters the air, but the nose has to be cleaned as well. Many people clean their noses when they drive with the car. Often I can observe this, one hand is on the wheel, the other hand is at the face, one finger in the nose, cleaning it. There are more elegant ways to do it. A bit of water will do it. Having done it before pranayama makes breathing more enjoyable.

Before doing yoga I will clean my kitchen. Nose cleaning, kitchen cleaning, this cleaning persuits me.


Marie said...

Cleaning. Cleaning.

Notice how after you do it, you just have to do it again?

I think it's best to approach cleaning as a type of practice, an opportunity to appreciate being in the moment and using your body and breath in a mindful way. Then it's a bit fun and a bit calming.

I've been meaning to tell you forever what the writer Isaac Asimov recommended:

He said that if you saw anything in your household that needed to be done that you should do it at once. And you should do it quickly, not trying to be perfect, but just striving for acceptable.

Then you wouldn't be filling your brain with little details and worries. That's how he was able to spend so many of his hours focused on his writing.

I use this approach and it works. For example, I often clean up the bathroom with the dirty towels very quickly. It's not as effective as getting all the cleaners, etc., but on a daily basis wiping off the mirrors and the counter and even the floor with a damp towel makes a quick but noticeable difference.

I do the same in the kitchen. I just do the dishes right after we use them, and then wipe all the surfaces with the kitchen towel, quick, quick. Then I pass a broom along the floor for crumbs and sometimes I even wipe the floor. I almost never mop, just spot clean. (Of course, then I put that towel into the wash basket and put out a clean one!)

Occasionally, I might clean "properly" but mostly my house looks tidy enough just by doing things quickly as I see them with whatever materials are at hand.

Of course, I have to do it habitually throughout the day. But that's the nature of life, just like breathing or brushing your teeth.

You know, it's not the dogs, but the little apes that you really have to watch out for! :)


Ursula said...

Hi Marie,
what you describe are your good habits.
I'm sure when I copy it, it would be better here.
Let me add: If I had more time it would be better, too. I know this from the past. My atttitude towards cleaning is not that bad. Success can be seen. The kitchen looks better i.e. when the dishes are clean. This motivates me to do the tasks. Often I only have the choice a clean kitchen or meditating on a cushion. Most of the time I decide for the meditation on the cushion. But this will change, too. Soon I will have much more time. And then there is enough time left for cleaning as well.

Isn't it rather late in the US now?
Are you still awake, so late or early? Hope you are well.