29 May 2018

Living A Spotless Life

Submitted by Stephen Winters
This morning I was in the kitchen looking at our black gas range. It is a constant struggle to keep it clean. As I cook I am constantly dropping or drisling small specks of food on the rangetop. Even in my cleaning it is hard for me to get all the specks off of it. It seems that I'm constantly dropping tiny specks on it and it seems almost impossible to keep clean. I've wished for a multi-colored surface that wouldn't show the dirt and specks.
Then I got to thinking how my wife's mother just keeps her house, kitchen, and her stove spotless. It seems that she is living in such a way that keeps everything clean. That got me to thinking. What is it about me that has a hard time keeping things clean? Is there something that I can change about how I live that could keep things clean around me?
Although my original thought was about keeping the stove clean, there seems to be a message here that applies to how I live my life on a daily basis. The challenge is to live moment-by-moment in such a way that doesn't dirty up the surroundings, that doesn't bring hurt and offense to those around me. Is it possible to live moment by moment, to be in such a state of awareness, that I can recognize when I am bringing clutter, disturbance, soil, hurt into a situation as I am in the middle of it? Can I then change the situation so that I correct that harm that I have done or am about to do? Then, to take it further, is it possible to be in such a state of life and awareness that I can see my own actions about to happen even before I do them and thus correct them before they turn into actions.
Even as I say this, I look at this that it is still living reactively, in response to what I'm about to do or have done. Then, to take this even a step further, what about living proactively, in such a way and with such a motive that my first though and first actions would be that of cleanliness, that of peace and order, where my first thought would be to help and bless others. To live that way instead of just correcting my irresponsible thoughts or actions that are about to happen or have happened.
What would that take to live such a life?
As I think more about it, what if I were to live in such a way that I always left the area that I am in cleaner or in a better state? What if I consistantly cleaned up a litter here and there wherever I was? Rather than have just be a nice theory in my head, what if I started to live this way right here and right now.
It is all too easy to feel good that "I had this wonderful thought" and then to never follow through with the actions.
One important thing to remember is, "never give up the dream, the focus, the goal". If (or when) I fail, shake it off and go again, and again, and again. True failure would be to give up and stop trying. Like anything else, any new skill has to be learned, and it takes time and repetition. It also takes building a whole new sense of knowledge and awareness. Knowledge is about study and experience of what is needed to succeed. Awareness is about being aware of how I am doing in any given moment, learning to truly live in the moment. This is a new skill with much to be learned. No giving up, no going back, and no guilt or condemnation(which are excuses to stop trying) for seemingly failing in any given moment. Just getting up and going again over and over again. Each time I fail, take a few moments to examine what caused me to fail (write it in my journal). Make the necessary changes in my thinking and in my habits, and go again. The longer that I stay on this road, the more I learn about myself, the more experience I gain, and the closer I get to my goal.
Now, read this over again every morning so that I never forget and never lose heart. Also, to get ideas of how to succeed, look up what others have to say about living a spotless life. Some may be useable, probably much won't be of any practical value. As I think more about this, much of what I need to know and learn  will come from within, of learning about myself, of being real and honest. Keep a journal will be invaluable on this journey.

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