The Importance of Cleaning

 

My apartment had taken on an interesting smell. It wasn't unpleasant, it was just noticeably different. I set out to find the source but there was nothing out of the ordinary. No moldy food in the pantry, no forgotten piles of doggy accidents. In fact, my apartment seemed clean. I try to take time every day to clean the big messes in my apartment. No dishes go unwashed, my counters are cleaned a few times a day and I pick up all the cardboard Jet (my dog) has torn and tossed around.

Okay. So there was no “source” of the odor. Then what was causing the different air quality? I began to scrutinize my apartment and the closer I looked the more I saw. The garbage can had a mild smell from never being washed and the recycling bin was sticky from uncleaned beer bottles. Jet's bed hadn't been washed in a bit and smelled funky and my arm chair could probably use a cleaning. Alone, these smells were mild enough to go unnoticed but when put together it created a quality in the air that surely was. I cleaned these individual items and took Jet out for a walk. Upon reentering my apartment I didn't smell anything. The offending odor was gone.

Two and a half years ago, when I first walked into the dojo, the first thing I noticed was the strong quality of “clean” it had. After spending some time there I came up with an easy answer- we clean it all the time. All of the students spend a lot of time and effort to clean the dojo from top to bottom and when we are not there, the job falls on the shoulders of Sensei, Kate and whatever uchideshi is currently residing there. But like I said, this is an easy and incomplete answer.

To get an energy as clean as the dojo, you have to do more than clean. You have to pay close attention to every last detail. You have to give each and every object the respect it deserves - for you see, all things small and large are part of the whole and if you neglect one item, no matter how small it may seem, it will weaken the power of the whole. This is the realization I had last night as I was cleaning dojo plant Rapunzel. A plant that is dusty and less cared for will weaken the quality of the room. Even if you don't see it immediately. A dirty and less cared for garbage can will weaken the quality of the air. Even if you don't smell it immediately.

 

-M. Baruch