I am indebted to Paul Roth who inspired this conversation.
I like the
of the sunlight when it streams through the window and shines on the
brightly waxed floor. I especially like it when the window panes are
clean and clear. It reminds me they were once dusty and streaked ...
and now they're clean. I enjoy menial tasks like cleaning windows. I
like any task when there's a noticeable before and
after, simple tasks which produce dramatic results. If you're
unwilling to take on cleaning a bathroom and toilet with nothing other
than Q-tips and a tootbrush, you'll never be
master candidate material.
If towels aren't hanging straight in the bathroom, I like to straighten
them. A towel dries as long as it's dry, so its angle
doesn't effect its dry-ability. Nonetheless a towel should be
straight. Neither should towels have folds when they're hung unless
they're folded intentionally. It's contrary to the purpose of a towel
if it's hung sloppily. A towel is for drying, usually because
something's been cleaned. It serves no use for a towel to add to
disorder. That's contrary to its raison d'etre. It defeats its
I like making my bed with sheets tucked under in square corners. I
enjoy getting the corners just so. The sheets themselves should
be pulled tight so they're smooth - no wrinkles. I prefer
my blanket rolled at the end of the bed. That's a visual
assertion which gives my bed utility, functionality.
Secondarily, a bed is decorative furniture for me.
Primarily it's utile. I like making my bed in the morning. It's
a daily prep ritual which closes and completes the night
before. Making my bed is an assertive start to the new day.
It's not complete for me when I've washed dishes after a meal until
I've washed the sink and its surrounding countertop space as well. In
any given collection of household chores, there's none
that speaks quite as directly to my consciousness ie to my
being conscious, as washing dishes. Whether dishwashing
is done by a dishwashing
or whether dishes are individually washed by hand (my preference),
afterwards the sink and surrounding countertop space should also be
washed. I like to wash and dry the kitchen sink and surrounding
countertop space just as meticulously (if not more) as I washed the
dishes in it.
Clearly this leaves kitchenware in a state ready to be used again for
another meal with new people's mouths. But that's not why being
conscious goeswith washing dishes (as
may have said). Tasks like washing dishes, making a bed, hanging
towels, cleaning the floor and windows are an opportunity to bringing
who you are to bear on the space. They're not simply
opportunities to be impeccable. They're not simply opportunities
to do work based on satisfaction rather than on rewards.
They're opportunities to put your Self into the space.
They're valuable occasions to intentionally bring who you are into the
Given many diverse conjectures as to the true nature of the real
world as a choice of many possible
interpetations (for many, a moving target at best), menial
cleaning chores, dishwashing in particular, is a fine way to start
touching the surfaces of what's real. It makes good sense.
It makes good