I love bookstores, I love books, I grew up in a non-digital age, and for me, there is nothing more satisfying than exploring bookstores when I travel, I never know what delights I may find.

On a recent trip, I wandered into a local bookstore and found A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind by Shoukei Matsumoto a Shin-Buddhist Monk.  I was drawn to it not only because of the simplicity of the design, but I was also intrigued, I love to clean.

I find it relaxing, a great way to allow my mind to wander

It seems this is not such a bad thing.

Here are five key things I learned from this delightful book.

Cleaning helps to cultivate the mind.

It is not about the dirt that is removed through cleaning but the joy of having the opportunity to focus on the simple act of cleaning.  By choosing an area to clean, and having a singular focus on this one task you are cultivating mindfulness.  Cleaning is as an opportunity to rest the mind.

Cleaning in the morning creates a breathing space for your mind so you can have a pleasant day.”

Zengosaidan – Don’t Put It Off Until Tomorrow

The Zen expression Zengosaidan means “that we must put all our efforts into each day, so we have no regrets, and that we must not grieve for the past or worry about the future.

To allow yourself to live more in the now, act on the things you can do today such as the pile of dishes in the sink, or the clothes in the corner that you have been meaning to gift forever.

By putting them off, we can feel guilty for having not done something or worry about doing them tomorrow.

All of these things distract the mind, taking up space that can be used for creative projects.  This is your opportunity to clean up and look forward.

Practicing Zengosaidan allows us to enjoy each and every day.

Cluttered house = cluttered mind

Not sure about you but I know if I am surrounded by clutter, magazines are strewn across the floor, books spilling from every bookcase, clothes in a pile, I cannot concentrate.  I am constantly distracted.  An inner turmoil, a level of distraction building.

Ensuring I leave my desk and bedroom clean and clear of clutter I know I will have a restful nights’ sleep.

“Cleaning is training for staying the now.” 

Wash Your Face First Thing in The Morning

Super simple I know.  According to the book, an old Zen teaching says

“if you haven’t washed your face, everything you do throughout the day will be impolite and hasty.”

Revitalize your mind, body, and soul early each and every morning through the simple act of washing your face.

Shop through the lens of Zen

The next time you go shopping ask yourself a few simple questions, a level of personal inquiry as to your motivations.

Do you really need this item? Can you live happily without it? What value will it bring to your life?

A beautiful practice to ensure we all only consume what we really need to live and having fewer possessions also makes it so much easier to clean!

I hope you enjoy this joyful little book as much as I did.

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind is published by Penguin Random House UK.

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