I spent the past weekend planting flowers, cleaning closets, and organizing cupboards. After of what seemed like months of travel and catching up, I was finally home and could relax. Now I’m feeling clear, steady and grounded. I noticed that because my closets and cupboards were organized that I slept better, talked to my neighbors in the elevator and held the door open for people with a smile on my face (not always normal occurrences). There was a sense of accomplishment I hadn’t felt for a while. A sense of ease and genuine calm.
Then I was reminded of William H. McRaven’s commencement speech at the University of Texas. He said, if you want to change the world, start off my making your bed. It teaches us that if we can do one small thing right we can do many, bigger things right.
They say that if you pick just one Yama or Niyama, and practice that wholeheartedly, then all the others will fall into place. Your cleanliness will make you more truthful and honest - keeping your mind clean. Your clean mind will make you honest and never want to tell lies. Your honesty will make it so that taking any more than you need would be untruthful. And not being greedy could potentially lead to a life of contentment.
So when we clean our house or organize our closet, what else are we really cleaning? Why do our surroundings have an effect on our internal state and how does our mental state affect the way we perceive the world? By choosing cleanliness what else are we purifying?