Mindful Sweeping: Conscious Rhythms & Still Minds

in mindfulness •  11 months ago 

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A Kingdom obsessed with sweeping. It has taken me many years of observing to begin to understand it.

You see it everywhere in Thailand, starting at around 4am, when the bells awake the faithful who live by the rhythm of their local temple. People sweep. Gardens, pathways, the road outside their house, temples, the area near their shop. They sweep with twig brooms or the finer locally made brush brooms - both with bamboo handles. As soon as a stormy wind dies down or the rain stops, out they come to sweep. Shops even employ full time sweepers.

To the western mind it seems illogical. Why not just close the door to stop the wind blowing things in? Fallen leaves are good for the soil, why not just let them be? Nature makes such beautiful patterns with her fallen blooms, so why not just enjoy her handiwork?

Mindful sweeping flows into the Thai culture from the monks. It is taught in temples to start each day, as a mindfulness practice: to sweep in silence, to offer service, to clear away the debris of the past. Novices diligently sweep in silence, with heads bowed, allowing the empty clear space they create to be mirrored in themselves.

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I remember, years ago, arguing with one of my staff about needing to use two hands to sweep effectively. To hold the broom more firmly. She insisted on always sweeping with one hand behind her back, like a maitre'd , in a physical act of surrendered service and humility. It's not the most practical way to get the job done and it takes much longer, but over years of watching heads bowed in surrendered early morning sweeping, it has seeped into my soul.

I too, have become a dawn sweeper. It is one of my most profound meditations. I start the day early and while the kettle boils for tea, I, too, am outside sweeping. Releasing the debris of yesterday's attachments. Letting go. Preparing and clearing the canvas for new things. Inviting a different manifestation.

When I am distressed or sad, I now sweep. When I am angry, I sweep. Slowly, silently, mindfully. I allow the focus on the motions to create a silent rhythm which lulls me into no-space no-mind. I emerge from the sweeping refreshed, ready to give water to the plants who feel more receptive with the space around their pots tidy and clear. Indeed, I am more receptive to my day after my conscious sweeping meditation

Mindful thoughts worth considering this week:

@svenjawho writes about 'flow state' and how what works for them is a 'deep embodiment. A kind of full body awareness. Living with all your senses and paying attention to your breath.' - just like the sweeping monks. They talk about how sometimes we spent a lot of time in our heads, away from our hearts, but that's okay too - it's what we need in that moment:

'It’s the counters-state to the more vulnerable, emotional and sensitive heart-state. Sometimes that fierceness, determinedness and rationality can be just what is needed at that point in time'

@ianperic talks about sitali pranayama - his video here might be of interest to some of you. Various breathing activities can help us achieve certain states of mind.

@tarahel creates beautiful images to emphasise her spiritual lessons, and I loved this one - as well as the lesson! Hope you find sacred in your mundane this week!


We also extend metta or loving kindness to @enginewitty, a community friend who is suffering a loss right now, and to all beings who might be struggling through difficult times. Sending you all our love and peace to get you through the week, with warmest regards. xx

And in other news...

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I can almost here the almost silence of the monks sweeping. You know, someone said the other day that I should crank tunes in the garden, but I never like to do that _ sure, inside whilst I'm doing housework or cooking, but outside, it's the natural rhythms that bring me closer to my true self.

I don't sweep, but I do love getting the hose out. I think I get that off my Dad. I even water the rocks, enjoying the way the water glistens in the sunshine.

Yes, all can say is thank you. ♡

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Thank you all, I appreciate the well wishes and happy thoughts. Most kind of you😊

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