When we think about cleaning and tidying up, we quickly think of our household: cleaning the bathroom, tidying up the cupboards. In Japan, cleaning is not just about removing dirt. It is also about cleaning up your mind. In other words, training your mind to be more energetic, happier and more satisfied.

With the broom through your mind

In the book “A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind” (2018), published by Penguin, Shoukei Matsumoto uses old traditions to show how you can go through your mind with the broom. Delete the word rubbish from your dictionary, be consistent, repair what is needed and do not delay until tomorrow. All this contributes to peace and happiness in your life.

Get rid of the rubbish

Things become junk when they are treated like junk. It is not for us to judge whether something is useful or not. Matsumoto states: “People who do not respect objects do not respect people.” He is convinced that someone has put time and effort into each object. It is important to think about this and be grateful for this when you clean or tidy up.

Be consistent

Cleaning is a recurring task and the most important thing is to be consistent. Even cleaning and tidying up for 5 minutes is good. Keeping track also ensures that it is less work. For example, you need to scrub less if you regularly clean your kitchen. Make it a habit to do something small at least every day.

In the beginning that can be difficult but if you make it into a habit it gives you new energy every day.

Repair when necessary

If you use an item with care and repair it when needed, you will find that not only your relationships with items begin to change, but also the way you interact with other people.

Instead of always chasing new things, you use the same objects for a long time. If you do this, you will also automatically be able to care more about the people around you.

When you repair something, you also begin to repair the relationship between yourself and others.

Don’t postpone until tomorrow

We are all busy nowadays. That is why the following has probably happened to you: you come home tired and you no longer want to fold up the laundry or do the dishes. You go to bed and leave it for what it is. But did you get up with good mood the next day? Was it not depressing to wake up on a new day while the tasks of yesterday still had to be done?

Matsumoto encourages us to live simply and attentively, every moment of the day and not to postpone until tomorrow.

Do what you have to do without delay. Eliminate the seeds that distract your mind with unnecessary thoughts about what you are going to do tomorrow, or things that went wrong yesterday.

 

What are you going to do to brush away your worries?

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Ard Van Oosten

I am a psychiatrist trained in business management and researcher. My heart goes out to talent development. I connect knowledge of the brain with leadership and offer tools for personal growth and development.

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