Cleaning the windows can be a spiritually enlightening task.
Some chores are fun. Others are less pleasant. Household tasks I consistently find enjoyable: laundry, vacuuming, and cooking different varieties of beans.
Not so with windows. Until very recently, I’ve avoided window-washing at all costs. It always seemed so tedious. It was also a task that appeared inconsequential; would it really make a difference if they were regularly cleaned? If not, why bother?
A year has passed since I moved from Stewartville into Rochester. The windows made it a full circle around the sun without a cleaning.
Then, one Sunday afternoon, I passed through the kitchen to make a cup of tea. While it was perfectly sunny outside, the dirty windows made it appear hazy and overcast inside. There was only one way to remedy the situation.
"The time has come," I proclaimed. "The windows of this house need a scrub."
During the process, I learned something all of you probably already know: Cleaning the windows actually makes a huge difference in the overall brightness of a dwelling place! How this important life lesson was missed is unclear.
What I find most surprising is that I had no idea how dirty the windows were until after they had been cleaned. A clearer view was possible the entire time but I hadn’t taken the steps to make that possibility into reality. Once the windows were washed, the new perspective was refreshing.
This weekend I turn 35. My friend commiserated the other day, "Don’t you feel like we’re getting so old?" to which I replied, "Not really! Mostly I just feel like I’m finally figuring some things out."
I feel like my inner windows are finally getting clean … like I finally have the tools to do the task.
Until these last few years, I had no idea how much judgments, fears and insecurities were blocking my view of reality. Thoughts and feelings ran the show. All too often, the world appeared to be a fearful place full of potential disappointments. Instead of attending to the layers of crud piling up on my spirit’s window, I pretended everything was fine.
You can guess how well that worked. (Not well!)
Divine Wisdom has been revealing important truths over the last few years. Meditation, prayer, good rest and other awareness-building practices have become for me like a bucket of warm, eco-friendly soap and water. They help me keep a clear perspective of reality … unencumbered with toxic states of mind that skew the view.
The clearer view has revealed a reality that has been there all along: Love is shining everywhere and all the time. Gratitude and peace are always possible.
How might you clear away some resentment and judgment from your inner window this summer? What practices help you boost your capacity to view your own reflection with compassion and to look upon your neighbor with love?
Spend time doing those practices. Taking opportunities to attend to our inner spiritual windows will always be a good investment of energy. You may be surprised at just how much of a difference it can make.