Keeping our kuṭis, our dwelling places, in order helps to keep our minds in order as well. So anytime we leave our kuṭis, we should make sure everything is put away, neat and tidy.
It’s easy to let things slide, to tidy up only once a week, or whatever. But if we have a habit of letting things get a bit messy before tidying up, we’re apt to develop a somewhat lax attitude about everything, which would make it very difficult to lift up and sustain clarity in meditation. By contrast, when our attitude is to keep things tidy, moment to moment, we’re developing the same quality of mind needed to stay with our meditation object, moment to moment, which allows the mind to settle and clarity to arise.
Just as maintaining an orderly kuṭi helps to keep the dust and dirt from finding places to hide in our living environment, it also promotes the mental qualities needed to expose those places in the mind where the defilements hide away, unobserved. When we’re trying to understand the subtleties of the mind, we don’t want to have dark corners where the defilements can hide, because they’ll tend to hang out there forever. We need to develop habits like this, which assist us in keeping the mind spacious and perceptive. That way, we can see our conditioning, our mental patterns—everything in the mind that creates suffering and discontent.
This mundane task of keeping our kuṭis in order can be extended to our general environment as well. This is a part of our training to make the mind clear, steady, and discerning. When we are consistent with this, these qualities will become part of the mind’s normal way of being—its default setting. We won’t have to make an effort to lift them up in the mind, because they’ll already be there for us, primed and accessible. This in turn will make the mind bright and ready for work.
This reflection by Ajahn Pasanno is from Beginning Our Day, Volume One.