Sukha and my kitchen sink

Photo from real simple.com.  Click image to read about rustic home decor.
Photo from real simple.com. Click image to read about rustic home decor.

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul” – Marcus Aurelius.

Most of my life, I wouldn’t have agreed with Emperor Aurelius.  I would hardly call going inside a retreat. It was murky and uncomfortable.  There was confusion and there was suffering.  In yoga, we call this suffering, this “bad space,” duhkha. I had a lot of that going on.  In the time I’ve practiced yoga, this has changed.  It’s been gradual and honestly, a little unexpected.  As I reflect on how to do this soul-work, creating more sukha, or “good space” in there, it is a lot like the work we do to keep the dirty dishes from piling up the kitchen sink. Here me out…

If we haven’t done dishes in a while, it’s quite an undertaking.  We have to be prepared to stand at the sink scrape, scrub, and get our elbows into it and really work to clean the old dried semi-permanent, glued-on food away. It may not look like the gunk is going to come off, but it will.  It takes persistence and effort, confidence that you can do it, and a good attitude never hurts. It’s worth it.  The natural state of dishes is shiny and clean and an empty sink means there’s room for the next round of dishes.

Once all those dishes are done and we can see the bottom of the sink again, going forward we might choose to do the little bit of work throughout the day so those dishes don’t pile up again and cause trouble for our sink.  We commit to a practice of washing the dishes on a regular basis so that we remember that a sink can be quiet, clean and open.  The dirty dishes may come through, but they don’t have to stay long (and they are so much easier to wash as they come up).

Yoga practice is like this for the troubled soul. We look inside of ourselves and see the work that needs to be done.  We begin to tend to the old stuff that’s in there making noise, we ask what it needs or what it has to say and we can make peace… peace and quiet in that soul of ours.  We do the work and we continue to practice and in this, we cultivate good space, the sukha, that can be there inside.  It is gradual.  It takes time.  But having a quiet untroubled retreat in our own soul is something a wo/man truly can enjoy, kind of like having a clean kitchen sink.

 

______________________________________

Amanda teaches yoga movement, breath and meditation in Austin, TX and online.  She offers individual sessions to those interested in developing a daily home practice.  More information is available under “classes” tab or contact her by clicking HERE.

 

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Sukha and my kitchen sink

  1. Love your stories Amanda. I’ve so much clutter, dirty dishes, pots and pans in my spirit, I can’t even get in the kitchen door. Love the quote by Marcus Aurelius and what a fantastic allegory.

  2. Soo true! And I totally agree with you. My friend says that the mess we have on the outside – messy room, desk, house etc. is a reflection of our mind. And I do agree with her. For each time I have a big cleaning day- I mentally feel stronger, focused & content. A way of getting new recharged energy both outside & within. Love this post!

    1. I read this book once called, “clear your clutter with feng sui.” The author suggested that there can even be certain parts of your house that you may avoid cleaning and clearing out and those parts of your house represent aspects of your life. I think bedroom was personal emotional stuff. kitchen was family life. Sounded a little wacky at first, but now I find that to be a useful way of noticing how I’m doing in different areas of my life and self-care.

  3. Fantastic post. Love the way you bring practical examples to explain some concepts that might be difficult to grasp. I can not have my dishes pile up anymore after this post 😉 internal and actual!!!!!
    Love it.

  4. Amanda, another wonderful lesson. In the movie ‘The Razor’s Edge’ there is a scene where a wealthy Indian man is washing dishes and says, “For me this is a religious experience.” It is a wonderful scene in a decent movie about the meaning of self awareness and finding a path to peace. I think about that scene now and then…I shall think of it and this wonderful post more often as I continue to clean my “sink”.

    I hope you are collecting these posts into a How To Manual…your personal journey and the way you chronicle it with allegory and metaphor make for an interesting and insightful read.

    1. I haven’t seen the Razor’s Edge, but I am very interested in better understanding this way of experiencing the seemingly mundane as a religious experience. I think it has a lot to do with being ever more present with what happens in a given moment. Even one like washing the dishes. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Ronald, and your poetry. The words that you write can do this thing of mundane–>spiritual, part of why I love reading your work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s