In my writings, I sometimes mention being clean, usually making reference to periods in my life journey where I could (or could not) be described this way. When I do so, I am speaking of my long, sticky road traveled with an addiction to intoxicating adhesives. Today, we will again discuss being “clean”, but in a more conventional sense.
The great spiritual teachers have always seen the benefits of personal hygiene. Our images of the Buddha show a smiling friend, attractive for his clear skin and hairlessness. Christ washed feet while spreading his message, as I recall. On television, I have seen muslims wash their faces somehow in connection with their religion. The results are clear. Looking our best is part of living the spiritual life.
Like all of our other character defects, we’re not always the best judge of our own filthiness. We rush to get ready in the morning, eager to munch the day ahead, and sometimes don’t take the most careful self appraisal. So, we might benefit from little checklists, just occasionally, to examine each part of ourselves. Here is an example, for our hair. Let’s try it. We can look in the mirror, and ask ourselves these questions…
How is my hair? Is it neat? Trimmed? Is it getting mulletty in the back? Are my sideburns beginning to look like grass on an Alabama lawn? Women- do you have split ends, or flatness (again, hair). Do you look ready for the Husband Lounge, or the Cat Adoption Pavilion?
How did it go? Did you learn or realize something you’d missed before? Good. You can travel south across your body, developing your own questions for all remaining parts. If you’re satisfied with what you find, start over, and try harder.
Just because I’m good enough the way I am, doesn’t mean I can’t be better, or that I shouldn’t worry a lot about it.