When my spouse and I chose to buy a home, we settled on an older home, knowing that inevitably repairs would need to happen, especially in the bathroom. As things worsened, we could no longer deny that our bathroom had to be totally gutted. Water could barely trickle through the old plumbing. Mold, in spite of our attempts, continued to peek through the ceiling and spread at will. The crack in the bottom of the bathtub threatened to break through at an inopportune time. There was nothing salvageable. We had to do something drastic; this bathroom had to be totally gutted and re-made.
I am struck with the parallels to our minds. If we are honest, we will admit that resentments, worry, and negativity clog the channels of our minds so clarity and grace have trouble flowing through. Greed, jealousy, anger, and fear creep through our fervent attempts to be people of character and courage. Cracks in our thinking lead to poor choices and hurtful actions. At some point we can no longer deny that our minds are in need of some drastic remodeling. Our minds need to be gutted; our minds need meditation.
Meditation is a kinder process than gutting a bathroom, although it may not seem that way at times. In fact, as with my bathroom, things can get worse before they get better. There are always surprises, unforeseen challenges, and delays that make it seem like the project will never be complete. Will my bathroom ever be done? Will my mind ever be new? Will I always live in that uncomfortable place between chaos and promise?
The great masters tell us that our minds can be remodeled. They can be clear, luminous, and joyful. It is in the slow, steady, commitment of our meditation practice that gutting and remodeling happens.