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Cleaning Away the Dirt

by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff

With right attitude or inner view, ordinary events can be opportunities for spiritual learning. Consider this story from daily life.

After the long cold winter, cleaning up the grounds around our home has been a slow process. We have hired a part-time gardener to help and one of his tasks is replacing the missing colored, decorative gravel at the foot of our gravel driveway. Until the ground freezes, with each snow, the plow pushes both snow and gravel, further along down the driveway. 

Over the years, this has been an unavoidable process; seasonally filling in the bald spots at the beginning of the driveway caused by plowing.  Typically, gravel is gathered from piles further along, where the snow and gravel is dropped and moved to a thinned out location.

In the spring, we begin evening out the stones. This gravel is specially selected for its variety of color and attractiveness.  This year the gardener found a pile that was used to fill in a hole at the back of our property. When he deposited the stone at the beginning of the driveway, it was covered in dirt and red brown in color; none of its decorative quality was visible.

I figured after a few rains, the dirt would be washed away; however it hasn’t rained in nearly 2 weeks so I began to hose down the rocks to help restore their beauty. This has been a slow go, requiring multiple applications of water.

This afternoon as I thought about the dust and dirt that covered the gravel and my decision to apply water, it occurred to me, this process of cleaning away the dirt and grime was similar to the spiritual process of wiping the heart clean. According to tradition, the heart is a mirror, that has been covered over by the dust of selfish living and the task of the spiritual traveler is to wipe away this dirt, using prayer and other exercises, so the heart/mirror might help reflect the Divine Light.

In our driveway, this stone must be washed clean to restore its brilliance and function; then join the other stones as a decorative foundation for all who wish to enter.

Similarly each spiritual traveler is created for a higher purpose and with right effort, God Willing, might achieve their destiny. 

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