Keeping clean is an important part of Buddhism. From monks to laity, we all need to keep our environment clean. Simply because we are affected by our environment.
In one of the popular Buddhist story, a man with limited intelligence was admitted into the order. However, he cannot remember any teachings the Buddha gave and cannot do any meditation. The Buddha taught him a simple way of mind training that involved sweeping the monastery. Through the repeated action of sweeping, that monk was able to still his mind and gradually gained enlightenment. Thus freeing his mind from mental dullness.
From this episode, we always draw a parallel when we cleanup a room or our house by thinking that our mind is also full of garbage and requires constant cleaning to keep it in good functioning order.
If we do not keep our mind in check, sometimes, negativities such as laziness, insecurity, bitterness, jealousy etc build up. Without mindfulness, our mind become a mess without us even realising it. This will ultimately result in us engaging in very negative and toxic speech and behaviour.
One thing that I learned from sweeping temple floor is that you have to be consistent and patient in order to sweep out dust. The naked eyes cannot see the dust. However, if you just sweep area by area, consistently and gently, a heap of dust will gather.
Likewise, in mind training, I think we have to consistently and patiently apply our mind training method. Along the way we will be able to see the negativity in our mind. Once we are aware that there is such elements in the mind, we can remove them through right effort.
Another interesting lesson that I learnt; is from cleaning the toilet. When cleaning/scrubbing a shitty toilet bowl, do not use brute force or the dirty water will splash onto you.
Likewise, when dealing with people with high toxicity, we have to be patient and gentle. If we approach them with toxicity, we get contaminated by their toxicity too.