Three Views of Housekeeping

by Rachael on March 24, 2016

Net of Indra

1. When one keeps house, what is kept is a boundary between society and nature. Inside is civilization and order; outside is wilderness and chaos.

Thus when I say that I want my family and I to take better care of our home, is it because I want to disavow the parts of myself that are wild and chaotic?

2. Gustave Flaubert once wrote in a letter, “Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire comme un bourgeois, afin d’être violent et original dans vos œuvres” (Be orderly in your life and ordinary like a bourgeois, so that you can be violent and original in your work). In this view, a boundary is still kept between order and chaos, but the purpose of maintaining order is to create a holding space for what is wild and unexpected.

This is my aspiration. I often consider Suzuki Roshi’s words: “To give your sheep or cow a large, spacious meadow is the way to control him [sic].”

3. But what if there is no inside or outside, no need to contain anything? What if my home, family, work, and I are each, like everything else, jewels in Indra’s Net? In this view, when I take care of any small part of the world, I am taking care of the whole thing.

Photo credit: “Net of Indra” by Renate Dodell,
via Flickr Creative Commons

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