I am sitting in the club locker room where I swim laps three to four times a week. There is trash, mostly paper towels, but also a pair of used underwear, hanging from the trash basket, as well as a used toothpaste tube on the floor next to the half full basket. There are more paper towels all over the floor under the sinks.
My first thought was the following….” they never keep this place cleaned up, the management should be fired, I am tired of not finding this locker room clean. I pay dues for this club, it should not look like a dump”.
My second thought, almost immediate after the first, was the following…. “When I am done with my laps I am going to talk to the half wit manager and also write up a complaint. I was thinking these thoughts, it was about 10AM on a weekday morning. I was ready to do my workout but I was focused on trash and mess and the slobs that use the locker room.
My third thought, almost immediate after the second, was the following…. “What would a monk do” ? Now I have no idea where that thought came from, my mind was negative, I was not thinking spiritually, and I was also not being analytically balanced, something I occasionally try to do. “What would a monk do”? It just simply popped right into my head.
My fourth thought, almost immediate after the third, was the following…. “a monk would get up, pick up all the paper towels, the hanging underwear, and the toothpaste tube, and stuff it all into the trash basket, making sure to push it way down so there was room for more paper towels. The monk would then go into the pool, swim his laps, check the basket on the way out, and leave knowing he did a good thing for his fellow club members, slobs that they are.
My fifth thought, which came to me while swimming my laps, was the following….” Why did the thought that popped into my head mention a monk and not Jesus? I am a Christian and most Christians have either heard and or have had the thought…. “What would Jesus do”? Well it occurred to me as I swam my laps….Jesus was perfect and when we ask “What would Jesus do”? we almost always think the following; Jesus was and is God, He is perfect….I am a sinner and a fallen man….I cannot possible live up to His standard. I fail almost every time. Therefore I do not need to pick up the trash.
But a monk? A monk is a man, just like me with all the foibles, fumbles and selfishness. A monk is trying to be a servant and to “do good and be good” usually in order to reach a more spiritual place that will allow him to be closer to God.
Well….I went into the locker room after my laps, picked up all the trash, the underwear, the toothpaste, the paper towels, and pushed it all way down so there was room for more trash. I then showered, dressed and left without grumbling, writing a complaint, or talking to the half wit manager.
That is what a monk would do and that is what I did too…. and I really felt just a little bit like a monk….and maybe for that moment in a better place both mentally and spiritually. So when you start the day….start with a prayer and when you get in that place of frustration or challenge ask yourself the question….”What would a monk do”?