Saturday, May 20, 2006

"Before Enlightenment - chop wood, carry water;
after Enlightenment - chop wood, carry water."
--- Old Zen saying

Is work part of your spiritual practice? It should be...
Practice mindfulness in work. It does little good to attain clarity of mind on your meditation cushion if you lose it as soon as you become active. Start with simple activities like brushing your teeth, ironing clothes, or washing dishes. Be fully alert as you move. Notice the position of your body in space. Notice the feelings in your body as you move. Feel the water run through your fingers. Pay attention to the thoughts that enter your mind when you do the task. See if you can let them go and just focus on the work itself.

When we open awareness to the tasks in our lives they become lighter. When we are able to be in the moment, we no longer feel compelled to watch the clock. Whatever your work might be, bring all of yourself to it. When you are fully present, you may find that your labor is no longer a burden.

Wood is chopped.
Water is carried.
Life happens.


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