December 29, 2011

Zen - Day Two


Ding. Ding. Dinggggggggggggggg.

My new android app was just what I needed for my meditations. The gentle bells told me when to breathe in, and when to breathe out. In with the good energy. Out with the bad energy. Breathe in love. Release neurosis. And the best part was that it had a timer. I no longer had to open one eye to sneak a quick peek at the alarm clock in order to ensure that I had meditated for the vowed ten minutes. The dings simply stopped dinging.

When it was done I tossed my phone aside and jumped out of the bed, thrilled that I had completed my Day Two Zen assignment on meditation. Now what else could I do?

"You really don't have to start until New Years." My husband explained to me when I called him at work with my exciting news. "That's when most people start their resolutions."

"But I'm so excited! I can't wait to be Zen. I need to start NOW."

"Yeah, okay baby. I got a meeting. Good luck."

I glanced around the house, wondering what else could contribute to my impending enlightenment. If I cleaned the place really well I would most certainly feel less cluttered. But I didnt want to. I hated cleaning.  I weighed it in my mind. I read that to find true peace simply do what you feel like doing. At that moment all I really wanted was to watch Ellen on TV and munch on pretzels. But my higher self, that nagging part that always knows better, said that cleanliness would give me a more lasting happiness than daytime tv. My higher self should hire a maid. So begrudgingly I straightened pillows, unpacked suitcases from our holiday trip, and washed dried on dirty dishes. My eye twitched and my teeth clenched. I was anxious to get back to my state of happiness. It's hard to be Zen when your soul wants to be free but there is day old spagetti in a crock pot.

Whilst I was cleaning away like a bitter Snow White my subconscious was at work trying to remember something: an article I had recently read that was trying to writhe its way into my brain. It was something about embracing the things you dont want to do and do them with love and gratitude. Thank the Universe for giving you the enemy that challenges you, the obstacles that push your growth, or the dirty socks you don't want to touch. Once you accept the negatives and welcome them into your life, true happiness begins.

I took a deep breath.

"I am grateful for the dirty floor that I must vacuum. Because it helps me to..." I tapped my fingers against my thigh as I thought. I had nothing.

"I am grateful for the laundry my husband somehow accumulates that I must fold...it makes me appreciate..." Being single?

Stop it!

I closed my eyes and took another breath, really trying to feel the energy around me. I sat for a moment and felt the floor beneath my feet. The warmth of the air touch my skin. I breathed deeper, taking in the scent of lavendar dishwashing detergent. And then it hit me. My aha moment. The floor. The laundry. The dust on the TV. Everything was connected and I was at the hub of it. My fingers tingled and relaxed.

"I am thankful for the house I live in. It provides me with warmth and shelter and a refuge of my own. And I am thankful for the opportunity to make it more beautiful. I will go about my chores with gratitude in my heart, for all my blessings."

Sometimes there is magic, even in this mundane world. And for awhile, as I cleaned, I felt it. I was one with the world, enjoying work I had only minutes before found deplorable. I didnt run from task to task trying to get it all done as fast as I could. I noticed every moment as I worked. The way the plates squeaked when I ran a wet cloth across them. The way the laundry warmed my hands as I took it from the dryer. It was beautiful. Life was beautiful.

My Zen didnt last all day but I did experience a shift in my thinking that morning. I've come to realize that each experience is what you make of it. It's amazing what a little attitude adjustment can do for the soul.


1 comment:

  1. old ones cooking nearby
    cooking as form emptiness
    washing sand picking rice
    washing rice picking sand
    using rice eyes
    washing throwing out simultaneously
    one eye tipping
    the rice bucket
    no dramatic personae
    just washing cooking mind
    going along sans fussing

    rice sand fundamentals
    rolling up sleeves
    lost in cooking
    wise ones settling down
    working curious minds
    own hands touching wasting nothing
    keeping mind glued
    all turning out well
    paying attention being yourself
    each rice grain mattering

    re-using water no wasting
    cleaning everything pouring rice
    nobody peeking prodding hot pots
    cleaning replacing pots ladles tools
    high things on high places naturellement
    low things on low places naturellement
    gravity the root of grace
    staing alert cleaning up
    no thrashing mind about

    - Tai Sheridan, "Rolling Up Sleeves"

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