How you do One thing is how you do Everything.
In Buddhist philosophy, chop wood and carry water refers to finding enlightenment in everyday mundane tasks.
Additionally it has been interpreted as How you do one thing is how you do everything. Personally this has profound meaning due to my affinity for congruency.
If you live everyday life being mindful in the moment. Then there is much to be gained through quiet, solitary tasks.
My personal favorites are doing the dishes, sweeping, and working in the garden. I find myself in a meditative state, with the water running and the steam coming off the soapy water, or methodically moving the dirt across my floor in neatly lined sweeps. I learned this early in my life that being fully in the moment with these mundane tasks seemed to create a sense of peace and connection to my inner being.
I love standing in the middle of the river with the water rushing by me on either side, casting my fly rod into the water. The rushing water, in the center of the river, looks like white birds flying off the water toward me, and has a sound-deafening quality; the sound so loud it is silent. It is the most peaceful and meditative experience.
Last week my family took a walk in the falling snow; big, fresh, snowflakes attaching to our hats and clothes. The air was heavy and there was a hush. It was magnificent, just walking among the trees in the foothills, feeling the true beauty of our sweet life.
For Japanese zen meditation these actions are like the state of za-zen. It’s a concept of complete mindfulness and attention in the moment that offers a sense of oneness with the act, or the environment, that allows for enlightenment.
You can find inner peace through the most mundane tasks. Your life doesn’t change once you become enlightened, only your perception of life changes. You will still need to chop wood and carry water but these chores will take on deeper purpose, and eventually you will find even the mundane tasks as spiritual in nature.
In Judaism one of the most sacred holidays is the Sabbath, Shabbat. It is the most mundane and the most sacred.
Being mindful is not relegated to situations that are of significance but also those mundane, repetitive tasks that make up our everyday life.
Rather than rushing through the monotonous chores, mindfully focus on the action, meditatively being one with it.
If you can bring mindfulness to these everyday acts and chores then you will be able to bring mindfulness to the more penetrating concerns in your life and relationships. Your state of being in the current moment is composed of whatever you do, big or small. Think about congruence; try to give the same degree of attention and mindfulness to all your activities.
You may find it increases your connection to enlightenment.
See you tomorrow.