The Magic of Mindfulness

June 22, 2018

As I now receive leftover insulation from various job sites that have been collected and stored for the tiny house, I begin piecing together what can go where. The material consists of all shapes and sizes and when I first began looking at it all, I was entirely overwhelmed with the stacks and piles that laid before me.

 Long story short, that was the fun and challenging part until the act of measuring, cutting, placing in between joists and then measuring, cutting and placing between joists came along and reminded me of mundane tasks like doing the dishes...

 

You see, I never (ever) really liked doing the dishes. Each time I knew this "chore" was upon me, I'd want it to be over before it'd even begin. I'd rush through it without thinking much about it at all... other than wishing to be doing something else or perhaps contemplating what to do after the seemingly dreadful chore would finally come to an end. 

 

... Do you have experiences like this? Where such moments don't feel like moments at all when there's a sense of rushing toward the future? Times like this make it difficult to be fully present which, to me, also means it's pretty dang difficult to be open to the unfolding of magical moments! 

 

So when I feel out of touch with sorts, I wonder and try to slow down, gathering the pieces of me that have scattered through fragments of time where I felt disconnected or in a state thinking too much about the past or future. Sometimes, this means returning to my field notes, any particular books that catch my eye, or just following my sense of curiosity seeing where that'll lead me...

There's a tiny book about awakening the mind while doing any task and it's written by Doc The, a Buddhist monk. With no more than 40 pages, it's titled "The Essential Discipline for Daily Use." 

 

The idea within its contents is to essentially take hold of our consciousness through these daily actions whether it's simply waking up, washing our hands, doing the dishes or in my case, installing insulation. 

 

When I do the dishes, am I fully conscious that I am doing the dishes? When I am installing insulation into the tiny house, am I fully conscious of installing insulation? Inspired by Doc The's words, these were the types of questions I began to contemplate through such bodies of work.

The book is composed of various sentences about activities or work that a monk would most likely attend to on a daily basis...

 

such as waking up...

 

"Just awakened, I hope that every person will attain great awareness and see in complete clarity."

 

and washing their hands...

 

"Washing my hands, I hope that every person will have pure hands to receive reality."

 

I decided I would create my own western version of various sentences that had the equivalence of promoting alertness and feelings of being awake and alive to any task at hand within my present reality of building A Space to Be & Love. 

 

I just use various sentences like the ones quoted above for events such as washing the dishes. When I practice these activities more mindfully through the use of these sentences and not in repetition like a robot, I find that I feel more open to the space around me where infinite wonder and sparks of joy exist (aka A Space to Be & Love!) So just as insulation provides warmth from the elements, I find these simple sentences, as a basis for mindfulness, can provide a calm heart and self-control.

Now, with the help of mindfulness, can you believe I sort of like washing dishes?? Even in the moments when the old dislike or dreading feelings arise, I use basic tools like my breath to take hold of any active thoughts, feelings and perceptions. I simply just try to observe and recognize versus dwelling upon or trying to get rid of what's before me.

 For now, I really like it this way and so much in fact, that I'm thinking I just might have to build little signs for a few of these mantra-like sentences to be placed (mindfully!) around the tiny house. I believe this is one of many tools for creating space to be reminded of life's everyday magic and mystery, everywhere from the clouds to the dishes or insulating walls and a roof and in turn, this allows me to simply Be present with what I Love most. 

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