Chop Wood Carry Water

“How do we place our cushions? How do we brush our teeth? How do we sweep the floor, or slice a carrot? We think that we are here to deal with more important issues, such as problems with our partners, our jobs, our health, and the like. We don’t want to bother with the little things, like how we hold our chopsticks, or where we place our spoons, Yet these acts are the stuff of our life, moment to moment, It’s not a question of importance, it’s a question of paying attention, being aware. Why? Because each moment in life is absolute in itself. That’s all there is. ”
-Charlotte Joko Beck

There is a teaching in the Zen tradition which states ‘Before enlightenment; chop wood,carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood carry water.
Its all there.
In the course of my daily vinyasa is included not only several hours of training, teaching, and study yet also a good bit of dishwashing, laundry, cleaning, dog and dog yard care, errands, paying bills, and taking kids back and forth to school. It is understand, all practice, all opportunity to attend to what matters.

It is no good compartmentalizing ones life. That only leads to fragmentation of practice and self. It is a small lesson yet a valuable one. When you engage your activities, be they a bench press in the iron temple, asana on the mat, sitting on your zafu, or folding laundry, with full attention you not only avoid ‘resentment’ of any activity you consider not part of your training you amplify all of your training, fitness and otherwise.

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