Chop Wood Carry Water. Practice. (How to Live Life Like a Happy Monk)

IMG_6517While editing My Wish for the second printing (we sold out!), I was researching the 227 rules for monastics. I came across some beautifully written summaries for us common folk.

I’m posting one rule at a time, with an invitation: Follow one rule for a week, then add a second,then a third, etc. I’ll post one rule each Monday ( not all 227-just the practical rules that I think might be beneficial for us.)and I’d love to hear about your experiences! Read on and have a beautiful, present day!

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” – Shunryu Suzuki

RULE ONE: Do one thing at a time. Don’t multi-task. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks while eating or bathing. -from post by Leo Babatua)

Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

This might be impossible for me. I am a chronic multi tasked, hyper -vigilant and anxious unless I have many activities occurring simultaneously. In fact, I wanted to post all the rules at once, and then I stopped myself.

Do. One. Thing. Write this post. Seriously I don’t think I’ll make it one day, but I am going to give it at least a half-hearted try this week. I know, like I know my name, that the cure for hyper vigilance and anxiety is presence. I am sorely lacking in that quality lately and this idea of one thing at a time is a practice that I believe will support me in my efforts at calming down and becoming more effective in my life.

I learned about the idea of practice while writing the life story of a monk named Bhante Sujatha, My Wish, the Story of a Man who Brought Happiness to America. Now, when I want to start a new habit, or change something about my ways of being, I know that I can find a practice to support me. Whenever I try to “just do it,” by myself, I fail pretty quickly. I am using the idea of doing one thing at a time as practice for being present. And I’m betting being present is going to eliminate the need for many other tasks. Imagine, no texting while I am in a meeting, no talking on the phone while driving, no eating while watching a show. I will fail many times every day, and that is the beauty of practice. You can just keep practicing, no matter how many times you slip. And eventually, I’ll be living my life in the present moment more often, a rare and beautiful gift.

This moment ROCKS. I’m sitting by a fireplace in the early morning hours with my best friend, listening to classical guitar music and writing. ( hmmm…is that two things?)

Breathing. Enjoying. Present.
Be. Here. NOW.

Thank you for reading.

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