Quitting the Rat Race #10: Finding Joy in Chopping Wood & Carrying Water!
There is a Zen saying, “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” What’s the difference? The tasks are the same & yet different, ‘cos of a change in how we view them!!
Before enlightenment (in our context while we are still running the Rat Race; Quitting the Rat Race is nothing short of Enlightenment!!!) chopping wood & carrying water seem boring & mundane. We resent doing that…we do it grudgingly while our mind craves for excitement. We’d rather be living a high life, seeking thrills & excitement, planning our next purchase, next promotion, & impressing people with our shiny possessions. There is a huge Gap between reality & expectation & our mind is under constant stress.
After Enlightenment we start appreciating the beauty of mundane stuff. We perform the task of chopping wood & carrying water with Zen like ease & peace, basking in the sun & appreciating the miracle of existence & nature. Every breath is filled with peace & Joy. Profound Spiritual Joy can be found in everyday activities. The Chop Wood Carry Water attitude can be applied in the context of our everyday chores & help us realize that there is joy in doing the laundry, cleaning, paying bills, bathing, cooking, and doing what many people sadly think is boring everyday needs.
In this day and age where people rush here and there and express a sense of loss, because they feel they need to always be doing something noticable, I think this attitude would be a great healing tool, in teaching people that doing the “chores” of life, can in fact be a relaxing and growth enhancing activity.
This also reflects the attitude of rejoicing the way things are rather than always wanting for something else to happen. Usually our attitude is something like “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.”~Abraham Lincoln. We just crave for the things that we don’t have instead of enjoying what has indeed been given to us.
”The Master sees things as they are,Without trying to control them.He lets them go their own way, And resides at the center of the circle. He/She understands that the Universe is forever out of control, And that trying to dominate eventsGoes against the current of the Tao. Be content with what you have; Rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, The whole world belongs to you.” ~Tao Te Ching.
This is the only meditation I know.
While I eat, I eat.
While I walk, I walk.
And while I feel sleepy, I sleep.
Whatsoever happens, happens.
I never interfere.
- Quitting the Rat Race #3: Inspiration from Lin Yutang (ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com)
- Quitting the Rat Race #1: Drawing Wisdom from Wise Philosophers: #1 Epicurus (ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com)
- Quitting the Rat Race #4: Killing the cycle of consumerism & (over) work (ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com)
- Quitting the Rat Race #5: Can Money/stuff Buy Happiness? Putting Things in Perspective (ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com)
- Quitting the Rat Race #6: Watching the Wheels Go Round n Round!!! (ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Stay Hungry, Don’t Stay Foolish: Quitting The Rat Race #8 (ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com)
- Quitting the Rat Race #9: Don’t be A DINK, DITK, DIOK (ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com)
- Quitting the Rat Race #7: Lessons from the Mexican Fisherman (ritusthoughtcatcher.wordpress.com)
- 30 in 30: Day 30 (my “Currently Reading” list is never limited to *one* book) (katjevanloon.com)