|Doing the dishes, to me, is a meditative practice|
Let’s try to understand divinity by re-examining our conditioning. For instance, the way we think of garbage, sewage, filth is with a sense of distaste. Yet, there’s divinity there too. When you see fresh vegetables, you see it as beautiful, sublime, pristine. The same vegetables when they turn stale or are part of wasted food and end up in a garbage dump, you find them detestable. Similarly, when you see a sewer, you hate its sight. But there’s a sewage system in your body: your intestines and kidneys are doing just the same job__precisely. The hallmark of an evolved person is the ability to see everything and everyone as equally divine.
And then as often happens with Life, the game changes. We are put in a spot where we cannot move, check-mated, if you like. Could be a health issue, could be a career stalemate, could be a relationship tangle or could be a legal quagmire. In such times, there may be a tendency to worry and to wish__pray, plead, hope__that why can’t Life fast-forward, why can’t we get back to ‘normalcy’? So, if you are bogged down in an ICU, you wish you could be back in the hustle-bustle of everyday Life. Or if you are caught in the midst of legalese, you just are hoping, why don’t you win all your claims and are free to be away from all this disputing and arguing? Interestingly, Life’s not a handmaiden that will do what you please. It just may not move and you can do nothing about it. There is no fast-forward button in Life. In such a time, be happy you can breathe. Because being able to sense your breathing is normal. Running so hard that you don’t even have the time to notice you are breathing, is NOT normal. Imagine you are climbing a steep mountain in a vehicle. As it negotiates the sharp hair-pin bends, the engine is finding the going tough. So, the vehicle is down to an agonizing crawl. Now, you can worry about that pace and concentrate on the dreary drone of the engine, or you can look out the window and see what the scenery looks like. This is what enjoying the scenery is all about. “Smile, breathe and go slowly,”advises Thich Nhat Hanh (also called ‘Thay’), a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. “Sometimes your joy can be the cause for your smile, and sometimes, your smile can be the cause for your joy,”he adds. Just being mindful of your being alive__to experiencing whatever you are going through, be it pain, be it joy__is what can make the slowdowns in Life more meaningful. Do all the things that you can joyfully in whatever state you find yourself. And don’t worry about what you can’t. If you are immobilized by a health issue enjoy the ‘grounding’ with a family member who is nursing you; pining to be able to run around will only cause agony. If you are cashless enjoy being able to live without money; hoping you had money will only aggravate your suffering. If you are caught in a relationship problem where there is much misunderstanding, enjoy practicing patience and forgiveness; craving for understanding from the other person may only accentuate your pain. Thay champions mindful living as a cure to all our ailments coming from merely existing. “Life is available only in the present moment. Even drink your tea, slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world, the earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future,”he says.