Friday, July 23, 2010

After Enlightenment, the Laundry...

Yesterday, at the end of the day, I walked outside the store and just looked at the windows. I noticed that there was grime on the frames. I wondered to myself, "What do we do about that? Is there somebody that is supposed to clean the store front? Is that a land-lord thing?"

The more I looked at it, the more displeased I felt. It just didn't look nice. It wasn't in keeping with the way I want Firefly Willows to look and feel. So I walked back inside, grabbed a container of wet wipes, and started wiping what I could reach around the door frame.

It was pretty dirty.

I continued to work my way all around the store front. It took me a little while, but I got most of the stuff off, and I didn't even have to use a ladder. I stretched and reached, and breathed and scrubbed. It was a little opportunity to do "in situ Yoga".

It took me about 30 minutes. I chatted on the phone with someone while i was doing it. No time was "wasted". The effort of my body and the effort of my mind were quite compatible. It was a meditation of sorts, and the result was good. The store front looked clean and inviting.

It was a simple thing, and a friendly lesson in being present.

The mundane is not the enemy of the spiritual path, nor an impediment to a fulfilling life. The mundane can ground us in the moment, in the present, in our bodies and in our place in the Universe.

There is a Zen proverb:
Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

If that's the case, then what's the purpose of enlightenment? Perhaps it's to enable us to share in the power of the axe and the selflessness of the wood, and feel the caress of the water and honor the faithfulness of the jar.


(Note: On my reading list is Jack Kornfields book, "After the Ecstasy, The Laundry".)


  1. Definitely need a "like" button for this one. I have found the same sort of gentle, soothing solace, fulfillment and enlightenment in crafting my medicine wheel garden. Thank you for this. Continuing to keep you and Firefly Willows in my thoughts, sending supportive energy and prayers for continued success and growth.

  2. Well said, John. I really like this thought-
    "The mundane is not the enemy of the spiritual path, nor an impediment to a fulfilling life."

    I feel just that way when I am weeding the gardens at school. Every one asks me- "How can you stand doing that?" And I think, "How can you stand not to?"

  3. Thank you, Pat and Tommi Lou. It helps me to realize that no moment need be wasted, even when it appears that there's a mountain of "work" to do. Slowly, gradually, I'm emerging from my "performance obsessed" state into a more organic harmony and balance with my place in the world. Still a lot of unwinding to do, but I'm getting some great help and encouragement.