A young monk had just entered the monastery and went to Joshu saying "Please teach me."
The old man asks, "Have you eaten your rice porridge?"
"Then you should wash your bowl."
It is said that at that moment the young monk received enlightenment.
I don't know if I can claim 'enlightenment' from these simple words, but I've been thinking about this story a lot. And it's changing my perspective.
But life happens and the photographs gather dust and the post-it notes become meaningless and the checkbook goes unbalanced. The books are half-read and when I pick up the knitting it takes a while to remember what pattern I am doing. And somehow the colors of the yarn aren't as pretty as I thought they were when I started the project last month.
Lately I'm making an effort to 'wash my bowl.' To stay in the moment instead of rushing from one thing to the next. To honor and appreciate what I have and where I am--right this very minute.
I've started to hang up my coat right when I get home; instead of tossing it on a chair. Started being grateful that I have a coat... thinking about the person who made it. I guess it was probably someone in China or maybe India. Who took the time to carefully piece and sew the seams and zipper? How much did they earn? I'd like to thank them for doing a good job; for the soft, plaid flannel lining and the snug hood. Since I can't say thank-you directly, I honor their work by hanging the coat up...carefully.
When I leave for work these days, I make it a point to fold the afghans on the sofa and chair, instead of leaving them in a heap. It only takes a minute. But it's satisfying.
There are lots of things like that...closing doors and turning out lights. Putting the blow-dryer back under the cabinet. Taking the pennies I found in the laundry and putting them into hubby's coin jar.
Happy I'm not scraping pennies together to pay for gas or groceries. (I once did, you know.)
I used to just clean my house.
Now I am learning that if I have eaten,
I should wash my bowl.