Monday, June 15, 2009

Can you imagine?

I love Thich Nhat Hanh....I have ever since I found Peace Is Every Step on my mom's bookshelf, years ago. I'm currently reading The Miracle of Mindfulness and once again, his teachings have truly touched me. One time he talks about practicing mindfulness is when you are washing dishes. I find so much peace in the way he describes these meditations. BUT...I don't know how you can honestly do them when you are a stay-at-home mom. I would love to have him come into my home and see how he would handle the daily chores while the children alternately "help" and need help. I have no doubt he could do it with pure grace. I would just so love to see it, so I could take notes! Can you imagine?

BTW, he is coming to Colorado in August and I hope-hope-hope to be able to hear him talk. I think he must just exude peace and love. I want to be a part of that!


  1. My understanding of mindfulness when washing the dishes comes from Thich Nhat Hanh and Jon Kabat-Zinn (who wrote Full Catastrophe Living). Kabat Zinn explains that the title of his book comes from Zorba the Greek, who "lived the full catastrophe of life". In other words, he was fully involved and invested in whatever he was doing or feeling--- If he was at a party, he WAS a party; if he was at a funeral, he was very sad and full of that experience, if he was involved with a woman, likewise he was fully invested and involved in the experience.

    Now when I wash dishes, I wash them mindLESSLY.--I'm listening to the news, or talking on the phone, or looking out the window, or thinking about the meal I'm fixing at the same time--- I'm not fully mindful of washing the dishes. ---My 3 year old granddaughter on the other hand, washes dishes mindfully.-- She is fully involved in washing the dishes. She feels the water-- she realizes the warm or coldness, the deepness, the sudsieness-- She knows the water.--- then she reaches down and feels something in the bottom of the sink.-- She feels that it's a fork, or a spoon, or a table knife-- and feels the difference.-- The fork is pointy, the spoon is round-- The spoon can hold and pour water, but the water runs right through the folk.--- Everything about washing the dishes is done mindfully-- It's an experience--- Even putting too much water in the sink, or splashing on the counter or clothes. --- It's not about being peaceful-- It's about being aware--- Mindful!!! -- Dippity Do Dah's Mom

    To Thick Nhat Hanh, and others who regularly practice meditation, anything can be a medication--- It just requires being fully present in what is being done.-- Eating, walking, taking a bath, breathing--- all can be mindfulness meditations.

  2. But how can you be fully present when you're getting pulled a gazillion ways at a time? (Not that you would know anything about that! lol) I mean, when I get totally into something, it usually only lasts a couple seconds before somebody interrupts and I get's not only taming my mind, but my surroundings, I do you do that?

  3. There are at least two ways to address that-- For instance, if you are trying to wash dishes mindfully, and things happen to interrupt your focus on washing the dishes, you focus on your response to the interruption(s).--- For instance, let's say the phone rings--- How does that effect you and how do you respond to the effect-- Do you decide, "I have to answer the phone because it is ringing and that's what I need to do" or do you recognize that it startled you, or made you angry, or excited because you are expecting a call about something good.-- Or do you say-- It's just the phone and I can ignore it and go on focusing on washing the dishes--- Then how do you feel about that.

    Another way to approach it, is to go ahead and answer the phone, and focus completely on the call-- Don't wash dishes-- But once you're done with the call go back to focusing on the dishes.

    Or, it might be, that you just need to set aside a special time to just be mindful.-- Plan a time, like early in the AM, or while the kids are out playing, -- I doubt that even Thich Nhat Hanh is mindful 24 hours a day. == The practice is important though so you can increase your ability to focus intently-- By practicing that, one can gradually gain greater insight into themselves and the universe. And with that gain a sense of oneness with the universe.