This morning I had a large load of laundry to hang up. I found myself rushing to get it finished, hurrying to complete the task because I had another task to complete or maybe just because I wanted to get back to my cup of coffee. The point was that I was going to spend twenty minutes hanging laundry and I could do it with my mind in the next task or in irritation or in feeling rushed, or I could hang laundry and practice being present to myself as I did it. So I decided to take this task moment by moment, and try to see when I was derailing and when I might actually be in the present. Hanging laundry doesn’t take a lot of attention and I can attach many memories and thoughts to it, so it was a bit of effort to stay present. In fact, I was thinking I’d write a blog post about hanging laundry and that was yet another way I escaped the present moment! Ahh, the monkey mind can be a clever fellow.
The most potent sensory moment was in snapping out my cotton flannel pajama pants and tossing them over the line, feeling the cold wetness on my hands and the dryness of my skin, smelling the damp cotton and the briefest sense of the enjoyment of the future of pulling on clean pajamas….maybe that was a memory and not a projection, but in any case, it was being present to my own inner experience as well as what was coming in from my senses. I might have enjoyed more spending that twenty minutes sitting on my meditation cushion in silence, but I still would have needed to hang the laundry, and so I am choosing to see that as part of today’s practice. How can I BE when I am still doing? This is one way.
Be-ing is something that I can access all the time. When I am deeply into thinking or remembering or reacting or otherwise unaware of myself, I can stop, notice my sensory experience, take stock of myself (“what do I notice in my body NOW?”) and connect once again to the ground of Be-ing. I don’t need silence, my cushion, or even a quiet space, although they certainly can help. But I am “being” all the time, even when I am not able to notice it.
How do you find yourself in the midst of a lot of doing?