Updated: Jan 23, 2020
Yesterday I was helping Mom do the dishes as she was engaged in cooking. I was thinking how to do it early so I could continue to read the book I was reading. Then I discovered this age-old open secret.
Washing the dishes is just that–washing them. Doing the dishes may include clearing the dishes from the eating area, and may involve using a dishwasher machine, or hand washing and/or drying and putting the dishes away. For some people, washing the dishes includes all the same as doing them. Some of us do it often or even daily and really feel disgusting doing it.
I was starting to feel the rush so I could do what I was doing earlier, reading a good book. A romantic book. My second book from the reading list for year. Suddenly I remembered that I had read something about doing dishes. I dug into my consciousness while I kept doing the dishes. I found it. I remembered I had read a book by Zen Monk Thich Nhat Hanh where he wrote about doing the dishes mindfully. Instantly I paused for a moment and repeated what he had said.
“Washing the dishes is like bathing a baby Buddha. The profane is the sacred. Everyday mind is Buddha’s mind.” From the book – Present Moment, Wonderful Moment by Thich Nhat Hanh Page 51, verse 35 – washing the dishes
That moment was a moment of Enlightenment for me. Who says that you have to go seat under a tree for years to receive enlightenment. All you need is an open mind, an open heart and open ears. And most importantly positive associations. Avoid negative persons or at least avoid going into conversations with them.
Coming back to my story. After that moment I enjoyed doing the dishes. I felt their touch on my palms as I washed and bathed each part of them and then then dried them using a dry cloth.
I kept on doing this for the next 20 minute and when I was done I had no idea how much time it took. I actually looked around to find more dishes and realized I was done for the day. Those 20 minutes just passed by like 20 moments and I did not feel that old rush during that time. I smiled.
You want to find enlightenment? It is not found in the costly restaurants or the five star motels. It is found in the most boring places doing the most boring chores of daily life. I remember the famous Zen Sayings:
“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” Zen Saying
“If you walk, just walk. If you sit, just sit; but whatever you do, don’t wobble.” Zen Saying