I love things that I can focus my intention on, especially things that may appear simple to the untrained. Two examples are drawing a sword in Iado practice and swinging a golf club. I’ve attempted both. I say attempted because I’ve yet to even gain novice status at either. Both are extremely frustrating and calming at the same time. This sounds paradoxical I know, but unless you’ve attempted either it is impossible to describe any other way.
At the driving range today I practiced my swing with focused intention trying to coordinate my breath and my movement with the outcome. Needless to say I had only two very good swings (as related to the outcome), but the exercise was very zen.
Is it any wonder the samurai practiced archery, sword, and calligraphy. It makes me wonder if they would have enjoyed a round of golf?
I love to drive! Mind you I don’t enjoy traffic but I love driving. I especially enjoy driving my car on rural roads,with the moon roof and windows wide open and my iPod playlist blasting through its speakers.
This is zen for me. All of my senses are engaged. The beautiful colors of the day, the sounds of my favorite songs, the smell of the leather interior, the feel of the breeze on my skin as the car winds through the turns. Yet the greatest sensation is how the car handles the control in the turns the exhilaration of driver and machine being one…
I know this may sound crazy to a few of you, but to those of you who know how it feels to drive not just ride in a car you’ll understand…
Funny to me it’s a lot like running only with a fast partner,
It has taken fifty-five years but I finally got my hands in dirt! I decided to overcome my aversion to dirt and getting dirty and try my hand at planting vegetables.
My wise stepfather called me on my recent request to assist with this years garden. So off I went to my mom’s and had pepper planting 101. To be honest it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I did use gloves ( one step at a time) and I did bring extra shoes (can’t have dirt in the car). It was such a momentous occasion mom missed her senior exercise class and my stepfather took a picture!
To be honest it was all very grounding, being a part of nature and most importantly spending quality time with mom and John…
Today I’m feeling less Zen and more whine… Did you ever feel like your life was one of those dreams where someone is chasing you and you’re running to escape? That’s the space I’m in! Whether it’s the seemingly insurmountable tasks, the dismal weather or a simple awakening about to be birthed – I’m in a get me out of here mood…
Which got me to thinking of one of my favorite zen escapes, reading on a plane. I love to fly – Apart from the check-in procedures. Flying is the one place I don’t have to be doing anything or more to the point getting anything done. I have time for uninterrupted reading, thinking, writing or sleeping. I’ve abdicated most of my control to an airline crew… If you think about it, it’s a sky sanctuary!
Wow! I’m going to check on my flyer miles and think about flying the friendly skies for the weekend! How crazy is that?
This past week I decided to spend my vacation painting my kitchen. Funny when you write painting my kitchen it doesn’t seem such a chore… However what the sentence doesn’t convey are the many woman hours peeling wall paper border, cleaning up after each messy task and the actual painting of the ceiling,walls and trim.
During this journey into manual labor I found my self almost in a state of “runner’s zen.” The one minded focus of physically working allowed me to get centered. This is the type of “oneness” I get when running and with my martial art practice. I assume this is the reasoning behind doing chores in a monastery . There is a certain spiritual cleansing when the body is pushed and a task is completed. I believe the sense of accomplishment is a mini Satori of sorts.
The Buddha said enlightenment can only be achieved through pain and suffering. So working on spirituality should involve labor…
Something to meditate on when I paint the hallway…