Washing the dishes to wash the dishes

Foto 17-09-17 15 39 52.jpg

A couple years ago I picked up a small book, called 'The Miracle of Mindfulness' by Thich Nhat Hanh. As a person who just started diving into the world of mindfulness, meditation and awareness, I found this book to be a helpful guide in beginning practising these methods in my daily life. As often, I read everything proposed in this book and I take some and leave some, however the way Thich Nhat Hanh explains very difficult and vague practices, that is by telling everyday stories from his own life, he somehow makes it easier to understand what mindfulness and awareness entail.

Also the notion that one should focus on meditation one hour a day and leave it by that, pursuing the rest of their hectic day as one normally would. He instead, promotes awareness and mindfulness during the whole day, with everything you do. This start with just being aware of yourself, your surroundings, your actions, your thoughts and  observe them, without judging or changing anything. So to be mindful, be aware, be present.

One particular chapter on Washing the Dishes really intrigued me;

While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. [...] I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. [...] If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future - and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life.
— Thich Nhat Hanh (The Miracle of Mindfulness)

Being present is something I struggled with a lot, more so in the past than now, but still I catch myself either questioning the future or thinking of the past. I found that when I am surrounded with people I connect with or when I am doing something I am passionate about, it is much easier. However when times are difficult, I am feeling insecure or stressed or do not know what I want in life, I slip back into the habit of forgetting the present moment and either regret my decisions and actions in the past or keep thinking of what I should and have to do in the future.

It is a journey I am happy to go on.