2021-06-18-The Dharmic LIfe-One Thing at a Time
11:23PM Jun 19, 2021
So here may be the last talk in this five part series on the Dharma life. though perhaps all talks are about the Dharma life. I like the idea that a spiritual life is also a life. A spiritual life is a lived life. But a live life that's infused with Buddha and Dharma terms are infused with
mindfulness, awareness, intentionality, a certain kind of sense of purpose and orientation towards, in radical non harming of oneself and others. But it's something we bring to all our life, and to have the opportunity to live a dharmic life, a contemplative life, where we infuse our life with our spiritual life where a spiritual practice is such a wonderful privilege, it's a wonderful honor to be able to do this in this human life that we have. And it's easy to want maybe to want to do this, but that it's remembering to do it, which is hard. And rather than having some high standard, like now, you're supposed to be mindful, aware throughout the whole day non stop. I think for most of us, if we just increase the percentage of our presence or attention to life, and we'll get tremendous amount of benefit. I suspect that if 10% of the day you were really mindful of what you're doing, that they would transform your life in big ways. And so
be so what to offer another practice today, that you could do, or another approach you can do to infuse your life, your daily life with a sense of practice, living a dharmic life. And that is, when you do something, just do that one thing, to practice doing one thing at a time. And in a world where now a common expression is multitasking. A single tasking is not maybe even respected as much. But to really be present for one, when you're doing something really be there for it. And why is this useful? This is what we're trying to do when we meditate. We're trying to really be present for what's happening in the moment. And just one thing at a time, just really, therefore it it might switch and be aware of something else, A moment later, but whatever is happening, that he has to be there for it. And the process of doing that, we learn how easily we're distracted, we learn how easily we're bored or cotton desires or cotton aversions to what's happening and the cotton preferences of fantasies. And we have to learn to work with this mind that gets all entangled in these things, and begin to learn to shed them not to have them getting away, and to somehow meditation to learn to be simpler. And then that simplicity, to relax deeply, and get in touch with ourselves in a much deeper way than we can when we're spinning around in preferences, desires, aversions, distractions. And so this remembering is to come home to ourselves to really be here in a deep, intimate, connected way. That comes from having a somewhat simple mind and not a simplistic mind, but a mind that has not caught up in many, many things. And so to the benefits of meditation of feeling that simplicity of mind and non distractibility of the mind, just being here for this moment, we learned so much about ourselves in that process, we learn to let we learn what makes us tick, we learn how to let go of we learn what it's like to connect to ourselves in a peaceful way in a wonderful way. So we can do the same thing in daily life, no matter in most things that are simple enough that allows us to do that one thing and and haven't been The same way as with meditation, if you're washing the dishes, just wash the dishes don't have the news on at the same time because you know, you want to be efficient and, and do more than one thing at the same time and hear the news might as well hear them while you're washing dishes. dishes are kind of mindless and have no important, great value. So might as well listen to the news or the soap opera or whatever. But if you infuse washing dishes, dishes, with the same kind of attention and purpose and practice, as you do meditation, just do the dishes. And you'll get bored, learn to content work with that and let go of it. Or sometimes boredom just means that you're holding yourself apart from the experience. And so can you give yourself more to the experience, just the washing the dishes, just you and the dishes and and wash with both hands worth was their whole body present there. And then that kind of focus and attention will certainly reveal all the ways in the mind wants to escape and do something else. But in the process, you also learned how to quiet the mind or let go of these preoccupations. And you'll learn how to simplify the mind. And to experience the benefits and the intimacy and the coming at home this with ourselves of just being there for that one thing. And that can be for all kinds of things we do can be cooking, cleaning, driving.
Just drive in the driving maybe involves many different senses and many different considerations, you know, minds moving around rearview mirror sideview, mirror front looking, just do what driving requires of you don't have their radio on, don't be talking on the phone, just do this, if you want to get the benefits of this really being having the practice grow in your daily life. And some people will say complain and say, Well, I have a lot to do. And I need to multitask. Maybe that's so so maybe please do it if that's necessary. But sometimes things are done more efficiently. If you just do one thing at a time, you do it properly the first time it doesn't have to be done again, you do it fully. And so you don't have to come back to it later. And you understand that fully. Justice, justice. And so what's one of the advantages of monastic life than monastic life that I lead lived is that you're given different tasks through the day, were really what's called on is just do one thing at a time. raking the temple grounds, just rake what you know, washing dishes, I was a dishwasher in the monastery, my first summer there and, and so I spent this, it was just me in the dishwashing machine. And so rather than washing the sink, I had this wonderful dance of completely being in the dishwashing shack and, and it was it was vigorous and active work. It wasn't like calm and relaxed. But it was as beautiful. And for me it was kind of a dance of putting dishes in in a way and washing and, and, and just gave myself over to what was needed, then. doing one thing at a time does not mean that we do everything slowly. Though sometimes it's delicious to do it that and very helpful. We do it at a pace that's useful sometimes doing one thing folding means we give ourselves over fully in a very full and active way I worked at after I was in the monastery, I worked at a as a restaurant kind of as a little bit of fast, you know, as well as a line cook on a restaurant very busy restaurant. And, and I was doing a lot of different things in a sense, I was multitasking different cooking different dishes at the same time tracking them. But that's all I did, I was completely absorbed in this activity in this concentration absorption. And what I was doing was you know, I would leave that leave work feeling more relaxed. And when I came in because of giving myself over to really do this one activity. And so if you're completely if you're protesting little bit that you can't do one thing at a time. You might experiment with it and find out if it doesn't actually give you more ease in your life, give you more relaxation. Maybe you don't have to spend time afterwards relaxing as much. Relaxing is a wonderful thing. But if you don't need to relax and you can continue living your life in a nice, nice way and is doing one thing at a time. Oh, and then sustaining it and really following through on it to the end. Many years ago, I discovered that when when I was That's the monastery was living in, in a house, that how easy it was to go from one end of the house to the other to get the laundry out of the washing machine to the dryer, and get distracted by things little tasks that we do here and there and stop and took a while to get to the laundry area. And, and so sometimes it's just nice to, if the purpose is to go to the laundry area, just go there. So we get the body and the mind gets this sense of what it's like to kind of just do one thing and not bounce around and not be busy or grabbing it everything that comes up and and sustains default follow through if you really set yourself to do something with that, you know, unless something important comes up, of course, follow through as long as it's kind of, so you can just give yourself the pleasure, the joy, just doing one thing, and for practitioners is more than the pleasure and the joy. It's so that we're doing the same exploration of our inner life as we do in meditation, we're learning to let go of what doesn't serve us what's so unhealthy. We're learning to wake up to the what's the present moment. And we're learning to have some continuity with doing that. And that continuity is so beneficial. continuity is what allows something to Dharma life to unfold and deepen.
So I end this five part series with something which I think is quite simple, in principle, yesterday was more complicated with the idea of intention and commitment and sense of purpose, why we do things. And now Today, I'm bringing it back to the value of just something that's ordinary simple. I hope almost anyone can do it doesn't take a lot of intelligence, it doesn't take a lot of sophistication. And that is when you're doing something, just do it. Do it fully. So End of story with a story of two Zen students. That's how that's how the story was told to me. To Zen students were praising their own teachers. And one of them says, uh, my teacher is so wonderful. I has all these psychic powers can fly through the air and walk on water and, and such so forth. And the other students had all my teachers were they great too, because my teacher, when she walks, she just walks, when she sits, she just sits when she works. It just works. And the first students at all your teachers really great, that that is wonderful. So, walk when you walk, sit when you sit, clean when you clean, talk with friends as you when you talk. This is a great power and and it's a gift to the world that we give ourselves to each thing that we do carefully. So thank you