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. At first glance, that might seem a little silly: why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing these bowls is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.
Thich Nhat Hanh | The Miracle of Mindfulness
What Thich Nhat Hanh offers from his perspective as a Buddhist monk is invaluable in our work to find the life we are meant to live. In this early book of his, he makes it clear that if we cannot find a way to enjoy simple acts like washing dishes, we will never be able to find the way to truly enjoy the accomplishment of our greatest dreams.
The ability to enjoy comes first.
The good news is that it’s something we can practice now. And as we practice it, the accomplishments through which our greatest happiness can be experienced and expressed will find us.
So, today I will wash the dishes while I wash the dishes. I will walk as I take a walk. I will brush my hair as I brush my hair. I will take a breath, now, knowing that I am taking a breath.