Meditation with Hands.
June 5, 2014 § 3 Comments
Back in 1998, soon after I met my now husband, we went travelling together. Just us, a tent, some spiritual books and a stereo in a little red car.
Our interest was in intentional communities, and we planned to visit as many as we knew about. On the list was Chenrezig Buddhist Monastery up in the hills of the lower Sunshine Coast. After a couple of nights there I applied for the volunteer program, and was accepted. I had a little hut to sleep and meditate in, and did four hours a day of work around the centre.
I also got to experience the teachings, translated from Tibetan, originally spoken by the awe inspiring Geshe Tashi Tsering. Rumour was it that in his cabin, the highest on the hill, the wooden floors were worn away into a depression from him doing so many protestations (I think that is the right word!).
Many of the tasks I did were menial – gardening, weeding, sweeping, washing up or chopping mountains of vegetables in the kitchens. However I was taught a Buddhist approach to these tasks that has remained with me: meditation with hands. If I was weeding – then I would have mindfulness with the weeding. Every weed pulled was a distracting thought pulled from my mind. If I was washing up – I would have mindfulness with washing up – as every plate was cleaned, so too were the thoughts in my mind cleaned and purified. It was the easiest form of meditation for me, and one I still practice all the time.
But I have also applied this to crafting. When I sew….it is with mindfulness. If my monkey mind is really distracted or throwing up unhelpful suggestions, I bring myself back to this stitch, and then the next stitch. Each stitch is a second of being totally present, and then before I know it I have stitched together something beautiful….transforming the busyness in my mind into another kind of beauty.
When I run craft workshops I love seeing women or children get into the ‘zone’…where they leave thought behind and simply create. It is calming, rejuvenating. It is meditation with Hands.