Wash, yoga, and other daily signs by Cyma

I, and so many others, have been struck with the sincerity of and the messages sent by author and Zen Master Karen Maezen Miller. Her latest (book) incarnation: hand wash cold (care instructions for an ordinary life) has been publicized throughout the country and is stretching across the world. The message is simple: that everyday chores and routines can provide opportunities for self-examination; teach us about relationships and free us from our ego-driven lives. I like her words; I like this book. I like the simplicity of the message and the essence of it source.

Awhile back I wrote a blog about yoga, and how my daily, early-morning practice often provides me with clues to how my day might unfold. I’d like to examine this further, since I think that we always get clues to everything, all day long – if we take the time to just look. Did we neatly fold the day’s wash, or did we throw it on the floor? Did the nearby driver honk the horn at us for a good reason, or does this just reflect his state of mind? When we made dinner, did we just do that – that is, make dinner and not think about what we would do next or before or tomorrow, or later tonight? Did we have ‘words’ with our friends, family, neighbors which weren’t necessary? Everything reflects our framework and our present state of mind, if only we pay attention and look.

As I often write about being in the moment, many of the greatest teachings and most popular quotes revolve around just that: to be in the moment. Consider these quotes: “The more I give myself permission to live in the moment and enjoy it without feeling guilty, the better I feel about the quality of my work” – Wayne Dyer. “…the foundation for greatness is honoring the small things of the present moment, instead of pursuing the idea of greatness” – Eckert Tolle. The Koran, Bible, Torah and teachings of Buddha all speak about the power of now. It is at the heart of all Zen writings.

Whether it’s the Serenity Prayer, or any number of other written passages that catch your attention, consider posting them in highly visible areas around your home or your workplace. You might even put them on the dashboard of your car. Pay attention to things that you do or that happen to you. Is there a pattern here? A message that can be heard? Do we need to just stop and breathe?

At various times, I post various messages, signs or symbols around my house – all dedicated to getting my attention and helping me get it. I hope that this blog helps you slow down and get it, too.