laundry and suffering

one of my many teachers

The big man and I were cleaning his clothes out yesterday and once we removed everything he had outgrow, decided it would be good to wash all his t-shirts. He had so many in his drawer that it was overflowing (and a side effect of the overflow was wrinkles). He’s been very helpful with folding, but this time he decided to sit on the couch and whine a little when I said it was time to help.

I took that opportunity to talk to him about his reaction and suffering.

“You know, how you react to this task is only affecting you”

“I don’t want to fold”

“It’s not my favorite thing to do either, but, how I react to it directly relates to whether it is hard to get through, or easy. You see, if there is something I don’t particularly enjoy doing, I can make a choice; do I decide ‘this is horrible, I hate this’, or, ‘this isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I can get through it pretty quick so no big deal’. If I choose the first reaction, I suffer. However, if I choose the second, I don’t, and I also usually get through the task much quicker. Which do you think would be the better decision?”

“Saying it’s no big deal.”

“Yep. Do you know where I learned that?”

“Your Dad?”

“Great guess, but actually, it was <I point my eyes up and to the left, towards our Buddha that sits in the front room>”

“From Buddha. <as he smiles>”

“Yep. That is one of the most basic, yet, most important teachings. It is also why I sit every night. So the mind I have when I sit, can be the mind I have when I work on a task that I don’t particularly care for.”

“<he smiles some more> OK”

And you know, we got through folding that laundry basket full of his t-shirts pretty quickly.


(also posted to my own blog ‘life as practice’)

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