Week 8: The Zen of Woodpiles

So, yesterday I moved about 2 or 3 cords of wood from point A in my yard to point B and C (made two piles). I was doing a lot of thinking during the task. When we started it was snowing and windy. By the time we ended, it was raining and windy.


I learned a lot about the meaning of Zen today.

The ground was slippery, muddy. Our grass has not come back in after the trees were removed and the fence installed, so it’s patchy, slippery and rough. Each step was a challenge. Each step took concentration. Each step took focus.

Zen is like that. Each step of each thing that we do should demand our total attention. Zen is simply paying attention.

We owe so much money we’re not broke we’re broken
We’re so poor we can’t even pay attention
So what do you want
You want to be famous and rich and happy
But you’re terrified you have nothing to offer this world
Nothing to say and no way to say it

KMFDM (Dogma)

Simply paying attention to our daily lives, each step of what we do, the fleeting feelings that invade our thoughts is a very liberating feeling.

At first it’s a concious choice – that is where I am today – but sooner or later it will become a habit. It’s odd, as I type this, I can feel the keystrokes on each finger indvidually. Paying attention.

As we learn to pay attention, we can start to pay attention to more and more of what we are doing and what is going on around us at once. It’s a way of interacting with the physical universe on a more viceral level. It’s a way of always making sure that what you are doing is the best that you can.

Zen is another word for Mindfulness. We should aspire to be mindful of our actions, pay attention to our deeds, and do the best we can at each thing that we do.