The Zen of Logging
One could imagine that the noise would disturb my focus, but that is no so. I close the world out with my earmuffs, but only to become more focused on the job ahead. Logging is mindfulness training: handling the saw, letting the tree fall in the right direction, not getting trapped under it, cutting and moving, all is a matter of mindful awareness.
Then I have got the breaks, watching the nature, listening to the birds, feeling the breeze, experience the interconnectedness, that is also part of the Zen of logging. Even the chopping is Zen:
There is a Zen saying, “Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water.” What’s the difference? The tasks are the same. The need is the same. What about the frame of mind? Who is chopping? Who is carrying water?
When you labor, stay awake. Notice the frame of mind you bring to your work. Do you approach your work as if it were a nuisance? Do you remove your consciousness from work so that you are filled with resentment or worry? What would you need to do to be more fully present in your work?
Practice mindfulness in work. It does little good to attain clarity of mind on your meditation cushion if you lose it as soon as you become active. Start with simple activities like brushing your teeth, ironing clothes, or washing dishes. Be fully alert as you move. Notice the position of your body in space. Notice the feelings in your body as you move. Pay attention to the thoughts that enter your mind when you do the task. See if you can let them go and just focus on the work itself.
Chop wood, carry water, about making zen out of our daily activities.
I will not invoke any enlightment on my behalf. But chopping is also a question of focus and awareness. An axe is a dangerous tool when used in a mindless way.
I must admit I am very aware, – of muscles I seldom use. 🙂