Precious moments

red berriesAccording to the thirteenth century Zen master Dogen, there are 6,440,099,180 moments in each day. If we multiply this by the 342 days remaining of this year, we still have 2,202,513,919,560 moments ahead of us before we get to 2015. Of course, in reality it’s impossible to calculate the ephemeral nature of moments, but in mindfulness every moment is an opportunity to become more present, and Dogen’s calculation, give or take a few moments, clearly presents us with numerous opportunities to be mindful each day. Continue reading “Precious moments” »

The Rush to Relax

Flower in glass

We’ve probably all done it – rushed through something which needed to get done, such as cleaning up after dinner, in order to get to what we really want to do. The tasks we are racing through are almost seen as ‘empty’ time, of little importance to us. We feel our lives should be filled with more important matters than washing dishes, paying bills, brushing our teeth. When I saw the movie ‘Amélie’ I was impressed with her calm, considered morning routine. It looked like such a rich part of her life, something she enjoyed every day. My own morning routine seems very mundane in comparison, without the French soundtrack, the special lighting effects, the sense that, because this is a movie, every action is important.

It could be called the rush to relax – the sense that because my time doing the things I love is precious, I need to deal with the rest of my life as quickly as possible. However, there are at least two ways in which living like this is problematic.

Firstly, most of our lives are made up of mundane tasks we have to ‘get through’. By the time we’ve had a shower, prepared, eaten and tidied away three meals, got ourselves to work or school or the shops and back, ticked off the many ordinary tasks we find there, taken care of our family and pets, done our exercise, dealt with the mail, phone calls and e-mail, paid a few bills and organised ourselves for the next day, it’s basically time to go to bed. Continue reading “The Rush to Relax” »