How To Use Dishwashing For Blissful Meditation
Meditation isn’t about stopping your thoughts. It’s about connecting with your breath. And in the moments you do that, your awareness is no longer on your thoughts.
By JEANNIE SHAW
Train Attention & Awareness
According to Wikipedia, meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness, or focusing the mind on a specific object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.
It sounds simple enough, right? Yet, a lot of people believe that they are not able to meditate. “I sit there and try to be quiet. The thoughts won’t stop coming and I can’t make them stop.” These are comments I hear all too often. Before long, they just give up trying.
But meditation isn’t about stopping your thoughts. It’s about connecting with your breath. And in the moments you do that, your awareness is no longer on your thoughts.
Meditation isn’t always about sitting still and chanting OM, although when you do get to that level, it can bring you absolute bliss. But, your form of meditation may never be sitting and chanting OM and that’s ok. Whatever your form of meditation is, I just want to see you find it.
It’s About Being Present
There are other ways you can meditate that will not require you to sit in one position for an extended period of time. One of those ways is “washing dishes”. You can actually use this simple household chore to calm your mind and emotions. Additionally, you can apply a similar technique to any household chore or anything you do. It’s all about being present, in the moment and training your attention and awareness.
So, let’s use a simple household chore such a washing dishes. This can be a very useful tool that can help you with your meditation practice and bring you to a mentally clear and emotionally calm state.
Move in Slow Motion
1. Put your phone away.
2. Take 5 deep breaths as you stand before your sink. (Be sure you’re breathing in to your tummy. Follow your breath in and down and back out again.)
3. Start to organize your items and try to be completely in the moment.
Don’t rush. You can almost move in slow motion, at ease and at peace.
4. Once they are organized, get your water, detergent, sponge or whatever is a part of your dishwashing modus operandi. Take another moment and do 3 deep inhales.
5. Begin. Really watch your hands as you begin washing each item and listen to the sounds around you. Perhaps you hear any animals, children, traffic… whatever is around you. Just tune in.
6. Notice how the items feel in your hands. Take note of the temperature of the water. Is the water warm? Are you wearing gloves? Pay attention to the way the water comes out from the faucet. Is it fast?
7. As you wash each item, completely immerse yourself in that process. Watch the sponge or washcloth go around the item. Notice how the soap suds form and multiply. Take note of the detergent’s fragrance.
8. Notice how your body feels. Come in tune with your legs that are holding you up. Give your attention to your posture … and before long, this will take you to your breath.
When you notice your breath, you will feel more like a witness, as if you’re watching yourself performing this activity. You may hold that moment for a while or it may be fleeting. What you’ll find is that you will likely connect to it a few times as you continue your chore.
Somewhere in the midst of washing the dishes, if you’ve truly made it a point to BE PRESENT, you will likely begin to feel a sense of calm and peace. This is just the beginning. If you make it a point to practice this daily, it will catapult you into tiny moments everyday where you practice to be present.
There’s a special connection that happens when you become aware of your breath. Each experience has its own individual magic and when you find yours, you’ll long to find it again and again… and again.
And your meditation practice will have surely begun.
No Breath. No Life.
I remember the very first time I became completely aware of my breath. The thought that came to me was that this breath is all that I am and without it, I wouldn’t be here. Imagine, something that our bodies do every moment that we are hardly aware of yet it is literally our lifeline. No breath. No life.
More and more, as you find something to fix your attention to (even dishwashing), you’ll find that it gives you a moment of peace. Washing dishes is such a trivial act and focusing on something so mundane takes you away from the perils of the world and all the troubles that you feel like you can’t keep up with.
Mindfulness Begins Wherever You Are
You may find yourself back to your thoughts about your life, just bring yourself back to the dishes, the water, the soap suds, the stacking of the items and without realizing it, you’ll be back to your breath.
A calm will find you and the more you practice this with other things in your life, the calmer you will feel. Mindfulness begins wherever you are and whatever you pour your full attention into. You can use this technique when you’re sweeping, polishing, walking, golfing… any activity at all. Just immerse yourself fully, become aware and fully engaged.
Before you know it, you will start to become increasingly aware of your breath in other mundane activities. It may even find you as you’re watching a movie, waiting in line somewhere, staring at the sunset… any time, any place.
Once it does, it’s a signal that you’re making tiny connections to the greatest Source of all and those seemingly minuscule moments of connecting to God will yield grand results. And one of the greatest love affairs of your life will have begun. You’ll find yourself feeling more guided, more at peace, more quiet, less irritable and more trusting.
You may also want to check out this YouTube video that tells a little more about meditation and some other ways to start your practice. Or, if you prefer to read, check out this post about using meditation to ease anxiety.