The secret of magically meditative chores
If you’ve ever read about the positive effects of meditation, chances are you would at the very least like to try it out – but who can find the time? Actually, you do: here’s how to combine chores and meditation into an effective one-two punch.
Journey first, destination second
Doing chores, or even recurring tasks at work, is something most people hate. I used to loathe them, too – but that was before I was able to change my perspective on chores from being something that takes away from my time into something which yields an entirely positive outcome. It’s not quite meditation, but it’s a taste of the positive side effects which stem from being able to empty ones mind.
The following two points are paramount if you are to achieve any sort of output: the level of ease with which a chore can be executed, and the amount of a given chore spends on your mind. As your head holds a black belt in denial, procrastination and general laziness, you need to give yourself a work list. Anything from a paper calendar to a recurring reminder on your smartphone will suffice. The key is to make sure that you do not, to the greatest possible degree, have to remember when a chore needs to be done.
As for making a chore easier to do, routines are the way to go. Convert as much as a chore of you can into a routine that your brain can convert into muscle memory skill, and deviate only if you have to: this way, it will over time become second nature for you in much the same way riding a bicycle (hopefully) is. You do remember how you, at least as a child, could ride along and suddenly realize you’ve gone for a mile without even noticing anything on the outside of your head, right? That’s what we’re aiming for.
Also, if a chore is done seldom and is a little bit complicated, create a procedural check list for yourself which you write down and can access easily. This way, you reduce your resistence towards getting started on it.
But what does this have to do with meditation?
Wikipedia has the following to say of meditation:
“Meditation refers to any of a family of practices in which the practitioner trains his or her mind or self-induces a mode of consciousness in order to realize some benefit.”
As you shift the execution of chores from the conscious towards the subconscious part of your brain, you will be able to empty your mind either for the purpose of letting thoughts wander, or simply for keeping the mind empty if you’re so inclined. Often, those who meditate rely on some external point to maintain their focus; for you, this can be the routines you have created for executing your chores – which is what I do.
There’s a zen proverb which also lends itself to the situation we’re talking about:
“Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water”.
As you can see, it refers to simple, repetitive tasks which can be committed to muscle memory and as such do not tax the brain. Chores.
The one-two punch
It may not be full-on, hardcore meditation in its purest form – but it’s an opportunity to clear and relax your mind, which is enjoyable enough to turn chores into something you actually look forward to. Oh, and if you have a spouse, they will love you for it. That’s worth something, too.