The Two are One

“If we’re not careful, this is how we approach mindfulness: as an idea, one we rather like, to elevate our lives with special contemplative consideration, a method for making smarter choices and thereby assuring better outcomes. The problem is that the life before us is the only life we have. The search for meaning robs our life of meaning, sending us back into our discursive minds while right in front of us the laundry piles up…

…With only a change in perspective, the most ordinary things take on inexpressible beauty. When we don’t know, we don’t judge. And when we don’t judge, we see things in a different light. That is the light of our awareness, unfiltered by intellectual understanding, rumination, or evaluation. When we cultivate nondistracted awareness as a formal practice, we call it mindfulness meditation. When we cultivate it in our home life, we call it the laundry, the kitchen, or the yard—all the places and the ways to live mindfully by attending without distraction to whatever appears before us. But it’s hard for us to believe that attention is all there is to it, and so we complicate things with our judgment—debasing the ordinary as insignificant and idealizing the spiritual as unattainable—never seeing that the two are one.”

~ by Karen Maezen Miller, from “Do Dishes, Rake Leaves (And Don’t Forget the Endless Loads of Laundry),” Shambhala Sun, March 2010