Most of our lives are taken up by very mundane, even boring, tasks. Some of my more mundane daily tasks include making beds, cleaning up toys, making breakfast, making lunch, commuting to work, doing paperwork, bathtime, and bedtime, to name a few. Sometimes these tasks seem far from my experience of connecting to God, but I know that they are a big way that I can stay present and be of service to the world.
Connecting to the divine doesn’t mean we stop participating in our daily lives, we just approach them differently. As the Zen quote goes, “before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” Once we have an experience or knowledge of our oneness to the divine, our outer lives don’t always change. We still must participate in the life of the body, and the life of this world.
I try to practice breathing and being present as I do these tasks. Sometimes I even find them relaxing and satisfying – especially making the beds. I love being able to create a safe home for my daughter, which includes trying (and often failing) to keep the house peaceful and clean and orderly. I also love the chance to practice being present in my body, especially since smart phones are such a distraction! I can’t look at my phone while doing these daily tasks, and I’m glad for it.
Doing mundane tasks is a huge part of our lives on earth. These tasks, while perhaps a little boring, keep us rooted in our realities. If we approach them with love and an open heart, they can be a source of joy and even freedom.