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Leaving Our Lives Without Leaving the Room

Updated: Jan 3, 2019

Every morning, I do my bathroom routine: brush my teeth, shower, dress, whatever — then I meditate. I make sure to get that all in before the day starts in earnest.

Really? As in, the day didn’t start ‘in earnest’ the minute I opened my eyes? Like everything that came between opening my eyes and leaving for work was just the fake part of the day, not the earnest part? And what does “make sure to get that in” mean? It sounds a little like, “Here’s something shaped just like that hole; I’ll just ball it up and stuff it there, so we can move on to the important stuff.”

There are so many ways to leave our lives without leaving the room. One way for sure is to consider some activities worthy of mindfulness (sitting in meditation), and others, not (brushing my teeth, etc).

This morning I decided everything was up for grabs. Everything could be my spiritual practice. And suddenly, everything got real. The ground under my feet as I washed my face; the angle of my back leaning over the sink; the water running down my elbows, little droplets tickling the tops of my bare feet; the rosemary scent of the soap. The harsh, automatic way I jammed the toothbrush up and down against my gums, the subtle change in quality of pressure once I noticed this…and on and on.

It was fascinating. It expanded my whole life. For about seven minutes.

And then, of course, the day started ‘in earnest’ and I was off to the races. But this is a practice, and I practiced a little this morning. Tomorrow, I will practice again.

A different meditation practice. Sitting is important. Regular sitting. But it isn't a substitute for being aware of the rest of your life. Stay in the room while you go through your life, not just when you're meditating.


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