Wednesday, June 24, 2009

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry Part 1

Summer brings time for reading. I've already read three books this summer that I want to share with you. Today is the first of a short series of posts about this book by Jack Kornfield.

I picked up this book at the Spirit Rock bookstore when I took part in Jack's recent daylong retreat. I picked it up and almost couldn't put it down. Jack's books—like his talks—share stories told among the top teachers in that realm. I'll share a few in Mindful Heart over the next few posts.

To begin, here is a story culled from Chapter 14, "Honoring Family Karma" which concerns how family life offers lay practitioners countless opportunities for spiritual realization.

This story comes from a spiritual teacher in the Catholic tradition:

As a young Catholic I was inspired by the saints. I had always wanted to do things like work with Mother Teresa in India, but most of my life has not been so glamorous. After college I became a teacher in an elementary school And then my mother had a stroke and I had to drop out of teaching and help her for two years: bathe her, care for her bedsores, cook, pay the bills, run the house. At times I wanted to complete these responsibilities and get back to my spiritual life. Then one morning it dawned on me—I was doing the work of Mother Teresa, and I was doing it in my own home.

With mindful awareness ordinary tasks done in the service of others can become holy.

4 comments:

Sarah Lulu said...

I've started reading that book again myself Dan.
In between packing to move and working ...like crazy....and I too believe everything we do is part of our spiritual journey.

Have a lovely day.

Dan Gurney said...

Your belief, Sarah Lulu, shines through each of your blog posts. The sacred and the profane coexist.

Margaret Pangert said...

I have a priest who told us he grumbled in the rectory about always being the one to fill the ice trays (a while ago, old frig). The monseigneur told him only to do it if had love in his heart; if something is not done from a postive, mindful, loving attitude, it's not worth doing. I'm passing ths book along to Marion of dragongflyspoetryandprolixity who is compiling a summer reading list. Namaste, Margaret

Alden Smith (Nick name - Pal) said...

This is so true. I have heard that there is an old Zen Buddhist saying that states that whatever is placed upon your doorstep every day is what you are required to deal with to the best of your ability - I believe that.