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Do you bathe when you bathe?

Everyday early in the morning, a Zen Master asked his disciples: “How many of you have bathed this morning?" Almost all the disciples raise their hands dutifully. Next question: How many of you are aware you bathed when you did?

Not a single hand was raised.

Bathing is an act. Bathing with complete awareness that you are bathing is different. Today surely all of you must have bathed and all of you must have brushed your teeth. How many of you were aware of what you were doing when you did that?

When you brushed your teeth how many of you were aware that you were brushing your teeth? When you bathed how many of you were aware of the hot water on your body? Were you aware that your body was just getting ready after the bath, and your life was getting rejuvenated after the bath? How many of you were aware of all these things when they happened?

A small Zen story:

A king went to a Master, and asked: “Master how can I become enlightened? Tell me about all the practices you do. What did you do to become enlightened? Please teach me"

The Master says: “Oh! I eat when I eat; I sleep when I sleep. That is all I do"

The king could not understand.

The Master explained: “When I eat I only eat, I do not do anything else when I sleep I only sleep I do not do anything else"

But what do we do? Recall how you eat. You will remember that you were watching TV or reading a magazine when you were eating. Or it could be that you were talking to someone or continuously thinking of something. If you were calm, sitting quietly and eating your wife would have been there to report some problems in the house.

So in one way or another, when you eat, your mind does everything else but focus on the food and eating. You do everything except eat.

You treat food with such scant respect. It is just a form of garbage that is stuffed through your mouth. That is why the food treats you like a garbage bag. It withholds its energy unless you become aware of what you eat. If you treat your food with respect and are aware of what you eat when you eat, wellness results.

This is true even when you sleep! When you sleep you do everything else except sleeping. Because, only when you sleep you dream, you have your nightmare and fear strokes. You then have disturbed sleep.

Catch yourself in the act. Become aware. That will set your inner transformation in motion.

Story first published: Thursday, August 26, 2010, 11:50 [IST]
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