I am looking forward to the rest of the afternoon for writing, meditation, sipping herbal tea and reading a good book with my dog curled up beside me. The rhubarb awaits, a pile of it pulled earlier today and needing to be chopped. I was not the puller, and won’t be the stewer either. My part is a small one, in the overall picture of the rhubarb and the making of the rhubarb stew. I volunteered to chop it, this rhubarb from someone else’s garden and for someone else’s kitchen but which I’ll be able to enjoy too.
I didn’t just volunteer to chop it to be helpful, but because I saw it as accomplishing the meditation portion of my afternoon in addition to achieving the task of chopping up the rhubarb. Instead of listening to guided meditations, walking in meditation while hiking, or doing my own sitting with a beeswax candle flame, today I’ll be meditating in motion while chopping rhubarb.
Remember the Karate Kid movie and the “wax on, wax off” scene? Yup, that’s about it. In Thich Nhat Hanh’s books he has explained that meditating in motion and as one goes through one’s daily tasks is valuable and beneficial to us and our loved ones. Although it is more challenging for us, it is vital to begin to incorporate this into our meditation practices. Even if it takes a little longer, I will chop the rhubarb mindfully, enjoying the moment. The sounds of the birds through the open window, the smell of the fresh vegetation after the rainfall, the enchanting green and reds of the stalks, these are all part of the magical afternoon task of chopping the rhubarb.
Numerous times, because I am no Thich Nhat Hanh or Mr. Miyagi, my mind will wander off and I will suddenly be chopping to finish my task, thinking of my to do list, distracted. But without judging I will notice this and gently and with kindness, bring my mind back to noticing the moment, my breathing, the sounds of the birds, and just be. Taking one’s ordinary task and using it to meditate. Silly and fun sounding, let’s just call it what it is…Rhubarb Chopping Meditation.