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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dishwasher Mindfulness

Upon emerging from my formal sitting meditation I decided to unload the dishwasher with deep concentration and mindfulness. As I slowly began the process of unloading the clean dishes I thought about each cup, each plate and each utensil. How many wonderful meals have these plates and bowls held for this body to enjoy!! How many times have those forks and spoons helped me eat??

Yet I could not have savored these many wonderful tastes without water for more then one reason but mostly I was concentrating upon the cleaning aspect of water. How wonderful that we have this beautiful, soft, cool manifestation to cleanse our body and dishes amongst so many other gifts. When later washing dishes to put into the dishwasher I ran my fingers through the water cascading out of the facet. Here I had a little waterfall right in my home!! I couldn't help but think of all the beautiful waterfalls that I saw upon our visit to Oregon a few years ago. However, mostly I thought of the world famous Multnomah falls (pictured above) outside Portland--the water pouring into the sink through my hands was no different then the water pouring down the Multnomah falls!! What a great thing to have a waterfall in one's house!! How lucky that I am to have such a delightful and generous gift.

It made me think about my brothers and sisters around the world who do not have such access to clean drinking water. I remember the difficulty that some Africans had in obtaining water during my two years living in the Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), West Africa. They cherished every drop because of all the effort that went into obtaining it. It reminded me not to take that fresh water available right inside my house for granted. Water is so precious and as we know we'd die without it so let us treat it as the precious treasure that it is and keep our rivers and lakes clean.

However, let us return to the dishes. My focus then settled into the make-up of the plates themselves. How wondrous and curious a thing is a plate. I wouldn't even know where to start to make manifest a plate from all the non-plate elements within it. I don't even know how to make a paper plate!! However, I do enjoy them and honor all the things that go into their creation including the artisans who invest their time, energy and concentration into making these dishes possible. I care for these plates as to not break them and waste the efforts of these wonderful people.

There is no magic other then what is already around and within us. How amazing that we can create any number of things from the joining of individual elements and other materials!! A bowl is a bowl and yet it is not--it's also a rock. A table is a table and yet it is not--it is also water and iron. This warm hooded sweatshirt is a warm hooded sweatshirt and yet it is not--it's a sheep and a sowing machine. The fingers that type this post are fingers and yet they are not--they are oxygen and tomatoes. Why tomatoes? Why not? All things are found within an one isolated "thing" (as well as anything can actually be isolated). In a more precise answer, however, my mother ate many tomatoes when she was carrying me in her womb and I would not have grown into a human being without those tomatoes--amongst so many other things that she ingested and did NOT ingest.

My focus also settled next upon my beautiful, kind and compassionate wife who was the last one to touch these dishes. She was in those dishes and I gently caressed them before placing them gently in the cabinets because I wasn't just handling fragile dishes--I was handling my fragile wife at the same time. If I slammed the dishes into the cabinets without care then I was doing the same to my wife and I didn't want to bring discomfort to her so I handled them with the careful attention that they deserve.

And I also saw you, my friend reading this right now--and I smiled to you. I hope that you see my smile the next time you use a plate. And when you do? Please smile back to me to maintain an infinite circle of smiles. Thank-you in advance for your smile blessed one.


~Peace to all beings~

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renée said...

Many smiles to you, James! I also make the same experience when f.ex. I'm cleaning my house in consciousness on whatever I am doing - you feel contentment and the holiness of every movement and every touch...inner peace!
Isn't it meditation?!

trinitystar said...

Yep! Ill be thinking of you doing the chores. It is only when one focus on a job other than ones own does one see.
hugs for you.
Good post.

Mac said...

hi James! Thanks for this beautiful post. What a great use of words!

Greenwoman said...

Geez...I can only shake my head at you my friend. I have begun to set your blog aside for when I can just sit and share your meditation with you....because I generally feel so deeply about it. You are the kind of person that I would profoundly enjoy sharing community experience with. You'd add so much wisdom to the circle and it would be a joy to be in your physical presence as well as your writer's presence here. I feel very blessed to send you a smile when I next handle a plate. Thank you and bless you.

They call him James Ure said...


Yes inner peace no matter what one is doing.

Trinity Star:



Thank-you kindly. I'm glad the post moved you.

Green Woman:

My, I don't quite know what to say in response to such kindness besides thank-you deeply.

I am so happy to share my meditation with you. I would be honored and pleased to participate in community. My only desire in life has been to be a teacher. I couldn't get there through school because of my mental health condition but I am glad to be able to use blogging as a way to teach and be taught.

I bet you have a great smile by the way. :)

Your words brought tears of joy and thanks to my eyes. You move me in ways that not many can do. I feel that we've known each other before.

I bow to you in respect.

Reiki 4 Life said...

I came here based on a comment you made on one of greenwoman's (many ;) ) blogs....(pardon the paraphraseing) about how a spiritual teacher told you that mental illness is due to one
s true nature being too big to fit inside their physical body. wow. that resonates deeply with me. hmmmm.

in any case, yes to immerse oneself deeply in whatever you are doing is to find the sacredness in each moment. it is impossible to do so when you are speeding through life with a checklist in hand...marking things off just to get them done. i used to be that way, but have since learned to slow my mind, body and being...

it makes a world of difference.

and greenwoman was right...this is a place that makes you think. well deserved thinking blogger award.

amanzi said...


Thank you, James. An inspiring post. Your meditation is your meditation, but it is also your readers. (:

They call him James Ure said...

Thank-you Reiki :)

They call him James Ure said...


Thank-you for you kind words. I bow to the Buddha within you. May you be well friend.

Anonymous said...

Hey James ... i havent visited ur blog for ages. How are you doing? Juz curious on the celebration of the Vesak day. Do you celebrate one and how does the celebration looks like over there.

About Vesak day -

Would appreciate it if you could blog on that.

god bless and namo amithaba buddha


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