I read this blog entry on http://zenhabits.net and I would like to share it with you. The slogan for those interested would be “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” Or as my shaman puts it: "How is life before enlightenment? Chop wood and carry water. How is life after enlightenment? Chop wood and carry water." I know he was quoting one of his teachers. But for real: When it comes to truth - nobody owns it.
1. Do one thing at a time. This means in a nutshell: No multi-tasking!
2. Do it slowly and deliberately. You can do one task at a time, but also rush that task. Instead, take your time, and move slowly. ...
3. Do it completely. Put your mind completely on the task. Don’t move on to the next task until you’re finished. If you prepare a sandwich, don’t start eating it until you’ve put away the stuff you used to prepare it, wiped down the counter, and washed the dishes used for preparation.
4. Do less. A Zen monk doesn’t lead a lazy life: he wakes early and has a day filled with work. However, he doesn’t have an unending task list either — there are certain things he’s going to do today, and no more. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration.
5. Put space between things. Related to the “Do less” rule, but it’s a way of managing your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. Don’t schedule things close together — instead, leave room between things on your schedule. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.
6. Develop rituals. Zen monks have rituals for many things they do, from eating to cleaning to meditation. Ritual gives something a sense of importance — if it’s important enough to have a ritual, it’s important enough to be given your entire attention, and to be done slowly and correctly.
7. Designate time for certain things. There are certain times in the day of a Zen monk designated for certain activities. A time for bathing, a time for work, a time for cleaning, a time for eating. This ensures that those things get done regularly. You can designate time for your own activities, whether that be work or cleaning or exercise or quiet contemplation. If it’s important enough to do regularly, consider designating a time for it.
8. Devote time to sitting. In the life of a Zen monk, sitting meditation (zazen) is one of the most important parts of his day. Each day, there is time designated just for sitting. This meditation is really practice for learning to be present. You can devote time for sitting meditation, or any other taks like running as a way to practice being in the moment.
9. Smile and serve others. Zen monks spend part of their day in service to others, whether that be other monks in the monastery or people on the outside world. It teaches them humility, and ensures that their lives are not just selfish, but devoted to others. Similarly, smiling and being kind to others can be a great way to improve the lives of those around you.
10. Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Aside from the zazen mentioned above, cooking and cleaning are two of the most exalted parts of a Zen monk’s day. They are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day.
11. Think about what is necessary. There is little in a Zen monk’s life that isn’t necessary. He has basic clothing, basic shelter, basic utensils, basic tools, and the most basic food. This serves as a reminder that there is much in our lives that isnt necessary, and it can be useful to give some thought about what we really need, and whether it is important to have all the stuff we have that’s not necessary.
12. Live simply. The corollary of Rule 11 is that if something isn’t necessary, you can probably live without it. And so to live simply is to rid your life of as many of the unnecessary and unessential things as you can, to make room for the essential. There is no law saying what should be essential for you — but you should consider what is most important to your life - maybe it is your reading or writing habit.