I have several everyday meditations having to do with laundry because this is such a common chore that anyone can do. Of course, if you don’t typically do the laundry in your house, you can still benefit from reading this post by taking the structure of what I am sharing and applying it to some other aspect of your life that is equally as monotonous and mundane. Again, it’s not that you’re always going to have time to tend to the laundry in these ways, but if you catch yourself pushing through the task just for the sake of being done, you may choose instead to take a breath and then try out one of these practices.
I already shared one “everyday” laundry meditation in yesterday’s post, “Meditation: Slow Motion”, which focused on sorting the laundry before washing. Another meditation opportunity I embrace sometimes is when I am folding the laundry: as I handle each piece of clothing, I smooth it and fold it with great care, and just open myself up to being the action without any concern for the what is accomplished by the action. By opening myself up in this way, I generate an intense sense of quality and precision which feels very satisfying, and that feeling then carries over into other things I do in my day.
Other times instead of just being the action, I bring to it a deep sense of gratitude for each item I fold. Gratitude for having the money to buy it, gratitude for having a washer and dryer to clean them, gratitude for the children they clothe, gratitude for this simple task I can do for them as a way of letting them know I love them, gratitude that I don’t have to carry my clothes down to the stream each week to wash them, then have to carry a basket full of wet laundry back home to hang them to dry. I even find gratitude for having the simple chore that allows me to practice this mindful meditation.
Other times I contemplate the process that went into why I have this laundry to be folding in the first place. I work my way back down the chain, beginning with why I bought them, where I bought them, how the store came upon having them to sell, the delivery trucks that carried them, the manufacturers that made them, the designers that designed them, the manufacturers that produced the material, the farmers that grew the cotton, the very first humans who figured out how to spin and weave material, and all the incredible feats of engineering that were necessary each step of the way. And a sense of fascination comes over me as I recognize the fact that many of the items I’m folding cost less than ten dollars apiece. How is that even possible? And so as I finish the chore, I am filled with a renewed sense of just how fortunate I am to live in these times.
It’s these simple tasks and chores in our days that give us an opportunity to open up to the greater wonder of this world we live in. We avail ourselves to a much bigger perspective by stepping outside of the limited confines of our conceptualized reality. We touch a sense of peace and perfection that we can take with us in our other interactions throughout our days, and share it with others we come into contact with.
If you have any tips and practices with simple everyday tasks, or if you wanted to report any results from trying my suggestions, it’d be great to hear from you.