This meditation is done while performing any of the simple tasks of everyday life, such as washing dishes, cleaning, dressing,
undressing. It's purpose is to focus solely on the task at hand. it should not be done while operating any kind of equipment
that requires split-second reactions, such as driving a car or operating power tools.
The procedure is simply to describe to yourself each step of the task at hand just before you do the step. if you were
washing dishes you might be thinking the following: "I'm now going to wash this cup - I'm now going to rinse this cup
- I'm now going to place this cup in the dish drainer." While undresing you might be thinking: "I'm now going to
untie my right shoe - I'm now going to remove my right shoe - I'm now going to untie my left shoe." If distracting thoughts
occur, do not suppress them. Note them and go right back to the work meditation.
I'll repeat this advice about distracting thoughts with each exercise. It's probably the most important thing that can
be said about the practice of meditation. When you first do these meditations, you'll probably discover that you lose your
focus quickly. I have found that as I work with these meditations my focus improves and that it is better after chanting or
Meditation is not the suppression of distracting thoughts. Rather it is a process in which each thought is seen for what
it is and then the attention is brought back to the subject of the meditation. Gradually, as one continues to practice, distracting
thoughts come less and less frequently.
I've also deliberately chosen to say that you focus on the task at hand, rather than concentrate on the task at hand.
No meditation should take a great effort. Focusing on a task means simply bringing your awareness to that task. It does not
involve a determined effort to keep your attention in one place, which might be implied by telling you to concentrate. A determined
effort would work against the inner peace that comes through meditation.
In the second level, you are still trying to focus on your work, but you do it without using words. Instead of describing
to yourself in words the action you will perform, visualize each step before doing it. If washing dishes, visualize washing
a cup, then wash it; visualize rinsing a cup, then rinse it. Again, if distracting thoughts occur, don't try to suppress them.
Note them and return to the meditation
As you become more practiced in the work meditation, let your focus expand to include all the sensations your body is
experiencing. If you are hungry, feel your hunger. If your legs are stiff, feel the stiffness. If wind is blowing, feel it
on your face. Is your clothing tight? Feel the constriction. Is it lose? Feel it brush your skin. When you have privacy, do
the work meditation naked and feel the air against all of your skin.