Thursday, November 24th, 2016
There’s a Japanese term, “ichigyo-zammai,” that basically means full concentration on a single act. The practice of being fully in the moment with the activity is enlightened activity.
So instead of having some object of worship, just concentrate on the activity which we do in each moment. When you bow, you should just bow; when you sit, you should just sit; when you eat, you should just eat. When we just do that one activity, we express our true nature. This is a beautiful idea, that when we aren’t present, our true nature cannot fully express itself … but when we are truly just doing whatever we’re doing, we start to express our true selves.
But it’s easier said than done. How often are we not in the moment? It turns out, we are very rarely fully in the moment with any single activity. How can we try this enlightened activity of full concentration on one act?
When you start an activity, turn to it with your full attention and set an intention to be present with the act, to do nothing but this activity. You might think, “Just walk” or “Just read” or “Just drink tea.”
When you notice yourself thinking about something else, or getting your attention pulled elsewhere, or starting down a pattern of judgment, resentment, etc. … just notice. Then return to being fully present with the activity.
Empty your mind of preconceived ideas about the activity, and just be curious about what the activity is actually like, right now, as it unfolds. Allow yourself to be surprised. See the brilliance of each moment, of each activity, that underlies everything around us. Just write. Just shower. Just give someone your full attention.
Summing-up: As we give each activity our full loving attention, we start to appreciate each person, each object, everything around us as something worthy of respect, love, and gratitude.