Yesterday my husband wanted to hand-wash our cars to get the winter road salt off of them (at least until the next storm rolls through). I thought of Jundo and his toilets--because I HATE washing cars. In the past (pre-zen life) when hubby tried to 'teach' me how to do this, I ended up soaking wet because I could not control the hose spray, and miserable with his constant admonitions and corrections, and neither I nor the car came out of the experience very well. I've been relegated to just towel drying at the end for quite a while.
Well, new day, new life--husband hurt his back, and so I really did need to help out this time as he could not bend down to wash without much pain. Ah ha! Let's try the Zen approach this time and just see what happens!
No goals--just pay attention to the task at hand. Hose down a section to get car wet, take the sponge from the soap water, wipe in circles from the top windows down to the bottom part of the paint in one section, put sponge in rinse water then back in the soap, and sponge waits patiently while you hose off the soap from the car. Sounds simple, right? Well, just sitting sounds simple too :wink:
Learning to actually SEE what I'm washing--to notice where one surface connects to another or where there is a gap between surfaces--all these myriad places are 'nooks and crannies' that need special attention to get the hidden dirt out of. As we sit for longer times (not within a session, but I mean over days/weeks/months) the 'nooks and crannies' in our lives that need attention gradually rise to the surface. When I flood these places with water and see all the black dirt fleeing the vehicle, I see various attachments fleeing from my grasp in life. When the sun dries off the water and there are missed spots of dirt, that's my life during day-to-day, off the cushion, when the aggrevations or joys shine 'dharma sun' on my life and I can see the spots in my life that I have missed and can continue to work on, or sit with.
When my husband says 'no, you forgot to do this part' or 'no, do the chrome first because it shows up the most' or 'work quicker before the sun dries on the soap'--that's just the teacher with the 'stick' saying 'pay attention and look at what you are doing'. This time, there was no issue of 'me' making mistakes, or doing a bad job. There was no good job or bad job, just a car, a hose and bucket of water and some soap.
Well, I still don't like washing cars, but I guess that's the value of samu, after all. I learned a lot, and in the end, both me and the car came out a little cleaner.