Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Laundry Meditation

     Almost every faith tradition has some sort of tool to help their practitioners with the rituals of prayer.  Raised Catholic, I am most familiar with rosary beads, but Moslems, Ba'hai, and other faiths have their own version of prayer beads.  The Jews have special fringe, tzitzits on the corners of their prayer shawls.  And Hindus and Buddhists have mala beads, traditionally, these are strands of 108 beads to help the devout focus on the mantra they are chanting without being distracted by keeping track of the number of repititions.

     As a kid,  I did not care for the rote recitation of prayers that the rosary required. I thought it was dumb to just say the same thing over and over.  I much preferred having an ongoing conversation with the Almighty.  (Shocking, I know.)  Today, though, I think that maybe I'm beginning to understand the spiritual value of repetition.  There is something to a practice that can drown out the cacophony of swirling thoughts in my head and bring momentary relief from the struggles of my day.  I get it now.

     I don't have any beads or knotted threads to help me with this.  What I have is laundry.  Piles of laundry. As I fold countless towels, I find myself slowing into a peaceful rhythm.  With every pair of boxer shorts I come closer to actually being right here, right now, in this moment.  The tension in my body releases.  My mind calms.  And it is there, in that place of routine and ritual that the solutions to my problems begin to emerge and my worries begin to fade.

     Then I come across a queen size fitted sheet and everything goes to shit.