Monday, December 20, 2010

Buddha just tasks

Lunar eclipse tonight
I've been influenced lately by watching a video of Larry Rosenberg teaching, in which he says, "When Buddha sweats, he just sweats," and other examples.  The emphasis is on "just" - Buddha does nothing else, nothing extra; I presume he doesn't have a whole story running in his mind about I hope I don't smell bad, I hate to sweat, god, it's a hot day, wish I had a beer . . . I assume that if Buddha wants a beer, he has one.  (Well, that's one of those arguable points, what that precept against intoxicants is really about.)

My favorite thing is to just walk.  An hour ago I just walked down my slushy, snowy, occasionally icy drive, across the street to Cindy's and up her drive.  I really don't want to fall, so I paid attention to only one thing:  putting down my foot, then the other foot.  I have a theory that you never fall if you are being careful not to fall.  You fall when your mind is somewhere else.

I get to do this just-walking thing every week when we go to the Chinese doctor for acupuncture.  In any weather, I enjoy the little walk from the handicapped parking space to his door.  Every step.  Then, an hour later, I go back, and often things have changed.  A rain-wet walk has dried out, the sparrows that live under the eaves are active.

I have been justified recently in something I have believed for years by a Harvard study on multitasking.  It concluded that you really don't do two things at once; you switch focus from one thing to another.  You lose efficiency and, get this, 10 IQ points. 

You knew it all along.  There's a much-quoted Buddhist story (which I can't find on the internet) about the student who says to the teacher, "You always tell us not to read and eat, to just read or just eat.  But you read and eat at the same time."
The teacher replies, "That's because when I read and eat, I read and eat." 

Maybe.  But Buddha, I think, just tasks.  One thing at a time.

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