ordinary magic

These are excerpts from the book “Ordinary Magic:  Everyday Life As Spiritual Path” edited by John Welwood.    It consists of essays by different authors.

Once the technique of some task has been perfected, each repetition of its practice mirrors our whole inner attitude.  Every mistake that is made shows us something about ourselves.  If this is understood, our efforts to accomplish daily tasks can, at the same time, become inner work on ourselves.  Thus by means of this continuous repetition, the true inward person begins to emerge.  In this way the ordinary daily round can be transformed into “practice.”  –Karlfried Graf von Durckheim

If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have a cup of tea, I will be equally incapable of drinking the tea joyfully.  With the cup in my hands I will be thinking about what to do next, and the fragrance and the flavor of the tea, together with the pleasure of drinking it, will be lost.  I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment.    –Thich Nhat Hanh

Writing…is ninety percent listening.  You listen so deeply to the space around you that it fills you, and when you write it pours out of you.  If you can capture that reality around you, your writing needs nothing else.  You don’t only listen to the person speaking to you across the table, but simultaneously listen to the air, the chair, and the door.  And go beyond the door.  Take in the sound of the season, the sound of the color coming in through the window.  Listen to the past, future, and present right where you are.  Listen with your whole body, not only with your ears, but with your hands, your face, and the back of your neck.  Listening is receptivity.   The deeper you can listen, the better you can write.  You take in the way things are without judgment, and the next day you can write the truth about the way things are.      –Natalie Goldberg


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