Spiritual Not Religious: How to Learn the Basics of Zen

Sacred Tools for Modern Times #5 — Enlightenment and the concept of “chop wood, carry water”.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Fabrizio Chiagano on Unsplash

What is the meaning of the Zen concept of “chop wood, carry water?”

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

This is what the great Zen masters have said. It is a reminder that there is nothing you must do in life other than what must be done. When living in this way, tasks in your life will cease to be tasks. Work is no longer a burden; it is simply what needs to be done.

What is the difference between a job and a burden? The tasks may be the same. It is really about your frame of mind. Who is chopping wood and who is carrying water? Who is joyous or sad? Who is bored?

On the Wisdom Path, there is no benefit to thinking about being disciplined just for the sake of being disciplined.

You chop wood and you carry water because that is what needs to be done, not because you convince yourself that it needs to be done or that you “should” be joyous while doing it. The best discipline is not to think about being disciplined. When you become self-aware you will become more conscious of what you do, how you act, and how you interact with other people and environments. For there to be sustainable change from a life of regret, expectation, psychological agony, and short-term gratification one must make a choice. The choice is to suffer or to choose a life where want and need merge to create an authentic sense of meaning. This is the key to knowing what needs to be done and doing it. You embrace “discipline” in the service of love. This is “Chop Wood, Carry Water.”

Takeaway

Author: My name is Lewis Harrison. I am a practical philosopher and independent scholar in the area of Essential Taoism, practical philosophy, Eastern thought, personal improvement, and problem-solving

Would You Like to Explore the Spiritual Life in Greater Depth? Start with Meditating Daily… and Follow Us On The Social Network:

· The Youtube Channel — for videos to take your life to the next level… asklewis/lewis harrison game theory #1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lzIPU0DSiU&t=87s)

· Listen To the Self Improvement PodcastWhat is Personal Development — AskLewis Self Improvement Tips #1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckd1EVh4tHE&t=58s

· Join The Wisdom Path Commuity FB Group — to get tons of free information on living the spiritual life. https://www.facebook.com/groups/WisdomPathCommunity/

· Msg Me — on Facebook messenger and let me know what you’re struggling with. (I’ll actually reply!) — Lewis Harrison

Written by

I offer advice on the arts, innovation, self-improvement, life lessons, mental health, game theory strategies, and love. LewisCoaches.Medium.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store