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Monday, May 28, 2012

Reese's and Buddhism

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups  played a television commercial in the 1980’s in which two walkers collided, then exclaimed,
      “You got peanut butter in my chocolate!”
       “No, you got chocolate in my peanut butter!” 
Then, the perambulating couple moaned as they tasted the sensational product of their collision.  The ad was an example of one plus one equaling three; whereby, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Pleasure comes in many forms.
Webster’s Dictionary declares that pleasure is “enjoyment and entertainment, contrasted with things done out of necessity.”
Mindfulness, a much-bandied state of mind these days,  is derived from the Buddhist tradition.  A useful synonym is awareness.  This mindfulness, or awareness, is like a moving meditation that extends to body, mind, and spirit.  This practice that is so integral to Buddhism has found a following in the field of medicine because it offers help in managing many medical conditions, particularly those exacerbated by stress.  
What if we were to couple pleasure with mindfulness?  I tried this experiment today.  
I enjoy organizing.  It pleases me to see order emerge out of chaos.  I feel like my energy and time are well-spent when I have a creative product as a result of my vision and labor. 
Today, I organized linens.  While I sorted, washed, folded, shared and stacked household linens, I kept my mind fully present.  I took the time to appreciate the colors, to feel the soft hand to a blanket, to consider the usefulness of each piece.  If it didn’t sound so far-fetched, I would confess to feeling one with my linens.  For the hour and a half that I worked, the world beyond the cedar chest and linen closet seemed to shrink from my awareness.  I can honestly say that I experienced a happy serendipity; the pleasure I take in organizing collided with my exercise in mindfulness.  
There was an unexpected downside, and it is just catching up with me.  I was so thoroughly engaged in my linen project that I disregarded the pain signals that were alerting me to stop. The tasks that I was demanding of my body were beyond its limits.  Now, five hours later, my muscles and joints are seriously annoyed with me.  However, despite the discomfort, I also carry a degree of peace that I earned through the unexpected marriage of pleasure and of Buddhist mindfulness.

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