In this way, while taking care of mundane tasks, you can transform your bodily activities into the activity of awareness, which ultimately leads to higher intelligence. You can get the most out of the time spent on taking care of routine tasks of life simply by executing them with awareness. If you do, soon, you’ll notice that you enjoy doing chores more than before. You will no longer despise any of them.
Do the same while speaking on the telephone or working at your computer. Pay attention to how you are sitting, how you are holding the phone, how your lips are moving while talking, how your fingers are moving across the keyboard, and so on.
In a meeting, look at the whole
group, including yourself, as a
third person would and simply
observe how you and the others
move your bodies and go about
doing business. Contrary to what
you might think, such an
observation will help you focus
better on the meeting and on the
other people’s viewpoints and
needs. Body awareness will not
hinder your capacity to better
listen, analyze, evaluate, and respond. Rather it will facilitate these abilities. But don’t believe me. Confirm what I’m saying. Try it for yourself and find out howwork can become a play of awareness and how happily you will do all your tasks without preferring one to another.
Lastly, try sporting a subtle smile while you are working. The smile should not be forced or unnatural. Just a slight expansion of the lips coupled with an intention of developing body awareness will do the trick. Keep smiling while working in order to ease the task of developing whole-body awareness. What will happen is that smiling consciousness (a unique form of functional consciousness that we discussed in previous chapters) and body consciousness will alternate and make the whole process very pleasing. Moreover, you will train yourself to be truly human. As far as I know, no other mammal knows how to smile.
As you mature in whole-body awareness through daily chores and tasks, you will experience an occasional flash of body-as-body experience. You will feel that the body is simply moving as a body. It is not your body, but simply a body. You will feel as if you are purely awareness. The body simply will move effortlessly and you will just abide in the awareness of that. This flash of effortlessness, which is rooted in selflessness, is a powerful force. It can bring perfection to your work. Extraordinary artists, athletes, and dancers frequently go through this experience. Familiarize yourself with such an experience and become established in it.
Copyright 2008 SOUL Research Institute
Developing intelligent work habits means to transform physical work, including both daily chores and professional employment, into a means of developing physical awareness and equanimity towards the body without losing the material or financial benefits of work activities. As you will soon discover, the purpose is to transform physical engagement into the act of developing intelligence without spending extra time at it and while increasing work efficiency and effectiveness.
Pick a chore of any kind (for example, brushing your teeth or hair, showering, washing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, gardening, or cleaning the car)—it’s your choice—and start executing the chore with the intention of developing whole-body awareness. When you simply observe your physical movements using outward awareness, as if you were a third person or a fly on the wall looking at your body, whole-body awareness arises. Develop it while working by becoming mindful of every shifting position of your limbs and overall bodily postures. Become aware of all the sequences of your physical movements.
In order to maintain continuity of whole-body awareness, in the beginning you may even silently verbalize your movements like a commentary in your mind.
You might be wondering, “How do I look at my own body without using a mirror?”
In this exercise you are not trying to visually look at the body per se. You are simply trying to become aware of it while working. This is easy. Go ahead and try it. Right now, intend to look at yourself as a third person while reading this newsletter. Without taking your eyes off the newsletter shift your attention into the space surrounding the book and you. This simple intention, when it is coupled with attention, brings about body awareness from the perspective of a third person. You are not trying to feel anything; you are simply becoming aware of your body by observing it from the outside.
Here’s another example. Without looking into a mirror, while brushing you teeth observe how you are holding the toothbrush, how you are standing, and how you are cleaning your teeth. Count the number of times you move the toothbrush from left to right. Do not try to feel the taste of the toothpaste or any other physical sensations. Simply focus on attending to the body as if you were a third person. If you try to feel the body, then it is very difficult to look at it from this perspective. Simply look at the body through awareness as if you are watching a 3D movie.
While watering the plants in your garden, observe how you are holding the hose, how you are watering, and how you are moving around the garden. While cleaning the car, observe how you are bending, how you are moving your arms while rubbing the polish, how you are moving in and out of the car and collecting things and organizing, and so forth.