Chop Wood,Carry Water

woman chopping vegetablesOr chop vegetables, carry water. Same thing.
The full zen koan is “Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”
What does that mean?
I don’t know. But what I hear in it is how simple, practical, and “everyday” insights can be…which is exactly the opposite of how our mind tells us they will be.
To me, it points to the beauty in a regular life. Every bit of a regular life, even the monotonous, practical bits. Even in the pain, even in the boredom.
It points to how ANYTHING can feel like bliss. And anything can feel like torture. We experience life as we are, not as it is. Before “enlightenment”, we have to chop vegetables. After “enlightenment”, we get to chop vegetables.

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