When I was little, my mother taught me how to use my hands to do many chores around the house.  I washed clothes and hung them on bamboo sticks to dry.  I learned to iron clothes and hang them in the closet.  I learned to wash dishes, dry them and put them away.  I learned to sweep and mop the floor.  I learned to wash vegetables, and make rice dumplings.  I learned to sew and tie different kinds of knots.  We did many other things by hands.  My mother always said to me: “你 要专 心” whenever I did any of the chores.  That phrase literally means “you need to concentrate heart”.  My mom was not just looking for the job to be done.  She was looking for a certain quality of how the job was done.  A quality that matches the beauty of all natural things and measures up to the aliveness we find in nature.  You can’t fake it or manipulate it.  It comes naturally when your heart is in the doing.

Even though those chores were just house chores and we did them over and over again, my mother would not tolerate me when I became mechanical or worse when I became resentful or reluctant.  She could smell it when I was not “here” and she would immediately said, “你 要专 心。”  I never realized the true value of doing chores like that when I was young but now looking back I see how I was trained in a young age to Concentrate Wholeheartedly.  That was what she meant when she said, “你 要专 心。” To concentrate wholeheartedly is to be fully present and see the beauty of what I am doing.  And the repetition of getting things done in that manner etched an internal mapping of body, mind, and heart connection where a state of being that is similar to joy and being fully alive begin to emerge from deep within.

I recently came across again the phrase  B e   H e r e   N o w and have been thinking about how this is such a central message in all my practices and my teaching. But strangely enough only NOW I see the importance of bringing wholeheartedness into the conversation.  Wholeheartedness is like an ancient herb being passed down from generations and has proven to be a potent remedy for almost everything.  Be Here Now becomes natural when the heart wants to be here.  We don’t have to battle the mind to sustain an unbroken attention from moment to moment.  When the heart is invested, spontaneous attention arises and dissolves moment to moment, ceaselessly, impeccably and effortlessly.

I wonder about the things that I did or are doing that do and do not capture my heart’s attention.   Perhaps the road to ultimate health and being fully alive begins when we take note of the health of our heart, literally and figuratively.  Where does my heart go everyday? What is my heart’s longing?  What is the language of my heart? How do I listen?

Many Blessings,