I recently found myself with an unused room in my little house. So I decided it was time to create a dedicated place for meditation, study and other practice. I have been working at it for a week with no end in sight.
In Tendai we incorporate the widest range of Buddhist practices of any school. An important branch of our practice is work. So as I go about the humdrum tasks of painting, cleaning and preparing a new sacred place I have made them my practice. Since I am temperamentally impatient with these kinds of projects, I have had a bonanza of opportunities to observe feelings of impatience, frustration and aversion rise and pass away. If I can only train myself to be an observer of rather than a participant in these negative emotions perhaps I might achieve a sense of satisfaction in the task. At any rate, that’s the theory. Just as when the mind wanders away from concentration during meditation, I have to keep dragging myself back from my negative emotions to something more useful. And that is where the practice lives, in the dragging back rather than the achieving of a goal.