Happy Birthday everyday

OK, as much as I like the song ‘Happy Birthday,’ I have to admit I’ve had enough of singing it in my head twice whilst I wash my hands. Those were the guidelines, right? Am I the only one still doing this?

The other day as I was washing my hands it did occur to me that this is ridiculous. What am I doing wasting these precious moments of my life, so many times a day, singing this song not only once but twice in a row? So it occurred to me, as a meditator I could be using this time to train my mind in meditation. Remember, to train in meditation you don’t need to be sitting with your eyes closed. Meditation is defined as thoroughly acquainting the mind with virtuous objects (like patience, love and compassion). In fact, contemplation is a big part of meditation practice. In order to meditate on something, it helps if you’ve contemplated it a lot first.

So then it struck me, what did I want to contemplate most right now? Many ideas came to mind but one idea really struck a chord. Every day so many unexpected things pop up, so my main job seems clear: I need to ensure I create the best conditions in my mind for my meditation to succeed so that I can maintain inner peace.

So, every time I wash my hands I’ll think to myself:

My mind is the nature of clarity: vast, spacious and completely unobstructed by anything. My thoughts and feelings are like clouds in the sky. Just as clouds arise and then disappear, likewise my thoughts and feelings are impermanent and if I don’t follow them, they too will disappear back into the clarity of my mind.

Yup and it’s twenty seconds long! So if, like me, you’d like to transform your regular hand washing experience into the spiritual path then I hope you found this useful. Happy hand washing!