In Zen Keys – Thich Nhat Than, writes about practicing Zen amidst your daily work routine (as opposed to taking the day off to work on your zazen..). When we perform our daily work, it is instructive to realize how much time we spend on ‘non-work’ related thoughts. What if I do not get this done on time ?, Why do I have to do everything around here ?…etc. are all examples of thoughts that may afflict us while we perform our daily chores. These thoughts are not just counter productive, they are actually ENERGY draining. So argues Thich Nhat Than.
So much of our energy is wasted on ‘worrisome’ thoughts that we are effectively DRAINED at the end of our work day. It is not the work in itself , but the powerful, destructive thoughts that cause the exhaustion.
What is the solution ?
When you are working, just work. When you are walking, just walk. When you are speaking, just speak. When you are listening, just listen.
If you can conduct your daily life this way, your actions will be in accord with the Universe. Even if you end up rubbing someone the wrong way or getting into some hot water, that is in accord with the Universe (maybe that is exactly where the Universe wants you to head). Something better will result from it.
If you are steadfast in your focus on your current action (and not distracted by the accompaniment of worrisome thoughts), you are doing all that the Universe ever wanted of you. Since you are doing your part, the Universe also does its part. It opens itself up to provide you with a smoother path to get where you are trying to go.
In a fast flowing stream, struggling will not get you very far. Relaxing and flowing with the stream will take you a lot further. If you do your part (avoiding the incessant struggling), then the Universe (stream) will carry you along just fine.
You must have complete confidence in the ability of the Universe to do this. In fact, if you are conducting your chore mindfully, you will automatically feel in tune with the Universe. There will be no conflict and no contradictions. There will be nowhere else to ‘be’ and nothing else to ‘do’.