Jack Kornfield has this amazing book called After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. It is about what it sounds like – life after enlightenment, and all the little things you still have to do to lead your life.
In some ways, I’m reminded of that book right now as I sit here in an internet cafe. I’m halfway through my decadent yoga holiday, in which, for two weeks, I do nothing but sit on the beach, do yoga, and eat fish curry.
All of which I am doing (though less fish curry and more banana lassi and thoran, I find). But that’s not all. I also diligently sweep my room and clean my bathroom every day, and wash my clothes (by hand) every few days. I’m also planning next moves (ie, Borneo and Korea), job hunting, getting my eyebrows threaded, figuring out how to pack everything, working out my finances, and basically everything else I do when I’m not on yoga holiday.
Which all leads me to think two somewhat different but in some ways similar things: 1) that “vacation” is an exotic-sounding term we use to describe something that is NOT our regular lives (and therefore, in some ways, an unattainable nirvana), and 2) who needs vacation when we can transform our seemingly mundane daily lives into something more profound? I mean, if I still have to do laundry and wash my hair and assess my finances in nirvana, why wait til nirvana to feel like I’m on holiday?
The laundry has to get done anyway. And on vacation, I have to wash by hand – far more work than my washing machine back home. So instead of making some false distinction that makes more sense in fantasy than in reality, maybe instead I’ll take my normal, every day life and turn it into a permanent vacation.
Which I guess is a long-winded way of saying that instead of waiting for some idealized perfection in some distant future that will never happen anyway, we can just enjoy how things are in the moment, because you know, enlightenment isn’t that great. You still have to do laundry.