Over the weekend, I was reminded of how physical work can be in service of interior transformation. As I was removing hundreds of staples from a flooring that was being removed, I realized how important it is to remain in the present moment. Negative thought patterns within the mind race forward into the future and focus on the length or tedious nature of a given work. This creates unease and tension in the present. If we bring our attention back to our heart, we avoid fear which clears the mind and relieves tension in the body.
My reflections on this work brought to mind the movie, “Enlightenment Guaranteed.” In the movie, two brothers from Germany travel to Tokyo, Japan and on to a week’s stay at a Zen Buddhist monastery.
As part of their daily routine at the monastery, they did manual cleaning whether the areas needed cleaning or not. They came to understand that this discipline was cleansing their own heart and the fears that reside in the mind. Here, physical labor is at the service of spiritual transformation.
In their trip to Japan, both brothers enter the journey to heal and transform to the true self. They learn to contrast the consciousness of the heart with the fear based and distracted culture in which they were conditioned. As they return to their life in Germany, they will be able to live the journey in their everday lives. The movie represents an excellent understanding of how we gain insight and feeling into our wounded personality and enter the journey of the transformative life to the true self.