I read a fascinating idea recently: When you’re facing a task that seems like a chore, call it a meditation — a laundry-folding meditation, a dishwashing meditation, a paper-grading meditation. The chore gains some reflected glory from its new name. Sometimes it even works.
Laundry folding: that’s an activity that’s made for meditation. It engages my senses. The clothing is warm, fresh from the dryer. T shirts feel soft, handknit socks dazzle with stripes. It satisfies my most important standard for housework: a pile of neatly folded laundry bears no resemblance to the jumbled basket I started with. There’s an aesthetic challenge involved. I try to fold symmetrically, to smooth items flat for neat stacks in dresser drawers or linen closet. One morning I took a bulging sack of dirty clothes to a laundry on West 88th Street in New York. When I returned in late afternoon, I received a tidy, compressed cube of clean clothes, folded as precisely as origami. That’s my model.
And I must go now and practice my meditation skills.