Meditation in action

Kathy Krugermeditation, peace24 Comments

When I was a kid my parents made me hose the lawn for half an hour a day. 

This was when using sprinklers was banned (or at least restricted) and having a lush lawn was a sign of suburban success, or at least of keeping up with the Joneses in some small (and extremely cheap) way.

And there’s nothing like (perfectly acceptable) child labour.

At first I absolutely hated this chore, which might just as well have been a punishment.

How incredibly boring seemed the prospect of simply standing in the garden (how very posh, I mean front yard) for thirty long minutes, that’s 1800 seconds – no-one to talk to, no games to play, no TV to watch, no book to read (I did try reading a book but it was pretty hard to turn the pages while holding a hose).

After a while, I found myself absorbed in the sunlight streaming through the spray of water, the sparkling glint of droplets on freshly-soaked grass, the rainbow refracted in the steady stream from the hose.

I made a game of measuring out time and the sections of lawn I’d water (bit by bit), of adjusting the nozzle on the hose from a trickle to a jet and back again, of counting the bricks around garden beds or flowers on a bush.

I made up my own songs, my own stories. I reflected on my day and on my dreams.

Without knowing it, I was meditating.

Meditation can be active (even though hosing is pretty bloody passive).

From running, to gardening, kneading dough to knitting (which would be frustratingly un-meditative for this hopeless knitter), active meditation can be a powerful way to bring mindfulness into the midst of everyday life.

It’s easy to put the action into meditation – I just takes a ‘C’, for consciousness (I know, tragic word nerd!)


When an activity is easy, repetitive, yet innately satisfying – when it serves a purpose – we have the opportunity to find meaningful stillness in the middle of what becomes an almost unconscious activity.

Knitting isn’t meditative for me because I find it difficult/boring – I’d become too focused, and annoyed with myself, to find any space for stillness.

If an activity is boring and seemingly meaningless (like hosing was initially for me), we tend to get irked and again there’s no room for mindfulness, because our minds are too full of frustration.

Whether lying down still in a quiet space, sitting in nature or folding clothes, the challenge (and opportunity) of meditation is to surrender to the intrinsic meaning of it, even though we are doing ‘nothing’ or doing something simple.

Meditation can be one foot in front of another pounding the pavement or one piece of clothing after another hung out on the line or neatly folded, until the activity comes to an end and the important job (the inner opening up that is) is done.

So get your kids hanging out the washing, folding clothes or hosing the lawn and call it meditation, not a chore – might make all the difference (although you might still have to stump up for pocket money!).

And while you’re at it, surrender into mindfulness in the midst of everyday activities yourself. You won’t know yourself! Literally.

What activities feel like meditation for you? Can housework ever qualify?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT and Maxabella Loves for the Weekend Rewind.


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Kathy KrugerMeditation in action

24 Comments on “Meditation in action”

  1. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me

    You know I find that hanging out washing is place where I almost get into a nice quiet meditative state, well if the kids aren’t around. But you’re right maybe we should embrace the boring and find peace instead of angst in it!

  2. always josefa (@always_josefa)

    Honestly, I wish I had the time to stand and water my garden every day for half an hour – I think that could easily be my meditation. As much as I hate it, I often find ironing meditation – so repetitive and streamlined that my mind often wanders while I’m doing it, have even written a blog post or two in my head while ironing!

  3. Sally@Toddlers on Tour

    I have to say I think I am lucky in that my son enjoys helping us with the choirs – as long as we are there doing them as well. he really gets stuck and now he is almost 6 is actually of help.

    However getting him to do something on his own – FORGET IT. Would love to know how to get him out there on his own, I guess it’s not much fun by yourself.

  4. Lee-Anne

    What an interesting and positive approach to mundane tasks…turning the repetitive and tedious into something nice and meditative.

    I do love knitting but only when watching something on TV. Anything that involves hanging out in the garden does it for me too – watering, pottering, collecting the eggs – corny as it sounds, it makes me feel connected to something good. 🙂

  5. Zanni Arnot

    I think there are lots of opportunities for meditation in house work, garden work and farm work. I use to drive the tractor on the farm, and it was very meditative. I also think having a baby is the perfect opportunity to go into a meditative state for the newborn period. It’s good to let it wash over you and turn those long dreary breastfeeds into something more positive. x

  6. snippetsandspirits

    I love this and how you still remember those times you zoned out hypnotised by the water. I like the idea of active meditation. It is about learning to live in that exact moment it is very freeing. My boys have a swing outside you can lie on I like to just lie there and just notice the changing light as I swing in and out of the shade.

  7. Jen

    Hey Kathy – thanks for the awesome post! Love the thought of ‘active’ meditation – considering how tricky it can be to find time to oneself, the thought of combining exercise and meditation into one mega value packed ‘me’ hour sounds totally brilliant!!

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Jen, and thanks for visiting. I think the problem is that people think you have to be all still and silent to meditate even though our experience of activity – running, dancing and repetitive crafty things tells us differently.

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  9. Tegan Churchill

    As much as I hate washing’s where I do all of my distraction free thinking. A good amount of my blog posts have been born while standing over the sink washing dishes.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Funny Tegan, I prefer washing up in many ways to loading and unloading the dishwasher. There is something strangely calming having your hands in warm water.

  10. Renee Wilson

    I never thought about being able to meditate while being active, but now that I think about it you’re completely right. For me, swimming is like meditation. It’s when I don’t get distracted by anything. It’s just me and the black line.

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