Work and Play

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.

 L P Jacks
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks (October 9, 1860 – February 17, 1955), was an English educator, philosopher, and Unitarian minister who was also an ardent fan of militarism.  Militarism is not my cup of tea but I have been intrigued by this quote which is attributed to his 1932 book “Education through Recreation”.  At first I thought this quote was about mixing work and pleasure- a kind of multi-tasking very welcome in this age of home-working and hot-desking.
However, I am not a multi-tasker as I have discovered through the years, most spectacularly when I set the kitchen on fire!  I work best when I concentrate on one thing and I have found that I can actually do more by doing one thing at a time.  Nichiren Buddhism talks about viewing your work as your Buddhist practice, i.e. the same concentration and philosophical frame you apply to your religious practice, can be applied to your work too.  There can be no difference to your frame of mind when pursuing either creative or spiritual development.  So I have tried to apply over the last few months are these ideas-
  • Concentrate– I don’t even now play music when I am creating.  The relationship at that moment is between my soul and my art and nothing comes in between.  That way, I can do my best whether it is creating or even tidying up.  I seem to notice small details and vibes when I do one thing at a time.
  • Finish-I used to always go back several times to embellish a bit more or to regret something that I had worked on.  Now once I finish, I finish, knowing that I have given it my best.  No regrets!  Life is too short for that.
  • Savour– Appreciate that gift you have whether it is a lovely cake you have baked or the peaceful baby or an amazing piece of work!  Life is full of joy and you have the great gift of revealing that joy- appreciate and savour your creativity!