By Daniel Scharpenburg
The hot shower after my workout is the best part of my day.
My workout clothes are covered in sweat from running on the treadmill. I leave them on the floor. My muscles are sore, especially my legs and back. I might have pushed myself a little too far.
I turn on the water and turn it almost all the way to the right.
I blast myself with hot water (really hot) and that soreness falls away. Everything falls away. My muscles are soothed immediately and all the sweat washes away. Standing there naked, with hot water pouring over me feels good.
Everything is perfect. In that bright and shining moment nothing is lacking.
We take simple pleasures for granted, I think. We spend so much time worrying and carrying emotional baggage that we often miss things that we could be enjoying. We focus on the negative too much. We focus on the past and future too much too.
When my personal life feels like a dumpster fire (and sometimes it does), it helps to remember one simple thing—I have hot water.
I’m using the hot shower to represent simple pleasures, but there are many different examples. There is joy in playing with my children. There is joy in cuddling with my cats. There is joy in eating a delicious apple and in that first cup of coffee every morning. There’s joy in texting a close friend. There are many things to enjoy in life. When I don’t notice them it’s because I’m not paying enough attention.
People often say things like: “count your blessings” or “focus on the good.” I used to think these things were sentimental nonsense—empty things people say because they think they’re supposed to. I thought they were devoid of any serious meaning or depth.
But maybe that’s the right way to think about things. Maybe we can focus on the good instead and enjoy the simple things. Maybe we can put down our emotional baggage, step away from all our bullshit and just enjoy the hot water.
I’d like to stay in the shower enjoying that hot water forever, of course.
But the world is out there waiting for me. After the boundless joy of a hot shower I have to step back into the cold.
I grab my towel and dry off. I put on my clean clothes. I stuff my dirty clothes back into my gym bag and go home.
But tomorrow I’ll do it again.
And I’ll enjoy that shower just as much.
Photo: Etam Cru, Richmond, USA.
Editor: Dana Gornall
He was trained and certified as a meditation teacher at the Rime Buddhist Center, where he also spent four years teaching kids about Buddhism and meditation practice. He received additional training in the Zen tradition, both as a Monk in the Korean Zen tradition and as a lay teacher in the Caodong Chan tradition.
He has taken Bodhisattva Vows and the precepts of a lay zen teacher.
His work is dedicated to both sharing his own story and presenting a variety of Buddhist teachings in a way that shows how they are applicable to real life.
Find out more about Daniel on his blog and connect with him on Facebook, Youtube,andTwitter
Latest posts by Daniel Scharpenburg (see all)
- The First Buddhist Teaching: The Four Noble Truths - October 11, 2017
- Equanimity in Adversity: A Zen Story about Wild Horses - October 4, 2017
- Awake in the City - September 3, 2017