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Sharpening the Saw

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to explore the concept of self renewal. There's an old story about this. One day a wise old man went for a walk in the forest and he came upon a young woodcutter who was sawing down trees in order to make his home. He looked though completely exhausted and frustrated.

"What are you doing?" the old man asked.. "Well, I'm sawing down a tree," the young man replied. "How long have you been at it? said the old man. "All day," said the woodcutter, sweat dripping from his chin. So the old man looked at the mediocre woodpile that was there.

And this young man should have had much more wood for all that effort. Then he noticed his saw, "Hey, your saw looks really dull," said the old man, "Why don't you take a break and sharpen in it?" "I can't," said the young man, "I'm too busy sawing." Now hearing this story we can see clearly that the process of cutting was progressively dulling the young men's blade. And of course, the more dull his blade, the greater effort that was required to keep sawing, but with worse and worse results. The solution here is obvious, right? He simply needs to stop every now and then to sharpen his saw. But he was so totally preoccupied, so absorbed in the situation that he couldn't see the cost of what it was that he was doing, nor did he have the insight to just take a break and do what was necessary to get better results, to be more effective.

Now, I don't know about you, but this sounds a little bit familiar to me, this pattern. It's really easy for us to get caught up in a similar situation as this young woodcutter. After all, there's so many things to get done each day. And we tend to get really preoccupied, really absorbed with getting it all done. We often really lose ourselves in the headlong rush of daily life.

So how can we even think about sharpening our saw when we're always busy sawing? Or to put it another way, how can we take the time to nurture ourselves and look after our body and mind when we're so busy pushing them to their limits, trying to get everything done? We so often make the mistake of the woodcutter. We put off looking after our own body and mind and giving ourselves a chance to renew our energy and wellbeing to our own detriment. Because, you know, just like the woodcutter with a dull blade whose life becomes harder and harder when he doesn't take that time to sharpen the saw, when we fail to devote regular time for self renewal, life becomes harder and harder and less fulfilling. So taking care of your diet, being sure to make time for exercise and relaxation, taking time to connect with loved ones or do hobbies that bring you joy, taking time for deep rest, these are all ways you can renew yourself. And of course, one of the most powerful ways you can restore and renew is through the practice of mindfulness, which brings really incredible benefits to body and mind.

My invitation for today and ongoing is simply to remember to make time for self renewal. Far from being self-indulgent, it's really intelligent and will not only prevent excess stress and burnout, but it will give you greater energy, better focus and productivity and make you an all around happier and healthier person. So as always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. And let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

Sharpening the Saw

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to explore the concept of self renewal. There's an old story about this. One day a wise old man went for a walk in the forest and he came upon a young woodcutter who was sawing down trees in order to make his home. He looked though completely exhausted and frustrated.

"What are you doing?" the old man asked.. "Well, I'm sawing down a tree," the young man replied. "How long have you been at it? said the old man. "All day," said the woodcutter, sweat dripping from his chin. So the old man looked at the mediocre woodpile that was there.

And this young man should have had much more wood for all that effort. Then he noticed his saw, "Hey, your saw looks really dull," said the old man, "Why don't you take a break and sharpen in it?" "I can't," said the young man, "I'm too busy sawing." Now hearing this story we can see clearly that the process of cutting was progressively dulling the young men's blade. And of course, the more dull his blade, the greater effort that was required to keep sawing, but with worse and worse results. The solution here is obvious, right? He simply needs to stop every now and then to sharpen his saw. But he was so totally preoccupied, so absorbed in the situation that he couldn't see the cost of what it was that he was doing, nor did he have the insight to just take a break and do what was necessary to get better results, to be more effective.

Now, I don't know about you, but this sounds a little bit familiar to me, this pattern. It's really easy for us to get caught up in a similar situation as this young woodcutter. After all, there's so many things to get done each day. And we tend to get really preoccupied, really absorbed with getting it all done. We often really lose ourselves in the headlong rush of daily life.

So how can we even think about sharpening our saw when we're always busy sawing? Or to put it another way, how can we take the time to nurture ourselves and look after our body and mind when we're so busy pushing them to their limits, trying to get everything done? We so often make the mistake of the woodcutter. We put off looking after our own body and mind and giving ourselves a chance to renew our energy and wellbeing to our own detriment. Because, you know, just like the woodcutter with a dull blade whose life becomes harder and harder when he doesn't take that time to sharpen the saw, when we fail to devote regular time for self renewal, life becomes harder and harder and less fulfilling. So taking care of your diet, being sure to make time for exercise and relaxation, taking time to connect with loved ones or do hobbies that bring you joy, taking time for deep rest, these are all ways you can renew yourself. And of course, one of the most powerful ways you can restore and renew is through the practice of mindfulness, which brings really incredible benefits to body and mind.

My invitation for today and ongoing is simply to remember to make time for self renewal. Far from being self-indulgent, it's really intelligent and will not only prevent excess stress and burnout, but it will give you greater energy, better focus and productivity and make you an all around happier and healthier person. So as always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us. And let's settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

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