There is a lot of frequent hand washing these days. I think it is a practice that will be done more often even after the threat of the pandemic eases. The idea of time spent washing hands has made me think of Thich Nhat Hanh. In his book “Present Moment, Wonderful Moment” he talks about making even the most benign tasks a meditative moment and a moment to be in gratitude. His suggestion for washing hands is:
Water flows over these hands,
May I use them skillfully
To preserve our precious planet
He also suggests that each time we turn on the facet to have a moment of gratitude for fresh water flowing out of the facet. It is a gift that is often taken for granted and it is life sustaining.
Another idea that he presents in his book “Peace is Every Step” is to really look at your hands and see your ancestors. He tells the story of a friend who was parting from his mother. She held his hand and told him: “Whenever you miss me, look into your hand, and you will see me immediately.” Washing hands could be that moment of contemplation. Do you have hands like your mother or more like your father? Think of all of your ancestors who have come before you to create the hands you have in front of you.
It could also be a moment of gratitude for all that we can do because we have these hands. The hands are truly one of the most amazing tools in the universe. I hope these ideas give you something new to think about the next (more frequent) time you wash your hands.
To discover more about Thich Nhat Hanh go to http://www.plumvillage.org