J.Mar's BLOG

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Zen Buddhism employs koans as a catalyst for deep contemplation which may trigger enlightenment. 

My favorite koan: 

  • Before enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water
  • After enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water 

The understandings I currently gather from it: humility, importance of the fundamentals, the value of craftsmanship, the magnificence of the mundane, & enlightenment not as a goal but a process than needs consistent attention.

Total appreciation of the monotonous and exhausting art which is distance running is a privilege too few truly unlock. Just like enlightenment, there is a simple, yet tedious path to discovery: the daily practice of chopping wood and carrying water by putting one foot in front of the other and running one mile after another. 

Jonathan Marcus