Master of Dishwashing

If you’re good at something, always do it for free.

When you do something for free, you are free. You cannot be bought. You are not a thing. You are nothing.

Things can be bought, things can be used. When you are nothing, you are priceless. You are useless. Nobody can use you, nobody can enslave you. Your freedom is total.

Freedom has nothing to do with the price. Freedom is of intrinsic value. The greatest value. But people nowadays don’t know the value of freedom, because they don’t know the value of nothing — they only understand the price of everything. The extrinsic value. The value of outside. The shallowest value.

Oscar Wilde used to say, “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” — he is wrong. If people know the value of nothing, they will forget the value of everything. Everything will be priceless.

Now everything becomes more and more pricey, because people get more and more attached to everything. All they know is everything outside, not inside — because inside is nothing. It is not a thing. People never want nothing. They always want things, everything. They are greedy and ambitious.

Because of their own ambitions, people keep and keep on struggling in life. They cannot relax — they have so many things to do. They never do nothing long enough and learn to enjoy it. Their idea of getting relaxed is just doing small things, unimportant things, or just being lazy. After boredom catches them from inside, they will easily fall asleep. They are never wide awake just to be still — they are always bothered to think. Their minds are busy.

Mind is rational. Mind understands things, everything. But freedom is not a thing. Freedom is nothing. It is irrational. Out of the ratio — out of the mind.

The Joker might have said, “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” — to ask a lot of money from the mobsters. But then he burned his mountain of cash to make one significant statement: that Gotham deserves a better class of criminal. Criminal that doesn’t care about money. Criminal that’s free.

You may say that the Joker is crazy, but he has a strong point you can’t just ignore: that money makes people cautious. Money makes people too serious. Not free.

Javanese people often refer to money as “bandha” — it can mean both money and bond. People may use money to buy things, but very often: they become bound to their money. Money becomes an attachment for them. A bond. It never sets them free.

There is no such thing as financial freedom because freedom is not economical. Freedom has no price. The price is for everything. Freedom is not a thing. It is nothing.

If I serve you a cup of coffee at my coffee shop, unless I give it for free, you have to pay for the cost I spend to make that coffee: the beans, the water, equipments, operational stuffs, et cetera — hence the price. But the freedom I pour into every cup of coffee I make: the love, the prayer, the blessing — those are priceless.

You cannot worship money and be free. But you can’t worship poverty either.

Money is a good slave, not a good master. If you want to be free, you have to learn to master it. And to master it, you must master yourself.

Now you may work for a company and get paid, but don’t work like a slave. A slave only understands commands — a slave only lives in his mind. Put aside the commands and he won’t work.

A master never starts from the commands — he doesn’t bother with commands. He lives outside his mind, untouched by rationality. Whatsoever he does, he does it with no mind. He does it with his totality at the present moment — he pours all of him into each moment. Moment to moment. Only at such a moment, a small act like dishwashing could be a great thing, everything. It is not boring. A master can never get bored with anything.

Many people say dishwashing is boring. They say so because they think so. They never check the truth. The truth is out of their minds, but they never go out of their minds. They are always trapped in their minds. Always busy thinking. Too serious.

If you really want to know the truth, you must question your own mind. If your mind says dishwashing is boring, you must thoroughly check the facts. Pick up the dirty dishes and start washing. See what you see as it is. Does boredom exist in the plates? Does it exist in the spoons? In the water? In the soap? Feel your hands’ movement. Your fingers. Your shoulders. Your back. Your neck. Your breath. Never lose track of your breath and everything you are doing. Does boredom exist somewhere inside your body? In your eyes, in your heart, in your belly?

Actually, you can keep washing and checking until your body gets really tired, without finding the so-called boredom exists. It neither exists outside nor inside you — the so-called boredom is not real! It has no reality on its own. And if there is no such thing as boredom, how can something become boring? — dishwashing is just dishwashing. It is not boring. Your mind is lying.

You may just work as a dishwasher at a restaurant. But if you don’t work like a slave with his mind and his complaints, you are a master. You are free. You may change job, you may not. You may start your own business — you may do anything. But then it’s not because of boredom. It is your freedom.