One time, a heavenly being came to visit Buddha with two vases of flowers; he also wanted to ask for teaching about enlightenment from Buddha. When he had arrived, Buddha said: “put down.” So, he put down a vase of flowers in one hand. “Put down.” Buddha said again. And he put down another in the other hand. Buddha went on saying: “put down.” “What else should I put down, your respected one?” Buddha said: “put down your mind.” The heavenly being received enlightenment at that moment.
A friend said that he always could not stop when he was working with his computer. He really wanted to be free from that attachment. I asked him to try to put down two hands on his knees for a few seconds, and he found he can have a break for few minutes with breathing. Another friend said that he can’t help eating too fast. I also recommend him to put down hands for a few seconds, which might be helpful for better digestion.
From mental formation to physical action is a natural process, but we should give more awareness on how it happens. How much stress in there, how much enforcement in there and how much attachment in there. The balance of efficiency and quality depends on how much we can “put down”.
If you expect to harvest too much, you can’t concentrate well at what you are doing. When you set up the goal, it is the time to put it down and just do. That’s why we always say in Zen: “only when you are able to put down, can it be really taken up.”