I am referring to myself here. I seem to be my own biggest road block.
Let me figure this out step by step.
1. Right View – Well, I think I hit my first stumbling block right there! Geez, I wasn’t hardly even out of the gate. I know that Right View means to see things as they really are, and to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of all things and ideas.
But this is a bigger task than I had previously believed. My mind continually wants to analyze, rationalize, and ultimately control all situations. This is far from Right View.
2. Right Intention – This means to have a commitment to ethical behavior. To be kind and loving towards all beings, avoid being controlled by desires, and compassionately show good will to others.
Well, I think I am making progress in this area. And I feel good about that.
3. Right Speech – The general idea is to not use words that can injure or incite others, and of course not to lie or deceive.
I feel that I do fairly well on this one, but more often then ever I feel the need just to say nothing. I find I am not wise enough or evolved enough to have the right words. So I remain silent and observant. Trying to be mindful of the situation. This is the best I can do right now.
4. Right Action – Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of mind, while wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind.
Oh boy, this one could be a problem! In so many ways I have felt good about having the right action, yet I have become increasingly aware of the atrocious treatment of my own body and health. Knowing this, and not doing anything about it, is only creating more suffering for myself.
5. Right Livelihood – To earn a living in a legal and peaceful way.
I do have this on track. I have no reservations about how I earn a living, and do it honestly and with joy.
6. Right Effort – Without effort, which is in itself an act of will, nothing can be achieved, whereas misguided effort distracts the mind from its task, and confusion will be the consequence. Mental energy is the force behind right effort; it can occur in either wholesome or unwholesome states. The same type of energy that fuels desire, envy, aggression, and violence can on the opposite side fuel self-discipline, honesty, benevolence, and kindness.
This is a work in progress for me. I believe Right Effort is the backbone of these teachings.
7. Right Mindfulness – Right mindfulness enables us to be aware of the process of conceptualization in a way that we actively observe and control the way our thoughts go.
This is really huge! I think I need to do a lot more sitting on my cushion before I can fully get a grip on this one. Right now, my mind is like Ringling Brothers Circus in there! I have gained more control over it than I have had in the past, but all three rings still have entertaining acts going on. LOL
8. Right Concentration – The Buddhist method of choice to develop right concentration is through the practice of meditation. The meditating mind focuses. Through this practice it becomes natural to apply elevated levels of concentration in everyday situations.
I am making progress in this area. Meditation has become an integral part of my daily life. I actually look forward to it more and more. It’s my time to just stop, see things as they are without judgment. It’s also a time when I do not analyze or try to rationalize anything. I just let things come and go from my mind without any attachment. It is a time to love myself, forgive myself, and accept things as they are. How wonderful!
So that’s it, my current state of the union so to speak. And it does appear that I am the one who is getting in my own way. But I promise to be kind and compassionate to myself. Because I can clearly see the more work I do, the more love and compassion I can have towards others.
This, to me, is the Noble Path.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.