Anyone who has the least interest in Buddhism knows of the Eight-Fold Path of Virtue, which includes eight guidelines to ethical living. Whether we are religiously or spiritually minded or not, they offer a clear and simple road to good living. Their titles may have varied over time, but their messages continue to resonate. Two in particular have been favorites of mine.
Right Mindfulness is not rocket science. Its meaning is simple but not necessarily easy to practice. How are we thinking? What are we thinking, and is the mind an open way for spiritual insight, or so full of conflicting desires and fears that we are pulled in every direction? Certainly there were far fewer distractions in the Buddha’s world than there are today which, of course, makes it more challenging to simplify our lives, but the intention to do so helps to create a healthy focus. We may not choose to live in convents or monasteries but the divinely-centered mind goes with us everywhere.
Right Effort is definitely for the here and now. We are energetic beings, and we have choices on how and where we shall use these energies. Are we a stand for good in the world? Do we consider the wants and needs of our brothers and sisters in life as important as our own? These questions can be a light to our ways and a simple means to help us recognize how we are using our powerful energies. Energy is not a monolith; it is more a flexible, dynamic that we can route and re-route any way we choose, but it must be under our hand to use creatively. Conscious awareness of our efforts means everything, especially in today’s global society.
Old ideas perhaps, but right before our eyes every day.
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