Post 4/8 of #8weeksofmindfulness based on the Eight-fold path in Buddhism
With our world fast approaching the New Year in the hours to come, we will all be clutching our cell phones, laptops, tablets, fingertips poised for posting our statuses, tweets, or blog posts about our New Years Resolutions, how this one will be different, etc.
However different 2k15 may turn out to be, there is one thing that will inevitably remain the same: our continued connection to each other.
We will continue to be interdependent beings in 2015, whether we like it or not. We will still all continue to share this thing called human connection. We will share our stories and experiences with one another, and we will ultimately influence and impact each others lives, both directly and indirectly.
HAVING SAID THAT, Why not help to improve the quality of life for those around us?
While I don’t particularly believe in the significance of New Years resolutions, I do believe in goals: long-term, short-term, big and small. I constantly set little goals (and big goals) of not only things I would like to achieve, but also, things I would like to improve on physically, mentally/emotionally, spiritually.
If you are looking for some goals to discover a healthier, more positive version of yourself, or for a renewed outlook to start off the year with, a good place to start may be with examining your actions. Below are the five main aspects of Right Action from the eight-fold path the Buddha taught:
1) Respect life 2) Generosity 3) Avoid Physical misconduct 4) Loving speech and deep listening 5) Nourishment of your body
A little elaboration:
Focusing in on respecting all forms of life can allow us to appreciate the beauty and miracle that exists within all life forms. In this year we can remind ourselves to not take that for granted.
We can be generous with our presence and effort towards others. By doing so, we demonstrate genuine compassion for others. We care for others, and perhaps, in turn, are cared for. We are unselfish in our actions. We can choose to make the happiness of others a priority before our own.
In the physical misconduct category, the Buddha primarily taught of the dangers of sexual misconduct, which are issues of attachment and desire. I would venture further to include all physical misconduct, to any form of violence, physical harm towards another being.
Next, We can choose to offer loving speech and to listen deeply to the people in our lives in order to better understand them, their concerns and needs, because, sometimes, all we really need is to be heard, really heard.
Lastly, we can focus on nourishing our bodies. We can choose to make healthier choices to take better care of ourselves (whatever that may mean for you, specifically). Maybe, it’s to finally stop smoking, to eat more vegetables, or stop binge eating junk foods and learn to eat them in moderation.
The Buddha sums up Right Action in a small section of the Dhammapada:
“Watching his speech, well restrained in mind, let a man never commit wrong with his body. Let a man keep these three roads of action clear, and he will achieve the way which is taught by the wise.”
The moral to this story is simply that we are allowed to take baby steps to our self-improvement. We need not make some elaborate, extreme resolution of how we are going to become radically different in the next few hours.
We can simply make a continuous, positive effort to improve our world, by allowing mindfulness and compassion into our hearts, minds and extending this into our actions and our interactions with others.
With that, I would like to wish you all the very happiest of New Years!
“The scent of flowers does not travel against the wind, nor that of sandalwood, or of Tagara and Mallika flowers; but the odor of good people travels even against the wind; A good man pervades every place.”