Tag: Mindful Living
Meanderings On & Off The Noble Eightfold Path
Please note- I am not a Buddhist Scholar, and the following essay is a journey through my experience. If you are looking for an in-depth treatise on Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path, please consult tricycle.org, lionsroar.com, or the like.
Buddhism is straightforward in explaining how to walk the middle path—eight beautifully concise guides for a well-lived life. The problem lies in practicing those noble lessons.
A high school history class was my first introduction to Buddhism and its unique views. I was intrigued by the concept that all suffering comes from craving, but the chapter was short, and we were on to other things, and I forgot about the four noble truths. That is until about four years later when I developed an interest in meditation.
Meditation led to yoga and a desire to learn more about the history of these practices, eventually leading me to Buddhism’s middle path. Already familiar with the four Noble truths, I delved into learning about the eightfold path. It reads like a code of conduct if taken superficially, but the subtleties of the interconnectedness of being are laid out before our eyes.
The path implies the concept that nothing exists on its own. “Everything is “inter-is.” Everything is part of a dynamic cycle, and we are a part of that cycle. We suffer because we struggle against the natural process and flow of life, and we can avoid suffering by following the eightfold path.
So first, the four noble truths:
The noble truth of suffering
The noble truth of the beginning of suffering
suffering arises from craving
The noble truth of the ending of suffering
suffering can be ceased
The noble truth of the path to the end of suffering
end craving, end suffering
The Noble Eightfold Path leads us toward the cessation of suffering, and I have meandered on and off the way for years. Following my trail, one would notice dead ends, the talus of anger, ancient glacial deposits deep within my heart, the pinnacle of compassion, and the valley of despair. There are two dominant patterns to the wanderings off the path- stress, and illness. I have not always coped with grace in the past. I can do better. I hold the guidebook, and the trail is marked.
Let us glance at our desired approach to the wilds of life; The Noble Eightfold Path.
Right Speech – if you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing. Be mindful of the impact words, tone and inflection can have.
Right Effort – applied will to prevent insensitive or impure thoughts, deeds, and actions, and the will to create an environment where compassion and integrity naturally arise.
Right Mindfulness – be attentive to the body, mind, emotions, thoughts, and the world around you.
Right Action – be attentive to one’s behavior, actions, and treatment of others and all sentient beings. Be kind and helpful.
Right Thought – wisdom arises naturally when one’s thoughts are selfless and full of unconditional love.
Right Concentration – bliss may be attained and sustained when the mind is clear and one-pointed.
Right Livelihood – how one makes a living shall not harm others or our environment.
Right Understanding – everything thing is as it should be.
So now prepared to move toward a new year with a compass to guide my way, will I meader and lose the trail? Absolutely! I have no doubt I will have moments of intense anger, panic, or worry, which mindlessly allows me to react from a place of fear instead of acting from a place of love. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I am learning, day by day, moment by moment.
Through meditation, yoga, or reiki, I can slowly dissolve my attachment to outcomes and expectations, allowing for a more natural life, and exploring the wildness inherent within.
May your new year be filled with compassion and mindful intent, allowing joy and contentment to blossom with every step.
Inner Wisdom Meditation
Winter Solstice Meditation
The Winter Solstice is the return of light. We endure through the darkness to be reborn in light. Journey within to meet the darkness with love and compassion as we take a moment to forgive ourselves and discover our inner light ever present.
Music by Maura ten Hoopen. Licensed from restfulmind.com
Since we usually tend to focus on what we put in our bodies, I thought I would share a little about being mindful of what we put on our bodies.
The health and beauty industry thrives on promises to remove cellulite, wrinkles, blemishes, etc… But at what cost to our health and that of the environment. Numerous ingredients in cosmetics, shampoos, and lotions contain possible toxic and carcinogenic ingredients. In addition, some exfoliators, which contain tiny plastic beads, are polluting our lakes, rivers and oceans.
The majority of these beauty products are packaged in plastic as well. Plastic is cheap and convenient. As we all know, plastics containing BPA and other harmful chemicals are used routinely for beauty products. Actually, some organic and natural products use plastic packaging.
It seems almost impossible to get away from using plastic. We have eliminated quite a bit in our house, but feel the little we have is too much.
Hence learning to make my own products. I strictly use glass or cosmetic-grade metal containers, which are reusable.
It is also more cost effective to make things like lip balm and body butter. You can buy a pound of raw Shea Butter for less than the total cost of the product(s) that contain only a small amount of the Shea Butter. The next time you are in the store, take a look at the unit price of your favorite face cream, then take look at the ingredients. I guarantee you are over-paying for your 2 ounces of serum that contains barely 1/2 ounce of argan oil. You are paying for packaging and the label.
Not into making your own products but want peace of mind knowing you are getting a product that is safe for you and the environment?
Check out Environmental Working Group to see how your current products rank as far as ingredients goes and maybe you’ll find a healthier alternative for you and the Earth.
Also check out Grove Collaborative for reduced plastic and more sustainable options. We love their products and the special seasonal options!
Being mindful of what we put on (and in) our bodies allows us to not only take better care of ourselves but of our loved ones and the environment.
For more information on plastic pollution follow link: