The Eight-Fold Way: Body and Mind

So far I’ve discussed the questions I associate with True Awareness, True Understanding, True Speech, True Action, and True Vocation.

In this post I want to talk about True Effort and True Mindfulness.

Traditionally, true effort—also called right effort or diligence—is consciously directing our life energy to the transformative path of creative and healing action that fosters wholeness, exerting oneself to develop wholesome qualities and get rid of unwholesome qualities.

True mindfulness, also called right mindfulness, is traditionally a whole-body-and-mind awareness of the present moment. To be mindful is to be fully present, not lost in daydreams, anticipation, indulgences, or worry. It also means observing and releasing habits of mind that maintain the illusion of a separate self. This includes dropping the mental habit of judging everything according to whether we like it or not. Being fully mindful means being fully attentive to everything as-it-is, not filtering anything through our subjective opinions.

For those of you who are reading all these posts on the Eight-Fold Way (and you have my gratitude), it must be apparent that there’s a lot of overlap between this “step” and the first one, which I call “True Awareness.” Let’s say that true awareness is your recognition of all that there is in this moment and true mindfulness is your being fully present with all of it.

Now, my questions:

True Effort – What can I do for my body?

So many good answers…. I can eat healthy food. I can get enough sleep. I can maintain my fitness level. I can schedule annual check-ups. I can meditate to reduce stress (if for no other reason). But the point here, as with all the questions, is to get in touch with what your body might need at this very moment of the asking. What crosses your mind when you surprise yourself with the question? Is it better food? Some change in your routine? Something that seems to be missing? Whatever the answer, as always, just note it and let it go. Don’t take it to be a new goal or a fault or anything at all but what occurred to you at that moment.

True Mindfulness – What can I do for my mind?

Meditation itself can be an answer to this one. Not to mention reading, learning, creating, or challenging your intellect in a wide variety of other ways. But, of course, again the point of this particular exercise is to see what occurs to you now. Is there something you’re neglecting? Are you cramming in too much and need a break? Just ask and let an answer occur to you if it will. If it won’t, that’s fine. Move on to the last question.

As will I, in the next blog post.

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