“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”
As I have said before, I like learning new ideas and exposing people to new ideas. Unfortunately, there are times when people will ignore great ideas because of their own preconceived notions, so I have to be a little sneaky.
What I’m about to share with you will be life changing for some, and completely obvious to others.
For those of you who know where it came from, take it as a challenge to better apply these teachings in your own life!
So here are 4 Truths I’d like you to consider:
1. Life consists of pain; this is the first Noble Truth.
From the day we come into the world, to the day that we leave it, we all experience pain; it is universal.
2.The Root of pain is Attachment; this is the second Noble Truth.
Have you ever heard that ‘the Great Way is not difficult, for those who have no preferences”? If you think about it, many (really, all) of the things we get upset about aren’t particularly good or bad in and of themselves, only how we relate to them. Let’s say that you’re running late for a movie, and are getting stressed out. There is nothing particularly bad about being where you are when you are there, except for the fact that you have decided you’d rather be somewhere else!
Or maybe you hate your job, but remember there was a time you were praying they would hire you; the only thing that has changed is your perception of what it is you want.
3. The End of all pain is attainable; this is the third Noble Truth
If Attachment is the root of all suffering, then their must be a way to end it; which leads to….
4. There is a Path to the End of all pain, and that Path is the Teaching, this is the fourth Noble Truth
The simple answer is give up your attachments, and you’ll stop feeling any pain. Now, this doesn’t mean that if someone steps on your foot you won’t experience a physical sensation; it only means that the accompanying emotional response will be gone.
I hear you, how do you give up your attachments? You’ve spent your whole life collecting them!
Don’t worry, people have been asking that question for about 1,500 years and have come up with 8 steps to take: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
Let’s look a little closer at these 8 steps. There is no way I can do them justice in a single article, but I can try to point you in the right direction:
Right View means seeing things as they really are, which is no small feat! I’ll give you an easy example: imagine someone cuts you off in traffic, your normal response may be to honk and shout at them; but maybe that person is racing to the hospital for a sick spouse, or racing to pick up their child from school. Maybe they didn’t even see you there, who knows. Or when I deal with my Clients who tell me people are spreading rumors about them, I point out that most people are so caught up in their own lives that they aren’t thinking about you at all! And if they are, it’s probably to try to hide and compensate for their own insecurities.
The point is to try and see past your own judgments to look at things objectively.
Right Intention means to genuinely try and do the right thing. If you know you’re doing something wrong, petty, or hurtful…don’t.
Right Speech means to tell the truth, and not say things you know are going to hurt someone else. I don’t mean lie or avoid telling a person something because they may not want to hear it. But there is always a way to express yourself that will maximize people’s understanding and minimize confusion.
Right Action means to do the right thing! But beyond that, it’s doing what you know is right all the time, even when no one is looking. When you’re at work, work hard; don’t slack off because the boss isn’t looking. Or put another way, how you do anything is how you do everything; so always do a good job!
Right Livelihood means to stop doing things you know are hurting yourself or someone else. Maybe you smoke and know you should quit, or you know you should lose some weight. Well…do it! We have already talked about how to make change quickly, but if you need more help contact me and I’ll help you out.
Right Effort means always trying to do better. It’s very easy to get caught up going through the motions in life and turn around and years have passed. Think about it, how long ago was your High School graduation, or your wedding day? The next 20 years will go by in a flash, and one day there will be no more years; the sooner you develop the habit of self-improvement the greater your life will be.
Right Mindfulness means keeping your mind on the present moment. Remember when we said that Fear only lives in the future, and guilt only lives in the past? The present moment is the only time you have power, but it is where you have ALL power! Keep your head where you are and what you’re doing, and you’ll have the calm, peace, and happiness of a Saint.
Right Concentration means learning how to focus on one thing intensely. It’s very closely related to Right Mindfulness, but it is more about having a time set aside for prayer and meditation, and communing with your Creator. In my experience, this is what is most lacking in most people’s lives, even religious ones, since it doesn’t do much good to show up at Church or Temple, and shut God out of your life until next weekend’s service.
“More I would say, but words profit not. God be amongst you.”
What do you think? Feel free to comment down below!
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B. Dave Walters
Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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