THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH

Life is suffering. Siddartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, discovered this truth and three others on his enlightenment journey, called the Four Noble Truths. It may sound like a depressing perspective; however, not acknowledging this truth will, according to Buddhists, extend your suffering through ignorance, leaving you to chase your desires endlessly. This dilemma is the Second Noble Truth. The Third Noble Truth states that such suffering will only end once you reach enlightenment. And the Fourth Noble Truth reassures the practitioner that they can achieve enlightenment through following the Noble Eightfold Path.

Pretty easy, right? Sure, maybe we've been cast into an unforgiving world only to be forced to let go of everything we know and love for the sake of liberating ourselves from pain, but at least we have this simple-to-follow guide left behind by the Buddha.

Right View:
First, we must be willing to shed our dualistic perspective on the world. No more left or right, hot or cold, good or bad; see the world as a single embodiment of life. Doing this, along with accepting the Four Noble Truths, will free you from internal discrimination of any kind.

Right Intentions:
Once we correct our view of the world, our intentions and thinking must also follow. Now that you no longer separate yourself from others, you can think good thoughts towards them as you would towards yourself.

Right Speech:
How many times have you been in a situation where you said something you shouldn't have? Right Speech seeks to correct that within us. But, conversely, there are instances where you can inspire people with the right words and change their lives for the better, which is also an aspect of Right Speech.

Right Actions:
In life, doing good for others can reinforce good in yourself and spread it across the world. Thus, all actions are like Karma, and they are what connect us to this world.

Right Living:
Choose a way of life and a livelihood that encompasses the Eightfold Path. One that enables you to take helpful actions. Do not cause harm to others for the sake of profit.

Right Effort:
Abandon negative states of mind. Water the seeds of good within yourself and not the bad. When an evil thought arises, know that it comes from ignorance of the truths of this world.

Right Mindfulness:
You can develop mindfulness through meditation and learn to process all that goes in and out of your sensory field. Deeply feel your emotional and mental mind, along with your physical body.

Right Concentration:
This kind of concentration requires one to be singularly focused. It is the practice of ultimately unifying the mind during meditation and in life.

Mediate on the Noble Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths. See if you can understand their meaning intuitively. Even if enlightenment isn't your goal, just being aware of these truths can improve your life.

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