When faced with challenges, choosing what’s easy over what’s right would be our first instinct, and really, there’s no shame in that, but there is nobility on choosing what’s right, no matter how difficult.
Buddha taught his disciples that traveling down the path that leads to true happiness and enlightenment will be tough to navigate. Despite all the hurdles, he still encouraged them to travel down the Eightfold Path.
What is the Eightfold Path?
It is an ancient Buddhist guideline on the eight aspects of life. The Eightfold Path is not meant to be learned in a sequential order since the elements of this ancient teaching can be experienced at any time someone journeys through life. Since true Buddhism never taught to follow a blind faith, this is a process of self-discovery in which one can learn from based on his or her own experiences.
This relates to viewing the world in its reality, not in a way that we are conditioned to but rather with an impartial and open mind. Seeing the world in its truest sense leads to next step...
This is the step wherein one would commit o the journey ahead. Once the reality of life and its problems are understood, the teachings urge to look deep inside the heart to know what you are passionate about and then act upon that.
The power of words is severely underestimated; we tend to forget that as much a word of encouragement can lift someone’s morale, a harsh criticism can destroy that in the blink of an eye. Right Speech teaches that being compassionate and kind in our words---despite any feelings of anger or disappointment---can move us closer together with the people around us.
Right action is a call into moving in an ethical behavior. It suggests the realization that certain actions can harm all that surrounds us. Right action encourages us to be mindful that our actions do not harm but rather lean towards helping others.
This next path deals with work, its nature and our ethics. It inspires us to be mindful of how we interact with the people and communities we work with and that we show respect for all life.
How to approach things and situations is a crucial part of life; Right Effort reminds us that an enthusiastic and positive approach coupled with determination is always the best way and feelings of greed and anger should be let go and replaced with clean and pure thoughts.
The seventh path is a reminder to live in the now, and deal with things as they come. Mindfulness encourages us to focus on the moment and how we act. It is believed that doing this will help us determine old habits that limits and controls us.
An uncluttered mind conditions us to be able to focus. Right concentration encourages us to focus our mind on a worthy direction, thus enabling further development so we can achieve what we desire. Right Mindfulness goes hand in hand with the eight path as it mainly focuses on teaching and honing the mind to see things as they really are.
So when you are at a crossroad, you can call on this ancient knowledge in however it pertains to your life and journey ahead.