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Posts Tagged ‘Eightfold path’

After four years in my fundraising job it has come time to find a new place of employment and I have been looking for a job. That is a pretty normal human experience, but for a Buddhist it is wading into the waters of wanting, craving, and suffering I have been spending a lot of time trying to avoid. The act of searching for a job is a process of removing myself from the moment and submersing myself in the fantasy land of the potential new work place.

This is the antithesis of everything I’m trying to do with my meditation practice. When I live fully in the present moment I am at my happiest. Generally at any given moment, there is a roof over my head, I’m not starving and I’m not running away from a bear.

The Four Noble Truths have made me aware that most of my suffering comes directly from this kind of fantasizing. This craving for a new position happens pretty easily when I am engaged in the exercise of reading a job posting and trying to picture if it is the right fit for me. It is like walking through the bakery at the grocery store. It’s hard to smell the cookies and see the cupcakes and not long for a bite.

Fortunately for me, there is a solution. The cessation of this longing comes from actively working the Eightfold Path. The Middle Way allows me to mindfully continue the job search while not wallowing in want of a different life.

I have been reflecting on which of parts of the Eightfold Path I am most using in relation to this problem…

1. Right View: The cognitive aspect of wisdom, Right View, is simply the awareness of why job searching makes me suffer. I want for more money, easier work, or more prestige and I suffer. I imagine this new and improved life and I am removed from the positives of my current life.

2. Right Intention: I am committed to going through this job search with the right effort, finding a position that is good for my family and for society and doing so in a way that promotes happiness, harmony and equanimity in myself and others.

3. Right Speech: I don’t lie about my experience, distort my participation in my successes or struggles and I’m clear about my intentions with a new employer.

4. Right Livelihood: The easiest one for those of us who work at non-profits. I find deep personal satisfaction in the fact that I can earn a good living for my family and do so while supporting worth while causes that contribute to the over all wellbeing of my community.

5. Right Effort: The prerequisite for this path, Right Effort fuels my intention to foster wholesome states and approach this process in a kind and honest way.

6. Right Mindfulness: Constantly on guard, checking in on my motives, intentions, effort and actions Right Mindfulness is the balancing act of all these aspects of the Eightfold Path.

I suppose I could have made a case for Right Action and Right Concentration in this piece but I felt like it would have been filler just to talk about all eight aspects of the Eightfold Path. I love the interconnection of all the aspects of the Eightfold Path; they support and illuminate each other, depending on each other and yet are simultaneously complete independent. My life is profoundly enriched by my Buddhist practice and I love the practical nature of the Buddha’s teachings.

For more on the Eightfold Path, The Big View has a great summary found here.

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