I’m taking a break from blogging – just for a bit – while I finish writing my book on lojong for writers, Free Your Pen. There’s not enough space in my head or time in the day to write the book and edit the blog version and come up with interesting stuff to share with you lot! So things may be quiet around these parts for a few weeks. In the meantime, here’s a picture of Snoopy typing…
…which is what I’m doing – right now! – only I’m not sitting on top of my kennel.
Be good. Back soon!
I don’t know if Kate Tempest would describe herself as a bodhisattva, but to me she’s the perfect embodiment of what that would look like in the form of a performance poet. Here she is at Glastonbury in 2015, more than holding her own (full set here):
“Know the wolves that hunt you, in time, they will be the dogs that bring your slippers.”
Continue reading “Hold Your Own – Kate Tempest – a bodhisattva in action”
Right Concentration is the final practice of Mental Discipline on the Eightfold Path and is about disciplining the mind to see reality as it is. It’s also known as Right Meditation or Samadhi, and is the practice of focusing your mind on one thing until you’ve reached meditative absorption or jhana.
Samadhi means concentration, and it’s called absorption because when the mind is intensely focused like this you become one with the present moment. It’s a non-dual state of oneness with reality where the self is gone, or absorbed in unity consciousness. When you meditate in samadhi there’s no effort involved – the meditation does itself. There’s no one breathing – the universe breathes. Continue reading “The Eightfold Path: Right Concentration”
Right Mindfulness is the second practice in Mental Discipline on the Eightfold Path and involves being aware of the present moment with a clear focus. Right Mindfulness is the heart of Buddhist practice and applies across the whole Eightfold Path. When you’re mindful, your thinking is Right Thought, your speech is Right Speech, your actions are Right Action, and so on.
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Right Effort is the first practice in Mental Discipline on the Eightfold Path and is also known as Right Diligence. This practice supports all the others because it gives you the energy to keep practising, even through difficulties. It involves cultivating a positive attitude and cheerful determination on your quest for freedom from suffering.
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Right Livelihood is the final practice in Ethical Conduct on the Eightfold Path and is about how you earn a living and take responsibility for your choices. The ideal is to earn a living without going against the principles of love and compassion, and to do work that expresses the truth of your deepest Self. That means you’re not just working for yourself, but working to benefit others too.
Continue reading “The Eightfold Path: Right Livelihood”
Right Action is the second Ethical Conduct practice on the Eightfold Path and is about acting appropriately in every situation. It builds on all the other practices and can only work if you’re mindful of your true intentions. If you watch your thoughts and develop the right understanding of yourself and reality, your actions shouldn’t cause unnecessary suffering.
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Right Speech is the first practice in Ethical Conduct on the Eightfold Path and is about communicating with compassion and in a straightforward way. It follows from Right Thinking and Right Understanding, so you see reality as it is and then express that truth directly. It includes communication through speech and all forms of writing: letters and emails, books and articles, blog posts, tweets, texts, and status updates.
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Right Thought is the second Wisdom practice of the Eightfold Path, and is also known as Right Intention. It follows directly from Right Understanding because your thoughts and intentions arise from your perception of reality. If you see reality as it is, you’ll have no problems. But if you see reality through a haze of assumptions and unconscious judgements and concepts, it will lead to some pretty twisted thinking. So Right Thought is about looking into your thoughts and intentions to see if they align with reality – or not.
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Right Understanding is the first practice of the Eightfold Path, and is also known as Right View. It provides context and perspective for the whole path, and is the foundation for all the other practices because it’s about perception. Right Understanding is about seeing yourself and the world as they really are. Sounds simple, right?
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If you want to understand the ideas that underpin any belief system, it’s best to start at the beginning. With Buddhism that means going back to the Four Noble Truths which was the Buddha’s very first teaching. The Four Noble Truths of the Middle Way include the teachings on the Eightfold Path, which is a way to free yourself from suffering so you can live a full and happy life.
Continue reading “The foundational teachings of Buddhism and the Eightfold Path”
On being creative as a woman and what to do when the muse comes after you with a club
My muse is a shapeshifter. She’s indiscriminate: a divine whore and angelic trickster up to her knees in mulch and butterfly cocoons. She’s in sunshine and dogs and fleeting thoughts and pain. She isn’t something other than me, but I can’t control her. She is my daemon, my guide.
She would also like me to tell you that I don’t understand her and have no idea what I’m talking about. Continue reading “Musings on the Muse”