The Eightfold Path: Right Livelihood

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.

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The Eightfold Path: Right Action

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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The Eightfold Path: Right Speech

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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The Eightfold Path: Right Thought

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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The Eightfold Path: Right Understanding

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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The foundational teachings of Buddhism and the Eightfold Path

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.

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Musings on the Muse

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”

The Only Girl: the search for female sound engineers

Laura Marling’s new project on female creativity in the music industry explores why there are so few female knob twiddlers…

I was always odd, the resident freak or weirdo in any situation. And then I became a sound engineer. As a woman, that makes me exceptional. There aren’t many of us, so when I heard about Laura Marling’s latest project, Reversal of the Muse, I gave a cheer. It’s about time there were more ladies rocking a mixing desk.

Reversal of the Muse came about when the award winning singer-songwriter realised that in 10 years of making records she had only come across two female engineers working in studios. So she decided to dig deeper and explore female creativity in the music industry. Why are there so few female sound engineers and would the presence of more women in the studio make a difference to the end product – especially for female performers? Continue reading “The Only Girl: the search for female sound engineers”

Unreasonable Happiness: or How to Be a Dog

The day an an angel disguised as a blue eyed greyhound bounced me out of a depression

Last week I talked about how I stumbled into joy and how strange it was to be so happy for no reason. It shouldn’t be strange because joy is my true nature. But as anyone who has suffered with depression will know, that’s not an easy thing to remember. Especially on a bad day. Depression is a black hole that sucks in everything else. The darkness can seem so real and solid, like it will never change. But that’s a lie.

Everything changes. All you have to do is stop listening to the lie. You can turn it around, use the lie against itself and it implodes. You transmute the poison of darkness into the medicine of awakening. On a good day. Continue reading “Unreasonable Happiness: or How to Be a Dog”

Music opens a secret door in time to eternity

Music plays an important role in my novel Addled because the heroine, Zoe Popper, learns so much about how to be present and in the moment from her musician boyfriend, Jonah and his band Dionysus Wept. She first hears Jonah sing in Chapter 5 and is transported, amazed by the way the individual band members seem to be “perfectly locked together: the way the music would suddenly shift, speed up or slow, subtle changes in rhythm – it was almost like they were mind readers.

Music can be difficult to capture in words because it’s so abstract and emotional, but here is a beautiful extract from Divine Beauty by John O’Donohue that explores how music pulls you out of time. This is how musicians do it – they’re not mind readers, they simply tap into the timeless realm at the heart of the soul, and the music does the rest: Continue reading “Music opens a secret door in time to eternity”

What I Learned About Joy on the Sofa

Surprising things happen when you stop running away

Life is mostly an exercise in escapology and humiliation. You want to be happy. You don’t want to suffer or experience pain, but life rarely cooperates. The harder you run from the inescapable, the faster it pursues you. The monster is always one step ahead, waiting around the next bend in the road. It knows all your tricks and bolt-holes. It knows you better than you know yourself. Continue reading “What I Learned About Joy on the Sofa”