Buddha’s Eightfold Path

Buddhism suggests an eightfold path to the cessation of suffering: Three behavioral categories outline a decent life - right speech, right action, and right livelihood. Two meditative categories are directed to tame the mind - right concentration and right mindfulness. Two wisdom categories correct perception - right understanding and right thought. The eighth category is effort, necessary for the pursuit of the other seven. That’s a map for a good life – a life with dignity and integrity. It may not sound too desirable for an alcoholic who seeks a quick fix for his unhappy and chaotic life. However, we find that the pursuit of happiness breeds suffering. The spiritual path is meant to direct us from getting utterly lost in delusions. Happiness is a by-product of doing the right thing.
We tend to over-identify with our memories. Past events and our own past actions may have impacted us – but they don’t define us. Who we are and what we are is an extension of a Higher Power – that’s where we come from. An untamed mind produces a delusional view of reality – we perceive threats, and try to conquer demons, which only exist in our minds. Based on an imaginary drama, we create continuous suffering for ourselves and others. Then we reduce our life to seeking pleasure and avoiding the vicious cycle of pain we brought about. This is how we create consequences to our own thoughts in the form of destructive behaviors such as procrastination, aggression, addiction, fight and other ways of acting out, such as the all-time favorite, blaming others for everything that doesn’t go our way.
We must seek understanding so that we may experience the world for what it is. Let us not forget that we are free to change and learn and make new choices as long as we live. Even though we remember our thoughts, we don’t have to succumb to the momentum of our habits – at least not all the time. As long as we annihilate ourselves and obliterate reality in the frantic pursuit of fun and delusion – our life has no meaning. A life worth living requires the courage to endure our feelings – and show up for reality.