Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Addiction and the Eight Fold Path

  ADDICTION AND THE   EIGHT FOLD PATH                                                               
                                                                                                                                                   PHOTO BY SOCK PUPPET


     For those of us who study Buddhism one of the first things we come in contact with are the Four Noble Truths. The semantics change and meanings are slightly different but they boil down to life is suffering, we suffer because of our ignorance, thinking, view, suffering can be experienced without pain, and we do so by following the Eight Fold Path.

    I think we all have a different ''wording" to these ideas but the concept is basically the same. In talking to some people who are addressing their addiction and evolving towards remission I became aware that the way the Eight Fold Path is classically presented presents an opportunity for resistance and internal manipulation. As most of us in remission know addicts become master manipulators and continue if given the resistance to work with.

     To be in remission means to change most of everything the ego has held as true. The Four Noble Truths speak to this and the Eight Fold Path suggests a platform for the process.

  • Right View
  • Right Thought
  • Right Speech
  • Right Conduct
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Effort
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Meditation
     As you can see this may cause some difficulty in accepting primarily brought on by the word Right. Yes I know. This has been addressed lots of times and the word "right" doesn't mean right in the sense of right and wrong. At least we believe the word "correct" or a similar word should be substituted. Personally it all still feels like, "Well, if you want to be good and correct do this." Which if you think about it is somewhat true but I really think of it in terms of evolving. So it's more like evolution will occur when following this path. Evolution in the sense of change not in the sense that evolution is good or bad. I mean if your evolving you are the one who decides what to do with it.

     So the primary problem has always been with the word "right.' So the way I have been addressing the issue is to use the word "aware." So if we choose one of the paths, let's say Effort what we have is Aware Effort. We are no longer evaluating the process of effort. We are now simply seeing effort in awareness. Different but the same concept.

  • Aware View
  • Aware Thought
  • Aware Speech 
  • Aware Conduct
  • Aware Livelihood 
  • Aware Effort
  • Aware Mindfulness
  • Aware Meditation 
     The interesting thing is that if we are aware of our effort we are usually feeling like we are evolving instead of struggling. Instead of acting as the agent of the act we are allowing the act to grow by itself. If we are aware of our thoughts we become partners with them instead of trying to resist them or manipulate them. By the act of resting in awareness my speech becomes aligned with my internal principles. In effect we are no longer resisting on any levels but allowing ourselves to evolve into a process that speaks to our hearts. 

     Of course as a side benefit this all reminds me that what I practice is awareness. Plain and simple. The more aware I am the closer to my heart I become. 

     My encouragement would be to see how all this feels to you within your own practice. 

     A few people have asked about the video in production and there have been a few technical problems that will soon be solved. Thank you!

     As always I welcome any comment or input. I love to hear new perspectives and thoughts.