Week 2 - The Eight-Fold Path

This past week, Jack began the talk with the analogy that training the mind is similar to training a puppy (which sparked much discussion).  He went on to outline the Noble 8-Fold Path:  Right Understanding, Right Attitude, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Concentration and Right Mindfulness.  Within that framework, he discussed the Four Noble Truths and the law of karma.  The word “Right” can be substituted with the word “Conscious” or “Wise."

Here are the questions and practices for this week.  Please feel free to comment about your practice or pose any questions you have to the community on the blog.  

Questions

1. What would you like to get out of your meditation practice?

2. What are your biggest challenges when sitting?

3. What does awakening mean to you?

Practices

1. Next time you are bathing, try to be fully present with all of the sensations that you feel (the water temperature and pressure, the smell of soap and shampoo, the feeling of your feet on the surface, the sensation of your hands cleansing your body). Without judgment, note if and how often your mind wanders. Try to bring it back to the present.

2. In the spirit of the Zen Master at the Laundromat, try to see if you can add some (or some more) spirituality into your work. See if you can use the circumstances of work to awaken. Some ideas to consider may be: not participating in gossip, being more patient, being kind as often as you can.

3. When sitting, remember to do your best to not judge your mind (not beat the puppy) as it wanders, as everyone's mind does. It has greatly helped me when I came to the realization that even very advanced practitioners still experience this. The art and skill of not judging is more important than the frequency in which the mind wanders.