Today I want to talk about my meditations on maintaining Right Effort in difficult times. This one is paradoxically the hardest to explain and the easiest to understand. The original texts talk about wholesome and unwholesome states, so I want to break it down. Let’s wander down the Noble Eighfold Path!
Having Right Effort means, to use verbiage more familiar to Western audiences, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Yes, I’m a Buddhist, but my background is in Christian theology, so you need to forgive my occasional indulgences into quoting scripture. Right Effort means not allowing yourself to succumb to thoughts, emotions, and intentions that are bad for you. Make an effort to do things that are good for your physical and mental well- being.
For me, this year has been a time filled with anger. We should be angry. Inaction and ineptitude is costing lives. Justice has been denied to many for far, far too long. People have suffered in silence while their abuser walk around free from consequences. The key is to not allow that anger to consume you.
Get off of social media. I know that’s my personal dead horse to beat. Spend more time devoted to self-care. Right Effort is not feeding the trolls. It’s not getting sucked into the fear and hopelessness that dominates the zeitgeist right now. It’s making sure that you’re rested, and properly nourished, so that you’re able to do the things that are necessary, and effective, and truly impactful.
May we all be well, happy and peaceful, may no harm come to us, may we all also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life.