Spacious Livelihood

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Upon rereading Right Livelihood from April 2009, I find it still stands without restating, so I encourage you to read it. Of course the word ‘spacious’ can be added to enhance awareness of the moments when we are at a decision-making crossroads. That spacious pause might make all the difference as to how we interact in the marketplace in making a living, spending and investing money. Our choices shape the world we live in, so this is a powerful moment, a moment worthy of becoming centered, grounded and spacious.

In class we discussed how meditation increases our ability to notice our thoughts and emotions enough to see where we are in conflict in this realm. Say, for example, one thought-stream has the intention to be a thoughtful world citizen and another really wants that fruit from 3000 mile away or that cute shirt made inexpensive by the exploitation of workers. With spacious awareness we can pause to sense our interconnection with all beings and we can see more clearly the effects of our actions and calculate more accurately the true cost of our purchases.


So that brings us to the end of the Eightfold Path, the Fourth of the Four Noble Truths. I hope you have found it a fruitful exploration. In this tradition we are encouraged to return again and again to the teachings, to revisit these Four Noble Truths. The first visit our eyes and ears take in the concepts but they are outside our experience. The second time around, we begin to recognize these truths in our lives and begin to incorporate them into our experience. The third time perhaps they have worked their way into our very bones. They can become the conceptual structure upon which we live our lives.

I encourage you to discover more about the Four Noble Truths from other sources and from your own experience through meditation and living in awareness. With each of the Truths, you can ask questions. For example:

The Buddha says that there is suffering in life. Is this true? How do I know it is true? Am I living with that understanding? How does that understanding manifest in my life?

The Buddha says that the cause of most of our suffering is grasping, clinging and pushing away the various aspects of life that attract or repel us. Is this true? Ho do I know it is true? How does that truth manifest in my own life?

The Buddha says that the end of suffering is possible. Is this true? Am I willing to practice in a way that I can discover for myself the truth of this statement?

The Buddha says that the way to end suffering is through the Eightfold Path: Wise Intention, Wise View, Wise Effort, Wise Concentration, Wise Mindfulness, Wise Speech, Wise Action and Wise Livelihood. Is this true? Am I willing to practice in a way that I can discover for myself the truth of this statement?

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