When we were exploring Wise Effort, I found myself in a situation where I was way over-efforting. And now as we explore Wise Action, I find myself doing the right things for the wrong reasons. The teacher teaches what she needs to learn is a truism that makes itself apparent at every turn it seems!
Back in the day, I got myself in over my head doing way too much in too little time for the purpose of pleasing and appeasing. I thought I had learned my lesson. Hmm, I guess old habits really do die hard.
Does this ring a bell with you? Do you beat yourself up about things you’ve done? And then turn around and do them again? Do you tend to multi-task? And then mindlessly make mistakes or simply miss out on enjoying anything? Do you try to please and appease? And end up just making yourself sick and pleasing no one? Welcome to the club. And welcome to the beauty of the Eightfold Path and how it helps us to see where things went awry and how we can tweak this system of mental formations to be more supportive and life-affirming. I shared how to use it in this way in a recent post so I won’t repeat it in depth here, but just remind you that:
First, we ask ourselves about our intention when we acted unwisely. If it was rooted in the fear of someone else’s judgment, it wasn’t compassionate or wise, so our action wasn’t either.
We continue checking in on other aspects: Was our effort wise? What about our view of the world and of ourselves? When our view is askew, all the other aspects are adversely affected.
Or our unskillful action could have been a case of mindlessness. Maybe our meditation practice is getting a little sketchy, or maybe we are overdoing it with distractions, never giving ourselves quiet time with devices off. Time to focus. Time to cultivate awareness through Wise Concentration. Or maybe we need a walk in nature.
There was a moment yesterday when I felt so overwhelmed by all the busy doing, that I decided to just go out in the garden. And here’s what I found. It feels like wise action to offer this video as my dharma post this week. May it inspire you to venture out into nature with wise intention and wholehearted attention.