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The amount I have learnt from the teachings of Gautama Buddha has been life changing. It's fascinating to listen to the stories and compare them to modern day psychology. I never knew I would find such muscularity in something that I used to think was for hippies and pansies!
One of the core teachings is not just to accept suffering as a part of life but to actually go towards it. We can learn to get to know our suffering but not attach to it. The challenges we face in life can be excellent teachers if we have the right lens glasses on.
The Buddha’s Eightfold Path to Happiness is pretty simple. They are 8 areas of our life that we can take a moment to reflect on right now. Just looking in the mirror, will tell us how well we are doing.
- Right view
- Right thinking
- Right speech
- Right action
- Right livelihood
- Right diligence (train the mind)
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
The word 'right' is wide open for interpretation. In my mind it means thinking with love and compassion for others. When I was living in a Buddhist retreat I heard this word 'compassion' a lot, but it took me a while to understand it's meaning. Compassion is defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. It's easy to think bad of others when we are stressed out. But can we pause for long enough to think of a reason why that idiot just cut us up in the traffic, before we lose it?
Could it be that they are in a rush to get home to see their sick child. Or they're late for a job that might cost them their livelihood? There are many reasons why people do bad things and taking a second to think with loving compassion doesn't make you a wimp or a loser, it makes us a kinder person and kinder people make a better world.
So let's challenge ourselves to not retaliate (mentally, verbally or physically) next time someone get's under our skin. Go on, see what happens, you might see your stress levels plummet!
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