Satsang with Giten on Buddha: The Middle Way – 6. Right Effort

Giten, gräsmatta, omgivning

Satsang with Giten on Buddha: 

The Way of the Buddha

 – The Eightfold Way

From satsang with Giten, February, 18, 2016, in Stockholm

 

6. Right Effort

The sixth step on Buddha’s eightfold way is Right effort or Right action.

 

Buddha says: never strain and fight and never be lazy. One has to balance the two.

 

Then there is Right effort, which is basically effortless. This is what Buddha callas action through inaction. 

It is to act out of awareness. 

When Buddha says “Right effort”, it means that everything you do in meditation, in relationships and in creativity should be a joy in itself.  Be playful. 

 When we act out of joy, we are in contact with our inner being, with the meditative quality within, with our life source. 

 

Right effort is also the effort to abandon all harmful thoughts, words and actions, and instead cultivate what is loving, aware and creative to ourselves, to other people and to the whole.

 

In the book “Presence – Working from Within: The Psychology of Being“. I talk about the three life areas, meditation, relationships and creativity:

 

What are the three life areas? How do the three life areas relate to each other in creating a loving, creative and satisfying life? The three life areas describe the areas in life that creates a creative and satisfying life when they are developed and function in a harmonious balance. The life areas also describe a balance between the inner and outer world that continuously relate to and enrich each other. These three life areas are Meditation, Relationships and Creativity.

What are the three life areas? How do the three life areas relate to each other in creating a loving, creative and satisfying life? The three life areas describe the areas in life that creates a creative and satisfying life when they are developed and function in a harmonious balance. The life areas also describe a balance between the inner and outer world that continuously relate to and enrich each other. These three life areas are Meditation, Relationships and Creativity.

Traditionally man has created a deep split between the material and spiritual aspects of life. Man has created a split between the inner and the outer world, between intellect and intuition, between body and soul, and between male and female qualities. Man has either chosen to deny the world or to deny the spirit, the soul.

The three life areas describe a balance between the inner and outer world. They describe how the inner being of a person, the soul of a person, can be implemented into all the three life areas. The actions of a person can be carried by the quality that we call awareness the presence of the spirit both in meditation, in relationships, and in work and creativity.

The three life areas describes how our awareness expands and develops, they describe how we walk the way of life.

The first life area Meditation is about creating a conscious relationship to our self. It is about discovering the inner being, the authentic self, the meditative quality within, the inner source of love, truth and wholeness.

The second life area Relationships is about learning to relate with other people from our inner being, from our authentic self. Relationships are about learning to live our love and truth in relationship to other people. It is about learning to relate with other people in love, joy, trust, friendship, acceptance, sincerity, compassion, understanding and freedom. This life area is about learning that relationships are not a chain, but an opportunity to listen to the whisperings of our heart.

Relationships is also about developing and embracing our male and female sides, so that neither side wins or dominates over the other. It is then that the spark of love ignites naturally within us.


This life area is also about learning that people come and go in life. We cannot rely on others like crutches. We can walk together on the path of life, but we cannot lean on each other.

Relationships are also about learning to know when it is time to hold on and when it is time to let go. People disappear from our life when we do not have more to learn from each other. The criteria for when it is time to let go of a relationship is when there is no joy in the relationship, and we do not grow spiritually together.

The third life area Creativity is about learning to follow the whisperings of the inner in creativity. This life area is about recognizing our creative potential, and learning to use our energy creatively. It is about learning to express our love, joy, intelligence and passion in work and creativity.

This life area is also about discovering the area of work, which we love to express our creativity through, and which creates a deep sense of joy, meaning and satisfaction within ourselves. It is to find the area of work through which we can contribute to the world.

Problems in life can often be found in one of these life areas. When one or two life areas are not developed in our life, it also has an effect on the other life areas. For example, if we have not developed Meditation, it will have an affect on Relationships, as our outer relationships are a mirror of our basic relationship to ourselves. If we have not developed Meditation, it will also affect Creativity. When we have not developed Meditation in our life, our creativity is really just activity without awareness.

The criterion for how our meditation is developing in our life is that the meditative presence and quality is expanding both in our relationships and our creativity and that we develop a harmonious balance between the three life areas.


Three ways to relate to the life areas

 There are basically three ways to relate to the life areas:
1. To choose only one life area
2. To develop and balance between two life areas and to exclude the third life area
3. To develop a balance and harmony between all three life areas


1. To choose only one life area

To choose only one life area means to focus on Meditation, Relationships or Creativity. To choose only one life area to express our whole creativity means that we limit ourselves in expressing all aspects of our total being.

To only put emphasis on developing the life area Meditation in our lives means that the meditative quality is not allowed expanding into our relationships and creativity. This is however a common choice in traditional religious contexts. Meditation has also traditionally been associated with something serious and away from the world. The East has also traditionally chosen this position by choosing to only focus on spirituality and meditation.

To only focus on the life area Relationships means that you miss both the relationship with yourself and the relationship to creativity. It also means that you build your whole life around another person.

To choose to focus only on the life area Creativity creates a mechanical workaholic, who misses both the relationship to himself and the relationship to other people. It creates a person, who builds his whole identity on what he does, rather than on what he is. It creates a lonely and isolated person.

2. To develop and balance between two life areas and to exclude the third life area


To choose to balance between two life areas and to exclude the third life area creates three different positions:


1. Meditation/Relationships
2. Meditation/Creativity
3. Relationships/Creativity


The first position

 Meditation/Relationships creates a relationship to oneself and a relationship to other people, but it is still limited because you do not develop your creativity and your innate talents, skills and gifts. The more aspects of our being that we develop, the richer and more satisfying our life becomes.

The position Meditation/Relationships also describes how we relate to the two poles aloneness, to be with ourselves, and love, to be and relate with others in our life.

The second position Meditation/Creativity means to focus on the relationship to oneself and the relationship to creativity, but it excludes the relationship with other people in our life. This position can be very creative, but it can also exclude love and support from other people. It is also a position that can be creative for a shorter period, for example when we have ended a relationship and need time and space to be with our self and to discover our own independence, creativity and freedom.


The third position

 Relationships/Creativity are the most usual choice in the West, where the focus is on activity and the outer world. This position means a relationship to others and a relationship to creativity, but it excludes the basic relationship to oneself. To asses how an individual generally functions, Western psychologist uses the two criterias how the relationships and the work situation of the individual works. The problem with this position is that it describes an individual who has his whole focus directed towards the outer world, while he does not really know who he is. All problems in the West can basically be traced back to this position. This position is like trying to only breathe out, without breathing in again. It ends in fatigue and exhaustion.

3. To develop a balance and harmony between all three life areas

 To develop a balance and harmony between all three life areas creates the best conditions for a loving, creative and satisfying life. One life areas can of course dominate during a shorter period, for example when you have ended a relationship and need to emphasize your creativity and freedom.

Most people have only developed three two life areas Relationships and Creativity. To be spiritually mature enough to develop all three life areas, an individual need to develop the awareness level of the heart. The heart is the door to develop a balance between all three life areas. The heart is the door to develop a balance between the inner and outer world.   

– Swami Dhyan Giten

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