The Eightfold Path To Happiness – Mental Development

Path to SuccessAnd today our journey along The Eightfold Path to Happiness resumes, and comes to an end, with the proper development of the mind; or the movement toward Mental Development. The Path recognizes that, as human beings, we simply cannot live in conflict with the person we are – or with the person we wish to be. To overcome this internal conflict, The Path offers the precepts of “Right Effort,” “Right Mindfulness,” and “Right Concentration,” all of which are practical, and practiced, styles of thinking which lead to enhanced perception, cognition, and positive behaviors.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi)

The Eightfold Path to Mental Development

In two previous posts devoted to the use of The Eightfold Path in our pursuit of happiness, posts concerning the development of Wisdom and Ethical Conduct, we learned a variety of practical ways to behave which would help us along our path to finding happiness. The third portion of The Path is devoted to developing ways of thinking which will help us overcome unhappiness and lead us to a happier, more fulfilling life. Please remember, that I offer these steps as mere tools for you to apply to the task of finding happiness, for I would never try to force upon you a belief system which conflicts with your own, which would only deny you the happiness you seek. Follow this link for a deeper understanding of The Eightfold Path.

  • Right effort – is the concept that the choice to act is yours alone; an act of will that is particular to every individual. Since action requires will, and the use of will is also a choice, we must choose the state of mind in which we would like to exist. We must choose to resist a negative mindset; to overcome an existing negative mindset; to develop a positive mindset; to enhance an existing positive mindset.
  • Right Mindfulness – is the concept that we must overcome the limits of physical perception to see the world as it truly exists; both internally and externally. It is the recognition that human senses are not infallible tools of perception and that pre-conceived notions may deceive us. This type of mindfulness requires of us that the abstract concepts we conceive based upon our perceptions must be made concrete for us in an objective fashion, and that our response to them must be generated anew, rather than allowing them to be colored by thinking that will inhibit our understanding. Right Mindfulness is a way of overcoming our unconscious perceptions and keeping conscious conceptualization at the forefront of our minds; whether we are contemplating our physical selves, our feelings, our thoughts and thought processes, or of the phenomenal world in which we live.
  • Right Concentration – is the concept that mediation is the perfect tool for focusing the mind, through the use of practiced concentration and exercise, to help us perceive the world and ourselves more accurately. It brings focused concentration to the task of day-to-day living by helping us to learn to focus our minds on one task, one perception, at a time. It is referred to as the “practice” of meditation, because the learning of focused thinking requires practice, and when we meditate, we are practicing fully conscious thought on a singular object or idea.

The way in which we choose to view the world, and our own particular place in it, is critical to our pursuit of happiness. The acceptance of reality, our own and objective reality; how we choose to interact with the world and others in it; how we think and feel about the world as it exists and affects our own existence, requires us to consciously consider the choices we make, and to constantly practice behaviors which enhance living rather than choosing negative thinking and destructive behaviors.

As The Eightfold Path teaches, the choice to live this way is ours, which means the choice to be happy is also ours. Which choice will you make? If you have questions or comments on these concepts, please feel free to comment below.

If you are struggling with your own journey of happiness, and would like help finding or staying on the road you would like to follow, get in touch with me today.

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