The Eightfold Path: Right Concentration

Finally, we’ve reached the end. I’m actually quite happy about this. I have lots of other ideas and thoughts and such that I’d love to blog about, and after this post I’ll be a little bit more liberated and able to do so. I’d also just like to say to the new readers and followers a few things.

First, I’m not really a Buddhist. Well, not yet anyway. I’m trying to learn all there is to know, and figure out if it’s right for me, and if I want to apply it to my life. So far, I’m heading in that direction. That being said, I’m in no way any sort of authority on anything Buddha. If that is what you’re looking for, try some of the blogs on my blog roll, or Urban Dharma, or go find a friggin monk! I’m just blogging about my beginning experience and journey into Buddhism. This is my perspective, and there’s a good chance that I’m wrong. Now, I do believe I have something interesting to say on the subject, or I wouldn’t be blogging at all.

Second, the main purpose of this blog is to provide me with a creative outlet. So sometimes (like with my first few posts) you’ll see stuff that doesn’t have much to do with Buddhsim. And yes, I do plan on posting more recipes.

 Third, I don’t post daily. I don’t have the time to. I work full time, I’m married, and I have an 8 month old son to attend to. I’m making on honest effort to post at least once a week, but my goal is twice a week.

 Okay, all that house cleaning business has been taken care of. Let’s get right into Right Concentration. This one is very important. But I personally don’t have much experience with it. Right concentration is all about meditation, and I don’t meditate. It’s not that I don’t want to, or don’t agree with it. It’s just a matter of finding the time (remember me mentioning the 8 month old?) and motivation, and putting forth the effort. That being said, here’s my take on it. 

Right concentration is mainly about meditation. It stresses the need to practice insight meditation to achieve a specific state of mind. The goal is to get to the point where you are now in control of your mind/ego, and not the other way around. Rather than thoughts taking over, you’re taking over. You allow thoughts to arise, and then just as quickly dismiss them, and move on. No dwelling. This is truly inner peace, especially for someone like me with ADHD. The goal is complete equanimity, and the Buddha said the way to get there was through meditation.

 Through enough practice, you’ll eventually be able to reach this state of mind. But it doesn’t stop there. I mean, what the hell good would it do you to have that sense of equanimity only during meditation? Not much. So after you get real good at meditating, and can reach that state of clarity of mind, the next step is to keep yourself in that state in the rest of your daily life. You aren’t a Buddhist only while you’re meditating people.

 Personally, I’ve reached this state of mind a few times unknowingly, and I’m guessing that plenty of people out there have as well. One time that sticks out is when I was about 17 or 18. It was summer, and I was a bored youth in Michigan. Gas was only about 95 cents a gallon back then, so I decided to drive over to the other side of the state.

Muskegeon was a few hours drive along a two lane highway that cut through some small towns along the way. I was in my ’86 Regal, listening to some A.M. radio (it was all that worked) and just driving. It was liberating, peaceful. I now realize that while driving, I was in a sort of meditative state. I finally reached my destination, and found some beach. It was dusk and the sun was setting. I parked myself down, and just watched the sunset. No real thoughts crept into my head. If a thought did creep in, it left just as fast. It was the first time in a long time that my mind wasn’t racing. This was the closest I have ever been to that state of equanimity. So that my friends, is Right Concentration, according to me. If you want to know some more on meditation or the eightfold path, ask a monk! Or go out there, and sit down, and shut up! There are some great resources for meditation in my blogroll. Use them. I will be soon. Hell, even wiki has a damn article on it.

And that’s it for the Noble Eightfold Path. That’s all I want to cover on it right now. For those unfamiliar with Buddhism, this was like my shortened version of the Cliff’s Notes version of the Eightfold Path. There is way more involved with all of this. But this is all I care to write about it at this point. I’ll surely revisit all of these at some point. I probably won’t be posting again this weekend, as I’ll be busy brewing up an Amber Ale, and hitting the Evergreen State Fair. Cheers.

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