Saturday, February 9, 2013

Get Up, Stand Up!

"Get Up, Stand Up! Don't give up the fight." B. Marley

Recently, I voyaged to Nantucket with my boys for an extended weekend.  My husband was working on the island for a couple weeks and we were all excited to reunite our little family.  There were no plans set, just time, carved out to be together.  Winter in Nantucket is cold, desolate, serene, beautiful and quiet.  The sun peeked out during small moments of the day and we walked to the beach with the sun shining on our rosy cheeks.  I bundled my boys in layers of winter gear and off we went. The beach is wonderful in the winter, the waves are rhythmic and constant. Getting back into nature reminds me of the simple and basic needs one craves in life. There was snow on the dunes and the paths that led to the beach were rough.  My older son is strong and his excitement allowed him to take off  running down the sands, flying like the wind.  My younger son has just learned to walk and although he is tough, navigating the earth was difficult.  He fell down many times, but continued to get up.  Watching him, instead of attending to him was an act of absolute mindfulness for me.  I was there with him, observing but attentive and allowed him the freedom to discover the moment himself.  I could see his determination in action and the pure joy in his face when he accomplished his task.  Falling down and getting back up.  He was strong, confident, focused and did not stray, there was never any self doubt that entered into this action.  It was a beautiful and humbling thing to be present for, the will to live, to survive and to not give up the fight.  Get up, stand up! Show up for your life.

In living a life truthfully, the Noble Eightfold Path in Buddhist thought consists of eight basic principles.

Right Understanding embodies the Three Characteristics of Existence. Impermanence; everything and everyone is changing all the time. Dukkha (Suffering) is inevitable and nothing we strive for in life will bring constant happiness. Not self, the idea that we are all connected, not separate.

Right Thought; Nothing exists in the way that it appears in your mind. Take time to examine the origin and consequences of your thoughts.  In the words of the Buddha: We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own mind.

Right Speech; our speech is to be kind, truthful, gentle and helpful.

Right Action; strive towards non violent actions, cultivating motives of generosity and kindness.

Right Livelihood; Live and work with values that promote respect and honesty.

Right Effort; Staying gentle and patient with ourselves and others, this includes letting go and acknowledging our imperfections and our associated guilt. Become who we truly are, who we are meant to be.

Right Mindfulness; Notice, feel, listen, taste and observe. Be aware of what we are thinking as we are thinking it. What is happening to us and in us moment to moment. 

Right Concentration; Stay present, without holding on to the past or focus on what the future will bring. Stay awake and aware, acknowledging pleasant and unpleasant emotions.

These principles help me to move through the complex details of day to day and get to the heart of life.