Hello everyone!! I hope everyone is having a great day. <3
So guys, today we are going to be converting religions!! How exciting!! Okay, we aren't actually converting religions (unless you want to then that's cool), but I'm going to be talking about Buddhism!! I was learning about Buddhism in World History (bear with me, I promise I'm not going to preach a bunch of history you don't want to hear) and I actually found it really interesting. But before I talk about the actual religion and how it can improve our outlook on the world, I want to talk about something else.
So basically life can be really hard. Of course, you all know that because you are all experiencing it! Sometimes life can be really stressful or tiring. Sometimes you have the worst and most sucky day of all time and all you want to do is come home and cry for 7 hours. Maybe you got a bad grade. Maybe you have so much homework to do that you can't even comprehend the stress you are having. Maybe the guy/girl you like didn't text back fast enough. Maybe you're fighting with your best friend. Whatever it is, it's not fun to deal with, and you feel like you are suffering a lot.
So now everyone reading this is probably wondering why I'm talking about this stuff on a blog that is supposed to be about positivity. I'm talking about this because I face these same stressors everyday, and I want to be able to fix them, or at least regain some sort of control over my emotions about whatever it is that is going wrong. A lot of people ask me how I manage to stay positive even when things aren't going great. I know that a lot of people would like to be able to feel more positive within themselves, and that some might want to project a more positive image out to the world. So I'm going to teach you guys how to do that!!
So now we're tying this back into the whole Buddhism/converting religion thing that I was talking about earlier. I'm going to spare you the history lesson today, and skip right to the part that is relevant to us. In Buddhism, there is a something called the eightfold path. The goal of Buddhism is to reach enlightenment, which basically means an individual understands what is going on and has reached "perfect understanding." Back in the day, people were having trouble reaching enlightenment so the eightfold path was created to help people reach enlightenment (side note: don't hold me 100% accountable for this information. I'm like 99.9% sure this information is correct but history isn't my best subject. Check with your history teacher to see if I'm right). So this path includes eight (hence the name) steps to help reach this place.
So even if your goal isn't to reach enlightenment, the eightfold path can help you to reach a better place and a higher state of happiness. Buddhists believe that want and longing leads to suffrage, which basically leads to unhappiness. So I'm going to talk about the different steps of the eightfold path and we can see how we can apply them to our own lives to help us become more positive people!
Step 1: Right Views. This means seeing the world how it really is. We need to recognize that the world is imperfect and be realistic about how things work. Realizing that not everything works out exactly as we wish it will can help us obtain a better understanding of how the world works. This step forces us to see how things really are. It can help us set realistic goals. This is not to say that we should't dream big, or reach for the stars, because we DEFINITELY should do that. Instead it helps us set smaller, realistic, everyday goals, which can help us reduce stress. Example: setting realistic goals for school, like creating a challenging yet reasonable schedule for ourselves.
Step 2: Right Intention. What this is saying is that even if not everything we do is perfect, or even right, that we are at least completing actions with the belief that we are doing the right thing. Even if the outcome isn't what is expected, or even if the outcome isn't necessarily the best thing that could have happened, try to go into things doing what you feel is right. I feel that if we are recognizing why we are doing something and examining the reason for our action to see if it matches good intentions, we are definitely moving in the right direction.
Step 3: Right Speech. This one that seems really easy, but it's actually pretty difficult. For this step we need to make sure that all the words that come out of our mouths are positive and kind. We can compliment people, ask them questions about themselves, and engage in conversation. This also means cutting the negative speech out of our vocabulary, meaning avoiding bullying (cyberbullying included!! Right speech not only includes what we physically say, but what we type and write) and gossiping. Avoiding this is something that is especially difficult as we grow up, and it's something I am still working on. To help avoid gossip I try to remember that I wouldn't want people to be saying these things about me. If you need to get the emotions out, try to write it down, or if you absolutely need the words to come out of your mouth talk to a parent, your dog, or one of your closest friends.
Step 4: Right Action. This means start taking your right intentions and speech and working them into positive actions. Start thinking about how your actions will impact the world and the people around you and try to make the impact a positive one. Try doing something to help people. I find that helping people actually makes me feel happier, because I know that I have done something good that has a positive impact in someone's life. Be honest with yourself and to the people around you.
Step 5: Right Livelihood. This means choosing our lifestyles to be meaningful. My interpretation of this means that we should choose our lifestyles to reflect what makes us happy and to choose something that has some sort of positive impact on the world. It also means choosing a life path that doesn't inflict harm onto anyone. If you are young and reading this, it might be hard to apply this to our lives, because our career is basically school, but we can always use our free time to try and live our lives while reflecting on how our actions will contribute to our lifestyle choices. If you are an adult reading this, then hopefully you'll take a second to look at your career and make sure that you are doing something that benefits your happiness and other's happiness. Hopefully you have chosen a career that doesn't cause harm to any being.
I'm going to cut this post off here for today. It's not because I'm lazy and don't want to it, but I am still working on learning exactly what steps 6 through 8 mean and how to convey them to match my message of this blog. (If you're wondering, Step 6 is Right Effort, Step 7 is Right Mindfulness, and Step 8 is Right Concentration.) I've also thrown a lot out here today and I don't want to overwhelm everyone with new choices to make, because, like I said, this path is not an easy one. It's one that will take some time to follow, but hopefully it will be worth it. I hope everyone enjoyed this and I hope I didn't bore everyone to death with my history lessons. I plan on writing about steps 6-8 this weekend.
My goal for you and myself this week is to try and incorporate the eightfold path into our everyday lives. Hopefully we can notice some positive changes! Before I go, I want to say that I am not Buddhist and that this is only an interpretation of what the eightfold path means to me. I do not want to insult anyone's religion, and if anyone finds anything offensive in this post, please let me know. The last thing I want to do is have an offensive or insulting post about a religion that I have a great respect for.
Thank you for reading!! See ya later! <3