Over the past year, some of us have been asked to pick up the pace while the rest have been asked to stay home to keep ourselves and others safe. How has it been for you? What have you learned in the process?
One aspect of the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path is Wise Effort. Whatever we have been doing these past many months, it has taken a different kind of effort, hasn’t it? Here’s an excerpt from a 2017 post: “We see from our own experience and by observing others how over-efforting and under-efforting cause all kinds of problems in life, from the tense host striving to make everything ‘perfect’, causing her guests to feel uneasy; to the couch potato who seems unable to move forward in life; to the ambitious dreamer who seems always in motion but whose wheels are spinning.”
Hosting a party? Guests? What are those?
Couch potato as a bad thing? Hey, binging on Netflix is my patriotic duty!
Wheels spinning? On the way to where exactly?
Everything has been upside down and inside out. But regardless of the circumstances, Wise Effort is always possible because it is about how we are in relationship to whatever we are doing. Or not doing!
It takes Wise Effort to stay home when going out would put ourselves and others in harm’s way. It takes Wise Effort to keep returning attention to the present moment instead of wishing things to be different than they are. Especially now when the end of the pandemic looks so close, it takes Wise Effort to keep up safety protocols so we don’t create another surge.
To cultivate and maintain Wise Effort, here is a collection of past dharma posts to read and contemplate.
If you are chomping at the bit to get back to what we used to call normal, or if you are exhausted from all the extra work you have had to take on, or all the ways you have had to juggle your responsibilities, then an exploration of Wise Effort will help you cope.
I welcome your comments and questions. Please share your challenges around effort. We’re all in this together.