January 30 – The eightfold dot

By | January 30, 2024

Dear Friends,

Over the course of the month, we have dipped our toes into the eightfold path. The analogy of a path is useful in some respects. A path implies that someone has gone this way before, and now we can follow this path too.

Stephen Batchelor writes,

A path is something that connects us to a human and even an animal community because paths, particularly trails in the countryside, are only there because of people having gone before oneself. And it’s the tread of their feet that keeps the path open, even though these beings are long gone from view. And at the same time, as I walk that path in their wake, I am serving to keep that path open for those who will follow. There’s something about the idea of path-ing which is purposive, unimpeded, and connected to a community. So when we talk of the eightfold path, it’s helpful also to reflect on the metaphor of path itself, which we find in all spiritual traditions.

Reimagining The Eightfold Path, Tricycle Online Courses

And, as Sylvia Boorstein mentions, a path implies a progression – from here to there. Realistically, there isn’t a particular place to start, nor is it likely that we’ll reach the end; it’s a constant process of refinement.

Sylvia suggests that we might call it the eightfold circle, as we can get on at any point. She further says,

On the journey to happiness, you start anywhere. You start wherever you are. I have only one hesitation about calling the practice a circle. Even a small circle takes up space, and space creates the idea of a here and a there. There isn’t any there. When we wake up to happiness, we get to be more here than we ever were before. But, since waking up does happen and practice does work, we need to call it something. I guess it’s more like the Eightfold Dot.

It’s Easier Than You Think, The Buddhist Way to Happiness

Of course, a few paragraphs a day can’t do justice to the depth and breadth of the teachings on this subject! I do hope you found something interesting as a place to explore going forward.

You can find all the posts from this month on the website here:
Feel free to review as you wish, check out some of the resources and links I’ve shared, and continue to see what works to lead you towards more peace and contentment.

With good wishes,

P.S. If you’re looking for something to keep your inbox inspiring for your practice in February, check out Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness Challenge, which starts February 1. The program is offered on a sliding scale. Registration closes January 31 at 11:59 ET.https://www.sharonsalzberg.com/real-happiness-challenge

2 thoughts on “January 30 – The eightfold dot

  1. Rod

    Thanks much, Andrea for all of this shared wisdom and teaching — and for the sharing of your gift.

    Another teaching by Stephen Batchelor that speaks to me is about how, when one enters the stream, the result is turbulence.

    And from a retreat last week with Henry Shukman, something that relates to the path in your message today and connects heart with my (scientific) head is that I should be guided by the flow and not a compass — i.e., not engineering but discovering.

  2. Marilyn Wilson

    Thank you for the inspiring teachings this past month Andrea. So grateful for your generosity, insight and engaging voice.
    The amount of content and the pacing is just right. Delighted to mostly keep abreast of the readings and talks on a daily basis.
    Bless your kind heart ❤️

    With gratitude,
    Marilyn Wilson

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