Practicality: The Noble Eightfold Path

I caught myself reading an interesting quote from Albert Einstein it went as follows:

Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.
I read it a couple of times before I realized that I didn’t really know what Einstein meant exactly, moreso I didn’t know how to apply the quote to my daily living, was he hinting that in order to exist for myself I needed to practice deep reflection? Or maybe he was saying that we must be critical of what occurs in our day-to-day living in order to ensure we are not just living for other people.


There are an endless number of philosophical quotes, scriptures, books and such that at first glance lead to the “WOW this stuff is deep” expression but does it really mean anything if we don’t truly understand the message and can apply it to our own lives? One very interesting piece that stems from Buddhist ideologies is the Noble Eightfold Path which is a teaching from Buddha that works to guiding individuals to achieve self-awakening as well as working to end suffering. It is used to help develop self-awareness and understanding of reasoning behind actions. Here are the first four steps on the Eightfold Path as I understand them (so in not so enlightened terms) as well as ways in which one can practice each step in their day-to-day lives.


1. Right Understanding= Seeing things as they really are, not how we want them to be. Being honest with yourself as well as others.

  • How you can practice: Take a look at something that may go against your views of the world and try to understand the reasoning behind it.

2. Right Intent= The feelings behind our decisions and our hearts desires. Recognizing the equality of all life and having compassion for all, including ourselves.

  • How you can practice: Develop an understanding of the things that guide your decisions. Are you driven by revenge, anger, and hatred? Or purer things? Become aware of your intent with the things you do, why you say the things you say; consciously become more mindful of the things you do.

3. Right Speech/Right Communication= The power of spoken/written word(hey social media generation) and also the awareness of the impact of idle gossip/spreading rumors.

  • How you can practice: Speaking positively of others, choosing not to spread rumors/create them. Taking the time to think of how the things we say may harm/hurt others around us.

4. Right Action= The need to take the ethical approach in life, to consider others when doing things. Having respect for the agreements we make both in our private and public lives.

  • How you can practice: Exhibiting strong moral fibre, respecting ourselves and the people around us in terms of our behaviors.


It isn’t easy to challenge our personal beliefs let alone change them altogether but it can be the difference between living what we deem to be a successful life versus constant struggling. The other four steps of the Eightfold Path will be presented in a later post.






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