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“Strive on!” (skillfully). Learning the Dance of Right Effort

And what is right effort? It’s when a mendicant generates enthusiasm, tries, makes an effort, exerts the mind, and strives so that bad, unskillful qualities don’t arise. They generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that bad, unskillful qualities that have arisen are given up. They generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that skillful qualities that have not arisen do arise. They generate enthusiasm, try, make an effort, exert the mind, and strive so that skillful qualities that have arisen remain, are not lost, but increase, mature, and are fulfilled by development. This is called right effort.

“Analysis”, SN 45.8, Sujato

Then the Buddha said to the mendicants: “Come now, mendicants, I say to you all: ‘Conditions fall apart. Persist with diligence.’”

These were the Realized One’s last words.

“The Great Discourse on the Buddha’s Extinguishment”, DN 16, Sujato

Right Effort: The basic matrix

Meditation: mindfulness of embodied states (3.31.20)

Talk: The basic 4 aspects of Right Effort: sustaining and cultivating wholesome and diminishing and preventing unwholesome states. But of course to do so you need to first know which is which. (3.31.20)


Emotional and Energetic States

Meditation: (4.7.20)

Talk: Week 2 of Right Effort, talking about working with body-heart-mind states in meditation, and a bit in relationship. Hinted at the nervous system material and the Polyvagal framework, which I’ll go into more detail about next week. (4.7.20)


Getting Polyvagal

Meditation: (4.14.20)

Talk: Continuing with Right Effort, we look at tracking our own Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) states, using the framework from Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal Theory. (4.14.20)


Right Effort in the Pandemic… How are you doing??

Meditation: Stability. (4.21.20)

Talk: (4.21.20)


More coming soon…

Big Feelings

More about how to work with states, emphasizing Nervous System activation and deactivation. I review the simple Polyvagal map we’ve been using, and then look at the paradox of how we change the habits of an autonomic system that by definition isn’t receptive to conscious control. In other words: Why can’t I control my big feelings?? Can you tell me how to? Answer: because they’re not yours to control. So no. But we can train in order to shift the underlying conditions. Big feelings shift when they’re no longer either needed or habituated. (5.12.20)

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