About Right Working and Right Living

October 19, 2007

The Buddha speaks to you about “Right Livelihood”, and places your need to make a living – to pay your way in the world – in a much larger context of what it might mean to live your way in the world.

Consider the interdependence between your inner and outer experiences of living and how your choices integrate and align the two experiences. This helps you to better place, and keep, work in the larger context of living.

Work is only a part of your complete experience of life.

The eight fold path presents four paths of your inner experience and four paths of your outer experience. The interplay of your perception and your interpretation which you engage when you are making choices brings your inner and outer lives together.

In this view of your working and living experiences, the point of working is clearly and only that it frees you to devote as much time, energy and attention as you possibly can to fully living other inner and outer experiences. In this way, right working sets the stage for right living.

And what is right living?

Right living properly includes the work you do to sustain it, and also holds the promise that you can manage that work effectively to gain fulfillment in other comprehensive areas of your inner and outer experiences, such as:

  • Knowing what is available to you, as well as how to discover, invent or create the resources necessary for you to experience those possibilities. The Buddha’s “right understanding” sees only suffering and desire. There is much more in the world of possibility, and you are free to consider any and all of what can be. Right living includes consideration of the possibilities as a common practice.

  • Focusing on what appeals to you, and setting your intention to channel your resources to serve an effective realization of those possibilities. Here you can freely explore impending realities, in as little or as much detail as you please, before committing your self to live in them. Here you can also monitor your vision as it unfolds, and explore whatever adjustments might serve you better. Right living includes the habit of clear focus on where you are and where you want to be.

  • Accepting what comes. Through your experience in and of the world, what is possible becomes what is. Your experience moves and shapes two worlds: the world of possibility and the world of manifestation. Ripples cascade throughout both worlds to accommodate your experience of manifesting a possibility that appeals to you. Right living includes the unconditional acceptance of such natural perfection.

  • Thinking clearly. Your thinking is the conduit through which you exercise your power to perceive, interpret and influence the worlds of possibility and manifestation. Here the world of possibility meets the world of manifestation. Here your inner experience meets your outer experience. Right living includes the practice of clear and deliberate thinking.

  • Choosing. Here is the linchpin and primary driver which allows you to direct your living experience with your perception and interpretation of the worlds of possibility and manifestation. You choose effectively when you give equal weight to the voice of possibility and the voice of preservation, when you fully engage your instinctive perception of what is, your intuitive perception of what can be, and both your emotional and rational interpretations of what is becoming. Right living includes making your choices with all cylinders firing.

  • Relating to one and all. One way in which you conduct your outer experience of the world is through your relationships with other people. Your experience is determined by whether or not you communicate and, when you communicate, your experience is determined by the content and nature of your communication. Right living includes knowing what to say as well as when and how to say it.

  • Doing “that which is before you to do.” Another way you conduct your outer experience of the world is through whatever you do, just for the sake of doing. Your experience is determined by whether or not you are active and, when you are active, your experience is determined by what you do and how you do it. Right living includes knowing what to do as well as when and how to do it.

  • Working to pay your way in the world. Another way you conduct your outer experience of the world is through the work you do to pay your way. Your experience is determined by whether or not your work is necessary and sufficient to earn your livelihood. When you under-work, you may depend on others to support you. When you over-work, you may affect your other inner and outer experiences, as well as the experiences of those around you. Right living includes doing what is necessary and sufficient to pay your way in the world.

  • Investing in yourself and others. Lastly, you may conduct your outer experience of the world through the investment you make in yourself or others. You make investments without an expectation of immediate payback and/or without an expectation of payback for yourself. Right living includes doing what you can to contribute to, and improve, the world, your own life experiences and the lives of those around you.