The Eightfold Path, although referred to as steps on a path, is not meant to be a sequential learning process, but as eight aspects of life.
My brain works differently to most peoples. I see something or learn a technique such as a breathing exercise in a martial art seminar and I try applying it to everything, from walking the dog to hammering in a nail. The technique just slams me straight in the head and makes sense to me.Not only that I see the applications in other areas, not just where I learnt it or from where it was meant to be applied. Hence the Eightfold Path as applied to Bushcraft.
The Eightfold Path is the Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. The Eightfold Path can be divided into three sections. Wisdom , Conduct and Discipline!
The right View is to have the right concepts and ideas to enable understanding.
The right Thought is also known as the right determination, the right awareness or intention.
The right Speech of which there are four. Words that are true and honest. Words of Compassion. These are kind and soft and give others confidence. Words of Praise that encourage others. Words of Altruism these help and benefit others, even at our own expense.
The right Action or behavior that protects life, to be compassionate and charitable.
The right livelihood is to have moral professionalism.
The right Effort is also known as diligence that we should move in the direction of courage.
The right mindfulness has four foundations:
Breathing. Being mindful breathing in and mindful breathing out. The awareness of breath cuts through discursive thinking, pulling us back from mental meandering and anchoring the mind securely in the present.
Feeling. The word “feeling” does not refer to emotion but to the bare effective tone of experience, whether pleasant, painful, or neutral.Pleasant feeling nourishes greed or attachment, painful feeling provokes aversion, and neutral feeling sustains delusion, manifesting as apathy and complacency.Being mindful of the feelings that arise, turn them into an object of mindfulness defuses the feeling.
Contemplation. To reflect on what you have learnt. The qualities that conduce realization. The five hindrances are sensual desire, ill will, dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and worry, and doubt not only to note the hindrances, but to discern how they arise in order to dispel them.
The right Concentration is to settle the mind and prevent being distracted, to help stay focused.
The seven factors unfold in sequence. Mindfulness initiates the contemplative process. Stable mindfulness gives rise to investigation, the probing quality of intelligence. Investigation calls forth energy, energy generates rapture, rapture leads to tranquility, tranquility to concentration, and concentration to equanimity.
So HOW does any of this apply to bushcraft ?
Four days in the bush with 15 other people, under stress, limited food, cold, wet, stress either brings out the best in people or the worst. After doing several bushcraft courses what interests me the most are peoples personalities when they are placed out of their comfort zones in situations designed to develop resilience.
My very first course I was struggling with firebows. I had driven halfway around the country in an old bus, my knees were aching, Id just gotten over the flu and half my diaphragm doesn’t work. So kneeling down trying to use a bow to develop friction wasn’t the easiest chore. I couldn’t breathe and was in pain. One of the other students I had spoken to a little saw this and without hesitation walked over and grabbed the other end of the bow and supported the bearing block along with my hand and we soon had the ember and fire glowing. I later asked why he had come over and helped? His answer! “I saw how much it meant to you.” In that moment he had changed my life. That hour, that day turned from being a challenge to being depressing, a failure then back to a success. I was later shown on another course how to use firebows standing, making it possible for me to use them all the time with my injuries.
Being able to make it through any event in your life that is out of your comfort zone comes down to attitude. There’s a great quote. “Its not about how many times you fall down. Its about how many times you get back up.”
So when your on a week long training exercise how are you remembered after-wood. As someone that puts others down, as a grump or as someone that supported others, helped when they needed it. Did it matter if you weren’t any good at spoon carving or was it more important that people respected you for not giving up and having determination.
The Buddhist Eightfold Path Explained
The Buddhist Four Foundations of mindfulness Explained
Tomato Sauce Sandwiches 9th Jan
When I was young. Very young like 6 to 8 we had neighbors two doors down. I can never remember having my father teaching me to ride a bike but I remember the elder kids at that house teaching me to ride a bike. I thought of them like brothers. They didn’t live there very long. Looking back on it the house must have been a housing commission property for people in need. I remember they raised ferrets and when ever the local kids turned up to play we had tomato sauce sandwiches for lunch. Their mother couldn’t afford much but we were always offered those sauce sandwiches. Which I’m still hooked on today and just had for lunch. I never saw a father and from memory there were two maybe three kids. They never associated with the other families, but they were my friends. This is one of my earliest memories. I don’t remember their names or barely their faces, but I remember the confidence they gave me and their mother that was probably ashamed of only being able to offer tomato sauce on bread for a meal but she offered more than any of the, what do you call them medium income families.
Ive been trying to think of examples of the eight fold path. After 9 hours of writing in front of a computer the headaches start.