26 Aug
Posted in: Books, Practice
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Wise Mindfulness

The seventh factor of the Noble Eightfold Path is samma sati, translated as Wise (or Right) Mindfulness.

Here’s what Phillip Moffitt has to say in Dancing with Life:
Right or wise mindfulness is much more than just paying attention. While wise mindfulness includes the attention process, which notices and stays with whatever is happening in the present moment, it also includes investigation of experience, which allows you to see it clearly, and it includes the attitudes of dispassion and compassion, which give you the strenght to fully receive the experience.

“Wise mindfulness is present in every moment of wise living through wise attention. You are not always going to have mindfulness, but it is your intention to be mindful that matters. However life is manifesting, your mindfulness informed by your intention allows you to live wisely at every step. In any given moment you may be very misinformed or lost in emotion, and so you act quite unskillfully. But this action is just episodic; it in not what you are about.

“Once you discover through wise mindfulness that you have gotten off the path, you know how to get back on the path. Therefore, even your unskillful moments become part of the path because you respond to them through wise mindfulness and intention.”


I love where he says that unskillful action is “just episodic.” I often act unskillfully–quite unskillfully–but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. My intention is to act skillfully. By paying careful attention, with an attitude of kindness and acceptance, it’s much more likely that the next time, I will be able to act skillfully….meaning, not cause harm to myself and others.

Up next: Wise Concentration

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