Continuing his survey of the Eightfold path, Jack Kornfield teaches listeners about Right Effort and how we can apply ourselves in spiritual practice.
The Challenge of Right Effort // Opening to the Full Catastrophe
It sounds simple to apply ourselves in order to receive the fruits of our practice. However, many of us struggle to put consistent effort into our spiritual development. This comes from a variety of reasons such as not wanting to see our shadows. When we put effort into spiritual practice and truly try to be here now, we must be with our pain, boredom, sorrows, and fears.
“Right effort is the effort to see clearly. This world is crazed. There’s war, there’s prejudice, there’s political prisoners, there’s all these kinds of suffering that we need to remember.” – Jack Kornfield
Approaches to Right Effort (14:39)
Jack describes the Rinzai approach to Right Effort. This approach is an intensive, ass-busting path to enlightenment which may involve a series of severe breathing meditations or walking for 16-18 hours per day. The purpose of the Rinzai approach is to have complete concentration and to dissolve the solidity of the world. This is not meant to tense your body, but to will yourself to sit with anything and bring your mind back. Another approach is a gradual relinquishment of the things that are blocking your spiritual growth. This is a softer, slower path to enlightenment. In each approach, there will be some element of letting go.
“In the end, you have to let go. No matter how much effort you make and where it takes you, it doesn’t take you all the way. Because it is not your effort that makes you free, but your discovery of what’s true about yourself and life.” – Jack Kornfield
Check out Ep. 83 of Insight Hour to learn about The Nuances of Right Effort
Tasting Impermanence (34:14)
We can learn a lot from the way that a child lives. Children make their effort in life through an attitude of discovery. They are open to the truth of reality and eager to discover the meaning behind everything. When we are in meditation or concentrating deeply we have the capacity to recognize the laws of reality. Tasting impermanence, even briefly, is a powerful experience. Much discovery awaits us all inside our practices. Enlightenment is possible for everyone.