At 22 years old I’ve had the inexplicable experience of running in the pink sands in Punta Cana, walking thru driftwood shacks in Jamaica, being trapped in a broken down bus in Montego Bay, body surfing in Mexico, galavanting around the Eiffel Tower surrounded by red wine and French chocolate crepes, I’ve danced classical ballet at the American Ballet Academy de Paris, danced at Sao Luis do Paraitinga in Brazil for Carnavale, surfed the Brazilian destination spot of Ubatuba, lived where it was 104 degrees everyday in Presidente Prudente a hot arid town in central Brazil, partied and kissed in the streets of Sao Paulo, dressed up and drank champagne in Chicago, climbed the Austrian Alps and swam the small picturesque lakes of Austria, sailed the Northern Lakes of Italy, bought hand blown glass and masquerade masks in Venice, attended house parties in Madison, backpacked to London and drank the night away with two English men at a pub older than our grandparents, ran in the London rain, ate gyros, proscuitto, honeydew, and olives at the Aegean Sea while the moon rose over the ocean, walked the ruins of the Parthenon, four-wheeled around the Greek islands, slept in the Amsterdam airport with two Hawaiian boys which led to late night galavanting to a Dutch movie theater to see the grand debut of Harry Potter and afterwards discussed life’s mysteries with total strangers with ukulele’s, came home and fell in love…twice, went to house parties in Madison, got lost on the cobblestone streets of Rome, smoked myself stupid in Amsterdam, strolled the whereabouts of Sagrada Familia and other architectural wonders by Gaudi in Barcelona, hiked Montserrat mountains of Spain and ate fresh goat cheese, stumbled through the rain to a familiar pub in London to re-unite with old friends and drank cold cider all day, returned to Sao Paulo to see more poverty than I remembered, took a helicopter ride over Rio de Janeiro, came home to fall in love…for the third time, moved to Hawaii to soak up the sun and surf, fell out of love, showed up in Portland to enjoy a cup of coffee in the rain, drove Northern California with my best friend of a mother, smoked legal recreational marijuana and caught up with one of my oldest friends in Colorado.
Where, what, who next?
1. * Samma-Ditthi — Complete or Perfect Vision, also translated as right view or understanding. Vision of the nature of reality and the path of transformation.
2. Samma-Sankappa — Perfected Emotion or Aspiration, also translated as right thought or attitude. Liberating emotional intelligence in your life and acting from love and compassion. An informed heart and feeling mind that are free to practice letting go.
3. Samma-Vaca — Perfected or whole Speech. Also called right speech. Clear, truthful, uplifting and non-harmful communication.
4. Samma-Kammanta — Integral Action. Also called right action. An ethical foundation for life based on the principle of non-exploitation of oneself and others. The five precepts.
5. Samma-Ajiva — Proper Livelihood. Also called right livelihood. This is a livelihood based on correct action the ethical principal of non-exploitation. The basis of an Ideal society.
6. Samma-Vayama — Complete or Full Effort, Energy or Vitality. Also called right effort or diligence. Consciously directing our life energy to the transformative path of creative and healing action that fosters wholeness. Conscious evolution.
7. Samma-Sati — Complete or Thorough Awareness. Also called “right mindfulness”. Developing awareness, “if you hold yourself dear watch yourself well”. Levels of Awareness and mindfulness - of things, oneself, feelings, thought, people and Reality.
8. Samma-Samadhi — Full, Integral or Holistic Samadhi. This is often translated as concentration, meditation, absorption or one-pointedness of mind. None of these translations is adequate. Samadhi literally means to be fixed, absorbed in or established at one point, thus the first level of meaning is concentration when the mind is fixed on a single object. The second level of meaning goes further and represents the establishment, not just of the mind, but also of the whole being in various levels or modes of consciousness and awareness. This is Samadhi in the sense of enlightenment or Buddhahood.
* The word Samma means ‘proper’, ‘whole’, ‘thorough’, ‘integral’, ‘complete’, and ‘perfect’ - related to English ‘summit’ - It does not necessarily mean ‘right’, as opposed to ‘wrong’. However it is often translated as “right” which can send a less than accurate message. For instance the opposite of ‘Right Awareness’ is not necessarily ‘Wrong Awareness’. It may simply be incomplete. Use of the word ‘right’ may make for a neat or consistent list of qualities in translations. The down side is that it can give the impression that the Path is a narrow and moralistic approach to the spiritual life. I use variant interpretations so you consider the depth of meanings. What do these things mean in your life right now?
- John Allan
In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiography, Franklin listed his thirteen virtues as: