03/11/12 – On and Off the Path

Michael focused the discussion on observing when we were on or off the Eightfold Path, anchored in portions of a talk by Gil Fronsdal on Right Speech (from 0:46 to 9:52)

and an excerpt from Jon Kabat Zinn’s Coming to Our Senses, page 248:

Each moment of now is what we could call a branch point. We do not know what will happen next.  The present moment is pregnant with possibility and potential.  We are mindful now, no matter what we are doing or saying or working on or experiencing, the next moment is influenced by our presence of mind, and that is different from how it would have been had we not been paying attention, had we been caught up in some whirlpool or other within the mind or body or outer landscape.  So, if we wish to take care of the future, that, when we get there, will also be now, the only way we can do that is to take care of this future of all past moments and efforts, namely the present.  The only way we can do that is to recognize each moment as a branch point and realize that it makes all the difference in how the world, your world, and your one wild and precious life, will unfold.  We take care of the future best by taking care of the present now.