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The Eight Worldly Concerns

We are extremely fortunate to have a precious human life with its freedoms and fortunes. Do we spend most of our time and energy cultivating our minds and heart? Or, are we ruled by our attachment and anger, getting tangled up in distractions, such as the eight worldly concerns, which seem important now, but in the long term are not?

What is our relationship to the things we touch—sexual pleasure, good food, the weather, nice beds, and physical comfort for our body? What happens when we don’t get these things? What would it feel like and look like to have a healthy relationship to these sense objects that we encounter?


The eight worldly concerns are the chief distractions to practicing and applying spiritual principles and transforming our minds and lives. Examine how the four pairs of worldly concerns operate in your life:

1.      Attachment to receiving material possessions and aversion to not receiving them or to being separated from them. Just notice your automatic responses.

2.      Attachment to praise or approval (getting your validation because of what you do or accomplish or, earn your sense of worth in the world) and aversion to blame or disapproval or not measuring up.

3.      Attachment to a good reputation (having a good image, others thinking well of you or trying to be perfect or being a high-achiever) and aversion to a bad reputation (not being a high-achiever or perfect).

4.      Attachment to pleasures of the five senses (food, drugs, sex, alcohol and nice things) and aversion to unpleasant experiences.


Conclusion: Notice if you have placed your sense of refuge (where we look for security, happiness and sense of contentment) in being perfect or accomplishing many things? Or, have you placed your priorities in spiritual principles? What is your motivation?


Notice your mood swings as you get caught in their four pairs of worldly concerns. Your mood depends on how you interpret what happens to you. Notice that we naturally like to ensure that everything will come out in our favor. Be aware of how you react to what occurs. Are you attached to certain kinds of experiences? Do you reject or avoid others? Just notice—just as a scientist would, one who was investigating a physical phenomenon.




What is the outcome of being over busy on your emotional state?

Do peace, calmness and contentment arise in your mind at those times?

Or do you become more reactive, on-edge and cranky?

Just notice the consequence of this habit of compulsive activity on your state of mind.

I invite you to congratulate yourself for taking the time to be aware of your patterns, rather than beating yourself up for the patterns you notice. If you are too hard on yourself, you will probably stop looking and reinforce the mental habit of aggression and disrespect towards yourself


Feel that you don’t want to continue living your life on “automatic” and that you want to change the attitudes that cause you to have problems. What would it look like to have a healthy relationship with things, people’s opinions and praise? What is a balanced view?


Explore Patterns, Patterns Everywhere, Not a Moment's Peace!

             Copyright © 2001-2018 Bob Wilson BS, DTR  All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!