“He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort.”
So often right effort is over looked as part of the 8fold path but it possibly is one of the most important. It takes practice to figure out what is to much and what is to little. I have some tools that help with this I would like to share with you.
The first tool is what I call intentional effort. At any given moment I am putting some amount of effort in, possibly in my mind, or my physical body through exorcise or yoga. However without intention my effort is lost and not directed. I am shooting an arrow but have no bullseye. So when you put effort into anything make sure you are using right intention. This helps us not get lost in the chaos of our effort. For example we are helping someone who is struggling we may go in with all great intentions but get lost in the co-dependency of helping. Intentional effort calls us to help with a purpose while being mindful of our own boundaries and when we need to pull back. Right effort is really all about finding our own balance.
Mindfulness of the self is another part of right effort. Without knowing what is going on inside and outside of me I won’t know how much effort to put in or possibly take away. Imagine you had never ran before and your put a lot of effort in to run, before you knew it you ran 10 miles and were in pain. In this example you completely let the effort of running over take you, and in return cause an amount of suffering. So you must practice mindfulness of the heart mind and heart body when practicing right effort.
Now when using intentional effort and mindfulness of the body and mind you will find what the right amount of effort will look like for you.
Don’t push to hard or pull back to quick, you are exactly where you need to be.