If we put off today’s work, we will find that it will accumulate until it looks too difficult to deal with. When we are dealing with spiritual matters this reality is no different. If we know that we have important questions to answer about what would make us truly happy, the more we put off looking for those answers, the more we will encounter perceived difficulty and confusion.

If we don’t know what we truly want out of life we will be more susceptible to crisis because we don’t know whether the things that happen to us are good or bad. By contrast, if we know what we want out of life, we solve most of our problems in advance, that is, most of the events we perceive as problems are not problems at all they are just things that happen which have no bearing on our goals whatsoever. The real problem is not knowing our goals.

How can we solve this difficulty? The Buddha explained to us that the answers that we need to be happy can be found along the eight-fold path which is right view, right though, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. If we are beginners to this method then it might seem a little bit overwhelming to think about the whole path all it once. Thankfully, as our teacher, Ajahn Tong, has explained, the key to the eight-fold path is simply right mindfulness. If we activate this element of the path, the rest of it illuminates automatically.

Therefore, the way to solve our problems before they happen is to invest in meditation practice. When we do that we are training ourselves in mindfulness but also through this mindfulness we are learning the eight-fold path. In turn, the eight-fold path gives us the answer to what we truly want out of life. As long as we are moving towards that goal, we can be happy with whatever comes.

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(2) Identify Your Goals