There are eight worldly situations that unruffled the calm repose of our mind. In Chinese Buddhism they are known as the eight winds. They stir our emotions and cause us to generate reactive thoughts and emotion. One thought leads to another and we lose our tranquility.
Not saying that thoughts are bad. However, discursive thought generate tons of emotions that cause our mind to spin helplessly. Just like a helpless leaf caught in a strong whirlwind. Before long, we found ourselves emotionally drained and exhausted.
On the other hand, a strong mind will remain firm and unruffled. Since thinking requires energy, a strong focused mind that is not influenced by the 8 worldly situations will run longer and see things better.
Here’s the eight worldly conditions. Being aware of them and being mindful of our mental reaction help us take control of the wheel.
Gain and loss
Since time immemorial, we feel happy when we gain something and feel sad when we lose something. No one taught us, it is innate (craving and aversion). From toys to money, from physical items to intrinsic value, our emotions run crazy all the time because of gain and loss. One of the greatest emotion trigger is the gain or lost of a member in our life (especially a love one)
Honour and dishonour
We are happy when we are being wanted or needed. We like to feel important and be respected. We crave for popularity, fame and attention. Different people pursue their “honor” in different ways. Some became rigidly upright and wish to be seen as a moral lighthouse. Others rebel against social norms and take pride in creating shocking new trends. On the other end, we feel angry if we are being slighted. We do not like to be ignored. We feel wronged when people see us in a bad light. In this way, each of us is attached/averse to our own type of honor and dishonor.
Praise and blame
We like to hear praises and good things being mentioned about us. In our daily interaction with society, we are easily affected by what people say. A single sentence, carelessly whispered by someone could drive us crazily mad with murder in our mind. Likewise a half hearted praise by some acquaintance can make us elated and feeling good. In both situations, it could mean a sleepless night as we toss and turn in bed with happiness or anger in our mind.
Pain and joy
We take delight in enjoying ourselves and entertaining our senses. We pursue enjoyment all the times and chase after them. On the other end, pain creates sufferings for us. What is enjoyment to one person can be a pain to another. It depends on their past karma deepening into their habitual tendency.
We can try to achieve a balanced state of mind by practicing mind training. That way, our mind becomes firm and is not easily unsettled by situations in life.
We can practice mindfulness to be aware of our mind. Stabilize it before it runs wild. We can practice chanting and keep our mind “anchored” to a mantra. All the various method of mind training can help us keep our mind reined.
It does not make us stupid. It helps us conserve our mental energy.
Seeing the 8 situations in the world and being aware of how people (including ourselves) react to them can also give us insight to the human nature. It’s a nice game to play while observing the world (not forgetting that we are also part of it)