The Noble Path consists in a training in the following eight stages:
(1) Correct seeing. To see things as they are, that is to say, a pure, accurate vision, the best vision….
The first point then is to see correctly, and to see correctly is to see that pain is associated with ordinary life, that all things are impermanent and that there is no continuity in the personal consciousness.
(2) Correct intention or desire. But the same word “desire” should not have been used, because we have just been told that we should not have desire. It is rather “correct aspiration”. The word “desire” should be replaced by “aspiration”. “To be freed from attachments and to have kind thoughts for everything that exists.” To be constantly in a state of kindness. To wish the best for all, always.
(3) Correct speech that hurts none. Never speak uselessly and scrupulously avoid all malevolent speech.
(4) Correct behaviour—peaceful, honest. From all points of view, not only materially, but morally, mentally. Mental honesty is one of the most difficult things to achieve.
(5) Correct way of living. Not to cause harm or danger to any creature. This is relatively easy to understand. There are people who carry this principle to the extreme, against all commonsense.
Those who put a handkerchief to their mouths, for example, so as not to swallow germs, who have the path in front of them swept so as not to step on an insect. This seems to me a little excessive, because the whole of life as it is at present is made up of destruction. But if you understand the text correctly, it means that one must avoid all possibility of doing harm, one must not deliberately endanger any creature. You can include here all living creatures and if you extend this care and this kindness to everything that lives in the universe, it will be very favourable to your inner growth.
(6) Correct effort. Do not make useless efforts for useless things, rather keep all the energy of your effort to conquer ignorance and free yourself from falsehood. That you can never do too much.
(7) The seventh principle comes to confirm the sixth: correct vigilance. You must have an active and vigilant mind. Do not live in a half-somnolence, half-unconsciousness—usually in life you let yourself go, come what may! This is what everyone does. Now and then you wake up and you realise that you have wasted your time; then you make a big effort only to fall back again, a minute later, into indolence. It would be better to have something less vehement but more constant.
(8) And finally, correct contemplation. Egoless thought concentrated on the essence of things, on the inmost truth and on the goal to be attained. How often there is a kind of emptiness in the course of life, an unoccupied moment, a few minutes, sometimes more. And what do you do? Immediately you try to distract yourself, and you invent some foolishness or other to pass your time. That is a common fact. All men, from the youngest to the oldest, spend most of their time in trying not to be bored. Their pet aversion is boredom and the way to escape from boredom is to act foolishly.
Well, there is a better way than that—to remember. When you have a little time, whether it is one hour or a few minutes, tell yourself, “At last, I have some time to concentrate, to collect myself, to relive the purpose of my life, to offer myself to the True and the Eternal.” If you took care to do this each time you are not harassed by outer circumstances, you would find out that you were advancing very quickly on the path. Instead of wasting your time in chattering, in doing useless things, reading things that lower the consciousness—to choose only the best cases, I am not speaking of other imbecilities which are much more serious —instead of trying to make yourself giddy, to make time, that is already so short, still shorter only to realise at the end of your life that you have lost three-quarters of your chance—then you want to put in double time, but that does not work—it is better to be moderate, balanced, patient, quiet, but never to lose an opportunity that is given to you, that is to say, to utilise for the true purpose the unoccupied moment before you.
When you have nothing to do, you become restless, you run about, you meet friends, you take a walk, to speak only of the best; I am not referring to things that are obviously not to be done. Instead of that, sit down quietly before the sky, before the sea or under trees, whatever is possible (here you have all of them) and try to realise one of these things—to understand why you live, to learn how you must live, to ponder over what you want to do and what should be done, what is the best way of escaping from the ignorance and falsehood and pain in which you live.
From the Words of the Mother