The Noble Truth of Magga, Part 2: Mental Discipline
6. Right Effort . We should direct our energies toward self-transformation. Recall the instructions of the senior monk: "Imagine if your hair were on fire, how energetic and focused you would be to put that fire out. That is how you must strive for enlightenment." (chap. 8) The Buddha noted that we are hindered in this task of self-transformation by five obstacles: sloth or torpor, agitation, ill will, doubt or discouragement, and lusting for pleasures. We must make every effort to dispel these, to continue our way toward the goal. This aspect of effort is quantitative; the sense is that we should marshal our energy in the service of becoming enlightened.
There is also, however, a qualitative sense to right effort. We might call it rightly directed effort. When we follow this path a change takes place in the way we relate to problems. When someone makes us angry, or hurts us, or embarrasses us, our tendency is to point to them, saying "you this" and "you that." Rightly directed effort is toward our