"The moment afflictions arise, our mind is in a state of suffering. Attachment breeds dissatisfaction or fear of losing what we cling to. Jealousy creates a burning sensation inside of us. Arrogance stirs up restlessness. Anger may give us a lot of energy, but inside we're not peaceful or happy.

"In this way, the afflictions disturb our inner peace when they are manifest in our mind. In addition, they motivate actions that will ripen later in unsatisfactory situations. These situations, in turn, are the field in which more afflictions arise, creating more karma, bringing more uncontrolled rebirths. This is the meaning of cyclic existence. Seeing this clearly, the strong intention to oppose the three poisonous attitudes of ignorance, attachment, and anger arises within us, and we are motivated to attain liberation from this unrelenting cycle of unsatisfactory experiences.

"The first step in doing this is to reverse the eight worldly concerns — four pairs of emotional responses that wreak havoc in this life and plant the seeds for misery in future lives. The first pair is delight at receiving and possessing money and material possessions, and dejection at not getting them or losing them. The second pair is delight at receiving praise and approval, and dejection when confronted with blame and disapproval. The third pair is delight at having a good reputation and displeasure when having a bad one. The fourth pair is delight at pleasurable sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations, and unhappiness when encountering unpleasant sensory experiences.

"Spend a few moments contemplating how these four pairs affect your life. From morning until night, and even in our dreams, most of our time and energy are spent trying to get money and possessions, approval and praise, good reputation, and pleasurable sensory experiences, and avoiding their opposites. The attachment to the pleasant four worldly concerns and aversion to the four unpleasant ones are so powerful that we will act unethically to procure these or protect ourselves from them. Even when we are successful in getting the pleasant four, our attachment to them creates problems as we cling to them and fear losing them. When we don't get them, our dejection leads to depression, anger, and even rage. As a result we act in ways that harm others and create suffering for ourselves.

"The eight worldly concerns also distract us from spiritual practice, consuming our time and energy with plans, anxiety, and worry. They get us involved in destructive actions: fighting with others, taking their possessions, using sexuality unwisely and unkindly, lying, creating disharmony, speaking harshly, gossiping, coveting, thinking malicious thoughts, and pursuing wrong views. There is no space in our minds for virtuous mental states, such as genuine love and compassion, generosity, ethical conduct, fortitude, joyous effort, meditative stability, or wisdom."