In this often messy and chaotic world, finding, choosing and staying on a path that leads to genuine freedom and happiness isn't so easy. But it's possible.
Walking 'the middle path' as the Buddha once did is the way of living an awakened, intentional life amidst the ordinary responsibilities of work, family and daily existence that we all know.
It offers one of the best, practical approaches to living in the world, without being caught up in the world.
The middle path has us focus on how we respond to our experience rather than make claims or judgments about how things are, or should be.
The middle path is not one of extremes of self-indulgence or self-denial.
It means living skilfully to navigate our desires and actions moment-to-moment, by directly investigating the tendencies of the heart-mind and seeing for ourselves where we get stuck.
For it's the mind that creates our reality.
Photo by Roberto Nickson
Otherwise, if we seek comfort and happiness purely through self-indulgence or having things as we'd like them, we are not free.
If we fight against ourselves and reject the world or things we don't like, we are also not free. It is the middle path that brings freedom.
To be able to work for us, the middle path requires a few things.
We need to have patience, and a courageous and faithful heart - it's a marathon, not a sprint.
We need to be part of a sangha, a community of like-minded others that supports and inspires us.
And, it requires an ongoing commitment to spiritual practices and teachings that help us to stay centred and attuned to the bigger picture - to the Universe or Source of all life - that we otherwise tend to forget when we feel overwhelmed or get too busy.
Photo by Inés Álvarez Fdez on Unsplash
Following the middle path is an exceptional and genuine way out of stress and suffering.
It genuinely empowers us.
It brings wisdom and leads to calm, ease and inner freedom.
What about you? How can you reap its benefits?
Spring is a wonderful opportunity to take stock of what "the middle path" might look like for you right now and to take ownership of your choices.
For example, it could be:
- A time to investigate the patterns that keep you stuck.
- A time to slow down and feel emotions more completely.
- A time to explore meditation.
- A time to restructure your work-life-play balance.
- A time to commit to living in more sustainable ways.
Please feel free to email me should you wish to further investigate living on "the middle path.''