The Middle Way
The Middle way is as much a part of indomitable Audacity as As a man thinketh. They are all many parts to a whole. Today, our world is dominated by excess and this excess slowly but surely eats away at us. I am not an advocate of the flagellant movement or anything of the sort but we need to know where to draw the line. The Middle Way is a very simple philosophy that actually works.
Over two thousand years ago a young man rose to prominence in his native land, he was not a warrior or a great merchant, he was simply a teacher. This man, named Siddhartha Gautama, began life as a prince. His familial kingdom was located in Lumbini, present day Nepal and he was showered with the luxuries that any modern man would desire. Wealth, comfort, women, connections, and exotic diversions were normal but for some reason this man balked at the opulence that surrounded him left, right, and center. He made a decision that many thought was the result of youthful exuberance.
He left the palace of his birth, the only home he had ever known, and decided to live an austere life so that he could understand the cause as well as the solution to human sufferings. He wandered Nepal and northern India for six years, meditating and following the teachings of different masters. At the end of his searching he was no closer to achieving the goal he had set for himself.
Siddhartha took his ideals a step further and forsake all worldly possessions and goods including food. He nearly starved himself to death before he decided that EXTREME asceticism was not the way to true enlightenment.
Having met defeat at every turn in his life’s mission, Siddhartha vowed that he would sit under a tree, now known as the Bhodi Tree, and not stand up until he had found the truth that he had been so desperately seeking. He stayed under the Bhodi Tree for forty nine days in deep meditation; after those forty nine days, he stood and was enlightened. Siddharta Guatama is not remembered to history by the name that his ancestors gave him, he is known as the Buddha which means “Enlightened One”. The Bhudda is considered the supreme enlightened one of all ages and he is the one that founded principles of The Middle Way.
The major Tenets of Buddhism as it has come to be known are called the four noble truths and have been taught around the world for centuries, they are:
1. The Truth of Dukkha is that all conditional phenomena and experiences are not ultimately satisfying;
What I would like you to take away from here is the meaning of Dukkha, it encompasses many things. Dukkha is birth, life, death, illness, Sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, despair, separation from the object of affection, and not getting what you want. It is an all-encompassing term for suffering. The first truth, when restated, means that suffering is not ultimately satisfying.
2. The Truth of the Origin of Dukkha is that craving for and clinging to what is pleasurable and aversion to what is not pleasurable result in becoming, rebirth, dissatisfaction, and redeath;
The second noble truth deals with why we are in fact made to suffer. We suffer out of ignorance of reality, we suffer out of attachment to pleasurable things, and we suffer out of aversion to things that are not pleasurable. To put it plainly it refers to a misunderstanding of self and reality. You cannot have the good without the bad.
3. The Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha is that putting an end to this craving and clinging also means that rebirth, dissatisfaction, and redeath can no longer arise.
The third truth is how we rise above Dukkha, suffering. This is where we rise above the status quo, this is where we tear away the shackles of mediocrity. To rise above suffering is nirvana. It occurs when we understand what makes us suffer in the first place. The second Noble truth puts forth what makes us suffer in a general sense but each of us needs to find what makes us suffer in a more personal sense and KILL IT.
4. The Truth of the Path Of Liberation from Dukkha is that by following the Noble Eightfold Path—namely, behaving decently, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation—an end can be put to craving, to clinging, to becoming, to rebirth, to dissatisfaction, and to redeath.
The Final Noble Truth, is the road less travelled, the road to accomplishment. Once we can understand the preceeding three truths, the fourth one is a natural progression. Be kind to your fellow man, become a fortress to keep out negativity, discipline the body, be aware of your feelings, and meditate. Meditation takes on many forms and in our common era this would more likely be called reflection.
In my opinion, one of the most profound teachings of the Buddha goes thus:
“Do not believe in anything simply because you’ve heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it”
The Middle Way in our Lives
The Middle Way is chiefly a loose set of principles to guide our behavior in all instances and at all times. Any man woman or child that allows one or more of his senses to dominate the entire being is doomed to live a life marked by an incomplete purpose. If you look around the world today and analyze the lives of many of the “richest” and most “successful” people it is likely that you will notice a common thread. They have poured so much of their lives into their material wealth and status that they have completely neglected other parts of their lives.
We are human beings created in the image of The Creator. This does not mean that we have a nose, eyes, and a mouth, it means that we have a will. It means that we have the ability to choose the path that we take in our lives. We can choose to be tossed by the currents of popular media and different trends or we can choose to stand firm in the midst of adversity and rise above mediocrity.
To practice the middle way in our lives takes discipline, a discipline that many of us have but do not utilize. You can train yourself to become stronger and more focused but only if you put your mind to it.
The middle way is actually quite simple, at least my experience with it has been. Put in a little effort and you will do it. Most people fail because they are lazy, point blank period. I need you to do more I need you to be more I need you to pursue perfection and encounter excellence. Basically get of your ass. To following the middle way is as simple as becoming more conscious of a few of the things you are doing in your life.
1. Become passionate about EVERYTHING you do.
This is not counter-intuitive. The Middle Way is not an excuse for mediocrity which I know some of you out there would like to make it. Allow the passion that make you tick to shine through and it will burn away the lesser emotions of clinging and avoidance, passion allows you to take the good with the bad. When you are practicing moderation it will be on a much higher plane than those around you. Once you cut the excess weight from your life, the things you are not passionate about, You can follow your obsession. Passion is cool but obsession, that is where you accomplish masterfully. Picasso was not passionate, he was obsessed. Leonardo Da Vinci was not passionate, he was obsessed. Henry ford was not passionate, he was obsessed. I am not passionate, I am obsessed. We all have to start somewhere so start by making sure that you are passionate about everything you do and cutting the rest of the chaff out of your life ruthlessly and without remorse. When you are obsessed you will know it, as a blogger you will not be stuck for ideas. As a writer, your passion will bleed onto the pages. As a musician, your voice alone will inspire the depth of emotion that words alone will always fail to do.
2. I eat more slowly.
Eating slowly in itself has nothing to do with the middle way but it is a way to become more conscious of your actions. Becoming conscious of your actions is the first step in disciplining yourself. Food is one of the easiest ways to overindulge your senses. I am a foodie, I devour delectable tidbits without a second glance but I am always conscious of how much and how fast I eat. When you eat quickly, you can actually get full and your brain has not quite registered that fact and continues to send hunger signals to your body which causes you to overeat. Take your time when you are eating and chew your food thoroughly, this coupled with a regular exercise regimen will do wonders for your weight. Mind you, this won’t be a way to pack on thirty pounds of raw muscle, You can do that here, but it will allow you to remain trim and healthy.
3. Understand that Peace comes from within
It can be easy to get caught up in rat race but once you can understand that you do not need to compete but rather create there is an inner peace that falls over your life. This men’s site is not the largest in the world but I am constantly working to create better and better material for my readers. As long as I do this, my audience will grow and eventually, we will be considered amongst the best. I see no reason to compete directly with them because I am myself, no one can do exactly what I do in the way that I do it. Therefore I am at peace and I am confident in myself and my abilities besides, I’m a winner. Just understand that you are the only one that you need to compete with. The only thing you will ever have to do is become better than the person you were yesterday. If you improve 1% every day that will be 365% in a year. I don’t know about you but Increasing that much puts me at peace.
I consider this one of the most important factors in applying the middle way to your life. Without reflection then we have no way of knowing what we have accomplished and what we have yet to do. Without reflection we are flailing in the dark or editing without a pen. Reflection is what sharpens our focus and trims the weeds in our life. Just as a soldier will check his gear before going into battle, you must reflect on your life at the start of each new day. This will allow you to attempt fearlessly and accomplish masterfully.
The Middle Way is a complete science and philosophy that masters have spent decades of their life attempting to unravel. For people like you and I, that kind of rigorous attention is by no means necessary, what is necessary is application of the major principles. Discipline, reflection, inner peace, and passion. The Buddha has made a legacy that will live on longer than any of us and that is wonderful, it is now our own turn to make a legacy that will stand the test of time and inspire men women and children for a thousand years to come.
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Indomitable Audacity – Attempt Fearlessly. Accomplish Masterfully