A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘middle way’

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times ~

While I applaud the concept behind much that is being done to throw down old barriers to health care {Dr.s without Boundaries} and other good works that aim at getting behind the walls that have been placed by despots for control of their people, there is an air of the extreme about today’s world that begs for the very disorder that is the Psychiatric dish of the day, i.e. Bipolarism.

This is a wonderful time for people like myself, who prefer to live alternate lifestyles. We are not pushed by society to be something we are not. I never married, it is not that I was not asked, it was that I was drawn to the bad boys. They make fun companions, lousy husbands and worse fathers. As long as you do not expect a long term commitment from them they are wonderfully fun and funny, even when it is they that ask for the commitment.

Yet, there are many in our world who do not thrive in a time where limits are the taboo, and putting boundaries on your life can make you unpopular. I have long thought that the controls of, say, the church, are fine as long as they are not mandatory for everyone. If those controls are the way a person wishes to live, there is nothing wrong with that, just don’t make it law for everyone to live that way. That, however, has not been how it has worked out over the centuries.

We are not a species that easily finds its balance in life, many of us are workaholics, others are drug addicts, many have found their thrills in unprotected sexual activities.  There are many self-medicators who need a glass of wine daily; there is nothing wrong with that as long as it stays at a glass and doesn’t become a bottle daily and starts to interfere with one’s life. And therein lies the rub, eh? We allow our cravings to run our lives and then we are in trouble.

So, is there an answer?

Well, yes, but it is not easy, and I cannot say how each of us will go about doing it. For generations out of mind, society has served as an exoskeleton, bracing us up in ways that were such that we did not have to grow our own bone structure and stand on our own. That exoskeleton has weakened, and in many places crumbled. It is time to find our individual internal bones and strengthen them so that we can stand without the bracing of societal rule to tell us what is right and what is wrong.

Talk about a difficult task!

This is actually where Buddhism has an advantage over Christianity or any other “faith”. In almost all faiths, one is not taught to seek inner strength and purpose, but to look to the deity for one’s rescue. I believe in G-d, so this was not much of a problem for me, but one does not need to believe in a deity to follow the Buddha’s teachings. One needs only to desire internal and true happiness and to be willing to follow the Buddha’s recommendations toward that end.

Let me be fair, here. Christianity, as with Judaism,  the Muslims, and many others has a wide variety of groups within the whole, some of those groups do indeed teach discipline and study. Some teach discipline for all, others only teach this for the group that is part of the inner sanctum. This is also true of Buddhism. So the main difference between the Buddha’s path and Y’shua’s path is the belief in Hashem. Actually, the more I learned of Buddha’s path, the more I realized it is the only difference.

If you study the four gospels, counting Y’shua as a wise teacher from whom you wish to learn, instead of thinking of him as a magical pill you swallow that makes you “whole”, you will find that his teachings bear an uncanny resemblence to the Buddha’s teachings from 500 years before in the orient, 1000’s of miles to the East.

Essentially, Y’shua was teaching how to most sincerely and certainly please a high and holy God via release of worldy attachments, service and humility. Buddha was teaching a path toward inner joy via release of worldly attachments, service and humility. They are the same path, simply two diametrically opposite perspectives. And as the saying goes, one can have it all, as one can please God most high, while at the same time, finding true happiness. Hm, and we can even find balance from the extremes by following Buddha’s middle way.

Balance and Beauty ~

Buddha taught that life led in moderation, called the Middle Way, was a life of balance. Most Native American tribes, and the Kaballists teach that beauty and balance are the way to live. They are the same teaching, from different perspectives. Our little Kung Fu master demonstrates the beautiful sense of balance gained from working with Tai Chi, a form of martial art developed for meditation and control rather than combat.

Part of the deeper beauty of all of these paths is that they do not teach a static balance, as though one were standing in one spot, never to move again, but a  dynamic balance that prepares one for the changes and jostling that are a part of everyday life. I love the path of mysticism, though could never truly enjoy life on a mountain top, living as a recluse. I like people, flawed, imperfect, warts and all, I love to be in the midst of things. I do not have to be the center of attention, in fact prefer to be a bit on the side, but I definitely like to be part of an interactive show.

I think the reason I was drawn to mystic spirituality was that there was always room for me to be an individual. I am just as flawed as anyone else, maybe even a bit more. I am not going to achieve perfection in this lifetime. But, though it has been a bit of a bumpy ride, I’ve had a lot of fun!

One of the most important tools in learning to walk that balanced path is the sense of humor, and here I am not talking of laughing at others, but learning to laugh at ourselves and our foolishness. Besides, if I hadn’t been kicked out of the Lutheran church for thinking in circles, life would have been incredibly boring! Garrison Keillor says Lut’rans can’t have any fun! I love the Prairie Home Companion, with Mr. Keillor’s dry wit and sense of the ridiculous. His entire discourse is a sort of gentle, laugh at oneself, lesson in living. One of my favorite characters of his was Guy Noir. Or was that Guy Noarr?

I was listening to the “tube”, (don’t often watch, but sometimes you see some worthwhile stuff on there,) and Professor Randy Pausch was mentioned. His sense of balance in the act of living and dying was probably as profound as any I have ever seen in action. Having every reason to be angry with G-d, having a young family and a wife with whom he shared a loving relationship, he died with grace and humor, leaving a wonderful legacy for his children.

Among the things most memorable was a comment of his that “Right up there next to being responsible and doing the right thing . . . . .this close,” and he held the thumb and forefinger apart for us to see, perhaps an eigth of an inch “Is having fun.” It would certainly be no shame to have seen this man angry and in tears, as the pain of parting from such a full life would be immense.

That statement is as close as one can come to expressing the concept of walking in beauty and balance. May he be blessed on his journey.

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