Spirituality principles, struggles, knowledge base and insights for the earnest seeker.

The Middle Way

However happy we may be, what does it mean when millions others are suffering – some wanting for a drop of water? How happy can you be when in your happiness creeps the realization that others are in misery? It seems then that the only way to be happy is to be oblivious to the suffering of others. However, if we do that than where is our humanity? Where is our ethics and morality that we speak so highly about?

Man is in a constant struggle between selfishness and selflessness. His selfishness calls him to be absorb into that which makes him happy – a sound, a sight, a sensation, a moment, an experience – and to give himself utterly and completely to it by letting down all defenses and making one as vulnerable as a baby. Oh, what sweetness that brings – this ultimate self indulgence – forgetting all of reality. Is this then the only form of true happiness?

How do we balance between our selfish desires and our higher selfless ideals? Are we doomed for eternity never to know? Perhaps the only way is the middle way – between complete selfish self absorption and utter selfless sacrifice. Perhaps here – in the middle – is our only practical salvation.

Perhaps then true happiness is never being truly happy – never putting happiness above everything else. Perhaps true ethics is never being overly moral – never putting ethics above anything else. Neither is perfect and that is perhaps as close to perfection we can get in this life – the middle way.

Life offers us opportunities to pursue happiness to it’s fullest manifestations. Are we then to take advantage of these opportunities and indulge ourselves? Drinking, merry-making and accumulating wealth with no other purpose than to make us happy? Or are we to go to the other extreme and abandon all worldly pleasures and become completely detached to attain to the heights of mystical ecstasy?

The Middle Way advice us against both. Neither selfish seeking of worldly pleasures nor extreme asceticism serves us materially or spiritually. Materialism should serve a greater spiritual purpose and spirituality should not detach itself from materialism. The key is moderation and to seek a balance where human life can prosper in a sustainable way and allow us to grow both materially and spiritually. To do this, it is vital to cultivate discipline. No amount of religious learning, morality or philosophical ideology can save us if we lack discipline. The holiest of holy men and women have fallen simply because they lack the discipline to control their urges. It is said that one who conquers himself, conquers the world. Self discipline then is the key to the Middle Way.

A labor of love for the seeker – whoever you are and wherever you may be. May you find solace in these words.

Your brother in spirit

ben gill

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