The Middle Way

Imagine you’re looking at a spectrum, a line representing two extremes.

On one end, you have complete austerity, whatever that means to you. On the other, you have complete indulgence.

Or, perhaps, on one end you have deeply blissful highs, and on the other you have crushing, depressing lows.

It’s tempting, is it not, to think of The Middle Way as a kind of compromise between the two.

“Yeah, have a little chocolate cake, just not too much.”

From the perspective of living in the extremes, the middle way can look like a kind of luke-warm, dad-joke, have-it-both-ways compromise you sigh your way into after you get your first real job.

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However, I am purporting here and have directly experienced: that’s not all it is.

And in fact that’s only the most surface layer, the what it looks like, in the same way that a plastic rose can kind of look like a rose, but really they are nothing alike.

Back to our initial image of the spectrum, it’s as if from one perspective yes, this middle way is, indeed, in the middle of two points.

But then the perspective shifts, and this third point is actually on another plane altogether.

From this new perspective, it’s not a “middle point” at all. It is something else entirely.

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There’s a depth there that you cannot fathom. (I can’t either.)

There’s a holding of opposites — where either/or breaks down, not for lack of intellect but for sudden uselessness of the map of logic itself — that you cannot fathom.

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So, how to find it, to get to know this depth?

For lack of any more detail, try this one on: Follow, listen to, your heart is step one. Step two is vital: now act.

Whatever that heart-space said “do,” do that. That thing stirring in your guts that you know calls you, perhaps terrifyingly so: that. It’s secret work, and it’s extremely, and only, personal to you.

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2 Responses to The Middle Way

  1. Mark Moore says:

    Hello, Great post, Liam. This is the state of mind that athletes are trying to achieve.  They call it getting “in the flow” or “in the zone”.   I call it letting the lizard brain take over or communicating with god. While in the zone, all nonessential brain functions are shut down like verbal communication sections and sections that are devoted to monitoring how one feels about the situation.  Extreme sports athletes use the risk of death and bodily harm as a motivation to get into this state of mind.  You experienced this during rock climbing. The lizard brain is extremely powerful (a million years of evolution) but it was designed to focus only on survival and sex.  The trick is to get it to help achieve other types of goals. mark  

    • Liam Bowler says:

      Thanks, Mark! And while I wasn’t think about flow-state per se while writing this, yeah I do think this “middle way” idea can extend to all kinds of temporal relations, including the relatively brief mind-set of an activity (all the way to the great expanse of one’s life lived, every moment, fantastic or dull). So … good connection there, my friend 🙂 thanks

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