Not a Monk, and not an idiot either. But still following the middle path.
Ok, perhaps idiot is too strong a word. But how does one describe a person who lacks all mindfulness, skilfulness and is quite often very unwholesome?
For most of my life, I think that I was that idiot.
This is not to imply that I have somehow become a teacher or ideal example to others, only that I believe I have found the middle way. That path which lies between the two extremes.
The Buddha taught the middle path, and I have seen many people discuss and manipulate these teachings. Some even seeing it as the Buddha’s explanation of how we should all possess a certain amount of desire, some suffering, some delusions and attachments.
Personally, I do not see that as the middle path. I see it as an excuse and a way for us to remain stuck in negative patterns that we have possibly already repeated for several lifetimes. And I for one, think it would be great if I did not have to keep repeating this endless cycle of birth and death.
Let’s face it, birth is painful and death is painful. Everything in between is suffering with moments of happiness sprinkled about.
I am learning to remind myself not to take myself or this life too seriously. That too, I think, is the middle way. And this means to be observant of my thoughts, words and actions. They will not be perfect, but they can become increasingly skillful and wholesome with practice.
And I am learning more and more how to be my own best friend. And letting go of the idea that someone should fill that need. I see that it’s not for me to solve your problems anymore than it is your burden to fix me.
But I can love you, have great compassion for you, and offer mindful help if I am able. With the key word being “mindful”. And so many times, mindful means to shut up and do nothing. Not create a story in my mind, or feel any obligation or desire to act. Just see it, accept it, and offer my loving kindness. Done.
We each are unique in the ways in which our minds develop, and view this existence. But that does not diminish in any way our connectedness as living beings. And I see the middle path as a way to gain clarity of this and much more. I see it as away to our own liberation. Gently, mindfully and with loving compassion towards ourselves and others. Slowly, we may begin to drop the ego and let go of the self.
Each day, every single one of us is both student and teacher. Do your humble best to be a Noble friend in both cases.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.