Find Your Middle Ground
Touch inner calm and kindness
Let Peace ripple out
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“Meditative self-inquiry is the art of asking a spiritually powerful question. And a question that is spiritually powerful always points us back to ourselves. Because the most important thing that leads to spiritual awakening is to discover who and what we are—to wake up from this dream state, this trance state of identification with ego….
One of the simplest pointers I can give here is to remember that this process of inquiry and investigation really takes place from the neck down. An example of this is when you ask yourself, “What am l?” The first thing most people realize is that they don’t know. So most people will go into their minds to try to figure it out. But the first thing that your mind knows is that you don’t know. In spiritual inquiry that’s very useful information. “I don’t know what I am. I don’t know who I am.”
Once you recognize that, you can either think about it or you can actually feel it. What’s it like when you look inside to find out who you are and you don’t find an entity called “you”? What does that open space feel like? Feel it in your body; let it register in the cells of your being. This is real spiritual inquiry. This transforms what might have been just an abstract thought in the mind into something that is very visceral, very kinesthetic, and very spiritually powerful.
Once we recognize ourselves as awareness itself, our identity can begin to rest in its essence. Who we are is no longer found in our body, mind, personality, thoughts, and beliefs. Who we are rests in its source. When we rest in our source, our body and mind and personality and thoughts and feelings come into harmony.”
These words really resonate with me. As a yogi and teacher I understand the connection with the body and breath to lead us to a place of centered connectedness unlike any other state. Its how I find my middle ground every day.
The answer to our seeking doesn’t lie in our heads.
We must tune in to our inner being, and surrender to what is not known.
Let it register in the cells of your being.
Time to get the mat out and go teach 🙏
“Hatred cannot coexist with loving-kindness, and dissipates if supplanted with thoughts based on loving-kindness.” ~ The Buddha
Modern research concurs. We cannot be relaxed and stressed at the same time … or grateful and resentful … or forgiving and vengeful.
When we bring awareness to the present moment we can’t be regretting the past, or worrying about the future.
Quite simply, we cannot experience both positive emotions and negative emotions at the same time. Try to hold both at the same time right now. It isn’t possible.
Anxiety and relaxation can’t coexist. Neither can resentment and gratitude. When we become aware, we can choose to let gratitude in. We can choose to forgive… be kind… relax…
So, the next time you’re feeling anxious, see if you can deliberately relax by breathing deeply, releasing the tension in your body and smiling.
And, when you’re feeling resentful towards life or someone in it, see if you can let that emotion go by focusing on something you are truly grateful for.
Come into the present moment, notice without judgment your thoughts and feelings, then choose from your heart.
It will change your life.
“Life is a series of highs and lows. Be grateful for the highs. Be graceful in the lows. Enjoy life fully and find contentment in your Middle Ground”
~ Val Boyko
Life, with all its ups and downs can take us away from finding wholeness, well being and contentment every day.
We get caught up in the distractions and commotion around us, and lose connection to our inner being and the wholeness of spirit that resides there.
Finding our Middle Ground is about pausing and connecting with this harmonious inner spirit. For many of us, this is sitting in meditation or practicing yoga or tai chi . For others, it might be walking in nature, patiently waiting to capture the perfect moment of light and beauty with a camera, or taking time on your train commute to close our eyes and bring our attention inwards.
When we slow down and pause in a quite place, we learn how to simply be, beyond our thoughts and time itself.
This is so good for the mind, body and overall wellbeing of our small self. We recognize this to be a real stress reducer!
As we find more time for pausing and simply being in the moment, we begin to connect to our higher Self and the Spirit or Source within all of us. It becomes a life re-generator where we free ourselves from striving, anxiety, and trying to fix things and control the world around us.
The more we let go, the more we draw in love, kindness, joy and peace.
Doing it now and again is good for your wellbeing.
Having a regular practice will transform your life.
What we think of as wisdom, is often a clarity of perspective.
In Judith Lasater’s book Living Your Yoga, she shares a Zen story that really shifted how I saw things. Here it is:
One day, a man is in his rowboat on a lake, and it begins to get foggy. Through the fog, he sees another boat coming down the towards him. The boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster.
He starts to shout out, but the boat keeps coming and smashes right into him. The man gets angry and strains to see who was so thoughtless and stupid! And then he sees that the other boat was empty. His anger collapses in that moment.
This is a classic story on our whole life situation…
There are a lot of empty boats out there.
There are a lot of angry people feeling like victims.
Just as an empty boat that rams into us isn’t targeting us, so too, people who act unkindly are often driven along by the unconscious pain inside of them.
By pausing and stepping back, we can find our middle ground and clarity of perspective.
Mantra for Today: “The rowboat is empty”
Whatever happens in your head is not you.
Whatever happens in your body is not you.
Whatever happens in the world is not you.
Whatever happens is not you.
Yet none of it can exist without you, the perceiver of it all.*
When we get sucked up into the pounding emotions of the world around us, and listen to the media that fans the fires of fear, this becomes a really powerful message.
Becoming detached from what we thought was a part of ourselves, sets us free… and brings more discernment and balance into our lives.
Take a moment to consider. “Am I too attached to something that is not supporting my wellbeing?”
This question in itself will help you step back and enter the space of the perceiver.
p.s. The other answer to your question is yes – chocolate can also support our well being.
*Mooji (2015-12-03). White Fire: Spiritual insights and teachings of advaita zen master Mooji (Kindle Locations 1382-1384). Mooji Media Publications. Kindle Edition.
We live in a self absorbed society where everything seems to be directed to feeding the insatiable and bored little “me”.
When we start finding our Middle Ground, we get in touch with our inner being and experience what is happening in the moment. This inner world includes our thoughts, beliefs, needs, feelings and knowing what really matters to us – our values.
We become observers of ourselves.
We come nurturers of our inner being instead of critics.
Life becomes more satisfying just as it is. There is less need for stimulation, excitement and acquiring of things to entertain us, show others, or to keep boredom at bay.
I remember thinking how strange it was that I am rarely bored. I have always enjoyed my own company. I like being me by myself.
Through yoga, I learned that this feeling of centered contentment was when my mind, body and spirit are aligned and in harmony.
I call this place of inner alignment the Middle Ground.
Thank you for joining me here 💛
When we tune in to our highest self, we become in tune with all those around us.
Our external relationships with people and situations are a reflection of this inner relationship.
So when we notice that life is chaotic, its time to look inside for insight, rather than looking elsewhere for the answer.
Take a moment to pause and notice your own internal state of being.
Really tune in.
If you are feeling agitated, angry or uncertain, those around you will reflect that.
Be in harmony, and you create harmony all around you and draw those in harmony towards you.
Find peace within you and others will be drawn to the peace within themselves
Seek and you shall find …
nothing but what is out there.
Come home to yourself
Finding our middle ground, is about bringing our attention inwards and coming home to the stillness and clarity within us all.
To find out more about this, please follow this link.
Many people have shared this traditional Native American legend filled with wisdom:
There was once a native Elder who came to realize that he had two wolves fighting inside of him.
The dark wolf was mean spirited, angry, fearful and selfish.
The light wolf was noble, honest, loving and kind.
A boy once asked of him “Which wolf usually wins?” He replied, “It depends on which one I feed.”
I shared this story the other day and asked the question “What can we do to stop feeding the dark wolf and nourish the white wolf?”
What came up was surprising. I had always thought of our inner emotions being the key to which wolf we are feeding. When we are angry, jealous or resentful, we feed the dark. When we are loving and grateful, we feed the light.
But its not as simple as this.
Like life, its more that black or white.
I believe that the biggest feeder of the dark wolf comes from the environment we live in nowadays. It feeds the dark insecurity within us. It ignites fear and anger. It triggers old wounds and deep insecurities. It fans the waves of violence and retribution. Whether we are surrounded by negative angry people, or are listening to negative politicians, or are watching live footage of violence … this is the food that feeds our dark wolf.
It is mostly unconscious, and perhaps habit … but I’m sure you know it is so.
So now, you can choose.
What can you stop doing that is feeding the dark wolf? For me it was to turn off the t.v. and make a conscious decision about what I listen to and who I choose to be around. I have become aware of which wolf I am feeding, and my life has changed for the better.
What I Have Learned So Far
Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.
All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads – of indolence, or action.
Be ignited, or be gone.
~ Mary Oliver
Do you feel it?
“When we look deeply into a sheet of paper, we see that it’s full of everything in the cosmos: the sunshine, the trees, the clouds, the earth, the minerals, everything—except for one thing. It’s empty of one thing only: a separate self.
The sheet of paper cannot be by itself alone. That is why the word inter-be can be more helpful than the word be.
In fact, to be means to inter-be.
The sheet of paper cannot be without the sunshine, cannot be without the forest. The sheet of paper has to inter-be with the sunshine, to inter-be with the forest.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh from Fear
If we look deeply enough, we see everything. It is all connected.
We are all part of this amazing world of interbeing. Yet how easy to forget as we become self absorbed with our little self.
Here’s to embracing this truth more and more every day.