Inspiration – the Middle Way

Middle way

I am delighted to share this story from a very special mindfulness teacher, Jonathan Foust. His website has many resources and free podcasts and audio meditations. This story shows us what the Middle Way is.

I love his practical approach and the two questions for self inquiry in our practice of mindfulness.

“I quit,” a young man announces to his meditation teacher.
“You’re nothing but contradictions,” he continues. “You tell one person to work harder, sit up straighter and sit longer. Then the next person you encourage to sit in the sun and drink tea. What the heck are you teaching?”
The teacher smiles and responds:
“I teach ‘the middle way’ — cultivating that place that is not too tight and not too loose.
If someone is unfocused and scattered, paying close attention to the here and now brings them back into balance. If someone is too clenched and dour, they may benefit from relaxing and letting go.”
A big element of mindfulness practice is a form of self-diagnosis. You can ask variations of these two questions:
  1. What is happening right now?
  2. How does this moment want me to be with it right now?
Are you experiencing the profound dissatisfaction of feeling scattered or over-emotional or you have lots of ideas but can’t get started on any one of them? Concentration practices may help you gather your attention and bring about a sense of calm and centeredness.
Too wound up? Feeling grim, tight or judgmental? You may find investigating relaxation practices and meditations that cultivate spacious and compassionate awareness help reset your system.
The more you practice and study the more you become, as my friend Pat Coffey says, a “contemplative artist.”
In any moment you can self-diagnose and respond to the moment with greater wisdom and compassion.
I wish you well into the new season.

May you have a not too tight, and not too loose day.


* Your Middle Ground Is Not …

Some people may see my website title and think it is a place recommending compromise or being average in life. Far from it, its about recognizing and fully embracing the highs and lows of your life! We can live fully when we can calm the mind and connect to our inner being and wisdom.

terrier overlooking lake

I understand why there can be some misunderstanding ….

The everyday term “middle ground” or “middle distance” is usually defined as a point of view midway between two extremes or a position of compromise between two opposing views. “Middling” refers to being average.

The Middle Way is also a Buddhist term with rich connotations. Most simply, it implies a balanced approach to life and the regulation of one’s impulses and behavior, close to Aristotle’s idea of the “golden mean” whereby “every virtue is a mean between two extremes, each of which is a vice.” 

…. Your Middle Ground in the highs and lows of life is always there for you to find and come to. Its the space for pausing and being mindful of the present moment. Its when your mind becomes calm. Its when you take time for relaxation, self nurturing , reflection, refreshment, inspiration and creativity. The more we come to this place the more balanced our lives become and the more we connect to something more.

Tyningham beach ohm moment 2010

This is the place where we can connect to our inner being, wisdom and soul. In yoga philosophy it called the atman, the essential self or the divine spark within every human being.

When we embrace our own Middle Ground, a new sense of awareness, or consciousness starts to grow. This is spirituality and is the path to enlightenment and awakening of a new consciousness. We become aware of the interconnectivity of all people and all life.  We recognize that we are part of the universe and that the universe is within us.

Eckhart Tolle says that when we become present, we become aware of Presence. I love that!

Through the present moment, we have access to the beauty and power of life itself, whether we call it the Divine, the Universe, Love, Life Energy, Source, or God.

Welcome fellow traveler! Lets enjoy this journey together.