The Middle Way


The term Middle Way is commonly misunderstood. We may interpret middle to mean “finding a balance.” For example, in the way that we might pursue, say, material fulfillment on the weekdays and try to balance that with something “spiritual” on the weekends. Or we may think the Middle Way refers to something in between two other things—such as a gap in between two moments of experience—or something ungraspable that is divorced from the world we know. But this is not the meaning of the Middle Way. The Middle Way experience takes us altogether beyond thinking in extremes—beyond our usual assumptions about the world. It does not suggest we reject suffering to seek a nirvana elsewhere. It does not advise us to leave our ordinary functional life and enter a “spiritual” one instead. It does not affirm the existence of things, and it does not deny our experience of them either. Instead, the path of the Middle Way leads us through a process of inquiry that questions the nature of existence, non-existence, self, other, happiness, suffering, spirituality, and the world of experience. If we follow this process of inquiry, it will take us to a place of certitude beyond conclusions. This is exactly what happened to the Buddha.”

Excerpt from a book ‘ The Power of an Open Question ‘ by Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel

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