Blog Archive from Past to Present

Choosing the middle path

To live a life that honors all aspects of your being, you must have a clear vision and a commitment to make the vision a reality.  You can’t waste motion pursuing all the possibilities that are out there for you.  You must decide which possibility you want to zero in on and focus everything you do on this objective.

You must also understand all the aspects of your life, and keep them in balance. Taoists represent this as a balance between Ying and Yang.  Ying and Yang represent the balance of opposites in the universe.  When Ying and Yang are in balance, all is calm.  When one outweighs the other, confusion and disarray set in.

Buddhism recommends the “middle path” – the one between the opposite extremes of luxury and hardship.  Buddha believed that we all must take responsibility for ourselves and must practice self-control. The laws of the “Eightfold Path” were designed to guide people without making life too strict or too easy.  They represented a “Middle Path” of living for Buddhists.  They represent balance.

Staying in balance requires that you understand your whole being.  You must know your physical, mental and spiritual needs, and you must bring them into congruence.  If you don’t understand how each contributes to the whole of your being, you may end up catering to one facet of your life at the expense of the whole.  If you understand the whole in relation to its parts, you can determine the amount of time and effort to invest in each facet.

To acquire balance means to achieve that happy medium between the minimum and the maximum that represents your optimum.  The minimum is the least you can get by with.  The maximum is the most you’re capable of.  The optimum is the amount or degree of anything that is the most favorable toward the ends you desire.

My co-author Nido Qubein (“Life Balance the Sufi Way”) points to the example of the Marathon runner who goes all-out for the first mile.  This person will take an early lead, but the victory will go to the runner who strikes the highest sustainable pace.  If your pace is too slow, the others will pass you.  If it’s too fast, you’ll run out of energy before you reach the end of the race.  You have to choose a happy medium.

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