As featured in Beach Media magazines
I previously spoke about: “Love what you do do what you love” This time I’m tackling the subject of “How to lead a happy life”:
What happened to Theresa May is a classic example of what can occur if you stick rigidly to an extreme path, rather than following the Middle Way. Had she been a little more unbending in her zeal to avoid compromise, perhaps she’d have achieved her goal of “delivering Brexit” in a manner that would have benefitted both sides.
Instead, she came up with a big fat failure and lost her job to boot!
The problem with extremist idealists of whatever persuasion is that they are fixated on one idea and tend to see the world through blinkers. That means they can never see or embrace any point of view other than the one they espouse so vehemently, and therefore there can be no question of reconciliation, or tolerating or accepting each other.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. We could instead, if we are brave enough, adopt the Buddha’s teaching of The Middle Way.
This is what I love so much about the teachings of the Buddha, they always make good sense. No god is involved, you don’t have to believe in anything, you don’t have to be a disciple, you can simply receive the teachings and act upon them – or not, as you see fit. The Buddha puts the responsibility firmly on you, which is exactly where it should be, when it comes to deciding how to live your life.
So what is this Middle Way of which I speak? Let’s ask Jack Cornfield, well-known author and commentator on the Buddhist way:
“Buddhist teaching teaches us to be in the world but not of the world. This realization is called the middle way.”
Cornfield elaborates, “if we seek happiness purely through indulgence, we are not free. And if we fight against ourselves and the world we are not free. It is the middle path that brings freedom. This is a universal truth discovered by all those who awaken.”
This teaching is of massive everyday importance because it’s the key to a balanced and happy life. Not only that. It’s also the only way to achieve world peace and an end to all conflicts between people. That’s how enormous this is.
Now, of course, I don’t expect us all to suddenly modify our thoughts, beliefs and behaviour overnight to adopt the middle way, but it’s worth bearing in mind that this concept can be applied to everything in our lives. But as we are by and large used to a culture of blame and looking after our personal best interests above all else, how do we put it into practice without disadvantaging ourselves?
“To discover the middle way”, says Buddhist teacher Ajahn Chah, “try to be mindful, and let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still in any surroundings, like a clear forest pool, and you will clearly see the nature of all things. You will see many strange and wonderful things come and go, but you will be still.”
That’s another way of saying drop trying to be a control freak and let things turn out as they will.
Being still in your heart means having peace of mind, probably the most important gift anyone can get, especially if you want to sleep well at night. Therefore, adopting the Middle Way is in our best interests, once we realise what our best interests really are.
I have tried this myself – it really works
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