Has The Middle Path Gotten a Bad Rap?
Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Opinions are not a bad thing, opinions shared with respect and an unbiased attitude can be fertile ground for deep dive conversations and the fruitful exchange of ideas. I’m human, you are human, we have opinions and reactions and there is no shame in that. What I am saying is that when opinions and ideas get thrown at others with the sharp arrows of arrogance, the arrow might hit its mark but it also causes a kind of quick bleed- out of the potential for sharing of complex ideas and co-creative problem solving.
The drive to investigate thorny issues can only be a good thing because if we do our best to stand in some neutral ground as we are parsing complex questions, we are far less likely to throw darts of reactivity, make others the enemy and further the disease of absolutist thinking.
Does evil exist and are some actions horrific and in need our collective outrage and positive actions?
Of course. But what has motivated me to write his piece is not so much the current news or actions/inactions that are glaringly heinous but rather the daily exchanges that I witness on social media, in some news shows and in many on line and in person exchanges.
Many wisdom practices stress this idea of riding a kind of central current in our daily life and this central current is likened to a river: On one side of the river is our tendency to grasp, over-react and micro-manage. On the other side of the river is our tendency to avoid, shut down and hide. The central current is the place where we hold the tension of complexity, contradiction, opposites and not knowing and in allowing ourselves to ride this current-with our eyes, minds and hearts wide open we open-we are more likely to access an innate power that is built upon wisdom and grace.
Moderate, reasoned and thoughtful is the middle path. The middle way is not a bland " meh...let’s not do much of anything attitude." The middle path, at its best, is the path that encourages us to keep our minds curious and receptive, our discernment sharp and our reactive arrows in check. The middle path might be where creative conversations, creative solutions and our common respect for humanity gets the air it needs to clean out the cobwebs of heightened reactivity and make space for deep, respectful listening and responsive solutions.
I want to hear from you.
How are darts of reactivity showing up in your life and how are you responding?
How are you making sense of our divisive political landscape?
What helps you move from feeling flattened by our political climate?
How are you seeking and experiencing genuine connection and rich, respectful conversation?
Comment if you care to. Let's hear each other and learn together. ~~~ Donna