Do you ever feel out of balance, off kilter, in need of centering? Is your energy negative and destructive?
There is a way to live a more peaceful life. The path to a more productive and peaceful life is not a secret, it’s outlined in ancient text as part of the wisdom traditions. In this post, we will explore that ancient text in Michael Singer’s chapter, The Secrets of the Middle Way. Here Singer introduces us to the Tao Te Ching, known as “The Book of The Way”, written by Lao Tzu in the 6th century.
“The Tao is so subtle that one can only walk around its edges, but never actually touch it. In that treaties, the very basis for the principles of all life is laid down. It is a treatise on the balance of the yin and the yang, the feminine and the masculine, the dark and the light. You could easily read the Tao Te Ching and never understand a single word, or you could read it and tears could pour from your eyes with every word you read.” ~ Singer
My first experience reading the Tao over twenty years ago was the former – I couldn’t make sense of it. I was a spiritual newbie, but some ten years later I read it again and had the latter experience of tears and goosebumps as every word came to life for me in a way that opened my eyes.
The middle way is a philosophy also shared by Buddhist, who follow the middle path of wisdom by following the noble eightfold path. Similarly, the Tao points us toward the middle way, toward balance, by reminding us not to push against life.
“It’s the place where there is no energy pushing in either direction. The pendulum has been permitted to come to balance concerning food, relationships, sex, money, doing, non-doing, and everything else. Everything has its yin and yang.” ~ Singer
At this point, you may be thinking that the middle way or middle path is static, without momentum or energy. Nothing could be further from the truth, because once you stop wasting your energy fighting and resisting life out there on the extremes, you will find you have enormous amounts of energy to solve problems, get work done and move forward.
Even the Buddhists are clear on this matter, the middle path is a place of investigation, seeking knowledge, wisdom, and truth. It is not a passive existence. The middle path is filled with curiosity, excitement, analysis and exploration. Focusing your energies on the middle path ensures a life of adventure! When the yin and yang are in balance, there is enormous power and energy available to you. But you might be wondering how to stop swinging to the extremes.
“The Way is in the middle because that’s the place where the energies are balanced. But how do you stop the pendulum from swinging to the outer edges? Amazingly enough, you do this by leaving it alone. It won’t keep swinging to the extremes unless you feed the extremes with energy. Just let the extremes go. Don’t participate in them, and the pendulum will naturally come toward the center.” ~ Singer
On the other hand, Singer does acknowledge that the extremes can be good teachers. If we can get perspective and look at a situation objectively (often this takes hindsight) we can see where we went off the rails, swinging to the extreme. We can also see how much emotional energy was consumed by living on the extreme edge.
So what does not participating in the extremes look like? For me, lately, it’s been limiting my social media experiences and even the news. I engage just enough to stay informed and then turn it all off and go for a walk, work in my winter garden, make a pot of beef stew, or write a blog about how to stay centered. LOL.
But seriously, try applying this principle of balance and centering to your daily routine. Limit your exposure to negativity as best you can. Make time for yourself and those activities that fill your soul. It is winter, after all, a time of rest and restoration.
And remember, although you can’t control external events, you can control how you choose to respond. Focus some of that energy inward and take care of yourself!