Meet Me in the Middle
I’ve been thinking about Buddhism lately. I was raised Buddhist, and I used to attend temple every Sunday. I would usually get bored or fall asleep during the chants we had, but I remember Sunday school every now and then as being very fun. We had our own little community, and I even got a few gigs playing at weddings for temple attendees.
Buddha’s teaching mentions the Middle Way. Its focus is on striking a balance between too little and too much of different character traits. And this is, of course, a difficult balancing act.
If you are too kind, you may be seen as a pushover who can be taken advantage of for their kindness.
If you are too stubborn, you may not see the error of your ways.
If you are too selfish, it may be difficult for you to form relationships with the people around you.
If you are too selfless, you may endanger your own livelihood or give away personal possessions or capital you need to survive.
What Buddhism focuses on is striking that balance. And it offers a path forward called the Noble Eightfold Path.
The path includes right view, right thinking, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right diligence, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
I won’t get into the details, but these eight parts offer guidelines for how to conduct yourself morally.
I’m not sure I’m capturing all the right aspects (pun unintended), but it’s definitely food for thought. As I pursue a more spiritual way of life, I’m hoping I’ll be able to seek guidance from within and from the Buddha’s teachings.