The Secret of the Middle Way

His breath was deep and slow and his heart rate regular. There was no pinch reflex as pressure was applied to his toes. His eyes were closed as the surgeon made her first incision. Tinker, a handsome Labrador, had been under anaesthetic for the past 20 minutes. The anaesthetist had been carefully monitoring his vital parameters including his blood pressure and temperature, adjusting the anaesthetic accordingly. Too little and he wakes up, too much and he sleeps permanently. The art is to stay in the middle and to provide just the right amount.

Do you live your life in a balance or find yourself swinging from extreme to extreme? What happens when you live your life to the extreme? Do all good things remain good forever? Do bad things never end? Nature has a magical way to allow the best to flourish by keeping the middle ground. Consider our body temperature or our blood glucose level. Too high and discomfort occurs, too low and the function depletes. Or the abundance of the leaves in the trees in summer and the scarcity of them in winter. Both seasons are needed to exist to allow life to flourish.

In your life, have you been taught conflicting ideas like, “Look before you leap” and “Those who hesitates miss out”? Or “You are important” and “It’s not all about you”? It may sound greedy but the secret is to have both. Yes, to embrace the idea of having your cake and eat it. Balance is the trick to maximise the result obtained. Not to have too much of each and also at the same time, pursue everything of both. Just like a gymnast on a balancing beam, it is performing your magic right in the middle, not to the left nor right.

Learning how to see both sides of the coin by staying on the edge allows you to make better judgments than being on either side. Understand that there are no absolutes, only limitations we have in our minds. Not all good is good and not all bad is bad. Darkness is needed to appreciate light. Sadness is crucial to understand joy. Only when there is bad does the concept of good exist. There are no heroes without villains. Both aspects are as important as each other. Sometimes, only when you truly understand the finite nature of death, do you cherish the infinite possibilities of life.

It is extremely easy to form opinions about people, events, and circumstances. It may reflect the need to stand by your inner values or simply voice out to be heard. It is harder to completely understand why a person has said something, acted in a certain way or why the circumstance had occurred. Perhaps there is a side that you are not aware of, perhaps that knowledge may help you grow. If you are determined to express what you know, you will learn nothing new. Observe those who got it ‘right’ in an argument and those who chose not to be ‘right’ and remained silent, who learned more?

When you see only one side of the world, you will miss opportunities that are only available in the Middle Way. You may make decisions that may have served you in the past but not suitable now. You may form opinions that helped you understood before but stops you from learning more this time around. You will miss the chance to grow beyond what you are capable of as you are only standing and seeing things from one side. When you give up your side, the side that you are familiar with, and allow yourself to become more, you will start to see the other side. It may be another person’s view of the situation, or simply a result you would not have seen if you had it your way.

When you start walking in the middle, you will discover a world of possibilities that you were not privy to see before. You will see that nothing is completely right nor completely wrong. Some things that may appear to be detrimental in a situation would be beneficial in another. A wrong choice for a particular circumstance may be the perfect one for another. There are no more right or wrong answers, only cause and effect. Similar decisions may bring different results in different situations. You will learn that your most reliable strength could be your failing weakness and your weakness may prove to be exactly what you need to bring you out of a dire situation. You cease to see absolutes, only possibilities in all dimensions. You start looking back and learn from the past. At the same time, you also look into the future, excited to apply your lessons and learn more along the way.

Just like Nature, you will be able to blossom, get more out of life by balancing in the middle. Your results will be magnified, just like flowers and leaves in full bloom and you will be in optimum condition, just like working in your preferred temperature and the right amount of glucose in your blood, not too high nor too low, just right.

Tinker has woken up from his anaesthetic with the surgical procedure done because the anaesthetic was kept to the right balance. What in your life do you need to balance out today?

‘Extremes are easy. Strive for balance.’ – Colin Wright

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